A dispatch from Doha airport: What better place than an airport to reflect on the sometimes strong, sometimes tenuous connections that bind us.
Airports – those liminal places between here and there, where (if you are lucky enough to have a waiting lounge comfortable enough to allow space for thought), we pause for breath to reflect on where we have just come from and where we are going. I have a few precious moments to update this blog, before catching the final connecting flight to Male. The plane from Nairobi to Male was full of passengers of many colours and creeds heading to connecting flights, as is this waiting lounge here, too.
It is interesting that although Mombasa is geographically closer to the Maldives, separated by the Indian Ocean, there is no connecting flight (but instead I headed back to Nairobi and then via Doha). Some places in the world are indeed more cut off than others (from transport links, for example).
However, one thing that can connect, irrespective of place, is the Internet. (Ironically, this airport has one of the highest speed Internet connections I have ever used!).
This indeed shall be a strong theme throughout the Festival, for events will be collected into a huge “online festival” and online library archive. Youngsters will also learn how to connect with their own histories by interviewing their parents and grandparents – the stories will form an important archive of Maldivian life and thought throughout the years. This theme was also prevalent at the Storymoja Hay Festival in Kenya, where we discussed the impact an oral storytelling tradition has to one’s understanding of personal and cultural history.
I shall also be focusing on the theme of connection in the Workshops I will be giving to students, exploring new media journalism, writing, broadcasting, the power of the Twitter-sphere, and blogging. I hope that some of the students will be able to contribute their thoughts to this blog itself, so creating a giant web of connection.