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Equality

YIN DOLMAH
YIN DOLMAH
YIN DOLMAH
EQUALITY
THE SPEECH OF TINDAANA ELLEKRISTA TO
THE PEOPLE OF TANZU REGARDING THE
MATTER OF EQUALITY
Ellekrista was born in Πanzu under difficult circumstances.
Her parents were unable to care for her, so she was adopted
by a family from the colonial forces. Ellekrista’s adopted
family moved quite a bit throughout the world giving her a
lot of exposure and perspective on so many things.
She did very well as a businesswoman until she came back
in her early fifties to live quietly in Πanzu. She started out
her speech by calling 2 of her grandsons sitting in the crowd
to come out and stand next to her.
One of them was 10 years old and the other was 15 years of
age.
When they stood next to her, she embraced both of them very
dearly, after which she turned her attention to the crowd.
I want you to look at these 2 very handsome boys,
she said to the people. “Do you think they are equal in my
eyes?
Of course they are.
I love both very dearly and I value both equally. But are they
the same?
Absolutely not. Nyaaba, on my right, loves mathematics.
He loves to probe academic material and learn new things
that many children his age will find very boring. Asilka on
the other hand is very athletic and loves the outdoors. He
runs like no other child I have seen; he is able to climb the
rocks of Πanzu better than any rock climber I have
encountered in my life.
Ladies and gentlemen of Πanzu, my 2 grandchildren are
equal in value to me, but they are definitely not the same.
YIN DOLMAH
I love every part of my body equally. But my body parts
are not the same.
My head is different from my neck. My neck is different
from my mid-section. My hands are different from my legs.
To each their own unique construction.
For me to say they are equal, is because I respect them
equally. To respect them equally does not mean they have
the same abilities.
For if I expect my head to do the job which my hands are
best suited to accomplish, I will wreak great havoc and chaos
on my body.
In the same vein, if I force my tongue to do the job of my
eyes, good luck overcoming the resulting chaos I will visit
and deservedly so on my own body.
She hugged both of her grandsons a second time and
motioned for them to take back their seats.
There are many things I wish to talk to you about
today regarding the topic of equality, she continued.
I was born right here in Πanzu under very difficult
circumstances. My parents were unable to support
themselves due to an injury my father suffered on the farm
shortly before I was born.
My parents were from a minority tribe. Many people right
here in Πanzu called my parents and anyone who belonged
to our tribe names that are not fit to be repeated by any decent
human being.
What many of you here today do not know is that I was born
with my legs crossed in such a way that the original
perception was that I was going to be crippled.
This was in an era when crippled and deformed children
were hidden as the people called it.
YIN DOLMAH
The practice was to hand over deformed children to local
‘doctors’ and the child was never returned.
The baby was never seen again for the ‘doctors’ took the
child they deemed unfit to live among people and killed it.
They called the practice hiding the child. This was
practiced for many years right here while our kinsmen were
decapitating the heads of innocent people so they could
include the severed heads in the coffins of dead kings prior
to burial of the dead monarchs.
People of Πanzu, I was supposed to be hidden when one of
the families of the colonial forces intercepted and adopted
me. Today I stand here alive and as a Πindaana mainly
because of my adopted family.
I was fortunate to travel the world, as my family moved from
one station to the next. I have lived with different groups of
people. I have immersed myself in different cultures and I
have had the opportunity to observe the ways of different
people all over the world.
I have witnessed different groups of people subjugate other
groups.
Circumstances such as this is what I refer to as winning or
losing based on the team you do not choose.
What I mean by the statement I just made is; it is a fact that
some people are born into a tribe, nation, or tongue that have
many tough situations to overcome. It takes great courage
and fortitude to come out and win if you happen to be born
into one of those tough situations.
The team you did not choose, but which you were born into,
could hold you back from winning unless you decide to do
everything within your control to change the outcome and
the narrative.
YIN DOLMAH
It is a daunting task for anyone to bear. I have seen people
treat each other horribly and inhumanely. Some on larger
scale than others.
Across the board I have observed humanity treat each other
badly. As I have traveled around, words such as tribalism,
racism and countless others have become prevalent as people
look for the right verbiage to describe the maltreatment of
others.
There are people who treat others inhumanely for no reason
other than factors such as tribe, race, national origin or some
other identifying quality without truly getting to know the
person to whom that inhumane treatment is directed.
It is despicable for anyone to behave in such fashion.
My question is, when these things happen, do we sit down to
look at all contributing factors or do we quickly jump to
accuse the stronger and oppressive party?
Right here in Πanzu, how do we treat the strangers among
us?
