"Exhibiting You" - Story

LIVE! from South Africa: Blog Entry 2

November 6, 2008: Politics of Border Crossings

By: Masum Momaya, Curator
Submitted: 11/06/2008

Having traveled with an American passport all my life, I know I will feel different when I place it in front of the South African immigration official in a few days. In most places in the world, the little dark blue booklet with the gold-embossed eagle on the cover has bullying power.

Americans seldom need visas to enter most borders. Meanwhile, others toil for months and travel for miles for permission to leave their borders, often turned away without explanation.

To cross borders is a privilege.

Last night, U.S. President Elect Barack Obama made our crossings easier.

At the 2002 AWID Forum in Guadalajara, Mexico, women were organizing a petition against President George W. Bush's imminent attack on Iraq. At the 2005 Forum in Bangkok, women around the world seemed numb in disbelief at Bush's re-election. Having witnessed the effects of Bush policies, including economic sanctions, war and the erosion of access to maternal and reproductive health services, numerous activists said to me, "you know, even if you can't do anything to help us directly, could you at least hold your government accountable?"

Many of us Americans at the Forum were silent in dismay as we reflected on the autocracy we were living in - and how powerless we felt.

The 2008 Forum is likely to have a different set of conversations. Perhaps we can get back to discussing the world as it ought to be versus expending all of our resources - and dismissing our dreams - to counteract increasing violence, fundamentalisms and repression. Can we breathe again?

Stay turned for my first entry from Cape Town this weekend!

Hopeful again,

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