Monday, September 14, 2009

Come together, right now

I have just finished attending a workshop by the International People's Health University on 'Health and Equity', where for nine days we concentrated on understanding the growing difference between the health of the rich and poor, the economic and political forces that are causing this and the social movements that have arisen as a response to this. Most participants had years of experience working for health at the grassroots level and their shared stories contributed to making it the workshop a rich experience grounded in practical realities.

The course helped us link what many of us witness as local phenomena to the much more distant economic and political arena. This can be a discomforting connection at times once you realise that as an individual you are quite powerless against such distant, undemocratic institutions such as large corporations and international bodies. This was the point in the course where the answer to such an essentially political problem emerged.

In an era when economic and political decisions made by big businessmen and our politicians have a large influence on both our individual health as well as the health of the communities we belong to, the only protection against bad, corrupt decisions is community organisation. If communities come together from the street to the global level in order to monitor the decisions our leaders make, only then we can protect ourselves from the decisions that are detrimental to our health and lives.

What do I mean by community organising? This video says it much better than I ever could.

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