Hatred to the other is one of the main sources as much as commandments in Islam. It is this old inherent religiously commanded hatred that is behind the terrorism of Jihad against the infidels and the criminality of the Muslims in so many places and regions around the world.
Hatred cannot be detached from Islam because it is in fact indoctrinated and motivated by Islam. The Nazi era has taught us that hatred is one of the most important policies that lead to apartheid and genocide. The Qur’an teaches hatred and commands to hate the infidels. The Islamic Caliphate State (ICS) is proving it time and again, even by destroying the archeological sites, the wonders of the old Middle East.
Consider the elements that define hate speech: drawing a moral comparison based on distinction between one’s own identity group and those outside of it; dehumanization of other groups and insistence of personal superiority against these groups; and a call to all kind of atrocities perpetuated against other groups.
The Islamic Shari‘ah qualifies as hate religion on each and every count by which we define hate speech. There is no other religion that draws such sharp distinction between its community of believers and others outside Islam.
a) Its message inspire loathing for others and the Qur’an mandates the superiority of Islam by all means. According to Muslim exegetes, there are seven major features of the superiority of Arab-Muslims over others, based on the Qur’an, among them, they are the best Ummah ever brought forth to men, bidding good (Ma’rûf) and forbidding evil (Munkar); they hold the pillar of superiority over all other world communities; and they will wage war on the people of error and the Anti-Christ.
b) It draws a deep distinction between Muslims and the others, called Kuffār, and it incites to violence and hatred. Islam is ethnocentric religion and political culture. It differentiates the world between Dār al-Islām against Dār al-Harb; between the good and righteous society and the bad and unclean society. It is Halāl against Haram; it is the right against wrong; it is the pious against the evil-doers; it is Paradise or Hell. There is nothing positive in the Qur’an and the Sharī‘ah for non-Muslims who are all infidels.
c) It perpetuate legitimizes atrocities and butchering of non-Muslims whenever they are. There are 527 verses that are intolerant to the infidels, and 109 verses calling on Muslims to make war on the infidels. As Muslims see it, Islam is for everyone in the human race and should be expanded as a winning religion, by force or persuasion, until all human beings proclaim that “there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger.” Jihad is universally understood as war on behalf of Islam, and its merits are described plentifully in the most-respected religious works.
In ancient as much as in contemporary world, Islamic dominance is characterized by the oppression and discrimination of non-Muslims, all defined as infidels (Kuffār, Kāfirun). There are no “unbelievers” or “disbelievers” in the Qur’an and the Sharī‘ah at large but only infidels or apostates. This is not only a subjective issue, but deep categorical. ‘Unbeliever’ can get neutral in conception, ‘infidel’ is totally different. The pattern of aggressive violence and disregard for human suffering is persistent in Islam and reflects the message of the Qur’an, which is one of superiority, loath and hatred. 64 percent of the Qur’an and 61 percent of the overall Sharī‘ah is related to the infidels, and there is not even one positive stand in favor for them. They are all an integral part of the abode of Hellfire.
The Kuffār are the vilest animals and beasts; the worst of creatures and demons, perverted transgressors and partners of Satan (al-‘Imrān, 3:82, 110; al-Nisā’, 4:76; al-A‘arāf, 7:176; al-Anfāl, 8:55). The Kuffār are to be beheaded. Muslims must strike off their heads and their fingertips (al-Anfāl, 8:12; Muhammad, 47:4). The Kuffār are to be terrorized. Muslims are to cast terror into the hearts of the infidels, their abode is the Hell-fire (al-‘Imrān, 3:151; al-Anfāl, 8:12, 8:60; al-Ahzāb, 33:26; al-Hashr, 59:2). The Kuffār are to be annihilated until the religion of Allah is the only one. They are to be killed wherever they are found, since persecution is severer than slaughter. Muslims are obliged to slay them until there is no persecution, and religion is only Allah’s. This commandment includes not only the infidels and the idolaters, but also the hypocrites and the polytheists, as their abode is Hell-fire (al-Baqarah, 2:191; 193; al-Nisā’, 4:89, 91; al-Anfāl, 8:39; al-Taubah, 9:36, 73, 111, 123; al-Tahrīm, 66:9). The Kuffār are to be crucified (al-Mā’idah, 5:33). They are the constant fuel of the fire burn in Hell (al-‘Imrān, 3:10; al-Taubah, 9:17; Ibrāhīm, 14:30; al-Nahl, 16:29; al-Anbīyā’, 21:98; al-Hajj, 22:19; al-Ahzāb, 33:64; al-Saff, 61:11; al-Mû’min, 48:13). “Hostility and hate” exist between the Kuffār and the Muslim believers forever until they “believe in Allah alone” (al-Taubah, 9:28, 32, 69).
