Breaking the Silence: Fulfilling The Promise
by Marimba Ani
Amura Onaa tells us that when our Ancestors were being torn apart from each other, we looked into each other’s eyes and made a solemn promise. We promised to reconnect with each other so that this tearing apart would never happen again. It is the Afrikan belief that we are our Ancestors reborn, and through this spiritual rebirth, we gain eternal life. The promise could only be fulfilled by future generations returning as Afrikans who had made this sacred promise to each other. What our Ancestors suffered over centuries, could only have been survived because they had hope. But what could possibly have given them cause for hope? If they had not survived and bore children who bore children who bore children, we would not be here. It is the Afrikan belief that we choose to be born when we are in the spirit world, and that we make a contract to fulfill a purpose in this life. All of this can only mean that we have chosen to be born Afrikan and that we are
the hope of our Ancestors. Our purpose on this earth is to avenge our Ancestors and to achieve the victory: Afrikan sovereignty through a Pan-Afrikan world order based on the principles of MAAT. It is our choice to fulfill The Promise to our Ancestors by achieving the victory denied them.
It is now Tuesday, November 4, 2008. Is this the final act of assimilation, accommodation, and integration? Is this how we are fulfilling our promise to the Ancestors? Has America made restitution for what was done to them, still being done to us? Is the Maafa over or has it merely morphed into another, more insidious form of genocide? Are we now experiencing a life-threatening condition of cultural AIDS in which our immune system has turned on itself? Has the Yurugu virus mutated so that it looks like us? Are we participating in our own self-destruction?
We are witnessing a time of the most blatant acts of genocide such as “Katrina” (Maafa - 2005), in which thousands of our people were slaughtered, left to die, placed in disease-producing holding pens, forcibly relocated, separated from their families and support-systems, and their (our) children “lost”, all this for the purpose of corporate profit and for the illegal misappropriation of land.
In our time, Afrikan mothers are being incarcerated in increasing numbers, so that their presence in the u.s. prison system almost equals that of Afrikan men and fathers, who have, for more than a century, been sacrificed to the prison-industrial complex.
We are living in the time of Blackwater, mercenaries used by government and corporations. We are living in the time of American support of European Hegemony taken to the most extreme levels ever in history. We watch as America’s bank, the so-called “world bank,” sucks the life out of Afrika, Jamaica and other Black nations. We are living in the time of the IMF, the Federal Reserve, the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Bilderbergers and more.
The Patriot Act is an updated McCarran Act of 1950. We are living in a time that can be understood as part of “the process of Fascism”. Fascism creates a demon, sells this demonization to the public, then uses it to control (intimidate, detain, torture, kill) anyone who challenges the state’s abuse of human rights. In the l950’s the demons were the “subversives,” and the “communists” ´throughout the “cold war,” in 1968, following the assassination of Dr. King, the demons were those suspected of being “guerrillas”, and by 2001 the term “terrorists” had been accepted as describing the new “demons.” Should we allow the original, the real terrorists to define “terrorism” ?
This brief statement is only meant to point to the reality of the times in which we live, the political legacy that we have inherited as “americans,” and what we need to be aware of at this “historic” moment. In the 1960’s, our people were regarded by the rest of the world as leaders in the struggle for human rights as we fought to expose and confront the genocidal policies perpetrated by the american government towards Afrikan people in the u.s.
We stopped organizing. We stopped confronting “the system.” We became part of “the system.” We sent our sons to fight for u.s. monetary gain. We did not see value in self-determination, self-definition, and self-reliance for our people. Those who were politically conscious read and talked about ancient history. We no longer concerned ourselves with contemporary events, systems, or political realities. Instead of expanding our movement to become a world movement, a truly Pan-Afrikan movement, we were content to become “individuals” in the “greatest” (most materially powerful) country in the world.
So now we are “making history” by being swept up in someone else’s definition of what history is. We are “making history,” by capitulating to integration, accommodation, and assimilation. We have reached the mountain top, for we have been able to vote for a “first to.” The struggle is over. We have won. We can proudly say that one of our people represents the most repressive, destructive, inhumane, anti-Afrikan nation ever to have existed! We are proud to be part of a multinational corporate structure run by sociopathic adolescents who think nothing of stealing from their own people. (Imagine what they will do to us.)
