Thinking Small!

Thinking small!? It just takes a glance through the MicSem forum thread we posted on the migrant survey to see it in action.? I had asked for very basic information from any and all who live in the US or Guam now?name, city or town, email or other contact information.? Dozens of posters replied… but not in the way that I had hoped.

Instead of offering their names and contact info, they offered objections.? Who?s doing this survey anyway, and what?s it for?? (To make MicSem rich and famous, perhaps?) How do I know that my information is safe and won?t be turned over to the government? (The knock on the door in the middle of the night could be the Homeland Security agent with papers in his hand to deport me!) I could have my identity stolen by entrusting this to an insecure URL (How much confidence would you have in a site that?s labeled ?surveymonkey??)

I was dumbfounded. Doesn?t anyone see what?s happening these days?? Restrictions threatened on the freedom Micronesians have had to move to the US, find jobs, educate their kids, provide health care for older relatives?? Wouldn?t you want to do something positive here to support your government and offer an honest picture of how your people provide for themselves (and their relatives back home) against heavy odds?? Wouldn?t you want to help correct any misrepresentations of how your people live overseas?? Wouldn?t you think that these issues might outweigh the risk of someone grabbing your email address or phone number (we?re not asking for Social Security ID or bank account number, after all)?

Thinking small!? In the long run, this may be more dangerous to the islands than diabetes and the other epidemics we face.? It?s a disease of the head and the heart.

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About the author

Francis X. Hezel, SJ
Francis X. Hezel, SJ

Francis X. Hezel, SJ, is a Jesuit priest who has lived and worked in Micronesia since 1963. At different times he has served as high school teacher, school administrator, pastor, and regional superior to the Jesuits of Micronesia. He spent thirty years directing the Micronesian Seminar, a non-profit, non-governmental organization based in Pohnpei, Micronesia. He has written and spoken widely about social change and its impact on island societies. He has also written several books on Micronesian history, including The First Taint of Civilization, Strangers in Their Own Land, and The New Shape of Old Island Cultures. His most recent book, Making Sense of Micronesia: The Logic of Pacific Island Culture, is available through University of Hawaii Press.