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Monday, December 12, 2011

We Tribe: Granny Turn Ninety

by John Holyfield 
You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them. ~Desmond Tutu


On November twenty-first, di whole tribe come together for my Granny ninetieth Earthday. We travelled from crevices and corners, over hills and through valleys, from all over the globe, literally. I grinned 'round di hall from tables of Elders to young mothers with suckling, realizing that four generations worth of ourstory was gathered together. This was really an' truly a  family reunion.
The Tables of Elders was like a council and Granny sat as regal as Yaa Asantewaa.
As her eldest grandpickney, I was the first one of my generation to make a speech. Spent a whole night writing it, just tru I write better than I talk. But when the time came, I just stood there gazing at Granny and my Tribe. Then words just tumbled straight out mi heart and soul. Yeah man, had a chat with the  whole tribe of  family and friends 'bout what my Granny means to me.
My heart wrap up in a smile whole night.
Granny is real, not just this rickety-frame, cotton wool-hearted, caricature grandmother. She is complex. One of the things I love about her is she is vibrantly mischievous-her wit is a file, her tongue, a cutlass. She gets a twinkle in her eye just as she bout fi swing di blade. She and her sister, my Great Aunt, have this ongoing war of wits that, truss mi, will mek yuh laff till yuh belly buss.
Having family, relatives and friends in the same building one time, I could feel the genuine love. As a whole, my tribe is very supportive of one another, individually and collectively. We don't have much backbiting and envy among wiself and, so, we love come together and celebrate. Suh wi stay. And dance? We love that. We will keep a birthday party for the pickney dem, then turn it right 'round into a birthnight dance hours later- fi di big people dem.
When my aunt spoke about my uncle, cousin and grandfather who have all ascended to the ancestors, I felt their presence. I mean that literally. Their Life Force burns on, hasn't been extinguished by the passing of flesh nor the winds of time. Is honor saluting love when we reminisce about ascended family, f'real.
The whole event was a moment I will forever cherish, Jah know. Four generations ah mi tribe danced together to Reggae, Soca and oldies. I couldn't help wondering, in this age of upward mobility, in this "land of prosperity", how many more generations would keep up our tradition of gathering the Tribe for celebration. Will our children's children honor the tradition?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Muhammad Ali's Twentieth -Century Revolt

Muhammad AliMuhammad Ali (Image via RottenTomatoes.com)

"You want to send me to jail? Fine, you go right ahead. I've been in jail for 400 years. I could be there for 4 or 5 more, but I ain't going no 10,000 miles to help murder and kill other poor people. If I want to die, I'll die right here, right now, fightin' you, if I want to die. You my enemy, not no Chinese, no Vietcong, no Japanese. You my opposer when I want freedom. You my opposer when I want justice. You my opposer when I want equality. Want me to go somewhere and fight for you? You won't even stand up for me right here in America, for my rights and my religious beliefs. You won't even stand up for my right here at home."
~Muhammad Ali 

You have to respect Muhammad Ali's stance. If you know the story, there is no way not to admire the way he licked out against injustice. At the time, he was the undisputed, heavy-weight champion of the world. He was as recognizable as any president or prime minister. He was loved by millions who considered him out spoken and confident. He was maybe hated by millions also, because that said confidence was seen by some as brash and boastful. In any case , Ali was seen by many Black people as a conscientious Brother with a mad swag and charisma, one who would was never 'fraid to chat how We feel. The situation was laden with irony: the source of Ali's fame and livelihood was the said system he was lashing out against.

There are many facets and layers to this story. The Vietnamese War caused rift between Americans, Black or White. It was part of the whole Cold War posturing between the U.S. and U.S.S.R, and many of us in the so-called Third World were affected by the "super powers" insistence that countries line up with one or the other. Many of us in the Caribbean and Africa felt the ramifications of political friction- Capitalist vs Socialist propaganda and manipulation, CIA vs KGB coercion.
At the time, Black people in America were going through the fight for civil rights. Many of the Brothers and Sisters in the military were in conflict over their feelings of  loyalty for the Black Struggle and commitment to patriotic duty. Refusing induction into the military to fight what he felt was an unjust war was a bold statement- a Twentieth-century act of Revolt.

