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On the edge with oppression!

Oppression is subjection through unjust use of force. The philosophy of oppression, perfected and refined through history as a true culture of injustice is especially…

Oppression is subjection through unjust use of force. The philosophy of oppression, perfected and refined through history as a true culture of injustice is especially understood when this philosophy has become so rooted in the spirits of the oppressors themselves and their ideologies that they are not even aware of their guilt. This is what makes the mark of the beast so easy to take, the pride of ignorance. There is a believe that there is oppression and that there are the oppressed and the oppressors, the alienators and the alienated, those that have taken the mark of the beast and those who refuse to take the mark. Actually the oppressor is even more alienated as the oppressed.

In one way or the other, we must have experience oppression in our various lives. Living under oppression is a life not worth living at all because you feel you have no right to say or do anything on your own accord.

We all must agree that we live in a world where oppression is rife; we hear stories of human rights abuse on a daily basis all over the world as it floods our television screens, radio sets and even physically in our lives. Oppression comes in different forms; it could be an oppression of the poor, ethnic oppression or even religious oppression. There is even the more personal level of oppression which we one way or the other face in our everyday lives which comes from a tyrannical boss, family or friends and even the society we live in.

Clearly, one of the most intractable problems facing most of us today is the problem of oppression. The society is littered with an ugly coterie of oppressive political regimes as well as a critical mass of people trying to resist this oppression, getting stigmatized, jailed, maimed, exiled, and even killed in the process. One of the means at the disposal of this critical mass of oppressed “freedom fighters” is the acquisition of knowledge and a greater understanding of the nature of the oppressor in relation to themselves, the oppressed. For it is not enough that we know the oppressor, we also need to know ourselves as people trying to bring about an end to oppression.

The oppressor, whatever his motivations, seeks to distort the humanity of the oppressed. He seeks to retard the growth of the people, chops off any emerging buds of popular progress, plucks out any spots of light and sight, seals tight any outlets of enlightenment, and menacingly hovers over the heads of the oppressed in order to instill maximum terror and compliance through a regime of actual or potential violence, physical and psychological. Oppression manifests itself as a form of violence because it constitutes a denial of full humanity to the oppressed; because it denies people the possibility of self-affirmation, the pursuit of one’s right to self-fulfillment as a full human being.

Oppression is synonymous to violence as Paulo Freire rightly said in his book, The Pedagogy of the Oppressed. He said, “violence is initiated by those who oppress, exploit and who fail to recognize others as persons and not by those who are oppressed, exploited and unrecognized”.   

We do not need to look far to see the manifestation of this oppressive reality. We do not need to look far to see oppressors turning on the oppressed and calling them evil beings, subversive liars, unpatriotic and envious demons, enemies of progress and other negative imaginaries because they refuse to be turned into lifeless objects and possessions of the oppressor to be exploited and discarded at will. The oppressor does not see that he is the source of the resistance he is confronted with, that the oppressed are merely just being silent and are simply following the natural and healthy course of reaffirming and pursuing their inalienable right to remain fully human, to refuse to be dehumanized, objectified and relegated to the status of nonentities who must live the rest of their lives in a state of tortured nothingness.

Faced with the prospect of being rendered null and void as human beings even as they live the one and only single life they have, it is the natural vocation of a conscious people to resist oppression, to refuse to be terrorized and dehumanized through engagement in an uncompromising regime of self-humanization, self-expression, and the total rejection of the unjust oppressive order bolstered by a regime of violence and intimidation. While the goal of the oppressed must never be the counter-oppression of the oppressor, the message to the oppressor must be couched in no uncertain terms. It must be made loud and clear to the oppressor that the oppressed refuses to be dehumanized and objectified and that the oppressed insists on the enjoyment of their right to full humanity all those rights that come with the reality of being fully human. But while the possibility of becoming human and ending oppression must always be made implicit in the message to the oppressor, the person who seeks to end oppression must never fall to the temptation of trying to pacify the oppressor.

The person who desires freedom from oppression must therefore assume a principled and uncompromising posture of rejection of oppression. Short of engaging in physical violence, the person who seeks liberation from oppression must relentlessly shove bitter doses of truth medicine down the throat of the oppressor. And equally important, such a person must see the current oppressive situation not as a hopeless permanent situation, or a situation that has to be endured at all costs, but as that which, like all others, is located within the ever-rotating wheel of life and must therefore one day pass from actuality to potentiality or non-being. The person who seeks liberation must therefore engage in a regime of resistance perpetually inspired by an unshakeable conviction that oppression is to be rejected without equivocation, and that what comes next must be carefully and constantly contemplated and visualized every step of the way. This way we can always have an edge over oppression and oppressors!


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