Jun 13, 2011

in *whose* shoes?

"Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way, you'll be a mile from them, and you'll have their shoes." - Jack Handey, Deep Thoughts (via my friend Christy)

the current version of the last paragraph of chapter four of the dissertation, on why international accompaniment is a form of solidarity, and not 'non-partisan':

Walking side by side is such a clear embodiment of solidarity that it seems odd to have to argue for it. Perhaps the issue is different understandings of what solidarity means. Rather than engage in that broader theoretical debate here I have focused on the ‘doings’ of accompaniment and how these are and are not understood as solidarity by accompaniers. Yet I will end with a play on this image of walking together that the term acompa├▒amiento conjures in Spanish. Solidarity does not mean walking in lockstep. It certainly does not mean walking ‘in their shoes’ (a phrase often used to describe empathy) – for then there would be no room in the shoes of the accompanied for their own feet. It does not mean the accompanier walking on top of the shoes of the accompanied, nor having the feet of the person accompanied ride on top of the feet of the accompanier - but rather simply walking alongside each other. Solidarity means walking together towards a broad vision of a different world that is possible, and accompaniment is a powerful way of doing that. To deny this and attempt to distance accompaniment from its social movement origins is to weaken a powerful solidarity strategy.
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