ZEPHANIAH SPEAKS

Forward Ever, Backward Never, and The Rabbit is Dead. Long live the Rabbits.

Forward ever backward never. When I was toasting (rapping) on sound systems this was one of my favorite chants, it was also used as a chant on demonstrations, and even on carnivals. The idea was that after my parent’s generation dealing with the racist of the 50s and 60s, and my generation dealing with them in the 70s, 80s and 90s’ we were expecting that our country would be moving forward, leaving racists and their backward ideas to wallow in the past. How wrong we were. When I received my voting paper a couple of weeks ago I was depressed at how negative it was. Every political party (except the Greens) had a negative strap line underneath their names. They were all about how many people they would get out of the country, or how many people they would stop from coming here, how they would control us, or how isolated they wanted us to be. I don’t want to see a United States of Europe, I’m not keen on the European project; I can’t understand why we can’t have good relationships with the rest of Europe without getting into bed with them. But I think that having close ties with those in Europe is much better that us being slaves to the USA. I’d rather have people from Europe picking potatoes and picking guitars, than have American military bases (and bombs) here preparing for wars.

When I saw my voting paper I was reminded of all those stories I’ve read about the build up to the Nazi genocide, and other atrocities around the world. Politicians mess up, blame minority groups, various groups of the population start to blame each other, and then the ‘final solution’. It may sound drastic, but it’s the way it happens, and when it happens very few people say they saw it coming. Today the results of a survey has been published that says that a third of the British people say they are racially prejudice. It is not suggested that they are racist, they are not being accused of being racist, they are saying they are racist. I know that these surveys are not an exact science, but even if these results are a point or two out in any direction, this is not only a disgrace, but it’s very sad. We have to ask ourselves what kind of a country we are creating when xenophobes and racists are mainstream. The really amazing thing is that on the whole, people at a grass roots level (or certainly the people that I come across) are getting on with each other, making music with each other, making tea with each other, and making babies with each other. So there is hope, but I find myself looking at people as I move around wondering how much they hate me. I’m tempted to end this bit of my rant by saying ‘forward never backward ever’, but come on Benjamin, it can’t be that bad.

The Rabbit is Dead. The rabbit I wrote about a while back made her home in my garden. She used to allow me to get right close to her, and we really became friends. I didn’t realise it at the time, but she was pregnant. So then she had babies. I could never quite work out how many because every time I got near them they ran off, but that was fine. I didn’t want to ‘tame’ them. The joy was looking out of almost any of my windows and seeing these rabbits playing, running and eating in my garden. It was like having the joy of having them around me, of having pets if you like, but they were still wild. Let me make this clear, I’m an animal lover. Not a pet lover. I don’t think animals are here for our entertainment. Anyway, one day I walked into the garden and three of the babies were looking down on the dead body of their mother. I was shocked. I don’t know how she died, she didn’t look as if she had been attacked, and the last time I saw her she wasn’t showing any signs of illness. She was just dead. I buried her, which was strange. Burying a wild animal, all on my own, and I was talking to her as I did. I promised her that I would look after her children, and their children, the their children’s children. And so it is. I feel as if I have an orphanage. They run around my garden and they are getting used to me. Instead of running far away when I go out, they now run to a place where they feel safe, and they watch me putting out the washing or playing tai chi. My rant is coming to and end. I’m tempted to rant about other things that are bugging me like people who try to get me to do gigs or other stuff on twitter (I don’t do any stuff here, I have agents for that). Or that I got stopped twice by the police last week in Norwich. (Things are rough there). Or the weather. But I don’t have the energy. I have just heard that Maya Angelou has died. I need to go and sit down far away from phones and computers.

28-5-14

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