Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I Will Refrain

Everybody's talking about heros. National heros. They are speechifying in the square about which historical politicians should have holidays named in honour of them, and which others should have their faces removed from or put on the money. I hear them, I see them gathering and going on, and I am angry. I am angry because they're talking about national heros as if full human and civil rights are had by all in this country. I am angry because my culture is too busy handing out trophies and we are too busy applauding or not applauding for this dead man or that, and meanwhile, I am still not free. Not one of those old colonial and post-colonial fellows ever took a stand for the likes of me. Not one of them, white or black, ever stood up for the rights of women at risk, not one of them ever spoke out for my right to own and govern my body, particularly my uterus, and any fertilized egg that may be inside it. Not one of them ever stormed the floor of the House of Assembly, as far as I know, and demanded immediate action when rape became the way of our lives. Even that token "heroine" whose name we like to evoke whenever speaking of the rights of women, even she is on film speaking and speaking so beautifully and you draw closer to the tv to listen then have to RECOIL because you hear her saying, "And this is why we should not develop birth control in our country." I say put crayon pictures by kindergartners on the money, and re-name that October holiday "Indiginous People's Day" and be frigging done with it. Until that day when the constitution names me and my children equal to all men in this land I will refrain from any hero-making..


Nicolette Bethel said...

I'm angry for a different reason. I'm angry because we continually deal with the surface, the political salepoints, but we don't ever address the depths. This whole thing about heroes (and honours) is a reaction to a political movement, is a reaction by politicians to people who make plenty noise. And it's incomplete. You're right - we're not talking about real heroes/heroines, but about people whose families and friends want them to be remembered (or whose enemies want them to be forgotten). Maybe if we talked about what makes someone a hero, rather than rattling through a list of names of people who may or may not have done great things, we might get somewhere where neither you nor I have to be so angry.


Anonymous said...

I second that!

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