When I look at old media takes, film and interviews, Ali was adamant, yet dignified in his statements against the war. When he mentioned his solidarity with poor people world wide, his voice is pounding with conviction. His refusal to go fight in Vietnam wound him up in court, facing prison time, being stripped of his boxing title and losing millions of dollars. Even though he was eventually offered a "soft" position in the military where he wouldn't face any fighting, Ali still refused to be drafted, based on his religious beliefs.
Jah know, Muhammad Ali's stance against the system is the reason I consider him the Greatest (fighter of all time). 
He got up, stood up for his rights. And ours.






Monday, October 3, 2011

Conscious Itation (Meditation)



For I, Kaya, meditation is the path I take when I engage in communion with the Divinity within me- 
i & I.
As a youth my Mother introduced me to meditation as a way of calming me because I use to have an acute case of asthma and a wicked case of vexation of the spirit and those two, when mixed, can drive a single mother clear up over a mad house wall. So she traipse me over to this Hindu man who showed two ah we lessons in dhyāna. I have been meditating ever since then, on and off.


People have been meditating in various forms for thousands of years. Many cultures have their own forms of meditation, while others overlap, sharing similar elements and traits. But regardless of minute differences, most people and cultures meditate as a part of attaining higher spirituality, or as Rasta seh, a Iyah Ites (higher heights).

There are certain common features  in all meditation, regardless of culture: a quiet/peaceful setting, concentration/focus/attention, a comfortable position, relaxed breathing.

There are also various ways people meditate. Some are:
  • using imagery or visualization of mentally relaxing places; 
  • silently repeating a spiritually/mentally calming word, phrase or thought (mantra) to help keep out distractions; 
  • using an increased sense of awareness to concentrate/experience the present through broadened senses such as smells, sounds; 
  • transcendental, which is using mantra to eliminate all thoughts from the mind.
  • and yoga, which involves performing postures and controlling breathing exercises to achieve healthier body and a calmer mind.

Meditation helps alleviate many stress-related illnesses like asthma, high blood pressure, heart disease, migraines and fatigue.
When I meditate, I remain still and embrace the stillness of mind. Most times I chant a mantra, but sometimes when in nature, I immerse myself in the sounds, smells, and feel of my surroundings.
I love meditating by the sea, fountains, streams and rivers because the sound of water dancing over rocks calms my soul. And if birds flock by, they bring chirps and flapping, flittering feathers to the orchestra.
When I have no phones ringing, computers blinking, cars beeping, and nothing demanding my attention, I can feel myself drifting within my mind. I often find that my thoughts continue rolling involuntarily, and so I refocus on my mantra, sounds and sensations around and/or within me. When I get to that space within where there is very little thought outside of natural phenomenon- my heartbeat, the breeze,etc., my mind is peaceful and relaxed. I've decreased my negative thoughts and energy while increasing self-awareness and positivity.
I read somewhere once that when we calm ourselves in meditation, our neurotransmitters rest from sending on thoughts/electric charges to our minds. Its like a deep form of rest.
Itation rejuvenates mind, body and soul.
Namaste...RastafarI





Friday, September 30, 2011

Black Fists Rising: Rebel Salute at The 1968 Olympic Games

Black Power Pictures, Images and Photos

This powerful image first snagged up my attention as a youth when I flipped through a magazine and BRRAAP!- it shat, and has imprinted my imagination for decades. Though I couldn't overstand all the symbolism and implications when I was younger, I felt the power of rebellion exploding from the expression caught in time. Without knowing the fullness, the Black fists raised in salute pounded an impression in my psyche that I will always identify with, truss mi. And as I grew, I deciphered the symbolism embedded in the image, like narrative scribed in hieroglyphics. When I began seriously writing, it was only then that I fully comprehended the strength packed, loaded and framed in this moment.
For those like me who never even born when this incident tek place, it was at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City during the 200 meter track medal ceremony. In the middle is the winner of the event, Gold Medalist Tommy Smith (USA) and on the right is Bronze Medalist John Carlos (USA). The man on the left is Silver Medalist Peter Norman (Australia).
This action screamed REVOLT for many reasons. The first thing is that political statements are a big NO-NO at the Olympics. Next thing, we talking bout the 60's, the era of the Civil Rights Movement, world wide Black discontent, protests and riots, from L.A. to Detroit to Sharpeville, South Africa. Remember it was the in the Sixties when His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie declared that "Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited..." AND, don't forget, the Bredren were wearing the good ole USA akkkross their chests and representing the land of their birth; yet, they still identified with and declared solidarity with The Struggle of The People.
The Brothers stepped on the podium with their black-socked feet , symbolizing the poverty of Black people in America. Tommie, from Texas, draped a black scarf around his neck that stood for Black pride. John Carlos, a Cuban American from Harlem, wore beads that represented "those individuals that were lynched, or killed and that no-one said a prayer for, that were hung and tarred. It was for those thrown off the side of the boats in the middle passage."
When the Brothers raised their fists in Black Power Salute it was an act of total defiance and a statement of protest against  a system that oppressed Black people. (Tommie later declared in his autobiography Silent Gesture that it was a human rights salute)
I must note that Peter Norman, the Australian, stood in protest with Brothers and all three of them wore the badge of the Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR). Norman had been outspoken against Australia's White Australia Policy so he empathized with Tommie and John, even suggesting that they each wear one of Tommie's glove after John had forgotten to bring his own pair to the track.
Well yuh done know, the backlash from the statement was tremendous. The Brothers were suspended from the USA Olympic Track Team. Upon returning home, they received death threats from good ole Americans.
Tommie Smith said, "If I win, I am American, not a Black American. But if I did something bad, then they would say I am a Negro. We are black and we are proud of being black. Black America will understand what we did tonight."
And overstand we did, Bredren. I think Black people the world over felt you. I give thanks.
How many of us would've had the dignity and courage to express ourselves on the world stage in such a way that would possibly affect our very livelihood?







Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Linden: Age of Innocence

Linden: Age of Innocence
copyright 2011 K. Omodele

Gentle breeze hoists clouds, lifts away a storm
Parakeets chat harmonize innocence
Boats glide lazy on a black river stream

Sun-molten, tar road winds thru innocence
Trains haulin' bauxite ricket up a storm
Three times each day a horn bellows a stream

Now time's rolled by like that black river stream
did glide. Life's a bowed coconut tree in storm
which snap-whips all semblance of innocence.

copyright 2011 K. Omodele

Monday, September 26, 2011

Still I Rise: Giving Thanks


Haile Gebrselassie during FBK-Games 2009Blessed Love. Today I begin my New Year and so I man rise giving thanks to the Almighty for granting one more earthly revolution around the sun. In striving for Balance, I realize that this Journey called Life is not a hundred- meter dash but much like a marathon in which endurance is paramount- so I approach the race less like Usain Bolt and more like Haile Gebrselassie - with great stride and diligent pace.

One lesson I've learned is how to cherish moments, even as time rushes by like a tormented stream. I make concentrated efforts to breathe-in, internalize experiences and feel the moments. I am grateful for everyone who shares, or has shared, my journey in some point along the way.

I Arise every time I stumble. I rise, brush off, reveling in this journey, knowing both great joys and pains, embracing the warming sun and facing pelting rains. Mek each experience stimulate growth and development because stagnation is death.

Jah Bless each and every one, collectively.
There are over six billion people on Jah Earth...There is only ONE LOVE!

Build more bridges; less walls and fences. This is my New Year.

