We live the revolution!; They say we are the "poorest" continent, and yet they will not leave us alone . They are all over us, trying to take, take, take! Who steals from the "poor"? Do rich people covet a poor man's goods? Do they sit and plot how to rob from those who do not have?

Author:Orakwue, Stella
Position:Not in Black or White
 
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Who are "the people" and what are "the people"? Are "the people" slow? Are "the people" thick? Are "the people" liars, mendacious, deceitful? Are "the people" base? "We the people" have spoken, but what did they say, what are they saying? "We the people" have voted, but who did they vote for, what are they voting for?

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What do "the people" want? Do they even know what they want, or do they lie to themselves, lie to other people, and lie in the polling booths? Can you believe a word that "the people" say?

Who are "the people"? Are they only people like you? Are "the people" only people who are businessmen and businesswomen like you? Are "the people" only people who live in urban areas like you do? If you live in a town or a city, are the people who live in rural areas, the countryside, people, too? Are rich people "the people"? And, are you part of "the people" if you are a member of a family that is elite? Are the elite people?

Do you, reader, consider yourself to be "the people"? Or are "the people", to you, other people? People out there, washed or unwashed, great or not great, nasty or not nasty, base or not base, but always other people. Are they mostly poor, to you? Mostly stupid, or, at least, mostly not quite as bright and intelligent as you. Mostly not quite as attuned to what is going on as you are.

"The people dem ah renk!" is a popular Jamaican street saying, which in strict literal translation means "the people stink", but in actual usage means "the people" are a nasty piece of work, a waste of space. It is one of my favourite sayings, one I use a lot. The great irony? These other people probably think exactly the same of you: "the people" are always somebody else.

Politicians spend their working lives talking at length about "the people". But what do they actually know about these people they talk about? Which of them lives among "the people", really lives with them, who is an elected politician? How long do they spend among "the people", really spend, outside of driving or flying in for special or ordinary visiting times, for speech-making, for electioneering? who sees "the people" close up and very personally on a day-to-day basis, lives among them, eats among them, works among them, talks to them, every single day-but who is not, strictly, of them? That is, he or she is of the ruling class, a politician, a leader?

It seems to me that it is very easy to forget what it is like to be one of "the people"...

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