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The Kid

Note: This poem came to me when I was meditating on the picture of an African child, which was published on World Vision’s website. I was planning on donating some money for the African children and was distracted by a kid’s picture. So I meditated on the picture for a couple of minutes and created this poem.

He looks at us with those dignified eyes

His head slightly tilted
That appeal for respect in his eyes
That appeal for recognition
Shining magnificently
He beseeches us politely
Wondering if we will ever answer
His lips quiver as he fights hesitation
Wondering how to endeavor properly
Silently praying
Yearning for a hug
That orphan kid
Hugs his knees
Sitting on the rough ground
He watches the kids pass
Hand in hand with their parents
A tear escapes his eyes
That gallant shine almost disappearing
Am I not wanted?
Am I not needed?
A smile forms slowly
As he looks up at the sky
And feels the strength and courage
Emanating from within
One day, I will be loved
It’s not too dark yet
It’s not too dark yet
poverty

Copyright © by Arzoo Zaheer. All Rights Reserved.

How Rape Occurs?

You have to collapse either the emotional, physical, social, physical, or spiritual circles and rape will take place smoothly. That’s a common story when it comes to coloured or White Canadian women. They are being preyed upon by an unjust system that requires hyper-responsibility even when they are extremely vulnerable; and, then they are asked to learn to draw the line.  Rape is a societal issue; and people don’t want you to know that the cues for degrading or raping women are picked up through the society, and it isn’t a couple of households or men.

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Copyright © by Arzoo Zaheer. All Rights Reserved.

Documenting Misuse and Happiness

Writers must document their personal experiences as well as significant subjects their neighbors, friends, or colleagues discuss. You may document the original, use it to study trends, then publish it as fiction; or you may write and publish the original material given that you have permission to do so. Place all of your documented material in Pocket Expanding Case Files and record your commentary or notes by using camera or recorder─don’t record or document the original stories given that the victims specifically asked you not to do so; in those cases, try to understand the trends.

Remember that while documenting misuse, don’t listen to what others have to say given that you feel you have a stronger story that’s making more sense than what others are trying to preach you. All of my first drafts are sitting inside my 19 Pocket Expanding Case File; and the rest are inside my very vast mind, which nobody has ever been able to navigate without feeling very unsettled.

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Copyright © by Arzoo Zaheer. All Rights Reserved.

Right Under Our Noses

I created the Twitter Moment “Abuse of the Coloured Takes Place Right Under Our Noses. Some Survive.” after reviewing some of my personal encounters, stories narrated by close friends or colleagues, and several online articles. Check it out!

How Someone Belonging to Health Care or Clinical Research Professions Can Be A Rapist?

Individuals who belong to Health Care and Clinical Research professions─both professions are closely tied so people belonging to these professions interact a lot─are usually very passionate and smart. But, know that Medical Doctors, Surgeons, Nurses, Teachers, Clinical Research Project Managers, and anyone in Senior Management might be a narcissist who has a strong need to rape and violate─they are like the Werewolf of Wysteria. They know how to keep shifting the blame on the vulnerable parties like students, patients, women, disabled, and coloured people. Just some years ago, I wouldn’t have known all of this at all; but, I was provided with some credible information about severe mistreatment─not rape but just excessive blaming and intolerance─that was taking place inside some Canadian Nursing schools. So, I spoke with some Doctors, Nursing students, and certain clinical professionals privately who confirmed my suspicions. Obviously, there is a strong link between narcissism, bad work and academic performance, rape, and murder.

My research also shows that some people who are running for Political positions are also teaching inside Medical or Nursing schools. Lola Bailey’s article “Me, Myself and I: 5 Perfect Jobs for Narcissists” identifies Politicians, Lecturers, Managers, and Medical Doctors as possible narcissists. One key characteristic of narcissism is gaslighting to alter the setting inside the minds of their victims. “This has to be done because you weren’t listening” is something you might hear from a Nursing Teacher who wishes to “punish” by devising errors inside your mind and then displaying false ideas about your performance and health on your record. Some abused students I came across are so nerve-wrecked that they have learned to make “little errors”; this is because their confidence and boundaries slowly break due to the intrusive and pushy behavior of their teachers. To add to the stress offered by the victims’ lifestyle and circumstances, narcissists perform intense probing to eliminate any personal space so that they may easily takeover. You must have noticed that the very nature of the Health Care and Clinical Research professions requires “strong control of one’s activities as well as those of the patients”; “lack of personal space”; or “touching/examination including touching/examination of the private parts”. Furthermore, North American Medical, Nursing, and Clinical fields have a very strong hierarchy, which makes it mandatory for everyone to seek status. Status is linked to power and even some teachers can tell you what power means by getting away with lying about you. According to Jerry Useem’s article “Power Causes Brain Damage” power corrupts and damages the brain so that the humans end up becoming narcissists and in some cases rapists. Read article “Ottawa doctor who sounded alarm on residential schools remembered with exhibit ” to learn the story of Dr. Peter Bryce who tried to expose the brutal conditions at residential schools and was ignored by the authorities. This story is an example of how easy it is to hide scams that are taking place inside the Health Care or Clinical Research fields for years and years even if someone decides to whistleblow.