"When the truth awakens in you, you can't do anything but accept the truth." ~ Bob Marley








Sunday, September 11, 2011

Melkam Addis Amet (Happy New Year): Enkutatash or Ras Awde Amet

 
Melkam Addis Amet (Happy New Year)
Today, September 11 is Mäskäräm 1, the first day in the first month of a new year in Ethiopia. In Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia, the word for New Year is Enkutatash* while in Ge'ez** the term is Ri'se Awde Amet.***

 
Queen of Sheba traveling to Solomon. A fresco ...Enkutatash is traditionally an important day to Ethiopians. When Makeda returned from her visit to King Solomon, her chiefs gave her enku, jewels. Enkutatash has since been celebrated in the spring, which follows a three-month rain season. It is a time to celebrate new life, rebirth, a beginning, new hopes and dreams.



Ethiopia and Egypt
The date traditionally is important in the ancient African Valley as it marks the the highest point of annual inundation of the River Nile and is recognized by Coptic traditions of the region as the end of Noah's flood. The Blue Nile flows from Lake Tana in the Highlands of Ethiopia while the White Nile flows through Sudan. They converge into one great river and its  inundations represent annual resurrection and rebirth. Realize that an intimate connection between Egypt and Ethiopia has existed from ancient times. Recall that even from the Twenty-first Dynasty the two countries were sometimes under the same ruler and so, naturally, culture, arts, religion and philosophy were effectively interwoven.  
In Egypt, the first month of the Season of 'Akhet'(Inundation) is called Thout. Today September 11 is Thout 1 on the Coptic calendar. The Ethiopian Calendar and The Egyptian Coptic Calendar are closely related and the names of months being the major difference. Both are derived from the ancient Egyptian Calendar





*Enkutatash እንቁጣጣሽ is literally "gift of jewels"
**Ge'ez is an ancient Ethiopian language from which Ahmaric is derived. Ge'ez is the official language of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church
***Ras Awde Amet literally Head Anniversary. This term is preferred by the EOC/Ethiopian Coptic










Friday, September 9, 2011

Word, Sound, Power: TriUne (Tribute to Rastafari in Transition)



(Never Gone! Never Forgotten!)












Word, Sound, Power: TriUne (Tribute to the Rastafari in Transition )
copyright K. Omodele 2011 

 Man, Know Thyself
Physically, Mentally, Spiritually
Eye and Eye
i. i n I
Prophet, Priest, King
Word, Sound, Power
Kete, Fundeh, Bass
Second, Minute, Hour
Ites (Red), Gold, Green
Knowledge, Wise-mind, Overstanding
One! One! One!
  Aim,       God,     Destiny
Air, Water, Fire
(EARTH)
Breath, Chalice, Fire
(SACRAMENT)
Man, Wombman, Child
(FAMILY ESSENCE)
 Light, Love, Life
(LIVE)
Man, Know Thyself
Africa, Carry beyond (Caribbean), Americas
Prophet, Priest, King
Word, Sound, Power
Sun, Moon, World
Second, Minute, Hour 
Head, Body, Soul
 Justice, Livity, Truth
Father, Mother, Child
the Elders, The Movement , the Youth
the Abeng, the Shaker/shak shak, the Akete
Word, Sound, Power

Wake Up! LIVE-aspora
cyaan dis di Tri-Unity
Conceptualize...
Beyond...
the Box.





Thursday, September 1, 2011

Pressure Creates Diamonds

 Pressure Bursts Pipes

One evening on the football pitch, a man is standing, lining up a penalty kick to win the match. Seconds balance on a ledge as he bores a glare into the ball and a next man bawls out from the sideline, "Preshah Buss Pipe," the sound echoing around off trees, walls, and in the minds of man and man.

Nuff times in life, nights seem never ending. At some point in time, the verb and noun "struggle" morphed into a proper noun, "The Struggle", the emphasis worn on the backs of "Strugglahs/Strugglers." Often, the burden bends and eventually breaks some of them backs. But the same hardships or preshah that buss pipe, that said pressure creates diamonds.


Unit cell of the diamond cubic crystal structure                    Pressure Creates Diamonds


Carbon is a mineral and diamonds are allotropes of carbon, which only means it is the same carbon existing in another form. Oh by the way, Carbon is abundant in and about and all throughout the Universe. It's found in all living things, all in me and you. The interesting thing 'bout diamonds is that they are formed over millions of years, by high-intense pressure and molten temperatures deep down in the earth. These extreme measures change the structure of carbon, hardening it and adding the illustrious qualities that make diamonds. This new carbon structure's (diamond) superlative hardness, strength and density allows for little impurity. Purity and transparency, combined with its structural rigidness makes a diamond reflect light with luster. This is why a diamond sparkles and shines.

So now, see how a lump of coal (contains carbon) is formed into a tough, beautiful gem? The same preshah that buss pipe is that said pressure wha'  create diamonds. For us, the difference is in how we react; our response indicates whether we folding, leaking down di drain when things tough; or, if we coming sparkling like diamonds, fresh out di rough and harder than any natural material. This is how Bredren and Sistren SHINE, despite and in spite of adversity...Strive to come in as a gem. Yuh done know... BLING, naturally.



SANDY, UT - JUNE 18: Kyle Beckerman #5 of Real...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeOh, and the penalty kick...
"PRESHAH MEK DIAMOND, " the brother  answer back right after lacing the ball in the right V*. Shine on mi bredren. Shine on!









*V the corner of the goal where the crossbar and the post meet.

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Granny and We Tribe

One thing I love 'bout my family is that we close-knit. For instance, I have dozens of cousins and we don't distinguish with labels like first-, second-, or third-; every single one ah dem is just plain ole cousin. That's how I like it. A next thing: there's nothing half 'bout brothers and sisters, neither.
And is nuff ah we, plenty ah we. All over in England, Canada, the U.S.- in more than ten states; all over the West Indies-one ah we even lived in Costa Rica, a few in Africa.
My Uncle Stuartie used to call the family, "the Tribe." See, in a tribe, the whole village raises a child and throughout my life my Granny and aunts helped grow me, even some of my teenage years. When I was born and my mother continued her schooling, my Granny, Jah Bless her, tek mih in an' mind me. I mean, I went to live with her and she took care of me. So, for my few toddler years, 'til I was 'bout four, I was raised by the tribe, the village. And Granny, is the Matriarch.
In November Granny will be Ninety. In her time, she has read current news articles declaring: How To Survive The Great Depression, A Hundred Years Since Emancipation, Germans Blitz London, Fidel and La Revolucion, The Collapsing of British Colonialism, National Independence, Federation Folds, and CARICOM Lives. She's outlived dozens of Prime Ministers and Presidents. She limps with a walker now, but I see photos that could've made magazine covers- one with my late Grandfather back in the days and, truss mi, Barack and Michelle couldn't stand next to dem.
She chastises me:
"Why you talking so? Speak English, proper English."
But Granny, the damn English don't even speak proper English.
Everyday I remind myself that its she one who labored over the stove for me, regardless if I was behaving:
"hard ears"; "boderation"; "schupid; like yuh doan have no sense, or wah?"; "mannish"; or like I don't "have no manners."
Wait, side note. My Great-auntie just fight mi off a piece a buns and ask, "Is you one have mouth?"

Disassembled hand-powered grinderSo, the Elders in my tribe are pushing up in years and now its time I mind them. I been visiting with them here in ATL, and my recent days I been cleaning ceiling fans, helping turn mattresses, boiling ginger, opening guava jelly bottle/jar, grinding up pepper with a grinder (not a blender, an ancient grinder). Sometimes, right when I'm concentrating on writing, one of them screeches out my name, pushing my annoyance button, 'til my vexness turn up. Through clenched teeth I reply boyishly, "Yes, Granny." (or Auntie) Truss mih, is all love because when its all said and done, they are my biggest supporters, they have loved me without conditions nor obligations, and for the longest time.
And I am thankful. I am grateful I have people who cherish and share a bond from all over the globe. This is my Tribe. And I love it to Life.

