Wednesday, April 29, 2009

International Days... who says?

Apologies for what you will read... it is me ranting... but this has got under my skin.

I heard on Breakfast this morning that today is 'International Noise Awareness Day.' Yesterday I heard something as pathetic being promoted. Every time I hear such things I say to myself, 'who the .... says so?'

So I googled international days. It seems that the UN, UNESCO, WHO etc all have decided that there are international days to be celebrated around the world. There are international decades and years.

For example at theoretically Jan 27 was the 'International Day of Commemoration of the Victims of the Holocaust.' That is fair enough. There are days for 'social justice', 'mother language day', 'women's day', 'international day for the elimination of racial discrimination', 'world meteorological day', 'remembrance of the victims of slavery and transatlantic slave trade etc etc. There is a 'water day' too, what the heck is that? There is 'mine awareness day'! Hehehe! Did you just know you missed 'World Book and Copyright Day' on 23 April? What the! Who decides this stuff. Some of it you can see has something worth remembering in it. But 'noise awareness day?' It is not hard to see the agendas here. Where is, world JC day? Or the World Day of Telling Multi-National Organisations to Stop Telling us What Day it is!' There's a 'World Teachers Day.' What about a 'World Janitors Day' or World Car Salesperson Day' or 'World Pastor's Day'? Who decides this stuff. There is World Diabetes day? Why Diabetes? Why not, erectile disfunction? Or world nose day? Heck, there is a World Mountain day! Don't miss that one, its in December! Actually, the UN ones are an attempt at social justice at least I suppose. But who decides?

Who decides on 'World Noise Awareness Day'? There is a power out there telling us how to live our lives. I am all for government as society needs to be ordered, protected, preserved, provided for etc. Paul understood this well (see Rom 13; Tit 3:1) as did Peter (1 Pet 2:12-17). But what is this?

There's a whole lot more on These include 'world poetry day', 'Africa day' (what about Niue day?), there is world space week (I am sure the aliens appreciate it), international day of tolerance (for everything probably except conservative Christianity?), world television day (what! is that the day we sit for 24 hours and watch it?), there is world day of solidarity with Palestinian people (what about other people's who are oppressed?). Did you also know about these years: Cultural Heritage Year (2002), Ecotourism (2002), Mountains year! (2003), the Year of Rice (2005) (why rice? I am sure there are reasons, but why not Taro?), Year of Micro Credit (2005). Yay, there is the Year of Sport and Physical Education (lots of people hated that one cause they had to do exercise all year 2005).

Then there are decades coming up. Yay! Can't wait. We are in 2005-2014 is the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development! More good news, 2003-2012 is UN Literacy decade, so that everyone will read... ah, but what language? Damn. Got to be English surely? Maori? MMMM? Even better we are about to end the Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World (2001-2010). Thank God, cause now kids are all safe at last! It really works this stuff. For example 1997-2006 was the International Decade for the Eradication of Poverty! And there is now no poverty left in the world. I am so thankful for this stuff. It is a thrill to think someone or someone's are on 6 figure salaries at the UN and UNESCO coming up with it. The power of this stuff is mind boggling! You can go to the website and see more if you life.

For me, it is all humbug. It seems a nice idea but what is the point? Only Breakfast Show hosts take any notice. School of Rock says it well, it is 'the man'. Or that hilarious movie, Undercover Brother... there are powers, forces telling us how to live our lives. They go over the top. There assumptions need to be critiqued. Actually I couldn't find 'world noise awareness day' so there must be someone else out there making this skubala up!

So for me, every day is Easter, everyday is Pentecost, every day is new creation and life, every day is God has come and we must work with him and by his power toward that day when he returns and all is restored. As for all these 'days' creators, get off my back! Who says?

Better take a chill pill and do some real work... but what is work? Is there a 'work day' to help me. Hope so, cause then I can take the rest of my life off.


Ben-jamin said...

Wow, this really got under your skin. I don't see why it bothers you, they aren't trying to 'run our lives'. (Maybe you should stop watching the breakfast show.) We can't focus on everything at once, but by coordinating efforts those people with something on their minds can achieve more than they might otherwise. Nobody is going to punish you for not celebrating those days. But you laughed at mine awareness day? Do you have any idea how many people continue to be killed by mines?

Last year during fair trade fortnight there was a stall at college which raised awareness and provided a way for people to see what they might do. Without a two week focus period, how would they have done that? They can't do it everyday. They need a focused time in which to put out extra effort.

There is a day celebrating work, Labour day. And why do you want a day celebrating Julius Ceasar?

