Past, Present, and Future: When Can We Move On?

Past, Present, and Future: When can we move on?

Looking at the past, we have had many human rights violations, oppressions, and acts of injustice. Today, women are active participants in these acts of oppression that they may view as an act of pride and honor: such as the tradition of honor killings or female genital mutilations. And today, black people are active participants in the acts of violence against their own people. Looking at such oppressed groups may make one think that they have deserved what they have received. And looking at such oppressed groups may make one demand that they stop blaming the past and start taking responsibility along side those who oppressed them as people who have over-stayed their welcome in the victim-hotel. So today, I ask: In regards to oppression and injustice, how much of the past can we account for in the way we judge our today?

Certain acts of injustice are too cruel and unusual to be readily digest by me. I look at slavery for example and I cannot help but wonder, Why did people universally agree that black people are slavery-worthy? Such injustice is better suited for a conspiracy theory or an urban myth—they should have never happened in real life. So why were black people enslaved? And why were women treated with such injustice? What are we allowed to conclude from the past without being the creators of a new conspiracy theory that may “explain it all”? Purpose: when it comes to the past, we have to understand that people had a reason to do something (even if it was to harm others). Those reasons presented themselves either consciously or subconsciously to the people who accepted these acts. Problems developed out of those acts. People were either aware of these problems and they found the people experiencing them to be worthy of those problems. Or people were not aware of these problems and that lack of awareness speaks about the lack of importance of that issue to the people at that time as it speaks about their mentality (mentality of injustice/or/mentality to be harmed by it). Throughout the development of that injustice, there were people alive. It is to be considered their duty, as it is the duty of every person on this earth today, to raise any issue that they became aware of. If those issues were not raised or if those issues were raised but not fixed, we have to assume that they were part of the original conscience/subconscious purpose that made people accept such injustice. Hence, any injustice presented today due to the injustices of the past are assumed to be part of the intended original purpose under which the original injustice was carried. And we have to assume that if we do not fix these issues or bring them to the attention of others as “an issue”, that we are either participants and compliers to the original injustice or that the original injustice has succeeded in its purpose to influence our mentality into accepting its original intent whereas the original injustice is justified to have happened. Hence, when it comes to an injustice that is carried on for generations, the intent is always changing depending on how we address it since that injustice is still a story that has not been given a conclusion where it is always possible that the “worst is yet to come”. And if “the worst is yet to come”; can we say, “this is not due to slavery/sexism/etc”? In that, injustice has always presented itself as an act that took control of another person where time itself has given the generations to come a right to take control over it in order to give those people control over their own selves once again. Therefore, the intent of injustice in relation to what is right is that people are freed from it. And the intent of injustice in relation to those who were unjust depends on how unjust we continue to be as time moves on. In relation to slavery, for example, we can conclude that the intent behind enslaving black people was to: enslave them, segregate them, place them in poverty, have them commit crimes against each other, have them boast about a behavior that deems them worthy of such injustice, remove protection from government via interaction with police, and place them in jail cells. We have to assume these to be part of the original intent behind slavery since we are aware of these problems and we are aware of their connection to slavery and we have not done much about them. Hence, we have to assume that we are people who do not mind enslaving black people for the first time if black people were not enslaved before—and if we were to look at slavery and think, “what is the worst that will happen from it?” we will not see it as a problem if we come up with the list of issues that black people are facing today as we have to assume that we too will precede with the enslavement of black people. And although, many will disagree with me in saying, “I would not enslave black people today if they were not enslaved before” I would tell you, “me neither” BUT: Such opinion is only in relation to how bad slavery was where we, even by doing nothing about what it has lead to, are feeling as if we are better people…In addition, to say that, “I would not enslave black people today if they were not enslaved before” is not up to you and me to state since our opinions are not valid anyways in relation to slavery but the validity of our opinion in that statement comes in the form of ending the injustice that they are facing today. Hence, if we were to say, “I would not enslave black people today if they were not enslaved before” we must end the injustice and inequality they are facing today in order to assert that opinion as valid and true. In that same regards, we have many men who may look at the past and say, “I would never do that onto women…men have advanced so much in how we view women” and the only way such opinion can be trusted as true and valid is if men end all forms of injustice and inequality that have risen from past injustice against women. In conclusion to this paragraph, I will say: the intent of the past = original injustice + today’s injustice. This is the only solid and valid and non-hypothetical answer that we are able to rely on in relation to the past. Everything else is up for the wind to blow in a seemingly unknown direction backed up by an invalidating opinion that “we are still better” than that.