Below are some helpful resources that show you how some Health Care and Clinical Research professionals are busy raping and violating their patients, colleagues, or friends instead of helping them. According to Recovery.org’s article “Recognizing the Signs of Narcissistic Personality Disorder” all rapists are amazing at narcissism because rape requires hijacking the minds of the victims. Why else do you think that a rapist says, “Baby, I will protect you” and then says, “No! you wanted all of this” after forcing the victim. Writer Kellie Jo Holly shares a critical fact in the article “How Did You Brainwash Me?“: narcissism redesigns minds by adding trauma and new goals.

Here are some more helpful articles/videos.

Doctored Abuse by Kenya CitizenTV
Ontario must do more about doctors who abuse patients by Lorian Hardcastle
Woman Claims Doctor Raped Her While She Was Sedated by Samantha Allen

Can you easily see now why some Clinical Research institutes, Hospitals and Nursing or Medical schools have a “strong bullying culture”?  The YouTube video “The Hospital Bullying Culture Putting Us All At Risk” by Journeyman Pictures shows exactly that. Some victims told me that they had always believed that these professionals─whether they are involved in Politics or not─are the ones who are supposed to bless and protect us. But, do you know that rapists also protect and bless you before they rape you? CTVNews’s article “Man offered to bless woman before sexually assaulting her: Toronto police” shows exactly that fact. According to Lorian Hardcastle’s article “Ontario must do more about doctors who abuse patients“, the authorities are not able to manage this issue well in Ontario simply because the narcissists keep dodging all the feedback or critique through further gaslighting; the victims keep disappearing without fully reporting everything or without pursuing a filed report; and/or other professionals keep mistrusting and abusing the victims instead due to the existing hierarchy. Ontario is having trouble managing this rape crisis. But, I know for a fact that a lot of narcissistic teachers are getting away with emotionally abusing the students─this issue is forever neglected. Surviving such toxic environments isn’t easy and sticking to a functional and protective group is the key. Also, remember that not all Health Care or Clinical Research professionals cross these critical boundaries.

You can say that this post is an example of Whistleblowing because the Canadian media is not available to cover these issues in detail. I feel that they don’t want to fully cover the issues that the vulnerable parties, such as colored people or women are facing as they try to enter the Canadian Health Care or Clinical Research system. This is apparent since the Canadian media is mostly made up of White people. See Vicky Mochama’s article “Canadian media continue to uphold whiteness at work: Mochama“. Why else do we keep hearing from some non-profit research institutes like Wellesley Institute that Canadian Health Care system (don’t forget that it is linked into Clinical Research system) offers biases and obstacles that target the vulnerable population? Check out their report “Canada’s Colour Coded Labour Market: The Gap For Racialized Workers“.

Copyright © by Arzoo Zaheer. All Rights Reserved.

Defence of the Colonized in “M.Butterfly” and “Death of the King’s Horseman”

Note: I wrote this essay for one of my undergraduate English courses at the University of Toronto.

Soyinka’s “Death and the King’s Horseman” and Hwang’s “M. Butterfly” are both postcolonial prose. Contrary to Hwang, Soyinka forbids the readers from reading the text as representation of “clash of cultures”. However, a closer analysis of the play suggests that it is in fact about clash of culture as well as about gaining an understanding of the idea of transition and its importance to the Yaruban culture. Both “Death and the King’s Horseman” and “M.Butterfly” are an attempt to conserve the importance and validity of the indigenous cultures. The texts achieve this purpose in two steps: 1) representation of the oppression of the indigenous culture; and 2) defence of the indigenous culture.  Whereas, “M.Butterfly” presents a bold defence of the Oriental culture, “Death and the King’s Horseman” presents a passive defence of the Yoruba culture. In this essay I’ll prove the above claim as follows: The endogenous race/culture is shown as oppressed through recurring themes of ethnocentricity, orientalism, alterity and colonial mimicry. Finally, the defence of the endogenous culture is presented directly and indirectly through dialogue and structure.

