HAJI MOHAMED DAWJEE: Waiting for Brexit
Cartoonist Gary Larson - famous for his The Far Side strip - has a special affinity for heifer humour. You know? Anything involving cows – featuring the hooved mammals in many of his cartoons is actually a byproduct of the fact that he find the noun funny in itself. Cow. Cow, cow, cow. Say it a few times. There is something comical about it. Although, I myself think the funniest word in the English language is definitely hoof. Hoof, hoof, hoof. It even tickles the mouth.
Larson exploited bovine jokes so much in fact that they turned into a cash cow, masticating money left, right and far… side. When the New York Times asked him about his obsession, he responded with “Cows are sort of tragic figures. They blur the line between tragedy and humour” – and so, it turns out, no other mammal serves as a better metaphor for satire served with a side of morbidity than a herd of heifers. Not dissimilar to many members of the British Parliament. Like Boris Johnson, the cow with perpetual hat hair, or Theresa May, the exploitative dancing cow. The gags write themselves really.
Other than the occasional mention of bloodsucking vamp-cows or vacationing cattle that receive special mention on CNN when the telly is turned on in the gym change room, I have to admit, I know very little about the rest of the MPs. In fact, I know very little about Brexit. I’ve lost track. The whole process is taking far too long.
But then I started to think about it… and the majority of British history is made up of these career colonisers taking their time herding themselves out of one area and moving on to greener pastures with their fingers crossed – their hands have little else to do, let’s be honest.
Here are some examples of what each opening sentence might read like:
**Chapter One: **The British stayed in America for 170 years, even after they lost the war, they found a hard time leaving completely so many of them crossed over to Canada, the cold climate a metaphor for their frozen hearts, they realised they really enjoyed reindeer and additionally, they marched forth to turn all indigenous territories into hunting grounds – because their sense of style is limited to the hide and horns of innocent animals.
Chapter Two: The British had such a hard time leaving South Africa that many of them just diluted into society and became the acid reflux of the nation. The British passport is said to be the most popular second passport held by white South Africans. Other than bragging about this, those very citizens offer almost the least to society and rather than return home, still somehow insist on settling in Australia instead. They arrived in 1820 because of a chronic unemployment problem in their homeland, they “left” 90 years later, but not really, because most of them still have their jobs. Here. You know, where the native people of this land built the roads and railways they gave us so that they could get to those jobs. We gave that to them. And then we let them stay. Shame.
**Chapter Three: **In the first half of the twentieth century the phrase “cut a rug” was born. It referred to excellent dancing skills, vigorously carried out in a specific style. But like all things, the British actually founded this statement as well. Years before. They gave us so many things - railroads, the whole of civilisation, a reason for dentistry and the partition. Cut a rug is actually derived from the British sentiment: Cut a land. Which is exactly what they did in India. 200 years after they arrived. That’s right. It took them two whole centuries to leave India. They drank tea, played cricket, ate food that tasted of something other than saw dust and dried pigs blood and then, as a parting gift, sectioned off an entire country as a gift to its people. A gift of violence, rape, terrorism, disease, starvation, displacement… the list goes on. Meanwhile, Lord Whats-his-face with the crooked smile is still enjoying his lamb vindaloo – extra mild - on some London street.
I could go on, but then I would have to write abridged versions of exactly 171 countries. That’s 171 chapters of the British failing to leave a place, leaving after a long time, or promising to leave and just not being able to follow through because the smell of the Thames is just too ghastly to endure and spreading small pox in a foreign land is much more fun.
These are facts. Straight from the British cow's mouth. Historian Stuart Laycock even confirms it in his book All the Countries We've Ever Invaded: And the Few We Never Got Round To (2012). The UN currently has 200 member states (and one observer state), and 171 of them the British have at some point in history invaded, colonised or established a military presence.
Which brings us to Brexit. The British parliament has rejected every Brexit alternative, Theresa May has offered to stand down after the debacle ends and MPs are constantly clip-clopping between one ridiculous solution to another. Meanwhile the majority of us still don’t know what the hell is really going on and history has taught us that it may be 200 years before we, so really, all of this is a moo-point. A cow's opinion*.
_*This was lifted from the TV show Friends, as spoken by Joey Tribbiani. _
Haji Mohamed Dawjee is a South African columnist, disruptor of the peace and the author of 'Sorry, Not Sorry: Experiences of a brown woman in a white South Africa'. Follow her on Twitter.