Wednesday, 2 January 2008

My Blogging Experience: Setting the Record Straight

Ever since I started blogging in 2007, I have really enjoyed writing online. The blog has now been in existence for several months. During this time, I have written about numerous topics. Given that the blog can be read by anyone, it is only natural to receive varying types of feedback from different people.

Human beings change. Some change their hair colour while others switch from one religious faith to another. Throughout 2007, as I learned new things, met new people, and faced new trials, my opinions regarding certain matters changed. Those individuals who have become acquainted with me only through my blog might have noticed certain changes. Others might have read a couple of articles and drawn an incorrect conclusion about me or about some of my views. The aim of this post is to correct a number of perceptions that might have been developed by a number of readers. As the saying goes, it is time to set the record straight!

Several people have described my blog as being a very political one. Although I admit that many posts that I have written in the past were - to various degrees - related to politics, the intention of this blog is surely not that of writing about a particular political ideology. I mention politics quite frequently since virtually everything we do in life has political connotations. It seems that far too people still associate politics with corruption and with a great deal of arguing. While such matters could surely be somewhat tied to a country's political scenario, politics is so much more than that! If one takes a close look at various issues such as obtaining a work permit, abortion, gay marriages, and receiving social assistance while involuntarily unemployed, one would easily notice that every country has a position on such topics as a result of the type of political party currently in power in that place. If gay people can get married nowdays in Spain, this has only become possible thanks to the PSOE's 2004 electoral victory. Since politics is so intertwined in the fabric of our lives, it is only understandable that those people who keep their eyes wide open will be able to see the links between ideologies, individuals, and daily events. Even though I have sometimes expressed my support for a particular type of leftist ideology, when it comes to political issues, my blog is intended to serve as a platform for analysis and for discussion.

Sadly, I have come across a few individuals who could not go beyond the perception of the blog as being "only about politics". The comic thing is that the same people who asserted that they do not read my posts because of their excessively political nature often write about matters that are highly political, such as Malta's adoption of the Euro! Such behaviour puzzles me!

During the last few months, as I expressed certain viewpoints, a number of bloggers reacted in an equally puzzling way. One person who had added me to his blog roll went as far as deleting me from his list of blogs following a clash of opinions! Another person stopped leaving comments on my blog. Both individuals project themselves as great supporters of tolerance, but their principles seem to fall quite short of their deeds. Very sad!

Without going into the specifics of my political beliefs, I would like to make it very clear that I am a declared leftist because I care very much about the welfare of other human beings. I cannot bear the obsession with money-making at the expense of widespread human welfare. Involuntary unemployment, homelessness, hunger...such realities make me shudder, especially when I know that the world could be a much better place if societies are run according to certain principles.

Moving on, I would like to say that tt is hard to get to know a person well simply by reading that individual's blog. The posts could surely help to open various windows on what a person believes, but they normally only allow others to take a peek. To know a person really well requires much more than merely reading relatively brief articles.

As far as I am concerned, I like to be rational when expressing myself. Having said so, I am just a human being. I have my flaws and I also have my feelings. Although I love debating, I also enjoy laughing a great deal.

Although this post is much longer than I intended it to be, I hope that it has helped to set the record straight. I am hoping to write a great deal during 2008 even though blogging is not so easy for me. Apart from having to devote a lot of time to my insurance studies, my job does not allow me to blog at all. When at home, my attempts to blog are often frustrated by shopping, cooking, and other similar tasks. Having said that, I will do my best to keep on reading blogs, updating mine, and leaving comments! As a believer in blogger etiquette, I think that it is a very nice gesture to drop a few words when visiting a person's blog. At the end of the day, words can change an individual's life! :)

8 comments:

La delirante said...

Very interesting post! It tackles various issues that are very important.

I find your blog and your posts to be extremely well written and that most of the topics you choose are very original and/or you add your personal touch (style) to them, as well as new ideas.

Thus, I want to congratulate you on your blogging efforts. I think you have achieved a great deal when sharing your viewpoints on-line.

Though I believe one blogs to express and share one's opinions regardless of the feedback, I also believe in blog etiquette. I think it is only a matter of manners to return a visit or a comment even if to say that I have a different viewpoint to the one I read. So, in a nutshell, I agree with your point re blog etiquette. My suggestion: If you visit people who don't like your blog or who don't bother to visit you back...don't bother yourself :) There are many other interesting bloggers who would have a healthier attitude towards you and your work (blog). That's what I do :)

Miguel said...

