Thoughts Lead To Appreciation
My favourite photograph of you is the one with a child emulating your power posture; it reminds me of myself at that age.
Your battle for justice was parallel to mine, though mine was defined by parent-child relationship rather than race relations.
My childhood memories are of battles against parental excesses and the outcome of those abuses on myself – self-deprecation.
At one stage, I was filled with self-destructive thoughts and I realised I had to dislodge those ideas.
Subsequently for several months, I drilled myself:
I must not be my own enemy.
If I injure myself, only I will bear the pain.
Indeed self-harm hurts the individual the most.
I comprehended and internalized my own message and I succeeded in halting the pattern of destructive thoughts and actions.
I am my very own psychiatrist.
As you stepped out of prison, I was thirteen and at the peak of my struggles against parental atrocities.
A couple of years later, circumstances removed me from my mother’s home.
– AlHamduliLlah. That was my first inhalation of fresh air.
I am immensely grateful to my teachers and social workers.
I was never to return.
My mother did not ask after me, which was fair enough.
The physical trauma was over. The emotional abuse continued for another 15 years until I made myself physically unavailable.
It is an irony abusive persons modify their attitude the instant access to the recipient is denied.
Immediately after leaving my mother’s home and determined not to repeat that pattern of cruelty on my children, I resolved to appoint my husband as my external observer to alert me should I ever mistreat my children.
There were years I desired nothing more than to hear of my mother’s death.
That thought too had to go.
She was not worth it.
Instead, I wish her to live a long life for the very reason that there is no justice sweeter than to observe an individual who once was complaisant over abuses against the weak only to realise the weakness has been remedied.
That helpless child is now an adult.
That child rendered silent has become highly articulate.
And where is the punishment for being thoughtful, assertive and unique?
The starvation, deprivation, lashings, chaining, pepper in the eyes – where is the punishment?
The vulnerability has evaporated.
The child is now an adult ready to fight back.
As a child, my posture was of quiet resistance.
When for allowing my younger siblings to add a cube of sugar to a drink of garri, my younger sister and I, then aged four, were blindfolded, tied with our hands behind our back and had pepper rubbed into our eyes, I resisted.
No one has the right to harm me.
After silence fell in the room and I was certain my mother was not near, I struggled to loosen the rope.
I succeeded to pull one of my hands out, pulled the blindfold over my forehead and opened my eyes to find out where my sister was.
My sight was dazzled at the glare of the fluorescent light.
So it is night, I thought. We had been in that position for hours.
The pain from the pepper was unbearable and I quickly shut my eyes, but not before seeing my sister. She was right beside me.
Comforting her, I wiped the pepper off her eyes.
The pain in my eyes was not a deterrent. Frequently, I opened my eyes momentarily to have a better assessment of my assistance to my sister.
The sound of approaching footsteps!
In a speed, I pulled the blindfold over my sister’s eyes and mine and turned with my hands once again behind my back and my back towards the edge of my mother’s bed in order to conceal my untied hands.
My attempt failed. My back was not sufficiently against the bed.
She beat me and retied the rope much tighter, with the rope digging into my flesh.
I refused to cry. I denied her that satisfaction.
Much later, I was ordered to bed and I fell asleep.
I awoke to observe my siblings having supper.
There was no supper for me. I shut my eyes again.
That was the blueprint of resistance to injustice throughout my childhood.
Eventually, I began to ridicule her each time she cautioned me.
Bobbing my head left to right, I murmured, bla bla bla bla bla bla bla.
Writing this article fills me with moments of tears and laughter.
She would stop speaking and ask me to repeat what she had said.
I had not been paying attention.
Then there was the usual round of “Whatever I say goes into one ear and out through the other”.
In retrospect, nothing she said entered my ears at all, so there was no possibility of an exit.
Her words must have bounced right off my auricles back at her!!!!!!!
I had no reason to listen to her. Did she listen to me?
I was expected to obey instructions without regard to the welfare of my siblings.
– Blind obedience. Absolutely not.
My siblings received my attention first, and then I would attend to my chores.
During the years of my availability, she did not hesitate to rant against Islam, blaming it for my lifestyle.
Of course, Islam was responsible for my resistance. I was a Muslim when I resided with her!!!!! I was a Muslim as a crawling infant!!!!!
In her Islamophobia, she is unaware the full access she enjoyed of me is due to Allah and His Messenger and the Religion of Islam which she freely used to disparage.
Only Allah has prevented me from fully severing links with her.
For the past seven years since my access denied mode, she has not uttered a word against Islam to my hearing. The opposite is the case.
For seven years, we have laughed and discussed as equals.
Personal experiences direct that sadistic persons adopt a cordial composure when the recipient is no longer readily accessible.
Of course, this transformation is purely superficial and short-lived. Surreptitious and self-conceited efforts at the expense of the recipient do not cease.
In November, I had to give my mother and her accomplices a good piece of my mind.
I am in a position to openly defend my interest, the effect of adulthood.
Previously, her accomplices practised a conspiracy of silence: Do what your mother says.
Well, the situation really has changed. They are interested in peace negotiations. – Medicine after death.
The child has become an adult.
The adult status never remains the monopoly of abusers.
The child does become an independent adult in a powerful position to determine how other adults relate with her.
Indeed, adults do choose their social contacts and interactions.
Nelson Mandela, part of your legacy is the protection of children and the rights of the child.
I appreciate you, Nelson Mandela.
The one and only,