Sunday, February 19, 2006

Yesterday...is no Joke...

I have a picture of this doorway in an ancient building that still stands on Goree Island, Senegal. Back in "the good old days," there was a pier that led from that doorway and directly to the hulls of Portuguese, French, Dutch, Spanish and British ships with empty bellies awaiting newly "purchased" sepia-toned cargo...all of Europe, then, a couple hundred years out of the throes of what's now called "The Dark Ages" having not quite reached the Industrial Age
, needed a quick fix to get their economies competitive. (sound familiar?) At this point, humanity itself entered a new dark age -- one that we've yet to fully recover from...Just ask the people stuck on that bridge during Hurricane Katrina if they're feeling it...The pic that I have pasted on the wall just above my computer's monitor is framed by the image above with the silhouette of an African woman in head garb standing inside of it. In the days that it was most heavily trafficked by people, black humans were driven from the African mainland to the Senegalese coast to be sold and exported as laborers/human livestock in faraway lands that Europeans dubbed "the New World." I won't start rantin' and ravin' about all the shite that's been going on every since the Portuguese set foot on the soil of the shores of the cradle of humanity...I'll tell a joke an old, wise black man told me, instead:


There were two Africans chained together on a slave ship. Their white captors were mercilessly whipping the men, raping the women and throwing people in chained groups overboard. Those who weren't getting arbitrarily abused were forced to row the ship when the wind stopped blowing, below decks." "Among the groups of captives there were two West Africans chained side by side on the same oar. One slave, who was contemplating an escape, revolt or a suicide looked over at the other African chained to him. The second captive was smiling to himself but speaking to no one else on board. The first Aftrican looked over at the other and asked him - "Why are you smiling?" The second looked over at him and and replied: "Yesterday I was a king."

Note: I try to remember the poignancy and message of that joke to keep myself in check...that I don't forget where I come from...that I come from a noble people on par with any others'...that I know my worth and that I stay on the path...that's why I keep that photo in a prominent place. Laters, CP...

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