Phoenix Rising: RIP Shuhada Sadaqat (ne Sinead O’Connor)

RIP Sinead O'Connor, an obituary written and illustrated by Sunde White


Remember in 1992 when Sinead O’Connor, at the peak of her fame, went on Saturday Night Live, sang War by Bob Marley and then went on a diatribe about the Catholic Church’s abuse of children and finished by  tearing up a photo of the Pope?  Then remember how everyone, including people that never even had one opinion about the Catholic Church before, were like, “HOw dAre ShE?????”  Then remember how the whole world freaked out and Sinead basically lost her career?  Then ha ha, oops, the hilarious part was how she was totally right about everything and members of the Catholic Church have since been found to have molested and abused thousands of children since like, forever and 20 years later Pope Benedict finally officially apologized to the church’s thousands of victims.

O’Connor was That Crazy Woman from then on but if anyone had been paying attention they would have noticed that she had protested many things during her short few years as a pop star.  At the Grammy’s she protested rap acts not being included in the awards, she protested the treatment by police of black kids in England, she protested America’s censorship of artists and she protested against Ireland’s anti-abortion laws.  But when she protested against child abuse the world lost their collective minds.

After the SNL episode she was booed off stages, Catholic groups ran over her CD’s with a steam rollers, she became the butt of a million jokes, Madonna made fun of her publicly and she was banned for life from SNL. Radio stations stopped playing her albums, the media froze her out and she publicly just kind of disappeared.  She made 7 more albums in her life but only her most fervent fans noticed.

Do you think a bad bitch like Sinead was bothered?   In her autobiography, Rememberings , she wrote, “A lot of people say or think that tearing up the Pope’s photo derailed my career.  That’s not how I feel about it. I feel that having a no.1 record derailed my career and my tearing the photo put me back on the right track.”

Sinead O’Connor was a true, uncompromising, unapologetic artist and truth teller and the world was not ready for her.   When she was 24 she wrote this in a letter to the Recording Academy to denounce its emphasis on material gain.  “As an artist I believe our function is to express the feelings of the human race—to always speak the truth and never keep it hidden even though we are operating in a world which does not like the sound of the truth.”

Although she talked openly about suffering from depression and being bi-polar she also said in an interview with Oprah that, “I don’t think I was born with bipolar disorder—I believe it was created as a result of the violence I experienced [growing up].”

So let me get this straight, a powerful genius woman that escaped her own childhood abuse and then, because she stood up for other abused children, she was cast out of society and publicly humiliated for years and then branded in every single interview and article as, difficult, unstable, mentally ill etc. and we all just went along with how she was labeled and never even questioned it?

Ever since Trump got elected I feel like I have literally been going crazy as my brain turns into a simmering cauldron of rage.  Women are always labeled as crazy but what if we’re all just having a normal reaction to being dehumanized and having all our rights taken away?  This year our rights to our bodies were officially taken away by a government body and yet I’m not supposed to just go crazy with a low bubbling rage like every single day???

Speaking of women having no rights to our own body, did you know that in many states it’s legal for women who are sedated for surgery to have a team of medical students perform pelvic exams on us without our consent or knowledge??? Did you know that rape is basically legal in some states now because if a woman reports it to the police they can track her menstrual cycles to decide if they should arrest her for murder when she goes and gets an abortion of her rapist’s baby?  Did you know that rapists sitting in jail have been allowed joint custody with the babies that are a result of their rape???  Did you know that women with unviable pregnancies have to sit around waiting to almost die of sepsis and then a doctor will consider performing an abortion if she is definitely seconds from dying?

Isn’t it weird that we’re still supposed to give up our name when we get married and be enveloped into our husband’s family like a tagged cow?  Isn’t it weird that when I fill out forms with my original name that I got at birth and my husband’s name is also on the form that I am automatically assigned my husband’s last name and my full name is erased?  All these things are actually making me go crazy.

Like here’s a real banger, did you know that an institutionalized woman that the government deems to be not smart enough, sane enough or rich enough can be sterilized without her permission?

Doesn’t it make you fucking crazy that a woman asking to be sterilized is told by doctors to get permission from her husband?  Isn’t it wild that a very rich and famous rapper only realized that he shouldn’t call women demeaning names after his beautiful innocent pure baby daughter was born and he was holding her in his arms and at that moment he finally realized that women were human beings that were once little pure, perfect babies that don’t deserve those names.

What literally made me go insane for the past 8 years was realizing that America hates women so much—men and women both—that they would rather vote for a psychopathic criminal that is literally a rapist than a highly qualified woman because of her banana nut bread recipes stored on a private server and her voice quality or whatever.

Have you noticed that we have a woman Vice President for the very first time ever and you never hear anything about her important meetings around the globe, or that when she went to India her face was on the sides of buses and they named streets after her but the media is like, “WHeRe Is sHE???? WhAT iS sHe Doing????”

Haven’t we all learned by now that powerful women in our society that stand up to the status quo are to be erased.  They are supposed to quietly drift off and knit.  They must disappear. Like Sinead.  Like Hillary.  Like thousands of women through history  that were deposited into insane asylums, prison systems or forced into poverty through unfair hiring, wages and forced marriages and pregnancies.

Powerful women must be erased so there is no example to inspire other women.  In fact, throughout my life I have watched strong women be systematically dismantled publicly to set an example for all the rest of us to shut up, sit down, zip it, be less, do less, disappear, be smaller, take up less space, give up our power because look at what happens to women that don’t do that.

But it’s too late.  The world waited too long to pull the power from our grasp.  It’s been too many generations of girls and women being powerful and brave to go backwards.  Governments can pull our human rights but it’s too late to change our trajectory.  Little girls have been growing up with dads that are just as excited about them playing sports as they are their sons.

Little girls have grown up watching their grandmothers, moms, aunts, sisters live out independent, exciting, empowered lives, they know no other way and they will accept nothing more than equality.

Sorry Christo Fascists, you got to our little girls too late.  It’s in their DNA now to be powerful and they’re not going back no matter how much legislation you shove down their throats.  They are coming for you and we all have their backs.

I’m so sorry that some women didn’t make it through to see these little girls shine.  Some never made it out of the insane asylums their husbands checked them into, some could never build themselves up after suffering the world’s abuse, some were murdered, some surrendered their own lives and dreams for the future generations of women.

Sinead O’Connor made it as long as she could in this world and is gone now but she lives in all of us.  The image of her staring defiantly into a crowd of thousands of people booing and still singing Bob Marley’s War in a cappella, spitting out the words like venom to the boos and then walking away from her fame forever is seared into my memory.  She didn’t need to be famous a moment longer, her job was done.  She had planted her seeds of courage and rebellion into all of our hearts.

Go rest in power now, we’ve got this from here.