Blogging on Social Issues

MANY BLOGGERS address social issues through poems, prose, art and photographs and some who read here committed to participating in the The Girl Effect Blogging Campaign. Some of you said you’d need a reminder. Here it is, and the time is upon us: October 4, Tuesday. This is an event that draws attention to the plight of girls around the world who are living in poverty and yet uniquely capable of creating a better future for themselves, their sons and daughters, and their communities and countries.

Some tips from the folks who are organizing the event:

Visit the Girl Effect website, where you can learn about the issues.

Here are some ideas for your post:

  1. Start by posting one of the six Girl Effect videos along with your reflections on it
  2. You can use some sobering stats from the website
  3. Write about how you see the responsibility of the developed world to support the developing world, or how you see your own personal responsibility
  4. Write about action you’ll take to take to make a difference
  5. Post related photography, art or poetry
  6. Focus on one specific issue related to the Girl Effect: girl’s education, AIDS in the developing world, child marriage, child prostitution, domestic violence, population growth, philanthropy, entrepreneurship, micro-finance, global poverty, human rights.
You will want to link to the Girl Effect SITE now for further information and instruction. Among other things, you need to link your post to the Campaign site. I hope you’ll also leave your link here on Musing by Moonlight, so that I can be sure not to miss it. Thanks!



A post from a long time ago but, given this week’s event, it seemed right to put it out there again.

When we marched,
Through slimy mud past riot-shielded cops in Alexander
(This is the ghetto.)
While children peered wild-eyed from dark windows,
For some of us these were re-runs of earlier apartheid-burdened days.
But, then, it was defiant resolution that drove our hearts and braced our feet.
Now, sadness at betrayal sat sadly on our hearts.
Our shouted slogans hung heavy over us in grimy air.
We winced at familiar oft-repeated lies
Oft-repeated lies.

Dennis BrutusSouth African Poet/Activist (1924 – 2009), in Leafdrift

There are people for whom poetry exists almost exclusively as an aid to social change, to political discourse– not as some sort of didacticism – but as a discussion, a wake up call, a way of approaching some truth, finding some meaning, encouraging resolution. I’m not one of them. I am as likely to write about the beautiful flowers that have just popped on my orchid – at last – or something my mom said fifty years ago as I am to write a poem on a social issue. But it does happen and quite often:  a horrific war photo, a news report of an injustice, a homeless person outside the grocery, a friend in pain that I can trace to some social issues, and the words start to flow. There’s the urge to respond, to do something – the urge to activism.

As I make my way around the blogosphere, I delight to see how many blog for causes – “worthy” causes as my mom would say – and I know that “worthy” is in the eye of the reader. War is big. For those poet-bloggers who are pacifists, this medium offers one means of passive resistance. Perhaps passivism is the strongest form of resistance and poetry the conscience of the collective soul.

In the 70s, the American author, poet, musician, and father of hip-hop, Gil Scott Heron, wrote The Revolution Shall Not Be Televised (video below). It comes to mind now. For those who remember, this might seem odd. It’s a Nixon-era piece, but we’re still struggling with the trivialities Heron is so beautifully strident about. And the revolution couldn’t be televised. It would be too big for one thing. Though he was addressing issues for blacks, I would submit that while we have different histories, we’re all struggling to stay afloat on the same raft.

In Dennis Brutus’ poem above, he points to the world we now live in. Having survived Robben Island with Nelson Mandella, he was freed only to find that while apartheid ended in South Africa it had become world-pervasive, the issue no longer race but economics: the few haves vs. the masses of have-nots. And those who have just a bit – enough to feel safe and perhaps a bit smug – are just a hairbreadth away from have-not.

I can’t help but think that the revolution so many of us seek is rooted in transforming values. Hence, it is more evolutionary than revolutionary. As such, perhaps it is too gradual and pervasive to be televised. Perhaps it is evident in our blogosphere and the heart-born prose and poems of simple folk like you and me with nary a pundit or politician among us. Perhaps it’s a bottom-up thing, more likely to be blogged than broadcast, rising from homespun poetry – outsider literary art – sometimes rudimentary and awkward, but always quiet and true and slow like a secret whispered from one person to the next. It is perhaps something stewing even as we write, read, and encourage one another. Perhaps there is some bone and muscle in what we do. Individually we have miniscule “audiences.” Collectively we speak to enormous and geographically diverse populations.

I think I hear army boots a-marching, marching across networks everywhere. Or perhaps poetic fancy has caught my spirit tonight and all is dream …I hope not. Blog on …

So let some impact from my words echo resonance 
lend impulse to the bright looming dawn

Dennis Brutus

Video posted to YouTube by MusicForYourFunk. Gil Scott Heron website HERE.

Photo courtesy of morgueFile.

Yes! I’ve changed my blog theme again. I’m not crazy. (Well, maybe I am.) I’m setting-up a website (not that I need one – it’s just a learning adventure) and have tried to find the best theme for that. Think I have finally, now on to the adventure of finalizing the website. !!! ??? Will I manage it … only the future will tell … wish me luck …

See you this week for The Girl Effect Blogging Campaign and back here on Sunday for another Writer’s Roundup. There will be lots of other good poems and other posts between now and than. Thanks for stopping by. Jamie