Monthly Archives: July 2012

The Tenth Prophecy

Have I any enemies?

Answer –

Where is the simpleton that would thus lose his time?

A few years ago I went to see Mama Mia with my enigmatic ex-boyfriend. Exactly 23 minutes into the film he leaned over and whispered to me….

“Babe – why are they singing?”

“Cos it’s a musical”

“Ah shit man”

Whether it was the fact that it took him 23 minutes to realise we were watching a musical or his sheer outrage when James Bond started to sing I don’t quite know, but at that moment his excellent cricketing skills and dazzling blue eyes seemed to fade away… and right then all I knew was that I hated him. However that was then, and this is now – and all feelings of hatred have since passed and I can simply reflect on our romantic monosyllabic-sweet-nothings (usually about the greatest ever batsmen) with warm fondness.

I write this on the eve of the 12th – tomorrow men in bowler hats and white gloves will march across the province in celebration of a battle fought in 1600andsomething when a Protestant King beat a Catholic King in battle… I’ve seen Sweet Home Alabama, I know that this is not unusual – there are many other places where grown men celebrate battles of ye olde-times. While some may choose to dress up as confederate soldiers and re-enact battles, others prefer a marching band and a shiny orange sash. And though I may mock, the past few days have seen much coverage on the topic of hatred in Northern Ireland.

I am particularly proud of my part-Irish heritage – over time mind-sets have altered and the persistent hatred that has plagued this small part of the world has finally begun to ease. Of course there are some who, largely out of sight, have views so deeply rooted you wonder if any amount of time will dilute them, but for the most part there is optimism about the future and the city I know is very different to the one I hear about in stories.

This morning on radio Ulster – a 55 year old woman (also called Kate) had phoned in to profess how much she detested Catholics, although she did say that she didn’t actually know any personally. When asked to explain why she hated them she had no explanation, just that it was her opinion. And though I thought she hadn’t much skill in debate, I did find myself feeling sorry for her; I pitied her for being ideologically left behind. The declaration prompted many other callers (some were Catholics: “Hi Kate, I’m a Catholic and I don’t hate you” and some were Protestants too, but none could budge Kate – not even the story of a catholic fireman who would put out fires in any house, regardless of religion) and for my part I couldn’t really understand either. To hate on the basis of race, religion or sexual orientation is something so completely irrational to me I find it almost impossible to comprehend.

The woman on the radio made me think of the musical-hating-ex-boyfriend, who famously once refused to take a photo of me and the Fame Academy choreographer on account of him being black. As a white Zimbabwean you could perhaps explain his racism – it was ingrained, but as a fellow human being I could find no excuse. Is the oracle right? Perhaps only simpletons have enemies, because surely those with an ounce of sense must see how futile hatred is.

They say that 1% of hate is love. I’d argue that hatred is less to do with disappointment or revenge or even love, but more associated with self-preservation and fear. The most racist white Zimbabweans were a minority who desperately clung to their positions of power, suspicious and afraid it would all come to an end. IronicallyI can’t help but feel that the narrow-mindedness of some facilitated their demise. Perhaps the same holds true for Northern Ireland; a fear of history repeating itself, a fear of what the ‘other’ side is capable of – essentially a fear of on-going change. And that I can understand. We live in such chaos that we so often cling to what we know when really letting go could be all we need to set us free from such detrimental feelings. The more I think and write about it the more I become convinced that the answer lies in thinking beyond yourself. If a change in perspective is what gives us wings then perhaps our focus should be more in achieving that, and less focused on what history has told us.

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p.s my ex-boyfriend wasn’t Desmond Tutu

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The Ninth Prophecy

Last week I realised I didn’t know what the Capital of Colombia was…but I did know that Reese Witherspoon has two pet Donkeys called Honky and Tonky. And that Hilary Duff’s husband is called Mike Comrie. I own Miley Cyrus’s autobiography. I ordered Horse Shampoo off amazon because that’s what Jennifer Aniston allegedly uses. Processing these truly disturbing facts about myself sent me into a whirling spiral of self loathing and despair – emotions I usually only experience after eating two cheese pastry twists in succession.

“If my fault is discovered, will it be pardoned?”

Answer –

They will forgive you, but you will soon begin again

With my grown-up political job starting soon I have become increasingly paranoid that I will be discovered for what I really am – something so shameful, so obscene… I have a borderline addiction to celebrity gossip and I live in fear that they will find out. When celebrity-gossip.net is your homepage you’re a loser, but it’s not the worst – not yet. In fact I only realised I had hit rock bottom a few weeks ago when someone in the restaurant was talking about Avril Lavigne, I interjected that my friend’s step-brother was going out with her. They all nodded in admiration ‘Oh Kate, you know so many famous people’, I smiled, because it was true. Or half-true. Or actually not true at all. What was true was that I had passed from the realms of loser to the land of delusion. For all the non-freaks out there – Avril Lavigne’s boyfriend is Brody Jenner; Brody Jenner is Kim Kardashian’s step-brother. In my paparazzi-addled brain I actually believed that Kim Kardashian was my friend. As I said, rock bottom.

This morning as I clicked through page after page of mindless poorly written blurbs (where words like ‘shutterbug’ and ‘fab bikini-figure’ feature heavily) I felt nauseated –  I found myself wondering how do you balance who you want to be and who you really are. I wanted to stop, but I couldn’t drag my eyes away from Ashley Tisdale’s (of High School Musical fame) birthday party and I found myself grappling with my different selves. The one I most want to be is a Rhodes Scholar; I want to win Nobel Peace prizes and listen to radio 4 willingly. The truth is in reality I’m like a reject-reality TV contestant – I read Heat magazine and listen to cool.fm – so far my less impressive self is winning.

And so something has to be done. In a months time I’ll be taking over a job from a legitimate Ronan-Farrow type who is not only incredibly politically savvy but horrendously likeable too, and I’ll be working for one of the most inspirational Politicians in our green and rainy land – if my lazy inner-self obsesses over celebrities, my ambitious and unsatisfied self wants to be better. So I’m giving up celebrity-gossip, I’m un-following all Victoria Secret models on twitter – I’m cleansing myself with Jim Naughtie and political philosophy. The Oracle is always right, so no doubt I’ll fall off the wagon soon – but for now my perusal of intelligence means I’ll learn something, I now know where Bogota is… and I know a little bit more about who I want to be, and who I don’t.

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