Poëzie protest

Kipling versus Angelou


Net na de zomer van 2018, toen het nieuwe studiejaar begon aan de Manchester University, was er een relletje rond een muurschildering met poëzie. De Student Union van de universiteit had in de zomervakantie het Student Union Building laten renoveren en had op een muur in het gebouw het gedicht ‘If’ laten aanbrengen van Rudyard Kipling. Het gedicht lees je hier Als je dit gedicht lees kun je je de beweegredenen van het universiteitsbestuur indenken. Toch waren er studenten die het niet eens waren met de keus voor de dichter Kipling. Kipling schreef namelijk ook het gedicht ‘The White Man’s Burden’ dat, toen het gepubliceerd werd al tot grote discussies leidde. Het gedicht ‘A White Man’s Burden’ lees je hier

Als protest tegen de dichter van dit ‘racistische’ gedicht hebben studenten het gedicht ‘If’ overgeschilderd en voorzien van het gedicht ‘Still I rise’ van Maya Angelou, omdat dit gedicht beter overeenkomt met de waarden van studenten van tegenwoordig. De Student Union Diversity Officer (die hebben ze daar) Riddi Viswanathan, zegt daarover: Other student union members believe Kipling’s poems are “not in line with their values.” So, they decided to eliminate “The White Man’s Burden,” one of his most famous poems. Instead, they claimed Maya Angelou’s works are much more suitable to properly represent “black and brown voices.”

Aan de andere kant heeft expert, professor emeritus in de literatuur van de 20e eeuw aan de Kent University, Jan Montefiore, het tegenovergestelde standpunt. Montefiore, die de auteur is van de biografie van Kipling die in 2007 werd gepubliceerd, vindt het verschrikkelijk grof om Kipling als een racist te bestempelen. De Universiteit heeft besloten om het gedicht van Maya Angelou te laten staan.


I still rise


You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.


Does my sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells

Pumping in my living room.


Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I’ll rise.


Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops,

Weakened by my soulful cries?


Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don’t you take it awful hard

‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines

Diggin’ in my own backyard.


You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.


Does my sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise

That I dance like I’ve got diamonds

At the meeting of my thighs?


Out of the huts of history’s shame

I rise

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain

I rise

I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.


Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.



This is the place

Manchester, 22 mei 2017


Na de terroristische aanslag op de Manchester Arena kwamen mensen bij elkaar om hun woede en verdriet te delen. Bij één van deze bijeenkomsten waar duizenden mensen aanwezig waren droeg Tony Walsh zijn gedicht ‘This is the place’ voor. Dit gedicht dat hij oorspronkelijk schreef voor Forever Manchester, een goede doelen stichting die gemeenschapsactiviteiten ondersteunt in Manchester paste zo goed bij de gevoelens die veel mensen hadden; niet opgeven, doorgaan met leven en als inwoners van Manchester één front vormen. Tony Walsh schrijft onder de naam Longfella en is freelance dichter, schrijver en performer en artist -in-education.

Meer informatie over Walsh op zijn website


This is the place



This is the place In the north-west of England.

It’s ace, it’s the best and the songs that we sing

from the stands, from our bands set the whole planet shaking.

Our inventions are legends. There’s nowt we can’t make, and


so we make brilliant music. We make brilliant bands

We make goals that make souls leap from seats in the stands

And we make things from steel and we make things from cotton

And we make people laugh, take the mick summat rotten


And we make you at home and we make you feel welcome

and we make summat happen and we can’t seem to help it

and if you’re looking from history, then yeah we’ve a wealth

But the Manchester way is to make it yourself.


And make us a record, a new number one

And make us a brew while you’re up, love, go on

And make us feel proud that you’re winning the league

And make us sing louder and make us believe it


that this is the place that has helped shape the world

And this is the place where a Manchester girl

named Emmeline Pankhurst from the streets of Moss Side

led a suffragette city with sisterhood pride


And this is the place with appliance of science,

we’re on it, atomic, we struck with defiance,

and in the face of a challenge, we always stand tall,

Mancunians, in union, delivered it all


Such as housing and libraries and health, education

and unions and co-ops and first railway stations

So we’re sorry, bear with us, we invented commuters.

But we hope you forgive us, we invented computers.


And this is the place Henry Rice strolled with rolls,

and we’ve rocked and we’ve rolled with our own northern soul

And so this is the place to do business then dance,

where go-getters and goal-setters know they’ve a chance


And this is the place where we first played as kids.

And me mum, lived and died here, she loved it, she did.

And this is the place where our folks came to work,

where they struggled in puddles, they hurt in the dirt


and they built us a city, they built us these towns

and they coughed on the cobbles to the deafening sound

to the steaming machines and the screaming of slaves,

they were scheming for greatness, they dreamed to their graves.


And they left us a spirit. They left us a vibe.

That Mancunian way to survive and to thrive

and to work and to build, to connect, and create and

Greater Manchester’s greatness is keeping it great.

And so this is the place now with kids of our own.

Some are born here, some drawn here, but they all call it home.

And they’ve covered the cobbles, but they’ll never defeat,

all the dreamers and schemers who still teem through these streets.


Because this is a place that has been through some hard times:

oppressions, recessions, depressions, and dark times.

But we keep fighting back with Greater Manchester spirit.

Northern grit, Northern wit, and Greater Manchester’s lyrics.


And these hard times again, in these streets of our city,

but we won’t take defeat and we don’t want your pity.

Because this is a place where we stand strong together,

with a smile on our face, greater Manchester forever.


And we’ve got this place where a team with a dream can

get funding and something to help with a scheme.

Because this is a place that understands your grand plans.

We don’t do “no can do” we just stress “yes we can”


Forever Manchester’s a charity for people round here,

you can fundraise, donate, you can be a volunteer.

You can live local, give local, we can honestly say,

we do charity different, that Mancunian way.


And we fund local kids, and we fund local teams.

We support local dreamers to work for their dreams.

We support local groups and the great work they do.

So can you help us. help local people like you?


Because this is the place in our hearts, in our homes,

because this is the place that’s a part of our bones.

Because Greater Manchester gives us such strength from the fact

that this is the place, we should give something back.


Always remember, never forget, forever Manchester.


Choose love.


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