Reading and listening to the events in Jena, Louisiana reads like a scene from one of Amari Baraka’s plays or one of many American slave narratives. Although I am not surprised, I am very much aggrieved by how this whole mess came about. It reminds me of this bizarre viral video, Chocolate Rain, by Tay Zonday. Lyrically, it speaks volumes upon volumes of the state of race (& class) relations in the U.S (and elsewhere) :
History quickly crashing through your veins
Using you to fall back down again…
The same crime has a higher price to pay
The judge and jury swear it’s not the face
‘Cross the world and back its all the same
Angels cry and shake their heads in shame…”
Strange how we all react and take sides ( O.J Simpson, Amadou Diallo…), yet nothing really changes. An appeal to the intellect (reason) is hardly enough and historically, has never worked on its’ own. Change, especially socio-political change , lives in the streets, in the alleys and tenements, in the dense over-populated, over-stressed, undervalued sectors where battling multi-headed dragons (stress) has become a way of life. We are the agents, the provacateurs, the sharply-focused lens & glinting swords for the shaping of a different way of being and loving in this world. We owe it to ourselves and our children (all children)and it starts with taking a stand against injustice/inhumanity wherever it raises its ugly, ancient head.
It is going to be interesting come September 20th, 2007.
“Southern trees bear strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.
Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.
Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.”