Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The importance of tolerance in our world …. for whom is this intolerable?

Copyright, Philo Ikonya. Subtle watermark within, ask before use if keen.

Is this the picture of what it takes to tolerate? Strength? 
  There is cement down there... rocks... water...Who will allow some naked roots for tolerance to grow? Who will show us our see through bodies belonging to all? The hole in us?

Who is tolerating who here? Is it the cement? The ruins? The sky? The leaves? The people- there was a wonderful guide. The monkeys? Isn't that more about ecology then, ecosystems?

 This photo is taken at the ruins at Gedi in the Kenyan coast, near Lamu. It is near some ancient mosques and houses of the Arabs who lived there. But...

Let me confess that this blogpost title, the first part... "The importance of tolerance in our world..." was written in a totally artificial moment because a TV journalist asked Nightbird to forget her blindness and sit upon a chair and be filmed working Nightbird. I was meant to show something. 

Nightbirds are mistaken for romantic birds of the song of the nightingale sometimes. No. I have always included the owl and sometimes bats in my thinking. Blindness and perfect sight. Birds know both like us. Nightbird feels her way blindly, she thinks. She wants to travel or fly around differently and now always with all the lights on. But here was the camera and it has a different story with light.

Nightbird had just answered the question what she thinks tolerance is in this context of talk of people learning to tolerate  one another in our world. "Tolerance", she said, is the recognition of the beauty of diversity, the strength it has and the reward it gives. She added one could see diversity and love it but that even if one did not love it, one should feel compelled to at least let it be... let things be because they are, let others be. She also said it is not a passive thing. It includes hard, hard work. 

Letting things be in one thing but where tolerance is worked, and this is the burden of it and perhaps the sound that makes some dislike the word, is visible. If there is tolerance, there is something growing, blossoming, maybe with thorns but we can talk about thorns without hurting.... " She had been told she could be asked to repeat her answer but in this case the camera was at once pleased and she could go onto the next step which is to write on her blog. There was no rehearsal to be done. Later she thought she should have opened the post she has on Albert Luthuli and Maksim Gorky and explained a few things about our world. But she was already free of cameras.

Now Nightbird reflects. She has to say this word 'tolerance' is one of those she has often wondered about. She can hear the Latin part of it. Sometimes she felt as if this word belonged somewhere else, to the words that get tired despite the urgency of their meaning? Did this word have enough of the 'long intestine' in it in spite of being so long. Do words have limbs, heart and all? All of them? Standing alone? So Nightbird is still thinking. Freedom. Love. Work. Recognition.



Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Are we all blacks like we were Charlie Hebdo? Nightbird has been clinging to bats on the ceilings of Paris Metros, "We are racists, they chanted, racists and that is the way we like it!" Is this about football?


Reminiscent of the Mahatma Gandhi being thrown out of a train in South Africa back in the 20th Century is what happened in Paris only yesterday in 2015! Here a black man is prevented from riding the Metro  goo.gl/tqz5JR
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A woman cringes and recoils from the entrance of the Metro. Nobody is mentioning her. This are public means of transport. Terrible this happens. But it did. Many will tell you it only happens that brazenly where Football is involved. 

Nightbird says help the world stop all forms of discrimination including the ones the discriminated practice on themselves after experiencing hate. Let us acknowledge that hate exists. Nightbird dislikes the word but has to acknowledge that it does not go away just like that. 

Should Nightbird be grateful to those who make no secret of their hatred, make her see it in so many other subtle forms? Football fans put it out on the pitch. Not a care. And that is where many young black talented people are, putting their best foot, actually both feet, forward. 

Nighbird cannot see world leaders marching in Paris or taking a metro ride in that city and declaring like they were Charlie Hebdo, that they are all black. The game of the haters. A word Nightbird dislikes to write but it exists. 

We, those who love are too far from seeing the urgency of this, and the creativity we need to STOP racism particularly as it manifests so openly against black people. Those who go for it are too energetic compared to those against it. It is terror. It seems they beat us at networking. They attract people to wanting to give their lives in death for their cause. Obama has spoken well and said in the case of terror this is not about Islam. We know that. 

Nightbird knows there are many types of behavior. But that of two types of persons make things happen. Those who love to tremendous levels burning with their silence and burning in their words, and those who go for destruction. These are fewer but they always get everyone else running behind them. They are able to manipulate situations so fast that those who are lovers of justice are found still on the spot by the time things blow up. How can that be, Nightbird often asks herself.

How many people will blog on this incident, how many Tweet it in full condemnation? Are we all black people now? Or are we running away from even mentioning the word race, racism? Pacifying the language in order to cheat reality?

In London, a individual interviewed about the terrible event of a black man being shut out of a Paris Metro repeatedly and the chants for racism said on BBC that he is terribly saddened. Above all, the said, now we shall all be called racists because of this event. You may not have watched that but Nightbird did. But should this be the main concern? 

Could it be that as Nightbird wrote before that we shall continue not to understand that racism is deep within most of us and among us? Is this part of the reason why it is fought mainly or strongly by the survivors of it? Strong voices we see on TV against racism are often black. The civics rights defender in Paris interviewed against the same was black. I can't understand. 

I can understand that Dr Martin Luther King Jr. was he was, I do not need to repeat color. I can understand Rosa Parks, I can I understand Mahatma Gandhi but today in 2015, I cannot see why creativity has not changed here. I cannot see why it is still the black man saying, look at what they do to me? Do you know why?