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Archive for the ‘Commentary’ Category

I Do Not Consent: Musings on Sexual Terrorism

In Commentary on November 18, 2009 at 6:35 pm

I am the history of rape

I am the history of the rejection of who I am

I am the history of the terrorized incarceration of

myself

I am the history of battery assault and limitless

armies against whatever I want to do with my mind

and my body and my soul and

whether it’s about walking out at night

or whether it’s about the love that I feel or

whether it’s about the sanctity of my vagina or

the sanctity of my national boundaries

or the sanctity of my leaders or the sanctity

of each and every desire

that I know from my personal and idiosyncratic

and indisputably single and singular heart

I have been raped

From A Poem About My Rights by- June Jordan

I have been steadily dodging the writing of this blogpost, however the words you are reading haunt me.  I would like to say that my thoughts about rape began just a few months back, but this would be a lie.  As a woman, and especially a Black woman, unkept and unsafe, the threat of rape is almost as constant as breathing and books.  What I will say is that rape has been at the forefront of my thoughts since POTUS Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, which may seem odd, although it is not.  Once the announcement was made, I became curious to see who else had been

nominated.  I consider myself solution oriented and felt that if I would denounce my support of the committee’s choice, I certainly would need to provide the name of a more deserving victor.

As I searched the list and read the stories, one name in particular was familiar to me, although unfortunately not in cheer. It was Dr. Denis Mukwege, a Congolese gynecologist, who has dedicated his life to treating the women of DRC who are the victims of rapes so brutal that I would need an entirely separate blogpost to describe them.  Dr. Mukwege’s hospital is overrun with battered, tortured, mutilated women, whose only offense in this world is being born into it. In one province alone, over 27,000 rapes were reported, which accounts for at least 70% of the women living there.  While addressing the US Senate last year Dr. Mukwege made the following statement, that has etched it’s way into my memory much like my favorite lovers or Baldwin quotes, “It is important to point out that this sexual terrorism is done in a methodical manner”.  It had never occurred to me previously to describe rape as terrorist or methodical, but therein lies the truth of it.

Moving forward in time, again my thoughts and heart are bombarded with the ugliness of rape after reading an article about a fifteen year old girl being gang raped by five boys as more than twenty people spectated.  My blood boiled so terribly that I assumed it was fever and that this world had been successful in literally making me sick.  And as I spoke about the incident on twitter, I began to receive all of these private messages from women who had been victims of gang rapes themselves.  I didn’t want to believe that such violence against women was so prevalent, so commonplace. Subsequently, the days and nights following the details of that rape were exhausting.  Thoughts of my and my daughter’s safety began to eat away at my sleeping hours, and I kept wanting to embrace all of the women who contacted me, somehow allowing my love to spill through my pores, providing protection where others had failed them.  Yes rape is terrible and a terror, even for those women not raped.

Rape is terrorism, especially if one defines terrorism as, “the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce”.  Certainly, there is no stronger example that one could present to contest an individual’s (and possibly a group’s) humanity than a publicly viewed rape and torture, as were the cases in the Congo and in California.   Suddenly there did not seem to be so much distance between the US and the DRC.  Consequently, as tragic as these rapes are we cannot afford to limit our anger and remorse to these specific cases of abuse.  Sexual violence against women also includes sexual harassment/extortion, spousal abuse, incest and child rape (May peace be upon Shaniya Davis), forced sterilizations, and an overall inability to choose, as a woman, what happens to one’s body.   My revolutionary crush, Angela Davis, agrees, which I noted while reading an address she presented at Florida State University in 1985 entitled, We Do Not Consent: Violence Against Women in a Racist Society. She writes:

These particular manifestations of violence against women are situated on a larger continuum of socially inflicted violence, which includes concerted, systematic violations of women’s economic and political rights. As has been the case throughout history, these attacks most gravely affect women of color than their white working-class sisters.   The dreadful rape epidemic of our times, which has become so widespread that one out of every three women in this country can expect to be raped at some point during her life, grimly mirrors the deteriorating economic and social status of women today.

