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IF WE STOP (7) // Zahra Dallilah & Julie Tomlin

In a series of numbered written dialogues Call Centre correspondents Zahra Dallilah and Julie Tomlin respond to their own prompt: If we stop: Flourishing. Nourishment. Lockdown.


This summer I wrote - a paper and a chapter for a book - and I read about women who sought power by means of witchcraft or control, sometimes opting out entirely with insanity.

More recently the story has been about equality, demanding equal treatment as men. But when the pressure is on, do the gloves come off?

This system may live on as a zombie for years to come.

What will we discover, what can we build in its ruins? Might there be space to reimagine ourselves, to become something entirely different?

New dynamics, less about domination, more about co-creating, about becoming, to be learnt?

Space of a different order, or nature. What do we need to dismantle? The supremacy of the white man, the collaboration of the white woman. We need space that isn’t subject to white male messianic thinking, space to breathe in different air and define different ways of being - in relation to the under commons, to the land.

And perhaps we have to start with the land, begin with our reconnection to it, undoing our propensity to extraction and entitlement, our lack of true connection to the world around us, generating ways of being that are not shaped by dominance over, by concepts of being either master or slave, of winners and losers and diminishing other people in relation to one’s own sense of self.

Perhaps freedom from these notions is why the plants always seem so fearless.

And what space opens up then. if we dismantle not just the practice of capitalism, but its motivational forces and energies within us, if we hold space for all the collective urgencies and agonies of our time and find the collective wisdom, the agreement on a way forward that honours, respects and gives space to all.

Different stories to be told. Stories of a different order, stories where the animals come to our aid and name Rumpelstiltskin, help us find our way to a different future.

I’m looking at the weeds again, marvelling at the assemblage of plants that are flourishing by the greenhouse, at the chamomile, at the chickweed, at the daisies and feel that I have to learn to see again, have to learn to listen, to hear, to know different ways of connecting and being.

Image: Andrew Wilson


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