Friday, March 12, 2004
This afternoon I was reading this article via Blogs Canada:

Axis of Logic> Click around the blogosphere and you'll see a lot of ideological diversity. Bloggers are posting from left, right and center, from perspectives that range from Libertarian to Marxist. And on the surface, that diversity extends to other arenas: Men and women, recent studies show, blog in roughly equal numbers. A notable exception: Women are responsible for as little as four percent of political blogs -- "sites devoted to politics, current events, foreign policy, and various ongoing wars" -- according to the National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education (NITLE).

I am glad to be doing my part as one of the female political bloggers out there then. I am not American, I am not white, and I am not male. In fact, I do not come from a country where English is the primary language spoken. But I want to bring you my point of view and what's more, I want to represent just a little bit of what I have been shown in my experience.

As I explain in my Picture blog, to me the point of owning these sites is not to induce pity or compassion towards the Third World. I think guilt and pity are ineffective tools of information. It certainly works for some, but for me it is not the way to understand another person's/another culture's pointof view as your own through reason.

The point of posting my pictures on my sites is another entirely -- it's to include them as a celebration of life, a call to attention of the different types of lives that one can lead, without judgment as to the quality in which they do so. When I take these pictures I do not have evoking pity in mind -- in fact, just the opposite. It's an invitation to study the lives of others, and the photograph is but a little window, an introduction, into something that the viewers of this site might otherwise not have seen.

I cannot plant social consciousness in others, because that is something that ought to spring from their own self awareness. I can only contribute to that awareness by increasing exposure.

The same applies to my posts. I want to share what I think and what I have seen because I find that unfortunately the type of experience I have had is underrepresented out there, both in the "real world" and in the blogosphere. Aside from a few excellent Iraqi blogs, most blogs are anglo (more particularly, USA, and a few are Canada or UK) directed, and there is very little cross-reference between the anglo and the various other-language other-culture blogging communities out there.

I feel fortunate to have lived in four countries, most of which I love dearly, and to understand a couple of cultures other than my own. I love Canada, for instance, and I am very proud to have lived there. I feel very fortunate to speak five languages, and to be able to communicate with a few people out there. At times I've even considered changing this blog into another language entirely, because it is so difficult to try to appeal to an English-speaking audience without the usual content -- what's the latest in the US elections, etc. My point is to share what is outside of the usual realm of North American politics, yet unless it is coming from a country that also happens to be in the headline news (think Iraq), few people seem to care how others outside their own culture view the world -- and this is a crime of which most cultures are guilty.

How many Ethiopian blogs are in the top 100, or how many Honduran ones? How many blogs in English get read out there that are written by non native speakers? Brazil has a fairly large Portuguese-speaking blogging community -- probably second to the US. I've thought many times of blogging in Portuguese, it just might be easier. But I wouldn't be doing what I set out to do with my blog. I may be underrepresented, but I am doing what I can to keep pushing up that rock of awareness, both as a woman and a third world citizen, Sisyphus-style. If we don't, who will?

Hasta la vitoria, sempre.


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