If we disconnect rape, and consequently, all sexual violence against women, from their socio-economic foundations, we cannot adequately discuss solutions to said abuses.  We dis-serve women by only acting or objecting to sexual abuse in extreme cases.  We have to understand that a woman should control her reproduction, or desired lack thereof- and be allowed to do so safely and with no judgment.  We must admit that, no matter how “provocatively” dressed or sexually explicit a woman appears to be, we have no right to objectify her and/or harass her.  We cannot emotionally abuse women, use women, treat them as receptacles, even if they contend that such treatment is okay, because we know that it is not. We have to sincerely view women as human beings before we can wholeheartedly respect and protect them.

There is no truth but this.

Please read the rest of June Jordan’s poem A Poem About My Rights here:

http://twurl.cc/20v2

To truly understand the intersection of race, class and gender, please read Angela Y Davis’ Women, Culture and Politics

More on Dr. Denis Mukwege and his mission here:

http://twurl.cc/20z8

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Word Wisdom

In Commentary, Contemplations, Words on August 19, 2009 at 5:34 pm

Words without thoughts never to heaven go ~ Shakespeare

I apologize for neglecting you all, as somehow, twitter has become my new blogspot. I attribute my frequent, sometimes ten in a row, tweets to my Muse grabbing hold of me and not relinquishing control until I am able to fully commit her words to the universe. Her words, like those of Djehuty (Toth in Greek), must be pronounced in that moment.

Djehuty is the Kemetic Neter (God) considered to be Ra’s heart and tongue, and the only Neter that can translate His will. The Greek translation of his name is believed by Kemetologist to be where the word thought originates.  Africans, and yes Kemet-Egypt is a part of Africa, have always understood the power in the translation of thoughts through the words we speak, write, and commit into being. In short, our words become our essence and our actions.

Do you not believe me? Take a moment to view Dr. Masura Emoto’s study concerning the crystalization of water. In part of his experiement glasses of water were exposed to negative and positive words. The water in the glasses crystalized differently, with the negative words creating dark sludge-like crystalizations.  If negative and positive words can affect water in such a manner, imagine how they can affect the heart of men.

Part of the reason that I chose writing and literature as a focus of my academic studies, and the reason that I write poetry, live my life on twitter, and bother you all with my blogs, is because I feel a close and personal attachment to word transmission (I include written and spoken words in this definition).  Words affect me deeply and concretely, and my latest life lesson has been to realize that others do not share this same connection.  We are socialized to believe that words can never hurt us, which is one of the greatest fallacies propagated as cruel words leave the deepest scars and are the hardest to heal from. By that same standard, kind words can deliver us, resurrect us, and free us; even if only from ourselves- which is why we prosper from self-affirmation.

Beautiful ones- I said all of that to say, choose you words wisely as they create the person you are.  Also realize the positive and negative words you say form and transform others; it is a very cumbersome but honest realization.

Sade beautifully illustrates my thoughts of today in her song “Every Word”. Enjoy…

Justice for Jada

In Commentary, Contemplations on June 26, 2009 at 10:51 pm

jada-justice-2

(Jada- may she be better cared for above than she was below.)

 

‘Children are the reward of life.’

It is the Congolese Proverb that we chose as the theme for our shower when Nailah was born. Nailah, my now rambunctious three year old daughter, was born prematurely at six months- weighing only 17 ounces.  I went to the hospital every day during those four months; pumping breast milk, praying, holding, hoping that my belief in her and God would not falter. I gave her every ounce of love I had within me, knowing that nothing but love would bring both of us through. One day after leaving the hospital, I witnessed a woman verbally abusing her small children, and me distinctly wanting to strangle her. In that moment I gathered that those feelings were probably attributed the stress of trying to keep my breast milk flowing, or the exhaustion of trekking through those hospital corridors everyday. In hindsight though, I realize that it was the fact that I, who had done everything I could to have a healthy baby, had one who was clinging to life, and she, who had healthy children, was berating them because they moved too much in their chairs. It wasn’t at all fair.  I recall vividly my mother telling me that life isn’t fair or filled with justice, so I might as well get used to it.  No truer words have been spoken.  I knew then, even in my anger, that we live in an absurd world where fairness is about as absent as clarity. My mother’s words and my work at answering all of the “how comes” in life have yet to erase the faces of those poor babies or that encounter.