Muy buen artículo. Me ha gustado mucho. También te digo lo mismo, si no les gusta tu blog pues ellos se lo pierden no? Visita los blogs de aquellos que se toman la molestia de devolverte una visita o que quieren compartir sus ideas contigo. Muy buen blog.

MaltaGirl said...

I can't blog at work either, but when I have something to blog about, I write during my lunch break and then email it home. This is great during busy weeks when I'm going to get home late every day but I really, really want to say something. When I'm truly stuck, I use a pen and paper...

Good luck with the studies!

David Cuschieri said...

Wen, thanks a lot for your kind words! :) Blog etiquette is surely a very important issue for me.

Miguel, muchas gracias por tu comentario! Solo quiero decir que si una persona no le gusta mi blog despues de haber entendido mis ideas, eso lo entiendo. Lo que me molesta es cuando algunas personas dicen que no estan interesadas en el blog sin haber leido suficientemente para poder formar un idea mas clara de mis ideas. Espero mucho recibir mas comentarios tuyos en el futuro! Y si tendras un blog, seria un placer poder visitarlo!

Malta Girl, I honestly understand that feeling when inspiration knocks on your door and you really want to put your thoughts down on paper or online! :)Thanks for your words!

Andre said...

I think I have a right of reply since there are some references to my blog...

Sadly, I have come across a few individuals who could not go beyond the perception of the blog as being "only about politics". The comic thing is that the same people who asserted that they do not read my posts because of their excessively political nature often write about matters that are highly political, such as Malta's adoption of the Euro! Such behaviour puzzles me!

I do read political blogs - most of my blogroll is made up of political blogs. And I hope I don't write only about the Euro - I write criticising the EU, foreign policy, the forces of social conservatism in the country, I hope I write on a wide range of political topics.

During the last few months, as I expressed certain viewpoints, a number of bloggers reacted in an equally puzzling way. One person who had added me to his blog roll went as far as deleting me from his list of blogs following a clash of opinions! Another person stopped leaving comments on my blog. Both individuals project themselves as great supporters of tolerance, but their principles seem to fall quite short of their deeds. Very sad!

In 1985, the British Labour Party went as far as not recognising a number of Labour councillors due to their far-left beliefs. Neil Kinnock's 1985 conference speech is a brilliant text and explains in detail why such actions took place.

Without going into the specifics of my political beliefs, I would like to make it very clear that I am a declared leftist because I care very much about the welfare of other human beings. I cannot bear the obsession with money-making at the expense of widespread human welfare. Involuntary unemployment, homelessness, hunger...such realities make me shudder, especially when I know that the world could be a much better place if societies are run according to certain principles.

Well I'm a leftist too - but the word "leftist" is too generic. It's like using the word "pill" - only a pill can be asprin - which is effective and solves a number of problems without causing any harm or it can be "exctasy" - which might seem attractive but which is destructive.

David Cuschieri said...

Andre, nice to see you again! I do not believe that I have written anything to criticise your blog. Even though I might not agree with everything you say, I still think that your blog is a very interesting one. When I talked about certain people who considered my blog as being "only about politics", you were surely not among them!

As I said in my latest post, people change. I am aware that I might have been too harsh in some of the political posts that I wrote a few months ago. Having said that, I am not a dogmatic person. I still read your blog and many other blogs because I feel that I can always learn something new.

I think that it is very important to be able to deal with criticism in a constructive way. Criticism should never be taken on a personal level.

As you know, there are many people who call themselves leftist nowadays. When trying to see where I stand within the leftist wing, I approach the issue in as rational a way as possible. I ask myself: if Group/Party X is saying such and such, what tangible results are they actually achieving? It is extremely easy to come up with beautiful rhetoric to win the minds and hearts of many people, but translating words into reality is usually the tough part!

