Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

I have followed with interest (and a lot of disbelief) the various reactions (losing spark, disillusioned, resignations) of various Agents following actions taken by EVOKE administrators against some Agents.

Why disbelief? Coming from a country with a history of political assassinations, detention of political activists, extra-judicial killings, and numerous human rights violations not to mention poverty and disease, I am an ardent believer in freedom of speech and the rights of individuals. I also come from a country (and a continent) full of resourceful and resilient people working everyday to improve our economic and social well being against great adversity. I have summarized below a day in the life of 3 African women to showcase some of my people. (Their full stories can be found on the WFPs blog. ).

Véronique Begimana

Véronique is 47 years old and from Burundi, an area hard-hit by last year’s heavy rains and floods. Veronique suffers from AIDS and lost her husband to the disease. She has 6 children and has lost a seventh child. "I live in a house that my husband built out of metal. The roof has now gone bad and has h***s in it. Every morning I get up at 5am and wash my head. I wash my wh*** body and clothes on Saturdays to prepare for church on Sundays. I don’t eat anything in the morning, nor do my children. When times were better we used to cultivate the hills and the swamp areas and this would feed me and my family every day. Now there is very little to eat. Sometimes we eat cassava leaves that are diseased and these give us diarrhea. It would be nice to have someone else’s life, to be able to give my children what they need, to wear proper clothes. I dream of finding a job that gives me enough food to feed us every day. I pray for myself and for my family."

Anasthasie Bodha

Anasthasie is 60 years old and was driven from her home in Fataki (Congo), by militia violence in December. She is now staying with a family in Bunia. Anasthasie has been married for 45 years and has 9 children, 4 of whom live with her. She wakes up at 6am daily. Her family does not eat in the morning – they have just 1 meal a day. She has a bath once a day, often without soap, because she doesn’t have any. She spends each day looking for work – it is hard to live as a displaced person. The entire family mother, father and all children sleep together on the floor on a mat Anasthasie made, and cover themselves with Anasthasie’s cloths. The question she asks herself all day long is, “How am I going to do to find food tomorrow? When I think about my life, my stomach hurts. ” She is scared her children will become street children then bandits.

Fatime Gassi

Fatime is 25 years old from Chad. Her husband and one child were slaughtered when militia attacked her village. She fled with her remaining 5 children and a bag of flour. In her new life as an Internally Displaces Person (IDP) Fatime relives this fear of attack every other day when she and a group of women go searching for firewood. The women collect water from a dried-up riverbed that fills up with water during the rainy season which is a one-hour walk from the camp. They need to go twice and sometimes three times a day – they cannot bring enough water for the wh*** day in one trip. In the afternoon the women sit together and talk. They sometimes wonder about faraway places and what life is like there.

Why disbelief? The above stories are not unique - this is the story of many Africans. They are not lazy people who sit around feeling sorry for themselves - as some are wont to believe. They certainly need help from you and I but they are not waiting around for a savior. They are courageously doing whatever little they can to survive every day.

Why disbelief? If all it takes for me to lose spark / be disillusion / resign is some tough action from EVOKE administrators am I really ready to save the world?

Views: 63

Comment by Lynn Caldwell on March 31, 2010 at 1:02pm
I think if these types of blog, including yours (sorry!) were entered in a forum then the admins wouldn't be so harsh.

If we had a big forum to freely speak about stuff like this then - fair dos, but, I hear you say, all this negative post needs to get out there BUT is it nonetheless containating the game space.
Comment by Sarah Shaw Tatoun on March 31, 2010 at 1:09pm
Shakwei -- thanks for showing your 'spark'! And for reminding us what this is really all about.
Comment by Michael Texeira on March 31, 2010 at 1:12pm
it is not the actions which are causing people to lose spark...it is a realization that this is not functioning in integrity (internally) with its stated external mission. there's also a question of trust, as those who've made serious enquiries into the involvement of the World Bank, an organization whose general abuses in the name of the Free Market (which is failing and will not survive the century) are well known to many. places like UrgentInvoke are quite hilarious in that they provide the counterpoint to seeing how this model can be abused by those who have money. So, its not the issue of the banning, but a matter of how much power we have as a community, whether or not Evoke is willing to evolve with the needs and desires of its community, and where the benefit of all this information is going. I for one didn't fully realize that the World Bank can use any of the information posted here for its own purposes and profit. I don't really trust the World Bank based upon its hideous track record of displacing people and destroying pre-existing systems, just to exploit "untapped markets". From my own research, the World Bank has left behind a trail of disaster in most of its wheelings and dealings. Organizations of that magnitude suddenly creating something like this, and then exerting controls over those who ask questions about it is suspect and rightfully so. My spark would be instantly renewed through complete transparency on the part of the moderators in all decision making, and in the role of the World Bank on this project, and to what extent they have the ability to use our social innovations to perpetuate the same old hierarchical and ineffectual trickle-down capitalism that they have been using for the duration of their history.

