Monthly Archives: January 2006

changing the world

I talked to two great friends yesterday. One is building water pipelines in Haiti; the other is starting to work for a human rights law prof on a project to help migrant workers in Quebec. At the same time, I am trying to develop the theoretical relevance of my thesis topic , which seems so far from this kind of direct, hands-on action as to be almost meaningless.

This is the burden: we know the world is a fantastically unequal place. If we have any sense of justice, we feel responsible for alleviating, in some way at least, that inequality (or guilty at participating in it). But for me, and I think for many people, this responsibility/guilt is frustrating. How to alleviate the inequality? I am not a lawyer, nor an engineer, nor even particularly skilled in much of anything. What to do? I have been wallowing in guilt so far, but this doesn’t seem very productive.

So, as part of the beginnings of a new year, I resolve to find a way to make my own community a less unequal place. If any of you know of good volunteer opportunities for the verbose but unskilled, please let me know. And to my friends who are on the world’s front lines, take heart. I am proud of you.