Do we treat them fairly and with dignity?
How do we treat the less fortunate among us? Are we perfect
in the way we relate with one another right here in this place?
Our kinsmen who live in Wiga about 30 miles North West
of us celebrate on an annual basis, a popular festival.
The festival they celebrate marks the day the people warded
off for good a notorious raider by the name of Hamman Yaji.
Hamman Yaji wreaked havoc on the people.
Hamman Yaji grew up less than 300 miles from us and yet
he thought it a worthwhile venture to plunder the women and
children of Wiga while the men were in the farms.
YIN DOLMAH
Hamman Yaji made a living out of kidnapping the
vulnerable and selling them to be shipped off to faraway
lands as captives.
A native of our land actively profiting and engaging in such
a horrific venture. How many of us mention the name of this
evil man and the destruction he brought on his own people?
When I walk the streets of Πanzu, the common narrative I
hear from most people is to point fingers toward colonial and
imperial forces who participated in the plundering of the
people.
What about us?
What role did we play in the destruction and subjugation of
our own?
Have we ever taken us much as one minute to look inward
and ask ourselves the hard questions regarding why we seem
to have fallen behind the rest of humanity?
We talk and scream equality every day, yet we love to lay
blame for any troubles we grapple with solely on the
doorstep of those to whom we claim equality.
A bird does not remind another bird of their equality. The
bird shows its equality by soaring through the skies just like
the other bird.
In the same vein, people seldom need to remind others of a
quality they possess or that which is true unless they
themselves are unsure or insecure about that quality.
Instead of verbalizing it, they let it shine in everything they
do. The rich seldom talk about how rich they are.
The healthy do not go about talking about how healthy they
are. The strong do not remind us daily of their strength.
YIN DOLMAH
They show it in the way they act and behave.
When they decide to talk about it, we usually hate them for
it. Equality is not something we need to remind ourselves of
everyday.
Equality cannot be legislated.
If we truly believe we are equal, let us show it in the way we
live, the way we treat each other and the way we behave.
I once had a friend ask me a question that was thought
provoking. I was in the same classroom with him and he
always did better than me year after year.
We were good friends, so I walked up to him one day and
asked him what his secret was. I wanted to know how he
stayed ahead of me academically no matter how hard I tried.
He looked at me and told me he did what worked for him.
“Do you do what works for you within the guidelines?” he
enquired of me.
I quickly understood I needed to find out what worked for
me if I wanted to match him or beat him.
It was my responsibility to figure out what worked for me.
Not his.
For me to claim equality with my friend, I could not put the
burden of rising to his academic level on his shoulders.
It would be nice if he could point me in the right direction to
make things a little easier for me since he appeared to have
the blueprint well mapped out, but it was not his
responsibility to do so.
How come he figured it out and I did not? Why should it
be his burden to get me up to where he was?
Is that not the point of equality?
My ability to figure it out on my own?
YIN DOLMAH
Of course I thought of advantages my friend might have had
available to him that I did not have.
It did not matter what advantages he was born into.
Real or perceived, it did not matter!
The more I thought of advantages he had which I did not
have, the more I found myself fixated on him and less on me.
Fixating on him took my focus off what I needed to do to get
to the place I needed to be.
I thought of the words of Sira to Dabasir in George Classon’s
Richest man in Babylon
I could almost hear in my head as Sira spoke to Dabasir
regarding his subjugation in a foreign land:
How can you call yourself a free man when your weakness
has brought you to this? If a man has in himself the soul of a
slave will he not become one no matter what his birth, even
as water seeks its level? If a man has within him the soul of
a free man, will he not become respected and honored
in his own city in spite of his misfortune?
So, I resolved never to look at anyone, entity or system for
my own advancement in life.
There are 2 things literally all cultures I have been exposed
to in this world universally agree on:
1. The right to life
2. The right to preserve and protect that life
YIN DOLMAH
What actions are acceptable and constitute the right to
preserve life? That is a question which has not produced a
clear answer as far as I am aware.
If my self-preservation means I must eat the guinea fowl,
generally, that is considered acceptable for I take from the
fowl, its right to life in order that my right to life might be
preserved.
One of us must relinquish the first right so the other can
enjoy the second right.
How does that apply to people? How do we define the right
to preserve life?
How many people sitting in this room have ever expressed
reservation regarding your children marrying into what you
considered an undesirable tribe?
Is that part of self-preservation? Not wanting the genes of
your lineage to be destroyed by mixing with the ‘lesser
tribe?
Let us bring it even closer to home. How many of us here
have discouraged our children from going out with the
children of that family?
