Posts Tagged ‘war’

And I don’t even know her name (a poem on AIDS Day)

December 1, 2010

***This poem is a true story***

Did you know I used to be a conspiracy theorist?
I’m still a conspiracy theorist
I’ve conspired about everything
From Klan contraceptive pills in
Kentucky Fried “Chickens”
To why so many poor children I’ve taught
Are now on Ridlin

I believe in almost every conspiracy
Designed to assassinate black leaders
From Shaka Zulu to Patrice Lumumba to Dr. King
And up to the present

I also used to opine
About AIDS being a disease,
Created in Western labs
To dispose of Black people around the world
But then I had to realize
That my theories on conspiracies
Won’t change the fact
That my cousin in Zambia is dying of AIDS
…And I don’t even know her name

Thoughts of AIDS
Coming from gays, junkies,
Or Vietnamese Rhesus monkeys
In Western laboratories
Won’t help my cousin see her next birthday
Or the birthday of her child

It’s insane when I think of those slain in vain
By this disease with “unknown origins”
But of course it’s worse now
Because it’s closer to home

I often think about my cousin
And how she lost her husband
To the AIDS Grim Reaper
But then I dug deeper
And found out that he died
Because he had to choose
Between money for expensive AIDS drugs
And financial aid to feed his children

So now that they are going hungry,
He must have died in vain
…And I don’t even know her name

US drug companies
Won’t lower the prices of their medicine
And so now she too waits to die
Impoverished and ashamed
… And I don’t even know her name

No more school for her sons
…And I don’t even know her name

Her daughter might be raped
By a gang of infected men
In a futile search to cure their pain
… And I don’t even know her name

Will her children die too
Because of this damn Western drug game?
… And I don’t even know her name
My cousin is dying of AIDS
…And I don’t even know her name!

And I know this sounds repetitive
But for my entire life
Her existence in my mind was negative

And so now that she’s HIV positive
I feel like I have to make up for lost time
Because there’s too much time lost
Before she’s tossed
Into that statistical group of Africans
That die from AIDS, malaria, TB,
And probably common colds

But since we don’t know their names,
And most Americans believe
That all Africans are the same,
Then unless they died from war or famine
Then they must have died from AIDS!

Not old age, not rabies,
Even the babies,
Let them all die
From that disease we call AIDS,

You know that “AIDS”
Some say it means
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
But it might as well mean
“Africans Impoverished Death Syndrome”
Because no one cares for their names right?
Well wrong!

Because from now on,
I’m gonna sing my cousin’s song
And the songs of the throngs
Of those who are dying
In numbers so large
That rivers form from tears of the crying
And mounting AIDS deaths
Keep these rivers from ever drying

But I’m gonna stand strong for my cousin
And fight the fight for her and her husband

Because inability to pay exorbitant prices
For name-brand drugs
Means my cousin might die in shame
But at least for this one soul
It won’t be in vain
Because by the time you read this testimony
I will have known her name

Her name is not “African statistic #10,000,001”
Or whatever figure
Will get these drug companies more money
And by the way I gotta inform my friends
That joking about AIDS
Never was and still isn’t funny

And if they or you ask why,
I will tell them you that my cousin,
She is dying of AIDS
And though some of you may not give a damn,
For those of you who care,
Please join me for a moment of silence
For Kuishi ‘s prayer…

*Kuishi: “to live” in Swahili


May 10, 2010

Southern cries

Northern lies

Western worries

Eastern ties

Sudanly I feel a change on the horizon

2 million souls perished in pursuit of what?

People starved, lands razed in pursuit of what?

Resource riches, political ditches

War criminals, political wins subliminal

With no fear, Bashir hungers hope,

Nightmares dreams

Elections a shame

But as history’s pupils we know there will be change

When our voices are raised and heroism praised

Every dictator knows we will limit their days

Genocide, gendercide, infanticide, tribeacide

To anyone who isn’t on the President’s side

But without violence we will commit presidentcide

Side-by-side with the Sudanese we will stride

Until the day where every Sudanese can hold their heads with pride

Shouting “Not on our watch!” and “Not on our dime!”

We will march, not stride towards destruction’s demise

Until all of Sudan is free to rebuild and to rise

We’ve said “never again” so this will be the last time

No more innocents lost, legal lies, and war crimes

For fear is falling down, allowing our faith and our hope to rise!

