Decoloniality in the Everyday: An Open Letter to Decolonial Thoughts
Dear Decolonial Thoughts Community,
As we reflect on the past year, we are grateful for the incredible journey we have shared as a community committed to the pursuit of decolonial knowledge and understanding. Your engagement, passion, and dedication have driven the success of Decolonial Thoughts, and we are excited to embark on a new chapter with you.
In the past year, global events, especially the genocides in Palestine, Sudan, and Congo, have underscored colonial dominance. Once more, we have been forced to recognise the disheartening truth that only specific lives hold significance. The genocides unveil a stark reality: the West possesses the capacity and willingness to rationalise acts of genocide based on its preferences. Recent events also show the persistent neglect and lack of compassion that Africa continues to endure on the global stage.
In times like this, we’re left with contrasting emotions – one of empowerment and hope, stirring a readiness to take to the streets and vehemently demand change. On the other side, a bitter and angered sentiment lingers, leaving us thinking about the futility of it all; allowing for the perception that one's ability to contribute to broader social change is limited. The latter is often easier to lean into because of the constant distractions and pressures of life. Capitalism’s demands can make us feel incapable of contributing beyond our immediate concerns, as the necessities of survival take precedence and overshadow our capacity for broader contributions.
However, multiple truths can co-exist. We may collectively acknowledge that the world has its challenges, with power often being abused and exploited. We can also acknowledge the daunting sense of impossibility and remoteness in addressing these issues. Despite these obstacles and a sense that evil prevails, it's crucial to emphasise these realities don't mean we should give in. I am reminded of a quote from James Baldwin’s ‘A Native Son’:
It began to seem that one would have to hold in the mind forever two ideas which seemed to be in opposition. The first idea was acceptance, totally without rancor, of life as it is, and men as they are: in the light of this idea, it goes without saying that injustice is commonplace. But this did not mean that one could be complacent, for the second idea was of equal power: that one must never, in one’s own life, accept these injustices as commonplace but must fight them with all one’s strength. This fight begins, however, in the heart and it now had been laid to my charge to keep my own heart free of hatred and despair.
The quote highlights two things: one is that resistance is never futile, and the second is that we must be grounded and centred in love even when life’s circumstances drive us to bitterness and hatred. It tells us that there is no progress, no community, and no future where there is no love or joy.
Seeing futility in action is inevitable when we are drained and bogged down by life, constantly facing individual challenges that we have no choice but to see larger forces of oppression as an insurmountable, almost mystical entity. We tend to overlook ourselves in the pursuit of these goals and consequently, the ripple effects of our actions—the collective impact. Rarely do we allow ourselves to contemplate the possibilities of a better world, not only for the community but as individuals, and we seldom pause to acknowledge the endeavours of those working to construct better worlds within the confines of our flawed system.
Nevertheless, recent events have shown the impact that caring and leading with love can have. Historically, the International Criminal Court (ICC) had solely focused on African countries. However, South Africa disrupted this pattern by bringing Israel to court for its genocide—an action motivated by a recognition of injustice and a commitment to taking a stand.
The act highlighted the transformative power of simple actions such as open dialogue, calling out wrongs, participating in marches, and supporting boycotts. It demonstrates how individual and collective efforts can bring about meaningful change. Finding a balance involves integrating advocacy into daily life, aligning personal values with choices, fostering connections, and recognising that small actions can contribute to broader change. Bridging the gap between individual and collective challenges requires love, self-awareness and a commitment to a more inclusive and compassionate approach.
No one has all the answers, nobody’s cup is perpetually full and anyone who claims that they can fix the world's problems in a lifetime is mistaken. For those who recognise injustice in the world, all we can do is let love dictate our actions and try. We should strive to make room for the dynamic nature of life and human realities whilst not giving up on ourselves or the world.
As we look ahead to the coming year, we are thrilled to introduce the theme guiding our collective exploration: "Decoloniality in the everyday." You don't have to do something big to resist or promote decolonial ideas. Even small, everyday actions matter. Just thinking about how to live in a better and more inclusive way, and then actually doing it, makes a difference. It's about questioning norms, listening to everyone, and making choices that support fairness. Each small action adds up and helps make the world more just and inclusive.
Our focus on "Decoloniality in the everyday" aims to bridge the gap between theory and practice, encouraging us to examine and challenge the subtle ways colonial legacies persist in our routines, language, and interactions. Through this theme, we hope to inspire actionable steps toward decolonization in our personal and collective spheres.
In the coming months, you can expect various thought-provoking articles, engaging discussions, and interactive events centred around "Decoloniality in the everyday." We invite you to share your experiences, insights, and reflections as we collectively navigate this exploration.
As we embark on this new thematic journey, we reaffirm our commitment to fostering a community that values inclusivity, dialogue, and respect. We are excited about the conversations that will unfold and the transformative impact our collective efforts can have on reshaping our understanding of the world.
Thank you for being an integral part of Decolonial Thoughts. Together, let us continue to push boundaries, challenge norms, and foster a world where decoloniality is not just an intellectual pursuit but an integral part of our everyday lives.