We can do it!

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“You know, it really doesn’t matter what they write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass. But she’s got to be young and beautiful.” –Donald Trump.

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An honest quote from Potus and nothing wrong with his choice of words. You see, he clearly is explaining how women MUST be beautiful and young, simply just eye candy, nothing else really matters. Because after all her worth is only her looks and how good she is in bed. Women are here to please men, they are an accessory to other accomplishments one (a man) can achieve. After all, women are just sexual beings placed on Earth for men to admire, right?

 

In the novel Baho! By Roland Rugero, these views from Potus on women are congruent to those of the men in the village in Burundi. The women there are objectified by the men on a daily basis. The women’s worth depends on how beautiful, young, and fresh she is, and it depletes as she ages. The story however, is about a mute named Nyamuragi, whom is wrongfully convicted of raping a young girl in the village. He had been trying to ask her where the restroom is groping his “area” without a subconscious thought of personal space. The young girl was frightened by the act thinking he was trying to rape her and she cried for help. Since Nyamuragi was unable to explain himself and fled the scene, it was assumed that he was guilty by the villagers.

 

In chapter 4 after the incident, the women in the village try to console Kigeme, the girl “assaulted”. They start to share stories of all the many times and it starts to become more clear to them how wrongly treated they are. Meanwhle, the men of the village are watching the women from a far checking the women out. They said amongst themselves “now that woman is gorgeous, Kigeme’s mother over there, and the wife of Richard NZitonda. I’m telling you! And Pierre Guriro’s, you see! And Jean-Marie Barekebavuge’s, of course! And Arcel Izobikra’s, wow!” (page 26). This moment just shows the level of respect the men in the village have for the women. These women are sharing stories that they have not shared with many, things that these men have done to them, and these men are just gawking at them doing exactly what they are complaining amongst themselves about. Although, we see this as wrong and as do the women, the men don’t. They don’t really see what they are doing as wrong because it’s just the way things have always been in a way, it’s just normal.

 

In chapter 6, another cringe worthy moment occurs when Irakoze, a beautiful young woman accidently shows the skin on her hip when her shirt raises a little. When this happens to her, a man named Corneille Mugabo rightfully touches her hip. He’s able to touch her hip because “that hip belongs to man, that hip deserves to be touched when she’s just going to let it show like that”. She was asking for it wasn’t she?….WRONG.

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The men in this novel are so far into the mistreating of their women, that they don’t see it as wrong. They just believe that women have little/ to nothing to offer except their bodies and external appearance.

This goes back to President Trump’s disgusting quote that a woman is really only an accessory, an object to acquire.

 

Her opinion means nothing.

 

However, here I am, sharing mine.

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Song of life

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An ancient Chinese proverb states “life is art, and art is life.” Meaning one should take on daily life in a beautiful and artistic way. Often life and it’s ever changing eras can be compared to different symphonies or poetic moments. Fiston Mwanza Mujila author of Tram 83, does just that in his novel. Mujila is able to the reader on an exciting journey with the two main characters Lucien and Requim. He does so by exposing the realness of the people, life, and land in postcolonial Africa in a poetic/ melodious manner. He uses jazz rythms to help the reader picture a clearer image of what the land is like and to feel what life is like in the Congo.

From the beginning of the novel we are introduced with the quote “Do you have the time?” and it is continuously asked again and again all the way throughout by the prostitutes looking for a way to make their money. The significance of this quote goes far beyond just asking if the men are able to “do it”, I believe , that it’s meant to serve as making the novel more harmonious, to have it sound more musically written. Almost as if it were the main chorus to the song, which in this case would be the novel. If you read this novel at a fast pace out loud, you are able to hear the words come together and harmonize more like a song than a novel. giphy

This theme is steady throughout the rest of the novel as well. We get to hear it through the long lists of things that Mujila is trying to describe, for instance, on page 203 of the kindle version, he talks about the many yet diverse individuals that go to Tram 83, in search of “good times on the cheap” (203). He lists “inadvertent musicians and elderly prostitutes and prestidigitators and Pentecostal preachers and students resembling mechanics and doctors conducting diagnoses in nightclubs and young journalists already retired and transvestites and second-foot shoe peddlers and porn film fans and highwaymen and pimps and ….all sorts of tribes overran Tram 83”. The way that this list just goes on and on and how it’s written, I believe is meant to be said in one breath. No pauses, just a continuous flow to cap on this poetic aspect of his and he does this consistently throughout. HTTP21lZGlhMi5vbnN1Z2FyLmNvbS9maWxlcy8yMDEzLzAyLzA4LzAvMTkyLzE5MjIzOTgvNzc3MzUzNTQ3NWJlZGFhNV9odWRzb25fc2luZ2luZy54eHhsYXJnZS5naWYlog.gif

