Saturday, March 19, 2016

Dear Maha

Maha this article appears at an appropriate moment for me. 

I was speaking with a Polish friend of the language of occupation which oppresses generations of people, victims of the violent abuse of others. 

He kept repeating the idea that present generations could not really usefully unpick the past. 

At the same time he kept saying that he refused to accept the words: "Polish concentration camps" - these are German he insisted.  

I talked of reparation as recognition of crimes against humanity - the descendants of slaves, victims of all sorts. 

I asked him if he considered that it was acceptable that the descendants of the manufacturers of Xyclon B benefited from capital extracted from genocide while black descendants of slaves were still suffering from systemic discrimination and deprivation. 

I asked him whether he imagined that years of occupation/colonisation had not determined narrative, language, relations of generation upon generation.  

There is the discourse of guilt - guilt of being a man, white, elite, German, straight, English, Banker...

We do not choose our birth.

We find ourselves brought to a world in which the rules by which we will live are predefined. 

We are recognised, branded even by the language of others:

White, black, man, queer, weird, woman, English, small, snob, loser...

I have spent many years unpicking discourses which were branded into my body, into my lens to view the world, into my relations with others. 

Years of research, genealogical, psychoanalytical, nexus analysis, critical pedagogy, leads me to the writing of this at present.

I refuse to accept that this is our only destiny - that this is God's will. 

I refuse to accept the belief that we can not learn to free ourselves from mental slavery (to borrow words of Bob Marley).

Indeed, I believe that this must be our struggle, our common struggle for our children.

We must unpick the colonisation of our minds, bodies, spirit, as children of the slaves and the slave-owners, as mothers, as fathers, as sisters and as brothers. 

There must be recognition.

There must be reparation - material and/or symbolic. 

There must be a desire to create new relations between men, women, animals, plants and the ecosystem of which we are part. 

It were time that we gave up dreams of unjust "progress" - material gain for a few at the expense of the many. 

There are victims of abuse in all sectors of our societies. 

There is only one way to grow, as far as I can see. 

It entails loving dialogue, compassion, forgiveness and a common determination to imagine anew in the light of what we must learn from these stories. 

There may be need for active resistance to violence. 

Lives will be lost.

We are all lost unless we fight for justice and for peace.

Thank you for holding up a light.

We shall need such lights to guide a way.

Love to all at DigiPedLab Cairo.


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