Certain acts of injustice, today, are carried out by those who are experiencing it. An example of this is Female Genital Mutilations that are carried and organized by women. Another example is honor killings that many women assert men to carry out. Are women to be held responsible for such acts of injustice against other women? Injustice has always come with a blame against those who have been mistreated. We have to assume that an injustice has been successfully carried when the people who have been mistreated are carrying the roles of the oppressor and when they are the ones instigating the acts of oppression against themselves since an injustice has created a “false blame” to get it started and if it succeeds in confirming that blame as true to those who are oppressed, then the injustice becomes an acceptable way of life for those who have faced it. Men may stand on the side lines and say, “women are the ones who are mistreating each other”. And to that I ask, “should we isolate them from each other so that they can be safe from each other? or shall we punish them for the way they mistreat each other?” and the answer by men has been, “no… we are still benefiting from these acts” since that isolation and that punishment has been carried out already as being the correct reaction towards women as if they were truly the ones who have mistreated each other. HENCE, this mistreatment of women towards one another speaks about the lack of such behavior at the beginning of the oppression they faced since the original oppression was carried under the false claim that it is a reaction to women being at fault where the injustice itself is no longer needed to be carried out despite the fact that its demands are still being carried out— albeit, this time, it is being carried out by the women as it is requiring the replacement of “men vs women” with “women vs women”. Meaning: we have the ingredients of injustice in place but this time women are replacing men under the terms of injustice since the injustice has placed women as the ones who deserved that oppression. And since women were the ones who were told that they deserve such injustice, to carry the injustice itself has become part of their reaction to such blame whether on a conscience level or subconscious level. Indeed, women who carry such injustice against other women will always assert that the women are the ones to be blamed for breaking the rules. Such behavior speaks about the repetitive potent manner under which men blamed women as they subjected them to that injustice—as it also speaks about blame being a major part of the injustice itself. Meaning that economic injustice is one thing and saying that “black people deserve to be poor” is another. And saying that “men want women to stay home” is one thing and saying “women deserve to never leave the house” is another since the second will come with its own set of mistreatments against women to assert her as blameworthy of staying home where she herself would not want to leave her house in accordance to her “own free will”.

When is it the right time for those who have been oppressed to take responsibility for themselves and to get out of the oppression they have faced in the past since today is a better day for all and since today is presenting a whole set of opportunities for them to take advantage of? Time is of such manner that today is the child of yesterday. And when we apply this to people, who are in time,  today’s adult of yesterday’s child, then time becomes a dismissive element towards the people who have faced oppression in the past. For today feels like a new day and it feels like a better day—and it is to be expected that the person who has faced past oppressions to feel like s/he is the problem in it since what becomes of the past are the people who were raised in it where oppression has freed some from carrying the problems in the past but has clothed them in fine jewels and linen…as it has put the weight of the problems in the past only onto some to drag along without mercy. So what is the right in today that the oppressed has not worked for already? And what is the wrong in today that the oppressed does not carry and feel? To assert the oppressed to take responsibility for her/his self in the world today must mean that the world today has taken responsibility for the oppressions that people have faced in the past. So, the correct question is not, “When is it the right time for those who have been oppressed to take responsibility for themselves and to get out of the oppression they have faced in the past?” but the correct question is, “When is the right time for the world to take responsibility for the oppressions that people have faced in the past?” And that is the question that many will rise against saying, “I did not carry out those oppressions…and hence, I am not the one to be held accountable for them!” To that I ask, however, “If you did not have the things you do lest it was for those people being oppressed, would you take them into account?” And some will say, “I have worked hard for what I have and my dad worked hard to give us the things we have… these did not come easy!” So I ask, “Do you think that the oppressed worked hard for free in order to dismiss your hard work as being something that has at least yielded to you having a better life?” For it appears to me that the oppressed has taken into account the value of hard work only to dismiss it as being worthless and others have taken into account the value of hard work to mean a better life. If hard work is the thing you are willing to stand up and defend then I say that it is a principle that was attacked in the oppression people faced as it told them that hard work is not worth a damn thing. Hence, you have a group of people who have been told, “hard work means nothing” and you are person who believes that hard work means a lot: To ask you to take your hard work and help s/he who has been told that hard work means nothing, is for you to abandon your belief and to assert them as having to work hard and ignore the nothing that came out of it although you are not willing to partly depart of some of that which your hard work has given you in order to stand by that which you believe in. Therefore, to assert, “I have worked hard for what I have” as a principle under which a person shields themselves from having to help those who have been oppressed is not a valid position as the person must abandon that belief for the people who have been oppressed in order to assert it as a valid one for himself. And if oppression has worked in such manner as to assert a principle worth protecting while not having to abide by that same principle for those who are oppressed as they become the ones unimportant, then are you not part of the oppression they are facing? For let me tell you something: there are two men and two women… One man oppressed one of these women by having her stay home and not get a job so that she is always dependent on him… and the other oppressed her by using his strength to take on more than one job in order that he is more economically secured than her no matter how much she worked where she always feels that she is the one who got something to lose without him. And many today will say, “I am working hard to secure my children” and I ask, “Wow… apparently it takes that much hard work and money to secure them… why not just give them the same opportunity that black people and women have by giving them a zero dollar great-and-equal start…that way you can give yourself a lot of rest?” To say that it takes a lot to secure your children and then to tell black people and women that they have an equal opportunity as your children without them having any money or economic security is to show that black people and women do not have the same opportunity as your children. Hence, “When is it the right time for those who have been oppressed to take responsibility for themselves and to get out of the oppression they have faced in the past?” when all people truly have the same equal starting point. When is the right time to do the right thing? Doing the right thing is what makes for the right time.

