It is so easy, in this current climate, to feel discouraged and full of anxiety as our world has been flipped upside down. My hope is that this poem helps to settle the sorrows and calm the fears through this reminder of who God is. For me, when I fix my eyes on Jesus; on what He has done in my life and throughout history, I am filled with tremendous peace. This peace comes from a place of confidence and trust in who God is. God is abounding in love and faithfulness (psalm 86:15), God is our ever-present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1-3), He is our refuge (Deuteronomy 33:27), victorious (1 Corinthians 15:57) and we are more than conquerors through Christ who loves us (Roman 8:37).
In silence, I stand
Nipples bared and bowed
To the bravery of the stolen
Of the forgotten voices
Of the raped
Of the tortured
Of those killed in the name of freedom
I bare my body
I surrender this suit
I plaster truth
I carve it into the bones of me
Until the world hears
En Chile torturan violan y matan.
“In Chile they torture, rape and kill.”
The story behind the poem My Body, My Protest, begins with me stumbling into bed at 4:30am, slightly (or not so slightly) intoxicated after a night out dancing. I was doing the habitual scroll through my Instagram timeline when I came across an E! News post detailing the events occurring at the Latin Grammy’s. This is where I first saw Mon Laferte’s political red carpet protest moment, where she completely bares her chest to strategically raise awareness of the grotesque acts of police brutality taking place in Chile right now.
Chile is currently experiencing a season of political unrest as thousands exercise their political right to protest. Protesters are taking to the streets to express their fury at the establishment and are demanding social reforms to address the high levels of inequality the country is experiencing.
Here is a useful link for more details on what is happening/has happened in Chile during the protests: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-50512093?intlink_from_url=https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/topics/c452lzylemmt/chile-protests&link_location=live-reporting-story
In summary, 22 people have been killed as a result of excessive police force, while thousands have been seriously injured, tortured and/or sexually assaulted. These are absolutely abhorrent acts of injustice and I was profoundly moved by this whole situation, compelling me to write something about it then and there. I deeply admire Mon Laferte for using her platform to raise awareness of the human rights abuses that are happening all over the world. Mon Laferte reminded us all that our bodies are not merely sexual tools, they are powerful vessels – holding, giving and supporting life.
Here Mon Laferte chose to use her body to express a significant message. She utilised the power of the naked female form to highlight our human right to protest, to challenge norms, to shake systems, to change the world.
I am the tower
I am home
I am family
I am security
I am where safety should be
I am where you can let your guard down
Two opposing forces cause a spark
Left in me because too many believe me to be
An eye sore,
The reason you clutch your purse tighter,
A reminder of the unattractive reality of poverty,
When you would much rather
Be left behind the veil of ignorance
Wealth gifts you.
So they give me a ten million pound paint job
To cover the cracks of financial inequality
Without actually dealing with the problem
– This becomes the fuel
To the fire left in me by the scornful eyes of the rich
By the powerful
Who measure worth by bank balances
They are the fuel to the fire that grows in me in the quiet, unsuspecting cover of night.
But, unfortunately, in this case
The fire is not a metaphor for love
The fire is not a metaphor for passion, for intensity, for purpose, for pleasure.
The fire is a fire
The fire is death
The fire is pain
The fire is destruction
The fire is neglect
The fire is the government, the biggest furnace of corruption
The fire is a life destroying entity
The fire is trauma
The fire is hate
The fire is what happens when we neglect social wounds; such as classism, racism and inequality
For so long
They begin to fester and persist.
For I am no more
No more am I the myriad of lives, loved ones, hopes and dreams that inhabited me.
I am now a derelict shadow
That will not be not be ignored, society.
Society is the ashes, in which the
Phoenix will rise.