January 31, 2020-
While covering a class yesterday, I showed the film, “Avatar”. The point was made that, in the far future, a certain segment of Earth’s populace was bent on colonizing a planet similar to our own. It involved a colonialist mentality, based on perceived economic benefit.
I read a report, yesterday, about an American woman, missing in the Central American country of Belize. The report said she was last seen on a beach, late at night. Several commentators cast aspersions on the safety conditions in that country, as well as those in the Dominican Republic. The comments included the opinion that Americans are routinely seen as projecting a “rich and entitled” persona, by residents of those countries.
I have never been to either nation. I have been to the South American nation of Guyana, where similar charges were leveled against the local populace. I was there, with Penny, for three weeks. We walked about with humility, and did not find ourselves being menaced or accosted by anyone. We had escorts and host families, the entire time we were there. That was 1984, and yet I am certain that similar precautions would bear similar results now.
I have been a number of places, since that year. I can say that I made some boneheaded judgments, when in Europe, in 2014, but none based on hubris or egoism. I learned what not to do again. It is simply best to walk in humility and fair-mindedness, albeit while maintaining a smart sense of safety. I have plans that will take me far afield, over the next five years-and I don’t rule out any given country. Most will involve making suitable security arrangements beforehand, in any case-but not because I am “rich and entitled”. There will be many conversations on the subject, I’m certain-just as I spoke with a few disaffected people in Guyana, 36 years ago, and in Paris, six years ago.
This is perhaps as big a reason for my reaching out, as any.