Dr Mark K said...

True they are not telling me to, but they are assuming it is so. The language used is usually, 'today is ... day.' On whose authority? Why that day and not the other. This is about assumed authority. NZ is not governed by the UN. It is about power. We are in the midst of an empire whether we see it or not. In Paul's day he clashed with the powers of Judaism and increasingly in his mission, Rome. The western alliance with its philosophy based on an eclectic mix of humanism, elements of socialism, capitalism, consumerism, materialism, hedonism, relativism, pluralism, individualism, narcissism and born of an anti-theism, is all over us like a rash and we don't see it. We are in the midst of being dominated by people setting the agenda. I sympathise with the ideals behind some of the days, but of what value are they. They demonstrate that we stand under this hegomony and we need to name it and identify it and stand against its power and dominion. I do not want to buy into libertarianism, but they have a point...

Ben-jamin said...

I know you have some experience in leadership. What matters is not what day it is, or who decides it, but that someone has to say "coordinate on this day". Who better than an internationally known and respected group? So it's not on someone's 'authority'.

I don't think there's a conspiracy against us. Who put those people in the position they are in? Us.

And yes. Western society is (or, less pessimistically, has) a rash. I see it, believe me. But it's not driven from some authority somewhere, it's because we choose what we want, and the last few years have seen a lot of people who didn't think about what they wanted.
It sounds like you think our society is being directed by some evil authorities in the UN. It's okay not to like Helen Clarke, but she's not trying to do us in.
You say we are in an empire? I say we built it.

Dr Mark K said...

I am not sure I completely agree with you when you say 'what matters is not what day it is, or who decides it.' It does matter because if there are NZ media who then tell us that it is 'this day or that day' it shows that there is a lack of independent and deep critique going on. In my original post I was trying ironically to point out the futility of these days. Poverty marches on, war marches on etc despite all these so-called days. They achieve little. They are imposed and most of the time no one even knows they are on. What matters is not people on 6figure salaries in offices declaring days here and there but action on behalf of those in need. This must be sustained. When you label a day a day, it dilutes our commitment to need, it dictates our response. Western society is driven by forces and powers without question. They are those with the money and the power who work to move that power for that benefit. There are forces at work if not a conspiracy, but it is subtle and not easy to identify. I agree with you that we are responsible. The point of my blog is to get us thinking so we can work for transformation and not simply sit back and take someone out there telling us. The day thing is only a small symbol of something more powerful that has us locked into materialism, consumerism, hedonism etc. We need to name the powers and resist them. We need to act. I agree with you on our need to choose... let's refuse to be dictated to, turn off the computers and TV's, live in community, live simply, refuse the pull of the forces of the world. Society is a clash of forces, good and evil. The UN is an admixture of both. As for not liking Helen Clarke, not sure where you got that from? Never mentioned her. I actually believe the UN has some use. But their use is not to impose upon us a philosophy through things like days; it is to act at a much deeper and more powerful level to address human need.

Ben-jamin said...

Okay. It seems to me you are reading conspiracy and control into something intended for good.

My thinking is, that 'days' can change things. Even just last weekend, there was 'the rescue'. This was an organised day, but it's achieved something. It wasn't organised by someone on a 6-figure salary, but by someone who cares. (and I don't think those always have to be seperate people.)

I think just like 'the rescue', some things are not futile. If they come from authorities, so be it. Of course these 'day' causes need to be sustained, or it was a wasted day (or two, in certain locations of 'the rescue'), but they are not all wasted. I don't think labeling a day dilutes its cause. The idea between the 'half time' day was to rally the govt. to hold to it's promise of 0.7% GDP to developing countries, which very few parties actually wish to represent. If they see hundreds of people turn up in the central city, as they did, maybe they will hear that voice and represent it. One can hope.

Materialism is a trap, and needs to be recognised. This I do not doubt. And the forces at work are real, and fighting ever harder since their days are numbered by Jesus' resurrection. This we have always had to fight, and yet we (in the west) find ourselves with money and power (if not 6 figure salaries, we still have unfathomable influence compared to the majority of voices on this planet) but we do not use them. I think we should boycott excessive petrol consumption. I think we should buy fair trade. If anything 'days' should be welcomed as a chance to learn about and achieve many things through unitive efforts. 365 days per year aught to allow us to achieve a lot, if only we could work together. Even together with 6-figure salary recipients.

[Sorry for the Helen Clarke thing, all I meant was that she is not trying to run our lives using her new position in the UN]

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