Late yesterday night Ingunn and I returned from Morocco. We used the same taxi to take us from the airport and home to Avenue Krieg as we used this morning to take us back to the airport to fly to Hong Kong. By chance the guy was Moroccan and we had such a fascinating conversation yesterday night that we wanted to continue this morning. Which we then did. I really forgot to ask him if he had been home at all or if we just hit him at both ends of a long taxi watch.
We talked politics and compared Morocco and Switzerland and Norway, all the time circling around Donald Trump and women and migrants and people without much health care and the American dream. We were about the same age the three of us in the taxi, he had stayed 18 years in Switzerland, we 6 years. All immigrants.
On my many long haul flights I always spend time reading through New York Times International Edition. A few months ago it was called International Herald Tribune. I even subscribe to the electronic version so that I have it available on my smartphone.
Tonight, on my way between several worlds, the one in Morocco, the one in Geneva and the one I am heading for in Hong Kong, I read articles by so many journalists and columnists struggling with exactly that familiar feeling of:
Fear for the economy and interest rates and inflation, nightmarish perspectives for growing acceptance of racism and sexism and white supremacy, much talk about trillions of dollars in tax cut without any specificity of reduced cost anywhere. A long article about grieving women loosing perspectives and hopes for future feminist leadership. Did you know that there is still only 19 % female representation in the US Congress?
The Moroccan taxi driver likes to discuss with my wife. Her French is much better than mine, and she is not afraid of expressing her opinions. In my rather imperfect French I inform him that I am more for physical, domestic work and that wife has run away with the intellectual genes of the family. He laughs and agrees. At least I have trained my staff team to express with loud voices: “No! No! Not at all!” when they hear me express such modest opinions about myself. The taxi driver just take me at face value. Depressive!
On long transcontinental flights I get time to think. I close my eyes and for a while I am in the midst of 150 YMCA Change Agents in Chiang Mai back in August, young people living solid values, walking their talks, strong talks. Living and talking solidarity and justice. Inspiring one another, supporting one another. Being the Change!
I jump from Chiang Mai to Marrakech and COP 22 and YMCA Camp Climate. I am deeply impressed with the idealistic seriousness with which the young YMCA climate activists approach the negotiations. Some of them say that their lives are changed because of the engagement through the World YMCA. Some have changed their studies, jobs, future plans. When I see their honest shining eyes, straightforward good people, I get that familiar, good feeling: