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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 lazily 'pon 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 Makeda

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.
***Ras Awde Amet literally Head Anniversary. This term is preferred by the EOC/Ethiopian Coptic

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

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
Breath, Chalice, Fire
Man, Wombman, Child
 Light, Love, Life
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
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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