Thursday, November 22, 2012

Madness




Several years ago I wrote about the need for having a finger on the pulse of humanity. About how important it was to be able to empathise with suffering. With those in pain. I stand by that.  So while my views on Palestine aren't quite aligned to mass Slumou hysteria the minute the topic is raised, it was with deepening dread, steadily mounting horror that I followed the tweets out of Gaza, tweeting and retweeting into the wee hours of the morning. Sleep evaded me. All I could focus on was the terror of Gaza as bombs rained down while politicians played their dirty games in plush offices.

As politicians paraded in designer suits, the swaddled remains of babies and young children were clutched to keening hearts before being laid to rest in sandy graves.  The images out of Gaza were harrowing. And still politicians played their games waiting for the right moment to make the right gesture to ensure maximum effect, even as the death toll climbed. By the fourth day I’d reached a point where I could take no more. I was overwhelmed by the suffering. Despair settled. Hot and heavy. Social media, the immediacy of it all horrified me. What kind of world was it, I wondered, where such wanton murder could continue unchecked - even when there was an audience?

Tomorrow Benoni will host a rally in support of Gaza. I shall attend. Maybe I will feel less impotent if I do.  The provincial secretary of the ANC will be present. It is, after all, election time and the Muslim vote is important (not to mention, moneyed).

The question I will be dying to ask is: Aside from making all the right noises when and where the ANC is expected to do so, why has our ANC government until now, not severed all trade relations with Israel?  Annual trade between Israel and South Africa totalled $500 million USD as of 2003. I'm sure today, that figure must be much higher. One has merely to browse the fruit section of your local Woolies or Spar.

To quote wiki : Since the end of apartheid, South Africa's new government has been cold towards Israel and critical of Israel's policies towards Palestinians, but has nevertheless ignored calls from pro-Palestinian South African groups to sever relations between the two countries.

Also have a lookie here

See, the ANC have convinced us all that a vote for the DA will unleash pro Zionist sentiment in SA akin to the kind displayed by Jan Smuts whose government granted de facto recognition of Israel as a state a mere nine days after its Declaration of Independence in 1948. Muslim comrades within our communities have been very sure to drive the message home: The DA is Zionist/Jewish funded. Refuting that claim or even confirming it has been nigh impossible. Even Google doesn't know the answer. For now, bottom line: A vote or the DA = suffering for Muslims. Or so they claim.

So come elections, the conscientious Muslim will place his X next to the face of Zuma (please God, let it not be!), effectively endorsing hundreds of millions being stolen from state coffers cos he prefers the devil he knows to the one he doesn't.

And at the next pro Palestine rally, he’ll shake hands with ANC leaders, thank them for coming (as though any man needs to be thanked for speaking out against injustice). Trade relations between SA an Israel will be stronger than ever. And through it all Palestinian suffering will continue unabated. 















vive le rĂ©sistance! 


Monday, November 05, 2012

Her...


Sometimes I see her
reflected back at me
Her crooked toothed smile
cheeks too round  
Sometimes I hear
inflections of her speech
Snatches of her laughter

I've covered her
Hidden her
beneath words
and blogs
and tweets
Still, she surfaces

I never liked her
Did you know that?
Everything about her
was always wrong
Didn't like her voice
The way she smiled
Mostly, didn't like
the way she hurt...

In 2010, Americans spent $10,677,415,674 on plastic surgery.  91% of all cosmetic procedures were performed on women. Is it just me, or is there something obscene about that number (which, by the way, is so large that I cannot actually read it out loud!) in a world where more than 5 million children under the age of five, die each year of starvation.

Stop. By no means though, am I suggesting that Merkins kill off one of their most profitable industries and redirect all those millions to developing nations.  What I am asking, is why there are so many people, most of them women, unhappy with themselves? So many women whose skin feels too tight, breasts feel too small, asses too big?

The media. I’d hazard a guess, that that’s what many of you came up with in answer to that question. And while the media remains a reliable scapegoat for most of the ills in the word, I on the other hand feel the problem lies within.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Powerful words that bear thinking of. Yet not so easy to believe or implement when you were the kid who was teased in school for being fat/having a big nose/having ‘tata ore’/wearing glasses. And that, right there, is where it all began. If you’re fat, you should at last compensate by being smart in school. Because fat people are stupid, right? If you have a big nose…well…you should fix it. And your ears while you’re at it. And the glasses? Haven’t you heard of contacts?

It doesn’t end there though, does it? You grow up. Turn it the butterfly you were meant to be. Yet every time you look in the mirror you catch a glimpse of the caterpillar. The one you didn’t like.

I was never the skinny girl in school. There was always more of me than other people would have wanted. More of me than I wanted.  I hated it. Hated myself. Yet, today when I look at my high school pictures, I realise that I wasn’t really fat. I just wasn’t thin enough to blend in.

Now, though, I am. But oddly enough, it doesn’t bother me as much as it did then.  Except when a well-meaning but stupid/insensitive contact sends me information about the fantastic weight loss product they’re selling. Or when someone who thinks they’re really witty suggests that I threaten to sit on anyone who tries to walk all over me.  I kid you not. That actually happened. That it was a she, well, I chalked it down to inherent bitchiness.

The thing is, I'm comfortable. As I am. I don’t need sympathy or to share my weight loss disaster stories with anyone. I don’t need to say “ I've had 5 kids and 4 miscarriages, and if that doesn't fuck up your body good, I don’t know what will…”

Realistically, I know that I could do with weight loss, but right now, I’d much rather improve my fitness. Focus on feeling healthier, better about myself. I don’t believe in pills and potions. I do believe in moderation in all things. In balance. And if, after implementing all that, I still don’t lose weight, I can live with that. I am comfortable in my own skin.  And that is an amazingly empowering realisation.

I often think the world would be a better place if we all accepted ourselves. Learnt to love ourselves enough for the opinions of others not to matter. Along life’s way, we are, all of us, bound to encounter those whose religion is ‘Pejorativism’. Those who seek to demean.  The secret, dear friends, is rising above that. Being able to see beauty still, in every soul we meet, regardless of shape, colour or size. When we feel beautiful within, all the world looks beautiful