Monday, November 16, 2009

Could A Story Help This Happen?

I'm bullish on the power of story to inspire and revolutionize acts of justice and peace. So when I read about something as exciting as Bishop Desmond Tutu's simple yet powerful plan of universal birth registration, my mind begins to whirl around plot possibilities. A dystopian YA novel about teens with lost identities? A picture book featuring one of these children to show how important a birth certificate can be? As you watch the video below, what stories come to mind for you?

3 comments:

Jazz said...

I latched onto the term "officially exist." I'm imagining a story in which society maintains acknowledged differences in humans who officially exist and those who don't officially exist. What the people who don't "exist" would do, I'm not sure. Children would have it the worst, probably being made into slaves, but adults might have it better. They can get away with more if they don't exist.

There would be a movement, from both sides of existence, to make everyone officially exist, and a cause from both sides to keep things the way they are.

Steve said...

I admit that this sounds at first like a good idea. But look at the situation here in the advanced countries. Everyone is tracked, everyone has "official" existence, and the official existence replaces the human existence. There is no room to escape the ever-watching eye, no room to breathe, no room to be free.

In earlier days, if a person had been a failure in the community where they grew up, they could move to an area where they were not known, and get a fresh start. Now, wherever you go, your "official" existence follows you. When I was young, teachers used to intimidate the problem children in the classroom by saying their behavior would go on "...your permanent record, which will follow you the rest of your life." Sadly, this has almost come true.

Do we really need to export the idea of universal government registration to the rest of the world?

I acknowledge that the denial of basic human services to children (or adults) is a tragic evil. But wouldn't a better solution be to establish that anybody who presents themself, or is presented by a parent, etc. is to be acknowledged human and given the services which are theirs by right? You are human because you are ACTUALLY human - not because a government says you are. No registration, proof or evidence should be required.

When nobody is required to "officially" exist, perhaps we can all REALLY exist.

Just a thought,
-Steve

Mitali Perkins said...

Jazz, great idea! Steve, thanks for sharing your perspective so clearly and courteously.

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