I am currently thinking about how I will evolve and where. It’s become obvious to me I need to move on (both for my own growth and because I cannot stand the routine, have gone way above my limit of round-trips to this business park I both hate and love.) It’s frustrating that I know […]
“Be not inhospitable to strangers lest they be angels in disguise.”
After after getting to know an old tramp back in the nineteen seventies, I decided to write the following story…
I walked into the autopsy room at the beginning of the day to find a body awaiting my undivided attention which had been found in the woods above the neighbouring village where I grew up. I was equally shocked and saddened. It was my childhood friend Dhobi.
Back then most of the kids in our village were merciless towards him, throwing stones, shouting obscenities. None of them knew the simple gentle man hidden beneath the grime the way I did.
I was the only kid who didn’t pick on him. There was something very special about this loner who had shunned society for the woods. Never once did I wonder why he lived the way he did, nor did he ever offer an explanation. Dhobi was a man…
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“The skein of human continuity must often become this tenuous across the centuries (hanging by a thread, in the old cliche’), but the circle remains unbroken if I can touch the ink of Lavoisier’s own name, written by his own hand. A candle of light, nurtured by the oxygen of his greatest discovery, never burns out if we cherish the intellectual heritage of such unfractured filiation across the ages. We may also wish to contemplate the genuine physical thread of nucleic acid that ties each of us to the common bacterial ancestor of all living creatures, born on Lavoisier’s ancienne terre more than 3.5 billion years ago- and never since disrupted, not for one moment, not for one generation. Such a legacy must be worth preserving from all the guillotines of our folly.” – Stephen Jay Gold
Strands sticky, death grip
Weavers of the traps
United in the carnage
Delight in the suffering
Of those they capture
Terrorists wear a masque
Desperate old white men
Cling to their delusions
Obsessed with a future
They won’t see, lifting their legs
Territorial marking on the land
Robbing the future of the young
Stealing tomorrows of each species
Land disappearing – glaciers melt
The planet will go on – what replaces
Current species – permutation possibilities
This post is dedicated to Hamba Kahle* uMama Agnes “Aunty Aggie” Msimang. Rest peacefully dear Aunty Aggie. https://afzalmoolla.wordpress.com/2018/10/19/hamba-kahle-umama-agnes-aunty-aggie-msimang/comment-page-1/#comment-12598
“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.” – William Wilberforce
PHILLIS WHEATLEY –
Thy various works, imperial queen, we see,
How bright their forms! How deck’d with pomp
Thy wond’rous acts in beauteous order stand,
And all attest how potent is thine hand.
From Helicon’s refulgent heights attend,
Ye sacred choir and my attempts befriend:
To tell her glories with a faithful tongue,
Ye blooming graces, triumph in my song.
Now here, now there, the roving Fancy flies,
Till some lov’d object strikes her wand’ring eyes
Whose silken fetters all the senses bind,
And soft captivity involves the mind.
Imagination! Who can sing thy force?
Or who describe the swiftness of thy course?
Soaring through air to find the bright abode,
Th’ empyreal palace of the thund’ring God,
We on thy pinions can surpass the wind,
And leave the rolling universe behind:
From star to star the mental optics rove,
Measure the skies, and range the realms above.
There in one view, we grasp the mighty whole,
Or with new worlds amaze th’ unbounded soul.
Though winter frowns to Fancy’s raptur’d eyes
The fields may flourish, and gay scenes arise;
The frozen deeps may break their iron bands,
And bid their waters murmur o’er the sands.
Fair Flora may resume her fragrant reign,
And with her flow’ry riches deck the plain;
Sylvanus may diffuse his honours round,
And all the forest may with leaves be crown’d:
Show’rs may descend, and dews their gems disclose,
And nectar sparkle on the blooming rose.
Such is thy pow’r, nor are thine orders vain,
O thou the leader of the mental train:
In full perfection, all thy works are wrought,
And thine the scepter o’er the realms of thought.
Before thy throne the subject-passions bow,
Of subject-passions sov’reign ruler thou;
At thy command joy rushes on the heart,
And through the glowing veins the spirits dart.
Fancy might now her silken pinions try
To rise from earth, and sweep th’ expanse on high:
From Tithon’s bed now might Aurora rise,
Her cheeks all glowing with celestial dies,
While a pure stream of light o’erflows the skies.
