A friend was messaging frantically the other day, saying she was melting in the Bombay heat. There was a power cut following a short-circuit fire in their building. They’d have to vacate until mid-May for the electrical system to be revamped.
Her deluge landed whilst I was making an earnest effort to relax on the lush green grass of a Parisian park, where (mostly white) crowds were returning for picnics.
But now, the sun felt too hot and the uneven ground poked at my back in ways that it never does for white folks. They lay on their backs soaking in the sun, looking completely serene, not fidgeting every thirty seconds as I do.
I sat up to type faster replies to my friend, who, by now, had switched to cursing the recent spate of violence targeting Muslims in India. She said it was “the rot” in people’s brains and “it must be the heatwave”.
Of course, we knew it was more than that. I left the park, finding it impossible to just loll, the words “rot” and “heat” spinning inside my head.
Yesterday, I reached the conclusion that April has been a month of ‘Neo-Zombies’. What on earth are those, you might wonder, in a hurry to dismiss this as some nutty column written by a desh-ki-gaddar (traitor) in the lap of European luxury.
But since you’re still reading, Zombies, in horror fiction, are “reanimated corpses turned into creatures capable of movement but not of rational thought; they feed on human flesh”. That’s what dictionaries say.
‘Neo-Zombies' and the Growing Global Right
Neo-Zombies, although dictionaries have still not noted this definition, are people who were born human (creatures capable of immense empathy) but who have lost or never acquired the capability to think rationally. Their movements lead to destruction and they feed on human hatred.
You’d probably say there are already many names for them including “the far-right”, “the alt-right”, etc; that they have been gaining ground globally since 2011, we know. So, what exactly is the fuss about? The “war on terror” was like some radioactive charge infusing them with superpowers, after all.
In India, the most recent supercharge was the 2019 election. All I am trying to say is that their convulsions have never been stronger and it’s starting to feel like a zombie apocalypse. They were everywhere this April.
In India, they were demolishing Muslim properties in Jahangirpuri, Delhi. Bajrang Muni Das was saying he’d personally be in charge of raping Muslim women if Muslims harassed Hindu women even if he had to go to jail a thousand times.
Excuse me while I throw up.
In France, where I currently live, their representative won the first round of Presidential elections. In the US, right-wing journalist Patrick Howley asked for witch trials to be reinstated. What?!
In the meantime, “progressive” or left-liberals were moaning and groaning, wondering, as usual, what the world is coming to. Because, of course, it’s never their fault. It’s been quite a few years since I quit their team. Let’s say I swallowed the red pill – the one that makes you see the world for what it really is and takes away the comfort of denial.
I see that liberals have thrived on the middle ground, reaping the benefits of supremacist structures while lecturing extremists who assert their ambitions overtly and violently.
Until all liberals miraculously turn into radical opponents of the age-old supremacist structures, for all practical purposes, they will remain “moderate supremacists”.
A hat tip here to @ReutersPitchbot, whose tweet this Sunday was so perfect: “BREAKING: Moderate white supremacist wins France election.”
I watched the French far-right’s Marine Le Pen (barely) concede her defeat in the election, regretting in her speech that “a great wind of freedom could have risen over the country” had she been elected. (Wind? More like toxic gas, Madame Le Pen).
Anyway. This was the second time she had made it to the second and final round of Presidential elections against Emmanuel Macron. French white left-liberals, aka “moderate supremacists”, are talking about how they have saved republican principles. Some even wept with relief.
Shouldn’t We at Least Be Grateful for the Status Quo?
Well, no. Because this status quo is already a living hell for Black people and people of colour because of their own racism.
All except those who have internalised whiteness and cosy up to them. And how they love dissing Marine, as if only her brand of overt racism is unacceptable. As much as a hint at white left-liberal racism and you are accused of being a radical militant or reverse racist. Impossible to get invited to dinners again or get a well-paid job.
It so happens that in the past, I have (really) interviewed both Marine Le Pen and her father Jean-Marie. Senior Le Pen was the one to bring this brand of far-right politics to the forefront in France when he reached the final round of Presidential elections in 2002.
What he did once, she has managed twice in just five years.
What I find hard to forget is what both father and daughter told me in the banter that generally follows interviews.
They told me they really liked India and empathised with us because “we have similar problems”.
They were hinting connivingly at Muslim populations, of course. I half-ignored them and rushed off to edit my story. I could barely have imagined then that just a decade-and-a-half later, how bad things will get. The zombies are here in full force, my friends and moderate supremacists don’t have it in them to fight them off. So what do you want to be?
(Noopur Tiwari is an independent journalist and the founder of the feminist platform “Smashboard”. You can follow her on Twitter @NoopurTiwari)