The Egyptian intellectual Sami al-Rabbā’ has elaborated:
If you say that Islam is a violent faith, you are accused of being anti-Islam and “Islamophobe”. Yet, the main of the Qur’an are passages full of incitement and hatred, Jihad-killing and war-mongering.
The educational system is the main source of indoctrination and socialization to hatred and it works almost as a production line. The Muslims start the politics of hatred and Jihad ideology from infancy. The children learn to hate before everything, even without knowing why: at home, in the mosques and in schools, Madāris. They hate the infidels, because they are what they are, and not because they know anything about them. The hatred is in their drink and foods, and this fuel directs and motivates the massacres and lynches that are so pervasive around the world.
The contemporary radicalization of the Muslim youth, the “third generation” Muslims living in the Western world is enormous and alarming. A report by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization in London claims that “European jihadists in Syria are more numerous than official statistics indicate. Indeed, they point to the existence of entire French-speaking and German-speaking brigades in the Aleppo region.” Many of them are radicalizing through the Internet extremist websites and YouTube videos; others are led by imams at mosques; and others, converted to Islam, men and women, volunteer for sex Jihad.
Sa’id al-Hamad, a liberal thinker from Bahrain
The ‘culture of backwardness’ dominates the Arab world, and it includes ‘culture of terrorism,’ which adopts beheading and lynching people; and the ‘culture of hatred,’ which propagates in the minds and consciousness of the youth deep hatred to the world.
Islam’s conceptions and behavior
Muslim groups and organizations are violent politically and fanatic religiously. Muslims cover their activities by using religious argumentations as an excuse and motivation to their behavior towards the other. Whether they butcher and cut-off heads of infidels of the West; or terrorize their own Muslim believers, Sunnis and Shiites; or massacre minorities of all kinds, mainly Christians; or when they establish Islamic institutions and mosques in Western states; or when they commit acts of horrible homicide bombings and terrorism; or when they conquer, Islamize and Arabize vast territories; or when they commit ethnic cleansing, apartheid and mass holocausts — for example, the Hindus and the Armenians in the past, and Christians today; or when they coerce and intimidate, Muslims always claim they do it in defense.
Another astonishing issue is that Muslim exegetes, preachers and propagators speak only in complete and absolute terms about their religion’s values, without the slightest self-criticism and doubts: ‘Islam is absolutely a religion of peace and harmony;’ ‘Islam is totally devoted to promote peace around the world;’ ‘Jihad is absolutely and totally defined in terms of defense;’ ‘aggression is used only rarely, when the Muslims have no other choice to defend their religion and their self;’ ‘there is nothing in Islam that is against tolerance, democracy and peaceful relations;’ and ‘Islam tolerates all other religions, acts peacefully and preaches for human cooperation and collaboration.’
One finds these slogans abound in books, article, and media resources. It is so pervasive and so totalistic that it becomes almost impossible to argue and to debate with them. Their cultural conceptions; their totalistic approach as being always and under all circumstances the righteous side; and their ethnocentric conceptions make it impossible to argue with them in rational and according to the ‘golden rule’ values.
However, when one elaborates the many verses of the Qur’an and the commandments of the Shrī’ah, he immediately attacked and mocked off as an ignorant of Islam and dismissed as being biased evil Muslim: “you don’t understand the real true meaning of the scriptures;” “you don’t know Arabic;” “you hate Islam and prove Islamophobia exists;” “you prove by your words the white man discrimination of imperialism and colonialism;” “you are racist and oppressive;” and other accusations according to Arab-Islamic imagination and aggression.
