The burning – what of it?

Thoughtful as her response to the burning is, and chilled as many of us are by the symbolic violence made manifest, I cannot simply accept not only expecting but demanding more of emancipatory movements than we do the establishment that oppresses them as a point of departure.
Can we reasonably expect or even demand, as she does, that the bodies that make up these movements yield their humanity – which necessarily comes with violence, symbolic or otherwise – for some greater purpose we, whose bodies are not on the front-lines, would define from the comfort afforded us by the insulation from a very particular violence known to many of us that distance, the distractions granted us by the often mundane routine of our full lives, and the freedom to imagine something beyond escaping this hell here and now afford us?
She is right that something is wrong. Something is wrong when we expect those bodies tied to the whipping post to respond more judiciously than those shackling them to it. Something is very wrong when we believe we have used our time productively policing the response of those bodies at the whipping post without arresting the hand bearing the whip. Something is rotten when we would make martyrs and messiahs of bodies we cannot name and will not remember in times to come for the sake of preserving the memory of what continues to unmake us. Something is rotten when we police expression that speaks beyond and has long since lapped our fixation with literal interpretations of Fuck.White.People! (Yes, fuck them and their commitment to the psychosis that renders them white and leaves us unable to breathe!).
She is also right that watching that pyre raised and set alight was sickening. In many of the same ways that getting into Formation did, coming to terms with the contradiction of being at the same time profoundly committed to the project led by the student movement and the prevailing forces and relationships of power that dictate what constitutes legitimate expression has, certainly, left me with a strong case of existential nausea.

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1 comment on “The burning – what of it?”

  1. Pingback: » The Burning | The Journalist

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