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Friday, August 24, 2018

Wanted: Abeng Guest Bloggers, Writers and Contributors

Greetings, all Writers, photographers and content creators!

The Abeng and My Conscious Pen is seeking short stories, news reports, articles, profiles and essays from the Black (African) Diaspora. Pieces/work must shed light on the black experience, its struggles and triumphs. Content must be informative, enlightening, inspirational and engaging; writers must express and reveal the human condition. Please keep in mind that an Abeng is a symbol of freedom and Conscious Pen refers to the writer's inward awareness (spiritual, conscientious, psychological) of the outward/worldly object or experience about which he/she is writing.
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We are looking for global voices from writers and/or bloggers who wish to utilize our platform so their voices can be heard. Please send submissions to Editor

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*The Abeng and My Conscious Pen does not currently purchase content; if chosen, your work can serve as a published article for your personal portfolio and each writer WILL retain ALL copyrights. Full credit will be given for your writing.

You can also query Editor about being a regular contributor. Regular contributing writers will be given a profile on our page. 

Friday, August 17, 2018

Reading is The Right and Honorable Thing, Quotes by Marcus Mosiah Garvey

Marcus Garvey's father had an extensive library in his home and as a boy, Marcus spent countless hours reading every book he could dig his nose into. Garvey's ideas were definitely BIG, grand, outside the box, imaginative. His Pan-African  thinking was so far advanced for his time. For example, he imagined an African Union before there was such a thing and dreamed of the motherland being developed by Africans, at home and abroad. 
Moral of the story: Read! And start a library for your youth.

"Read!" Marcus Garvey instructed.
"Use every spare minute you have in reading. If you are going on a journey that would take you an hour carry something with you to read for that hour until you have reached the place. If you are sitting down waiting for somebody, have something in your pocket to read until the person comes. Don't waste time. Any time you think you have to waste put it in reading something. Carry with you a small pocket dictionary and study words whilst waiting or travelling, or a small pocket volume on some particular subject. Read through at least one book every week separate and distinct from your newspapers and journals. "

"Never forget that intelligence rules the world and ignorance carries the burden."

"The greatest men and women in the world burn the midnight lamp. That is to say, when their neighbours and household are gone to bed, they are reading, studying and thinking. When they rise in the morning they are always ahead of their neighbours and their household in the thing that they were studying[,] reading and thinking of. A daily repetition of that will carry them daily ahead and above their neighbours and household. Practise this rule. It is wise to study a couple of subjects at a time. As for instance a little geography, a little psychology, a little ethics, a little theology, a little philosophy, a little mathematics, a little science on which a sound academic education is built."

"One must never stop reading. Read every thing that you can that is of standard knowledge. Don't waste time reading trashy literature... The idea is that personal experience is not enough for a human to get all the useful knowledge of life, because the individual life is too short, so we must feed on the experience of others."

"Read history incessantly until you master it, This means your own national history, the history of the world - social history industrial history and the history of the different sciences; but primarily the history of man. If you do not know what went on before you came here and what is happening at the time you live, but away from you, you will not know the world and will be ignorant of the world and mankind."

"A reading man or woman is a ready man or woman; but a writing man or woman is exact."

If you want more Marcus Garvey quotes, check these out!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Dutty Boukman in Bwa Kayiman (Bois Caiman)

Dutty Boukman in Bwa Kayiman (Bois Caïman

It is told that on the steamy, Caribbean night of August 14th, back in 1791 a slave named Boukman  ignited the Haitian Revolution during a secret vodou ceremony in Bwa Kayiman (Kreyol meaning literally, Alligator or Caiman Woods: Bois Caiman in French) in Morne Rouge, which is in northern Haiti. Boukman was a hougan (priest) and along with mambo (female priest) Cecil Fatiman, officiated the meeting where they planned the insurrection and held religious, vodou ritual, in preparation for what would become the most successful revolt and the greatest, far-reaching event in Caribbean history - The Haitian Revolution.

Dutty Boukman

Boukman is said to have been a big, strapping, fierce man, and like many of the early leaders of the Haitian Revolution, he held a position of power on his plantation (he was a slave driver and eventual coachman). Many of the 200-300 attendees at the Bwa Kayiman ceremony held such positions, or were chosen leaders of their specific plantations. The meeting held both political and religious significance - it culminated months of insurrectionist planning and strategizing; and, it served as spiritual, inspirational rally for the impending revolution. At Bwa Kayiman, the beginning of the Haitian Revolution was set for one week later.

Much of the information about Boukman and Bwa Kayiman was written many years after the event, so it's difficult to separate fact from myth. Many say that he was a literate Jamaican slave, Bookman, who taught other slaves in Jamaica to read and so was sold to a plantation in Saint Domingue. Some staunch Haitian historians insist that he was pure Haitian, and suspect that foreign people of African descent are trying to high jack Haitian history to support their own agendas. Since the 1990's, there has been a mostly African-American movement (but which included former Haitian president Aristide) to "Islamasize" Bwa Kayiman and Boukman, claiming Bookman was a "man of the Book" (Koran) and that Bwa Kayiman was in fact Bwa Kay Iman the woods by the Iman's house).

To be continued

Boukman's Prayer in Kreyol

"Bon Dje ki la . Ki soley ki klere nou enro. Bon Dje ki soulve  lanmè. Ki gronde loray. Bon Dje nou ki gen zorey pou tande. Ou ki  kache nan niaj. Kap gade nou kote ou ye la. Ou we tout sa blan nou sibi. Dje blan yo  mande krim. Bon Dje ki nan nou an vle byen . Bon Dje nou an ki si bon,  ki si jis, li ordone  vanjans. Se li kap kondui branou pou nou ranpote la viktwa. Se li kap ba  nou asistans. Nou tout fet pou nou jete potre dje Blan yo ki swaf dlo  lan zye. Koute vwa la libète kap chante lan nou."

Boukman's Prayers as translated by C.L.R. James 

"The god who created the sun which gives us light, who rouses the waves and rules the storm, though hidden in the clouds, he watches us. He sees all that the white man does. The god of the white man inspires him with the crime, but our god calls upon us to do good works. Our god who is good to us orders us to revenge our wrongs. He will direct our arms and aid us. Throw away the symbol of the god of the whites who has so often caused us to weep, and listen to the voice of liberty, which speaks in the hearts of us all." 

Boukman's Prayer as translated by

"Good Lord who hath made the sun that shines above us, that riseth from the sea, who maketh the storm to roar; and governteth the thunders. The Lord is hidden in the heavens, and there He watcheth over us. The Lord seeth what the blanc (whites) have done. Their god commandeth crimes, ours givethe the blessings upon us. The Good Lord (Bondye) hath ordained vengeance. He will give strength to our arms and courage to our hearts. He shall sustain us. Cast down the image of the god of the blanc, because he maketh the tears to flow from our eye. Hearken unto Liberty that speaketh now in all your hearts."

Boukman's Prayer Translation by

"The god who created the earth; who created the sun that gives us light.The god who holds up the ocean; who makes the thunder  roar. Our God who has ears to hear. You who are hidden in the clouds; who watch us from where you are. You see all that the white has made us suffer. The white man's god asks him to commit crimes. But the god within us wants to do good. Our god, who is so good, so just, He orders us to revenge our wrongs. It's He who will direct our arms and bring us the victory. It's He who will assist us. We all should throw away the image of the white men's god who is so pitiless. Listen to the voice for liberty that sings in all our hearts."

Cecile Fatiman
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