What Arab-Islamic history and contemporary tell us?
This is the political language of the Muslim scholars, spokesmen and propagators. Yet, one has to recall the following: the origin of the Arabs and Islam is in Arabian Peninsula. All the vast areas that have been conquered from year 632 on are the result of one of the deepest colonialist and imperialist occupation characterized by process of Arabization and Islamization of the occupied territories. The Middle East was mainly Pharaonic; Phoenician; Babilonian; Ugarit; Chaldean; Jewish, and Berber in North-Africa. Iran was Sassanid; Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan were Buddhist. Indeed, Islamic occupations of the Middle East, North Africa, parts of Europe and Asia were all imperialist-colonialist of the worst kind, as they have constantly become Arabized and Islamized.
The invasion out of Arabia was conducted under political ideological ambitions clocked in a religious banner and as an intrinsic part of Islamic doctrine. This process of occupation ended by ethnic cleansing and deportations of the indigenous population; massacres and genocide of peoples; huge slavery by hundreds of millions; and racist policies of Apartheid.
The Palestinian sociologist, Ali ‘Issa Othman, states his conviction that
The spread of Islam was military. There is a tendency to apologize for this, and we should not. It is one of the injunctions of the Qur’an that you must fight for the spreading of Islam.
Indeed, Islam has never been a tolerant, peaceful religion. It is not intolerant as a response to other’s intolerance, but it is inherently intolerant, racist and war-mongering by itself, according to its religious doctrine. Islamic hostility that practices a policy of systematic Jihad against the other are not a modern phenomenon, but deeply rooted in the Qur’an. It has been operated systematically from the 7th century on until today.
Moreover, against the religious command to love their own fellow believers, Muslims massacre by millions other Muslims. Today, it is represented by the emergence of groups and organizations that follow the Islamic ancestors’ tradition, Salafiyah, with the following division: traditional (Salafīyah Taqlīdīyah), represented by the Muslim Brotherhood parties; Jihadi (Salafīyah Jihadīyah), represented by al-Qaeda and its regional organizations (like AQAP, AQIM, al-Shabab in Somalia, Boko Haram in Nigeria, Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria); and Takfīri (Salafiyah Takfīrīyah), represented the Islamic Caliphate State.
The objectives of Islamic hatred
The Qur’an makes it clear that Islam is not about universal brotherhood and cooperation, but the brotherhood of the community of believers. The Qur’an says that all other religions as such are cursed by Allah. Whoever does not believe in Muhammad and totally follow him; whoever contends with Muhammad and Islamic tenets it means heresy that deserves death. It is the nature of Islam to dominate and not to be dominated; to rule and not to be ruled; to be superior on all the infidels. The Muslim vision is clear: there is one universe, and it must be under the banner of Islam. All humanity must submit to Islam as the supreme religion.
The Islamic excuses of the past are no more relevant. The claims they revenge only at acts that are committed against them; acts that humiliate their honor and their souls; or for defense of their nation and soil; and all other sorts of fairy-tales for the consumption of Western media to publish and public opinion to impress – these excuses are no more relevant. The fact is that Muslim groups and organizations murder and butcher and operate all kinds of horrible atrocious acts of violence are exactly for political reasons under the cloak of religious issues and as a result of cultural reasoning. They wish to conquer the world, to impose their religion and culture, and they do not feel any shame or guilt remorse. From their vantage point, they are entitled to possess everything, as it is promised in the Qur’an. They have never given up the prophetic message that Islam must dominate the entire world, and they have all the patience (Sabr) in time to bring these ambitions come true.
The Saudi legal expert, Basem ‘Alem states it clearly:
As a member of the only true religion, I have a greater right to invade others in order to impose the Shari’ah, which history has proven to be the best and most just of all civilizations. This is the true meaning of Jihad. When we wage Jihad, it is not in order to convert people to Islam, but in order to liberate them from the dark slavery in which they live.
