Thursday, February 19, 2009

Interview Thursday. Our 4th Male Guest: "I love to question things" - Unconventional Dammy

From the way he writes, you can deduce a perosnality that is liberal, focus and caring about making a change. He has taken out of his busy schedule to share with us. Welcome on "Interview Thursday" Dammy.

What word best describes Dammy?
Deep, with a probing heart and a wandering thought.

It reads on your blog that you are an unconventional person, can you explain what this means in details?
Did I really write that? Lol!
Sometimes, I think I am weird in some ways. There are times, I really wonder if I am not one of God’s creative mishaps. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the person I am. But somehow, I feel like a factory of ideas gone awry. Maybe it’s all in my head. Maybe it is just me.
I love to question things. I love to subject the norm to some critical thinking and I have observed that people label anyone who questions what they consider to be the norm ‘miscreant’. In some cases such people are ostracized from all social activities in that community for fear of influencing others. This is the stance in most religious societies and this is where I seem to differ.
Who I am today is a direct revolt against my strict religious upbringing. I grew up in a family where strict adherence to religious teachings and practice was a norm. At the height of such religious enlightenment, my once serene and innocent life came crashing when I realized that I could no longer conform to the strict religious teachings that seem to place me in a more confused state.
I sought to understand the rational behind some of the things that I have been taught and the things I have read. I want to know why some people should be preferred amongst others when they are all created by the same person. Initially, my questions were treated as some kind of childhood curiosity but when it appears I wasn’t going to get out of it, I was seen as being blasphemous. I grew up with mixed feelings. And no, I didn’t end up an Atheist. I found God in a more personal way or better still, he found me. Though, I get lost in my thoughts sometimes.

From you blog writings you appear to be gender sensitive person, are you a feminist or a pro-female or a sympathizer of women's cause?
The latter is true. I would rather be seen as a sympathizer of women’s cause. But that is not the big picture. I represent not just the voiceless protest and longings of every woman but I am also sensitive to the silent sobs of the helpless, irrespective of gender. For instance, I could pick a hat and give it a heart. I could follow its grueling journey through the maze of time, as it warms different heads. And when it has been beaten and battered in the scorching sun or by the familiar strokes of time, we abandoned it or make the trash its home.
It could be the strings of agony of a muzzled fetus as it is rendered homeless, stripped naked and yanked limbs apart amidst its sea of pleas. Or the plaintive cries of children in distant town, torn apart by the cruel lashes of hunger, abandoned in the cold and left at the mercy of the street.
What about the pulsating throb of the hardened phallus, whose destiny is it to swim the deep waters of life and meander through those dark thickets! Ever wondered what lies beneath those dark paths? I pen not just the agony of the burdened scrotum but the travails of the sacred vagina entwined in some cruel fate! Mine is the pen of the voiceless.

