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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Delusions of Freedom Pt 1

I feel like a hypocrite, standing in front of this signpost that reads: 'Welcome To The Mobee Royal Family, Original Slave Relics...'. Was it appropriate for me to smile for the camera, with full knowledge of the pains and dark memories (the documented and undocumented ones) this place holds? Was I happy because I thought of myself as a free being - not born in the slave trade era, thanking God for the 'freedom' I now enjoy? 
Indeed, centuries ago, our ancestors - great men and women were forcefully removed from their homes, sold without their consent, shackled, subjected to the most inhumane treatment and were made to march in chain gangs across fields they once ploughed; to the shores of the sea they once fished in; where great ships awaited them, ready to take them to a new and unknown place, a place where they will be forced to pledge loyalty to foreign 'gods'. I can only imagine the deep sadness and uncertainty they endured as they looked behind just for one last time at the land they and their children once held dear, their beloved home!

The end of the slave trade that violently raped Africa and the emancipation of black people hold great significance to me as it should to you. However are we truly free? Or do we have delusions of freedom?

Think about it, while we are no longer shackled, bought and sold in the open market, we are still puppets doing the bidding of the unseen highly advanced puppet master.
For instance;

  •         Who decides what we should wear to certain occasions, how to wear them?
  •        Who decides what is trendy and what is not?
  •        What informs our choices of cars, decorations, religious practices and romance?
  •        Who dictates being fat is ugly and being skinny is sexy?

If you could be honest and think deeply about these things, you may come to the same conclusion as I have - that these choices have been implanted in our subconscious, deliberately or not, by people whom we look up to, people we model our lives after. We may find ourselves rationalizing our actions by stating that if it’s good for him/her then it must definitely be good for me, if s/he says this is fashionable and acceptable then why not?

This realization may be scary, as Goethe rightly  said " none are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free," but this is scarier; outright disregard for the rights, freedoms and dignity of citizens, disrespect for the constitution and the rule of law, insensitivity and violence towards vulnerable and at risk populations notably children, women, people living with different forms of disabilities and until we realize how close we are to falling into a new era of slavery and collectively device non-violent means of resolving these differences amicably, we may not have freed ourselves from those shackles that had bound our ancestors.

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