Excuse the pun. Watching Monday’s recording of Four Thought gave me a lot to ponder.
In the vaults of the beautiful RSA, a very sophisticated crowd gathered to hear four speakers: Robin Gorna (on the political problem of AIDS), Rob Hopkins (on sustainable communities), Gordon Bridger (on the potential harm done by badly spent international aid) and Bali Rai (on what would happen if we removed ‘race’ from our lexicon). To top it all off, the show was presented by the truly epic mega-journalist Ben Hammersley.
All four speeches were mind-opening. Robin Gorna had proved her key point about AIDS falling off the political and cultural radar before she even spoke. Can you remember the last time a politician discussed the disease? She told us of the stigma and hardship that people in developing countries face to get treatment through the story of her late friend.
Rob Hopkins spelt out his vision for the future: transition networks of self-sustained communities that break away from the global production chain to be ethical, independent societies impervious to the oncoming doom of shrinking resources and climate change. Gordon Bridger taught us the lessons he learnt from a lifetime’s work in aid organisations. They don’t work. But it was Bali Rai who blew the room away.
He suggested the best way to get rid of racism is to remove the concept of ‘race’ from our vocabulary. He hypothesised that children would be able to grow up without discriminating against people of a different colour and society would evolve into a better place. Audience members argued that to remove race would be to remove a part of our nature and a key way we interact. I’m still thinking about it.
The talks will be aired separately over the coming weeks. Check here for times.
The subjects of my most recent three articles are completely separate but equally topical. A satire on our Foreign Secretary’s efforts to take some form of stand against Gaddafi and his inhumane and brutal response to dissent was published today in The Lemon Press. Tomorrow (hopefully), my feature on open prisons and Ford will be published in York Vision. It was delayed because of an editorial changeover. In the next few weeks, University culture magazine The Zahir will be published, including my feature on undercover policing environmental protest groups.
And there’s more to come! I am also in the process of writing a feature for The F Word. It will explore current slang trends such as ‘bromance’ and ‘man-up’ and what this swing towards male-centric language means.