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So clearly in poor taste
Aye O, I heard you’re riding with the same tall, tall tale
Telling them you made some
Say you’re grinding but you ain’t going nowhere
Why you procrastinate girl?
You got a lot, but you just waste all yourself
They’ll forget your name soon
And won’t be nobody to blame but yourself
—212, Azealia Banks
It is unfortunate that we live in a country that is so afraid of civil disobedience. When really public protest about certain unacceptable injustices in a flawed misshapen democracy is the only recourse that communities have. For those of us who reject that five-year mentality, that laid-back disempowerment of voting and then casually accepting whatever nonsense is thrown at us by leaders, it is in poor taste that we then have to live with the dismissive comments of politicians who bray on about due process and doing things the right way.
A long watery steups to that. What is in poor taste is the contempt shown to those women waiting to talk to the Prime Minister. What is in poor taste is development for someone else’s bene- fit. What is in poor taste is a continued and consistent lack of consultation.
It’s because successive governments continue to overlook the issue of consultation that communities will continue to protest. And rightly so. If the Government is not doing its job, it’s the responsibility of communities to make their voices heard.
Civil disobedience is a right. Not a privilege. It is a sacred responsibility that people like Gandhi and Martin Luther King died for and if Dear Uncle Roodal doesn’t understand that and describes the pro-tests of these women as unfortu- nate, in bad faith and of poor taste, then it is he who does not understand that the Prime Minister is their employee and if she’s not doing her job she needs to give them an explanation why.
That is the unfortunate part. That is the part that is in poor taste. That politicians put themselves at odds with communities. Walk past them like they didn’t stain their voting fingers and entrust their futures to these people. I don’t know all the details of this protest against the highway. Indeed, I wonder what the purpose of more highway is. When there are communities with no water.
Maybe it has to do with keeping promises to election funders to make work for their mining and construction businesses. Maybe it is the unrelenting march towards somebody else’s version of development. That means a ravaging of the natural environment, to continue a path down mineral resource exploitation rather than diversifying a narrow economy.
It leaves a poor taste in my mouth. Of steam rising from hot asphalt. Of the bitter disappointment of women who expected better of a woman who could be their sister. It must be hard for Aunty Kam-la. To be everything to everyone. To be the quintessential multi-tasking woman.
Who must clean up a country and make it financially viable and appear to be morally righteous and cool enough to hang with the youths and pious enough to inspire the younger generations and dread enough to have the strength to deal with men who are socialised to be bullies.
It must be hard for Aunty Kamla to know when to be the bosom that absorbs the nation’s tears and when to be the hand that delivers the hot slaps to the nation’s misbehaving backside. But I remember a similar situation a few years ago when Patrick Manning was in La Brea to attend the sod-turning for the Alutrint power plant. And the women from those communities who wept bitter tears of disappointment when the then “Father of the Nation” was whisked past. And they had to come to the conclusion that Patrick Manning didn’t care about black people.
What is unfortunate is how poli-ticians make the same mistakes as their predecessors. They learn no lessons in humility. No warnings of keeping the people close and being approachable and accessible to those who put you in power. The simpering sycophants are not bags of aloo. But the bags of aloo are the one that feed another generation. They feed them with their anger and disappointment.
They remember ill-treatment and being made to feel invisible. They remember it all the way to the election booth. The poor taste is the short shelf life of this partnership. This whole Government is like a rancid cal-laloo. More disappointing than a rubbery barra. Like you buy a nice looking paw-paw and when you slice it open it force-ripe and the antithesis of sweet.
This Government is going off before its best-before date and leaving a poor taste in the nation’s mouth. And roughing up women is not going to distract from the stench. And making women feel invisible is not going to make their anger disappear.
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