This is apparent in an interview with Ayat Allah Kamil, a Palestinian woman who had tried to carry out a suicide bombing. When asked by the Guardian journalist: “Do you have any dreams for the future?” She responded
My deep belief and wishes that the whole world becoming Islamic, a world in which we will all live in peace, joy, and harmony, all of us, human beings, animals, flowers, plants, and stones. Islam will even bring peace to vegetables and animals, the grass and the stones… And you will be able to remain Jewish, whatever you want; it doesn’t matter, but only in an Islamic world.
…and its consequences and repercussions
The Western world reaction to this reality if fear and intimidation. One of the fresh examples is the case of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a victim of genital mutilation in infancy and a victim of Islamic persecution today. Now she has been subjected to yet another example of Western cowardice and hypocrisy. Brandeis University has decided not to award her an honorary degree. As Arnold Ahlert observes, Brandeis honored Desmond Tutu who was an overt anti-Semite, and asserted that the Holocaust’s gas chambers made for “a neater death” than did Apartheid. He regularly accuses the Jewish State of ethnic cleansing, and insists that Zionism has “very many parallels with racism.” Brandeis also honored the playwright Tony Kushner, despite his overt anti-Semitism for Israel. He also accused the Jewish State of ethnic cleansing, and insisted its creation “was a mistake.”
Nevertheless they have been given the honorary degree. A similar case was also the University of Haifa decision not to grant an honorary doctorate to Nobel Prize laureate Yisrael Aumann, “because of his political views,” but has awarded the extreme leftist anti-Zionist Shulamit Aloni the honorary degree without hesitation.
The question is why the academia, the media, and governments in the West, founded on liberalism and secularism, would not only refuse to counter Islamic Jihad and Da‘wah onslaught against other civilizations but even deny that Islam is not compatible with the basic values of freedoms and civil rights? The answer is surprisingly simple: because they are frightened, because they are intimidated and terrorized. They are frightened of being accused of Islamophobia and racism; they are intimidated by brutal savage forces that threaten and actually attack them; they are terrorized by anarchic and chaotic groups of ruffians; and they are paralyzed by Islam’s real intent to bring us all to its 7th century traditions and way of life. Part of them, mainly the academia and the cultural hedonists, act along these lines because they hate the west and its values and they perceive Islam as a cure to what they call ‘Western malaise;’ as they embrace sick and twisted ideologies based on neo-Bolshevism and neo-Fascism.
The best to exhibit the mired reality of this Western world’s situation is the example of the British newspaper, the Guardian’s cartoonist and head of the British Cartoonist Association, Tim Benson. Anti-Semite in profession, he often sketches horrible graphic cartoons against Israel, but never against Islam and the Palestinians. When asked about this, his answer was pure and simple: I am afraid. It means, he can draw anything against Israel, the Jews, Christianity and Buddhism, and nothing happens, but he would not dare to do that when Muslims, Arabs and Palestinians are concerned. He does not want to be persecuted like Salman Rushdie, or be butchered like Theo Van Goch, to mention the few.
The academia and the media worldwide are sick, and Israeli academia and media represent a pure tragic example of this sickness, because Israel is in the forefront of the war of civilizations, the last fortified dam before the deluge. Unless these two important organs of Western society’s body that hold crucial influence on the governmental apparatus decision making stop their submission and capitulation to the forces of evil, the Western world is doomed.
Those in power are still terrified of offending Islam. Honor killing is still overwhelmingly an Islamic tradition; gender equality simply does not exist within Muslim culture and jurisprudence; women still have very few rights and are treated like beasts in Muslim states; women rape victims are punished even to death in large parts of the Middle East; and women are still forced to cover their entire bodies in dark tent. Islamic immigration wrack and havoc Western societies; and the Muslim’s third generation proves to be the most extremist and fanatic, and still Western governments appease Islam and actually even unintentionally promote its victory.
The Muslim women’s clothing is the symbol to Western world’s sick era. If “Sunlight is the best disinfectant,” then Western civilization is marching courageously to a dark era in which Islam determines the values of the future. This is a darkness era that clouds the minds of those in power in the West, as much as in the academia and the media, not to see the bright sights of Islam’s brutal onslaught of Jihad; not to hear the clear voices of Islam’s targets operated by Da‘wah; and not to smell the scent of Islamic blood-hunt that wishes to smash our freedoms and civil rights and to re-mold Western civilization according to their traditions.
