Caribbean: Blog Action Day 2012

Since its founding in 2007, Blog Action Day has united bloggers from all over the world by having them devote space to a specific topic or theme. Past themes have included water, the environment, poverty and climate change. The theme for Blog Action Day 2012, which was observed on October 15th, was “The Power of We”. According to the Blog Action Day website:

2378 blogs from 111 countries, using 43 different languages, registered to take part in Blog Action Day, October 2012. We also know that an additional 500 blogs took part in Blog Action Day without registering.

Several Caribbean bloggers participated in Blog Action Day 2012 and their contributions took a variety of forms, from reports on voluntary work to poetry.

The Petchary expounded on the theme by exploring the ways in which blogging can unite a community:

The essence of blogging is, or should be, creating a community in which to share ideas, agree, disagree. It is not supposed to be an ego-boosting, self-aggrandizing exercise, as a Guardian blogger suggests in the article below. It should be about ‘we.’ But which ‘we’ are we talking about? How large is the collective ‘we’ – how vague, how amorphous is it? Can we reach out and embrace the ‘we’ and if not, why not?

She also addressed the way the way the term “we” is used in political discourse:

Our local politicians seem to like the concept of ‘we’ – when it suits them. When fingers are pointed at them to seize the initiative, to lead, to deal with a specific problem, the cry often goes up, ‘Well, we are all in this together… We can fight crime together… We can generate jobs together…’ etc, etc. The Jamaican citizen, staggering under the weight of poverty, growing inequality, joblessness and all the other social ills, hardly feels empowered, one suspects. He/she feels like the ‘us’ in ‘them and us.’  And if he/she does get up and assert him/herself, with fellow citizens, as the collective ‘we,’  the powers that be may not support you whole-heartedly.

The Petchary went on to list several organizations in Jamaica which she felt encouraged unity. Alas, the two main political parties weren't included on this list:

Please, please… let us not follow the example of our two political parties, whom our esteemed Gleaner newspaper still describes as the two ‘gangs.’ They bicker at each other and among themselves. They sigh and heckle and shout and grandstand and show every evidence of divisiveness in their daily lives and their work in Parliament (although there is a general feeling that this combativeness disappears when they are at cocktail functions and social events). Instead of cheering them on in their spiteful forays against each other; instead of calling radio talk shows to defend the party we support; instead of accepting their favors, waving flags and abusing our neighbors in their name – let us be the real Jamaican ‘we.’ Our oft-quoted National Motto is‘Out of Many One People.’

Let us be that ‘One People.’ For Jamaica, ‘we’ means unity.

Geoffrey Philip used the occasion to draw attention to an ongoing campaign to exonerate Marcus Garvey:

Unfortunately, Marcus Garvey was wrongfully arrested and convicted on trumped charges of mail fraud and Africans at home and abroad have never realized the full benefits of his answers. Since then, Garvey’s work has been deliberately distorted and his legacy has been all but erased from our collective memory.

It’s for this reason why I have joined with the Marcus Garvey Celebrations Committee (South Florida) Rootz Foundation, and the Institute for Caribbean Studies, to petition to President Barack Obama for the exoneration the Right Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey, the father of Pan-Africanism.

For although Marcus Garvey does not need to be exonerated in our eyes, it will take political pressure to bring about change.

Kris Ramperad used the occasion to encourage others to blog:

If you have not yet done a blog now's the time to do to feel the power of communication and outreach now available to all those who have access to a computer/phone or social media tool.
Blogging gives you direct access to a world audience no matter how small a place you may come from.

She compared the impact a blogger could have today to that of one of the Caribbean's most prominent broadcasters:

From Trinidad and Tobago, one of the most powerful voices in mainstream media, Trevor McDonald,  has often told of how he came from a small backwater island in the Caribbean and became the toast of the media world through moving to London to to work for the BBC and then for ITN. He has had a significant impact on perceptions of the role and place and power and influence of media in shaping society. Now, through blogging, that power is in the hands of social media users everywhere….

In the Bahamas, Jeremy Delancy volunteered at a shoe drive for needy children, while Francis Rousseau linked to a video of the Jamaica mento band The Jolly Boys in support of the “2012 Age Demands Action“initiative:

The Wordy Phoenix from Grenada offered a poem exploring the power of “we”.

Because the power of ‘we’ is that ‘we’ always find ‘we’, whether ‘we’ want them to our not.
‘We’ are linked.
‘We’ are blood,
‘We’ are power
Because nobody takes ‘we’ from ‘we’ permanently.
Unless ‘we’ let them..

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