Borders, Culture, and Global Peace

As I travel around the Maritimes on this my first trip out east this year, I have in the trunk of my red sporty rental car some old issues of The Guardian Weekly that I have not had a chance to read in detail or at my leisure. Two brief articles in the October 20th edition got me thinking about human communities. In one, Gary Yonge, originally from Barbados, speaks of borders and how they “exist, by definition, to separate us from others” (19). Reference is made to American and Australian exclusionary policies, but I think of home examples: Canada’s Chinese Exclusion Act, the Komagata Maru or SS. St Louis incidents, and many instances of indigenous and blacks being “put in their place.”

In the other article, Costa-Gavras, an award-winning director and screenwriter, starts off by referring to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg who says, “the social media giant wants to bring together communities and help people ‘find a sense of purpose and support’” (22). Costa-Gavras’ main point is that culture is a struggle – a global struggle and one that cannot be defined by a single country. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) plays, in Costa-Gavras’ words, “a vital role” in achieving its mission – Building peace in the minds of men and women. Take a look at the UNESCO website -> as you reflect on the Servas mandate of global peace through multicultural dialogue. And consider Yonge’s statement that “[b]orders do not simply set boundaries for countries, but are metaphors for the boundaries of how we might think about other human beings.” Consider the Servas mission of cultural tolerance and understanding, which will, I hope, help to break down some of these barriers. C.

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