Republished from Decolonize | Politics, art, decoloniality, autonomous health & feminism | Many thanks to Sat Trejo for sharing this with us here.
In this post I want to share a poem that is a call for collective healing and resistance against the violence of dehumanization racialized and gendered bodies have been experiencing as a consequence of colonization. I wrote this poem as a way to express the essence of my research that focuses on resistance to the erasure of ways of knowing-being and the peoples that embody these in a context of feminicide (erasure of specific bodies) in Chiapas, Mexico. My work looks at the politics of knowledge within the field of development studies. I understand development as a project of coloniality. The latter a form of erasure. Coloniality entails erasure of everything that has its roots outside modern logics-ways. The poem is entitled:
“You don’t break our spirits by breaking our bones”
The colonial difference I inhabit with this body constructed to not fit the category of human, from generation after generation born out of rape and exploitation this mestizaje has left scars in a society that continues to perpetuate this violence of dehumanization. Black hair, dark eyes, disappeared on her way home from work, from school, her body appears hundreds of times abandoned in the desert, broken and tied on a field, in pieces in a plastic bag. This war is on our bodies but is not our battle, is the accumulation of years of dispossession with the racialization and gendering of our bodies that holds as normal the complete destruction of our beings…we are still not perceived as human beings but possessions, disposable objects of pleasure and what is more pleasurable than the power of destruction money can actually buy?
But to you who feel entitled of taking her breath, our words, you who crumble our worlds and fumigate with hate our wombs, I want to say you don’t break our spirits by breaking our bones, to this system of death I want to say you don’t break our spirits by breaking our bones, reality does not lie, we have been dancing this destruction dance for five hundred years now, believe me, we are here, they are here, you don’t break our spirits by breaking our bones. Our bones carry the stories of resistance of every colonized, dehumanized people, of every woman who fought in resistance of her own feminicide, it’s true, you don’t break our spirits by breaking our bones.
If our bodies are the territories where power is being disputed in this system of destruction then we need to shake this ground, turn the violence displayed on this body made into a battlefield and dance until it falls apart, turn our bodies into prayers where none can set foot but everyone is forced to listen to the rhythm that carries the power of holding oneself in relation to life and as an offering to the memory of those whose lives were taken before they could join in this healing dance of resistance where our hearts follow the beat of the drums.
You don’t break our spirits by breaking our bones.
Sat Trejo is a PhD researcher at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS). Her work focuses on resistance to the violence of coloniality, intertwined with feminism, visual art, the decolonial option and politics. Please visit her blog, which is about decoloniality and other uncomfortable topics & conversations.