The monarch of the day I might behold,
And all the mountains tipt with radiant gold,
But I reluctant leave the pleasing views,
Which Fancy dresses to delight the Muse;
Winter austere forbids me to aspire
And northern tempests damp the rising fire;
They chill the tides of Fancy’s flowing sea,
Cease then, my song, cease the unequal lay.
Born in the Gambia and sold as a slave at age seven, Phillis Wheatley was the first published African-American woman. Her writing was one which helped create the African-American genre of literature. Purchased by the Wheatley family, she was taught to read and write. Furthermore, they encouraged her poetry.
Her first collection of poems was published in 1773. With her subjects of Morality and Religion, she became well know and was praised by prominent figures including George Washington and fellow African-American poet, Jupiter Hammon. She toured England and was emancipated by her owners after her poetic success. In March 1776, she appeared before General George Washington. A strong supporter of independence is reflected in her poetry and in plays, she wrote during the Revolutionary War.
Miss Wheatley married a free black grocer, John Peters, and bore him two children who died in infancy. Mr. Peters abandoned her leaving her penniless and pregnant. In an effort to support herself, she completed the second volume of poems. Alas, she could not find a publisher who was interested.
She died of complications in childbirth at the age of 31. The child died shortly afterward. She had been living in poverty in a boarding house.
Miss Wheatley wrote “To the King’s Most Excellent Majesty” in honor of George III repealing the Stamp Act. During the American Revolution, her sympathies and her work turned to the view of the colonists.
Phillis Wheatley’s grave lies unmarked. Few of her poems refer to slavery.
At that time, for the most part, white Americans thought it unlikely that a woman from Africa, and a former slave, could write poetry and Miss Wheatley was forced to defend herself in court in 1772. The men assembled to judge her included John Hancock, John Erving, Reverend Charles Chauncey, Thomas Hutchinson, the governor of Massachusettes, and his lieutenant governor, Andrew Oliver. She was adjudged to be the author of the works ascribed to her and the resulting attestation was published and included in the preface to her book. Due to the prejudice of American publishers, the book was published in London with the aid of Selina, Countess of Huntingdon and the Earl of Dartmouth.
Miss Wheatley’s works are credited with helping to found African-American literature.
The highly regarded poet, Jupiter Hammon wrote an ode to Miss Wheatley in 1778.
“This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.”
Reporter and Peabody Award Recipient
I found out about this quote from fellow blogger Léa at Found In France. I’d never heard of Elmer Davis, so I googled him and learned that he was a news reporter, author, the Director of the United States Office of War Information during World War II, as well as a Peabody Award recipient.
Davis had been a reporter and editorial writer for The New York Times before joining CBS radio as a newscaster. In 1942, Davis was appointed to head the Office of War Information, where he won respect for his handling of official news. His liberal stance, however, especially his opposition to military censorship, generated controversy. In 1945 he resumed his career as a news broadcaster, this time with ABC, until 1953…
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“Those who cannot remember the past, are doomed to repeat it.” – George Santayana
“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” – George Santayana (1863-1952)
MARTIN NIEMOLLER (1892-1984)
A well known and respected Lutheran minister who made the choice to speak out against the foe, Adolf Hitler. He would spend the final seven years of Nazi dictatorship in a concentration camp for having the courage of his convictions. For finally speaking out
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Socialist .
And then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Trade Unionist
And then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me – and there was no one
Left to speak for me.”
In the early days of the Nazi regime, this Lutheran minister supported Hitler. Later, he was to oppose the regime and imprisoned for seven years.
He frequently lectured in the Post War years extemporaneously and this how there came to be varying versions of the above poem.
Much controversy has surrounded the poem due to the long list of diverse groups in the many versions. His viewpoint was that Germans – in particular, he believed, the leaders of the Protestant churches, had been complicit through their silence in the Nazi imprisonment, persecution and murder of millions of people.
During a West German television interview in 1963 Niemoller finally spoke about himself. He acknowledged his own earlier antisemitism. He made a statement of regret for the burden he would carry for the rest of his life. Regardless, he was one of the earliest Germans to speak publicly about the broader complicity in the Holocaust and for what happened to the Jews.
In his book, Of Guilt and Hope (English Translation) published in 1946, He wrote: “Thus, whenever I chance to meet a Jew known to me before, then, as a Christian, I cannot but tell him: ‘Dear Friend, I stand in front of you, but we can not get together, for there is guilt between us. I have sinned and my people has sinned against thy people and against thyself.”
Life, we are all in this together. If we choose to remain silent, yes, it is a choice, we are complicit.
Acceptance, Love and Peace,