Connections

Without even knowing it, we are all seasoned world travellers. On an average morning, we may wake up to the sound of an alarm clock assembled in China. We slip from between our Egyptian cotton sheets to take a shower using our local body wash. After getting dressed in clothes that span the continents of the world-our shirt from Bangladesh, pants from Panama and sweater from Morocco we head to the kitchen. There, we read our paper while coffee from Ethiopia brews.

Who knew you could take a trip around the world without ever leaving the comfort of your home? The expanse of globalisation has reached us all-the global has become local and the local global. To get technical here, glocal. However, this permeation of goods across the borders has not transcended to humans easily crossing borders. The borders may be open to trade, but they are fairly tightly closed to humans. With language such as ‘illegal immigrants’ we are constantly reiterating how only a select few are allowed to migrate. We are asserting with this language that goods have more rights than humans. I beg the question here, how can any one person be illegal? By virtue of being human, I do not believe you can be deemed illegal, it is simply nonsensical. By the very nature of being on soil that is not your ‘own’, and I use this term loosely as how can we ever really determine what land belongs to whom, we have called people illegal, and therefore reserve the right to remove them from this land.

For greater insight on an initiative tackling immigration and refugee rights and human rights around people without ‘status’ check out No One is Illegal http://toronto.nooneisillegal.org/

In a country such as Canada, and especially in such a diverse city such as Toronto, we should be more inclusive and open to immigration. Our economy depends on people to move to Canada. Especially as a country that imports and exports so much, and in fact depends on imported goods, should we not also be as open and inclusive to people?

Globalization has reached us all, and while many will argue it has many negative connotations, there are some valuable things that have come about. With information at our finger tips 24 hours a day, we are able to adequately research any slight interest we may have. The Internet has allowed for communities from different parts of the world to connect. I believe these connections of communities are what are going to be key into creating a more just world. We can use technology to our advantage to demand change and to connect with others from around the world who are also demanding change.

A prime example of this is the Zapatista movement in Chiapas region of Mexico, and anti-globalisation movement. In 1994, the leader of the Zapatista movement, spoke out via the web, and demanded global attention, protested NAFTA which they believed would only widen the gap between between the rich and the poor. They used the internet and forms of social media to garner international solidarity. The Zapatista was a guerrilla movement, and they did use force, however, they also set the stage for creating international connections. Here was one of the first times that a movement sought international attention via the web, and it set up an avenue for social networks that exist today which shine light on human rights abuses around the world and ask for attention.

We here at Local Buttons, would also like to use the power of social media to spread our message, to get people connected, and to create a dialogue and deeper interaction into how we purchase and what we are supporting through our purchases. I mentioned a few weeks ago that we vote with our dollars, and I would like to reiterate that. We have the power to demand greater change, we can do this by joining forces with other like minded individuals and groups, by purchasing ethically produced food and goods and by speaking out, even if it is only to those in our immediate circle.

This Sunday, as the end of Luminato looms, there is a Refugee Rights awareness festival happening in North Queen’s park at 12:30. If you’re free check it out.

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