Why I had to postpone the 2012 Women’s Day!


One of my yesteryears, even last year, I forgot our Women’s Day. So my lady accused me of having committed an international crime. So I violated the International Women’s Day (IWD). Well, she accused me of the commission of that crime, but I excused myself without submission to that crime. Of course, I did not boycott it; I just forgot it. But that would not take me to The Hague, it would just take me to the ICC (Intranational Celebration Court – I wished so), so that we danced the heart-breaking news away; news of austerity, news of no more oil, news of more soil to toil on; to till as the last resort in the advent or rains.

Again, I did not forget to budget for the celebration of the women’s day today. I just did forego it. I had to postpone it because the government has announced austerity. What is austerity? I do not know. I just feel it. Austerity is a financial hostility, according to me. Austerity, I am made to understand, is a situation when a government in/directly tells you to buy and kiss kissra with bamia instead of chicken and chips, or to buy V4 (call it Rav4) instead of V8. But will we, South Sudanese, really accept it in unison and apply it uniformly? No, not until H.E. 1st Lt. Gen. Salva Kiir replaces his hiring squad with a firing squad! As I penned this piece, I was interrupted by my friend who came in, fuming, “Look! The Ministry of Electricity and Dams have advertized for the damn V8s again for their directors when Juba is still in the dark, and when the government has announced austerity measures.” I told him jokingly to take his complaints to the Austerity Committee, if at all it is in their mandate to monitor ‘budget extravanza and/or V8 bonanza’ of their colleagues over our public funds, especially electricity funds, which is laden with two big institutions, namely: Ministry of Electricity and Damns and South Sudan Electricity Corporation (God knows the difference and the necessity of having both funded at this time when old generators are doing the crickets thing in our townized villages).

I doubt, especially with our luxurious attitudes of kicking off our development with a Hummer, rather than with a hammer. Especially the privileged women, will they accept the budget cut that will see the Hummer parked for lack of fuel? I wonder if anyone cares about and shares in my feelings (without envy) that a hummer for showing off our autonomy is a hammer for chopping off our economy. Without prejudice, again, a Hummer is a ‘harmer’ even to its owner. Please, research before you ask me why and how?

Austerity problem aside, why is it hard for all to celebrate women’s day these days? One of the reasons is this… going back to give an example from my past experience. A day later, I realized that March 8, that I spent on the way to Yay (some mzungu’s spelling for Yei), was the long awaited IWD of 2009. However, I had an excuse for this; an excuse sufficient and efficient enough to make Bensouda Fa…., the female replacement of Moreno-Ocampo, cancel the indictment against my international crime, should there be any.

Reason number one: I, including Elizabeth, am not a signatory to this Decree. I mean we are not witnesses for the Washington or Copenhagen Statute, which was officially declared international in 1911. Hey, those are the times of Adam Smith, even the Adams and Eves of our families were not yet born, leave alone having bought a radio to follow the proceedings of the internationalization of the Day, or were they?

Reason number two: I don’t know the day I was born, and so doesn’t the lady, who is mine. For me, maybe somewhere in the late 70s or early 80s, and for her early or mid 80s, to guess, eyes closed. See now. If we can forget or not know, cannot remember, or cannot celebrate our own birth days, why would anyone want to blame us for having not remembered the 101st birthday of some Khawaja women’s freedom? To borrow my uncle’s views, ours still is in the pipeline.

Three:  I was not well told. Because in this country, there are too many holidays and holy days— too numerous to remember and budget for. Others find me still seated like last Sunday! Also, I am not dying to excel in 2015. I need more seasons with enough reasons to remember and support it. I mean I need more explanations as to  why I should stay at home and cook while my lady is sitting there trimming her fingernails on the 8th day of the 3rd month in the 2012th year of our Lord.  Yes, you can’t just expect me to do it, just because it is a ritual doable or it is being done in Uganda. And if we are not yet aware of the days, dates and candidates of our 2015 elections,  if we have no consensus in our census figures, then why and how should one blame me for not having observed the international women’s day?

