My name is Elsie.
My purpose is social justice, creativity and communication. In the context of this blog that means calling out the patriarchal, white supremacist, neoliberal, global system of political, economic and societal oppression designed to create poverty and inequality. I want to question and challenge the powerful narratives that connect us all and bind us to our struggles. I believe that it is only a collective recognition of our interconnectedness to each other and nature; working together to dismantle the international system; and striving for reparative and restorative justice and beautiful alternatives that will create a more beautiful, equitable world.
Despite deeply respecting the values of altruism, solidarity and support that are superficially and generally associated in the mainstream with international development, my opinion is that the reality is actually very different.
‘International development’ is a concept I have questioned since I was very young – at school aged 12 I wrote a research project questioning the ‘post’-colonial (I believe colonialism lives on) global debt crisis and at university I investigated the ethics of UK foreign aid being spent in our national interest. In March 2014 I started this blog to be a critical and honest exploration of ‘international development’, including its practices, theory, ethics, motivations and discourse.
It’s been an incredible journey, and it may not be apparent in my rudimentary writing, but I feel I’ve come a long way since my first ever post two years ago about the stereotypes that ‘international development’ creates and perpetuates. Through conversations, listening, reading and researching; the narrow focus I began with has blown wide open, It seems as though the last six months in particular have been an epic journey in self-awareness, going into dark places and sitting with discomfort and learning, de-learning and relearning about things I thought I ‘knew’ – this has been the year of beginning to attempt to understand ‘me’ and how I fit into a world that’s both terrifyingly painful and exquisitely beautiful.
My intention for the next six months at least is more consistency, more creativity and more engagement, both with readers and also with others who share similar perspectives. As always I’ll strive to improve my writing skills with thorough research and posts that are concise and accessible. I also hope that others will join me in contributing to these important conversations.
I really appreciate you being a part of this journey, for reading my lengthy (and sometimes ranty) posts, for commenting, giving feedback and contributing to these conversations. Please continue to do so, and, if you have a passion for these issues too, please do write to me with your own thoughts and articles – I’ll be only too happy to include them.