This almost constitutes a perpeteum mobile, which leads to a simple mathematics: if the number of the Islamic fanatics produced by hatred is higher than those the Free World can neutralize, it means that it is losing the war of civilizations. Indeed, the Western world’s mired situation is so intimidating that it refuses to tell even to itself that Islam is engaging in a Third World War against us, and we even do not fight back, but appease and pay protection money. What we are really dealing with is not Islamophobia, but the acute danger of Islamophilia and Islamization of the Free World’s civilization.
Alone in the dark: The Sylvia Plath Effect and the South poet
I was 16 when I first attempted to take my own life. I was seeing a psychiatrist (he of the Einsteinian-hair, he had studied at a university in Vienna, his son went to the same high school my brother went to, the highly-prestigious Grey High School for Boys) at the time who was convinced that Risperdal could help me, elevate my mood. I was depressed, very, very depressed. I drank some red wine, and took some pills, and slept it off. There have been other attempts.
Anti-depressants, counselling, psychiatrists, a coma, psychosis, hallucinations (some auditory), but there also have been periods of intense creativity. The psychotropic medication seems to have not impacted my imagination, only my dopamine and serotonin levels. I felt down a lot in high school. I had no one to eat lunch with. One friend.
Every year I had one friend. One black friend. I got tired of being tired (they call it chronic fatigue syndrome). Sometimes I thought I was just pretending. That was why I was attracted to acting in the first place.
I didn’t have to be me anymore. I still think at 40 what people think of me, I’m still dying for my mother’s approval. There were crushing-and-numbing lows that felt like a succession of deaths, clinical depression, insomnia (I found it very difficult to fall asleep, would toss and turn the entire night listening to my parents fight behind their closed bedroom door, I read into the early hours of the morning with a torch under the covers). I’m fragile. I was abused mentally, verbally, physically by my mother for most of my childhood.
Later she isolated me from my so-called friends, from so-called family, and then rejected me because of the texture of my kinky-peppercorn hair. In her words I was an “wretchedly-ugly mistake”, who was “nothing special to look at”, “an intellectual like your father”, “take your smarties yet”. According to my mother, for years, I did not have a mental illness (see bipolar mood disorder), I was demon-possessed and needed prayer.
High school was difficult for me. I was bullied, and I was a bully. I was an obsessive-compulsive perfectionist, a high achiever academically but after the first two years of high school my grades started to slip). You would think that this would have been a warning sign for either my mother, or my manic-depressive father, who was also an over-achiever as I was. So, I felt pain every day, no one was pulling me through this pain, I hardly could get out of bed in the morning, there were no romantic entanglements with boys my own age (which meant no heavy petting, French-kissing, making out, distracted by sex, boyfriends, or popularity), no girlfriends who came to the house, no experimenting with the smoking of cigarettes. I decided I as an atheist, although I still went to church with my parents, and my siblings, my younger brother, and sister. I can’t put all my happy memories, and my childhood, and my elegant and narcissistic mother in a time capsule. I have the same nose like my mother.
My mother thought the obvious, it was drugs. I was smoking marijuana.
It was my peer-group. I was hanging out with the wrong friends. She blamed anything, everything, everyone, family, estranged family, cousins, except herself. I take tranquilisers at night to sleep, fall asleep watching television. Then there are my sleeping pills, my father’s sleeping pills, my aunt’s sleeping pills. Then there’s Pax, Lithium, Zolnox, Arizofy, Puricos for the gout, Puresis, the water tablet, for my chronic kidney disease. It seems that all I’ve seem to do for most of my life is take pills to make me happy, scale the seawalls of the depression, but it is seeming, writing keeps finding me, and I keep finding writing. Books, plays, novellas, poetry, essays, and blog posts. I was a teenage runaway. Sometimes I’m stressed out. I know how to deal with that kind of currency now. I’m still insecure. I’m like the most vulnerable person I know. I can’t turn back time.
