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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Why Being There Is Important

One night in 1994, Linda Polman was dancing wild polkas with drunken Russian soldiers at a farewell party in Mogadishu. It was a vibrant evening - vodka flowed freely from two-litre bottles and plates were piled high with steaks specially shipped in from Saudi Arabia. Everybody - the Russians, the motley collection of profiteers toasting lucrative reconstruction contracts, ligging journalists such as Polman - was very happy. Apart, that is, from one recently arrived Canadian pilot who asked: "Isn't there supposed to be a famine here? Aren't they starving in Somalia? They always used to be......" Link

The scenario depicted above is intended to draw attention to the blinders people wear; the apathy slowly invading the souls of people.

In Lee County there are community organizations and governmental agencies who conduct regular monthly meetings to which the general public is invited to attend. I don't have to tell you that a majority of the public rarely attend any of these informative meetings. When asked why they don't attend the reply is something like:

I don't know what my being there accomplishes or;

They are going to do what they want to do or;

I don't have time or and offer up other excuses not to attend.

Sure... you can read about what went on at a meeting after the fact from local news media accounts or get the 'word' from someone who attended, but something important and tangible is lost from a message when it is communicated to you second hand.

News articles are great and the reporters who write them are trained professionals, who try to paint a picture of an event using words and still images. I'm just as guilty, I read them all the time, but I'm aware that something written does very little in portraying the being there effect... the facial expressions; the body gestures; the voice inflections; the smiles; the frowns; the pats on the back; the handshakes, etc. All important.

Therefore I'm making an effort to attend as many of these public meetings as possible. I want to see the action; become a part of it and raise my voice if need be. I'm not sitting back and letting the others have all the fun... I'm joining in.

See you at the next public meeting!

  1. The Bishopville City Council holds meetings or workshops at 6:30 p.m. on the first and third Tuesday of each month at the Colclough Building on East Council Street.
  2. The Lee County Council holds meetings at 9:00 a.m. on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at the Court House.
  3. The Lee County Crime Stoppers holds a breakfast meeting at 8 a.m. on the second Wednesday of each month at the old fire station on East Council Street.


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