By the way, how did the IWD go down there in Khartoum? Some singing women marching on the streets with front balls bulging out of small bras like frog’s eyes like in Kampala? Or a funeral sort of a long procession by a nun-like crowd as in Mogadishu? Whatever. But I hear the day was welcomed by thunderous protests in our former capital in reaction to a woman gunned down in an attempt to rescue her man being manhandled by the in/famous Public dis/Order Police. I hear the man was accused of having sneaked something alcoholic into his stomach! So beer is more prohibited than drug in Khartoum. (SST Editor, check that this mere mention does not stop our paper from being printed!).

This man is a victim of the newly discovered gender-based violence act in Nyeri, Kenya. Actually, if this were a woman, the whole world would know of it just in one minute, including the Weakleaks! and the Wikileaks. So I call it 'Gender-biased violence', some sort of a domestic violence that has affected men but under the carpet of culturally backed superiority suffering. 'Maendeleo ya Wanaume' oyee!

This year’s IWD theme is: Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures. For women according to UN, it is: Empower Rural Women — End Hunger and Poverty.” But somewhere out there, our mothers and senior sisters are overdoing it. They have gone to the extent of making it their hobbies to beat their hubbies (husbands), just because they know the man will culturally shy away from going to the media or police with it. Hence, the man-beaters get away with it. Thanks to the brave men of Kenya. They formed their ‘Maendeleo ya Wanaume’, a movement for men’s rights, especially those beaten by their best halves, now worst halves. If you are an ardent addict to world news, you would be amused to hear them (men) shouting for their rights on the BBC like their counterparts of the ‘Maendeleo ya Wanawake’ of the women liberation movement, against men. What a war! And you think I was wrong to postpone my unnecessary spending on the women’s day?

With this rate of prejudice against men by both women and men in favour of the women, I am contemplating our (SS) ‘Tahrir er Rajul’ or something of that kind, just a few years to come. This is because I was disappointed in a funny way the other day when some charming daughter of Eve just walked in and placed herself squarely in front of the son of Adam (aka: Jean Penn), grabbing my turn (like a land-grabber of Gudelle) on the queue that I had maintained by standing for one hour in the bank. “Sorry, but ladies first…” said our attendant as a reply to my signal of complaint.

Yet another reason why I had to forcibly boycott celebrating our Women’s Day was a simple mis/understanding of a question that if the 8th day of March is isntitutionally and constitutionally assigned to the women, how about the rest of the 365 days? Are they international men’s days? If, at some extremes like in Uganda, a man must cook for his woman on such a day, then what if I am tempted to cook on the 8th of April or December…will I have committed an offence? About this day, there is a lot more yet to know, especially by our copy-and-paste folks of the third world.

For me to conclude, I have to include the one and only mega problem hindering the South/Sudanese, me included, from remembering, leave alone celebrating, such freedom days. Unless it involves the spiritual intervention of Jesus Christ, Mohammed, and the like, we will not manage to celebrate the Grand Birth Date, the first anniversary, of our Baby Nation, not to mention the 101st anniversary of our ‘babe notion’, in 2012.  Imagine how many big days we have jumped since 2005. I eavesdropped some women in Bor discussing the reasons for pushing their IWD to another week, maybe Tuesday this week. You see, they have copied our ‘politeachers’, who are addicted to postponing very Big Days which were not fixed by them.

Ignorance, negligence, and such terms, are responsible. That is why St. Paul almost collapsed when he found the Corinthian Christians putting a big signpost in front of their newfound faith’s church: FOR THE GOD WE DO NOT KNOW! That is why some women in Lainya county told me in 2009, “We were just told to come here to celebrate.”  That is why I am leaving you with this problematic and dilemmatic debate between my daughter and yours, Jane and Janet, in ‘The Sabbath for Mama’, one of my 350 poems in a title called “The Black Christs of Africa”, being serialized for the South Sudan Tribune Daily between March 12, 2012 and March 13, 2013.

