Life in an ivory tower would only serve to distance one’s self from activism. Why do such a thing? Then the answer came to me: privilege. One can afford to step back. One can choose to work in the ivory tower glancing down at the people below. One’s life and one’s position in it are secure, anddesert-view-tower one has the time and the space to explore eccentricities, minute nuances and obscure notions. And, one could spend one’s life doing such without any significant need to behave differently. The subjects of study will continue to be there. There is plenty of academic fodder.
To me that is counterproductive. Working in academia at the intersection of religion, feminism and (in this case) refugees, especially in Europe, demands education, activism, advocacy, empowerment and so much more. There cannot and should not be any sort of tower when one’s goal is to make one’s own job obsolete. That’s definitely one of my goals at the intersection of religion and feminism: to not be needed anymore! Unfortunately, we are not there yet.
I truly believe that activism is essential. We have to stand up and fight for the world we want. We have to give voice to the voice-less, empower the powerless and acknowledge as well as challenge privilege every time we encounter it! While it’s easier to plant oneself high-up in an ivory tower that is comfortable, warm and secure and, once there, stay inside, that’s not living! That’s not justice. That’s nothing more than apathy, complacency and heaps and heaps of privilege along the way. If we are truly committed to change, education, empowerment, justice, equality and flourishing, we can’t stay put. Tear down the tower!
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