You might have figured out already that I consider place to be a pretty important thing. While it doesn't get the attention that it deserves, individual geography plays a huge role in how we understand our selves and how we fit into the global community. One social problem that I've always found particularly disturbing is the loss of place. Refugees around the world, forced from their homes by war, famine, natural disasters, or any number of causes, often find themselves in places that do not want them. Whether this means that they are not welcomed by the people or by harsh terrain, the outcome is the same. Refugee camps are communities that cannot be, because of the high transience and mortality rates. Nothing in a refugee's place in the world is permenant; they have nothing to hold onto.
Next weekend, in 15 cities across the United States, Invisible Children will be hosting DisPlace Me, a simulation/protest that is designed to help Americans understand what it is to lose their place in the world. From their website: "The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has abducted thousands of children, subjected them to torture or sexual violence and forced them to fight in a violent guerilla army for 21 years—making it the longest running war in Africa. In hopes of providing protection from this rebel militia, the Ugandan government forcibly evicted its Northern citizens from their homes—giving them 48 hours to relocate into camps. Today, more than 1.5 million Northern Ugandans remain far from secure, suffering nearly 1,000 deaths per week due to inhumane living conditions in the camps.
"'Displace Me' is the nationwide event giving Americans the chance to respond.
"By traveling to one of our 15 camps and gathering together, the strength of our size will make a visible statement to our government and media that the citizens of the U.S. demand action in ending the war in Northern Uganda, in order to send the Acholi people suffering in the camps and the abducted children back home. The point is to travel; the point is to become displaced yourself."
Go get lost.