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Community Conflicts

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  • louise
    How am I to tell this complex story, with reasonable brevity, and with due regard for the privacy of individuals and the claims of truth, so far as lies in my
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 30, 2008
      How am I to tell this complex story, with reasonable brevity, and
      with due regard for the privacy of individuals and the claims of
      truth, so far as lies in my capacity to discern it, at a period when
      more than ever I find myself acutely aware of the pitiless and
      intrusive nature of a process that conflates the private and public
      domains? All I know is that the attempt must be made, and with
      maximal care.
      One of the themes to which I have periodically returned at the list
      has concerned freedom of speech, and its implicit connections with
      the nature of representative democracy (a concept I would bracket
      with liberal values) and patriotism, with its freight of deep
      inarticulate feeling on the one hand, and the exacting worlds of
      economics, law, and politics, on the other.
      As the young man of Kierkegaard's "Either/Or", 'published by Victor
      Eremita', remarks:
      ~ How absurd men are! They never use the liberties they have, they
      demand those they do not have. They have freedom of thought, they
      demand freedom of speech. ~
      Well, yes, for what purpose, do any of us wish, for freedom in any
      form? I knew, for several years, the hurt, day by day, of being at
      frequent risk of impertinent handling and of crude 'free speech',
      rife with what seemed to me at the time to be sexual suggestion,
      taunting innuendo, moral blame, and physical threat. Enough to put
      me into states of terror and rage, distorting and deflecting into
      ironic byways, the very marrow of being invested with helpless
      belligerence, the actuality of physical voices and glances giving
      rise to interior visions, ecstasies and abysses, whilst the visionary
      body, fearful of assault, intent to keep alive its companion soul,
      was hunted through corridors of space and time. This is an example
      of the subjective reality which I assume to correspond with what the
      medical establishment calls psychosis.
      What was the context of this particular pursuit and testing - since,
      as an individual, I am far from alone in the experience of a period
      of gruelling persecution, mixed with horror and shame? I believe the
      context to be an interplay of cultural and political factors. The
      allusive speech around me and the atmosphere, at times, of anger,
      outrage or fear did have, to my perception, a very local and
      specifically national reference, to party politics. I was living in
      a former pit village. Old Labour traditions were strong, including
      an ethic of community cohesion, and respect for hard work, honesty
      and that mutable quality, a proper attitude. The presence of
      mockery, however, and the practice of slander, directed toward myself
      and my husband, together with explicit reference to the BNP, was
      chiefly responsible for the perpetual bewilderment with which I tried
      to find my way through a maze of seemingly meaningless and yet
      horribly real experiences. The bewilderment has not gone away, and
      the pain only increases in complexity.
      It seems hardly an exaggeration to say that I have been subject to a
      sophisticated process of conditioning in order to further ends with
      which I profoundly disagree. My wish was to be treated as a human
      being, but this, I found, was repeatedly denied me, apparently on the
      grounds of my views being 'incorrect'. It is a barbarism I struggle
      to tolerate, to the constant ravage of my health.
      I think, in fact, that I must admit a temporary defeat, this evening,
      and resume my account tomorrow, after further rest.

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