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That powerless feeling
The last thing that my mother said to me this morning was to be extra careful and not write anything controversial.
Across the country, citizens are making similar plans, choosing caution over courage. It’s not just the shocking murder of Dana Seetahal, and speculation about her assassination’s connection to her activities as a lawyer. It’s the widespread, desperate sense that there is no protection for anyone, anywhere.
Such overwhelming feeling of powerlessness has been devouring us over the last decade. Many choose silence, hide in our homes and hope against all odds for our family’s safety. That hasn’t helped, as any family who has been attacked at gunpoint by their gate or in their already-barricaded house already knows. As any witness who has refused to testify for fear for her or his life already knows. As any woman who has watched her rapist freely liming in the corner bar already knows. As anyone who reads the newspapers already knows. Yet, absorbing the shock of this powerful woman’s death, we still seek consolation in fictions of retreat.
I’ve tried to resist, as many do, to frequent beautiful, empty coastlines or culturally-rich panyards or “high-risk” communities as part of work and community participation, or simply to live fully and without fear. And, anyway, retreat to where? Mothers and children are often least safe in their own homes. Young women face real danger just travelling in taxis to or from their workplace. The public space of streets is never free from threat.