On Sunday I attended an event where one speaker said “A society with strong women will never fail.” This was a great statement, until it was qualified with “because women are mothers of society, and we have another great mother right here.” The event was highlighting the achievements of a friend who has done truly amazing things. And somehow motherhood still came into question because, you know, a woman who isn’t a mother isn’t complete – at least not according to society.
The AU is meeting this week. The mood is triumphant, and angry. Triumphant because the AU has been around for 50 years, a year less than James Bond. Angry because the ICC is unfairly targeting African states. Their racism and obvious bias towards Africa is unacceptable – not to mention that they bungled up the Congo question. The ICC should leave Kenya alone. After all, Kenya has oil, and we all know nothing really serious happened. In fact, our previous president referred to 2008 as “our little mistake.” And, you know, fecal matter occurs.
In all fairness, it is true. The ICC has shown bias in how they pick their cases. But, let’s be honest, this is not really the time to make the ICC decision is it? The time to make the decision passed. And at that time we were dancing in the streets chanting “don’t be vague, go to the hague.” It’s not like we were dragged there kicking and screaming.
The most interesting thing about feminist theory is that it addresses power, even in its most subtle forms. Feminist theorists disagree on many issues. Then again, theorists disagree – that’s what they do. The one thing they all agree on is that power is a dangerous thing. When challenged power will do anything to protect itself. Warding off the challenge is in power’s best interests. From telling people to shut up, to crying foul to slipping small implications in speeches at garden parties.
And we need a little more identifying of power. If you cannot identify something that has a huge impact on your life life then how, pray tell, do you believe you can fight it? Or at least deny it influence?
Muthoni Njogu, a poet, wrote a poem after being walloped by the police during Occupy Parliament (yes, I’m still talking about that). She was talking about the parts of a protest that no one talks about. Here’s an excerpt(full poem here):
nothing prepares you to be hit.
to stand up and keep running towards a tv
& they refusing you entry.
– Occupy, Muthoni Njogu
The response to this poem, everywhere, were statements like “who told her to go?” were rife. Few people addressed what the poem was talking about. Police beating up people. That right there, is power doing its thing. Moving focus in our thoughts. Standing in the door, with its arms raised in the air saying, “carry on, carry on, nothing to see here.” Desperate to put up smoke screens and mirrors.
Like a magician who needs a window of opportunity to finish with a flourish power will gesture towards its beautiful assistant. Then, while you focus on that, quickly clean up the act. Then, like the maestros they are, they will stand. And you will clap, muttering to yourself, “how did he do it?” Because, to you, it really will be magic.