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Saturday, 7 December 2013

A quick one...

Last night's Tongue Fu vs Anti-Slam was amazing!

Tongue Fu, as expected, was a great night with very talented, responsive musicians. I laughed very hard and very loudly during the Anti-Slam (where the worst poet wins).

I channelled my alter ego, The Consciousness, and he didn't even get to do his poem after a long pre-amble; the audience "just wasn't ready" for him, and needed to "elevate themselves" and "get educated". And of course, he added, we need another Mandela or woMandela to lead us out of the gloomy hole the world is currently in.

I was still coming out of character when I read Musa Okwanga's strong piece on Mandela and I disagreed strongly with him. "You will fail"? I read. Even before his passing, we'd already succeeded into making him a peace-loving, hippie figure, that everyone can rally round; having elaborate concerts for his birthday, erecting statues... and revising history.

The year I was born, not even that far back in the 80s, he was a controversial figure for Western establishments. He was in jail and there was a reason for it. Whilst he was non-violent, he influenced not just public debate but also protest and riots. A lot of people wanted to keep the status quo and he was rocking the boat. It sounds silly, of course, because now we like to say how equal everyone should be (because our systems of oppression are usually much more subtle than having visible "no blacks" signs up) and he's an easy figure to celebrate. And while the BBC now cuts to speeches from David Cameron and a million other people on how wonderful he was, they need to remember that people from our ruling party believed he was a terrorist. And, of course, people can change their minds, but to then claim Mandela for their own political purposes... as if they and his contemporaries always been best of buddies, that is dangerous. Revisionism at its worst. Just like the way our current government used the Civil Rights movement recently to justify their hideous new reforms.

Anyway, other people have written about this already. And it's great to see that not everyone has forgotten. Because when we forget history, we repeat it.

1 comment:

  1. my hackles also rising at the avalanche of Mandela guff - an important, admirable and attractive figure in so many ways but CELEBRITY ISN'T POLITICS or rather, personality cults (however well-intentioned) always lead to bad politics. See my (upcoming, eventually) piece on Gabriele d'Annunzio...

    in other news, glad last night was fun.