The world over, women ask for equal share in leadership and resources, what is your thought on this? 
There were times when women were seen but never heard. As a matter of tradition, it was considered a virtue when a woman in the name of respect and good manners subject herself to constant torment and abuse in the hands of her husband without protest. It was a society that places little or no value on women. This was then. Time has changed!In fairness to all, women are the unseen builders of the society. They are the hands that rock the cradle. The grease in the wheels of the economy, nurturing future leaders and keeping late night watch, while men drift away in slumber. What then is the rational behind depriving them of such inalienable right as an equal share in the leadership and resources of their country?Who says having a dick makes you dig better? Being a man doesn't make one a better manager? Who created these frigging patriarchal and ‘male-centric’ social laws that have eaten deep into the fabrics of our society, posing as a limitation to the actualization of some life-changing dreams? I thought ‘He’ created us equal? To be frank, everyone irrespective of their gender differences deserves an equal share in leadership and resources of their country. It is women’s right, just as it is the right of their male counterpart. Society should create an enabling environment that would recognize the equality of all gender. However, I must add that leadership doesn't come on the platter of "asking" it comes on the grounds of competence. Obama didn't become the president of the United States by asking. It was a deliberate and a calculated effort, matched with the necessary qualifications and expertise required for such elevated position. Women should stop asking, they should start acting. Same principle applies to all. You want something, just go for it. Life does not always give us what we deserve but what we demand.
Do you think women are fairly treated in the society, if not what do you think is responsible for this?  
We must first establish that societal perception of women differs from one end of the world to the other. However, as much as modern societies claim to uphold the philosophy of gender equality, there still exist some visible elements of deprivation and prejudice against women. This stems from the patriarchal structure of our society. Women are mostly the victims of domestic violence, rape and such inhuman crimes which are more pronounced in developing countries of the world. Most devastating is the realization that religion which is meant to give that sense of equality, oneness and relief encourages such unfair treatment by championing the cause against women participation in certain religious activities. Some religion prohibits women leadership and in some others, women are seen but never heard.
Early last year while serving in the north, I was exposed to some of the unfair and inhuman treatments that women are exposed to in the name of cultural and religious practices. Imagine a situation in which one is kept in total seclusion; oblivious of the happenings in her little community, isolated in a dirty, shabby and uninhabitable room that has the semblance of a dudgeon; raped and sexually abused every now and then by a man who calls himself the husband and who has in his custody about 2 – 6 of such women. The most painful part of this gory tale is that these women have been in such agonizing state from a very tender age and would have to endure such inhumane treatment for the rest of their lives! This is not fiction or faction, it is real! What then is responsible for such unfair treatment? This question becomes easy to answer if we know what value our society place on the life of her citizens as this would to a great extent influence how we perceive our individualities. A society that does not value the life of her citizens cannot be sensitive to their needs and this would in return reflect in the way we perceive one another.
In my opinion, there is the need for a change in societal perception of women especially in developing countries where such negative perceptions are dominant. Such re-orientation should not just be taken to the cities but also penetrate the interior communities and societies in distant Africa where it is a taboo for a woman to rival her male counterpart. Religion should not be used as a tool of discrimination or prejudice against women; rather it should serve as a chord that fosters gender equality. Finally, Women should learn to pursue their dreams - no matter how big or small it is, and not allow such 'stereotypes' impede them from the actualization of such noble feat. All men (women inclusive) are created equal.
You once did a piece that resembles the Vagina Monologue on your blog, what inspired the post?
‘Can a Vagina talk?’ This was the question that triggered off a thought process that gave birth to ‘Vagina Verses’. What I did was to find a common ground for men and women, something that would make them stop in the rush and listen; something they hold so sacred and upon which the message of respect and dignity for SELF can be hinged.
No doubt, we live in a society where moral values are fast becoming mundane and in the maze of such modern craze, we tend to forget that the pride of the masquerade lies in its mask. I realized that one of the ways we can truly understand the agony and several abuses on the Vagina by men and women alike is to see through the eyes of a Vagina. To achieve this, I became the vagina, relaying the many plights of women – young and old, in a quest for self respect.

“And to you seekers of my vast treasures, when next you come across another vagina, treat her like your life depends on her because she could be your mother, your sister, your wife and maybe… your daughter!”

What are you views on religion and patriarchy systems that dominate the world?
Religion? I hate the way it is being practiced in our world today. It seems to have been hijacked by selfish individuals – men who profess God with their lips but their heart is far from him. It is used as instrument of exploitation and unfortunately, women are the most vulnerable. I long for a time when so-called men of God would stop riding on the wings of religion as a way of exploiting the poor masses. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” James 1:26-27

What exactly is Dammy's passion?
Teaching. I am passionate about teaching. I love kids. They are God’s greatest gift to humanity. Life’s greatest lessons are learnt from these innocent ones. I like poetry and music. They can be very therapeutic. I love to write. I love to be different.

What will you like to contribute to the world?
I want to use my writing, teaching, music and poetry skills to touch lives, transform people and change perceptions.

Any parting word?
Find what makes you happy and go for it.


poeticallytinted said...

I don't believe it! I'm first!!! Gosh this is the bestest interview so far!

"Women should stop asking, they should start acting. Same principle applies to all. You want something, just go for it. Life does not always give us what we deserve but what we demand."

How wise, how insightful and how deep. Fantastic guy.

