I always welcome BLF end of year reflections; they provide an opportunity for me to take stock of my year and seriously ponder about what I have learned or contributed either in BLF conversations or in other spaces I occupy.
This, my first year off the BLF editorial team, I have surprisingly realised that my ‘lesson for the year’, so-to-speak, comes directly from the platform, particularly from the last quarter’s blog theme.
The theme, which was entitled “Love, Sex and Gender in the Post-Colony”, basically lumped together all the sensitive “personal” aspects of our day to day lives that more often than not are taboo in our societies. Gender, Sexuality, Love and all those personal aspects that we tend to see as separate from theory, politics and political agency. Often, these issues are relegated to your varying feminist/LGBTI/”hippy” advocates and activists, who we tend to think of as free-spirited people walking around in ‘love thy neighbour’ or ‘child of the universe’ t-shirts and of course hold a rally on just about anything.
I must admit that I was guilty of the same thinking, placing anything relating to the topic into a special sphere of its own, almost as if it did not exist, or even if it did, did not exist for me – or for scholars and theorists who were busy with the ‘more serious things in life’: a drought here, a war there, another calamity in some remote part of the continent, an ailing government somewhere else, human rights issues to the left, and oppression to the right.
It’s been quite the experience reading each weekly submission and discovering something new—and often times learning a whole new language of articulation.
In sum, connecting the dots, and seeing the intricate links between the personal and the political has completely changed my worldview and my approach to those issues I tended to see as personal and thus apolitical in the past. I end this year on a rather humbling note realising that my silence on the various issues around gender and sexuality for example has indeed been complicity, and looking for new ways in which I can stretch my thinking into issues I’ve often put last.
“Ignorance is your first jail – Educate yourself, change yourself, change the world” Tariq Ramadan