Tag Archive | World

What are you fighting for?

I look into this world and all I see is fight. Yes, that’s all I see and nothing more. Let me boil it down what I mean by fight. Fight comes in a variety of ways. There are negative and positive fights. We are all fighting for something. Some people are fighting to be rich, some are fighting to create solutions to problems, some for freedom and justice, some for education, some for land, some for peace, some for love, some for beliefs, some for fame, some for superiority, and some for the sake of fighting. Every fight is important to each fighter, that is, there is a genuine cause to fight in the fighter’s mind. To one fighter, the fight of another fighter is irrational and illogical, and vice versa.

But who is to define whose fight is genuine and rational? Is there a standard scale to measure positive and negative fights? Is there a collective fight that we should all be fighting? If there is, what is it?

I have been thinking in solitude, thinking of solutions to our fights (positive and negative ones) and I couldn’t find any. The solutions to human fights (struggles and whatnot) are beyond human comprehension. Because, human itself, is a complex being. A complex being cannot understand another complex being. The exertion to understanding human beings by philosophers has always been and will continue without any concrete answers whatsoever. Theories upon theories will pile up and as one theory tries to explore the complexity of human and understand it, it becomes void. This has always been the outcome of theories to understanding human.

Enough of philosophizing these questions asked above. So let me ask you, what are you fighting for? Or, what will you fight for? If I were to be asked what I would fight for, my answer would be: I’d fight for love. As simple as the word ‘love’ sounds, it comes with a lot of complicated things and we can philosophize about it forever. It comes with a lot of sacrifices. By love, I mean the love for all human beings regardless of their background, status, race, connections, and whatnot. Because with love there’ll be peace and harmony in the world. In the end, if you’re not fighting for something, you’re not living.

-MOAB © 2015

Why You Should Break Your Silence and Become Awesome

“Your silence will not protect you.” –Audre Lorde

There’s something that’s pushing you down to the bottom race. Have you ever asked yourself why you’re not doing what you should be doing? Maybe because you’re afraid of failure, of people’s comments, of being wrong, and of being blamed. Silence is the shackle that’s holding you back from being awesome. It keeps you safe, fit in with the status quo and you end up at the bottom. Break your silence, friend. Breaking your silence will take you places and open more ways to become awesome.

departmentIf you think that being silent will make you safe and fit in, you’re kidding yourself. Silence will never protect you. It’ll never take you places. It’ll never bring the change you’re craving. The people who are crazy enough to do what they believe in, people who challenge the status quo are the ones that are making a difference in the world. So why not join them? Why not break your silence and become awesome?

This is a clarion call to everyone who thinks they have something amazing to do, to make a difference, to create change, and become awesome. Don’t let fear win you. Don’t stay silent because silence will only make you stagnant.

Want to become awesome? Want to create change? Want to make a difference? Then break your silence.

Many Languages, One World

images1.0: INTRODUCTION

What would the world look like if there is only one language? Some might say– it would be a perfect place and eradicate parochial attitude while some might say we could talk with no restrictions and there would be no misunderstandings, and others would say it would be so boring.

For me, it would be so boring and we would all be thinking in the same way, and there would be less diversity, and therefore less creativity in the world. More conflicts would occur more than the current ones we are encountering across the globe. We would never appreciate each other, we would never tolerate each other, and we would never welcome diversity in all forms.

This paper explains the ideas of global citizenship and explores the role of multilingual ability in fostering it.

2.0: THE IDEAS OF GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP

There are many concepts and ideas of “Global Citizenship”. Many scholars and institutions have defined and discussed the ideas behind it, and there are many critics, too.

Global citizenship is the status to admit that one does not belong to a particular country, working selflessly to defend humanity as a whole. It is to accept and respect other people who do not share the same nationality as yours. Being a global citizen is to tolerate other people’s ideology and philosophy including their languages, cultures, customs, religions, and traditions. For me, this is enough for a young mind to assimilate and understand easily.

I was born and brought up in the city of Lagos, Nigeria, where many tribes and different ethnic groups across the country travelled to Lagos to make ends meet. There are more than 250 ethnic groups and there are also over 500 languages in Nigeria, [1] and Lagos is a home for many ethnic groups. Having grown up in Nigeria for 20 years, I cannot categorically consider myself a global citizen in spite of the diversity in Nigeria. A global citizen needs to travel beyond its country, learn other people’s language and understand the way of life of other people that is different from his.