I ran away to Johannesburg, and then to Swaziland, and wanted to go to the London Film School when I was 16. I’m designer playwright, keen diarist, hooked on becoming a memoirist, and inspiring ideas when I’m found hibernating in my room, lying in the foetal position on my bed listening to music blaring from my radio, and yes, I’m still running, carrying the cross. I’m only happy though when I’m a failure. I’m only unhappy when I’m adding another accomplishment, onto an already full list of accomplishments. Acting my heart out on the stage, drama rehearsals at the Opera House, lead role in the house play, Quiz, editor of the school newspaper, swimming laps in the local Gelvandale Olympic-sized swimming pool etcetera, etcetera. The everlasting list goes on, and never-ending on. I make money out of writing now.
I’ve lived with the naming, the shame-and-blame for all of my life.
Whose fault was it that I was abused, or that I was molested as an adolescent, or that I was too trustworthy of men in positions of power, and thought that every female that I met was my friend. Last year, I baked a cake for my birthday. It was the most beautiful cake in the world. I decorated it with mini-meringues and African violets, but nobody touched it, put it past their lips. And so, my 39th birthday collapsed, fell to pieces around me. I cut out recipes from magazines, and in the kitchen, I have this burning desire, this burning search to be chef, and baker. I sleep with cookbooks next to me on my bed. And like the high priestess of soul, Nina Simone, or the actress-celebrity Dorothy Dandridge, Oprah Winfrey, Misty Upham, you can only bury your thoughts, your shame, the people that you hold responsible for not loving you unconditionally, or protecting you.
Or nurturing you, or saying that they were proud of you, you can only bury your feelings for so long. So, now I write about the stigma, the bipolar struggle, the anxiety and fear that depression brings up inside of me like a storm, and you will usually find me crying in the dark, stifling my sobs into my pillow at night, dark is the night, winter has moved on, and I shy away from autumn, I’m battling survival, my survival, and I’m so well aware of the women who have not lived to fight another day (Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Assia Wevill, Virginia Woolf, Elizabeth Donkin, Iris Chang, Petya Dubarova). I’m battling daily. There are days that I feel deceived with burning desire by every single man, woman, and child that I encounter. I think of my happy childhood memories. I think of my sadness, my introspection, my reflections that mirror my soul. Sometimes a certain smell will take me back to childhood. Usually my mother’s perfume.
YSL’s Opium. To this day, that perfume gives me flashbacks.
Sometimes, just sometimes I think of the love of my life touching my face, and then I see him walking away from me in a parking lot, and I smile at this memory. I smile at the injustice of it all, that a man had loved me after all, and I ask myself, do you want even more heartache, more pain, more despair, then tell him that you love him back, that you only live for him. I smile at the memory of Ted Hughes, and Sylvia Plath, because after all he chose her to be his wife, and the mother of his children. Weddings are happy occasions marked by pomp and ceremony, and the happiness, and difficulties of both bride, and groom. It hurts too much on the inhale of the howl, and inside I’m a philosopher in the tradition of Nietzsche, and inside I’m a preacher. And sometimes, just sometimes the history of the bipolar, the madness life, the life that I live on my terms hurts too much on the exhale. In the bathroom mirror I write the narrative of love to myself.
There is a link between creativity, and mental illness, genius, and madness, and then I think of my extraordinary achievements, of my father’s giftedness, my mother’s own capacity for spells of melancholy, and giddy happiness, her talent for flowers. I see things that other people can’t. I hear things that other people can’t. I can’t turn back time to the good old days. I have moths, and butterflies, and swallows, and birds in my stomach, a reputation, an angel-tongue in my mouth. Love has passed me by. I made a conscious decision not to marry, not to have children, but it didn’t make me less unafraid of the world around me. I made a conscious choice not to experiment with illicit drugs. I don’t drink. And, yes, I thought the love of my life, and I would live the years together, from the infatuation-phase to the honeymoon-phase. It is better to have loved, and lost, than never to have loved at all.
I have tried to take my own life four times now. I have relapsed more times than I can care to remember, but I still believe in the inter-communicative, inter-related, grassroots-secret of longevity. I love life.
