Thursday, July 18, 2013

Conversations with Moses [Mphatso] by Khumbo Soko

Fumbo: who benefits from societal order?

Interesting thoughts…on the male control of the female body. Maybe to simply reduce the argument to ‘men controlling the woman’s body’ is to pay scanty attention to the other rather pervasive and equally important power players in society. Because when you think about it, our bodies, yes both male and female, are subject to some sort of societal strictures. It might as well be that the inhibitions placed on the female body are indeed more pronounced but it doesn’t change the fact that Society would ‘flog’ me if I paraded in my village square naked. So maybe we need to interrogate the basis of societal order. Who stands to benefit more from a well ordered society with conventions on even mundane matters like dressing? Where do we place political and religious interests in all this? Do I hear someone say that it is even patriarchy which stands behind these systems? But what of systems where females have traditionally been very important power brokers? Can we not say that they are also in that regard beneficiaries of a well ordered society of which the ‘control of the body’ is but an aspect? I would love to hear your thoughts on where the ‘man’ stands in a matrilineal set-up…My point is, at the end of the day, we might as well find ourselves concluding that in some instances it is the woman who controls the male body! Quite outlandish, huh?

Of “us” and “others”…

On this I fully concur with you and I have nothing useful to add. I posted on my FB wall a couple of weeks ago that the “‘There is no chewa, tumbuka, sena but Malawian’ is a refrain of dubious accuracy.” There is nothing objectionable with racial/ethnic [and whatever] diversity. Heck! There is nothing we can do about being born Tumbuka, Chewa,, black, brown etc is there? The problem arises when we use these differences to disentitle others and to favour our own. I have always told ‘northerners’ who agitate for cessation on the basis of discrimination that “ah just dare do that and you will soon see what will happen. After the cessation Tumbukas will start discriminating against ngondes and Tongas against lambyas and so on and so forth. Before we know it, every village will be its own country if the solution to ethnic discrimination will be cessation.” I would love to see how much this othering has set us backwards as a people. We compromise on putting the right people in the right places because they do not belong. We would rather an inept homeboy occupied the office. Poor us…

“At what precise pace should a black man walk to avoid suspicion?
I was watching Andersoon Cooper’s Townhall Meeting Special on Race & Justice in the US yesterday July 18, 2013. This whole Trayvon Martin travesty feels me with a great sense of frustration and anger. Let me start by acknowledging that it might as well be the case that the case, merely looked at from its “merits” was correctly decided. I believe it is the law in the US that if a jury entertains any doubt about the culpability of the accused, then it must resolve the same in his favour. In this case, we do have evidence that Zimmerman did in fact sustain some injuries on the material day. We also know that there was someone between the 2 of them who shouted for help. In other words there was some compelling evidence to suggest that in the minutes leading up to his fatality, Trayvon was in fact the aggressor. Now throw in Florida’s stand your ground law into the mix and you really have a hopeless case as a prosecution. After all, we must not allow ourselves to be blinded by our momentary anger to the fact that it is for the State to prove the guilt of an accused. The bar to clear is rather high in this regard. The evidence must be such as eliminates any reasonable doubt from the jury/court’s mind. That can hardly be said to have been the case in this case. Sadly, however, that’s not all that there is to the Trayvon travesty. The criminal justice system is not simply an assemblage of rules, procedures and system for enforcing a state’s penal laws. It also encompasses the unwritten attitudes of the people who run it, from the penal lawmaker through the cop who stops and frisks to a sentencing judge. It is informed by the policy objectives of any given polity. And it is not value free. And because we entrust it to human beings, they bring to it their prejudices and biases, both acknowledged and subconscious. Now it is a notorious fact that a young black man has got more chances of ending up in a penitentiary than he has of say a community college. If you are black, you are more likely to be stopped by the Police. You are more likely to be arrested. You are more likely to be shot by the Police and you are more likely to be at the receiving end of a long custodial sentence than would be the case if you were a white Defendant. Am saying nothing new here. These are well researched observations. Now this is the system that ‘processed’ Trayvon. You are right when you say that paper justice was served here. Zimmerman had his day in court and he carried it. But we all know better, don’t we? If Trayvon had been white and Zimmerman black….How I wish this was a Stephen Lawrence moment for the US. But somehow, I just have a depressing feeling it won’t be. Racism in the US is too institutionalized. It is a centuries-old machine that may never be fully dismantled. But that of course, is no excuse for failing to ask the tough questions.  Again I must agree with you that paper justice was served here. But we all know that the young man was screwed by the system…
Acknowledgements and other details
This entry was sourced from Khumbo Soko's blog at;
Visit his blog for more interesting perspectives on a variety of social, political, legal and even popular matters.

No comments:

Post a Comment