I am. Emerging from this overwhelming sense that there is nothing else to talk about in the Middle East but Syria, which frankly nauseates me and is more than I can handle at present (I mean…insert expletive three letter acronym with exclamation and question mark). Yeah, I went into hiding, I know, sigh, again. I just could not find the words, though surely someone else has been talking about the ins and outs of the Security Council’s resolutions and the ongoing splits in the nation of the warring, while more have died, gone into refuge and fought their brains out. I cannot stomach it. I love the Middle East. I adore the Middle East. I’ve lived in it now for 13 years. I’m tortured by the length of time it is taking for a solution to Syria’s crisis. Or is the ceasefire still holding? I haven’t checked lately.
I’m here on my beloved Qatari ‘island in the sea’ (not really, but we’re sandwiched between Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf where there’s nowhere to go). I’m preparing to leave this part of the world for England in three months, and get this, folks: Every TEDx organizer on the planet is here!
Okay, so that’s an exaggeration. But every one of them, and they exist everywhere, was invited to attend the only TEDx Summit of TEDx organizers in the world, so far. The TEDx attenders/organizers I chatted with while stickering lightbulb boxes – volunteering has its benefits – must have stuttered and stumbled over the chance to be here. They were offered scholarships if needed, and that was when someone in the Admin office explained to me the ratio of younger 27 somethings to, ehrm, older adults or, gasp, middle agers. “It’s an Internet company. That might explain it.” There wasn’t a view necessarily to do this ‘annually’ as one attender hoped for. We all know this is going to happen again, and again, and again, once it catches fire.. And it should. Over 600 people are here in Doha, dune-bashing, touring Al Jazeera and conferencing/speaking out in the desert tomorrow (wish I were going, but I have a J.O.B. Volunteering at TEDx for this is a dream side gig.
So far, an old high school ‘non-friend’ – we’ve grown out of that now and are Facebook pals – has hooked me up with a friend of hers, a TEDx organizer from Canada – my motherland! We’re trying to find time to meet. Facebook may prove easier. But I want to meet the muscled woman whose Twitter name is @typeacubed. She is a boxer among a gazillion other things including chair of TEDx Manitoba (centra province of Canada).
The point of TEDx is networking, though…I’m not…’encouraged’, exactly, to really be doing that in my capacity as volunteer, exactly. I presume that means, no throwing business cards in public. Or private. Of course. But how do you not at some point find commonalities with people and want to share, when you’re just loving one another’s work to the bits? It’s already happened twice. People want to keep in touch. At TEDx Summit, it is a necessity.
I hit the jackpot today when I was excused from the warehouse that the volunteers are working in to pull this event off…to hook up with this amazing ‘guerrilla’ film team from the What Took You So Long Foundation. Holy banana! They’re cool. Their co-founder is of course a TEDx speaker himself with an activist’s view of the world. Here’s a treat. Go nuts in their archives of trailers. This group means business in the search for ‘grassroots NGO’s, untold stories and unsung heroes’, taken from their homepage. Here’s a look at the TEDx Athens presentation by c0-founder Sebastian Lindstrom.
I felt the air of change all around me, the power of anticipation, exploration, direction and determination to make this world a better place. Doha Film Institute and many other sponsors have done just that by lavishly making this inaugural ball, er, TEDx Summit 2012 a gorgeous, exciting event.
Who says living in Doha is boring?!