Radical optimism

16 Jan

I am a radical optimist. Sometimes that’s hard. Mostly, it just comes naturally.
Radical optimism is about saying ‘yes!’ in stead of ‘yes, but’. It’s about believing in the power of the impossible, about dreaming big and not being afraid of faillure. After all, something small can change it all.

Not convinced? Check this. One of the world’s biggest vampires just fell of his throne, following weeks of bloody protests. Ben Ali, a.k.a. Count Dracula, who sapped Tunisia of its life with frightening fervor for 23 years, finally fled his country. It all started with one young man, who, frustrated about the lack of opportunities for young people, set himself on fire after the fruit he was selling to make ends meet had been confiscated by local police. The butterfly effect of his brave and bold statement were demonstrations throughout the country, first small, then bigger and bigger. Margaret Mead was right. “Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Vive la liberté!

Yesterday, my radical optimism was fed by a group of wonderwomen from all over the world, who shared their stories of migration at The Unwanted Land’s women’s story salon. Stories of pain, being homesick and being uprooted, and stories of hope, flexibility and finding strength to keep going. Home IS where the heart is, we concluded, and being different is good. Vive la difference!

Today, at PvdA’s manifestion for a new social sound in Dutch politics, I heard Jan Mulder make a strong case for diversity and inclusion, asking for a female prime minister, humane treatment of undocumented migrants and increased cooperation between progressive parties. Hear hear!

And last but not least, France joined Norway and Spain, setting quota for women on big companies’ boards. Last Thursday, France’s parliament approved a law forcing large companies to reserve at least 40% of their boardroom seats for ladies. Vive l’égalité!

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