Monday, January 09, 2006

The Right Thing to Do

“Then there were the recipients of the leftovers of imperial handouts:

Post-graduate awards.
Graduate awards.
It doesn’t matter
What you call it.

But did I hear you say

Dainty name to describe
Most merciless
Most formalized

Spy system of all time:

For a few pennies now and a
Doctoral degree later,
Tell us about
Your people
Your history
Your mind.

Your mind.
Your mind.

Tell us
We can make you
Weaker than you’ve already

And don’t you get any ideas either
Nonsense from
You, Flatnose.

My brother,
There should be no misunderstanding,
No malice intended —

Our dear
Academic doctors
Deserve all
The worship
They get from our poor administrators at home
And more.

They work hard for the
Doctorates —
They work too hard,
Giving away
Not only themselves, but
All of us —

The price is high,
My brother,

Otherwise the story is as old as empires. Oppressed multitudes from the provinces rush to the imperial seat because that is where they know all salvation comes from. But as other imperial subjects in other times and other places has discovered, for the slave, there is nothing at the centre but worse slavery.

Warming itself up
In a single cold room by a
Paraffin lamp,
Covering its
Nakedness and
Disappointed hopes with
The old tickets of the
Football pools
With degrees.”

From the novel Our Sister Killjoy by Ama Ata Aidoo


Have our chains become a fashion? A guilty pleasure that we're willing to sacrifice our integrity for? What's that thing about integrity again? Or is it a certain kind of survival that is more important to us? At least the slave is guaranteed work, shelter and a meal? Is the free man destined to die a slow and painful death of frustration with his dreams hanging fresh and untouched in the dusty cluttered back rooms of memory? Should we just resign to and embrace the chains and adorn them with bling and touches of our own personal style? Pierce our babies ears so as to coopt them early into the superficial comforts of myopic hedonism? But then again, we do not live forever so, we may be lucky and never have to actually… see. Clear vision is not always as desirable as it may seem.

Plus, is there ever truly a right thing to do?

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Daily Gospel

"Truth is the death of intention."

— Walter Benjamin