Stand for me, stand for my country

May 10, 2010

I carry hope in one hand, horror in the other

The promise of tomorrow on my right side

The horrific reminder of my rape in the other

I will never forget what they did to my brother

How they bludgeoned my father,

Made my cousin eat her mother

I often wonder if the world will ever know

If I die today where does my sister’s hope go?

I thought my hand would be used to write wonderful poetry

But now I must carry this extension of me

This outward reminder of what happened to me

When they come back for me tomorrow, who will protect me?

When I can no longer walk, who will STAND for me?

Who will stand for my sisters and cousins in Panzi?

My veins now extend outside of my body

But I hope I won’t die in vain—a nobody

Hope is hard to carry when you only have one hand

If the present is a gift,

Who hates me enough to gift me this?

I may never know but I think you do

If I die tonight, will you let my story, my Congo die too?

Raise Hope for the Congo (a poem)

January 13, 2010

The world’s richest country now the poorest

A chorus of women’s cries across a corrupted country in demise

International lies hide the truth of our turmoil

Raping our country of our women, tungsten, coltan, and gold

Young girls now a commodity is no longer an oddity

Child soldiers watching bullets and not birds fly over their sky

So we can sit pretty with our play stations, laptops and iPhones

iRoam alone in Africa’s first world war

Starving the country, feeding the globe

Little babies dying so we can have a cell phone and warm home

An x-box, a TV, a computer, a flat screen

Flat lining the dreams of millions of Congolese

Never quite able to control their destiny

Mineral gifts turned to curses

Body bags with no hearses

Babies bouncing from the womb to the tomb in a matter of minutes

But in a minute you can decide to help turn this tide

Raise your voice for the people

Raise hope for the Congo

Turn your cell phone to a microphone and speak knowledge to your college

Tell these computer companies we need conflict free products

Realize you’re a fool if you don’t check the trail of those jewels

Diamonds and gold be the fuels to this fire

How can gold become a cancer?

 I’m looking for an answer

In a land where diamonds are NOT a girl’s best friend

But together with the Congolese we can change this direction

If you decide to raise your conscience and each one teach one

Reach one in your grasp make an army of change

An army of conscious consumers and not soldiers for the same old

Sympathetic solutions for political and profitable prostitution

The true resolution is empowering our women

The center of our land must be made whole once again

The backbone of our nation must be realigned

When our women can stand proud our country we will once again have its spine

The heart of our future lies in our young girls

The pride of our lives lies in our young boys

Congo’s future lies in our hands if you’d just understand

That we’re all in this together

So let’s raise hope and take a stand for our land

Why I won’t thank President Bush for President Obama

May 3, 2009

Everyone who knows me knows that I was extremely pleased to see President George W. Bush leave office on January 20th, 2009. He was the worst president that I have studied. He and President Obama are polar opposites in style though obviously legacies can’t be compared yet. Over the last few months, however, I have heard something on radio and television from personalities such as Michael Baisden that has been disturbing. These individuals have actually thanked President Bush for making the country so bad that it had to elect a black man. Though I understand the logic behind this thinking, this is the wrong philosophy to have if we are truly trying to advance as a nation.

Under President Bush, our economy crumbled and we made opposite strides in education. Despite these two tragic missteps, the unnecessary deaths that have occurred under a war under false pretenses and the catastrophic response to Hurricane Katrina, make me glad that he is gone, but in no way “thankful.” I am just not that person who believes that mass death and destruction have to occur in order to see a brighter day. We must remember that the times we live in right now are not brighter for everyone right now and I’m not referring to Obama’s political rivals. I’m talking about real everyday people.

As this blog is being written, there are families right now who still haven’t grasped the fact that their son isn’t coming home from Iraq or Afghanistan. There is still someone’s daughter trying to find the remains of her mother who was lost years ago to Katrina. While we can argue back and forth about who is really responsible for creating the economic disarray that we find ourselves in, we can clearly link the deaths and displacement that occurred in Iraq and in the Katrina aftermath to Bush’s policies.

As much as I have been inspired by our new president, if someone asked me if I would endure what we have over the past 8 years in order to live to see the first black President, I would have to say no. I would have to think about losing one of my own family members in an unnecessary war or in a failed response strategy to a hurricane. As we usher in a new day as Americans, we need to be humble in the excitement we have for our new president. We need to make sure that we are moving forward as one country as opposed to cursing prior administrations because “our guy” won and not shove fingers in each other’s face. We are all in this together.