Well, I have been having way too much fun over at, yes, that other Ethereal Addiction - FaceBook. I recently updated my hometown as Zutendaal, Belgium, and made my current city Yogyakarta, Indonesia. I've also posted a few goofy things, reflecting on my old and new digs, and then this evening, I ran with this longer piece. In my surf-collaging of Yogyakarta, I ran across the Yogyakarta Principles, which are a body of principles outlined in support of full inclusion of all peoples, regardless of their sexual orientations. As I was already aware of the culture of sexual/gender tolerance in Thailand, it was no surprise to run across this other testament to inclusiveness in yet another Southeast Asian country. I do not doubt that in both countries there is intolerance aplenty, but still, as my fictive narrator declares, we in the Global North are by no means the models for inclusion we like to think ourselves to be. Here was tonight's bit of dreaming:
ECKHART FROM THE ASHES
Odd, of course, being a Belgian living in Yogyakarta, in full support of the Principles that bear this city's name. You who live in the Global North, full of your sense of ethical superiority, leading the world with your sense of being "on the right hand of" (if not on the throne itself), must find yourselves a bit upstaged by these gentle contributions to the rights of all humans to their measures of honor and place. All that is right with the world is not ALWAYS kindled by the whitest of skins, or even by those skins you whiten for your own purposes - as, for instance, the skin of that particular olive-skinned man who spent some time on foot in a backstoried province that might have been the Yogyakarta of its own day.
We Belgians, of course, have no room to talk, no room for moral snobbery, our tiny culinary contributions to the world notwithstanding. We wreaked mighty genocidal havoc in Mother Africa, drawing all manner of imaginary and heinous lines of demarcation between peoples with no business hating each other, all for our own purposes of exploitation. Time out of mind, I played with the notion of disappearing to the likes of, say, Bouvet Island, the better to freeze what was left of the humanity in my heart, but something urged me on, urged me west and south, into the Global South, an area spurned for its lack of substantive witness to the turnings of a New Day.
We have - I say "we," when I hardly qualify as any part of that we: I am, simply by proximity, the sooner blessed by the gentle blessings emanating from the hearts here at play . . . better this, then: those in this tiny province have made a veritable art form of playing in the delightful surf of the larger World's dismissal of them. Free of the tremendous burdens of Mammon and Kapital and Steroidal Power, they have found light and love in a palmful of dried sea grass, the better to gently nurture sparks and flames that have no need of hurry and splashy commercialism and twenty-page spreads in National (and why is it not International?) Geographics. The heart of these Yogyakarta Principles lies within us all: these provincial visionaries claim no ownership of them; still less do they even claim their discovery. A babe in her first joy of falling into Mother Ocean knows what is at the heart of these principles, and that babe would be the first to urge you, yes YOU, to join her in all the hearts at play.
May that palm be your palm; may those tides be your gentle and blessed undoing.
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