When the Voiceless Speak

Dear Lot by Jaha Zainabu (this sister changed my thoughts about Lot)

There had to be disgust, a righteous indignation that wrecked havoc in the heart of Lot’s wife (Lotty). Can you imagine what it is like to be helpless as others offer up your children to save strangers? This is the very thing that, Lotty had to endure in Genesis 19. The angels showed up and inform them that they had to leave because the Lord was going to “destroy this place.” (Genesis 19:13)

However, it is Dr. Renita Weems in here passionate letter, My Daughter, My Self who takes the opportunity to highlight some particular points about this little meeting with the angels.  This posthumous, after the fact letter gives us a perspective of what Lotty might have been thinking during this process:

The angel had come to us in the middle of the night, urging us to flee for our lives, warning us against looking back. I remember grabbing both your hands, running for my life, running away from Sodom, praying that I could get the two of you out of there in time, wondering too myself exactly what it was we were running from. No one ever said why were fleeing. Not your father. Not even the angels. I was just told to flee. And so I fled- with the two of you at my side.

That sounds more like a responsible mother than an unfaithful servant of God.

It is problematic that, Lotty has no voice throughout this passage of scripture. We are left defining her by her actions and not by her character. We are left defining her by preconceived notions and not by her character. Consequently, we thus render her powerless. Lotty becomes the new “construct of media blackout.” What do I mean when I say, “construct of media blackout?” What I mean is that Lotty should be made front page news but she becomes an afterthought for media hype. The only time after this episode Lotty is mentioned is when Jesus reintroduces her with the famous words, “Remember Lot’s Wife.” Isn’t it amazing that something so heinous can happen but no one says a thing?

For close to a month, 300 hundred girls from Nigeria were kidnapped and no one really cared. They were written off as just three hundred little black girls with no voices. Then a few people got on Twitter and started using the hashtag #Bringbackourgirls. These twitter feeds sparked a movement that caused others to move on behalf of the voiceless –300 hundred little black girls –all because of a sign.

Notably, in the Genesis 19, we find Lotty leaving with her family as they have been instructed but the image is wrong. Verse 26 makes it very apparent that Lotty was “behind her husband.” Here is the second time we find Lotty being more protective of her girls than Lot. A man would make sure that he was in the back to insure that no one would look back and, if someone had to look back it would be him –knowing that looking back was more about protection from those who might give chase than wanting to go back to someplace they had left.

Ironically, it is Dr. Weems who defines this with such clarity as she denotes that Lotty did “not look back…she looked around.” She looked around to make sure no one gave chase. She looked around so no one else could harm her girls because she knew that Lot was more concerned about the angels than his family.

In conclusion, I am sure that I would not have embodied the same fate as Lotty. I, like Lotty, would have looked around for those who might have made it out like my family. The scripture is not clear whether Lot ever told his wife to turn around, but we know for sure that she was turned into a pillar of salt. Lotty becomes the voice of the voiceless. She becomes the hashtag for justice and equality. Yes, Lotty speaks through the pillar of salt saying, “Bring Back our girls.”

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