Sunday, January 05, 2020

Learning to see and speak: 1

In 2018, I had begun to maintain a document of fear and self-censorship. In the wake of online aggression, often coordinated, and the killings and arrests of writers and journalists, not to mention the chilling effect of cases being filed in courts under one pretext or the other, I had begun to hold back a lot, writing only for myself, if I had to. Even where I did write and publish, I found myself not doing much to share my work around, wondering whether that would bring me negative attention, or get me onto some kind of list someone was maintaining of people who had to be gagged or worse.

One of the essays I published that year, but did not share much, was about protest, about how I grew up apolitical and was suspicious of student politics, until I became a journalist and finally learnt the dangers of distancing oneself from politicking as citizens and confining oneself merely to the exercise of the ballot.

I know now it is disengagement that makes us disenchanted, makes our politics unhinged. We ought to have been taught this before we turned eighteen and started sending people to parliament. At twenty-five, a citizen can stand for national elections. To tell university students not to ‘do politics’ is a slap in the face of democracy.

Please read the fully essay here:

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