Adaeze said...

What an amazing man! And how uplifting that he loves to teach. Nothing is better than passing those ideas on to the young."Life does not always give us what we want but what we demand" is so true. I also couldn't agree more on the question regarding religion. And I love that he loves to be different! I love people who have the guts to stand out of the masses and do their own thing. That's what brings amazing ideas and new thoughts to the world. I LOVED this interview. Like Poeticallytined said, wise, deep and insightful.

Rita said...

I have always admired Dammy, especially his sensitivity for women and kids. It is amazing. He is indeed one of a kind. His words in this interview did not contradict who he is and I am very happy and encouraged this morning as I read this.

Welldone Standtall.

isha said...

wow Dammy!
I'm awe-struck. lol.
Loved it!

Waffarian said...

There is a man like this out there? Unbelievable! I might have to think again about these penis people...

Geebee said...

It’s pretty difficult to find men who’d stand up to defend women in the world we live today. True, women are now seen and heard but most of the men folk especially in Africa remain chauvinistic and try all they can to keep them in the background so your cause inspires me and I must say I admire you for that. Trust me, you just captured the heart of every woman who reads this post. True, religion and its practice today is so barbaric. It is a total departure from the trend set by our Lord. If only we could profess our commitment to God with not just our lips but our hearts as well, there would be a lot less problems to deal with in today’s world. However, it is worth it to keep striving and working towards that perfection we cannot see now but lurks somewhere around. Only true patience is needed to discover this. Good one, Standtall, Dammy!

CaramelD said...

Standtall, I'm really loving these mini adventures into the mind of men! It's fabulous. Dammy really is different and a breath of fresh air I'm sure ;)

Black Cat said...

Another fabulous interview dear Standtall. This man Dammy is amazing! I have long been saying that religion (for what I think may be many centuries) for the most part has little or nothing to do with God. There seem to be few men in the world who understand the position women find themselves in society. Even here in the western world the old prejudices linger on (lower pay, fewer opportunities for "top jobs", reluctance of companies to employ young women in case they get pregnant and take maternity leave, etc., etc.). Dammy has the sensitivity and insight to see all this and the ability to express it. Good for him!

Thanks for visiting - from India? What you doing there lady?

BTW, huge congratulations on getting the BlogHer scholarship. That's so exciting and you really deserve it :) xxx

Uzezi said...

great one. I like Dammy's frankness. Dont think I have read him enough so im off to his blog.

congrats on the blogher scholarship. u deserve it. wonderful work u r doing

wordmerchant said... say i am impressed is!! if we had more men thinking like this what a utopia this world would be

standtall:very nice interview xxx

Kafo said...

i'm speechless

adding him to my blogroll right now

Gattina said...

Interesting interview ! I learned fighting for women's rights and defense already as a child, when I saw how my father treated my mother (in hurting words but still)and she got pocket money !!

doug said...

Truly impressive. I'm surprised I've never been to his blog. Will be there in a bit.

My my...really impressive...

aloted said...

nice work....some deep stuff here!

was thinking we will see a question on your blogville love story. Dammy, are you and Oyin still growing strong? Just curious.

Buttercup said...

Wow...u r one admirable man...really enjoyed reading this.

Hi Standtall!

Afrobabe said...

Wow, that's great..My God Dammy sounds sooooo serious...

StandTall-The Activist said...

Aloted: are you saying Dammy and Oyin are having a relatioship? Just curious too

aloted said...

@standtall- now i feel like a

well my understanding from kinshar/oyin's blog and even Dammy's is that they were. Not sure about now.

Am sure Dammy can fill us in....hopefully.


another nice interview. Good to learn something more about Dammy.

Oyin said... all that are so curious about me and dammy. Yes dammy and I are still together..and growing strong. Hopefully I killed all of your curiousity!!

For the interview...nice one sweetie!

Dammy said...

@Everyone: Thanks for your comments.

@StandTall: You are the best!

@Aloted: Yes we are waxing stronger. The storm is over. Thanks for caring.

I will do an update on my blog soon on that.

My Passion, my focus, the change that I want to see in the world - is my propellent factor.

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