Where's home?

Where's home?

Are we living an era where one’s ‘home’ is no longer clear? Where do people really come from? Is it where they were born? Is it where their parents were born? What happens when all three places are different? What happens when you move away from your birthplace before you even turn one year old?

I think it’s time that we accept that we are all world citizens. Sure, we have passports and roots, but ultimately, we are all descended from the same few tribes in Eastern Africa, we are all survivors of ice ages and great extinctions and we all occasionally get high blood pressure. It’s time that we all realize that we all have a vested interest in each other’s advancement and success. We can no longer succeed at someone else’s expense. Disproportional disparity based on origins, social parcours or educational institution must end. This is not a call for full parity, this is a call for sane symmetry.

Let’s get back to the origins argument. It’s a strong one. It’s one that applies to most of us. Every day, fewer can claim to have been born in a city, from parents born in that city, to have been raised in said city and to still be living there. My wife and I were both born on the new continent of old continent parents. Both of us were then raised on both continents; I even on a third. We are both multilingual, have traversed various faith beliefs; we now have children with even more confused biographies. As it happens, our cultural baggage is even more mixed up. Someone raised in the most remote areas of the Pamir mountains, the Kalahari desert or the plains of Nazca is bombarded with trans-boundary culture. She or he is constantly hit with advertisements, foreign products (something as simple as a pack of cigarettes, a Coke or a Mars bar all three of which I have seen in the remote regions mentioned previously), foreign media, foreign fashions and, of course, foreign travelers.

Maybe the simple realization that none of us are pure will someday lead to a new globalism as opposed to nationalism. Maybe we will have attachment to where we are as opposed to where we have been or where our parents or distant ancestors have been. I hail from the plains of Mongolia. That was about thirty generations ago. Maybe it’s time I consider myself a native/resident of my current apartment building? Maybe I should finally consider the neighbors I see almost every day as important to me as some distant cousins I have not seen in thirty years?

In short, where’s home must stop being an uncomfortable question to answer. From now on, if someone asks me where I’m from, it’ll be where I happen to be living right now. And if someone insists on knowing my origins, I will honestly have to answer “I don’t know” because all things considered, I really do not know.

By the way, all this is key to my field. Communications depends on understanding your target and our targets are no longer a clear, easy to define demographic. Our targets are highly complex beings with a depth of experience unknown to previous generations. Get with it: Marshall McLuhan got it right, it’s a global village people.

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Cemil Alyanak

Communicator. Perception analyst. Filmmaker. Photographer. Senior Policy Advisor. Amateur Radio Operator. Military officer. Pilot. Adventure biker. Husband and dad.

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