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Ordinary changemakers and idealists.

Published on April 29, 2020 here : https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/ordinary-changemakers-idealists-virginie-martins-de-nobrega/

This is the end of April 2020. The time suddenly feels like an eternity.  

The #covid19 crisis has also brought more commitments to some of us, as well as lots of WhatsApp messages and videos.

I received yesterday a video about a bank expert delivering a speech about his awakening for the damages he may have caused while not reflecting on his actions when working in a fund. Despite, the bravery of speaking openly about his errors, I have felt angry and a bit tired of the message supporting this video. The message was something like: ‘a repentant hedge fund manager bringing now light and changing the system’.

First, good and bad deeds can be done by anyone whatever their profession. Finance professionals are not immune to the laws of human nature. That the financial system might be not regulated nor ethical enough is another problem even though intricated with the individuals who work in it.

Second, this virus has made visible ordinary heroes and idealists that are fighting to save lives. I have never had any doubt about that.

There are also other ordinary heroes and idealists that have been fighting for a humanness approach, democracy and peace for a very long time. At best, they have been unnoticed. At worst, the daily fight to stand up, to make conscious choices, to reflect and question oneself, to ‘walk the talk’, to commit everyday to those ideas, to stand sometimes alone or be ostracized from a seemingly unanimously accepted vision of success has been perceived as easy and ordinary. I am thinking today of the peacemakers, facilitators of dialogues, #mediators, civil rights and human rights activists, democracy advocates, idealists and utopians wherever they are. I am also thinking of small entrepreneurs, juggling single parents, whoever we are.

Do we really need to all have a label saying ‘I am changing the system’, ‘I am a survivor of cancer’, ‘I am a peacemaker’, ‘I am a doctor’ or any other label for people to be noticed, acknowledged and treated rightly and kindly ? And do we all have to follow a standardized path around the same logic (a) I just care about myself and focus on being rich, (b) I am tired of my work, (c) I am now aware and awaken, (d) I am changing the system? If it is someone’s path, so be it. I respect that. But other logics are as valid and powerful. Even the one saying, (a) I want to save the world, (b) There is no hope, (c) I don’t care anymore. 

I believe what stroke me with the message of the video was this constant divide between money and awareness, between kindness and success, as well as the bias that globalization and capitalism are bad by nature. Same goes with the rhetoric around the failing of #democracy when the truth is that we are not fighting for democracy nor rising to what democracy requires from us.

If you do not have money, you cannot invest nor support the poorest. If you do not have money, you are not independent enough to have a certain stewardship. If you want to see the impact of such logic, look at the threats over international multilateralism since the system of the United Nations’ contributions has been destabilized by the increase of earned marked contributions.

Today, with this article, I wanted to acknowledge all of us.

Also, what #leadership do we want after Covid-19?

Virginie MARTINS de NOBREGA

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