60 years after being assassinated, the final bone of Patrice Lumumba is supposed to leave Belgium to be carried back to Congo by his children this month. There’s no mention of a second tooth and a bit of one finger that the same Belgian, former military, one time assassin, may have kept in his home for decades.
But rather than simply being allowed to collect the remains, the family and others in the diaspora campaigned for an official handover ceremony.https://www.politico.eu/article/lumumba-tooth-belgium-unfinished-reckoning-colonial-past/
A public ceremony between two sets of public figures, many of whom are stooges or thugs. So one set of thugs handing some things over to a set of stooges, of a different nationality. But, the public speakers (of all nationalities) will have noted that you don’t speak bluntly about the aggressions of the government you’re ceremonializing with.
I’m cynical about any such ceremony. I suppose a public spectacle is necessary though I don’t know that it’s better than a private exchange. But, the public visage will largely be performative more than symbolic done for the cameras, not for the civics.
Reparations (as summarized by M4BL here) consists of five parts = acknowledgment of harm + compensation + restitution + rehabilitation + cessation with guarantees of not repeating.
The Belgian government does not seem to offer any compensation nor restitution nor rehabilitation. Maybe part of the public ceremony could be some verbal statements of never doing such heinous acts in foreign policy nor domestically.
But, it will be lackluster whatever does happen. And with that, I will feel disappointed by the arrogance of the former colonizers who still inherit the excesses of their grandfathers.
The opportunity cost of the last hour has been:
- to read the fiction by Kaitlyn Greenidge
- read about how to plant a tree
- write this blog post
- write toward the other writing projects I’ve got marinating and fermenting inside.
Fortunately, the tree transplant needs a few days before replanting so that gives me until tonight or mañana. Now this blog post is nearly done. And the fiction is before me. And the writing projects is still marinating.
I’m aware of this at this moment as I seek to be intentional and rigorous about doing more of the things that have particular significance though they are also things that I’m less adept and less innate to do on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
Sometimes I’ll do something but not more it or remember it and when I do remember it I don’t think of myself as having done so as frequently as I might have done it. That is one way that I belittle myself and make myself less small by not recalling when and what I did. So if I’m not doing something so frequently to know that I’ve done it, then I need to figure out the place and way that I’m writing it down so I can find that place where I wrote it says/weeks/month ago to quiet the inner critic that is so omnipresent to diminish the actions and moves and complete cycles that I have done.
It’s tricky this tendency to do something and be someone and then forget that was what I did or who I was such that I don’t remember thy about myself at all. It’s a simple way to erase who I am and what my recent history was. There’s some who write that forgetting is essential to the functioning of our brains but this habitual forgetting makes me smaller in my own cognition and my consciousness.
So I’m practicing and building my memory and skillsets to track and therefore remember. When I cannot remember with my internal gauges I will have to write it down either on paper, a smartphone, a journal or a hash mark on a wall.
I suppose that the tracking, too, is a form or practice.
But, why is it so? she asked me.
Mortality. Their own. And the fears of things that they do not understand.
But that wasn’t right.
Later, I said, They are regretting having sold this land that they didn’t agree on. That she wanted to but he did not. Now they have sold it, we live here, and they wish that they had not.
Nor was that accurate. This was so much bigger than us with so many forces at play. We were moving through challenging obstacles in our lives in the midst of phenomena defining others’ lives that were insignificant to our own yet also featured minor ways that we would imprint on one another’s paths.
It’s that they are crackers. Yes, that was it.
Little more to it. Some false sense of entitlement, a delusional importance and some ill and mistaken notions of how you interact with others, not simply that we are a separate family but even what is appropriate and inappropriate for an adult when speaking with or reprimanding a child. They have repeatedly thought that they could have wishes for what would transpire in our lives, which they have amplified by giving voice to some of their opinions. Unwelcome and asinine opinions. Now that they’ve been rebuffed, they bristle and bicker and stir the pot of shit that they want to spread around.
And in the face of such shit spreading conduct, I could cower or attempt to manipulate my body to not get hit by their shit, as a number of other cowardly neighbors have done around the bullies, because the cowards cower in the face of their aggression. And this white woman uses her white woman fragility to push the buttons of men who spring into some misguided actions of attempting to protect. From what, they’re not too clear as they don’t recognize the very whiteness of their ways. They pretend to adhere to being colorblind not knowing that their social circles are heavily white and colorblindness has been unfashionable since 1998.
On Monday, in the middle of milking a goat, two police cars arrived outside the front gate. They were coming by to check after a call/complaint from a neighbor. A white neighbor. After a few minutes, a third car arrived.
It was bullshit and nonsensical. The 20 or so minutes that they were outside the gate was irritating, scary and instructive.
Some of the lessons of the episode were:
- Some people just won’t like you, so don’t take it personally because the exact reason(s) can be hard to discern and impossible to confirm. More likely than not, it isn’t about you.
- Align with fear.
- When people tell you who they are believe them. Believe them moreso when they show you who they are.
- Do not retract or recede or retreat in the face of violence, dehumanization or attempts to indignify.
The five days since then have been galvanizing and reaffirming to experience joy and delight and figure out who stands with us and what we stand for, who and what we value, and how living contrary to dominant culture in a racist, patriarchal, violent, capitalist world is something to be proud of and further fight for in the midst of hostility.
