topum (topum) wrote,

Marginal people are demanding

So the big meeting went very well. And yeah, it would have been a disaster if I had chosen to do it via VC, it was not working properly, the sound was off and nobody in that huge room really listened to those poor VC speakers (everyone's eyes just glazed over). Beating my laziness into submission and flying over was a good choice. I started my speech in very bad Russian, which I have been trying to pick up a little while based in Moldova (without much success I have to say, it is a crazy language). This did wake people up and tickled them on a couple of levels. Choosing to learn and speak Russian and not Romanian here, which often can be a political thing here these days was one of them. So people did wake up. I had to switch to English after the opening but I kept provoking in other ways and we had a very good conversation with everyone fully engaged (even a bit more than I would have wished for at times).

I am now waiting for a one-on-one meeting with the vice-minister and there are quite a lot of other people here doing the same. There is a guy who is working towards changing the way the system here works with people with mental and developmental issues. He had a bunch of articles by Jean Vanier, a Canadian Catholic philosopher and humanitarian with him and he gave me a couple. This is not something I had a high chance of picking up myself and what an interesting read it is.

This is from "Welcome in Community":

When a community welcomes people who have been on the margins of society, things usually go quite well to begin with. Then, for many reasons, these people start to become marginal to the community as well. They provoke crises which can be very painful for the community and cause it considerable confusion because it feels so powerless. The community is then caught in a trap from which it may be hard to escape. But if the crises bring it to a sense of its own poverty, they can also be a grace. There is something prophetic in people who seem marginal and difficult; they force the community to become alert, because what they are demanding is authenticity. Too many communities are founded on dreams and fine words; there is so much talk about love, truth, and peace. Marginal people are demanding. Their cries are cries of truth because they sense the emptiness of many of our words; they can see the gap between what we say and how we live. If the community reacts by showing them the door, this can create a terrible uproar, and then it is easy to label them unbearable, sick, lazy, and good for nothing. It has to devalue them as far as it can, because they have shown up its hypocrisy.
Tags: canada, jean vanier, moldova
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