The family everyone thinks is good for nothing?
How many of us have counseled our children to stay away
from those people?
When you did these things, were you acting in the spirit of
self-preservation? I humbly ask. If so, where does self-
preservation start and where does it end?
Is it okay to do the things I just mentioned while we live here
in Πanzu, but suddenly express disgust when we travel to
faraway lands and are in turn treated the same way we treat
others here at home?
YIN DOLMAH
Do we suddenly become champions of dignity and demand
respect for all people when we no longer find ourselves in
our familiar environment?
Does self-preservation only apply individually?
Can it apply to a family?
A tribe?
A people?
A nation?
What are the boundaries?
We live in a world marked by competition and dominance.
It is the natural order of our existence.
In the rare circumstances where there is real equality,
competition for dominance quickly surfaces for equality is
not what naturally exists in our world.
Why it is so, I do not know.
I wish I had an answer.
The sun dominates the planets. The planets dominate their
moons.
Here on earth, human beings dominate, or at least believe we
dominate, everything around us. Naturally, that dominance
we have for all things around us gets extended to the way we
relate with each other, for it is innate.
That is who we naturally are.
Out of all the natural instincts we possess as humans, love
stands apart as the most powerful force that tampers our
desire to dominate, conquer and subjugate.
It is out of love that my little 4-year-old can slap me on the
cheeks and I laugh and find it funny and yet I will not take
kindly to the same treatment from a woman my age.
Who defines the limits of what is considered acceptable
within the context of self-preservation?
YIN DOLMAH
Does the subjugation of one tribe and causing them to serve
the more powerful tribe fall within the context of self-
preservation?
As my adopted family traveled with me around the world, I
saw unspeakable horrors meted out to people all around the
world. Some of the victims of these horrors trace their roots
back to Songhai and even right here in Πanzu.
As I observed with pain, the circumstances of those I
encountered, I also was privy to an unspeakable tragedy.
A few select individuals from the oppressed groups found a
business opportunity to enrich themselves in the name of
helping their oppressed counterparts.
These few people fattened their pockets till they overflowed
by pretending to give a voice to those in their midst who
were marginalized and mistreated the most.
These people made a living out of capitalizing on the
conscience of the good people who lived in the land to
trumpet and make out of mountains, issues that were
sometimes mundane and actually not any worse than things
we do right here in Πanzu.
These charlatans master the art of making the marginalized
look at themselves as perennial victims, perpetually held
down by their oppressors.
They parade and promote this mindset; enriching themselves
greatly in the process while entrenching in the minds of the
people they claim to be helping, the idea that they are eternal
victims of a vicious and oppressive society.
If I am equal to you, I cannot and will not forever remain
your victim.
You may bamboozle me once or twice, but I will sure figure
it out and it will not happen again a third or fourth time.
YIN DOLMAH
Why then do we allow these crooks who call themselves
community leaders to
continue to poison the mindset of the people and perpetuate
the notion of eternal victimhood?
The deer is forever a victim to the lion, just as the grass is
forever a victim to the cattle which graze and trample them
underfoot.
If you are not equal to your oppressor, ask for love and mercy
not equality.
If you are equal, then for heaven’s sake use any unfortunate
events that have befallen you by the hand of your oppressor
as a wakeup call and a learning tool to make sure you never
fall victim again.
Do not use it as a bargaining chip or an ever-present blot on
the conscience of your oppressor; for we all have done the
same at one point or another throughout history. The scale is
not what makes one act more horrendous than the other. It is
the inhumane treatment of human beings that makes it
despicable.
If I am equal to you and you subjugate me, my pride will
make me not even want to talk about my subjugation.
Anytime the matter regarding my subjugation comes up, I
will quickly mute the topic.
I would be so ashamed. My desire would be to move on from
my disgrace as quickly as possible.
When little boys wrestle, the winners love to pick on the
losers while the losers look forward to a rematch to redeem
themselves while avoiding the topic until the day, they are
able to redeem their loss.
YIN DOLMAH
On the other hand, when I swat my little son for being
naughty, he makes it a point to remind me as long as he can
how mean I was to him.
If we are going to parade ourselves as equals to all who
inhabit the earth and yet behave like my little son who will
spare no opportunity to remind the world of how mean the
world has been to us, and aided by so-called leaders who
should be helping to change our mindset but instead are
happy to get rich through the perpetration of the notion of
victimhood, then we are forever lost, good people of
Πanzu.
Right here in Πanzu we have tribes that claim superiority and
make fun of other tribes because those tribes were once
subjugated many years past through war.