NB: To know more about when, where, why and how this day came to be adopted by our today’s women, click this leaklink:

Footnote:

To my esteemed readers, especially those who have been imploring me not to save my essays on my personal computer or personal blog but publish them for public consumption, I am back to the media, back with a big bang. Breaking news: I have fallen in love with the South Sudan Tribune! So let’s meet again on this page tomorrow, and daily, not forgetting my weblog, The Weakleaks! weekly: www.weakleak.wordpress.com

E-mail: penndengong@gmail.com

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This is the periodic Serialization of the poetry book, “The Black Christs of Africa”, by J. Penn de Ngong.

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Poem 65

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The Sabbath for Mama  

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Hey Buddy,

Do you know that?

Mummy has only one day,

One and only single day,

Or only one simple say,

One singing, semi day,

Out of all 366 days,

To rest,

But not to resist

A call

From the routinely hunger quake

That has its epicentre

In the belly valley

Of my cross-legged daddy,

And my hand-folding bros.

Being her only baby daughter,

I sometimes shed tears,

And just wish, just,

I turn ten

To take over

And let mama celebrate her unholy Sabbath.

Why weren’t I twenty, thirty, forty, fifty…

To decode the riddle and the pity

On her subjective responsibilities,

To ask if Baba owns the other 364 and so days?

If so,

Then it means…

Mama has only seventy days

To rest and celebrate her freedom,

If – God forbids— she had to die at seventy.

There is this other day, too,

June 16 for us children,

Like March 8 for women,

Like May 13 for mothers,

Unlike Jan. 1 – 31 Dec. for men,

Who claim to be our fathers and brothers.

Tomorrow I’ll ask

My Sunday school teacher

Or the other black man in white

That who assigns the days and duties.

Hey Jane,

You’ll get the same answer

That my teacher told me last Sunday.

That what, Janet?

That our great, great grand, grandma,

Long, long, long ago,

Made a mistake in the garden…

Stop! I now know,

It’s the politricks of the male politeachers.

But which president can fix the days forever?

Any. Even that of our family,

Or of our country,

Or of our universe.

But I think the Lord of Sabbath,

The very God of Sabbaoth,

Knows women’s rights, too, doesn’t he?

I think let’s first grow up,

And go to school,

And become no longer small

To ask and know, but big,

Big enough to know and ask,

And ask where, when, why, what, who, how…

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Poem 122

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 Woman beings, real human beings

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Treat us humane.

Women are human.

Not only males are urbane.

Why mostly men are urban?

We are wimmin,

Why treat us as vermin?

Why make us underdogs,

Yoking us with loads of logs!

So conditioned that when our gods enter homesteads,

Wielding their clubs, clearing their throats with threats,

“You women, who is at home?” Then very slowly and lowly

In unison we echo, “Sorry, nobody at home, it’s we women only!”

Now what animal is a human,

And who co-created human beings?

Is it not woman, regarded not human?

So woman beings are really human beings.

Now what mammal is a woman?

W.O.MAN means not ‘Wife of Man”.

In this world of masculinism vs. feminism,

Better call us wimmin, the best euphemism.

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Poem 5

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Martin Luther King II

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Martin Luther is King,

He’s not a losers’ king.

The seeds of freedom he has sown,

The seat of reformation he has shown,

Like the white Martin, Luther I,

Who filtered Protestantism from Catholicism,

The Black Martin Luther II,

Fostered protectionism against Racism.

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It was from his footstep

In 1955 that Rosa Park,

Of Southern USA, Rose not to pack

For a white passenger.

Turning into a wild messenger,

She defied the white man

And defined the black man

In the history of mankind inAmerica

With the story of man coming from Africa.

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It was from her footstep

That women put their fullstop

To mark their marginalization,

To make their realization

In the world all of a sudden.

Like Katipa Banat of South Sudan,

Since 1955, the women battalions,

Warrior wives of battle lions,

Who played their roles in the fights,

Paid and paved the way for their rights.

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Relevant Quote

It is better to be the widow of a hero than the wife of a coward.

Dolores Ibárruri (1895 – 1989)

Spanish politician and journalist.

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