Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Inspiring Women: Roxanne Krystalli: Open Hearted Traveller

Roxanne says in a video response to the question “who are you,” that she is “foreign everywhere and mispronounces everything.” Her honesty and self-effacement and joy are apparent throughout all that she shares. She was born in Greece, went to school in America, describes herself professionally as “a conflict management professional who specializes in the effects of war and conflict on women,” and in the same space as someone who is a “fervent believer in the power of storytelling.” Roxanne’s travels and work have taken her to Egypt, Jerusalem, Latin America and the Balkans, among other locales. On her site Stories of Conflict and Love and in her photo journal she documents these journeys, portraying not only “conflict and grief” but also human “resilience.”

Roxanne’s two posts on non-violent conflict here and here demonstrate both scholarship and lived experience. The first cites reports showing the relative success of strategically organized non-violent movements compared with violent confrontations. The second looks at violence itself and how it may backfire for both those in power and those who resist. While she expresses sympathy for protestors in her native land she does not agree with violent expression and points to a source where 198 alternatives to violent conflict are identified.

Roxanne has a wonderful eye for beauty in the landscapes she travels. See her post on light in Jerusalem during Hanukkah. From a walk in Greece, she shows us spiritual messages interspersed with violent and defiant graffiti. Or check out this variety from the fish on the bicycle in Cuba to the tree reflected in the soup bowl to the children playing in the street. Remarking of herself, Roxanne says she “preaches mindfulness” but frequently dwells in memory or worries about the future and that behind the camera “time stops, ” and that “photography makes me more mindful because it reminds me to really look... to search for beauty (or for surprise, incongruence, contradiction and conflict).” See also a tender post on waiting for someone special, the zenith of which is “I stare at the lily till all I see is a blushing world,” and the extraordinary pictures that follow.

Elsewhere, in her video introduction, Roxanne says, “the power of kindness to ourselves and others is one of the currencies I must believe in.” She exemplifies it through her work, her travel, her writing, her art and her joy.

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