PUTTING AN END TO MYTHS Gurshad Shaheman

PUTTING AN END TO MYTHS

These days are sick and we must reconsider the founding principles of our society. The past is nothing but what we built, it’s not hard cold fact. It is high time for us to deconstruct piece by piece our literary and cultural heritage to let new stories come to light. I want to be rid of Ulysses. I want him to be convicted on account of Polyphemus’ assault whose only crime was to be deformed. Ulysses and his fellows broke into Polyphemus’ house, drank his wine, slaughtered his herd and punctured his only eye before leaving. 

To sum up, the same eternal story of the white man landing on a foreign land, plundering the natives and leaving a devastated land and a mutilated people behind. We must get over with unscrupulous, bloodthirsty so called « heroes », colonisers and rapists. We must get over with Penelope, assigned to idleness who, every single night undoes what she wove during the day. Even domestic skills, the only skills allowed to women must be deprived of all substance while the husband is away. She is not a paragon of virtue, but a mere symbol of male domination. I want to get over with Helen who’s nothing but a mere object one must win by ravaging a whole civilisation. I want to get over with Circes and Medeas, women whose freedom and empowerment always imply poison, betrayal and murder. I want to get over with Man’s supremacy over nature and every life form. There is nothing heroic in killing the Nemean lion. Saving it from extinction would be the heroic behaviour. The oceans are almost empty and sea animals are dying. I demand stories in which Charybdis and Scylla are no longer threats but endangered species one needs to protect. I demand children’s stories in which the wolf is not bad, just a vulnerable being that will die if no one takes action at once. 

What matters most today is to reconsider the stories that shaped our collective unconsicence to deconstruct them. We must rid ourselves of the patriarchal heritage and create new stories that’ll wake us up. We must unapologetically dismantle Homer, Shakespeare and Molière. Romeo and Juliet is nothing but the story of two young people rebelling against the law of the father and who are sentenced to death on account of it. I demand that we write stories in which Marianne’s heart is free and does not care bout her father’s opinion. I want free heroines and impartial heroes. I want to replace Helen and Ulysses with Asli Erdogan and Cédric Herrou. I want to replace Corneille, Hugo and Aeschylus with Paul Preciado, Vinciane Despret and Mona Chollet. What truly matters today is to close the book of the dead and open the book of the living. 

GURSHAD SHAHEMAN

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