Photo credit: DiasporaEngager (www.DiasporaEngager.com).
Photos: Book Cover\YouTube Screenshots
I wrote the following poem in 2016. I was reminded of it by something which happened the other morning.
Standing on a corner,
in the early morning
You, waiting for
the commuter bus
to take you to
the Big Apple,
Me, on one of my
3/4 times a week
long distance bike rides,
30-20-10 feet away,
And our eyes meet,
followed a second or two later
by a smile,
an involuntary acknowledgement,
you to me
that though we
don’t know each other
and may never see
each other again,
Today, this morning,
for literally one second,
we felt the warmth,
the quiet joy,
of human connection.
I’ve been sick for a week and a half, needing to stay home and concentrate on trying to get well. I felt pressure to do so not just because I didn’t feel good and couldn’t do much work but because of a public event that happened two days ago, Thursday. At this event I was the only performer, singing/leading six songs, reading poetry, and reading excerpts from my two books published in 2020 and 2021. Fortunately, I recovered enough to make the event, and based on the input I got from those in attendance I did a pretty good job of it. But I was disappointed that more people weren’t there.
I was also feeling anxiety about Israel’s genocidal destruction of Gaza and the state of the world generally. So when I went out early the next morning to look for the newspaper which is delivered to our house, I was not in good spirits at all.
The paper wasn’t there, but as I took in the morning sunset across the street for a minute, up pulls a car and someone gets out of it. It was the newspaper deliveryman. He walked over, put out his hand and gave me the paper, and we spoke very briefly, me asking about his family, he telling me to give his best wishes to my wife, with whom he has talked in the past. As he went back to his car and I turned to walk back into my house, I felt very noticeably different. Instead of being down and anxious, I felt good, felt like something very small but very important had just happened.
Something very similar to this happened a few years ago with a crossing guard who we knew bringing our paper to me as I pulled into the driveway on my bike after one of my early morning rides.
What is it about human connection, friendly interaction with others, that can have such an immediate positive impact? Clearly, it’s something about the way that we are constructed with all our feelings and anxieties and hopes and fears. That “something” can be found in almost every human being, based on my experience and readings. All of us, whatever our other deficiencies, need friendly human contact.
How does this relate to the continuing, urgently-needed, historic process of positive social change?
Think about it this way: anyone who has done organizing knows that a situation where you are able to talk with someone else with some friendliness or even just basic mutual respect is going to be much more conducive to positive discussion than a situation of open disrespect or hostility. It’s not that a conflictual interaction can’t in some cases ultimately lead to positive personal and idea-change, but it’s harder, and definitely less productive numerically as far as results.
To me, this is common sense, but for too many revolutionaries in the past and still some today, it’s not. Some, I’m sure, would see these views as too “liberal,” not tough enough to fight the power.
I don’t think so. And here’s some back-up, via one of Che Guevera’s most famous sayings: “At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality.”
Yes, yes, yes.
Ted Glick has been a progressive activist, organizer and writer since 1968. He is the author of the recently published books, Burglar for Peace and 21st Century Revolution. More info can be found at https://tedglick.com.
Source of original article: Black Star News (blackstarnews.com).
The content of this article does not necessarily reflect the views or opinion of Global Diaspora News (www.GlobalDiasporaNews.com).
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