Remember When They Didn’t Exist

A politically and emotionally charged creation by James Reynolds (and all the people who worked along with him). We loved how the variety of languages added a sense of universality to the message, a message which is unfortunately highly applicable to a range of marginalised population groups and communities nowadays. ‘Remember when’… is it someone older speaking? Could this represent the transition from an era that we are slowly leaving behind us to a new period that waits to be defined? What will we have done that people will remember in many years from now?

The clip flows easily. A direct and thought – provoking work which is not corny at all. On the contrary, it is dynamic and by the end, it might have created more questions that you wanted or were prepared to deal with. For example, while it is common to talk about oppression as top down, we found valuable to also contemplate upon the ways that discrimination spreads across and within societies. What is the role and responsibility of the ‘common’ people in resisting then and how can this be achieved?

As for the music, intense and keeping you on the edge… as it should be!

Below we have attempted an interpretation of some lyrics which are by no means definite but rather open to various interpretations.

We just, we couldn’t see them
They were kept well isolated, or perhaps we didn’t pay enough attention to them?

We didn’t see them in our streets
Because your neighborhoods (and the public space in general) is reflective of your status, our class, our characteristics and beliefs of society.

Remember when they didn’t exist
What is the border between simple existence in the form of bare life and actually leading a meaningful life? What are the prerequisites?

They couldn’t vote
Disenfranchised, with reduced rights. A direct exclusion from the public life at least in the form of citizenship, denying one’s agency to manage their life, well-being and future.

The couldn’t own guns
They weren’t able to fight back, to protect themselves

Remember when we bought them into this world. When we starved them.
A whole process of dehumanization begins here.

We always knew what they were. They were animals.
Can you feel our colonial, racist past staring us directly in the eyes?

It was fine.
Some people are just less important than others or at least this is what I hear our privilege whispering to calm us down. Did it work or are we finally concious?

We had to separate them.
Unity is power, isolation is death.

We identified them
The road to extinction starts with a clear identification of ‘the other’, the enemy.

And they couldn’t love anymore
Bare life is defeat

And they couldn’t kneel down anymore. And they couldn’t stand up.
Dehumanizing process completed.

Remember when they never existed
Remembering injustice is the first step to taking action towards rectifying it.

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