Disturbance

“Disturbances mark our entire life, whichever way you look at it. The most important thing is to disturb life itself without letting it fall to pieces” (Rugero, 91).

I find this quote intriguing, for in the Translators Notes at the end of Roland Rugero’s novel, Utopia, it provides a bit of post colonialism history. The way in which marginalized minority groups have had to fight and demonstrate for their power and for their voice. Being that, it is something of which we too are fighting for this day.

The quote provides parallelism – at least for me, the way in which set ideals and even legislation, are meant to be challenged. For most of colonialism history shows ways in which Whites have set themselves as the patriarchy, as the saviors, as the ones who wield power. They established a system of oppression and created mass genocides upon populations of people, further demonstrating their power, and their ability to do as they please.

The ways in which they have established systems is through forced oppression, by instituting their own form of government and capital punishment. For the people in this book too – use the death sentence, but in their case they use it for cases of rape. Trying to find ways to justify the actions taken out against women, while as in the U.S. we justify rape and console the attackers – rather than the victims themselves. For the death penalty and incarceration is saved for those of ethnic and racial background, they justify it by containing them in areas of imprisonment and continue doing so by taking away their basic right of suffrage. We have no true system of justice, for the government justifies their actions against minorities for the sake of Whites, to ensure their majority and consolidate their power within.

When minorities try to change the system, those who do not agree with their beliefs or viewpoints are disturbed, for they do not understand the true severity. Rather they live in a world that is made for them, rather than having to fight a world that tries to segregate them. We wish to change the ways in which government acts upon us, to change the way in which other groups are marginalized, for we know the difference of oppression and privilege. It is a privilege to go to school to educate oneself, but it is a right to vote. See the difference?

For the disturbance that they feel  is because we are trying to change the dynamics of the system, we wish to challenge it, and because of that, they are disturbed and no longer see our perspective because it would no longer work to benefit or aid them. This is the reason why I chose this picture that I found from an article on the Odessy, for it demonstrates that a change in the system will work to create a more even field for all. That it will aid all, but instead of that – some people do not the need, or rather see problems within our own government. For they are the ones on the receiving end of white privilege, but let it be known – our voices will go heard for the millions, our hearts will never stop beating for the sake of the cause, and we will never stop trying to fight for our justice that we so need and finally deserve.

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Educational Opportunities for Some

“The children played with elements of nature, for they were nature” (Rugero, 8).

Through the use of African cosmology, Roland Rugero is able to establish that the children in his novel, Baho!, existential for the people of their community to live in a more better and safer world. One free of poverty, violence, and rape. For the children are the future of the older generation.

In stating that the children are nature, it is linking them communally and to nature, by uniting their being with the universe and world surrounding them. For it gives them a sense of inclusion by establishing the fact that they are a vial part for society to thrive by, being that they are the future. Instead alienating them from the world, cosmology – rather, unites them.

Through this tale, it is taken into consideration that unlike Western culture – of which we pass stories of heroes, princesses, and princes – that they too have beliefs, but rather instead of telling stories of super humans with special abilities, rather their belief is that their own child is capable of such things. For they are one with the universe and cosmos.

Their being is made from hardships of the people who endured the war and persevered to ensure that they live in an era which they can create a better world.

But, there is one thing standing in their way for “the White man’s school is disrespectful of human life” due to wanting to specifically “choose which ones will come to fruition” for it does not “welcome all who desire to study and educate” themselves due to their physical capabilities (Rugero, 52).

Through this act, it is showing that not all children are capable of having the right to a universal and desired education, but rather they are selected for it. Contradicting their beliefs that they were taught at a young age, that they are part of society and have the right to benefit from everything that is being provided for them. It presents a clash of culture and effects of the post-war colonialism era. For the ideas and beliefs of the colonizers have implemented regulations and restrictions on their society that they now have to live with. Instead of having this belief, they are stripped of it, showing them that rather – they aren’t as important to society and the world as they were once taught to believe. But rather, their judgement and future lies in the hands of those above them, for they decide their future. They decide how far they will go in life and what they will achieve in life.

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I found this picture in an article “The human universe: Does consciousness create reality?” What I found was most intriguing about this picture is the way in which it connected the person with the universe itself. Giving meaning that they hold all the power in their hands, and it is through their act and will to do as they please. For no one can stop them, but themselves.

An Uninhabitable Lifestyle

Tram 83, a novel written showcasing post African colonialism and its adverse affects on the people of the Congo (DRC). For the way in which post colonialism has affected their lifestyles, is adverse. For the people have lost so much, and are nearly losing their sanity to the world of which they live in.

Fiston Mwanza Mujila makes it clear to the readers, through the use of his imagery showcasing Tram 83 as an ‘unfinished metal structure’ of which, represents a destination unreachable, and population deteriorable. Through the literary usage of illustrating the belly, meaning the hunger that these people who live in the DRC are experiencing – meaning their hunger for food, for freedom, and for a voice. While using politics to showcase African politics in regard to corruption within the state itself. Through this usage it shows the ways in which the population are forced to live their everyday lives in a land that only does them harm.

