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General News    H4'ed 12/7/18

Of Pigs And Believers

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I remember my first encounter with a Believer. I was much younger then, and inexperience rendered me unequal to the occasion. It is only of late, thorough the avenue of years, that I have managed to see the event in its true proportions.

I was teaching English at Notre Dame College, and, after classes, several of us were gathered together in the office, chatting and sipping strong tea. Ms. N. M. came into the room and we recklessly included her in our conversation. We, the locals, were unanimous in our conviction that what we needed was military rule. N.M., an American, shook her head disapprovingly, seemed to withdraw into some recess of her intellect, and out of the profound depths of her wisdom pronounced, oracular-like, slowly, seemingly reluctantly, "No...no...I don't think that's the solution". Her sharp, pointy nose drove the point home -- her entire body seemed to participate in the rejection of our suggestion.

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In retrospect, what strikes me today is not what she said, but what she left unsaid. She didn't call me 'boy', as in 'Boy, masser knows best, so you do as masser sez, y'hear'. That's how they used to talk to negro slaves down south, and even when the slaves had been emancipated (substituting 'I' for 'masser' with scant regard for grammar).

Now, I don't like calling people 'masser' and I didn't take kindly to being treated like a 'boy'. After all, I was as old as the 'misses'. However, over the years I have met many of my compatriots who get a frisson of pleasure when using the address, "masser". In fact, most of my compatriots get a frisson of pleasure when they are addressed as 'boy'. These people are the Pigs.

They pretend to agree with their masters ("Yes, masser", "That's right, masser", "I couldn't agree with you more, masser") because the masters have the power to give them either an improved diet or a good thrashing. No self-respecting pig can pass up an improved diet.

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Iftekhar Sayeed teaches English and economics. He was born and lives in Dhaka, "ŽBangladesh. He has contributed to AXIS OF LOGIC, ENTER TEXT, POSTCOLONIAL "ŽTEXT, LEFT CURVE, MOBIUS, ERBACCE, THE JOURNAL, and other publications. "ŽHe is also a (more...)
 
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