Arundhati Roy. Jill Scott. Pointing to Resistance

“Power is fortified not just by what it destroys, but also by what it creates. Not just by what it takes, but also by what it gives. And powerlessness reaffirmed not just by the helplessness of those who have lost, but also by the gratitude of those who have (or think they have) gained. ”

– Arundhati Roy, from The Greater Common Good May, 1999

Internalized oppressions and bourgeois ideals can brutalize our ways to alliance-building and liberations.

Legacies of being violated in the social structure, playing out in the everyday, can leave nothing but those actions in our own actions, replaying them without realizing, with seemingly no other way to go.  If we divide ourselves and each other in our own communities, if we make them violent and unforgiveable, confusing and isolating, the way becomes darker.  Faking friendships–making them false friendships, comfort and safety and wanting this everywhere is also a weakness that strangles and disempowers us, legitimizing our giving up easily and to becoming hopelessly hopeless in the never-ending fight and struggle for justice, equity, care, and ethics in our everyday present.

Patriarchal assumptions in relations, ignoring our roots, in letting history allow us to ignore, in relegating ‘good’ activisms towards those that wind up supporting the morally superior, which already controls, dominates and violates us and admonishes those violated to remain ‘good’ while they continue to maintain and intensify the spaces and actions through which they dominate, making smaller spaces for difference and other—- onward onward.

Break the chains that would have us continue to want absolute safety, comfort, dominance and moral superiority, and to legitimize our own traumas and weaknesses through our practices of our own dominations.  The master/slave dynamic is not just about dominance and submission in their raw forms.  It is also about how we have internalized these notions and operate those creatures on ourselves.  We have moved way past treating each other the way we want to be treated.  If we hate ourselves, then how would we treat others–even in our so-called ‘best’ behavior?  Ask ourselves what must be done to turn directions, no matter how difficult.

What Arundhati Roy, activist/writer; and Jill Scott, poet/activist and singer, would ask us to do is to think about how we circumvent ourselves and each other, often without knowing.  Reflecting on our unexamined modes of the way we are ‘ourselves’ in the world, can we move differently?  Move our assumptions to a place where we can see and shift?  Unafraid to experiment, and find those who want to walk that path that will surely become increasingly difficult as the systems that operate around us also operate through us.  We must see that not our entire self, not the entire communities, or people, or history, are totally one-sided or one way.  There are resistances and ambiguous spaces.  Questions.   Let us listen to Jill Scott and what she is saying.  Let us listen to Arundhati Roy.  What is she saying?

How must we walk our paths differently from here?

Arundhati Roy – wikipedia :

‘Monologue’ – by Soleïman Adel Guémar

My friend Adel’s poem speaks to the experience of connection, love, understanding through the inexplainable experiences of exile, heartache, and loneliness.

He is living in Swansea, Wales, where he presently makes his living with the memory/experience of escaping from the dangers of being killed in his home country Algeria, for speaking about the Algerian state policies which lock freedom away and force its citizens to align with state notions and to restrict expressions toward liberation. As mentioned earlier, the human rights record of the present Algeria is abysmal. Journalists and creative artists, and others in Algeria, have had to live in exile in order to survive. In exile, he must live, always in a distant relation to a homeland that no longer exists except in memory, a compromised homeland, of violence and hopes.

His poem is entitled ‘Monologue.’ English translation below.


You just dont know all my sufferings
nor my craziest dreams nor my eyes
when I hide in order to weep
you don't know
the noise of boots in my head
nor the birds I set free
nor my smiles when trains go by
you don't know my voice at night
when I'm telling you about all this

you just know I love you

in "State of emergency", - Arc Publications, UK 2007 -
translated to English from French by: Tom Cheesman & John Goodby

“We Made It” – Spoken Word by Sunni Patterson

This incredible spoken word piece was written about the experiences of people of the already-excluded communities, primarily African-American and Creole, in the aftermath of the Katrina Hurricane.