When Races, Cultures, Religions Don’t Have Boundaries…

…With the supremacy of the internet, it is commonly called online communities. As filtered information, news, people’s suffering reach western societies through the cathodic tube of our TV sets, of our PC or Mac screens, we still digest our last meal and gently sleep in Morpheus’ arms. So far whatever front is attacked in the world, whatever consequences are linked to western imposition over foreign countries’ policies, the connection, the interaction with “the others” is null. If not, the proximity with our visualized subjects is expressed in pixels rather than in physical presences.

Let’s not be so pessimistic, some we have to admit participate by donating time and money to caritative organizations who consecrate their activity to voice westerners’ acknowledgment of others’ suffering. Those “others”, who share our lives virtually, are Iraqis, Afghans, Tibetans… Let’s say people pertaining to war zones or potential unstable worldwide platforms.

But, since the formation and the development of online communities, people interact with each other with more realism, objectivity, with what makes human beings so magic, their human touch.

For instance Iraqis’ versions of the war are more individualized and not only seen under one and only one reductive scope, the media eye : FOX’s, CNN’s, CBS’…

To illustrate the power of people, the power of community, what they can do as one, when they are willing to gather to break all the molds, let me just refer to the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse project to mark the sisterhood, between Boulder (Colorado) and Dushanbe (Tajikistan). To honor their special bond the Mayor of Dushanbe Maksud Ikramov outsourced 40 Tadjik artisans to redecorate the Boulder Teahouse (the place where friends meet to talk or play chess in Central Asia). What could be associated to online community sites, couldn’t they?

To reciprocate Boulder financed a Cyber cafe in Dushanbe. The Cyber cafe will symbolize an open window to the world, a tool for communication, a structure for information, knowledge, a foundation for both cultures.

Based upon their original idea of antinomic cultures reciprocity, partnership, Don Philabaum gave birth to his “Adopt a War Affected Person or Family”. Roughly the concept consists in adopting an Iraqi or Afghan family through the Internet. His goal is to establish a partnership between all social categories, from lawyers to bakers, and the war casualties, and the collateral casualties by creating a bank, a web of responsible, caring people to be involved in sponsoring, educating Iraqi and Afghan citizens. In his innovative and audacious program, actions isn’t it the right way to express the difference between the Americans and the American government?

1 comment for “When Races, Cultures, Religions Don’t Have Boundaries…

  1. Liz
    November 6, 2008 at 2:35 am

    The internet is a very important tool in reaching across cultures.

    The other of course is language learning. For now the majority of international content on the internet is in English, so over the long term language education is also vital for the success of the kind of project you talk about in the Tajikistan example.

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