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WORDS WE SPEAK is a compilation of interesting stories, facts, comments and observations from cyber friends. If you have any comments on any of these subjects, please send them to divajc47@yahoo.com


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Thanks, Joan Cartwright


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Re: Wilma Mankiller
Friday, April 9, 2010 9:57 PM
From: Gene Tinnie - dinizulu7@gmail.com
To: Joan Cartwright - divajc47@yahoo.com

Wow, Joan, you have been busy!  (I only say that to sound surprised, but I am not.  With your Gaia- consciousness, how could you not be, in these times? Of course, I am much humbled and honored by your inclusion of my comments, which I hope do serve to do some good.)

This is excellent work that you are doing. I was just sharing with my good friend Vince, who keeps me informed on many things, and who was the first to apprise me of "IndiVisible," that this story, at least 500 years overdue in being told, of African/Native American connections, is definitely THE story of this time, and most probably the portal through which we pass (hopefully, prayerfully) to the next level of celebrating and enjoying our sanity rather than wallowing in our madness.

In that very spirit, you are right at that fulcrum between past and future.  We are not quite so finished with the past (nor it with us) that we can pretend to be in "post-racial" Lalaland, for example, and our lust to be free of this burden from the past can very well be more of a weakness than the strength we need to unburden ourselves of it.  Yet, at the same time, there is nothing quite so free as freedom itself, and so much of what deprives us of that freedom is the enemies within ourselves.  (That movie "The Matrix," based on the sista's novel, is one of the best representations of what this is and where we're at.)  You do such a good job of linking your own heritage not just to the contentious issues surrounding Black Indians, etc., but to the larger, better understanding of life and the universe, of which this is but a small part.

As I perused the various articles that are accessed by the link to your site, I see so much evidence of awakening consciousness, and a new and better knowledge of ourselves and the universe emerging.  For example, as obvious as it has always been, I think the notion of Empire is more clear now than it has ever been.  (One link is to a story/interview about the island of  Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, which is still claimed by Great Britain (imagine a British island off its coast being claimed by Diego Garcia), but which was simply emptied of its 2,500 residents, without compensation, to make room for a huge U.S. air and naval base, "needed" to prosecute the war in Afghanistan.  These things are called "wars," as if such a word in the vocabulary of human thought actually made sense or had legitimacy (we might consider such concepts as "slave" or "Indian reservation" in the same light), but the "war" that actually exists is what I heard a brotha once describe eloquently and accurately as "a Civil War of values" being waged in the U.S. (and, arguably, globally). 

When we consider how much material wealth has been accumulated in this country, at the expense of so much impoverishment elsewhere, and then consider how much of that wealth is poured into weapons of surveillance, control, and destruction (as opposed to production), leaving so many in this richest country with so little, we recognize that we, as a nation, are just rereading that pronouncement by Columbus 500 years later, to the rest of the world:  Obey us or we will destroy you with all the hell we can visit upon you.  Is this what is supposed to make us "great"?  Empire: we exist to rule you and you exist to serve us.

We grew up in a society that glorifies military (destructive) power: guns, missiles, bombs, rockets, gunships, "sophisticated weapons delivery systems," etc., etc.  Oh, the thrill of power!  Amaze your friends.  Eliminate your enemies.  How appropriate that the "IndiVisible" exhibition would include my favorite quote from Jimi Hendrix (the first name listed in the Native American Music Hall of Fame, incidentally): "When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace."  

I'll just bore you with one more convoluted story that sheds some light on this I think -- both on the topic itself and on the way the times we are living in produce the stimuli to connect the dots as we become more awake, and vice-versa.  Some years ago, when we were still doing the Pan African Bookfest we were kicking it off with a morning panel discussion featuring some of the Black Seminoles from Oklahoma.  I went to the radio station station (HOT 105) earlier that morning to help promote the event. While there, I am sitting in the studio when Traci Cloyd reports the killing of Alpheus Daley by police in North Miami Beach.  You might recall that the officers emptied their guns, all of the bullets striking him in the back, as he sat in his wheelchair.  (No, I can't imagine an explanation or an excuse either. [I once likened hearing news like this to being forced to drink gasoline; one only prays that the poison will pass through and that we can somehow resume our "normal" lives, after such a reminder of what "normal" is for us, as a society.])   So now I'm supposed to hear this news and then go from there to conduct a panel discussion on history, which doubled as a teacher-training session.

What do I say?  What has any relevance or use at a time like that?  I had to begin by begging indulgence for starting things in left field by sharing this information, with the promise that I would somehow bring it all to home plate -- the reason we were there and what people signed up for, but how?  The Spirit came to the rescue by connecting that morning's incident, and that session, with a dot from the far distant past. Those of us who are teachers, who think what we are teaching is so vital and important, are constantly trying to find ways to make this information relevant to the young people in our charge.  Sometimes it helps to remember when we were that age and what impressed us.  And so it was that morning that I recalled something that stuck with me since I was 10 years old.

Being old enough to have been born during World War II, I grew up with all the movies and comic books about heroes killing "Japs," and we, as children, took it on (the same way we sided with the cowboys against the Indians).  Then, not long after my family finally got our first TV set, I am watching this documentary, seeing for the first time, film footage of the war from the Japanese side.  The scene being shown was a dusty, hazy wasteland, where people -- civilians: mothers with children, elders, etc. -- were walking around the wreck of a B-29 bomber (the same make and model that delivered the goods to Hiroshima and Nagasaki).  The people looked like curiosity seekers the world over, but what the narrator said struck me deeply and never left me.  In stentorian tones, he pronounced that "The Boeing B-29 Superfortress was the most formidable weapon in the world..."  OK, so far so good - familiar territory, and we know what to expect: some gloating statement about the Japanese having the power to bring one down to earth, but that is not what came next.  The narrator continues, "Yet, to these Japanese, this aircraft is not a symbol of American power, but a symbol of American fear."  You know that word "epiphany" that gets so used these days?  Well, I knew of no such word, or even of such a category of experience, but I knew in that moment a whole new world of understanding opened up, and I knew I would never be the same.

The very next day we were playing ball in the street, and one of those green NYPD paddy wagons came racing up the street toward us, horn blasting to clear us out of the way, as we scattered like so many pests in its way.  Power!  As the two cops inside passed by with impudent scowls on their red faces, and looking out-of-shape with their pot bellies, there it was, revealed for what it was: Fear.  I never really forgot that even though the specific memory may have faded into some deep interior space until that morning, and that incident, and that gathering triggered its providential recall.

That verbose example (which just got triggered again) is but one channel, so to speak, by which this collective awakening is taking place.  I use it to say that there are others, like the whole opening of awareness that the "IndiVisible" exhibition represents.  And this whole body of work that you have been connecting is yet another.  Truly, as arbitrary as our calendar might be, we are in the dawning of a new day, a new time, a new century and a new millennium, where what had been hidden for so long in darkness is now forcibly coming to light.  There will be the madness of those, like the wannabe empire-makers, who are so addicted to their undeserved power and so deformed by it that they will lash out madly and make the world a very dangerous place for most of us, but this is what makes the power of love -- and your work -- so absolutely necessary and so appreciated, even more so by the generations to come.

Keep up the good!

Manning Marable