I love the community. I don't trust the governance.
Comment by Shakwei Mbindyo on March 31, 2010 at 1:28pm
@Michael, do you trust your government? Do I trust mine? If the answer to this question is NO, do I lose SPARK? Can I only "work" in a perfect (whatever my defination of that is) world/environment? When I speak or act, am I ready to accept that my opinion or action may be acceptable to all or none or somewhere in between? Do I care wheather the WB recognizes me or my "contributions"? No. Are there things I would like to change at UE? YES! Will that stop me from learning and sharing freely? Certainly not! I plan to leave UE (and hopefully my fellow Agents) better than I was when got here.
Comment by Turil Cronburg on March 31, 2010 at 1:35pm
We each have to choose where we invest our precious resources of our time and energy, and it makes sense that some will see the value in this community, and choose to invest more into it to nurture it and care for it so that it can grow up to be a healthy and sustainable entity, while others will find that their goals will be better served by investing their resources elsewhere. This diversity of investments, based on individual abilities and goals, is what makes the world evolve, which is the overall goal of life itself, right? :-)
Comment by Jen Shaffer on March 31, 2010 at 1:57pm
I cried because I had no shoes, then I met a man who had no feet.

I applaud you for posting this. Your questions, "Why disbelief? If all it takes for me to lose spark / be disillusion / resign is some tough action from EVOKE administrators am I really ready to save the world?" are spot on. I too believe in freedom of speech and individual rights, but whomever swallowed the message that helping others was easy was fed a load of crap. It is difficult and there are many obstacles - the least of which is forum admins.

I'm in no way belittling the unpleasant experience of some EVOKE agents, but as you remind us personal drama is not the point here. Helping others in desperate situations, often not of their own making, is. +1 courage
Comment by Ternura Rojas on March 31, 2010 at 1:58pm
Michael, your comments about the history of the WB may be right, but let me remind you that liberal market, consumerism, capitalism and all the "awful" politic parctices on this world are not the privileged blame of governments, at least not more than OURSELVES, ultimately our parents are to blame and we are currently the ones who let these things happen on and on.
Did you know that climate change has been considered as a threat for the last 60 years at least?
Do you know why transgenic crops exist? Because we keep choosing to buy cheap price-cheap quality food at supermarkets.
I am here to show everybody who wants to know, what they will find in the furture if we do not turn the wheel. I want to show them what I am willing to do to change my world. If you feel the same you should stay. Thanks, T
Comment by Jen Shaffer on March 31, 2010 at 2:00pm
@Michael - You've brought up some key issues with WB and transparency. I don't condone bullying on the internet, however greater transparency in how the situation was dealt with would allay a great amount of concern. While I knew that WB was financially supporting this game experiment, I would be interested to know more about their motivation.
Comment by Michael Texeira on March 31, 2010 at 2:14pm
our parents are not to blame. blame isn't the model I'm looking for here. I just want transparency. I want to live in a world where advertising gives the necessary information to choose the best product, and where politicians are required to vote the way they say they will during elections, and where I can find out exactly where the paper train of my money goes.

here's a question. almost every country in the world is in debt. who are they in debt to? why are we continuing to allow it? who will be getting the money that all these countries are paying out in interest? do those people have our best interests in mind? I am rightfully wary of an organization which starts a program to create change while still utilizing the same old ideas and doctrines which brought us to the problems. I am not laying blame, but neither will I put my trust in any organization that continues to promote debt.

as for what waits in the near future unless a lot of things change quickly...mass extinction. yes, humanity and most large mammals passing from this earth into memory.

changing our personal habits is important, but demanding transparency from the organizations which are telling you to get in line is more important. it is only our fear of reprisal that has allowed the Federal Reserve and international banking interests to manipulate markets and create these conditions. that and ignorance, but with the internet, ignorance soon fades. then, people will have a choice, reform all institutions which are not promoting free food, energy and healthcare for all, or watch as the rich amass more wealth and eventually lead us to destruction. I'm really not bothered either way. my consciousness wasn't born here and it won't die here. be at peace and watch this sci-fi adventure unfold.
Comment by Turil Cronburg on March 31, 2010 at 2:36pm
So Michael, what do you think the World Bank (and EVOKE) need to heal and be able to feel safe being transparent?


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