Another very significant lyrical passage is on page 2568 of the kindle version, where Mujila is describing the Diva’s, “unreeled (a) song long and, mournful, mournful, mournful, mournful, mournful, mournful, mournful”..etc. This word is repeated over and over and over and over once more to create a song like sound. When you read this passage aloud you can hear the sadness and you can feel it more. Just as jazz music evokes emotion through the way things are sung and played, this novel is written with the same purpose. It is meant to sound lovely when read aloud to add to the feelings that Mujila wants to produce. He doesn’t just create the image of the real life of the Congo but he also makes us feel all the emotion that go with it.

Nothing is certain, except death.

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From the time we are born, nothing in our lives will ever be certain. Except “death and taxes”, of course. Everything is constantly changing. We go through obstacles in life and times that it may be difficult to see and end. However, we also go through times where we feel invincible, but the sad and also beautiful part is that these times never last forever.

In the novel Signs Preceding The End of The World, by Yuri Herrera uncertainty is continuously exhibited. From the very beginning, we, as the readers are greeted to the novel with something so random and so unpredictable. This opening scene is filled with panic from the natural disaster that occurs right in front of the main character’s eyes, Makina.

As the novel progresses, it becomes more clear that nothing is really clear. Uncertainty is common. She’s uneasy about the adventure her mother sends her on to find her brother. Her mission; to cross the border and find her brother. Throughout all her mini adventures within this big one, she faces many setbacks and challenges. Anywhere is goes, she has no idea what to expect and the some of the craziest things happen to her. She gets in contact with big thugs, is in the middle of a shooting, witnesses a death carcass when at first glance she thinks it’s a woman with a pregnant belly but as she moves closer she is able to see that it’s not at all what she thought it was. on page, 326 of the Kindle version, it says, “as they approached she discerned the features of this person, who was no woman, nor was that belly full with child: it was some poor wretch swollen with putrefaction” This was signifying moving into the “unknown”. In the beginning, it is evident that Makina is a badass and is tough, however, this mission is still scary for her because it’s uncertainty and unpredictable nature. She had no idea all the things she would encounter in the beginning.

Not even family, is promised. Makina’s own brother, whom she set out in search for and went through the unthinkable for still betrays her. She even starts to see it the change of tone in his notes and how he becomes less and less like his old self. In other words, a death of his old self. Makina starts to come to the realization that nothing is constant. Borders are every where and these are the only things that create separation.

Creatures

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Prey and Predator are heavily used throughout the novel Utopia by Ahmed Khaled Towfik. He bounces back and fourth the perceptions of the two extremely different worlds the two narrator and Gaber give us. One from the richest and most “idealistic” land and the other from the filthy scraps of what used to be a thriving society. Towfik plays on the idea that neither side is more or less human than the other. Both contain barbaric and wild animal like occurrences. Horrible un-human like things occur in both places. Rape, hatred, and murder are common in both as well. In Utopia we get to see how life is like for a teenage boy there. ‘He wakes up eats, throws up, rapes the maid, eats again, throws up some more, and then drinks.’ We are started off to the novel with this image of his everyday life, so savage yet, so normal to him. Then later we get to see how the and of the others is also zoo-like. We get to feel the pain that occurs in the land of the others. Towfik shows us that there are huge differences between the “Utopians” (coming from the wealthy lands) and the “others” (coming from the poverty struck lands), however, the differences may not be as much as the similarities. He likes to give both sides this feel of being barbaric at times, kind of like wild animals, but, he also shows that they are all human. Not animals, nor creatures but living beings that all possess some of the same roots underneath it all. What really makes us human? We all have dreams. We all wish and hope for something “better”.
Something we imagine as better for our lives. In the novel, we fall in love with Gaber when we first meet him because of his humanness. He talks about his dreams and aspirations of love. Later, we get to see the main narrator start to unfold and become a little more human and not so barbaric when he gets to really see the land of the others. Both characters are so diverse and on opposite spectrums but I feel that they both have a lot more in common than we may know as of right now.