Timor again (sorry Lou)

João Paulo Monteiro jpmonteiro at SPAMmail.telepac.pt
Sun Nov 21 09:55:15 MST 1999



Ghebremichael Woldeselassie wrote:

> Hello my white friends,
>
> I thought I would just take a watching.  But I liked this man's message.
> Here and many places in Africa we are sensitive to such issues too.  Some
> are not willing to be pawns for politeness.  Call a spade a spade.  Words
> fail me in English to say what I think.  But is time somehow for "dimtsi
> hafesh" - voice of people in my mother's language.


Thank you very much for your post Ghebremichael.

I once went to London to attend a giant event called 'Marxism', promoted
by the
british trotskyist (cliffite) party SWP. It lasted for ten days with
dozens and
dozens of conferences on subjects ranging from the charming quark to the
wifes
of Henry VIII.

I was lodged at an apartment owned by a militant, a very
rrrrevolutionary young
professional woman (probably teacher) by the name of Peri. I had toured
around
the city a bit and, very casually, tried to exchange some impressions
with her.
I asked her:

- It's curious, most of the small shops here are owned by pakistani
families,
aren't they?

She was somewhat disturbed, then replied:

- No, that's a stereotype. You have probably heard that from some-one
and
afterwards "confirmed" it with some casual examples.

End of conversation. I was left to my thoughts. What could have made
this bright
young woman deny such a blatant reality with such a piece of bullshit? I
was
having a interest in these people (and on the sociological meaning of
their
dominant presence in a very specific economic niche) and she, very
abruptly, all
but called me a racist. There must be some civilizational malaise at
work here.
I was left to conclude that she preferred to ignore the pakistani shop
owners
(who probably vote conservative anyway). The subject was considered
"delicate"
and brushed away by her political correct thoughts processor. This women
had
probably never had a serious conversation with any  people of "color" in
her
life (except, perhaps, some very western acculturated ones). For as much
"liberal" and guilty protestant conscience you throw at it, this
rhetoric of multi-culturalism is really one of deep fear and
estrangement of the other, verging on "apartheid" on a global scale.

(Incidentally, I tried to make sauna on the University of London Student
Association but was turned down. There were no men-only sauna
accommodations, for
this would certainly encourage incorrect male gossip and braggery. All
there was
was women-only or mixed-gender sauna accommodations. In these, the women
could be
naked but the men were forced to wear bathing suits in order not to
aggress the
women. That's when I understood this was no place for such a portuguese
turd as
yours truly.)

I guess I will never really understand the englishman.



João Paulo Monteiro










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