Mutilation is not a word commonly associated with love. But given that the choice in many African communities is to be cut or choose a future where your child is ostracised, unlovable and ‘unmarriable’—the question must be about how love manifests for children, when it comes to ensuring their survival.
We don’t treat people like we treat oranges because people are not things. No one can treat you like an orange. No one can take your juice aka… your power.
Leaving his family was not a decision Jihad took lightly. In 2014, reports of floating bodies from boats intentionally shipwrecked by traffickers flooded the media and Jihad says he was forced to make an unwelcome choice.
Europe is far more fragmented than North America. Movements do not sweep the continent like they do over the pond because the cultures and languages are different. Europe has no common culture and no common language.
It is the balance of power which determines whether an action crosses the line from hurtful to abusive. When the power dynamic is out of balance and the person with the power inflicts harm on the person with less–even when it is unconscious–it reinforces their position of power and becomes abusive.
And if predatory behaviour is as ubiquitous among men as it appears and as I have experienced it to be, statistically it is likely that my son will violate someone, at some point, in his lifetime. That could be anything from ignorant boundary violation to, god forbid, rape.
Consent is not true consent where there is a power imbalance. You cannot make a free and retractable agreement about something, if that agreement is made in fear of losing your access to income, and resources–financial, emotional or otherwise.
Are you crying because you’ve discovered our present world is far shittier and more abusive than you thought? Are you crying because YOU are far shittier and more abusive than you thought? Ouch, that’s gotta hurt. So cry away but not in the company of people of colour–they know the truth already. Don’t beg them for forgiveness, after all you have albeit unwittingly, been part of a system which abused them.
What we find funny is indicative of our beliefs, attitudes, judgements and opinions. It is a useful barometer. When we mock those who by birth or circumstance are less fortunate, we become persecutors and make others our victims. We have no less duty of care for verbal abuse even through humour, than we do for physical abuse.
Britain has never taken responsibility for the bloodshed and exploitation which built the empire. This is evidenced by Theresa May’s hardline on Brexit. We want to take without giving anything in return. We make no apologies for our xenophobic attitudes; our comedy ridicules ‘those bloody foreigners’, our narrow-minded and disrespectful behaviour often shames us in the countries we visit.
Maybe it was then I first asked the question: would I risk my own life to protect the Anne Franks of this world? The answer was always yes. But hindsight is a flattering bedfellow.
I would like to tell them about the wonderful man who gave to the poor. I would like to show them the legend of the Yule Lads from Iceland and get excited at how they have 13 Santas, not just one. I would like to explain how Coca Cola pulled off the biggest marketing marvel of all time and popularized him in red as opposed to blue.