The Q&A from Monday night has a fascinating transcript. Here is a snippet that also deserves our attention.
Mona Eltahawy: I go online exactly to tell people to fuck off when they attack me, and I’m very well-known for it.
Fran Kelly: And at this point, I will utter a language warning on the program, and remind our guests.
Mona Eltahawy: No, honestly, it’s… You know, this idea of respectability, this idea of civility, this idea of unity, all of these words, decorum, who invented those words? Those words were invented by white men for the benefit of other white men in systems and institutions that were always designed to be for white men. And they weren’t designed for women like you and me and so many others. Like you said, people of colour and gender-diverse people. They never imagined us in those spaces, and then we show up and we just ruin it for them.
And so those who abide by the system – and Barack Obama was part of the system and remains part of the system… I also disagree with his wife when she says, “When they go low, we go high.” No I fucking don’t. If you go low I’m going to come for you. So, no, I do not have the luxury or the privilege to sit there and be civil with people who do not acknowledge my full humanity. I refuse. Number one.
Number two, there were so many voices who have found their platform on social media finally, after being…the gatekeepers refused to let us in for such a long time. I mean, I say…I include myself, ‘cause I’m kind of in and out. But there are people who have never had any platform. I’m thinking of young black feminists in the United States, Indigenous feminists in the United States and Canada, ‘cause I move back and forth between the US and Canada. There is one Indigenous woman in Canada who every day tweets about missing and killed Indigenous women in Canada. Nobody has bothered to find out what happened to them. In the United States, really incredibly successful campaigns have happened online because we refused to be civil to those who don’t recognise our humanity.
So, for those who say, “Be civil,” for those who say, “Be polite,” I have an entire chapter on the political importance of profanity, and I remind them of a Ugandan feminist called Dr Stella Nyanzi who is currently in prison in Uganda because she wrote a poem on Facebook wishing that the mother of the dictator of her country had poisoned him, that her birth canal had poisoned him during birth. And when she was taken to court and doing her sentencing, she was video-taped in, because she’s known for her profanity, she stood there in the video, she took off her top, she jiggled her breasts and she said, “Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you!” In court!
Fran Kelly: Mona, I talked to you about this. OK, you’re watch…
So the next time you’re be civil and polite – just stop and check your privilege.