And when is it the right time for us to look at those mothers, who subject their daughters to Female Genital Mutilations and to Honor Killings, and tell them to STOP participating in such acts as they are becoming more of the bitter instigators of injustice against their own children? And I say that the time for that has passed as that specific behavior has been the main mechanism of action, right from the start of oppression, used to carry such injustice. Meaning: that this is not a behavior of women today…but “women against their daughters” has been used from the beginning of the oppression in order to keep it alive. So the question becomes, “why now?” Why look at women today and ask such question when women have been taken as wives from the age of 8 and 9 years old in order to make sure that they are pliable enough to carry such acts against their daughters? For the mother of that daughter was 11 when she had her and the mother of the 11 year old was 9 when she had her… and today that daughter is having a child at the age of 19 and we are rushing to ask her, “Why are you doing this to your child dear adult mommy?” since on this developed side of the world we are approaching a place where girls as young as 12 and 13 are becoming mothers once again. The infinity sign of oppression has presented itself as a bow tie on top of an appropriately wrapped gift given to all women if they manage to first untie it… and we have been wrapped up in its knots and “do nots” hoping that what is inside is something that will finally speak about our self-worth as it will make up for the mistreatment we have received since in due time we have been promised to reap ourselves. And so we look at some women and we may ask, “Why are you behaving in this manner against your own daughter? Have you not unwrapped the unwrappable gift that we have given you for you to dare to do such thing?” And it is in the combination of this “no I have not” and the “I am sick of trying” that a women’s self proudly passes on that gift for her daughters to unwrap.

Can women ever take responsibility of the oppression they are facing? And the answer is another question: What is the proper way of taking responsibility of the oppression one is facing when the oppression itself has given them responsibility over its consequences? Are these women not taking responsibility of the oppression already? Or are women supposed to be better handlers of the oppression as it arrogantly demands them to take the punch and heal its wounds? For how dare you ye women to not know how to properly care for the injury you are receiving? Have ye not received plenty of them to know how to clean, oint, and wrap them with your eyes closed by this time? Stupid women! Did these injuries not hurt ye enough to not want your daughters to receive the same ones as if you were the ones who wanted to receive the ones ye have gotten? Foolish women! Are ye content in the punch that he was content in throwing your way in order that ye realize that ye deserve not to be punched? Pathetic women! Did the punch he threw hit ye in the head and made ye dizzy enough not to see clearly what ye are dragging your daughters into? So, can women ever take responsibility of the oppression they are facing? How much time do these women need to understand and realize that they have been treated like crap?! It is as if “the realization that I deserve better” has been the goal of the oppression women have received. So why oh why are women not acting in accordance to the “truth” of the reason behind oppression? Hence, I shall ask another question: what if women were to say, “It is our responsibility to make sure that we do not continue that oppression we have received”? Would we attack the women that do not take on such responsibility? And in doing so, are we not harming other women in the same manner we are accusing women to harm each other today? Am I supposed to look at the women in Africa, for example, and yell as I am red in the face, “HOW DARE YOU DO THIS TO YOUR DAUGHTERS YOU HORRIBLE WOMEN?” as I ignore the man standing next to her–a man, who by this time, appears to be the innocent victim of her insistence. Or shall I say, “How dare you, dear men, plant an oppression for women that is so potent as to accept her acceptance of it when she stands by your side against her own self?!”

About the Author
Liliyan Hassan

Liliyan Hassan

Founder: Go for Women

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