The theme of Orientalism is persistent throughout both of these texts. Orientalism refers to Western/White-centered belief that establishes racial “Others” as sexually exhausted, passive, feminine, and in need of civilization. This belief in the inferiority of the racial “Others” was used as an excuse by the European and English nations to colonize other regions. The colonists are represented as persistent in disciplining the indigenous culture. This persistent practice stems from the fact that they regard the natives as comparatively ignorant and in need of civilization and guidance: “You think you’ve stamped it all…lurking under the surface somewhere (pg.26)”. It is obvious that the colonizers consider it their responsibility to clean up the act of the Yoruban natives. Simon Pilkings, the district officer from “Death and the King’s Horseman”, shows no respect for their rituals and does not try to understand the significance of these rituals for the Yoruba people. He stubbornly tries to enforce British law on an African culture. Thus, the freedom of the natives is compromised under the colonial rule. As in “Death and the King’s Horseman”, Orientalism is evident in M. Butterfly as well. Haedicke has established the following translation of gender differences into political language: Male=West and Female=East (Ma, RuiQi, 1996). Madame Butterfly is Gallimard’s fantasy of a perfect woman who is submissive and feminine. Butterfly excites Gallimard because she gives him a false sense of security by allowing him to have power over her: “Song:…I have already given you my shame (pg.35).” It is obvious that Gallimard doesn’t really love Song but his fantasy, Madame Butterfly. He is excited by the idea of exercising power over his Butterfly: “Gallimard: ..writhe on a needle (pg.31-32).” Here, Hwang is metaphorically stating that West loves to exercise power over the East since this satisfies its fantasy of the passive East. The West loves the idea of power over weak nations and not strong ones because it gives it a false sense of security. This is obvious during Gallimard’s dialogue with the girl in Act 5. She deliberately removes her clothes in front of Gallimard. This terrifies him because such boldness challenges his power and authority over the female sex.: “Girl: Then slowly, I lift off my …Gallimard: No. She’s-why is she naked? (pg.11).”

Both of the plays allude to the political position of the East. However, they adopt different strategies. Soyinka directly represents the power of the colonists by allowing the readers to observe the relationship of Amusa and Joseph with Picklings and Simon’s attitude towards tribal rituals. Simon Picklings is shown to exert full influence over the natives. In contrast, Hwang employs extended metaphors to convey the same message. Song’s character is marginalized. We rarely come in contact with the real Song. Most of the time, its Madame Butterfly who demands our attention. Thus, Hwang is alluding to marginalization and subordination of females (East) in a patriarchal society ruled by men (West). Females are regarded as blank pages on which men can freely write the things they want such as submission and femininity (Ma, RuiQi, 1996). Thus, Hwang is alluding to how powerful imperialists set out to colonize relatively poorer nations, draw borders, and establish colonies wherever they will. Butterfly is played by a man disguised as a woman. A real female protagonist is missing, which reinforces the idea of marginalization of the female gender in a patriarchal society. In addition, Song enters the courtroom dressed as a male; and, thus the voice of females is completely removed from the courtroom arena (Ma, RuiQi, 1996). These extended metaphors reinforce the idea that Orient’s position in World Politics is considered to be weaker than that of the English. Thus, the theme of Orientalism is persistent throughout both texts on literal and metaphoric levels.

Additionally, both plays analyze how ethnocentric beliefs of the exogenous culture lead to oppression of the endogenous culture. Ethnocentricity refers to the practise of viewing other cultures and ethnicity in terms of one’s own. In “Death and the King’s Horseman”, Elesin is captured by Simon Picklings because he plans to commit ritual suicide. Elesin’s downfall is mainly due to two reasons: 1) his love for material life (he delayed his ritual suicide since he preferred to be with his newly-wed wife during his last hours); and 2) Simon’s ethnocentric belief that suicide is wrong. If Simon would not have interfered, the ritual would have continued after the terms of marriage were fulfilled. Simon’s interference played a vital role in causing this Yaruban tragedy and thus lead to the oppression of the Yaruban natives. Similarly, in “M. Butterfly”, Gallimard’s downfall occurs because of his ethnocentric belief that his Butterfly is a modest and inexperienced Oriental maiden. The roots of his fantasy lie in the Western culture of that time as well as his weak sexual ego. During that time the Orientalist beliefs about Oriental men and women prevailed in the West. Thus, he, like many other Westerners, view Madame Butterfly as a passive and self-sacrificing female who is his “perfect woman”: “She is outwardly…It is the Oriental in her at war with her Western education (pg.27).”  He imposes conditions of passivity and inferiority on her. Song uses his ethnocentric beliefs to trick him into believing that she is exactly what he thinks she is, a submissive Oriental woman: “Gallimard:…She feels inferior to them-and to me (pg.31).” Hwang is again referring to how the West tends to impose conditions of passivity onto the East.

