Tagged: Politics

How quickly we forget

The final judgment in Roe v Wade was handed down nearly four years after “Jane Roe” fell pregnant. The African-American Civil Rights Movement spent fourteen very active and costly years fighting for equal and fair treatment. Legislation preventing the next Matthew Shepard hate crime and ensuring equal pay to future Lilly Ledbetters took eleven years to get passed. Sixteen years after the Defense Of Marriage Act first became law we are finally seeing its undoing and the release of a new wave of liberties and equalities, but even after all that time it’s still not fully decided or undone.   Continue reading

Lighting Fires

Education is not filling a pail but the lighting of a fire.  – William Butler Yeats

Our policy is one which is called by an Afrikaans word, “Apartheid”, and I’m afraid that has been misunderstood so often. It could just as easily–and perhaps much better–be described as a policy of good neighborliness.   – Hendrik Verwoerd, Prime Minister of South Africa, 1961

 

You lift your cheek off the brown, salty ground. You try to look over your arm, try to see through the dust. Why is everybody running? Why are you lying on your stomach with a mouth full of soil? It feels like you’ve been pulled through a dreamless sleep that lasted for less than a second and longer than a day. Everything is confusing.

One long, dark heartbeat ago you were holding hands with your classmates, marching peacefully, singing a song. Teboho was carrying a poster that said, “Down with Afrikaans.” Hector’s poster proudly stated, “I will not be taught in the language of the oppressor.” Before that, you were all finishing a mathematics exam. For many long minutes you sat in that small, freezing brick classroom with its zinc roof and bare concrete floor. Sixty-four matric pupils folded over small wooden desks, scratching equations onto second-grade paper with blunt wooden pencils. Sixty-four Bantu school uniforms—grey flannel shorts and black v-neck jerseys covering white collared shirts—worn by every pupil in every black school in the country. The headmaster finally said, “Time’s up! Pencils down.” Tsietsi looked around, right into your eyes, and said, “Comrades, it is time.” Continue reading