Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Can we learn how to live together? It seems not.

Whether is it Syria or the carnage in Northern Nigeria and Mali, it seems, we haven't yet learnt how to live together, despite our differences. Martin Luther King (Jnr) is often qouted to have said,

"We must all learn to live together as brothers or we will perish together as fools. This is the great challenge of the hour. This is true of individuals. It is true of nations. No individual can live alone. No nation can live alone." (December 18, 1963)

He made this statement in the context of reflecting on the scientific achievements, in the USA and the evolving one-ness of the globe, He refers in this speech to "an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny..."  Even though King was a fervant believer in the American Dream, he made a critical point about our common humanity and common destiny in dealing with the challenges we face.

I wonder though why we have not been able to learn to live together. Perhaps one of the reasons might be a blind belief in the myth that unity, asumes uniformity and that "otherness" somehow defile or compromise my way of living or believing. One of the fundamental tennets of colonial thinking is the notion of sharp distinctions and opposites... which relates to wrong or right, good or evil, pure and dirty, etc.  Have we been able to overcome this kind of thinking, as we moved towards political "independance"?

It seems that the imagination and ways of colonial mentality remained intact, even when black bodies now sit in the chambers of parliament or drive the plush German sedans (made for politicians)? In terms of this logic it therefore makes perfect sense when the current South African regime use the same laws against mineworkers protesting for equality in the workplace, that the Nationalist government wrote back in the days. It make sense when those who spread the carnage in the name of God, simply use the same weapons bought on the international arms market, enriching the usual suspects, and simply baptise it with some holy religious water.

Somehow we have to transcend this imagination. Perhaps the notion of "learning" by King, is not helpfull. How do we reshape a new imagination, core worldviews and go deeper then political expediency and learning- perhaps that's the burning bush.
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