Posted by: Dahni | July 23, 2018

IF

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If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son [Woman, my daughter, Friend, my friend]!

Source: A Choice of Kipling’s Verse (1943)

Rudyard Kpling perhaps one of the best poets and storytellers of the 20th Century is now long dead, and now considered a racist and an islamphobe? In 1907, he became the first English-language writer to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. But students in Manchester England have defaced a mural (July 2018), featuring Rudyard Kipling’s ‘If’ in a stand against his “racist” work. The author’s 1895 poem was painted on a wall of Manchester University’s newly renovated union building. But student leaders erased the work, replacing it with a piece by Maya Angelou in a bid to reverse “black and brown voices” being written out of history.

IF you don’t agree, deface a work and replace it on private property?

They cited another poem by Kipling, for their reasoning called, ‘The White Man’s Burden’ (1899). That published poem coincided with the beginning of the Philippine-American War and U.S. Senate ratification of the treaty that placed Puerto Rico, Guam, Cuba, and the Philippines under American control. Theodore Roosevelt, soon to become vice-president and then president, copied the poem and sent it to his friend, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, commenting that it was “rather poor poetry, but good sense from the expansion point of view.” This is how Roosevelt interpreted this poem as did others and many still do. This poem speaks not of Kipling’s encouragement, for the expansion, but makes mockery of it and compares Old England’s imperialistic colonizing in the 13 colonies, slavery and bondage of those taken against their will and even his own experience of England in the country of his birth, India. No, Kipling was not speaking favorably of ‘The White Man’s Burden, but he mocked it, he ridiculed it, it was sarcasm! But I ask you, was this the poem that the Manchester students defaced? No it was not!

What is the connection between ‘The White Man’s Burden’ and the poem ‘If’? The only connection is that Kipling wrote them both, different subjects, different content, that’s it! The racialized notion of the “White Man’s burden” became a euphemism for imperialism, and racism and many anti-imperialists and anti-racists couched their opposition in reaction to the phrase.

Well, how is this for tolerance and the freedom of speech? If you disagree with someone, erase their work? Yes, by all means, go ahead and erase history? Make up your own history?

Who gave the students permission to deface private property?

The union has apologized meaning, they bent over backwards and acquiesced to political correctness, (must not offend anyone), for failing to consult students on its choice of poet and poem.

Why other than political correctness, did the college feel the need to apologize to their students? How old are most students when they first enter college, 17 or 18? Assuming they graduate with a four-year degree, they would be 21 or 22, generally speaking. It is a known and biological fact that the brains of most females are not fully developed until they reach the age of 23! Most men are slower and their brains have not fully matured until they are 25! Most of these students are not yet capable of operating on all four burners. I thought teachers are supposed to teach because, students need to learn and their brains need to develop.

Now I ask you to reread the poem ‘If’’ again. I challenge anyone that can show me Kipling’s prejudice against race or against Islam, in it!

It would be a stretch, but call him a sexist in this poem, for failure to include women, daughters, friends and all people? I don’t know, maybe he wrote this poem for his son? I have added brackets [ ]’s and included women and have implied that anyone could apply its wisdom, at the end of Kipling’s poem.

And I am a fan of Maya Angelou’s works, and particularly her poem, ‘I will Rise’, but what does she have to do with the poem ‘If’? Was she from England? Did she live there? Kipling was born in India, lived sometime in the United States, but spent most of his life in England and died in England. Surely England has poets, fitting the “values” of the Manchester students? That was sarcasm, just in case it was not clear.

‘If’ is good advice for me, for any son, any daughter, any friend; anyone of any age, color of skin or religion.

What if you could actually, thimk’ for yourself?

 

Just I-Magine,

Dahni


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