Ethnocentric views prevail because people usually perceive other cultures and nations through a cultural lens. They use a set of preconceptions to become familiar with the foreign culture. Ultimately when they come in contact with the foreign culture, these preconceptions may act as a barrier which prevents them from truly understanding the foreign culture. Ethnocentric views also persist because of alterity. Alterity is a term that describes the possibility that the beliefs, priorities, and actions of one person, group, and culture may not be understandable to an observer no matter how hard one tries. Thus, alterity alludes to the possibility that there will always be some gaps in the understanding between two unique individuals or cultures. Dialogical alterity is a type of alterity that affirm the “Otherness” of others, insofar as the other entails different histories, traditions, and range of experiences (Bouchard, L.D, 1990). Dialogical alterity is visible in both of the plays. In “Death and the King’s Horseman”, Olunde engages in a conversation with Jane merely on the basis that he has received Western education and thus partially if not completely removed the distance between himself and the Westerners. Jane and Olunde are unable to understand each other fully because of dialogical alterity. Thus, they utter ethnocentric statements. Jane considers him to be a heartless person because he seems so cold about his father’s death. Olunde is very sarcastic about the ball since its taking place in the middle of a war: “Olunde: Others would call it decadence (pg.53).” It is obvious that British ways offend Olunde; but he doesn’t voice his thoughts clearly and instead chooses to ask sarcastic questions. He is adapting to the Western culture but is still sarcastic towards it; and, he tends to keep his Yaruban identity separate and distinct from his Western identity. Here, dialogical alterity does not classify Olunde as “Other” because he has been Westernized. He is adopting the ways of the British and this makes him one of them. In contrast, his father is jailed because he completely refuses to abide by British rules. Here, again dialogical alterity leads to oppression of the natives. Similarly, in “M.Butterfly”, dialogical alterity is responsible for Song’s oppression by Gallimard. His fantasy of Madame Butterfly is a result of dialogical alterity. Gallimard believes that Song is submissive. Thus in Scene 13, he forces her to admit that she is his Butterfly. It is clear that Song does not want to be called his Butterfly. She/he hesitates to admit that she/he is Gallimard’s fantasy. It should be noted that this scene is placed next to the one in which Gallimard gets promoted. By juxtapositioning Gallimards’s promotion with Song’s submission, the author is alluding to the fact that just because West is powerful it thinks that East should be submissive to it and obey it just like Song obeys Gallimard. Here dialogical alterity at the political level is presented metaphorically. Gallimard (West) is unable to understand Song/Butterfly (East). All he understands about her is how he sees her as his fantasy. Thus, real Song (East) is already established as “Other” and hence oppressed due to dialogical alterity. The West is following its set of preconceptions about East and is looking at it through a cultural lens. West falsely believes that East is powerless before it and no matter how hard East and West try to understand each other there will always be a gap between them. Thus, Song and Gallimard are unable to interact on a realistic level because of dialogical alterity. In Scene 7, Gallimard calls Chinese arrogant while talking to Helga. However, in front of Song/Butterfly, he hides his true feelings towards Chinese people. This could be because he does not want to hurt his Butterfly or because he thinks that Butterfly will not be able to understand why he feels like this towards Chinese people.

Furthermore, these plays present oppression of the endogenous culture in the form of colonial mimicry. Colonial Mimicry is defined as the desire for a reformed, recognizable “Other”, as a subject of a difference that is almost the same, but not quite (Cheng, Annie-Anlin, 1997). This means that the dominant group is mimicked by the oppressed group: “The colonized subject must be disguised, mimed, as almost the same, but not quite. His/her incomplete imitation in turn serves as a sign…of the failure of authenticity (Cheng, Annie-Anlin, 1997).”  Thus, the colonized will always be viewed as the “Other” because his/her “reformation” can never be complete; i.e., he/she will always hold some of his/her own cultural views dear to heart despite assimilation into the dominant culture. Colonial mimicry thus is a result of oppression of the colonized. The colonized mimics the dominant exogenous culture, willingly or unwillingly, to ensure his/her safety. In “Death and the King’s Horseman”, colonial mimicry is evident when the African servants are seen dressed in English clothes; e.g., in Act 3, Amusa is seen wearing knickers like English do. As Amusa and Joseph become subservient to the colonizers, they embody the traits of docility and intellectual confusion (Olakunle, George, 1999). This is obvious as we contrast Iyaloja’s and Elesin’s eloquent speeches with those of Amusa and Joseph. Speeches of Amusa and Joseph do not contain any beautiful metaphors and are not eloquent at all. Amusa, the sergeant, speaks least eloquently: “Amusa (commencing his retreat): We dey..we no warn you (pg.39).” The author seems to be pointing to the fact that the further a native gets from his culture, more docile he/she becomes. However, Olunde does not become docile by distancing himself from his culture. This is because he never really leaves his culture like Amusa and Joseph did. Unlike Amusa and Joseph, he intends to participate in Yaruban rituals. Moreover, Olunde doesn’t blindly mimic Westerners but rather tries to understand them in order to be one of them. Olunde, Joseph, and Amusa are hybrids (Olakunle, George, 1999). They have integrated Western ways into their life, but they still respect Yaruban rituals. Amusa is horrified when he sees the Picklings wearing egungun because he takes the value of the mask at the metaphysical level. In contrast, Olunde is not at all shocked to see Jane wearing the mask at the ball. This difference is due to Olunde’s Western education. His education allows him to understand that Jane would never wear the mask like natives do (Olakunle, George, 1999). Like Amusa and Joseph, Olunde is a hybrid because despite his Western education he still plans to follow the Yaruban traditions and rituals: “Olunde:…I would like to touch his body while it is still warm (pg. 56).”  Hybridity leads to disintegration of the self:

