Sunday, September 10, 2006

At the Table of Free Voices

(Note: Since writing this I've read coverage that there were streaming problems from The Table of Free Voices. What I saw Saturday morning seems to have been a real time feed toward the end of the day so apparently it was corrected.)

Watching the discussions at The Table of Free Voices was a little overwhelming in more ways than one. If you haven't heard via, it was a gathering of 112 participants from around the globe.

They were prompted by 100 questions posed by people from everywhere and read by Nigerian activist Hafsat Abiola and actor Willem Dafoe.

The corners of the wind
Ideas were coming in many languages and from literally many directions yesterday morning, but it was fascinating to watch and listen--not to agree with every viewpoint-- but to be stimulated by the minds and nations represented.

I came to the table a little late since things started at 9 a.m. Berlin time, but I caught many interesting snippets.

Open ended
Sometimes the questions that came across as the most affecting were those less concrete.

And the one that resonated for me in the moment came from activist Julia Butterfly Hill--she who spent 700 plus days in a tree to save it from loggers and later founded Circle of Life Foundation:

"What is your tree? What is it in your life that calls you to be bigger than what you think is possible?"

Fear is the cheapest room in the house
I heard Anuradha Mittal's response Saturday morning and thought it was eloquent. Now it is available online in its entirety here :

"I would have to say it is a phrase by Hafez...who said, `Fear is the cheapest room in the house. My dear, you deserve better living conditions...' Every day I remind myself that it is about courage. That one can never be defeated until we give up hope, 'till we give up the courage, 'till we accept the fear that they want us to live in. Her phrase is my tree..."

And what a wonderful tree that is.

Amended and expanded 7:56 p.m. 9/11

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