Fight for rights in sight?

Fight for Rights in Sight?

Fight for Rights in Sight?

About a month after I arrive in the village, the day comes when the judge will hand down a decision on a landmark court case that has been pending for over a year. He will decide if 32 other indigenous communities will also be granted the rights to traditional land tenure in the same way the village where I’m working was last year. There is excitement in the community and a group of community members are planning to travel to the capital city to hear the judgment. After that, they will join a large group for a celebration in a neighboring village. My friends in the community ask me to join them for the rally in the capital and for the high-profile celebration. They know I support them in their fight for their land rights. Of course I’ll come! But wait- I have been working with both activists and government officials and I know this is a divisive issue. My presence at these events could put me firmly on one side of this debate and jeopardize my ability to carefully negotiate my own neutrality as a researcher. Whatever I choose to do, I could be violating someone’s values- my own, the community’s, the activists’, the government ministers’.

I am having an ethical dilemma!

What would you do?

Attend the rally

By choosing to attend the rally, I stand firmly in solidarity with my friends and informants for a cause that I believe to be just. My presence makes me an advocate for indigenous land rights and this is a position that I am very comfortable with. But have ...

Defend this Choice!

Don’t attend the rally but express support for those who are going

Not attending the rally keeps the illusion of neutrality in one sense, even if I am honest and supportive with the community members that I’m working with. I run the risk of causing offense by declining the invitation to participate, but I am able to maintain my ‘outsider’ position ...

Defend this Choice!

Don’t attend the rally and express no opinion about it

By staying out of the event and remaining silent, I don’t need to worry about my views in being in the public eye. I can continue with my research without the possibility of being tagged as an activist. However, is my inaction really as inactive as I think? ...

Defend this Choice!

Publicly denounce the rally

By going on record and saying I don’t think this gathering is a good idea, I firmly place myself on one side of the debate. I surprise my friends who thought I shared their goal of promoting traditional land tenure but I effectively distance myself from activists and, in ...

Defend this Choice!

Posted in Bound in Belize, Fight for Rights in Sight

What do you think?

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