(This is the second of a series of posts on my visit to Accra, Ghana, in May 2016. The first one, introduced the sense of the small small.)
Edward Said‘s Orientalism is one of those books I have been slow reading over the years, esp. on trips where I get very little time to browse the net. The gist of Orientalism is the humiliating Othering of the conquered that provided the primary justification for colonial rule. Failure to take that into account in mainstream discourse today plays out as continued internalization of the white man’s burden by both the oppressor and the oppressed, albeit in politically correct flavors.
I will run to the carrion of the small justice, to The fight that lulls the bird and stuns the sky; I will Burn the carrion of a smaller fire, a river That behaves only in periodic humiliations; we burn thus.
The structure of fear as it embeds itself; its Embers as they crown an uncertain glory that is Affect, distance, porous; the shred of an uneven Discourse.
My work in Accra involves collection of prices from markets. I visited the local Makola market in Accra – I was told the the largest in Ghana – with the price collection team.
Click on the Wikipedia link on Makola above, and you will find another Orientalist gem. A short introduction, but it is felt necessary to mention Anthony Bourdain’s visit to the market thus: “during the episode, Tony walked through the market, where he sampled local wares and enjoyed a condensed milk-toffee drink made with local herbs.”
The sum of all prices is one; The price as an asymptote Of value; the value of all Being is one; that of sweat And the hum of the market, The flailing economy of an Unreason; that which is not one.
Eventually little remains of the local market that is not tied to the larger, more efficient, global market. And there’s the rub.
The weep is an ancient want Cry; an insoluble To want to cry; the deep; The fallible ineffable Articulated by an effable Other; the dark; the Solder in its burn to Weld and weld the red.
Some good lines here, too. Strong imagery.
At what point does the condensed milk toffee seller get priced out of that market?
😀 As soon as the demand for syrupy sentimentality peters out. That might take a while 🙂
[…] (The first two posts on my recent Accra visit are here and here.) […]
‘Effable’ is one of those words rarely encountered; the ineffable (the declared departure) has become the standard, hasn’t it, so much that we rarely think what its opposite might be.
True, and versewriting allows all sorts of combinations to emerge and make themselves eminently meaningful, either once again or for the very first time 🙂