Fast forward to June 16, 2009, I sat reading an article about a missing child, Jada Justice, who had allegedly gone missing while left unattended on the side of a gas station in an unlocked car at 9:30 pm.  I immediately became emotionally attached to the story because in one of the photos provided Jada resembled Nailah.  As the days passed, I heard less and less about her. The SC Governor- yes, Neda- yes, but no Jada. I watched Nancy Grace, whom I somewhat despise because of her failure to report on the cases of missing black and brown children, and found nothing past one mention of her.  Finally, in the midst of hearing of the passing of Michael Jackson, I read that Jada’s body was found.  The emptiness that I felt within my spirit, well, I can’t seem to adequately pronounce or articulate it. I think I have been holding my daughter nearly to the point of suffocation since I read the news.

Somehow, I feel that we failed to protect Jada. She was neglected, obviously, both in her life and in her death, but she is not the only one.  Mainstream media neglects to adequately report on our children who are missing, abused, or murdered.  I consider Caylee Anthony and the amazing news reports that meticulously guided us through the search for her, and even her mother’s trial after it was determined that she obviously murdered her daughter.  I dare you to search the two names and witness the difference in available information regarding the two girls. The search results should at least sour your stomach, if you are strong enough to subdue regurgitation.

I want justice for Jada, probably to the point of forming a group of vigilantes to avenge her death.  I would also like to have street fights with whomever chooses the news stories that are produced in these mainstream media outlets.  The rage that is conjured from hopelessness is more than likely the strongest rage that one can possess, I figure, and can turn a kind intellectual into a mad-woman.  In the least, I can pass on Jada’s story and shed light on the not-so alarming, not-so new trend of neglecting to report on our children:

http://bit.ly/7OOhJ      Jada’s story

http://bit.ly/rXOzj         Missing Black children get less media coverage.

http://bit.ly/15jXoN     What color is that baby?

http://bit.ly/AsoDi         Where is Jada? Missing Black girl ignored…

Kiss your(or someones) babies tonight and pray for Jada’s family. Along with doing those two things I also plan to wish upon a star that there is a special place in hell for the people who abuse, abduct, and murder children, and those who make conscious choices not to report such events.

I am sick to have to add an update to this post, however the following article outlines the details of Jada’s murder. I really have no other words.

http://twitthis.com/vyeuks

 

The Old Bait and Switch

In Commentary on June 17, 2009 at 6:55 pm

The Family of Omar Edwards

(the grieving family of Omar Edwards @ his funeral)

So, Twitter has become my universe …and during our steady and rather hot and heavy courtship I have met some amazingly insightful folks.

[Shout out to pricelessrock, hellobrooklyn, gmanspeaks, theblackreport, diggswayne…the ENTIRE list would consume my bog]

At any rate, gmanspeaks and I were tweeting about the election in Iran and I couldn’t help but be a bit soured by the media frenzy surrounding it.  First and foremost- and let’s just be honest about this- that election, it’s outcomes, and the US response to those outcomes was decided long before CNN started reporting them.  I know this game. I refuse to be a pawn and feel that I have some type of say in such events. We can’t even effectively elect our own presidents in this country (oh…shots fired!). No disrespect to the plight of the Iranian people. I know oppression and disenfranchisement well.  But it is their fight to fight, just as ours has been our own. In actuality, the Iranian government made a wise choice in denying access to outside media covering it’s election and the events that followed simply because inacruate media spin can be extremely detrimental to a nation’s peace and cohesion. Yes, I too got all caught up in whether  Mahmoud Ahmadinejad REALLY won the election and became a bit obsessed with the coverage. I then had a wonderful AHA moment. First of all, I remembered that I have not only distrust for, but moreso an actual contempt for US mainstream media. I also remembered that there are plenty of causes for me to be concerned about that directly affect me and the advancement of my people right here, right now.

