Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The importance of tolerance in our world …. for whom is this intolerable?

Copyright, Philo Ikonya. Subtle watermark within, ask before use if keen.

Is this the picture of what it takes to tolerate? Strength? 
  There is cement down there... rocks... water...Who will allow some naked roots for tolerance to grow? Who will show us our see through bodies belonging to all? The hole in us?

Who is tolerating who here? Is it the cement? The ruins? The sky? The leaves? The people- there was a wonderful guide. The monkeys? Isn't that more about ecology then, ecosystems?

 This photo is taken at the ruins at Gedi in the Kenyan coast, near Lamu. It is near some ancient mosques and houses of the Arabs who lived there. But...

Let me confess that this blogpost title, the first part... "The importance of tolerance in our world..." was written in a totally artificial moment because a TV journalist asked Nightbird to forget her blindness and sit upon a chair and be filmed working Nightbird. I was meant to show something. 

Nightbirds are mistaken for romantic birds of the song of the nightingale sometimes. No. I have always included the owl and sometimes bats in my thinking. Blindness and perfect sight. Birds know both like us. Nightbird feels her way blindly, she thinks. She wants to travel or fly around differently and now always with all the lights on. But here was the camera and it has a different story with light.

Nightbird had just answered the question what she thinks tolerance is in this context of talk of people learning to tolerate  one another in our world. "Tolerance", she said, is the recognition of the beauty of diversity, the strength it has and the reward it gives. She added one could see diversity and love it but that even if one did not love it, one should feel compelled to at least let it be... let things be because they are, let others be. She also said it is not a passive thing. It includes hard, hard work. 

Letting things be in one thing but where tolerance is worked, and this is the burden of it and perhaps the sound that makes some dislike the word, is visible. If there is tolerance, there is something growing, blossoming, maybe with thorns but we can talk about thorns without hurting.... " She had been told she could be asked to repeat her answer but in this case the camera was at once pleased and she could go onto the next step which is to write on her blog. There was no rehearsal to be done. Later she thought she should have opened the post she has on Albert Luthuli and Maksim Gorky and explained a few things about our world. But she was already free of cameras.

Now Nightbird reflects. She has to say this word 'tolerance' is one of those she has often wondered about. She can hear the Latin part of it. Sometimes she felt as if this word belonged somewhere else, to the words that get tired despite the urgency of their meaning? Did this word have enough of the 'long intestine' in it in spite of being so long. Do words have limbs, heart and all? All of them? Standing alone? So Nightbird is still thinking. Freedom. Love. Work. Recognition.

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