Tuesday, February 14, 2012

WEAPONS OF WORDS

WEAPONS OF WORDS  
© Farouk Asvat  

     Authentic literature is the bloodbeat of contemporary society.  It transmits the pains and laughter of the writer's environment.  It alerts against violations of the Truth. 

     Literature does not develop in a void.  It is a transformation of the reality into an artform, utilizing the dialects of the time; getting its shape, direction and field of concern from the social, political and economic forces that interact in a particular society. 

     The creative writer is the conscience of the people, the interpreter of his society.  His writings must be a subjective-objective representation: an objective arrival at the facts, a subjective and honest re-creation of the passion and the pain.  His writings cannot be a mere reflection of the environment - an image as flat as the mirror he uses.  Instead, the artist must ‘experience’ the sweat and the soul of his people; he must burn in the fires of the conflicts, complexities and contradictions; in the iniquities, intensities and interactions; constantly waging war between Truth and what is served as truth in commercialized prepacks.  And from such baptism comes the burning image, the vital living representation of the times, the fiery sizzling brand on the brain. 

     The writer must be tuned to the reality: the subtle effects upon the psyche of the South African variety of oppression; the inventive manifestations of self-survival; the slang of the shebeen; the misery of the many, the mansions of the miserly few; the sorrows in the triumphs of the struggle; the joy of seeing one's beloved alive again in prison; the lament mingled with the tribute for the manchild confronting the weapons of barbarism. 

     Thus the writer must be committed to his situation: he must foster the unity of his people, the creative unity of the forces against oppression; and counteract the clan-forming techniques of the masters of evil and their servile monkey-marionettes. 

     And under the prevailing circumstances it is the writer's duty to serve an indictment against the racialism and atrocities perpetrated in the name of a warped sense of civilization.  His writings must be the alarmbell that awakens the somnambulant creatures from their smug inertia.  His writings must be the bongobeat that spurs the conscious mind towards constructive deeds.  And his writings, to be honest, cannot but serve as a bizarre catalogue of genocide for humanity and history. 

     And beside the varied manifestations of the present, the writer must be aware of his past: not as some romantic paradise he wishes to return to - for the times have changed - but as a living reality, knowing the heroes of mankind who had died so that others might live.  Furthermore, he must search for the wealth of his own culture: the oral ‘literature’ of myths and legends, songs and folktales, poems and proverbs. 

     But not only is the present and the past the writer's territory - the future too is his domain: to be aware of the directions of the paths to be taken; to make sure that the wishes of our people, our Azania, are not prostituted after independence to serve the gods of the businessmen; to help prevent and warn in time against imperialism being replaced by neocolonialism in all its varied manifestations. 

     But the writer, in spite of his involvement, cannot allow his commitment to impinge on his judgement or on his creative prowess.  The writer, using Truth and Justice as criteria, must also possess sufficient courage for honest self-analysis and even criticism of the very forces that act as catalysts of the desires of the people.  He must maintain perspective, sensitive to sideshows veering the struggle towards deadends, or towards the selfish interests of selfglory.  The writer must question; for questions are creative; and creativity leads to the development of the community.  Because once a nation has stopped questioning its own path, blindly following the highway doctrines - no matter what the philosophy - then the turbulent waters come to rest, accumulating stagnant filth, ceasing to flow like fresh murmuring streams mounting momentum towards the rainbow of our ideals. 

     The writer is the medium of the creative source, the fountain stemming from underground streams of loneliness, laughter and longing, into the rivers of everyday struggle, towards the vibrant oceans of Justice lashing against the stationary statues of suppression.  The writer articulates the emotions and needs of his people, using his powers of fantasy to re-create the breath of society - delving beyond the veneer of neonlights and glossy magazines to the subterranean powers that move people to act the way they do. 

     And men wielding usurped power fear even the printed letters - the weapons of words -: it disturbs their sleep, makes them hurriedly gulp another glass of oude meester, makes them buy another lock to keep the world out, locking themselves in.  No wonder the intensive actions against almost all our creative writers or their works. 

     There are none innocent.  Not even the deaf and blind can deny knowledge of the existence of these rife iniquities.  And who can remain silent?  Those who have lost the potential to be outraged by such brutalities have lost the right to call themselves civilized human beings.  "The man dies who remains silent in the face of tyranny."  Thus, the writer cannot but stir the muddy waters; he cannot but propagate the upheaval of this reign that violates all concepts of humanity.  And if the pen is to be a weapon in our struggle, if it is to stab like a dagger, shoot like a gun, if it is to stimulate dull consciences into reawakening, then the novelist, the poet, the dramatist, cannot but be an authentic revolutionary. 

     La Luta Continua! 


© farouk asvat

composed: 17 April 1976 [Johannesburg, South Africa under apartheid]

[] Acknowledgements:

Weapons Of Words was previously published in:

     Wietie 1 (Sable Press, p16, 1980);
     University Students' Bursary Committee (University of the Witwatersrand, p9, 1981);
     Vuka (Crescent Publications, p17, 1981);
     Weapons of Words (kindle, 2016);
     Weapons of Words (amazon paperback, p11, 2016).

               "The man dies who remains silent in the face of tyranny."
                    [] Wole Soyinka (The Man Died)

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© farouk asvat.  All rights reserved.

Farouk Asvat asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.
No part of this publication may be reproduced by any means whatsoever, or transmitted in any form or any means whatsoever, mechanical or electronic, including recording, printing, photocopying, or via any computerised means or media, including the internet.  This publication shall also not be stored in a retrieval system.  And the writing shall not be sold, lent, hired, resold or circulated in any form or binding or cover other than that in which it is published,
without the prior permission of the author in writing.
Permission to publish or reproduce the writings in any format can be obtained from the author.
Reproduction of this work without permission, except for scholarly & nonprofit purposes,
is liable to a payment of 10, 000 ren men bi or US$ 1,500.

farouk asvat can be contacted at: farouk.asvat@gmail.com

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books by farouk asvat: www.faroukasvat-books.blogspot.com

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amazon kindle author @ www.amazon.com/author/faroukasvat

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is now available on amazon: paperback @ $15 & kindle @ only $5
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