Apparently, this Saturday – September 28 – was the Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion… And I completely missed it; like I’ve missed the “Global Female Condom day – September 16, though confusingly it was September 12 last year. I’m sure I’ve missed several other important days, some of which I’ve noticed passing by on the Wikipedia Main page; September 30, for example, is Independence Day in Botswana, and Blasphemy Day (okay, slim pickings, but sometimes it has a few more activisty ones, e.g. World AIDS Day, Women’s Day, etc.)
There actually quite a few in September that I’ve missed by now: International Literacy Day (Sep. 8), World Autism awareness Day (Sep. 9), World Suicide Prevention Day (Sep. 10) International Day of Democracy (Sep. 15), International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer (Sep. 16) World Peace Day (Sep. 21), World Tourism Day (Sep. 27) – all of which are officially sanctioned “Days” by the United Nations, or its various agencies; then there those proposed and/or upheld by certain social movements, such as the female condom and the abortion days, Celebrate Bisexuality Day (Sep. 23), Software Freedom Day (3rd Sat. of Sep.) and probably a few others that I’ve missed. And this is not counting any national observances this month – Heritage Day in South Africa; National Day of Encouragement, National POW/MIA Recognition Day and National Hispanic Heritage Month in the US; Racial Justice Sunday in the UK; just to name a few.
There are so many of them, by now International Talk Like A Pirate Day is becoming the only thing that I really still pay attention to. We’re drowning in days, and months, and weeks, to care about things; how for fraks sake is anyone to keep track of it, let alone try and care about each one of the – or even a tenth of them. Don’t get me wrong, many of these are very important causes, and I’d happily support at least half of them; but asking someone, and perhaps being an NGO worker has made me more susceptible to this, to go out and care about all these – as in, do more than “like” something or sign some petition, hoping it won’t expose you to weekly updates that will make you care less, not more – seems too much to ask of anyone.
Part of it makes it understandable that Gay/LGBTI/Queer/Whatever Pride has turned into sheer debauchery nowadays. While I feel that the activist part, and a lot of the message, simply gotten lost in all of it – I’m probably the first to call it to account – at least you can get drunk while you’re supposedly care about this or that. But it’s part of the reason I probably haven’t attended a pride march/parade in such a long time, it feels like the cause is simply used as an excuse to party, while it should be the other way around (party to further a cause, nothing inherently wrong with it.)
Observance days/weeks/months, of which we have more than we seem to have honest politicians in the entire world, in the end feel too much like a marketing campaign, a production line; within social media it does seem to work to some extent, every so often my newsfeed is littered with articles about some observance on some specific issue, the share features are no doubt a major assistance to getting things viral… for a day or so at least, until we happily move on to the next cause or just have our tea and toast and move on with our lives.
Getting things go viral is a hot topic in many a NGO nowadays, at least as far as I have noticed; we all seem to be determined to discover the big secret to getting our message viral, to boosting our campaign through social media… in the end we ask ourselves simply: how do we sell it?
As for myself, I’ll talk like Jack Sparrow a bit on the September 19, and if I’m single, I’ll try and find some jajangmyeon somewhere in Cape Town on April 14; mostly, though, I simply end up moving along in life after window shopping todays option causes and crusades.
Note: I promise that I’ll write more upbeat, and less negative in the future, this was just a rant I had to get off my chest.