We say that we vote because our Ancestors died to get the vote. Yes, if you decide to vote, that is your “right.” Do not, however, blame it on “the Ancestors.” That’s like saying Black people died to go to school with white people, so I will make sure that my children go to white schools. I have a personal experience of that Movement. Registering to vote in Mississippi was a means of confronting a system of oppression head on. Today we vote to avoid confrontation with a system that is Fascist. In Mississippi, attempting to register, meant putting your life on the line, if you were Black. This effort became part of a strategy to expose the system of oppression that existed in this country, which continues to exist even though we, Black people, can now “vote” (even in Mississippi). No, that is not what our Ancestors died for. They died to fulfill The Promise. And that is the question that we should raise. “What are we doing to fulfill The
Is this occasion “historic” because it represents the abandonment of our sacred obligation to the Ancestors? Will we go down in “his” story as having finally capitulated and become satisfied with the evil that is represented in contemporary globalization, privatization and international capitalism? Have we aborted our movement for freedom, liberation and sovereignty? Or have we merely redefined that objective in “american” individualistic, “what’s in it for me” terms? Have we now “won”? Or have we simply taken the easier road, finding it more comfortable to be colonized than to fight for liberation? Are we excited about the possibility of being closer to power than we have ever been before?, even though that power rests on the exploitation, even murder, of Afrikans and other non-Europeans throughout the world? Have we even dared to ask ourselves “what kind of person would want to be president of the United States of America?”
What is the significance of this moment, Tuesday, November 4, 2008, in “our” story?
Let us make this a time for reassessment of our lives, each of us. Let us reconnect with each other in ways that will help our people to become self-sustaining. Let us read and study and become aware of what this country stands for in the world. Let us teach and learn about the monetary system.
Organize, Organize, Organize!
Independent Afrikan schools
Alternative sustainable energy
Communal and collective social entities
Susus (saving together)
Vehicles for harnessing and sharing our resources
Ways of educating ourselves for optimal healthy living
Methods for alternative social organization
The study of ways in which our Ancestors organized communities, so that we can get ideas for the future (doing Sankofa)
Black political conventions
An independent Afrikan/Black vehicle for political action and race (Kanda) decision-making
A Back-to-Afrika process.
We must read the following:
Blueprint for Black Power (Amos Wilson) (especially chapter 31)
The Choice (Sam Yette)
There is A River (Vincent Harding)
The condition, Elevation, Emigration and Destiny of the Colored People of the United States of America (Martin Delany)
The Miseducation of the Negro (Carter G. Woodson)
The Destruction of Black Civilization (Chancellor Williams)
Two Thousand Seasons (Ayi Kwei Armah)
Wretched of the Earth (Franz Fanon)
The Shock Doctrine (Naomi Klein)
Goodbye Uncle Tom
(pass this on and add suggestions)
Let this be a beginning again for us. Let us have the courage of Martin Delany and others, who organized the Black Convention Movement, and sought Afrikan sovereignty in the 1850’s. Let us recapture the spirit of the 60’s, with its “togetherness” of our people, only now with greater clarity about what we want. Let us revive the independent political party movement of the early 70’s (NBIP and CAP), when our people came together in activism in Gary, Indiana and elsewhere. Let us organize with our people, out of love for our people. Let us build a movement without hierarchy among the most economically depressed of our people; a movement that will be responsive to the immediate survival needs of our people, while raising the political consciousness and knowledge-base of us all. Let us study together and build together and fight together and teach each other. Let us build a revolutionary Pan-Afrikanist movement of all of our people, so that we can
hold any and all elected officials accountable for their decisions and actions. Let us be in the vanguard of the movement for radical upheaval of the american reality. Let us organize a support system for the Katrina resistors. Let us not forget them. Let us organize sustainable struggle and self-sustaining institutions that can protect our people from the intentional “disasters” of monopoly capitalism, and save them in the natural disasters caused by the greed and selfishness of the rulers.
Let this be the moment in which we step back onto the stage of history, shouting ourstory to the world. “We are not capitulating.” “We are not allowing ourselves to be part of a Fascist nation.” We are not giving up our people, our movement, or our Ancestors for “one america.” Let us be unrelenting in our confrontation with the anti-Afrikan, anti-human mechanisms of oppression.
Never forget that our power is in our connectedness. If they did not succeed in disconnecting us through the middle passage, through enslavement and lynching and incarceration, let them not succeed now through the duplicity of false “democracy.”
Let us not believe the hype. This is not our victory. This “historic occasion” is a victory for america, it is a victory for the status quo, for all of the things that we should be fighting against. Be in Washington DC in January to make demands on the new administration. If you voted for it, make it work for you!
Let us make this a time for real change, a time for fulfilling The Promise. Tugane pamoja tutafune nia yetu. “Let us come together and define our cause.” Let the circle be unbroken.
A Race Woman, A Cultural Warrior.
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