It’s been a while since I wrote about the revolution. I guess I’ve been too busy living through it? with it? in it? I’m not sure what word to use. It’s within me and at the same time outside of me. I guess I find it funny when people, academics and such, try to grasp the revolution, encapsulate it into a theory, a concept, a process.
They bottle it up, put it right on the shelf next to their smart people books and between their dead plants. That’s where the revolution looks the prettiest to them : up on their shelves, shelves so solidly built you get distracted by them and forget about the revolution. You get so caught up in trying to understand it, embody it, identify it, that you’re not able to recognize it when it is right in front of you. Isn’t that idiotic? It is to me! Maybe it’s my poet self speaking but I’m not sure the revolution can be caught in words and diagrams or scholarly approved articles. The revolution is versatile and flexible. It moves around and never stagnates, never gets tired, it is always on the run, never stops. You might not see it and you might not feel it for a while but you have to believe that it is still there, living inside someone else. There are as many revolutions as there are people in the world. Never forget that !
It has been a while since I wrote about the revolution because I have also grown tired of it. It consumes me, exhausts me and, frankly, sometimes it feels like it was glued to me by someone else. those are not my hands that decided to bathe in it, roll myself in its dirt and its pain. I never decided that. It was decided for me just like everything about who I am. Recently, it feels as if my story is written by those who have never met me. They snatch the pen off my fingers, rip a page and start writing with their clumsy hands, spitting and sweating everywhere, fueled by the hatred they have for those who look like me. Then, they sneak in the revolution, one I don’t know, one I’ve never met, they take the glue stick and smudge it with it, then, BAM, they violently stick in on the page. “That’s you!”, they say, but I can’t see myself. The revolution is falsified, strange and unfamiliar. It is more of a duty than an exchange. I give it everything I have and get nothing back in return. The pain is romanticized with violins playing and slow motion pictures rolling. The pain is never real for them, because it is my body and mind that go through it and those two, are not real to them either.
It has been a while since I wrote about the revolution. It has been a while since I wrote about anything that hasn’t been scrutinized and graded by someone else. Sometimes, when I see how weak I get, I think the revolution deserves better than that, better than me. It sticks to my hairy brown skin but what if this skin is not worthy for the revolution’s attention. I get lost in these thoughts often but I like it. The revolution gives me the space to be who I am and reflect on it and maybe it doesn’t do that for anyone else. But being me today is still a fight that I have to keep up. It’s a fight to legitimize my presence and tell my story the way I think it should be told.
I saw a tweet the other day that made me think of what the revolution means to me vs what it means to other people vs what it really is. Of course, I’m not saying that the revolution is one thing or the other, it is a multilayered lasagna with different levels of emotional attachment, political concern and identity re-appropriation. But I thought the tweet was really interesting because of how it deconstructed what we thought was ‘honoring’ our ancestors. Whether we like it or not, the revolution is a continuity of what our grandparents started and what their grandparents fought for. Coming from a previous french colony, it feels like revolting is part of us, hence what I said in a previous entry about the revolution coming out of the womb with us. Anyways, I’m rambling. The tweet explained how when “we lift up academia and corporate aspirations as our ancestors” wildest dreams, we do their imagination a disservice. Our ancestors were working day in and day out, they were mistreated, discriminated, humiliated for being who they are ; so what they dreamed of, was not being part of the system that was destroying and enslaving them, their dream was rather leisure, self-care and pleasure. The tweet went on about how our ancestors probably dreamt about “smoking, having consensual sexual encounters”. “I bet they dreamt of a world where their families weren’t ripped apart and they were immersed in the community.” By acknowledging this, the revolution changes, doesn’t it? It’s not just about taking to the streets, yelling at the top of your lungs or demonstrating day and night. Taking time for myself when the world is giving me so many reasons not to, that’s a revolution! having my own garden, growing my own tomatoes and sharing it with others, watering my plant, being in love, eating freshly cut watermelon, swimming in the mediterranean, laughing loudly, walking around my city while soaking in the hot summer sun, these are revolutions we lead every single day we are alive, and just like the tweet said “forget capitalism, forge community.”
Tweet referenced above: https://twitter.com/churchcunt/status/1367072660002332672
The revolution is sometimes unrecognizable. When western media outlets take over the lead in circulating discourse about it, the revolution is not what you have known it to be. It has this whole romantic dimension bullshit and you suddenly understand that to the rest of the world, it’s like our revolutions are a performance coming with people in costumes playing the role of other people. We become the representation of what happened before us, not by our ancestors but by those who colonized and exploited us. Our revolutions are named by everyone but us, they become springs when they happen in the winter just to fit the mold that was built for us to fit in with no consideration to who we truly are. Our leaders become the napoleons, our feminists the simone de beauvoir. We are never ourselves because we live in the shadows of others. Our revolutions are a theatrical performance on a wooden stage, they are entertaining until they last too long and people get bored of reading about us so our deaths are silenced. Our revolutions are the hot topic of the week and get forgotten in a month. Our mispronounced names slip through the mouths of others until they don’t even know where we live anymore. Our revolutions matter until they don’t.
By Mariam B.
Crédit photo : @tooharam
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