An institution in the United States defines what being a global citizen mean on its website and it goes thus: To be a global citizen, one is knowledgeable of peoples, customs and cultures in regions of the world beyond one’s own; understands the interdependence that holds both promise and peril for the future of the global community; and is committed to combining one’s learning with a dedication to foster a liveable, sustainable world. [2]

Global citizenship has its place in education, human rights, mobility, and global awareness. That is, the ability to be able to migrate to any place of one’s choice, thinking beyond one’s national background, treating others equally ,and feeling responsible for others wherever they are.

2.1: QUALITIES OF A GLOBAL CITIZEN

Having defined the ideas and understanding of global citizenship above, there are qualities that a global citizen must possess. Below are the qualities a case study states:

 

  • Open minded/open to other ways of thinking
  • Culturally sensitive
  • Non-judgmental
  • Respective
  • View everyone as equal
  • Willing to help others
  • Well-educated/information seeking
  • Participate in advocacy work
  • Awareness
  • Practice cultural relativism
  • Well-traveled (some participants explicitly said this was not a necessary quality)
  • Accepting
  • Good listener
  • Positive – “need to believe change is possible”
  • Possess a strong cultural background of one’s own
  • Ability to think in terms of communities
  • Critical thinker
  • Impartial
  • Compassionate
  • Possess a “deeply rooted feeling of responsibility to others”
  • Recognize one’s own lens
  • Humility [3]

All the above mentioned qualities are embedded in a global citizen with multilingual ability.

3.0: FOSTERING GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP THROUGH MULTILINGUAL ABILITY

The 21st century has presented us with opportunities to be able to connect to each other and learn other people’s language easily. There are more than 7000 living languages in the world as of today. [4]To have another language is to possess a second soul.” says Charlemagne. I agree with Charlemagne on this quote because one who possesses more than one language could live anywhere other than his home country. The ability to speak and understand other people’s language makes one to be more tolerant than others who are monolingual. It also reduces prejudices, misunderstandings, and misconceptions of intent. I cannot consider any one who is monolingual a full global citizen. For without understanding other people’s language, there will be some elements of misunderstanding which could break one of the qualities of being a global citizen.

3.1: MULTILINGUAL ABILITY BRINGS OPEN MINDNESS

I have been studying in the Ukraine now for the past 5 years and I have also traveled to other European countries like Poland and Germany, which has made me to understand people more than before. My interaction with other nationalities during my studies and travels has made me to be an open-minded person. I don’t judge people’s character based on their nationalities rather I dialogue, discuss, and hear their views about the world. If I don’t understand their language, I will be very afraid to contact them, I will be very defensive and angry if they are talking and laughing on their own even though, they are not talking about me. And, even they are talking about me; I can reply them back and correct any misconceptions they had about me in the first place. The ability to understand other foreign language is very vital in order to play the role of global citizenship.

A polyglot is very open minded because with the ability of speaking more than one language he is able to conceive the truth as what it is pertaining to other nationalities, he is able to defend other nationalities anywhere because he knows and understand their language. For him to understand their language, he has access to understand the nature of the people whose language he studied. This makes him a free-man, a global citizen. He doesn’t think his country is superior over others; he is ready to learn from other nationalities and tolerate them as much as he can and that is one of the roles of language in fostering global citizenship.

3.2: MULTILINGUAL ABILITY MAKES SOMEONE TO BE NON-JUDGMENTAL

Understanding other people’s language makes one to be non-judgmental. How? A comical incident happened to a friend who lives and studies in Germany. He had lived and studied in the Ukraine for 5 years before leaving for Germany. He speaks Yoruba, English, Russian, and now learning German in Germany. While he was doing some shopping in a store, a kid pointed to him speaking Russian language, “Mama, see; why is he black?” My friend chuckled and replied him, “I am just black.” The kid was surprised that he could understand what he was saying. His mom and the kid both laughed and they asked my friend where he learned Russian language. The kid also understands German language, too. After the incident, my friend was wondering if he didn’t understand what the kid said, he could have thought the kid was chanting hatred words to him, he could have thought the kid is a racist. But, after many years in the Ukraine, he understood the curiosity of children asking their parents why black men are black. Language matters for someone who considers himself a global citizen because it makes him understand people better, and able to study them. Due to the multilingual ability of my friend, he understands the world more than it is, he is not being judgmental, but instead; he replied in a comfortable funny way.

3.3: MULTILINGUAL ABILITY MAKES SOMEONE TO RESPECT OTHERS

Respect is very important in our daily dealings with people.  So how can multilingual ability make someone to respect others than the rest? A polyglot has the cultural insight of a community and he knows how respect is been perceived there. How Nigerians view respect is different from how the Ukrainians or Americans view it. Although, there is a general view and perspective of respect all over the world, but each country has its own view of it, too. In Nigeria, we don’t call elders by their first name and it is very rude to do so. But, if an American comes to Nigeria or an American who understands my native language, Yoruba, he will quickly apply the same rule of respect because he knows and understands my language and of course, he is not a monolingual.

