As each individual, regardless of position or role in society, regardless of title or faith, accepts that he is first and foremost a human being, we begin at last to realise not only the sameness we share with our fellow man but the power we have as individuals; when we are of one intent, together.
The mass that is forming looks like ‘we the people’ and nothing is bigger than this; even those with the weapons and those who have had the power, cannot fail to recognise that at their core, they too are a part of ‘we the people’.
One life is what we each currently have and how we live it – is what our uprisings are about.
The current situations arising in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain and elsewhere are happening so quickly and each day the world looks a lot less like it did yesterday. It feels like remembering who we were – before we became our job titles, our marital status or our god’s image creator. It feels like the shedding of our outer layers; built up over years of dressing to fit our pigeon-holed surroundings. It feels like letting go of what’s-to-be-expected and a reaching instead, for a possibility. It feels at last, like a feeling that originates at our core – not at a dictate.
Naïve, optimistic and blinkered by rose coloured shades? Sure it is likely to get a lot bloodier before we tidy the place but in my heart, it truly feels like we have let something escape and that it is refusing to be contained again. It feels also like, that something – is us.
In the March 3rd issue of CounterPunch in 2007, my essay ‘Stuffed with Terror, Starved of Dreams’ was published and as I sat to write this (my second essay to be published by CounterPunch) some four years later – I realise it is almost to the day. Something about an end to winter and coming of spring? Maybe.
That first essay was written as the Iraq war and all that surrounded it; the torture, the illegality, the theft, the abuse and the sheer bloody waste of life, pleasure and joy; had grown so very great. Frustration and anger at our governments had finally spilled over from the protesters to the general populous and yet, protest after protest, revelation after revelation and even common sense’s attempts at intervention, nothing was changing.
I opened the essay in 2007 with this paragraph:
“Sick of Iraq, war on terror, torture, civilian deaths, political lies, corruption in high places, loss of civil liberties, stolen elections, media manipulation and conversation after conversation about all of the above. Over the past four years I have evolved from a contented mother to a raging activist granny. This is not something I chose to be; I want to get a cottage, grow organic vegetables and write poetry that speaks of love and passion whilst I relax safe in the knowledge that my offspring and hers will live to a decent age, in a peaceful world with air they can breathe, clean water and freedom to choose whatever path they want to follow. Sadly, the cottage image is a shattered mess along with all the other hopes as the screen before me fills with images of other mothers whose children are slaughtered by armies that claim to represent me and make me an accessory by using my tax to fund the killing.”
To say that today is a contrast would be a ridiculous understatement. I watch as dictators slaughter their people and other powers offer help, that sound more like colonisation and yet there is still a powerful sense that it is ok.
It is the people.
Whether each who chose to risk his life by standing up to the powers that govern it, was mislead, manipulated or truly informed – doesn’t matter as much as the fact that each stood. Each chose life or death rather than acceptance of what feels wrong and each was emboldened by the stand.
Long fragmented by our divisions, we the people are now forming a mass of discontent and the abusers of people and power are so very few when compared to the majority that is …us. We may not have an easy path ahead but it feels like the right path to take.
TINA LOUISE is a writer living on the Lancashire coast in the North of England. She came to poetry as a result of the actions of her government when they joined the invasion of Iraq. Tina can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and her poetry can be found at www.tinalouise.co.uk.