by Malaika Kambon
In our land, bullets are beginning to flower
Poem by Jorge Rebelo
come show me the marks of revolt
which the enemy left on your body
Come, say to me “Here
my hands have been crushed
because they defended
the land which they own”
“Here my body was tortured
because it refused to bend
“Here my mouth was wounded
because it dared to sing
my people’s freedom”
Come, brother, and tell me your life
come relate me the dreams of revolt
which you and your fathers and forefathers
through shadowless nights made for love
Come tell me these dreams become
the birth of heroes,
mothers who, fearless,
send their sons to fight.
Come, tell me all this, my brother.
And later I will forge simple words
which even the children can understand
words which will enter every house
like the wind
and fall like red hot embers
on our people’s souls.
In our land
Bullets are beginning to flower.
- What do we do about the crippling double standards that we see every day?
- How do we destroy the institutions that have sought our destruction from their inception?
- How do we STOP the killing of our collective and individual peoples by murderous police?
- How do we stop the killing of each other?
- What do we do to regain our sovereignty?
- How do we change “just-us” to justice?
- How do we provide for our basic needs and lives – when we live in a global system that was birthed upon the need for us to die, so as to take and to savage what we have to support and expand itself?
- What do we Afrikans do, as the Dred Scott decision of 1857 [in which Chief Justice Roger B. Taney declared that Blacks, whether enslaved or free, were not and could never become citizens of the United States and “had no rights which the white man was bound to respect” – ed.] is revisited at every turn?
- What do we tell our children when these things happen century after century?
These questions and many more have been pertinent since Cristobal Colon and the Catholic church began building industrial capitalism on the backs of Afrikan enslavement.
Aware, astute communities have grappled daily with the aftermath of this MAAFA every since.
Unfortunately, for most of us, we must also grapple with survival after an insidious system robs us of our health, livelihood and, most horribly, the life of a loved one.
Such is the case for the family of warrior-ancestor Oscar Grant III.
On the first of January 2009 our warrior-ancestor was snatched from this plane of existence violently by the hand of imperialism’s servants, the police. Several of these minions first tortured and brutalized our brother, then tied him up, held him down and shot him, leaving his body broken, bleeding and dying on a Bay Area Rapid Transit platform in mid-east Oakland.
This was a brutalization of his family as well – close knit, quiet, aware and strong.
The state’s instruments for this gang-style execution were ex-BART employee and killer cop Johannes Mehserle and his friends.
Mehserle is built like an ox, possesses the IQ of a handball and the emotional stability of a teaspoon. In other words, he is an idiot who was given a license to kill, and into whose hands were placed the weaponry to do so with deadly force – and backup. No mind was attached, for he has none. His only active brain cell was already corrupted with the stench and sickness of his genocidal ancestor, one Willie Lynch.
And the tool that he used – his gun – was made to disappear.
In court for sentencing this past Nov. 5, 2010, Mehserle pretended to cry big weepy non-existent crocodile tears, feigning grief and pretending to be upset that he tortured, verbally abused, tied up, shot and then handcuffed ancestor-warrior Oscar Grant III, claiming that the ancestor was reaching for a weapon in his pants pocket.
It was an Oscar winning performance – their Oscar, not ours. And for his orchestrated tears, Mehserle got two years jail time with 292 days credit for time served and “good behavior.” So he actually got one year, two months and 13 days [or, according to San Francisco Chronicle blogger Yobie Benjamin, as little as 72 additional days – ed.] for the lynching of an Afrikan Man.
His attorney wanted him freed and says he will appeal.
Yet in spite of the heinous double standard that this represents, the people of the world, from Haiti to South Africa to the south sides of the north, south, east and west sides of the peoples’ hoods in the land of snakes, U.S.A., have not been fooled – or foiled – in this vital part of our struggle for liberation, for that is how we must view our fights for justice.
We are not fooled by the corporate media hype that criminalizes our righteous struggle. We are not the dunces and idiots that the ravening beast of imperialism wishes us to be. We have rejected Mehserle’s deposit, and in so doing, we are coming just that much closer to the answers that we will need to find to resolve this centuries-old conflict with a decadent system that has been brutalizing us all.
“Just us” was duly served. Justice was absent.
Those of us who are abolitionists, in the finest traditions of Frederick Douglass and of Harriet Tubman, are not surprised.
As our brother lay dying from police inflicted trauma to his head, and a gun shot wound made by a bullet that passed through his body, hit the concrete platform and then ricocheted through his body yet again – Mehserle showed no signs of remorse.
But they need to beware. Afrikan people have fought atrocities such as this, yet another piece of the 600-year MAAFA against us, from the beginning. We have won countless battles. In Haiti, we won the war. We will do so again.
As we fight for our true Afrikan liberation, there are peoples of different creeds, faiths and sovereignties – some (not all) having fought from the beginning as well, recognizing the unity that binds peoples of color, pushing back the system’s divisions and its attempts to conquer, terrorize and stop us.
But we must free ourselves.
Warrior-ancestor Oscar Grant III was, is and shall forever more be another of our Black Shining Princes, in the finest tradition of El Hajj Malik El Shabazz. He is ours to claim and no one can take him from us.
In fact, there are so many more of us being born each day that we should realize that we haven’t ever been, nor will we ever be any kind of minority.
We are now tired of being sick and tired of being sick and tired.
Thus it is that unbeknownst to the arrogant, imperial beast: Its system is about to be crushed.
To this end, two recent events combined stunning visual artistry in the form of rallies and in an Art and Poetry Showcase to educate, liberate and fight for freedom – and both rallies did indeed showcase the many faces of warrior-ancestor Oscar Grant III and Mumia Abu-Jamal.
We also came to strategize, organize, network, speak out and to pay our respects to an Afrikan man who – though he has left this plane of existence – will not ever be forgotten.
On Nov. 9, 2010, more people returned to continue to fight for Mumia Abu-Jamal, yet another Afrikan man whose life is being threatened by the same corrupt system of courts, cops and politicians who are equally as responsible for the murder of our ancestor-warrior Oscar Grant III.
These are all ours. They are our young Black men. We must fight for them as our own.
We must continue to fight to achieve justice for warrior-ancestor Grant, Derrick Jones and all of our men, women and children who have fallen.
And we must save and free Mumia Abu-Jamal.
One battle, many fronts! Pamojas tutashinda! (Together we will win!)
- Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner – [The Blog]: “Killer Cop Gets Away with Murder: Johannes Mehserle Gets Two Years with Credit for Time Served!”
- People’s Eye Photography: “The Many Faces Of Oscar Grant III and Mumia Abu-Jamal”
Malaika H. Kambon is a freelance photojournalist and owner of People’s Eye Photography and an MA candidate in Interdisciplinary Studies at San Francisco State University. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.