3.0: MULTILINGUAL ABILITY MAKES SOMEONE TO BE MORE COMPASSIONATE

Whatever language we speak—English, Chinese, Hindi, Swahili, or Arapaho— helps to define us personally and identify the community we belong to. But the fact that we can talk at all, the fact that we have a language, is inextricably bound up with our humanity. To be human is to use language, and to talk is to be a person. [5]

For the fact that someone acknowledges that to be able to speak a language is to be human automatically means that, one will be more compassionate to others who doesn’t speak one’s language. It’s a recognition that one must care and cater for others in spite of one’s language differences. Some monolinguals can be exceptional in this, but those who understand more than one language will appreciate and show more compassion by talking to others in the language they most cherished and loved.

3.0: CONCLUSION

The peoples of the world are one people, enriched by individual differences, united by the common bond of humanity. The diversity of the Global Community is its greatest strength; understanding and respect are its greatest gifts. [6]

As the biologist and author Lewis wrote: The gift of language is the single human trait that marks us all genetically, setting us apart from the rest of life. Language is, like nest-building or hive-making, the universal and biologically specific of human beings. We engage in it communally, compulsively, and automatically. We cannot be human without it, if we were to be separated from it our minds would die, as surely as bees lost from the hive. [7]

My journey to the Ukraine gave me more exposure and understanding to view the world better than when I was in Nigeria. Living and studying with the Ukrainians and other nationalities has given me more insights to other people’s culture and customs. My perspective of the world now is totally different; I am more tolerant, non-judgmental, open-minded, impartial, positive thinking, and more compassionate than before. With the languages I understand, I can relate with people all over the world and this is why multilingual ability is very important in global citizenship.

 

4.0: REFERENCES

  1. There are more than 250 ethnic groups and there are also over 500 languages in Nigeria

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigeria#Language

  1. — Santa Monica College definition of Global Citizenship, adopted 2008

http://www.smc.edu/GlobalCitizenship/Pages/default.aspx

  1. Global Citizenship Perspectives: A Case Study of the WUSC International Seminar

Table Two: Qualities of a Global Citizen………………………………………………..13

http://devcase.org/documents/global-citizenship-perspectives.pdf

  1. Languages of the World

http://www.ethnologue.com/world

  1. John Algeo “The Origins and Development of the English Language” p. 44
  2. Global Citizens Network’s philosophy

https://www.globalcitizens.org/

  1. John Algeo (Lives of a Cell 89) “The Origins and Development of the English Language “ p.44

I wrote this paper for the U.N last year, but didn’t submit it because it was required that I write it in one of U.N languages other than English.

MOAB © 2013

 

We Don’t Need More Information, We Need More Action

Information, they say is vital in our everyday life. And who am I to deny this fact? It’s true that information is vital but the question is, “Why are we not seeing the changes we’re craving for?” Is it lack of information or lack of action? The truth is, the world is flooded with vital information, but people don’t act on it.

Photo Credit: MSGT Dale Atkins (flickr.com)

Photo Credit: MSGT Dale Atkins (flickr.com)

For example, I’ve seen people who buy phones that came with a manual (information) and when they need to do some simple settings or solve a simple problem, they take it to a repairer or to the so called expert to help them out.

The funniest thing sometimes is that the repairer or the expert also can’t solve the problem until he reads the manual of the phone. So, he’ll request for the manual. Isn’t it funny that people pay for the solution they already had because they’re not ready to act? It’s not because they lacked information or they’re illiterate. No. It’s because they’re too lazy to act on the information they possess.

These people believe that it’s only some selected group of people that are gifted to make things happen. They believe that one has to possess one magical skill to make things work out. Just like the example of the manual, most times we have the information to do things but lack action to make it happen. We don’t need more information, folks. All we need is more action. Act on the little information you possess now and I bet it’ll make a difference in your life and in the community you live in. Start something!
MOAB © 2014

Stop Whining And Start Fixing

Once in a while, some of the burners on the gas stove in my dorm’s kitchen don’t work. What do the students do about it? Whine. They whine and kvetch about how frustrating the dorm is and later keep silent. What does their whining and kvetching solve? Nothing.

This has always been like that and nothing get solved until the dorm authority does something about it, and then we can cook. We always complain and wait until they solve our problems. There are even some students who chose not to complain but rather kept quiet. Those who complain and those who kept quiet are both the same.

Why?
Because they are not solving anything.
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