Once you go black, you never go back. Every challenge we face makes us better, stronger and closer, says Pravin Pillai.
I wasn’t going to go. But as the Facebook messages kept coming in about where help was needed I changed my mind. I joined the black parade.
Like millions of others I felt like someone close to me had died. I was in mourning. The other side wanted me to believe that all was fair and square. That I had a poor grasp of politics, the electorate and logic. Tis’ true, I am less a fan of logic than I am of heart. I believe logic can deceive you.
You come home unexpectedly one afternoon and find your wife in bed. She says she’s having a headache. Logic moves you to check her temperature. The heart tells you to check under the bed.
Empathy is feeling sorry for those who voted for a racist government. Sympathy is being sorry that they aren’t.
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It seems, to many, this entire affair was no more than a football match with winners and sore losers. They would like you to accept defeat graciously and move on.
To what? Move on to what? Will you see to it that the government you elected makes good on the promises it made? Will you hold them accountable? Will you come to the ground and check that every penny from every pledge has been delivered? Or will you just look out for yourself eagerly anticipating the rewards of having backed the victor?
And while you impatiently wait, what do you tell yourself to feel better about voting for a government whose first action was to incite hatred towards a community that lost faith in the racist, self-serving reprobates?
An idea is a powerful thing. A poor idea a dangerous thing.
The mind has a tough time letting go of an idea. It doesn’t discriminate against poor ideas. Usually resorting to further taunts, ridicule and in severe cases elimination of any opposition to the idea.
A hundred courts and a thousand judges cannot absolve you of the guilt you feel in your conscience. It is yours to resolve. It is the angst you feel inside you. The restlessness. The desire to convince or remove from the face of this earth every person who tried to reason with you and failed.
Anyone could find themselves in this position. Many don’t pay the full price. The generation following Nazi Germany found themselves carrying the burden of shame from the idea their parents and grandparents so willingly rallied behind. Men and women who could not but know that all was not right, but were not great people enough to drop the idea.
And so you find yourself taunting and ridiculing them further, the sore losers, not realising that the real battle is between you and your Self.
The real losers
Your children and theirs. And generations to follow. The race card will stay in play until the last ounce of power can be sapped from it. Hitler’s influence would have grown too large to do anything about it.
You retreat into your apathetic mediocrity hoping that someday soon it will all go away so your entitled kids can come out to play. By now you have learnt to stonewall any remorse while lying to your grandchildren that they may not hold you accountable for the s… you leave behind.
Welcome to the Black Parade
There will be no sorry children. … Not until every last one of us is out for the count. And then more will rise. Maybe even your children. Every challenge we face makes us better, stronger, closer. Call us prejudiced and we’ll hug tighter. Call us stupid and we’ll educate the weaker. We, will, persevere. And if black is the colour that we must come under then so be it. Move on with your lives, forget about us. But don’t hold your breath hoping we will give up. Cos you know what they say, once you go black, you never go back.
When I was a young boy
My father took me into the city
To see a marching band
He said, “Son, when you grow up
Would you be the saviour of the broken
The beaten and the damned?”
He said, “Will you defeat them
Your demons and all the non-believers
The plans that they have made?
Because one day, I’ll leave you
A phantom to lead you in the summer
To join the Black Parade”
My Chemical Romance – ‘Welcome to the Black Parade’
This article was originally published in The Malaysian Insider.