Finally diagnosed with Bipolar and understanding God’s purpose for my life
I’ve outlasted a lot of things. I’m over 35. I am nearing 40 years of age. I’ve made mistakes and lived with regret but I don’t anymore. And I’m finally able to make peace with the mistakes I’ve made in my past.
I can forgive someone who brought me pain. The suicidal thoughts that I’ve manages to overcome. I think of our happy my parents were in my childhood. I think of every childhood experience as happy except the memories brought back to me of apartheid. I don’t have to tell myself anymore, you can make it. By the grace and mercy of God, I’ve survived. And it is God that has outlasted my storms.
So for the millions of people out there who have been diagnosed with a mental illness or have a loved one living with a mental illness, be brave. You are going to get through this storm. You’re a fighter.
You’re going to make it and when you come out on the other side, talk about it, or write about your survival, tell someone about it, become a storyteller, or give your testimony. You might save a life in the same way yours was saved.
As I write this I think of Robert Lowell, Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath and being fake-happy. Pretending to love being alone and not being the proper example of a good daughter. You want someone to love you until the end of time. I want someone to love until the end of time. I want people to love me. To remember me. In some way I want to belong to the world. I grew up with a narcissistic mother who passed this trait to her only son and middle daughter. That and beauty. That and arrogance.
But beauty fades like fast cars. It’s just tears I tell myself.
Tomorrow I’d have forgotten about them. Anticipating waves or the vibrations of depression does nothing for the way you look on the outside. It is all for you. I do it, I write it for you. I don’t know who you are. I just know that you accept me for who I am. I’m growing older and in the blue-dark I can’t see that I am growing older. All I do, the poetry, the writing is for you. I’m selfish that way, I guess.
I don’t want happiness. I just want a brave personality. That and the writing is what gets me through the hours, the day, the night. And sometimes I try very hard through the tears not to even think of going there. Of letting go. Sometimes I think I love this world too much. I love you, the Reader. I do love you. Perhaps in the end you’re the only thing that’s keeping the chemicals from balancing me the right way up. It’s all for you the Reader. Everything that I’ve ever written. You’re the assignment. Perhaps you’re the mission.
I was finally diagnosed with bipolar mood disorder after Tara. I spent
6 months in a mental institution in Johannesburg. Mental illness stamped on my forehead for all to see, alongside a stigma, a family (and paternal and maternal family) that saw to it that I quickly became an outcast, felt like an interloper when spoken to. I was ignored, and sat quietly by myself at family functions. It was as if I was in high school again. I never cried about it, but I don’t think that made me brave.
I was half-mute like Princess Diana, and Maya Angelou as a child.
Something had happened to me. Somehow I had been transformed intrinsically in childhood (it was because of my mother’s mental, verbal, and emotional abuse), but was it the environment that changed, no, no. It was human nature. All the humans around me. Bright children, no matter how bright they might seem even if adult words come out of their mouths, all children are still innocent. And all children want is the mother-love, and I felt the lack of mother-love acutely with an acumen and focus beyond my years.
I was called insubordinate by a male teacher once. Years later when we met at a prayer meeting, he spontaneously embraced me. In that moment, I forgave him. For the corporal punishment he had meted out to me for letting someone else, a popular girl, copy out my answers in a test. I thought I would be liked. But I wasn’t. I was still a goody two shoes.
I still sometimes would spend break in a bathroom stall.
As a moony-moody teenager I would read. I was mostly withdrawn, serious, never smiling (I never smiled once at Collegiate, it hurt too much to smile, my mother would go on rampages then, hurling mental abuse at me in the morning for breakfast, afternoon tea, and supper which my sister made for us. My mother was depressed too in a sinister and deceptive way). Now let me get back to never smiling, and never playing team sports.
Let me talk about the (good) old days. Collegiate High School for Girls in Port Elizabeth (a Model C school). That year, 1995, I was of course a perfectionist. A bipolar perfectionist who only ever understood the world of achievement, achievement. It had nothing and everything to do with having a Khoi-ego, Khoi-identity, Khoi-personality. But I would only understand the knowledge of Khoi-anything later on.
