To: Our Foremost Death-Dealing Nihilistic Monster
I just met Priya, the Indian Brown girl superhero whose companion is a flying tiger named Sahas, which means courage in Hindi. Apparently I needed a good mid-week verklempt because it hit within the a minute of starting to read this WP article about the latest edition of the graphic novel series featuring Priya and Sahas: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/she-is-the-brown-girl-superhero-the-world-needs-right-now–and-already-she-is-drawing-young-fans-from-mumbai-to-maryland/2020/12/08/9f5e8b06-38fa-11eb-98c4-25dc9f4987e8_story.html.
After a brief set-up, we come upon a little girl looking out from the balcony of her apartment building. She’s wearing a facemask and says/thinks:
“I have no one to tell my feelings to.”
She’s perpetually stuck at home alone because school is conducted remotely, she cannot visit her friends or her grandmother, and her mom is working long hours at the hospital. She’s lonely and sad and probably scared.
I’ll have to get the book to find out how Priya and Sahas enter the scene exactly, whether with a huge flourish or somehow more subtly (seems like it would be tricky for a flying tiger to do anything subtly, but who knows?), but we are treated to some frames of Priya and the girl astride Sahas (the two humans masked up) flying over the city. They can hear voices from below them – some fatalistic, some rebellious, some ignorant and in denial – and Priya does her best to explain to the girl what’s going on with them:
“Those are the voices of people who are more afraid than they are aware. Kindness shows us the way while fear makes us weak.”
We also learn in the article (by Theresa Vargas) that Priya’s character was developed after the 2012 gang rape of a young woman in Delhi as a response to the real life scourge of sexual assault. I checked it out on Wikipedia and learned that Priya not only had to deal with having been brutally violated, but was also shunned by her family and village. Despairing, she goes to the forest to kill herself, but the goddess Parvati (she’s queen to the goddess Shiva so she’s a super-goddess) basically gives Priya her power and together they confront the men who raped her and Priya gets to become a super hero. The next two installments in the series take on acid attacks and sex trafficking – real life shit that girls and women face.
So we need a Priya and she needs to have an awesome sidekick full of courage, like Sahas, because we have so much real life shit that we need a superhero Brown girl to bail us out.
Sadly, we’re fresh out of real Brown girl superheroes with superpowers but thankfully some pretty awesome mere mortals have stepped up – like Stacey Abrams, Ijeoma Oluo (rad, brilliant author), Rebekah Jones (the Florida public health data scientist your piranha DeSantis is trying to terrorize), and Gretchen Whitmer to name just a small handful.
We need all the righteous, courageous mere mortals we can muster to stand against the nihilistic death-dealing monsters who purposely botched the public health aspects of the Covid-19 response and will trash the vaccine roll out, who are actively working to imperil the environment, who are playing God with an unprecedented number of federal executions on their way out, and who can’t even fathom approaches to the public good that would or even could do real good.
So calling all righteous, courageous mere mortals willing to channel Priya, the awesome Brown girl superhero!
May we step up and keep one another safe.
May we step up and be willing to look out for one another’s happiness.
May we step up and be strong for one another.
May we step up and accept that we are in this together. Truly. Inescapably.