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Come together

Thursday 22nd July 2010

We all have stories.

Avantika will tell you of a summer spent sipping butter tea, working with a local women’s co-op in the sun-splattered mountains of the Himalayas. Esther will talk about the happenings in the Niger Delta, people she knows going missing, there one day, gone the next. And I – I can tell you something about the sound and fury of a clutch of angry, hungry, jobless young men burning buses on the street.

So many stories, in so many shapes and sizes, hues and tones. Come together, as they will at Nkabom, they form a tapestry of astonishing diversity. Red and yellow and blue and all the colours in between – even the ones you can’t quite put your finger on.

* * *

Anyone involved in the planning of a programme such as Nkabom will be faced with the question: what is the point of this? How can a gathering – a smattering, really – of people make any difference at all?

As a Steering Committee, we’ve taken a stab at answering. It’s important (we think) for people to have more than one voice in their ears as they muddle their way through life – to be able to ‘see a thing from both sides’ – and it is even more important for aspiring advocates, activists, change-makers to be able to do so. This is why Nkabom is important: when you’re fished out of your little local puddle and cast into this immense ocean where race, religion, and nationality is as various as fish in the actual sea, how can you not develop a many coloured voice, a multiple sensibility?

Nkabom’s size, too, is its strength: this way Nkabomers will really get to know one another, where they come from, and why they believe what they believe. Every mindset expanded is a minor milestone – it’s a bit like the starfish story, when you think about it: hundreds of starfish washed up on a shore and an earnest little girl who flings them, one by one, back into the ocean. ‘What’s the point?’ a cynic would sneer, ‘She’ll never be able to save all of them.’ But that’s okay, we say. She made a difference to that one right there. And that one. And that one.

One other thought that keeps us going: in a way, this patchwork quilt of stories is also a protective blanket, a reminder that, for all that supposedly divides and differentiates – and sometimes alienates – us, people are just people, really. Haven’t we all, at the end of the day, cried a little, laughed a little, lived a little? We can’t, none of us, ever let ourselves forget that.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Monday 9th August 2010 6:33 pm

    We all have a story. And we are coming together to share our own stories with other so that we can feel free to develop common stories to succeed in peace-building within our different communities.

    We must come together to be able to do so ! Let’s start !

  2. A.D.D. permalink
    Tuesday 10th August 2010 11:17 am

    Beautifully written, Alizeh!

  3. Nooruddin Jalal permalink
    Sunday 7th August 2011 10:00 am

    Alizeh, Remember what MHI says about the beauty of diversity: ” We cannot make the world safe for democracy unless we also make the world safe for diversity” -His Highness The Aga Khan IV.

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