Reply To: 26.5.2014 Ancient Futures

Author Replies # Posted on May 28, 2014 at 08:40

Reply to Nisa’s reflection by Kristina Berglund
Nisa, I agree this is neither an easy nor a small question… However I think you did a great job in reflecting on it! You seem to be quite skeptical towards that we in fact can avoid the same condescending discourse and imposed ideas that were initiated by the western development projects that Helena is criticizing. I agree with you that indeed, we cannot avoid as ‘westerners’ being a part of our history and imposing the ideas and cultures we bring with us. It is often (and for sure has been) the case that these projects are ill-suited for the specific context and bring with them patronizing attitudes, which is not justifiable. As the case with the imposed education system that was not adapted to the Ladakh community and their needs. But I do think we maybe shouldn’t be too fast to dismiss all initiatives either, since they can be of good too, especially in recent years when I think this problematic questions has been raised more frequently than when ‘Ancient Futures’ was written in the 90’s. As Anna’s question concerned, maybe by being too afraid of idealizing, some of the actually helpful initiatives and ideas get rejected a bit too fast. Helena’s localization idea I think is not meant to be a panacea, but instead be dynamic to the voices of the community member’s ideas and wills. And even though there are many things to criticize with her project, there are also things to commend. I often ask myself if we should ‘intervene’ in other people’s lives and cultures at all or if we should meddle, as you phrased it, just because it is impossible to avoid our history and our positions as white, western Europeans. But if we shouldn’t restrain ourselves from engaging it is important to acknowledge where we as ‘outsiders’ come from, why we are doing what we are doing, our attitudes and how we do things – transparency will help shine light on many of the hidden agendas.