In interviews granted toward the end of his life, French philosopher Michel Foucualt spoke of homosexuality as “an occasion to re-open effective and relational virtualities.” He spoke of an inherent potential to “introduce love where there’s supposed to be only law, rule or habit.” Foucault’s premise is are core values I have carried with me for years. (see my article Friendship As a Way of Life) Now reading Ko Imani’s Shirt of Flame: The Gay Art of War I have found a manifesto that merges Foucault’s positivist vision of Queer placement and a Buddhist-derived concept of universal compassion, while throwing in a healthy dose of Sun Tzu.
Imani book is an amazing find–one that has the potential of turning the reader in a complete 180Â°. Imani writes with a passion and palpable immediacy: “We must create change now or not in our lifetimes.” Imani writes:
As LGBT individuals and as a queer community, the time had come to make a bold and decisive commitment to the most congruent and effective means to create change that we can muster given our current knowledge.
Imani asks where FIGHTING for our rights has got us and, more a more uncomfortable question, what has it cost us. He envisions a new direction that fully embraces the Buddhist conception of Compassion–fully embracing the “love thy enemy” ethic. The image of Imani sitting in tonglen (Buddhist compassion meditation) amidst Rev Phelps and his fellows protesting at University of Michigan says it all.
Official Site (with preview): Shirt of Flame