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Connecting and learning for change

The first question of the assignment refers to change and community. So, I wonder which that community is. Women? Argentinean women? The LGBT community? My city? My country? Our own definitions and perceptions of “our community” are subjected to change. Sometimes, our community is our neighbourhood. Other times is a group of people with a common interest. Many other times it refers to people who suffer the same oppression.
I will refer to Argentina as my community today, since change is a central topic in our present moment. We have celebrated the second centenary of the declaration of independence. Of course, as the rest of America, our history goes far beyond, centuries before Colón arrival. But the anniversary sparked a lot of debates.
In a sense, Argentina has a long history of change. The Spanish colonization, then the formation of the independent country, then the huge European, Jewish and Arab immigration of the beginning of twentieth century, industrialization, the decades-long story of coup de états against democratically elected presidents, the definitive re-establishment of democracy, the changes in rural production, the expansion of new technologies and so on.
We are facing big challenges now. I think one of the biggest is to accept and value diversity. During the last twenty years we have had a great immigration of sisters and brothers from Latin American countries. The immigration from Korea and China is also very strong. We are now receiving people from Africa, especially from Senegal. Our indigenous peoples are recovering their voices and visibility. The country has always been fond of its ethnical and religious mixture. However, racist prejudice is widespread and discriminatory attitudes are common.
Something similar happens in relation to gender. This is the first country in Latin America that legalised marriage for LGTB people at the national level. Transgender people rights are also advancing. Half university students are women; they thrive in science, business and the arts. For our first time, we have a woman president elected by vote, three women in the national cabinet and two women justices in the nation’s Supreme Court. In spite of all this, machista prejudices, misogyny and anti-LGTB bigotry are still firmly rooted and are part of our everyday lives.
I think the only way to counteract prejudice, discrimination and violence, which result from ignorance, fear and hatred is to get to see the other as an equal human being. And that can only be achieved through education and dialogue. Every one of us committed to change and diversity must educate ourselves, learn more, speak more, listen more. I believe PulseWire is a perfect place to do so. It allows us to get to know different people from different cultures in nontrivial aspects of our lives. People here are not talking about soap operas; they talk about their lives and struggles. Here we become stronger to do the work of making the world a wider place. As Zapatistas say: a world with place for many worlds.

Comments

suzanna of c's picture

Hello Maria Luisa

Thanks for the quick review of Argentinian history and immigration. Your comments on community make me ask what I consider my community. This medium certainly broadens the idea of community for us woman. I, like you, believe that education is the action. I just get stuck on how that can be done in a spirit of good will or how to connect in the local community to take action. Like yourself, we face all the same prejudices but I think our misogny is often more subtle, but nonetheless there. Do you have any specific ideas about overcoming the barriers to communication and education? How do we get to the soap opera watchers? In the U.S., our entertainment industry seems to suck the life out of a lot of woman...then again, we have many woman entertainers trying to deepen the conversation between us, educate and give back. It sounds like you are proud of your country.

Susan

pheebsabroad's picture

Community...

I think your comment on what a community IS is incredibly important...because after all how we define our community is also how we define the OTHER.... and what makes the OTHER different...I think your essay raises important and interesting points not only for Argentina but for the international community as a whole!

Pheobe

lauralf's picture

beautiful writing!

I truly enjoyed your entry, Maria Luisa! you expressed your vision with strong and passionate voice. I wish you all the best in your journey.

Laura

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