“By hybridity, I do not mean a condition where two discrete entities coexist or intersect in the same agent while at the same time retaining their distinct shapes and self-efficiency…I mean a situation where the two entities or identities are incommensurable and can therefore be entangled in the same subject…such hybridity functions ultimately as a result of deformation. (Olakunle, George, 1999)”

Since no one in their right mind would like to have a disintegrated/split self, hybridity and thus colonial mimicry are a result of oppression. Similarly, in “M.Butterfly”, Song represents colonial mimicry as an effect of oppression when he appears in the court wearing a suit. The only way to be recognized and respected by the French court is to appear like a Westerner and not a Chinese: “Song does not come to power in the end nor assume the success of his political critique by acquiring some authentic Chinese male identity…he does so by donning an Armani suit (Olakunle, George, 1999).”

Lastly, both of the plays present a defence of the indigenous culture. In “Death and the King’s Horseman”, the Picklings are introduced while they were wearing the egungan. Metaphorically, this implies that Picklings, representative of English bureaucracy, are in reality not any different from the Yaruban natives. Thus, deep within the English are the same as Yaruban in that they have the potential to be equally savage. Simon is shown as a person who has no respect for his own religion.  Thus, the traits of hybridity (disintegrated self) are superimposed onto him. In Author’s note, Soyinka asks his readers not to interpret the novel as “clash of cultures”. In accordance with the author’s note, several critics are of the view that this novel is not about cultural clash. These critics maintain that Elesin’s failure to commit suicide was due to his longing of the material world and not because of Simon’s interference. However one cannot ignore the fact that if Yaruba was not colonized, then this ritual would have continued after the rights of marriage were fulfilled. Thus, this novel is essentially about “clash of cultures”. Then why state the opposite in author’s note? Soyinka’s strategy is to make the readers more focused onto the Yaruban culture and less on British ways and discourse. He prepares the readers to do so by inviting them to look at the play’s “threnodic essence” and not to think of it as “clash of cultures”. (Soyinka, 1975) He also foregrounds Yaruban myths, metaphors, and people. Only fragments of the Western lifestyle are shown, and the West is essentially set in the background: “Olunde (waves his hand towards the background). The PRINCE is dancing…give to that (Pg.53)”. Thus, this writing style allows a passive defence of the Yaruban culture and heritage. In contrast, Hwang defends the Orientals very boldly on literal and metaphoric level. On literal level, Hwang uses Song to voice his thoughts about Western Orientalist mentality: “The West…can’t think for herself (pg. 83).” Furthermore, Hwang metaphorically reverses the “gendering of ethnicity”. (Lye, Colleen,1995)  Song switches gender at a “real” level. However, Gallimard switches gender on a figurative level as he wears Butterfly’s kimono. His gender switching is a result of “ambiguous sexuality”. (Lye, Colleen, 1995)  Thus, Gallimard’s feminization serves as an extended metaphor to present the feminization of the West.

In conclusion, a thorough comparison of “M. Butterfly” and “Death and the King’s Horseman” leads one to conclude that these postcolonial proses serve as a voice of the indigenous culture. The authors successfully depict the oppression of the indigenous culture by depicting events that can be analyzed in terms of orientalism, ethnocentricity, alterity, and colonial mimicry. Both authors attempt to conserve the validity of the indigenous cultures by imposing negative qualities, which were originally directed towards the colonized cultures, onto the colonizers. Hwang’s gender switching metaphor and Soyinka’s foregrounding technique are good examples of how the authors manage to redirect the negative qualities onto imperialists. At the end of these plays, the readers realize that there is actually no real difference between West and East. Thus the readers view them at equal levels and identify the victims of oppression. Finally, the readers come to appreciate the beauty of the indigenous culture and the courage of the natives.

References

  1. Bouchard, L.D. (1990). Integrity and alterity: Death and the King’s Horseman in the theater of understanding. Morphologies of faith: essays in religion and culture in honor of Nathan A. Scott, Jr.  Scholars Press. Atlanta. pp. 217–43
  2. Cheng, Annie-Anlin (1997). The Melancholy of Race. The Kenyon Review. (19:1)  pp. 49–61
  3. Hwang, H. D. (1989). M.Butterfly Penguin Books USA Inc. New York, USA
  4. Lye, Colleen (1995). M. Butterfly and the Rhetoric of Antiessentialism: Minority discourse in an international frame. London: Minnesota UP
  5. Ma,RuiQi (1996). The Ideology of Cultural and Gender Misunderstanding in D.H. Hwang’s M.Butterfly. Canadian Review of Comparative Literature. (23: 4) pp. 1053–63.
  6. Olakunle, George. (1999). Cultural Criticism in Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman. Representations. (67). pp. 67–91
  7. Soyinka, Wole (1975) Death and the King’s Horseman. W.W.Norton and Company New York. USA

Copyright © by Arzoo Zaheer. All Rights Reserved.

