social responsibility

It is difficult to put my time in Sarajevo into words. There has been so much life squeezed into such little time, yet that time has been filled with such powerful meaning. If I were to choose one thing to write about it would be the idea of self and social responsibility. This is something that I believe in but have not given much thought to outside of an academic viewpoint.  I arrived on this program in a whirlwind made up of finals and weddings, with no decompression time.  My internship quickly began, and through laughter, lots of smoke, and binders of PitchWise records it became more real. Although I admire the work the CURE Foundation does, I really admire the women that are making that work happen more. Life is hard and it is easy to be concered with ourselves; and unfortantaely this attitude gets excused far too often. The women in my internship truly have a sense of themselves and a  strong desire to uphold their social responsibility through advocating for women’s and girl’s rights. This comes to fruition in a variety of programs which are all designed to create a society that values gender equality. Now, I dont mean to convey that we all abandon our paths and become feminist or ngo employees but what I do want to communicate is the all too scary truth that we each have a social responsibility. This idea was evidently incontestable during the two weeks spent in Srebrenica- the site of the horrfic genocide on July 11, 1995. Through stories told by survivors  it is evident that there were so many individuals who were giving so much of themselves to fulfill a social responsibility. And yet, those hopeful stories are accompaniyed by horrific examples of what I would define as a lack of social responsibility. This for me is the only way to explain the events that took place. Individuals valued themselves and their lives over a greater social responsibility in a scrammble for power and control. What about humanity and the human condition allows individuals to act outside of a code that benefits all? How is it that one is able to dehumanize, even at the smallest level? Are each of us aware of ways in which we are guilty of this? Are we making strides in our personal daily lives, or in our work, to correct the desensatization  of society that life is me, me, me and do something that contributes to change in the world as a whole? I can say that the women I have been fortunate enough to work with this summer and those who are contributing to programs such as Summer University Srebrenica are making a positive change while simultaneously living an example of what it means to have a code of social responsibility.  What I want to take away from this summer in Bosnia and Herzegovina  is not my photos or traditional coffee sets, although I’ll value those. What I want to carry is the truth that individuals can make change. CLR James speaks of ‘the sordid compromises of everyday existence;’ it is my hope that after this experience none of us allow our social responsibility to be compromised by the demands of life. Each of us makes choices in our daily lives that effect the well being of others. If we in our communities do what we can to create a better enviroment for everyone, regardless of differences;  I truly believe that we can create a better world.

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