As always, the arrival at a United Nations conference can be one filled with stress due to all the numerous things that have to be done to even allow you clearance into the country where it is being held and then into the venue for the event. When there are 20,000 delegates from approximately 197 countries, that does not make the process any simpler to navigate either. So, I was truly appreciative of the fact that once again a major international journey coincided with a 21-day meditation challenge so that in the midst of all the movement, my breathing would remain paced for yet another journey of a lifetime.
The ride on the shuttle bus from the square was smooth and easy and I set my spirit to recognize that this was what the rest of the entire COP22 would be-smooth and easy. As always, I was right on point in that regard! I was in and out of the registration area just about as quickly as my bag and coat went through the metal detector. With my new UN COP22 ID, I was now truly ready for the world!
Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (www.QueenQuet.com) arrives for the first day at the United Nations’ COP22 in Marrakesh, Morocco.
We made our way into the Blue Zone and wondered why there was a Blue and Green Zone other than having these symbolize the water and the earth. However, I quickly realized that the Blue Zone was that of the dignitaries and the few additional people that had been accredited to this high level security zone to present primarily to their own colleagues since many of the main people on the front lines of the issues we were there to dialogue about where grassroots folks that did not have the connections to get them into this zone. I had seen this happen with the indigenous people at the Indigenous Peoples’ Forum and so I was not surprised, but I zoomed in my focus to see who was truly walking by me in this space and to observe the interactions or lack thereof.
As we ventured into a session and also attempted to locate another, things became clearer and clearer. I watched more and more people disconnected from the people here, but connected to their laptops. I thought, “They paid money to get here to do what they do all the time? You can post and email later.” Just as the thought formed, I remembered that in this zone these folks were highly unlikely to have had to raise their own money to get here to speak out on an issue or speak up for anyone. In fact, their jobs sent or brought them here and so they are still at work doing their daily routine. I totally understanding using WiFi if you can if you are in a place where you may not have another opportunity. However, I appreciate being connected with the global community face-to-face instead of via key strokes all the more. How do you truly assist people that you do not even directly dialogue with?
Being a person of the water, I am accustomed to blue being a healing element and to it often being connected to things flowing. So, I judged how to get into the flow of all that was going on around me and to take it all in.
After going to sessions and seeing how (unlike at other United Nations’ events) there were very few opportunities to have translation head phones and that you either had to know the languages of every speaker on a panel or be patient to hear the ones you knew and then use the time during the speeches of the others trying to make out what they said or simply logging on to use that WiFi like others were doing, I decided to move on to the Green Zone.
The Green Zone was appropriately named since life was truly popping there and relationships seemed to be growing! The public was coming into this zone and they were interacting with each other. Children and adults were there and people at the exhibition booths were not online. They were lined up to greet you as you came pass their exhibitions in many cases and they welcomed your interactions!
The Green Zone finally provided me with an opportunity to connect with the global community and to see what others were doing that related to my land and my people in the Gullah/Geechee Nation. From the high tech but low energy use interactive exhibitions with holograms and specialized sound circles to stand on to hear what a person on screen’s message was while not disturbing others entering the same space to doing art work with colors made from natural things to electric cars, every exhibition space lived up to why it was in the Green Zone.
The energy of the indigenous people that were presenting on their communities and their cultures in their native tongues as well as hearing their partners and supporters share their presentations on the projects that they had underway also spoke to why these people were in the Green Zone. It was obvious that they had done what I had done as I rode by the hundreds of banners on light post that are written in numerous languages. They had taken to heart the charge that we were here to keep and they realized that being in green was a light signal that it was now time to go and do what was on the banners-ACT!
As the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon stated:
“Today’s global challenges demand concerted global action and joint solutions.”
It is because of this reality that the Gullah/Geechee Nation‘s citizens wanted to insure my ability to make this journey. Our Sea Islands and our cultural heritage of the Gullah/Geechee Nation can only be protected when the global community recognizes how we all connect to one another. We need to return to the circular cosmology and ideology and realize that if we are part of one large global circle, what is done will go around and only return to you. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” from Galatians 6:7 immediately comes to mind coupled with “…if any would not work, neither should he eat.” from 2 Thessalonians 3:10. As an agrarian Sea Island person, I can truly attest to the fact that if you sow not you reap not and you eat not. Once again, there is a call to action!
I sat back and pondered these words and realized that if we do not get to work together on this issue, we won’t eat because our earth will not be in the position to feed us from the land nor the waters. The loss of lands and waters by the many indigenous communities that are here doing all that we can to connect with one another and with others that will work with us speaks volumes to how this space is a microcosm of how the world is already split into zones and some are being barred from the access to resources that will allow things to truly flow for all of us so that we can re-green the entire earth. Some see green and only think money and others see it and think land, but the land in all cases is the wealth while the value of the money fluctuates. It is for Gullah/Geechee land that I am here to take a stand. That rich land through and around which healing and nurturing waters continue to flow and allow the seeds that we plant to flourish. That process does not simply happen. We must work! We must act!
With this charge being the energy to move me, I marched on to connect with the rest of the global community at COP22. Hunnuh chillun kno gwine on da wha de Gullah/Geechee do!