Monday, February 7, 2011

Knowing that rape has it's flaws...

Let me start off by explaining myself. I don't like to write about things like rape. I think it's very stressful and brings up the most un-fun of thoughts. That being said, this past weekend, I started writing a poem about rape. By the time I was done, I took my time thinking about how I could justify it : It came to my mind and I had to put it on paper. Enjoy..?

                      Midnight Robbery

"Not me, not to me, you can't..."
These were the only syllables that could be picked up as
I shook my head violently from side to side
Not a scream or a cry
But a faint whimper, drawn out 
Eyes tight shut and tear-less, throat as dry as the Kalahari in June
Hands clasping the dry wringing ropes
Scratching non-strategically at everything near
I bit my bottom lip as the three salty "no" tears 
finally fell at an angle
Please... at least sixty times I must have said it
When he slapped me across the face
And I leaned my face forward to
Hold on to his hand longer
Anything to get through to him
That I was a person
That I was scared and had a future 
That he was very close to ruining
That he should find some other unfortunate young girl
One who hadn't been waiting 
"Please, you don't... how much... will hurt me
I... after... they... never really love again
I... I don't want to be jaded"
The stupidity of the words left a sick humor as they escaped me
He looked at me in my self-pity
Differently for a few seconds, "yow lu la jott?"*
The stupidity of the words left him slightly embarrassed as he spat them at me
Maybe it won't be so bad, I thought, if I just mentally prepare myself... 
Immediately disgusted I began to cry bitterly
And immediately I lost his attention
I was the typical victim again
And the ugliness re-appeared in his face as he fastened the wringing dry ropes around my wrists
And threw my already victimized body onto the brown carpet rug
With the pretty tassels.

* Translates: what is the matter with you?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

LiteRateUre - Fantastic things I've read

This is my last semester at college, and in one of the literature classes I sneaked into my biology-packed schedule, we started reading The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. I might be exaggerating but this is one of the best books I have ever read. It talks about the lives of two fraternal twins Ethsa (boy) and Rahel (girl) who grow up way too fast in a society where the caste-system is still going strong amidst the Marxist revolution (Inquilab Zindabad!). Here are some quotes:

"It is curious how sometimes the memory of death lives on for so much longer than the memory of the life that it purloined. Over the years, as the memory of Sophie Mol ... slowly faded, the Loss of Sophie Mol grew robust and alive. It was always there. Like a fruit in season. Every season. As permanent as a government job."

"Ammu said that human beings were creatures of habit, and it was amazing the kind of things one could get used to."

"With the certitude of a true believer, Vellya Paapen had assured the twins that there was no such thing in the world as a black cat. He said that there were only black cat shaped holes in the universe."

"And when we look in through the windows, all we see are shadows. And when we try and listen, all we hear is a whispering. And we cannot understand the whispering, because our minds have been invaded by a war. A war that we have both won and lost. The very worst sort of war. A war that captures dreams and re-dreams them. A war that has made us adore our conquerors and despise ourselves." 

Excellent book. I also read this poem which I absolutely have to share:

Stationery - Agha Shahib Ali (Inidian Poet)

The moon did not become the sun.
It just fell on the desert
in great sheets, reams
of silver handmade by you.
The night is your cottage industry now,
the day is your brisk emporium.
The world is full of paper.

Write to me.

~ Have a great day ladies and gentlemen :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The African Revolution: DITCH DEMOCRACY!

Lately I've been getting very riled up about the African continent.
Anyone who knows me knows that I'm an extremist. If I think about something long enough, I get very passionately pulled to one side or the other. I finally agreed to watch Blood Diamond, after avoiding it, because I know how depressed I get after watching these movies. It's not that I try to pretend that Africa is not in crisis. Its my home, I know very well the problems we face and create and I am constantly reminded of them, but like I said, I'm an extremist. When I watch movies about/think deeply about the problems we face in Africa, I fall into an infinite pool of negative emotion. Rage turns to hatred, which quickly develops tumors of irrational fear and anxiety, or morphs into hopelessness. None of these things are bringing about solutions or working to improve my stress level.
Either way, I watched the movie. After I calmed down, I had a long conversation with an older African man about the solution to Africa. We quickly came to a radical consensus that democracy was NOT the way forward and needed to be dropped instantly in the attempt to salvage our continent.
Democracy is the Western government of choice. And since we are not the same, its possible that democracy cannot work for us in the same way it works for them. The whole 'freedom' thing is seen very differently in Africa. Freedom here is getting married to whoever, as long as you're over 18. At home that simply will not go over well. Not even with your best friends, if they care about you. Freedom in my home country, is being able to have a 'heew' (event) with loud music and not expect the police to come to your house because you are disturbing the peace. In the West, that would not fly too well either.
If I am right (which I may not be), then using democracies is not only going to be unsuccessful, but is also a medium by which the African continent will stay "down", trying to reach a standard set by someone else that is not suited to us, and failing. So I figured we should try something of our own. I will tell you now that I don't have a solution, but I did play with some ideas. If you think of any better ones, please feel free to share.
The first idea I dabbled with was small-scale monarchy. The idea is that we stop looking at our countries as one large body under one man (El Presidente). Rather, we look at them as a group of numerous constituencies (or villages: the word has negative connotation but try and see past it for me), with each one having a monarch/chief who is advised by elders in the village. Decisions are made based on values, customs and traditions. This is subjective, but it works for families, so it should work for a set of families who are trying to succeed together. The thought of going back to our roots and what-not is always somehow revitalizing. It brings the self-satisfaction of thinking we had it right all this while, and we were doing it long before anyone taught us how.
As nice as it all sounds, its obvious that our previous systems, beautiful and elegant as they were, were (i) not without flaw and (ii) impractical in the 21st Century. Please feel free to argue otherwise, but a kingdom today would have many problems. With the treacherous side-by-side advance of intellect and selfishness people are just not concerned with the wellbeing of anyone but themselves, let alone a set of other families. The Kingdom would be corrupt; rich king with a bunch of wives, poor families. It would be better than rich President, poor people who are brainwashed into thinking that somehow, a piece of paper they placed in an already pre-set ballot resulted in their present way of life. Like they chose this person to rule them, like they chose to live under the pretense of free-ness. But it's still not a drastic improvement.
You have to guess that Marxism came in at least somewhere in my considerations. It has to. Regardless of your personal feelings, you can't help but consider the Manifesto... it's genius. I figure it wouldn't work too well because there's too much room in the system to change things. Think Animal Farm (George Orwell). Governments don't usually follow a theory they didn't make up themselves to the T. This leaves a 'heory' which frankly is just not the same thing. In all seriousness though, as one aspect of equality becomes exception to the rule, its hard to hold tight reins on the others without looking like the very same government the people were trying to escape by revolting.
Egypt is currently trying to get a revolution going, and more power to them. But the effects, longterm effects are not certain. People sometimes get so riled up trying to get rid of the current failures that they do not foresee the future catastrophe lying ahead. Anyway, we hope for the best for Egypt.
Maybe the mother of all government styles will turn out to be a well ground mix off all the possibilities. Perfect government is attainable only by God, so we are not going to reach that, but its not too far-fetched to just look for something that works for us.