By Lynn Larson Armstrong
September 1, 2019
In 1996 I wrote a story in the Leader Post about millions of people who walked out of Rwanda, to escape violence.
The story was written from the perspective of Save The Children, which was working to reunite families separated from each other as a result.
To put it in perspective, my source said it was like the City of Calgary walking down Highway Number 1, shoulder to shoulder, step by step. Starving. Dehydrated. In shock. During that time thousands of children were separated from their families.
Writing that story early in my journalism career had a profound effect on me. My children were young. I put myself in their shoes to the best of my ability to understand. Here on this side of the planet we think we are shielded from atrocities like this. But are we? When we are all effectively living and contributing to a shared experience?
I think of it often. The imagery. The reasons. The people. The story . . .
It happened. And it was avoidable. It was genocide. We know that now. But there were forces at play that caused the world to look away. The following interview explains the story, the events and the aftermath.
25 years later . . . Watch this.
Another kind of walk . . .
Lately I’ve been talking with peers, family and friends about how the way we see things, think and do is literally shifting the very earth underneath us.
We live in a world where Google knows what we think before we do and then tells us what we should want, and luckily what we want is one click away. Google doesn’t care about our global and local community, because there’s no money to be made in that game.
We are consuming mindlessly - causing a break down in our community - from the local community to the global community, from the sky to the bottom of the ocean.
Seismic shifts are indicators, not just events in and of themselves:The end of the Cold War, Elections, Me Too, 9-11, Global Warming . . .
But what’s more scarey is the walk of silence that we seem to be collectively participating in, because it’s the steps that take us to the places we go.
The things we don’t see coming but that we are a part of already - which actually led to these massive world events.
The way we consume. The way we treat each other. The pervasiveness of bullying. The pervasiveness of abuse. The pervasiveness of the idea that “I” am more important than “we”.
These are the true shifts that create lasting changes and redefine our values. And values - how we do things - is who we are.
We have one more quarter in 2019, and so far it hasn’t been fun. It’s been dumbfounding. Scary at times.
I think it’s time to let go of holding on to who we think we are, what we think we want and what we think we are, think about the next steps we take.