I spent over a year living in Spain. During my time there, I witnessed a change of government; the supposedly socialist PSOE came to power shortly after the 11th March terrorist attacks. Although the PSOE appeared to be much better than the previous party (Partido Popular), it was hard to see it as a party that was genuinely trying to build a Socialist society. First and foremost, in spite of there being a supposedly Socialist party in power, whenever I went out in the evening, I always saw countless individuals sleeping in the streets. I came across many people begging for money and dressed in rags. I once saw a man sitting in a very popular street during the winter season with barely any clothes on; his bones were showing and he had a carton sign saying that he was dying from HIV.

I have not lived in the UK, but even though the Labour Party has been in power there for several years, the crime rate seems to be among the highest in Europe, there is a shocking amount of poverty, and the economic welfare of huge companies often seems to have replaced the importance of looking after the poor. I know that you are a big fan of the British Labour Party and I am not saying these words to criticise you; I am merely trying to be objective.

I never stop to analyse the flaws of the political position that I adopt at any particular moment in time. Looking back, I can identify a number of thought patterns that were not so realistic. Aware of that, I have adjusted my beliefs so that my thoughts could be less theoretical and more practical. For instance, I presently support the notion that a party can only bring about huge changes in a country with the support of the masses. I strongly believe this because it is surely not realistic to expect a handful of individuals to change a society if they are faced with millions of people who do not support the same ideas!

Resistance or opposition will always be found. Having said this, I never said that one should massacre those who disagree with a party's views! :) It is important, though, to be able to study the issue of opposition scientifically and to analyse how various opposition groups have - in different countries and during different historical periods - resorted to myriad techniques to achieve their own goals. Goals that were not always the best ones for a society's exploited members.

My thoughts and feelings are primarily with those who are suffering on an almost daily basis simply because of the ways in which a society is being run. The individuals who are involuntarily unemployed, the ones who are sick and who can barely afford to buy the expensive medicines that they need to treat themselves, the entry-level employees who are taken for a ride by several employers simply because they have virtually no bargaining power, the homeless...as long as I still see those problems all around me, I have to go on constantly asking myself: What is the most realistic way to solve such problems once and for all?

Andre said...

I believe PSOE is the key to the future in Spain. In the 1980's they were instrumental for the transition to democracy, in the year 2004 they were instrumental to bring about some changes. However change doesn't happen overnight.

Crime is also high in Venezuela where the Socialist government is much more radical than in the UK. But then again in both the UK and in Venezuela there is the lowest crime rate in years!

Regarding wealthy corporations - they are inevitable whenever there is a good sound government who provides good economic conditions. Wealth and capital are not bad because they help generate more wealth and more capital - and by that I mean also helping those in need; jobs for the involuntarily unemployed, higher payments of taxes which can be used for medicines, schools and education...

David Cuschieri said...

Andre, thanks for your feedback!

Although I still respect the PSOE for having taken a number of positive measures (such as increasing the minimum wage, allowing gay couples to get married, withdrawing the Spanish troops from Iraq, etc.), I believe that it does not put enough emphasis on teaching the people about Socialism. Hence, many Spaniards I met during my time in Spain might like Zapatero (the Spanish president) without really knowing anything about the principles that should be guiding the society! This is also something that we can witness here in Malta; virtually all politicians no longer talk about ideological issues; they just focus on specific matters without giving them any context! When this happens, I believe that many people end up losing all interest in politics.

You wrote "Wealth and capital are not bad because they help generate more wealth and more capital - and by that I mean also helping those in need; jobs for the involuntarily unemployed, higher payments of taxes which can be used for medicines, schools and education..." Given the current state of affairs, I would say that wealth and capital are a necessary evil since we cannot really imagine a society without money right now!

Private companies do not really have any sense of compassion towards the disadvantaged members of a society. If a government tries to tax them too much in order to help build a better country, such companies will simply leave and create economic disasters. We have also seen this happen in Malta.

When it comes to jobs, private companies might create new ones. Yet, the creation of jobs does not mean as much as the creation of decent jobs. By decent, I mean that one is paid a living wage and has healthy working conditions. In the US, there are many people who are working in huge corporations, but their salaries are so low that renting a place to live in is often impossible! At this stage, I strongly recommend reading Barbara Ehrenreich's book "Nickel and Dimed"; she actually tried her hand at various low-wage jobs in the US and saw what life is like for the countless US citizens earning little more than a minimum wage in spite of working terribly hard!

Well, I could write much more, but that is enough for now. Thanks once again for your comments; they always help me to reflect about various topics! :)