Bless up Uncle Stuartie.
Never gone! Never Forgotten






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When Things Fall Apart

 When Things Fall Apart
©K.Omodele
Each day I see the effects of the absence of men/fathers/husbands from families in our communities. It is apparent in my neighborhood with the little boys who scurry the street at close to midnight. It is evident when my own blood sister's eyes squint tight with frustration 'cause her little man got into trouble at school. Another sistren's young daughter talks about her Dad constantly, but hasn't seen him in 'bout a year. Seems like everywhere I turn, absentee fathers leave their marks-things fall apart.
When we gone, things fall apart in some way or another. The family fabric is altered when we're not there and some Sisters struggle on their own, many resorting to hustling or food stamps to supplement meager single incomes. They struggle alone in five-season old dresses and patch up-patch up jeans. Drag our seed around with them in mini vans, subway cars, or putt-puttering twelve-year -old Mirages, dropping the children off at day cares (they can barely afford) or family members. Then, they rush off to cash registers or  mop closets or clerk desks or,  community colleges if they're lucky.
From Lagos to Linden, London to LA, when fathers disappear children become some department's statistics. Often, girls grow into fractured women and boys into inmates. I KNOW. I'm sure you know, too, what happens to our families when things fall apart.
Bredren, Love our sistahs/Big up di Sistren! Mentor a child!
Or get the hell out the way.






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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Reasoning: UK Riots

 "Whites have become blacks..." ~David Starkey

Workman Reasonings: Uk Riots
copyright 2011 K.Omodele  


With lungs heaving, a dozen and a half  bredren and work-associates drag themselves off a football pitch, peeling away sweat-plastered tee shirts and wringing them dry. They settle around, palavering in the short grass beside the field. Every man catch a seat, relaxing; but Sunday morning already done and now Monday morning looming like a hurricane right over the horizon.
A bamboo-stalk youth yanks his football boots' lace, removes boots and shin guards. Plopping down under a tree, he braces his spine 'gainst the trunk and opens a window in his smart phone. Lights up a Newport , bellows out smoke through his cannon-gun nostrils and says:
"Yow, Bajan.Your London ah bun dung, to blood-bath."
"Look how long now they rioting, bout two or three days now. Yuh late, Rudeboy!" Bajie replies, swiping a along his military cut shape-up and sops up his mustache with a handkerchief . Then, he folds it neatly, drapes it over a shoulder.
Dreadie pushes his size-twelves into flip flops. Retrieves a towel and Daily News from his back-pack before shoving in his Adidas. He parts rope-sized, Congo locks and dabs down by the scalp with the towel. Then, he turbans them, finds a stick ah Ishence*, lights it and parts open the newspaper pages.
"BaBY-LON, your Kingdom is BURN-IN'," he wails with no twitch hinting his face and not a trace of regret lacing his voice. Then, he continues like a verdict, "And this time di revolution not only televised, it Internet computerized, tuh rass."

Spence reclines, his tradesman-toned arms extend behind him, propping him up like stands. "Oonu** nuh hear bout wha Sparkey seh?"
"Who?" half a dozen of them croak out in unison like a set ah ole bull frog.
"Di MP." Spence words grumble from age, not lack of confidence. He strokes a raisin-skin hand through his cotton-colored, pickie-pickie beard. His temples are glazed with perspiration.
"Oh.Yuh mean David Starkey, dat racist so and so." Trevor answers.
"Yeah. Starski."
Dreadie eyes lock in on a page. "Hear, nuh. Pon some Tel-lie-vision program over deh, Starkey seh-"  each word is shoveled like he's digging a grave. "'The. whites. have. become. black. A particular sort of violent destructive, nihilistic gangster culture has become the fashion and black and white boys and girls operate in this language together. This language which is wholly false, which is this Jamaican patois that has been intruded in England and that is why so many of us have this sense of literally, a foreign country.'"
Dreadie glowers around at the congregation. Then, waving the paper with one arm like a flag, he rumbles:
"This man mek a connection between Black culture and gangsterism. But when you really hear di shout, yuh will find out seh youth gangs and groups been in Europe since Medieval times. You know how long gangs deh in England robbing, raping and extorting? You had juveniles wha' use to wear colored ribbons like they flag and bare violence them ole criminal deh use to commit. Even the word gang come from a Ole English word 'gan' - meaning 'to go.'"  