Why are we so easily brainwashed, tricked, and bamboozled? How come we care more about things that happen outside of our community than we care about things that happen within it? I conclude that our causes are being beaten by the old bait and switch.

So while you contemplate the outcomes of the Iranian election, also ponder these under-reported news stories. Realize that they are under-reported for a reason.

Ignoring Romona Moore:                http://twurl.cc/14t3

The MURDER of Omar Edwards:   http://twurl.cc/14t5

Don’t Shoot, I Want To Grow Up: http://bit.ly/15n5p9

Paris, TX Dragging Case:                  http://twurl.cc/152y

Truth be told, WE ARE DYING. A new president in Iran will not stop this fact, just as a new president in America has not.  Let us be clear in our understandings and endeavors AND keep our eyes on the prize.

Word!

Black Self Hate and Reparations.

In Commentary on June 10, 2009 at 4:38 pm

African HolocaustA young white man sent me a message on myspace asking my opinion on a few things Black. Apparently he saw some comments that I posted on another page regarding my feelings on the last Common album and admitted that although he is a big Common fan, he does not approve of the reparations movement and wanted insight into “black internalized racism” and “white guilt”. Random right? Well, the older I get the more I realize that there are no coincidences in life.

So you know I kicked about three pages of jewels his way-complete with reading suggestions (cause I’m a nerd like that).  I was not surprised that he disagreed with most of my opinions disguised as fact (really aren’t facts just well researched and stated opinions). I don’t get how whites can have so much love for and identify with artist like Common, Dead Prez, Damian Marley, Nas etc. and stilll contend that black people don’t deserve reparations for our struggles; I should somehow overstand that it’s similar to white men raping and impregnating Black slave women and murdering or selling their flesh and blood children…it’s not supposed to make sense.  So I roll on, with another battle partially won.

What did surprise and frustrate me however was chopping game with my brother in law who admitted two things to me that made me very conscious of an internal sickness that we all suffer with:

1. He said that he doesn’t think that black people should be paid reparations.

2. He said that the Maafa (my word choice of course) and the Jewish Holocaust were close as far as horror and atrocity.

I quickly began my spill about how every other ethnic group in the world who has been oppressed and brutalized have been paid reparations, including indigenous Americans, Jews, Vietnamese,Chinese, Japanese etc. I then asked what made him feel that he and his people deserved less than the others, when we suffered more than a majority of these other groups?

I also explained that his comments about the Jewish Holocaust and the Maafa being similar was due to propaganda and the perpetuation of a Jewish agenda that will forever bombard us with images of their suffering. The Jewish Holocaust lasted around five to ten years (I’ve studies timelines- correct me if I am wrong), while the Maafa lasted over four hundred years if you begin counting from the time when Europeans set foot on African soil until they left their “colonies”. The number of lives lost is incomparable; period.

You must admire the Jews for the love, pride, and solidarity that they demonstrate regarding their race and struggle.  There theme of “We must never forget” rings in the ears of mankind everytime people suffer and go unrescued (well except in cases like New Orleans, Rwanda, Sudan, or Haiti, but I digress).

So how come black people don’t feel the same way? Well the brotha Cornell West sums it up beautifully.

“White supremacists ideology is based first and foremost on the degradation of black bodies in order to control them…..By convincing them that their bodies are ugly, their intellect is inherently underdeveloped, their culture is less civilized, and their future warrants less concern than that of other peoples.

Cornel West 1954-

Please read the linked article “Mental Enslavement” written by Kimani Hehusi  http://twurl.cc/13aq