Saturday, February 26, 2011


At one of the Egyptian solidarity protests held at the Saint Paul Capitol Building, my exchange with the other protestors was limited to a single sentence, which is telling, in its various ways. First, of course, because of my personal feelings of alienation from the Twin Cities, and second, for what those words word. For it seems to be the case, more often than not, that words here do rile, they irk, they pry and push at the same time. An effect that seems to be related to the alienation, not the other way around. Thing like this seriously make me question my ability to make it, post-partum, as if still, I can’t get my bearings. The words, “Anti-War Protest March 19 [flyer handed]—it’s all the same thing,” still ring in my ears. And perhaps not just because of this moment, but because the “same” in fact is used in places where “solidarity” is meant to connect one to another these disparately fighting causes. Recalling now LA protests, I got and wanted this in 2003. Even if I wasn’t a part of something particular then, and also hadn’t really done the work to elaborate the causes, I do remember feeling pulled solidly into something. But now that the time of revolution has come, that the person who told me “it’s all the same” will also still encounter the difficulty of such a position, as just a year ago disunited student protestors as UCLA held two versions of March 4, there remains a vague distance in me, one that is at once self-defeating and oppositional. Part of it is the feeling that anything that I think or write, any space that I take, even in my own mind, is a struggle. Taking up space, taking it out on space. While the world seems to be on the move, the space here—in my head and that I occupy—seems to be totally caught up, stagnant, resistant. Moving on, so to speak, is inconceivable. And yet, in writing this, I am attempting to ask whether this position and these feelings also offers something, whether there is recuperation, which, I think would be my first step towards revolution.

picture and artwork by the illustrious Rebecca Ellen Bowden

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