These things are happening right here in Πanzu and we think
they are funny as long as we are the perpetrators; yet the
humor is lost as soon as we step outside these lands and other
tribes, nations or people attempt to do to us, the same thing
we do to others.
We suddenly claim bigotry, racism, and whatever horrible
names exist to describe such actions.
We ascribe wickedness to those who direct such actions and
attitudes towards us; and yet we expect those to whom we
direct the same actions and attitudes, to see the humor and
harmlessness of our actions.
As a little girl who was thought of as deformed, in line with
custom, I was on the way to being ‘hidden’.
People have been beheaded so their heads can be placed
in the box of dead old monarchs, our old women who raised
and nurtured children are driven from their homes and
confined in camps so inhumane we would not want our worst
enemies inhabiting such places.
YIN DOLMAH
We justify this action by calling these old women witches;
we go on to mutilate the genitals of our young girls because
we do not believe they have the self-control to be faithful to
their partners if they are allowed the full pleasures associated
with conjugal activities.
We carry our royals in expensive palanquins and yet those
on the ground starve and have nothing for themselves. We
do all these things and yet we are very quick to point at
everything under the sun but ourselves for our miserable
state.
We are very good at conveniently hiding behind so called
traditions and culture to continue to perpetrate horrors on
others and yet as soon as we step out of these lands we
suddenly want to push for a better and more perfect world.
How about we start from here? How much sweeter if we
became champions of equality right here in Πanzu?
Just a few days ago, I had a discussion with one of our
townsmen who called on me at home. He is respectable and
has traveled far and wide outside Πanzu.
By all accounts, he is a well exposed individual who has
experienced a lot of the things I talk to you about today. As
I spoke to this man, I was thinking about today and what I
would talk to you about. I wanted some insight from
someone I believed had enough exposure and understanding
to provide me lucid insight that was deep and stimulating.
I asked the man a question. I wanted him to tell me one thing
he would tell the people of Πanzu if he had the opportunity
to address them. I wanted to know what his thoughts were
on the most relevant knowledge which would benefit our
people.
These were his words:
YIN DOLMAH
“I would want to talk to them regarding the mistreatment of
people based on the color of their skin. I would like humanity
to be aware that no one chose to be born human instead of
some other creature, such as bats, worms and the like. No
one chose where to be born on this planet.
No one chose his or her parents and for that matter, no one
is responsible for being what he or she finds himself or
herself to be. We should learn to coexist, wherever we find
ourselves in a conglomeration of people from different
colors or backgrounds different from our own since we could
have been born into the group of people we so loathe.” He
concluded.
I was greatly touched by his words and how thoughtful they
were. I asked him a simple question based on matters
which have arisen here in Πanzu within the last few years.
Matters we are all privy to in which 2 men were stoned and
nearly lynched because they were suspected of having an
amorous relationship with each other.
I asked him if his beautifully crafted speech included
showing respect and love to people such as the 2 men?
His response was, “What those men were doing was a
lifestyle choice. A choice they consciously made just as
choice of religion.”
He continued, “the choice those men made was not
something a person is born with; it is not innate such as skin
color, nationality or any other naturally occurring attribute.
It is unaffected by genes,” he posited.
I asked him a question. My question was not hypothetical. It
was real for I witnessed it in one of the lands I lived with my
family.
A child was born with both genitals formed. The parents
were asked by the local physicians to make a choice of which
organ to keep and which to discard. The parents made the
YIN DOLMAH
choice on behalf of the child based on what they thought
would better suit the physical looks of the child.
The child grew up and insisted that regardless of physical
appearance, the parents made the wrong choice.
What the child felt inside regarding who they were was
different from what the parents thought based on the
physical characteristics of the child.
Did the parents err in their gender assignment based on their
assessment solely on the physical attributes of their child?
Was there a better way of determining the gender of the child
other than relying solely on the dominant physical attributes?
What if the physical attributes were not the overriding
factors in determining how the child felt inside?
Was there something deeper in that baby’s genes that was
not readily apparent in the physical looks?
Did the parents allow subjective views based on culture
and tradition to override more important considerations
based on science?
Did the parents fail to truly and deeply investigate a matter
that so intricately and intimately affect a human being?
Their child? If this happened in Πanzu around the time I was
born, we would not be talking about this matter for the child
would have been hidden.
Thankfully, the child was born in a place where they do not
hide children born with characteristics or features
different from the majority of people.
This man, the champion of treating all people with respect
and dignity suddenly became God’s linguist and tried to
break down God’s expectations for us mortals in a language
which we were capable of comprehending.