Bajan chuckles then straighten his face. "Like you ent hear de man say is wunna** come over there wid the gangster mentality and turn White kids Black with patwa and-"
"Baj. Banna*** stop chat yuh colonialist scuntery." Trevor interjects. "You really think is since Caribbean people start move up in England that the gangsterism thing start over deh? You know how long football hooligans riling up that country?"
"And other country, tuh." Spence adds. "GT Trevor, dem will even lef from over England and tek that clear gone over to Spain during UEFA."
Rudeboy fires, slamming his football boots on the ground. "Yuh see how dem ah fight 'gainst Jamaican and patois, doh? 'Bout false language?"
Spence wags a gun finger in the air. "English false. Is false German and French and it join up wid Scandanavian and Roman."
Dreadie notes. "Even di name London is Roman." Stands up, rolls his shoulders back into a stretch and goes on reasoning. "Is the same old 'blame the immigrant' cry. This man Starkey seh how he draw the
Rivers of Blood Speech from a man name Enoch Powell . You know who that be? You know wha' dat? Powell was a politician back in the sixties over deh who mek this big speech 'gainst Black people, immigrants from the Caribbean, crying how we soon tek over England. That speech did stir up all kinda anti-immigrant hostilities that nuff British people had inside them anyway. So now, Starkey draw from that speech and apply it to this rioting now."
Trevor chips inna center. "But Dread, look how long immigrant gangs been over deh, long before we. I read somewhere that back in the 1800's you had Irish and Italian immigrants in Liverpool who use to form dey own immigrant gang.You know how we end up over deh in England? Listen man, after World War II mash up Britain, they did need unskilled labour workers fuh rebuild the country. So, is the Common Wealth they turn to and is so nuff a we end up deh. But of course wheresoever you have immigrant communities with immigrants survivin' on low wages, you gon' find poverty an' low-income housing and then people gon' form gangs and turn to crime. You find that back in the days with the Irish and Italians, you find it with the West Indians that went to build up London, you find it fight here in de U.S., right now-pure an' simple."
Bajie claps his hands. "Yes, Comrade. Mr. Socialist. You was a Burnhamite?"
No one even looks at Bajan.

Spence clears his throat.
"And see now, Sparkey saying how this is a Black culture thing. As if gangsterism is Black culture," Spence notes. "When White people do dem hooliganism and organised crime, why they don't call that White gangster culture?"
Dreadie is up pacing now. "Bredren, that is what I woulda really love to know. Since when gang or criminal activity become Black culture? Like if criminal culture is representative of Black people. You have many people, Black and White and Red, who celebrate criminal cultures." Spliff in hand, he unsheathes his locks from the towel and flashes them from side to side. They've all seen him do this hundreds of times. Yet, now each of them notices the strength in the individual strands as if seeing Dreadie's locks for the first time. He bellows:
"You know is a youth get shot and kill by the police mek the whole thing blow up in di first place? They seh he had a gun, but before this is all said an' done, I bet we hear he never had one. Just like Smiley Culture. Yuh notice that when the people dem over deh did protest peacefully like for Smiley, the media coverage wasn't so wagga-wagga?****Eh? No body never pay dem no form ah great attention. Now they looting, the world hearing them now. SCHEEUUPPSS. Then why they shouldn't get on bad? You know how many people police kill over deh an' nothing come outta it. Is like,  we over here shoulda rise up bout Michael Stewart back in the day, Diallo, Abner Louima, Sean Bell and countless others. Mek mi waan holla. Like is only then people listen."
The wind shudders through Prospect Park, bristling the leaves steadily.






