I was to present in Budapest. I have recently travelled to several countries to talk about my research on friendship, and on the way to Hungary I would meet with family in Scotland. Two days prior to my departure I made a decision not to go. I pulled out of the conference, which seemed to send shock waves across the ocean when my relatives who were going to pick me up at Edinburgh airport heard of my decision. My timing was off perhaps, but whatever the reason, it didn’t feel right; my decision to withdraw was sudden, intuitive.
Images of people waiting outside trains, waiting at stations, tents pitched, people everywhere, crowded squares, men everywhere, children in close ups who had spent nights at the Keleti train station on the floor—the station where we were going to take a train to Vienna. People standing in the outside of buildings that I missed seeing, the architecture that I would have been raving about, was lost in the serious consequences that unfolded through our screens, that ever glossy filter. I watched from a distance people, standing outside buildings witness to yet another historical event. Not since World War ll, have so many people been on the move.
I am in my kitchen looking at buildings across the valley, and have all the food and the money and the safety and friends that are always there. I feel sick, horrified, and months later read an article of Smith’s (1999) article on globalization, and thought about “new kinds of wonderings” the “imaginary” (p.3). Syrian refugees and other people spilling across borders; a man carries an infant child in his arms, baby clothes and others with cell phones taking photos of us–a man talks to media about needing help
My cousin and a friend said that it was probably better that I did not go—I am not sure.
as I watch continents away
the continuing broadcasts
the people looking
for help, continents
away, wonderings and imaginary
they are not safe they are not
I tear through pages and let them fly
Smith, D. G. (1999). Globalization and education: Prospects for postcolonial pedagogy In a hermeneutic mode. Interchange, 30(1), 1-10. Retrieved from http://link.springer.com.login.ezproxy.library.ualberta.ca/article/10.1023%2FA%3A1007514907813?LI=true#page-1
Lorna Sutherland is a PhD student in the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta.