Global Voices

Global Voices spoke to me this week.

The organization works to find compelling and important stories coming from marginalized and misrepresented communities. Their mission includes speaking out against online censorship.

This illustration alone consisted of an entire blog post called the Whirlpool of Silence – a Balkan discourse. This site contains some well written pieces including the hajib one mentioned below.
I felt a shared purpose with GV as they “value curiosity, honesty and connectedness in the name of understanding and friendship across borders.” They seek to empower people who value justice, equality and empathy.

One of their projects called Rising Voices “aims to extend the benefits and reach of citizen media by connecting online media activists around the world and supporting their best ideas.

Documenting Presence

One such story they highlighted was about an African country, Niger, making a place for itself on the digital map. They may feel the presence of Boko Haram in Western Africa, but that’s not stopping them from validating their geographic presence. I applaud the community’s efforts to learn cartography and digital mapping tools.

It turns out residents of Niger and many African countries have learned to use OpenStreetMap a collaborative mapping wiki-like space that allows citizens to map the landmarks of their village around the world. The Niger mappers started blogging about this project in 2013 but stopped two years ago. Their progress is noted on this OpenStreetMap wiki.

Protecting the Environment

Season two of Netflix’s Chef’s Table features a Brazilian chef, Alex Atala, who uses ingredients from the Amazon jungle while promoting sustainability. In his episode, he warns of Amazon destruction. One article that stemmed from Global Voices indicated that a number of environmentalists were killed last year in Brazil, related to protecting the Amazon.

Cultural Preservation

I read about different cultures that are trying to preserve indigenous population languages that are dying out in their country, namely ones in Australia, Ecuador and Peru where they are creating podcasts of songs and jokes.

HIJABGender Equality

This young woman’s story about wearing a hajib in an increasingly intolerant Bosnian society, put a new light on the subject for me. It was very personal.

Finally, I was interested to read about rising voices of girls in Kyrgyzstan.

The article was written two years ago, but features girls in a video from the country standing up for themselves. Where is this country that sounds like an area where Borat may have offspring?

KyrgyzstanGoogle showed it on the most western border of China, and further described the country this way: “Kyrgyzstan is a rugged Central Asian country along the Silk Road, the ancient trade route between China and the Mediterranean. The Tian Shan mountains, which surround the old caravan route and dominate the country, are home to snow leopards, lynx and sheep. In the south, the millennia-old city of Osh has a huge, busy bazaar that was a stop on the Silk Road.”

USA Today reported that one of the three suicide bombers at the Turkey airport last week was from Kyrgyzstan.

What do all these items have in common and why am I bombarding you with them?

I apologize. For now, let’s just say, there’s more going on than what we get in our daily feed. Others are striving to make a difference. To be somebody. Like Navin R. Johnson in The Jerk who finds his name in the new phone book – “I’m somebody now!…Things are going to start happening to me now.”

Well, I’d say, things are already happening. Once you feel like somebody though, then you may be more cognizant of what’s around you. It’s just a theory.


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