I would not do justice to Kosovo’s 2.0 Media Carnival (What if we Hope?) if I were to say that it did not ignite some hope in me or at least some motivation to start seeking hope. Perhaps because everything about it — the organization, topics, approaches, speakers were so refreshing, courageous, and inspiring (at least the bits that I experienced, which were many).
It is astonishing how balanced the universe — with all its intricacies — is. Humans are the only ones in the world who are conscious and self-aware, create and possess tools and resources to serve their needs continuously advancing (in all spheres of life) and adapting (in all ways).
As a result of this evolution, we are now living in exciting times (perhaps not taking account of this pandemic, or taking it if you’d like but focusing on the truths that were slapped to our faces, the lessons learned and the possibilities surfaced). We live at a time where we are witnessing and experiencing both the “old” and the “new” — in how we are perceiving, thinking, doing, knowing, you name it; we are at the peak of technological advances, possess unique resources and extensive knowledge to come up with more.
Quite ironically, though, at a moment when we have all of the above at our disposal, and many countries have proclaimed democracy, we have become reckless toward our environment, society, resources, and ourselves.
We continue to be stuck with enormous inequalities, skills and knowledge gaps, and failed systems. Not to mention violence, turbulence, terror, and war (that our successors will probably not comprehend considering the great contrasts that exist in today’s society — both forward and backward thinking and doing on top of what I’ve said so far).
So then, I wonder, are all the ecosystems that make up our life failing us? Or are we making them fail, or in some instances, are we not able to keep up and outsmart them?
Right time, right moment
Some of the events I participated in virtually during the Media Carnival were genuinely inspiring. Not to mention that they came at the right moment since these events were a nice change from this rather long self-quarantine period.
Yet, beyond that, the speakers and their stories connected the dots between what I experienced during this pandemic — all the reflections, feelings (including those of anger and disappointment at times), lessons learned, opportunities observed (like being able to adapt so quickly and continuing most of our day to day business as well as we could, albeit not being able to take full advantage of it) — with hope that needs to be translated into actions for change.
Evidence-based, holistic, and participatory change is the only way of strengthening the systems that have been gradually weakening in one way or another, or which at specific contexts were never strong.
I enjoyed the speakers, their success stories, and most importantly, their courage and motivation. All of these experiences lingered with me afterward. It got me thinking, reflecting, and sketching hopes, ideas, and visions.
I was particularly intrigued and inspired by their challenging yet successful work. The stories narrated provided a fresh perspective (especially the narratives on education, gender inequalities, sex workers and prostitution — the consequences, actions taken sporadically and those needed to be made).
Yet, most importantly, the stories brought to surface the great need existing in our country to address prejudices, sexism, quality education, perhaps even from a broader and more multifaceted perspective.
The sharp contrasts in our society — being simultaneously opened on the surface, yet conservative and not often dissipating on a deeper level — need to be addressed urgently and effectively. A country with a young population as a majority that has and shows an enormous potential has no place for illiteracy, corruption, nepotism, gender selective abortion, violence, a biased judicial system, ineffective education and health system, low economy, or irresponsible government and representatives to mention a few.
The next steps
Great catastrophes, disasters, and accumulated disappointments often result in a change in era. The next direction we choose depends on us. COVID-19 is affecting all of us in multiple ways, albeit very different ones. The way I see it, we can choose to go on and live our lives as if nothing happened. Maybe even ignore everything that happened and eventually forget about it (after all, we are used to that) and continue with our day to day business being reckless toward our surroundings and ignoring the consequences of our actions.
Or we can choose to reflect on the ways everything changed during the past months taking advantage of the new possibilities opened up by this disaster (becoming more resilient in one way or another; reflecting on how we are overcoming the challenge and seriously thinking how to be better prepared in preventing unnecessary devastating consequences).
My hope: Is to want to live in my country, a country that continuously develops to its fullest potential.
My vision: Is to impact our society by changing the conceptions, constructs, narratives, and actions that hinder, cripple and damage us personally while simultaneously enabling us to hurt one another; so that instead they become conceptions, constructs, narratives, and measures that allow us to develop equally continuously.
What to do: Start and continue by educating the youngsters, while supporting educators, teachers (both pre and in-service) to become change agents and influencing the whole ecosystem through a participatory and holistic approach.
A possible way forward: The tried and true successful approaches indicate that it is not sufficient to tackle an issue superficially through a single lens. But rather, utilize a kaleidoscope approach to deconstruct all the elements that are part of a matter — simultaneously expanding its ripple effect to include elements that contribute to well-educated, independent and critical thinking, creative and solution-oriented future generations that would nurture robust and ever-developing systems.
We need evidence-based and participatory actions that take a holistic multifaceted approach.
Feature image: Atdhe Mulla / K2.0.