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Mirror image doesn’t lie


IAN A. MARSHALL

Mirror image doesn’t lie

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I ATTENDED THE FUNERAL of a well known middle class colleague some time ago and was totally taken aback by the outpouring of tributes given to this person.

As I sat in the congregation and reflected on the life of this individual, I could not help but wonder how many of the people gracing the podium to eulogise this person were sincere and if they were, how many of them supported this individual in the trials and tribulations they waged against this crippling, conservative establishment and the status quo.

I looked around me and observed the erstwhile colleagues and supposed mourners of this now dead individual.

I could not help but notice how conservative they all were. I noticed the ultra-straight hair of the middle class females who in many instances wore wigs and countless layers of make-up. I noticed the tight, ill-fitting, Eurocentric suits of the men with the many layers of clothing and the fact that they were obviously uncomfortable in the heat of the church in a tropical climate.

I sat and listened to the many hymns which had their origins in England and Scotland and listened quite attentively to the exhortations of the pastor and his preoccupation with quoting biblical scripture.

As speech after speech assaulted my ears, I found myself focusing on Mac Fingall’s song De Mirror Don’t Lie for some reason. I couldn’t quite pinpoint the connection to this song at what seemed to be a rather inappropriate moment, but then it suddenly dawned on me.

It seemed at a rather superficial level that what was taking place before me was just colleagues bidding another farewell, but when I forced myself to really analyse the situation, I found that many in the congregation were living a lie and, as Mac Fingall’s song implored them to do, many failed to confront the truth about themselves and instead ignored the physical and sociological mirror.

Many in the middle class congregation were ashamed of who they truly are, so they fought hard to conceal their identities beneath wigs, make-up, suits and just plain lies in the form of eulogies. Many preferred to live a lie rather than face up to the decadent sociological pathogens and ironies that plague this society.

Many preferred to be “yes men” and “yes women” rather than have the intestinal fortitude to stand up and steer an independent, integrity-filled life free from the exploitative, voracious grasp of power-hungry moguls. Many in the congregation were, in fact, cowards and were hiding from themselves.

Upon his realisation, I quickly and quietly exited the church, preferring instead to honour the life of the dead individual in my own way.

Too many of us fail to stand for what is just in this society and prefer to turn a blind eye to all that is wrong. Too many of us also fail to support others who stand up because of our own fears and insecurities and that if we do that, we run the risk of being labelled and losing our privileged position at the table of lies, deceit, hatred, exploitation and violence.

We therefore continue to genuflect before evil rather than righteousness. A citizenry spawned and sustained on alienation and clientelism is a citizenry that will ultimately self-destruct. 

– IAN A. MARSHALL

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