I think a lot about how interconnected we all are to each other on this planet. Perhaps it is common knowledge (if that exists…) to know that our resources are connected. But we are connected by threads far more diverse, as well. We are animals. We are humans. We are communities. We are governments. We are economies. And when a majority system intersects with a minority, what happens next? Is it necessary for the majority to become the only norm and the minority to change/assimilate/disappear?
In Suriname I was impressed with the diversity—of people, of animals, of plants…of life. And yet, it seemed that the diversity I so valued is at the root of the issue for Suriname and its people. There is a tentative blend of cultures and lifestyles that are inherently at odds with each other. The majority culture of the outside is pushing for individualistic, western ideals. This pressure can be seen on how property rights, wealth, and government intersect with everyday life. Those on the inside—the people of the interior—want to maintain their communal/group value systems and governments. But when the majority meets the minority all too often only one can survive. I don’t think this is a case of who wins and who loses. I think we all lose when we lose diversity—we lose resources, culture, life.
So, what does this diversity have to do with being interconnected? My trip to Suriname causes me to ask myself, what role do I play in this dilemma? How does my lifestyle impact the lifestyles of indigenous and Maroon tribes? How does my desire for consuming threaten their lives and culture? The answers to these questions are complex, unsettling…and interconnected.