Persuasion by Racism: “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad and Canadian Ghettos

Note: I wrote this essay while finishing my undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto. Before you read this essay, become familiar with the YouTube video “Science of Persuasion.” Science of Persuasion includes six elements: Reciprocity, Scarcity, Authority, Consistency, Liking, and Consensus. Reciprocity occurs when people are obliged to give back what they have received first; Scarcity is when people want what they are told they may have less of; Authority refers to the fact that people follow credible experts and resources; Consistency refers to requesting small initial commitments that might lead to bigger ones; Liking principle indicates that we like similar people, those who pay us complements, and those who work with us towards mutual goals; Consensus occurs when people look at the actions and behaviour of others to determine their own. 

Racism that takes places inside Canada, such as creation of Ghettos, is based on these principles. Coloured people who are clustered inside Ghettos cannot reciprocate due to poverty and less connections; White people are scarce and thus considered “superior” and “more intelligent”; its easier to find White authorities owing to their White privilege and thus easy to assume that colored people are “dumber” in nature; colored people like working with each other and thus may appear “close” towards the Whites because they pay each other more complements or understand each other’s issues more; networks and process of integration break easily in the ghettos because the Consistency principle indicates that small initial commitments to help out would dissappear when someone else’s better party invite leads to stronger and more consistent commitment levels; and, needs of coloured people are neglected as a lot of employers consense to hiring and retaining White people more than colored people

Since coloured people are left struggling with lower wages and seclusion from the White majority, there are less educated coloured representatives found in authoritative positions. Thus, they appear less productive and are more prone to being defamed, blackmailed, and abused. 

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad has been classified as a “thoroughgoing racist novel” by critics such as Achebe (3). A close analysis of the novel proves that even though it is a racist novel, there are certain instances of non-racial behavior depicted in it. The dehumanization of the Africans, their classification as “others”, endowment of rudimentary speech, justification of European’s lack of communication with the natives, and setting of Africa and its natives in the background all serve as evidence in establishing this novel as racist literature directed at the Africans. However, at the end of the novel, there are certain non-racist events that lead one to conclude that the author believes that if the Europeans had tried to understand Africans, they would have realized that just like themselves they are only human. Even though the text exhibits racist attitude towards the Belgians, it also emphasizes that they are responsible for carrying out violent acts against natives under imperialistic rule. This novel is racist in the sense that it approves of Imperialism even though it condemns torture of natives.

Oxford English Dictionary defines dehumanization as deprivation of human qualities. Throughout this novel, the native Africans are dehumanized. African natives are likened to beasts, savages, ants, and instruments. “A slight clinking behind me…rhythmically clinking (para. 35, sec.I, 2).” In this paragraph, the author describes how the native Africans “appear” to him. He doesn’t narrate their emotions or their feelings at all. The natives are merely considered as “parts of machinery” by the Europeans. In accordance with Achebe’s conclusions, Jan Mohammad also describes dehumanization as an act of racism (1). Jan Mohammad provides a deeper explanation as to why such a literary technique was employed by the author. He defines the novella as an “imaginary” text. The “imaginary” is a developmental stage where the child (6-18 months old) identifies himself with his image. The child situates rivalry and aggressivity within the distance that lies between himself and his reflection. According to Jan Mohammad, the native African functions as an image/reflection of the imperialist (4). Conrad tends to project all the despised attributes of the European imperialists onto the “Other” (4). Thus when Marlow calls the natives criminals and savages, he is in fact projecting the guilt, which he felt because of European attitude towards the natives, onto the natives. By referring to them as savage, he is regarding the brutal enslavement of the natives as a very savage act. This serves as evidence that Conrad doesn’t approve of the method of the Belgian imperial government. However, the fact that the author actually projects these negative opinions about Europeans onto African natives depicts racism. It seems that Conrad considers the natives inferior enough to subject them to dehumanization via” projection of opinion”.

Dehumanization can also be explained in terms of the “Manichean allegory” that refers to the conversion of “racial differences” into “moral and metaphysical differences” (4). “They were called criminals, and the outraged law, like the bursting shells…over the sea (para. 35, sec. I,2).” Thus the author assumes that the natives are criminals because he thinks that they should obey the imperialists since they are morally and intellectually inferior to them. This assumption of the inferiority of the African race and then its translation into the immorality of their character depicts racism. “And between whiles I had to look…hind legs (para. 9, sec. II,2).” This again is an example of the Manichean allegory and is also considered racist content. The native is called an “improved specimen” and is compared to a dog. The protagonist is shown to take care of the fireman as if he is a little child with a lower intellect level (6). It is thus obvious that the author considers the natives intellectually inferior to the Whites. He thinks that educating them will improve them so that they can be used as pawns by the White imperialists.

