Why do I write? What do I want to accomplish? Then it is followed by: What is your audience? Who do you write for? Where do you want to publish? The questions are practical as it will help me focus on my market. Yet, what happens if there is a need, the market base is small or non-existent? Do I stop writing? NO! I go on writing if I have something important to contribute and a need to express myself. How do I judge if my voice is important? The most important aspect of writing is listening, I first listen to me my inner voice and then to the other’s voice. Yes, I am selfish for I write for “me” and altruistic because I write for and about the “Other”. My writing can be a cleansing that leads to the healing of the self and hopefully the other. It is realizing that “I” am not perfect nor is the “other”. It is the process of knowing who “I” am and who the “other” is. It is about strengths and weaknesses complementing each another instead of being at odds. It is about speaking of differences but seeking common ground or similarities. It is saying I do not have all the questions the answers, or the solutions; I need you and your input so together we can brainstorm. It is about speaking my truth and hopefully your truth, for truth is complex and multilayered. Why do I write, to right a wrong by using history and prejudice as my backdrop, as my canvas, as my stage. Yes, I am the center of my universe and you are the center of yours, let us interact, dance life like the moon and the sun do at nightfall and daybreak, together let us shed light and focus on the beauty of a sunset/sunrise.
The themes I tackle are my perception of the other and more specifically women. Where does this perception come from, is it family history? History taught in school? History learnt on the street? History told the in the news, written or video? History we are told is written by the conqueror, interesting! More than likely this is the reason why only prominent people are featured, the leaders be it queens, kings, sultans, later presidents and prime minister of countries. Yet, in describing the other side we focus on the negative, the words that led us to go to war, to want to conquer, there has never been an attempt to look at the other side in a more humane fashion. One example comes to mind: Cleopatra VII.
Who is Cleopatra VII, we know her as a public personality yet we DO NOT know her. History based on text left behind by Roman historians is NOT flattering> She was a murdered and a coward. She lusted over Julius Caesar and then Marc Anthony. Was greedy for power, had her brother killed and her sister sent into exile, because her ambition was to be the sole ruler of Egypt. She was a bloodthirsty individual who robbed the treasure and fled the scene with the booty. Yet, in Egypt she is perceived as being a great queen, a woman who was an accomplished business woman and a good leader. The similarity between the North and South can be seen through the eyes of a woman and the legacy of Cleopatra’s death.
Cleopatra dies, rumors become part of history. The fact is she dies. How did she die? Did she commit suicide? Plutarch and Cicero write of her suicide by a snake. Later Shakespeare writes his alleged “love” story between Caesar and then Marc Anthony. Movies are made about her demise, Hollywood legacy of the suicide. Few have challenged this theory, these allegations. Her suicide is a fact! It is claimed she did not want to be paraded in the streets of Rome as being defeated. If so, she did not want to submit to Augustus, and accept him as the successor of Julius. Therefore, if she lived Augustus’ fear was that she would have gotten an army, made new allegiances with his enemies and fought against this new invasion. Augustus feared her power and her role. Maybe, truth is more sordid, Augustus may have ordered her killed. If her murder became public knowledge her generals and army would have defended her honor and hence gone to war against Rome, social uprising and unrest would have been part of Egypt. So the rumor and allegations that she committed suicide suited Augustus. It is a possibility and maybe even a probability as Roman law stated that NO WOMAN could be a leader. NO WOMAN can have citizenship unless married to a Roman citizen, furthermore, no EGYPTIAN WOMAN can be granted Roman citizenship. Egypt was the part of land that was ruled over by the Greeks and Macedonian. THE SOCIAL ramifications are enormous, women lost the right to be political leaders, it was not religion but politics. In the North it is shown as the South cannot take responsibility nor are they able to govern themselves, hence the justification of invading that part of the world. History gives us quite a few clues in the number of wars waged against the South: from Roman times, to the Crusades and later on imperialism, colonialism and the destruction of the Ottoman Empire. Like the Romans renamed the area and Egypt became a Province and not a country, under Greek law for Greeks. The new Romans are the French and British invaders because they renamed the area the Near East or Middle East which includes modern day Egypt. Egyptians are now Oriental and not Africans. Cleopatra was Greek and Macedonian and now she is Egyptian and portrayed as a female pharaoh. Cleopatra’s death and the legacy in her death have far reaching consequences both for women and for the area.
The focus is usually on a minority of individuals’ a.k.a. visible minority in CANADA which means people who are not Caucasian or of European descent. My question is who are the true visible minority? Are they Black or various shades of brown or are they “White” or shades of “white”? Who claims to have changed the existing world order and created a “new world order”. It is the population who requested this or was the populations told by their leaders: kings, queens, politicians, scientist, religions and their leadership and those who offered a new and improved vision of the world. You will notice and have noticed the voice of women is not always included or if she is she is spoken of by men.
Feminist have told us that the world is patriarchal and religion is to blame, ok! Our duty as women is to become equal to men and demand our place in politics, religion etc. Interesting perceptive instead of having men keep the status quo we are told women, must become central and men peripheral, same game different gender. Women not only want to be empowered but to have power. The word “woman” is a gendered term and in its subtext also includes ethnicity and skin tone, language, religion or rejection of religion and politics. Women want to be no to become equal and they are so busy trying to reach the top that they forget to challenge what has been done to others. They follow in the footsteps of men and DO NOT include the voice of all women. Like men they have become selfish and tend to have a dictatorial approach to life and leadership by this I mean it is me and my ideas. Hence, I face and debate history and it legacy by challenging authority, by adding the voice of the other, the needed voice, the one based on inclusion and looking at similarities and not focusing on the differences. I start with the idea and my fact: we are equal. I am equal to a man and to all women, yet different in my approach to life and the concept of power. We are created for a purpose be it a daughter, a young woman, a mother, a grandmother, a career woman, a leader community or world leader, we are all equal because we all are HUMAN BEINGS. Laws do not change the world it is attitude our attitude towards power and life. We need to define what power is? Is it inclusive of all is it just about the elite.
Here are some titles of the articles, short stories, poems, books and critiques I am working on. I am including some of the titles and asking you to think of the following based on history of the Americas: Who am I? What do I mean? What is my focus?
- The Devil is “White” so is his wife!
- Little “White” lies!
- The Tower of Babel dismantled. Why is it that even if we speak a common language we do not understand one another?
- Love thy enemy and my enema! Who is my enemy? When did the first drive by shooting occur in North America? Who was the first suicide bomber? Finally, why are they heroes?
- The Joan of Arc of Montreal… who is she?
- Women – Womyn
- Simply Y! Women who have influenced my life
If you read my blog, please leave a comment and let me know what each title means to you? What is your first impression and how does it make you feel or react. I would be very much interested to share and debate these ideas.