something tonight (which i don't want to explain) caused me to think about when i first became politically aware and motivated to be politically active.
it's really hard to pin these things down to one specific factor or moment, especially at age 45 trying to have an accurate memory of my teen years! but i think one of the most defnining influences for me was the springbok tour of 1981. i was around 15 years old then, and all i could remember was a muldoon government. i had vague recollections of norman kirk dying, but was too young when he died for that to have a real impact.
initially i had been convinced by all the people who were adamant that politics should be kept out of sport, and that the tour must go ahead. yes, really. then at school, there was a debate on the tour, and teachers being the wily things that they are, my teacher put me on the side of arguing that the tour shouldn't happen. of course i was annoyed at the time, because i had all the arguments of the other side in my head already.
but the debate forced me to research the other side. and when i started reading, and finding out what apartheid was, how it worked, what effects it had on black south africans, and the sheer injustice of it all, well i can hardly describe the experience. i could go poetic and tell you that it was like a veil of ignorance had lifted from my mind. or maybe it's more accurate to say that it just blew my mind.
it was that process and the events around it that really caused political awareness. the following year, i studied south african history as part of the 5th form history syllabus. it was while of all this was going on that the game was stopped in hamilton, and i had friends who had been in the middle of rugby park, in the midst of all the anger and violence. i wasn't allowed to go, but i really wish i could have been there.
following from that experience, i started becoming aware of other issues both around the world and locally - ireland, palestine, becoming nuclear free, women's rights. it's like becoming aware of one injustice opened the doors to learning about others. and it opened the doors to caring and wanting to act.
wanting to act and actually getting involved are two different things. there was another event that pushed me towards getting involved in various things, but that was much later in my life. i'll save that post for another day - if i write it at all.
so, if people feel comfortable sharing, i'd be really interested in hearing what inspired or motivated you to become politically aware. i'll be doing my best to keep the comments thread safe for people to share.