The African natives are granted rudimentary speech. When they do speak, their speech only shows their inferiority and savagery (5). “Catch ‘im…Eat ‘im (para. 15, sec.I).” Thus the natives on the ship only speak to emphasize their savage nature. When the cannibal natives choose not to eat the pilgrims and Marlow while on board despite the fact that they outnumbered them, Marlow gets really puzzled. His contemplation upon this act of theirs leads him to conclude that these natives know no restraint. “Restraint! I would as soon have expected restraint from a hyena prowling amongst the corpses of a battlefield (para.15, sec.II, 2).” It is obvious that Marlow regards these individuals as lacking in morality and goodness. This is a racist assumption. Furthermore, the author calls African language as a form of babbling. “A violent babble of uncouth…planks (para. 44, sec I, 2).” Thus the author attempts to absolve Europeans for not trying to understand Africans by implying that their language is beyond human comprehension (6). In addition, their savage nature is mentioned to establish them as “Other” and this behavior is regarded as justification for European’s withdrawal from communicating with African natives other than for economic purpose. This separation of races on basis of cultural differences is considered racism.

As the novel progresses, Marlow’s racist attitude is replaced by a non-racist one (8). When one of the crew members, the helmsman dies, Marlow remembers and misses him. He affirms his feelings towards the helmsman by saying: “I am not prepared to affirm…getting to him (para.29, sec I, 2).”  The fact that Marlow values helmsman’s life more than his search indicates his affection for the native. Ridley notes a similarity between Helmsman and Kurtz. Both succumbed to the evil methods of the foreign cultures, by performing rituals and by shooting natives with a rifle respectively. Thus, both were detribalized; i.e., they were not considered a part of their own culture anymore. Conrad condemns both of them to death (7). The killing of the helsman does not count towards racism at all. It serves as an allusion to the fact that a human being morally degrades as he associates with the evil within. At the very end of the story, Marlow saves the natives from getting shot by the Europeans who were abroad the ship that was returning home from Congo. This unselfish act again depicts Marlow’s newly developed care and affection for the natives, which is seen only in the later parts of his journey. Overall, the protagonist’s attitude towards the Africans changes as the story progresses. As he spends more time in Congo, more easily he recognizes the natives as humans.

In this novella, Africa and its people are set in the background and are only brought in the foreground (allowed to participate in the story by speaking) to exhibit their savagery or evil. (6)  “A nigger was being beaten…went out and the wilderness without a sound took him into its bosom again (para. 35, sec.I,2). The native remains in the background and never speaks out against his mistreatment. Thus, Conrad doesn’t consider the natives important enough to make them active participants in the story; i.e., he doesn’t allow them to mold and change it. This is another evidence of racism.

The author thinks that British are better imperialists than Belgians. Hence, he adopts a racist tone towards the Belgians. “There was a vast amount of red…yellow (para.22, sec.I, 2).” Here the author is pointing out the efficiency of the British imperialist empire. In contrast, he establishes Belgians as an inefficient imperialist government. “A heavy…work going on (para. 34, sec.I,2).” This theme “futility of work” is associated with the inefficiency of the Belgians. Conrad thinks that the Belgians are not doing any worthwhile work in civilizing the Africans. Analysis of the text leads one to conclude that the author is against the violence committed by the Belgian government in Africa. However, he does support Imperialism.“She had a distaste for the work…apple-pie order (para. 40, sec. I,2).” Thus, the author approves of the fact that the chief accountant taught the native lady how to do his laundry even though she didn’t want to learn this craft. In the 19th century, Darwin’s theory of evolution was highly supported by the scientific community and the Western societies. This theory supports the notion that White race is superior to other races. This is how belief in Darwinism led to the implementation of imperialism (5). Author supports imperialism because he believes in Darwinism. However, he despises violence to which the Africans were subjected by the Belgian government. He projects his hatred of the violent acts committed by the imperialist Belgian government onto average Belgian citizens. “I found myself…their insignificant and silly dreams (para.86, sec.III,2).” He regards their ambitions as silly and considers them all as greedy individuals who hasten to earn money. He even considers their food unwholesome. This is again evidence of racism against Belgians.

In conclusion, Heart of Darkness depicts racism towards Africans only in the beginning and not at the end of the novel. Protagonist’s views are changed as he spends more time in Africa and reflects upon the cruelty of the Belgians.

References

  1. Bender, T.K. (2000)  Imagological considerations in Conrad’s vision of Africa. CLIO 29 (4): 441-447.
  2. Conrad, J. (1996) Heart of Darkness. Project Gutenberg. URL [http://www.ibiblio.org/gutenberg/etext96/hdark10a.txt]. Access Date:2003-11-25
  3. Firchow, P.E. (1937).  Envisioning Africa-Racim and Imperialism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. University Press of Kentucky: U.S.A.
  4. Kaplan, C.M (1997). Colonizers, Cannibals, and the Horror of Good Intentions in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.  Studies in Short Fiction 34 (3):323-332
  5. Nicol, A. Representation of race and gender in Heart of Darkness. URL[LiteratureClassics.com] Access Date: 2003-11-25
  6. Okafor, C.A. (2003).  Joseph Conrad and Chinua Achebe:Two Antipodal Portraits of Africa.  Journal of Black Studies 19(1): 17-28.
  7. Ridley, F.H. (2003).  The Ultimate meaning of “Heart of Darkness”. Nineteenth century fiction. 18(1):43-53
  8. Racism in the Heart of Darkness URL [http://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=8901] Access date: 2003-11-25

Copyright © by Arzoo Zaheer. All Rights Reserved.