He tried to explain to me how God abhorred amorous acts
between people of the same perceived gender. I asked him if
the same abhorrence by our divine creator extended to the
pot-bellied, old rich men we see every day running around
YIN DOLMAH
the streets of Πanzu with little girls young enough to be their
granddaughters?
People of Πanzu, he did not answer me for as fate would
have it, he came to visit me in the company of one of those
little girls young enough to be his granddaughter.
I must admit I lost it with him at this point, so I looked him
in the eye, and I borrowed words I learnt from Sunday
school. I called him a white-washed tomb, painted
beautifully outside but full of rotten bones inside.
How can we allow social and cultural barriers to cloud our
minds to the point of creating impenetrable filters that
prevent us from looking at all possibilities when dealing with
matters so deep and important? How come we are so quick
to take entrenched positions without an open mind for more
studies and research?
We have individuals here in our midst who refer to people
who show amorous affection towards those perceived to be
of the same gender as being lower than animals.
Really?
Are we ourselves better than animals?
In our self-righteous, elevated state, we are unable to provide
basic clean water for our children; our offspring still die of
preventable basic hygiene-deficient diseases such as
cholera.
Basic diseases our great ‘enlightenment’; enlightenment
which places us above the animals has failed to help us
eradicate. Truth be told, I am yet to see an animal lose its
offspring to one of these diseases.
Instead of casting the net of open mindedness, respect, love
and dignity wide and far in our own communities, we instead
YIN DOLMAH
choose to arrogate unto ourselves the authority to determine
what choices others should be making.
This fixation on culture and tradition is why we allow
horrible things to happen in our midst and no one challenges
them. We even have people I have personally observed laugh
at disabled people and talk about the good old days when
such people were hidden.
Good people of Πanzu, I would most gladly be a friend to
someone who is lower than an animal due to who they are
amorously attracted to and who has love and compassion in
their hearts before I associate with the so called human
being who laughs at the killing of deformed babies.
My people, we are all equal, but we are definitely not the
same.
There are things I do not understand but that does not mean
I must necessarily hate.
At first glance, it might seem really unusual, but treat it with
an open mind and it does not destroy our society the way
many of us fear it would. Only one thing I am aware of
destroys and wreaks havoc to societies.
It is fear.
We act with a lot of fear which sometimes is to be expected
when we do not have understanding.
Just as darkness is the absence of light, so is fear the absence
of understanding.
We seldom fear that which we understand and comprehend.
YIN DOLMAH
If my niece or nephew came home and told me they had
amorous desires towards someone of the same perceived
gender, I would lose sleep for a day or two.
Why? Because it is unusual.
It would be unusual for me because I do not understand it,
for I do not know what it is to feel that way towards another
person of the same perceived gender as me.
Losing sleep would be no different than if my nephew or
niece came and told me they were leaving home and
traveling to a faraway land to start their life anew.
I would lose sleep because I do not know what is in store for
them when they leave home to a place that is unknown to
me.
I would lose sleep because there are so many variables and
unknowns, I cannot help them navigate if they need my
guidance.
After losing sleep and coming to terms with reality, I would
then cover all my fears and ignorance and lack of
understanding with love and an open mind and hope for the
best.
I will cover that child with all the love in me and wish them
nothing but success as they embark on their journey into the
unknown.
Where there is lack of knowledge and understanding, I ask
everyone here listening to me today, to endeavor to cover
and bridge the void with love until such a time that
knowledge and understanding might shed more light on that
which we are ignorant about today.
Let us do away with fear, I beseech you people of Πanzu, for
fear has destroyed us for far too long.
YIN DOLMAH
Fear has killed and plundered us like no other and it is time
for us with the great leadership of Aboπe Yuure, who
exchanged his crown of glamor for a scroll of wisdom to
become that little bright spot in Πanzu that will beam great
light to all the people of the land.
With that, Πindaana Ellekrista concluded her address to the
people of Πanzu. There was silence when she concluded.
Aboπe Yuure was all smiles and greatly pleased with her
expose.
He gave her a long hug and then turned and looked at the
people. He asked them, “who needs a king when you have
greatness such as this woman in our midst?
The Hall was silent. No one spoke.
No one asked any questions when the floor was opened for
them to do so.
Instead, they slowly and quietly exited out of the hall until
no one remained except Aboπe Yuure and the 5 Πindaanas.
Aboπe Yuure was still beaming with smiles over the beauty
and depth of Ellekrista’s discourse. He tried to lighten things
up by saying “I guess we will pick a less controversial topic
next week. That is if anyone shows up. The people left the
building without choosing a topic for next week, so I guess
we get to pick one on their behalf.