I’ve been noticing more of what I’m habitually doing. Then today, I saw how it looked in someone dear to me.
Today’s lesson can be one of:
- Holding gratitude or holding grudges?
- Whining or writing?
- Writhing or witnessing?
- Scrambling or steady?
- Floundering or focusing?
- Tripping up or triumphing?
I had many years of getting distracted and turning away from. From taking some multitasking bait rather than simplifying, moderating and slowing down.
Multiple occasions this week left me feeling diminished. One type was undervalued, another type was discredited, and another was misunderstood. I’ve been considering how frequently and habitually I diminish others and how often I feel diminished by others for trivial, mundane, ludicrous, judgmental things, over misunderstandings.
I’ve been reading about projection and transference as interpersonal and psychological dynamics between people or within families or workplaces and communities for 14 years. And I wonder how transference undergirded the arbitrary yet painful episodes this week.
I felt sad and angry and disheartened with each. I don’t even know how I’d describe what the accumulated diminishment felt like as I was stuck in mundane in each and wasn’t whirring with analysis seeking greater comprehension or new insight. I was stuck in bothered.
Now, at the cusp of the weekend, I know that there will be plenty more diminishing in the weeks ahead. I may not notice three palpably painful instances as happened this week but I’ll have to figure out what my first reactions are when the diminishment comes.
And, I have to find how to feel feelings of confusing or offense without resorting to diminish others to find how to not collapse the vastness of who others are by belittling them or denigrating their conduct instead noticing my desire to withdraw or move away from without making up a story that justifies aversion and amplifies disgust. To notice my misunderstanding without filling the space inside myself and between me abd them with a few reasons why I’m upset. Instead just feeling upset, without more story, for 15 to 40 seconds. Then to return to my own feet, my own heart rate, my back without observing their shape, stature or feelings.
With this, I may acknowledge them as they are without diminishment.
For what it’s worth: I am aware that diminishment is not [yet!] a word in the dictionary. Though based on some similar words, the concept builds upon the following (italics added) —
- Diminish, verb: 1) to make or cause to seem smaller, less, less important, etc.; lessen; reduce. 2) [architecture] to give (a column) a form tapering inward from bottom to top. 3) [music] to make (an interval) smaller by a chromatic half step than the corresponding perfect or minor interval. 4) to detract from the authority, honor, stature, or reputation of; disparage.
- Punishment, noun: 1) the act of punishing. 2) the fact of being punished. 3) a penalty inflicted for an offense, fault, etc. 4) severe handling or treatment.
Nothing like war that recommits me to non-violence.
I was looking for an interview of/with Dorion Sagan revolving around Notes from the Holocene, which I’d borrowed from the library a few weeks ago. I have yet to read a page, though sometimes these internet-parallel searches offer just enough carrot to lead me to open a book tomorrow. So, for Dorion, there is tomorrow.
I cannot recall how I came to learn about Dorion Sagan though it was following the reading about his mother, Lynn Margulis.
Not finding any interview, I did encounter a summary and review of the Powell’s bookstore website that included these 12 questions lifted from the book:
- Why does life exist?
- Why do we drink water?
- Can we save the Earth from global warming?
- Are human beings central and special?
- Is it possible that we’ve arisen by pure chance?
- Is the Earth an organism?
- Are we part of it’s exo-brain?
- if it is alive, can it reproduce?
- Can the universe?
- What does the future hold in store for us?
- Does God exist?
- What is the nature of ultimate reality?
Earlier tonight, I spent 10 minutes flipping through pages of the online encyclopedia better known as Wikipedia where I read about: the Holocene, the Pleistocene, the Meghalayan stage and the caves of Meghalaya, the Younger Dryas, regolith, and the Mid Pleistocene Transition or Mid Pleistocene Revolution.
All of this after the weekend’s atmospheric events surrounding the Hunga Tonga Volcano that was somehow heard in Alaska (5,000 miles across the Pacific) and initiated some 70,000 lightning bolts in some short span of time (maybe 60 minutes) where there were 15 lightnings per second and seemingly 1/50th the severity of the 1991 explosion of Mount Pinatubo.
I read decades ago that something along the lines of, “the universe is so big, human brains are so small” was attributed to Osho.
Ooh. It’s been a long, often lost voyage to come to more feeling and emotion. In my 40s, I’m beginning to experience rage and acknowledge anger when anger is something different than sadness because as a child I knew sadness when it occurred but I avoided eye contact with anger and fled from rage.
So, it is stirring, a slightly scary sort, to read this question:
“What would you like to put into a book that would make you happy?”https://miamirail.org/literature/widening-the-horror-genre-a-conversation-with-victor-lavalle/
I would put into a book are: justice; heartbreak and some redemption or newfound life following such ache; death, and the accompanying despair and disappearing that is colloquially ghosting but in fact is so much more than a brash decision; humor, wit; overlooked and underrepresented adjectives in current vernacular.
Just today, I read in a novel how genie derives from jinn. I may have read that genie cokes from this Islamic mystical and spiritual type but I’d forgotten that even though I’d only read about jinn a few months ago.
I’d also write about intuition and the bizarre occurrences that are not coincidence. And the magic of the outdoors and the wild and the minute being that we humans are yet we are holons on earth.