Heaps of Snow

This lucid dream showed 3 D, real-life-like scenes that spanned an entire day of the dreamworld. In this dream, I spent all day with my friends inside a university. In the first scene, I was sitting on a large sofa with some other girls. They were listening to my concerns and nodding. One of them noticed that I was a bit stressed so she bought some Booster Juice for me. We sat in the lounge and chatted till sunset.

I looked outside the window and saw the orange sky. This part of the building was built on higher ground, and I could see the steps that lead to the street below. Suddenly, the guy who was sitting at the front desk announced something in a cheery manner. All the ladies turned to him; and I stood up, walked over, and asked him the details of this announcement. He said that there is going to be class here, and I might be interested in it. I peaked through one of the corridors and found out that some people had gathered in the corridor. One of the men shouted from the room and announced the names of the speakers who were going to deliver a free seminar. Everyone got excited after they heard this news. I got excited too, but then I just shrugged this off as a common occurrence.

It got dark rather quickly afterwards; and, thus I decided to leave the building. Outside, there were mountains and mountains of snow. “Who can walk on these streets that are now laden with thick blankets of snow?”, I thought as I looked at the horizon to see if any cars were approaching. Then I noticed that there was a young man ahead of me. He was faster and more athletic than me. I quietly looked at him and envied his physical abilities; the sky felt surreal and peaceful as if souls of all the dream characters were somehow merging.

I struggled through the first heap of snow that was covering the first street. I looked up and saw him run over the small hill that was built in between the two streets. My legs were tired now, but I had to climb the hill. All of a sudden, my legs gave up; and I fell down. My books fell out of my hands and cluttered all around me. I was out for several minutes; and, God knows how this man just turned and noticed me. I wasn’t even screaming and just lying there frightened thinking whether I will ever stand up again and face this world. Quietly, he walked towards me and gently picked me up. He didn’t address me because he seemed reserved. I examined his well-built face and started feeling shy because this situation was so awkward. I thanked him slowly and felt odd that he was looking at me. He laughed in a friendly manner, and hinted that he will keep noticing me to keep me safe. He seemed in a hurry; but, he had looked at me just like I have always dreamt that he would.

Copyright © by Arzoo Zaheer. All Rights Reserved.

Fifth Pentacle of Mars and Scorpion Dream Signal

For some unknown reason, I have always felt that the Key of Solomon ties into the world of Lucid Dreaming. I haven’t fully investigated this yet; and, I am slowly working on this during my spare time. Today, I reviewed some of the Pentacles found inside the Key of SolomonFigure 29 from the Key of Solomon shows a Scorpion that’s sitting inside a circle. I remember that once I had a dream during which I saw my mother open the flour container. Then, I saw a large, dark black scorpion sitting there fully alert. It felt alive and extremely watchful somehow. My mom took some flour out; and, it didn’t bite her or move away from its assigned position. I remember being slightly frightened of it for some reason. And, I remember waking up after watching all this. The similarity between my dream and the Fifth Pentacle of Mars is that in both cases a Scorpion is captured inside a container. Another similarity is that the Scorpion from my dream was sitting in a very similar position; it was facing one side of the container just like this Scorpion is facing one portion of the circle. Thus, it is easy to conclude that this was an ambient dream where some parts of the environment are slightly altered but the rest is same.

(added Dec 11, 2018)

I read on the site “Carolina Conjure” that the Fifth Pentacle of Mars is used to control demons and make them come under the influence of the possessor of the seal. I know that Lucid Dreaming is used to control things like Depression, Anxiety, fears, or PTSD. Just like demons do, these issues can cause you to lose control of your life. Lucid Dreaming adds the control back. Is it what the appearance of Fifth Seal of Solomon actually means?

Copyright © by Arzoo Zaheer. All Rights Reserved.

Dancing feels Ecstatic

I started dancing at weddings as a child─I am Rajputian so it is easy for me to learn dancing. Ever since then, my body has been learning on its own by listening to different types of music. I have learned mostly on my own after being taught a little bit in high school. Right now, I know a bit of Bollywood Dancing, Tap Dancing, Couple Dancing, and Indian Stick Dancing. Pretending that I am dancing with someone is very easy for me; and, I definitely plan to dance with my husband after getting married. Only my close friends; relatives; guests of family weddings; and, my entire (Pakistani) high school has seen me dance so far. Dancing is fun because I feel very elated, defined, and blessed after dancing. Dancers like me are genetically different! If they aren’t dancing, then their brains might die due to lack of movement, elegance, and teasing─right now, I am dancing on “Hum Tum Instrumental“.

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Copyright © by Arzoo Zaheer. All Rights Reserved.