Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Being human and the quest for reconciliation

Talks of reconciliation is not popular, it never was. Most of us call for blood and revenge. In our communities, coloured communities, we were fed on 'action' and 'karate movies'-Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Charles Bronson, John Wayne and later on TV 'The A-team', Nightrider, Macgiver, 'Jackie Chan', etc. One of the key (if not the only) themes in these movies were the violent murder of the hero's family or burning of the village, the taking over of their land or positions of power by the enemy, the hero's oath to revenge this injustice and then.... how he (usually a man) takes on the enemy and kills him violently at the end. That's where the movie stops, the highlight, the bloody hero having conquered them all. Small wonder then, that our communities were inherently violent. Weekends we would run to see the fights in the streets, to see men would drag their wifes/girl friends on the pavements and our sports games were often called off because of marauding gangs showing 'their colours'. Of course we should not give too much credit to the movies and Bruce Lee's acting abilities, hence the question need to be asked why there are such a fascination with blood and revenge. Could it be that these themes were speaking to the heart of our experiences under a cruel system or that it articulated the same yearning for dealing with the injustice of a brutal oppressive system ? Could it be that we merely reflected in our own bloodsport, the core of what is happening in any case in our society.

The question then is how do we overcome this, because indeed, even today we still call for the guillotine, for more blood. I would think that we could start to re-affirm the call of someone like Steve Biko for the regaining of our humanity. Reconciliation and anti-racism is not about oppressed conquering the oppressor violently, it's rather about finding and asserting our common humanity in the face of inhumanity, in the face of violence, in the face of injustice. It is at this point where we discover the same humanity in 'the other', the enemy, in their being a father a mother, son, a lover of fun, good food, humor, etc. Maybe the key to understand my opening line lies in the word 'talks' about reconciliation. Talk (blogging?) is cheap. Maybe we rather need these smaller connections, rooted in the humane values that we share and then we'll destroy our enemies by turning them into friends (Abraham Lincoln, I think) Maybe, by simply being human amongst other humans, by mothering, fathering, laughing, crying playing.. we can start to connect the dots.. and simply be humans of flesh and blood. Maybe, then, I still need to call for blood, flesh and blood.
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