*Ishence- ganja, in this case
**oonu, wunna - you all
***banna- man, chap, bredren, notes a male
****wagga-wagga -a whole heap, plenty, in abundance


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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Top Seventeen Sayings and Quotes by Marcus Mosiah Garvey

Today, August the seventeenth, is a blessed day in my Journey. On this day a man was born in 1887 who would affect the way I perceive my SELF in relation to my community and my place in the world in general. Black Marcus screamed Self-identity, Self-worth, Self-reliance, Self-improvement, not just in the context of the singular person, but in the greater context of Black Community. In honor of the most Right and Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey's earthstrong/earthlight/earthday (birthday), I have composed this list of seventeen immensely memorable phrases, sayings and quotes from the Prophet that have influenced I, Kaya. SALUTE, Black Marcus!

17. Having had the wrong kind of education, the Negro has become his own greatest enemy.

16. The ends you serve that are selfish will take you no further than yourself but the ends you serve that are for all, in common, will take you into eternity.

15. Chance has never yet satisfied the hope of a suffering people.

14. We must canonize our own saints, create our own martyrs, and elevate to positions of fame and honor black men and women who have made their distinct contributions to our racial history. Sojourner Truth is worthy of the place of sainthood alongside of Joan of Arc; Crispus Attucks and George William Gordon are entitled to the halo of martyrdom with no less glory than that of the martyrs of any other race. Toussaint L'Ouverture's brilliancy as a soldier and statesman outshone that of a Cromwell, Napoleon and Washington; hence, he is entitled to the highest place as a hero among men. Africa has produced countless numbers of men and women, in war and in peace, whose lustre and bravery outshine that of any other people. Then why not see good and perfection in ourselves?

13. If you haven't confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life. With confidence, you have won even before you have started.

12. I do not speak carelessly or recklessly but with a definite object of helping the people, especially those of my race, to know, to understand, and to realize themselves.

11. Lift up yourselves, men, take yourselves out of the mire and hitch your hopes to the very stars themselves. Let no man pull you down, let no man destroy your ambition, because man is but your companion, your equal; man is your brother; he is not your Lord, he is not your sovereign master.

10. The Mystic Touch Many years ago we fell asleep by the sedative of the superman, but the mystic magic of nature wand says awake and rise again. Too long has thou slumbered, too long has time passed you by, your work on earth is delinquent and you cannot reign on high. If it's true that you've awaken, good for you,

9. We must give up the silly idea of folding our hands and waiting on God to do everything for us.If God had intended for that, then he would not have given us a mind. Whatever you want in life, you must make up your mind to do it for yourself
  
8. Liberate the minds of men and ultimately you will liberate the bodies of men.
  
7. We Are Arbiters of Our Own Destiny. God and Nature first made us what we are, and then out of our own creative genius we make ourselves what we want to be. Follow always that great law.
  
6. Our UNION MUST KNOW NO CLIME, BOUNDARY, or NATIONALITY… PRACTICE ONE FAITH, that of Confidence in themselves, with One God! One Aim! One Destiny! Let no religious scruples, no political machination divide us.
  
5. If the white man has the idea of a white God, let him worship his God as he desires. If the yellow man's God is of his race let him worship his God as he sees fit. We, as Negroes, have found a new ideal. Whilst our God has no color, yet it is human to see everything through one's own spectacles, and since the white people have seen their God through white spectacles, we have only now started out (late though it be) to see our God through our own spectacles.The God of Isaac and the God of Jacob let Him exist for the race that believes in the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. We Negroes believe in the God of Ethiopia…

4. I know no national boundary where the Negro is concerned. The whole world is my province until Africa is free.
  
3. Look to Africa for the crowning of a Black king; for the day of deliverance is near.
  
2. A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.
  
1. A reading man and woman is a ready man and woman, but a writing man and woman is exact.






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