The biggest complaint that most divers have in technical diving (well, in diving actually) is when will we all grow up ? To put it is a single word, Politics! This instructor is not speaking to that instructor, this agencies is not speaking to that agency, this one is slagging that one off! What is a poor diver to do ?
This came home to both Gerhard and myself with the current AED initiative we are trying to get off the ground! Now, we thought (naively it turns out), that the diving community might all pull together when it comes to safety! Well, yes and no!
First there was the argument from the coastal contingent, ‘Why should they support the inland dive sites ? They do not dive there ! (completely forgetting that the divers that come and dive with them at the sea are predominantly trained inland)’. We weathered that storm and bravely went on, to meet the next issue, ‘Why should I help out, the dive sites should manage safety, they should buy the AED’! Well, that one just blind sided us! Umm, because you are going to look really silly at a funeral blaming the dive site when all it took was one raffle ticket (or 5 if you are feeling generous) and 3 hrs to learn how to use the AED, but hey, maybe it is just me ? Maybe I am the only one that thinks that something’s in life are just to important to leave to institiutions and that you should just get off your butt and take responsibility!
Then it got even worse! Then we all (DAN included) got accused of playing politics! Questions were thrown around about whose name gets to go on the AED’s ? Why are we (Liquid Edge) behind this ? What do we want to get out of it ? Why should money be given to us ? How does he know where the money is going ? What if we steal it ? That one had us stumped! How do you deal with that level of paranoia ? What was even funnier is that the only person who seemed to have an agenda was the individual preventing us from finding a way forward (and I still do not have a clue what that agenda was).
So I got to thinking, what is it about the diving industry that seems to promote petty politics ? Is it because it is perceived to be small and price sensitive, so that means every individual is in a dog eat dog world and has to fight for his piece of the pie ?
Is it a South African thing ? What do I mean ? Well, we all are quite comfortable sitting back complaining about how the crime is intolerable and why does the government not do anything about it, never even thinking that maybe we should let the government be incompetent all on their own.! Why not go around them and fix the problems ourselves ?
In fact, I have this sneaky suspicion that the country dynamics we live in are totally reflected in the smaller communities like diving. Anyone who is part of the scuba list will attest to the amount of cynicism and ‘fight’ that is part of the community! We just seem to be intolerant in general! And it all is personal!
As an individual I believe that who I support should reflect my personal value system, so there are individuals and companies that I simply will not associate with (Zimbabwe is a big one and yes, I know, how does me NOT going to dive Sinoi make Mughabe sod off ?). I have only one real vote and that is where I spend my money and time, so I use it! But here is the thing, that is my choice and I do not expect you to make the same choices! You have the same freedom of association!
Are we really so small and insecure as individuals that we can not see behind the names to the benefits that could be obtained if we just Got Off It! I am now going to get off my soap box! The point really is this, you don’t have to like me to agree that something is worth doing, and supporting a cause is not always about supporting the individuals behind it! We will never get rid of individuals, but we can get over politics! And as individuals we can start to be responsible for creating the communities we would like to live in! We can make a difference. It always starts small!