In those days I relaxed my hair. My hair was so straight it made no curls or waves, and I wore it in a ballerina bun. I was skinny, not voluptuous or buxom like the other girls. Late to bloom, as the saying goes. At 17 years old, or 16, I forget, all I could think of was my shame. My shame that I was not White. The shame of not having straight hair. The mortifying shame of not being athletic, not being able to play sports, not being able to be singled out first for a game during P.E. period I did not play hockey, or tennis (my mother got her Transvaal colours for tennis in high school).
I did not have blonde hair, and freckles on my face, forehead, knees, and the rest of my body. I did not have freckles in secret places.
But I learned quick, and I also learned very slowly that people don’t easily forgive, and forget if you live with a mental illness. This made me withdraw even more into my mute-self. For most of my life I lived like this with a mute voice inside of me until one day I began to write. I was 8 years old.
In later years cousins on both sides of the family despised me (because I was mentally ill). I could see it there in there eyes, as they did not meet my gaze whenever I spoke. Family despised me (because I was mentally ill). I was not invited to weddings, or kitchen teas. Women-fold women-folk kind of things. They despise you (this I told myself) because society despises lunatics, and for a long time I was happy encompassing whatever this word meant. Lunatic. It was me who was more in touch with reality than the ones who thought I was mad, I have come to accept this now. I have other much more important, and significant things on my mind, and I am about to begin to write my first novel. This is what moves me to write this for other people suffering in silence, people who are being told to pull their socks up (or that they ‘re beginning to be too big for their britches). Don’t live a half-life. Don’t live a half-lie.
Thoughts after reading Kiran Desai’s “The Inheritance of Loss”
You will experience happiness, I was the one who told myself this. No one else. The museum has invited me again to one of their lectures, but I never go. They will stop inviting, like they my father, one of these fine days, and then where will that leave me, and the fine museum built with my father’s hands. The South End Museum in Port Elizabeth, at the cusp of the Eastern Cape where in 1820 the English arrived. Sir Rufane Donkin who was to be the governor of the Cape (did he plunder, steal, rape, colonialise I thought to myself or was it kismet, fate, destiny written in the stars. Sir Donkin came with a mad wife in tow. Was she a Mrs Rochester, like me, like me, like me.
Bipolar, mosaic, atlas that it is, well for me it did the impossible with its overpowering (aplomb), uplifting gift that it gave me.
Sometimes the day itself is perfumed with good thoughts of T.S. Eliot, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Pound, Nabokov, the Russian writers, the Russian poets, the Russian masters, Isobel Dixon, Ingrid Jonker, Plath and Sexton. To me the women had superpowers, and the men, intelligence seeping through their every pore, I wanted them to talk to me, pull me into their arms and hug all my sadness, grief, loss, loneliness, frustration away from the secret chasms of my heart. I wanted them to lull and pull the self-pity that looped itself like cobwebs about my self-worth. Beautiful people, the beautiful women, that beautiful lady that was my mother that smelled just like Yves Saint Laurent’s Algeria, the beautiful men, seemed on the surface tension of things to get everything. They were rewarded. I was not.
I have this imperfect list of thoughts when I was reading Kiran Desai.
Oh, how I hope to be a respected and wonderful writer as she and Anuradha Roy is. Arundhati Roy, the writer of “The God of Small Things”. Sometimes I feel like a guardian, or rather a guardian angel when I write. I am hidden subtly, but also at the same time beyond opinion, and I also find that I am beyond caring for the approval of others. And by that of course I mean my sly and beautiful mother. Hair attractive as it falls about her face, hairpins/hair scarf/hair band loosened by her movements during the day and I try not to think of her telling me to make up my bed, or how they laugh at me, and look at me with this infuriating smile on their faces as if they know better.
Sometimes I think to myself who is the enemy now. Is it me, is it me who has to every year be put away for a week for my own good, to recover from ill health
I was sixteen years old when my mother dragged me to the Indian-looking psychiatrist who had studied in Vienna. And as I think back to that year I think of my identity coined now. That “term” on the inhale, and exhale of every breath that I take. That of a Khoi-female identity. Khoi-writer of prose, and poetry.
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