For there is these sense of complex imagery that the author uses, such as showing how the people have freedom, which is why they are able to do as they please, but are enslaved in poverty. Having to do whatever to survive and live in a world uninhabitable for them. It presents this notion of a darker and an unsafe world, of which the people do not deserve to live in.

Repeatedly throughout the novel, the question “do you have the time?” is constantly being asked. Whether it be through the main characters or bystanders on the street, it is continuously being asked and reiterated. For it has deeper meaning, implying if anyone has the time to fix the mess that has created and taken over the land of which they live in.

Mujila illustrates how colonialism  “shifted from one cold room to another, from one country to another, from one continent to another before winding up in the grubby bar-restaurant-brothels of the City-State” (161-162).  This quote shows the way in which the adverse affects of colonialism and its history has affected the people, and how now it stays with them. For it is a part of them, of which they wish to resist and fight out of them.

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I chose this quote because I feel as though it has much truth to it, for everything derives from something.

The American Nightmare

“Everyone had to do something for themselves” (Herrera, 89).

Two opposing worlds, one of riches and one of poverty.  One of where dreams are of reality, and another in which dreams go to a vast wasteland. Crossing the border is just the beginning of the collision of how these two worlds intertwine.

Makina, on a journey to find her brother, has seen and endured so much from her journey that is barely beginning. She sees the ways in which people who have fled their home country in hopes for something better, are still “[brimming] nostalgia for the land they left or never knew” (Herrera, 66). This quote shows parallelism with our society, for those who have crossed the border to come to the U.S. to plant new roots in a foreign country, are left with the memories of the place they called home. Only having those memories and stories to tell their grandchildren, who are left curious and wandering of the land in which their elders come from.

But one of the main reasons why crossing the border is essential is for them, is that they now have this ability to fulfill the American Dream. Which states that in this land, if you work hard enough – one is able to become anyone they want, anything and everything is just at the grasp of their hands, anyone can prosper. But this isn’t the case, for “whatever once was here had been pulled out by the roots, expelled from this world” for “there was nothing here to begin with” (Herrera, 70).

As Makina noticed, the only reason why her brother was now living there with a new identity was because of the fact that he got paid little service from the ‘white’ family that promised him more. For in their world, there is nothing left for those “who’d run off to save their families and others who’d run off to be saved from them” (Herrera, 79).

In regards to our society those who have traveled here to work must overcome many physical and mental barriers. In the work place, they are not given many options to prosper and succeed, for many of the jobs given to them are in agriculture. In school and society, they are reminded of how they do not belong here, of how they belong back in their home country. But that is not the case, for our country is made up a melting pot with many racial ethnicities.

The book shows how influential this notion of ‘The American Dream’ affects these people’s life and their perception. That in leaving their families and possessions behind, that they can achieve anything here. When in reality, their culture, their entity, their being, are all put to work.

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Oppression Without Resistance

“The sheep that thinks becomes a danger to itself and others” (83, Towfik)

When one begins thinking of power and knowledge, many things come to come mind, in mine I think of hierarchies, education, wealth, etc… But I can never underestimate the power of knowledge, for it is something I will always carry and have with me; my mind continuously expanding into an abyss of facts, words, history, anything and everything I have gotten my hands on.

But often, one can may believe they have seen and read it all, that all the knowledge they have obtained is enough. When in reality, it’s only restricted them from going beyond what they could possibly ever know.

The novel “Utopia,” written by Ahmed Khalid Towfik, translated by Chip Rossetti, sets the tone of an eerie and painstakingly realistic dystopian society, where the people are divided in two. The wealthy and the poor, the humans and the vermin’s they call rats and dogs, ‘them’ and the ‘others.’

Broken apart and falling into an abyss, the ones they call the ‘others’, are devastatingly poor, hanging onto whatever life they can. While as ‘them,’ united and fortified – survived all odds and lived off of the backs of the rest; separating territory and making boundaries of where each should reside. Shutting those of poverty outside the gate, and allowing freedom for those enclosed.

It’s unfortunate really, for they think that because they have so much freedom, that sex, drugs, violence, etc… could fill the unmistakingly void of nothingness within them. Little do they know, that’s all they’re ever allowed to do. For “not a single things exists that you can learn any more,” mainly because “there’s nothing of interest in those books” (7, Towfik).

It shows the way in which their government and society have manipulated their starving of life citizens. Showing them that this is solely what they need, that this is what they will get.

Besides, “[they] have everything there is to know” correct? (93, Towfik)

The people believe that they are content with what they are able to do within their society, for at the end of the day, they are still the free ones. Protected from the outside impoverished world, there is nothing more to know than what there already is.

But what the people fail to realize, is that they aren’t “prepared for a moment to abandon all that” (92, Towfik). Mainly due to the fact that if they were, they would’ve already challenged their government, but they don’t and they won’t. For they have no true reason to, as long as their luxorious lifestyle remains intact, that’s all that matters.

Uproar, resistance, all possibilities of those living on the outside, for “all these people believe that one of their sons will change everything” (90, Towfik). Maybe changing the system, the economic and social imbalances is just what this world is in need of.  Plutarch