So, the British media continues to dedicate space to their (now actually very funny) onslaught against me. Very cute shem. In the latest furore, the reports (quoting Facebook posts) go something along the lines of: "Oxford student behind the campaign against the Rhodes statue wants to tear down the French flag next". Lol, I kid you not!
Not only are these reports made up, the journalists writing them (and hell bent on feeding the racist narrative that Rhodes Must Fall Oxford is 'tearing down statues they disagree with - just like ISIS') - have deliberately ignored our persistent calls for them to stop using this racist 'tearing down' language to talk about a movement using legal & peaceful means to get the University of Oxford to realise that the uncritical glorification of racist genocidal colonialists through statues like that of Cecil Rhodes is untenable in the 21st century. Read more..
They are hell-bent on depicting us as 'threatening' - feeding the racist myth that the gathering of a critical mass of people for a cause organised by mostly people of colour (but constituted & supported by people of all races - from all parts of the world, including Britain itself) is somehow inherently 'violent' or can be compared to terrorist groups. This, of course, does not surprise us. Throughout history, people of colour fighting for their liberation (including Nelson Mandela himself) have been branded as 'terrorists' by western media/establishments.
Fortunately, we are aware of all this history and are NOT moved by these sneaky attempts to obfuscate the genuine issues which our movement raises. I, in particular, will not shy away from repeatedly articulating my views in fear of being deliberately misquoted by the British media - as they are currently doing. I am NOT afraid of the media, and will not be bullied by it. In the latest onslaught, for example, journalists falsely indicate that I want the French flag 'torn down' - because it is a symbol of French colonial & imperial genocide.
In support of this claim, they quote a Facebook post from about two months ago - when I objected to the changing of Facebook profile pictures to the French flag following the Paris attacks. As indicated back then - I found it to be absolute buffoonery to indicate one's disgust at an act of terrorism by using an image like the French flag - when devastating acts of terror have been committed by France in the name of that very same flag/French nationalism to further French colonial/imperial aims.
As I indicated back then, and to a journalist from the Sunday Times, who then deliberately misquoted me, I don't find anything extraordinary in this view and stand by it. The French flag is a symbol of violence, terror and genocide for many of those who have historically been on the receiving end of French colonial/imperial crimes. We need to dismantle the whitewashed narrative that genocides committed in the name of colonialism & imperialism are somehow less worthy of recognition, or that the voices of those on the receiving end of these genocides do not matter.
For those who were on the receiving end of French colonial & imperial crimes in the name of the French flag, the flag means the same to them as the Confederate flag does to those who were on the receiving end of the crimes committed in its name; it means the same to them as the flag/symbols of Stalin Russia do to those on the receiving end of the crimes of that establishment; it means the same to them as the Nazi flag does to those on the receiving end of Nazi crimes. I could go on & on.
I stand resolute in my honest view that if those who were on the receiving end of crimes committed in the name of the French flag decided that its presence in a university environment was offensive & violent, and obstructed their ability to function and prosper within that academic context, they would have to be taken seriously (I would definitely support & not condemn them in the way we have been). Saying otherwise suggests that the lives of those on the receiving end of French crimes are somehow less worthy, and we cannot accept that view as human beings subscribing to 21st century standards of human decency.
Anyhu - I will continue providing clarity on whatever questions I am asked and will not be bullied into silence. If you are not careful, the media would have you think that there is something wrong with your views by reconstructing them to further their own agendas. I refuse to believe that there is anything wrong with a movement that says (among many other things), that:
1) Symbols of racist & genocidal colonialists are untenable in spaces of academic development in this day & age.
2) The open glorification of racist murderous colonialists in academic spaces is offensive & violent to students who are descendants of those who suffered at the crimes of these colonialists, and violates the university's own policies on equality & inclusiveness, and the need to treat all students with due human dignity.
3) The racist & violent way in which space is configured normalises & props up the existence of systemic racism, patriarchy & other oppressions that students at Oxford go through daily.
4) The coloniality of the university (which has never been atoned for) still actively shapes the configuration of the Eurocentric curriculum which we study, furthers colonial epistemic injustices, and produces graduates with an unjustly skewed view of the world (who then go on & lead the world in ways that reproduce injustice).
5) Student admission & staff recruitment practices still reflect skewed patterns that make Oxford unrepresentative and perpetuate exclusion.
If anyone believes that there is something to be condemned about a movement furthering these aims, then that person is the problem! The media has indeed been the problem. But then again, the media has always been part of the establishment - and will defend at all costs the sick & exclusionary practices of those who benefit from the establishment, and resist change. As Malcolm X once reminded us, the media & its propaganda will have you condemn the oppressed, rather than the oppressor.
We refuse to be condemned & silenced for daring to want to root out injustice. They may misquote us, mock us, go on scathing ad hominem campaigns - but we remain absolutely resolute in our message! Rhodes WILL fall, and the cause of decolonisation will continue gaining traction not only at Oxford but globally. Oh what a time to be alive!