Empty bellies and wide staring eyes;
this is not Africa’s greatest prize.
Why is she still drenched in blood red tears
and her riches are sold by white auctioneers?
Where are her kings from days of old
who sat upon thrones engraved in gold?
And what about her queens, so regal and proud?
And with grace and beauty, they were endowed.
What happened to this Africa of which I am told?
Just like her people, was she enslaved and sold?
An entire continent is under fire
because Africa is all they desire.
She is not poor, nor is she destitute.
She is not some worn-out prostitute,
to be used and discarded by Johns and pimps
and yet into the future, Africa lurches and limps.
This bounteous motherland is filled with oil
and with deep, rich and fertile soil.
Protect this land of wondrous beauty.
It is your obligation and it is your duty.
Her children are starved, why is this so
when Africa is rich and this we all know?
Not one child should be dying in poverty,
this makes the richness of Africa, a mockery.
Shelby I. Courtland
©2016 Shelby I. Courtland
17 thoughts on “This Is Not Africa’s Greatest Prize!”
Reblogged this on The Militant Negro™.
Thank you for the re-blog Mr. Militant Negro! It is much appreciated!
Reblogged this on An Outsider's Sojourn II.
I most enthusiastically thank you as well for the re-blog Sojourner! You guys are the best!
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You are more than welcome, Shelby!
We need to put an end to statism, worldwide, whether it be western or eastern. And allow all of us (humanity) to gather into millions of smaller self-sustaining and governing communities that interact with each other for the greater good of all, and the planet.
I know this is a long way off, and maybe even an impossibility. But as long as I keep on breathing, this is going to be my hope and dream for us, now, and all future generations.
And if this does happen, then we can begin, collectively, to heal all the harm that has been done in Africa and everywhere else around the world.
“I can dream, can’t I?”
Shelby, your poem fit perfectly with two of the posts I planned on publishing today. That’s why I placed your poem in the middle of the two!
Thank you again Sojourner and of course, it goes without saying that I shall be right on over and check your most excellent blog out! I cannot wait! And what is going down over there is the worst type of travesty and I am raging mad over it!
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Lost for words
Nidotopianwarrior, I know the feeling. I sit here reading my own poem back and the tears just flow down my cheeks. See, this is why I have got to give this up because I am oftentimes too filled with sorrow and rage over the horrors and atrocities I see, especially when this is not how it need be. But so-called ‘humans’ will never, ever look at one another with love and treat each other with kindness, compassion and tenderness. Whether it be because of the color of ones skin or because of where one is born or whatever, there will always be hatred spread, there will be plunder, pillage and rape of people and their lands without a thought for the consequences and the fallout that those people must surely endure because of it. We simply do NOT care and I am SO goddamn done with the ‘human’ race, it ain’t even funny.
My ass will be living primitive, come the middle of May and that is why I chose where I am going to live because when these fools finally destroy what was once a paradise, I’ll be among the last to know because there will be no phones, no internet and not even a walkie-talkie in sight. In a few years, I will be looking like the female version of Robinson Crusoe, that is if this planet lasts that long. And I am SO not joking!
Thank you for your comment and again, I know the feeling, only too well!
All of Africa is not that poor. A certain Asian region- that has more people than the whole African continent- is the region with the most hungry people. Africa also has most of the world’s top 10 fastest growing economies for the past 10 years and many in the top 20.
I agree, if anyone has responsibility for what happens in Africa, it is the inhabitants. According to all indications,the Africans- who are a completely different people than we are, as even they repeatedly tell us and plenty of evidence supports this- have a much, much better ability to control their destiny than we do. The majority of the world’s resources, a relatively young population, representation internationally, etc. Outside countries, no matter how powerful, are not the real reason the continent is not in good shape.
The present condition of Africa is very frustrating. However, we “blacks” are really not in control of our own ultimate fates at present. We have plenty of celebrities as well as not famous blacks who give to them and sincerely try to help in other ways even though the Africans have always shown that we are not part of them and that they do not want us. We have done much more for them than anything we had to do.
Hence, that is the reason why in my poem, I stated “When Africa is rich and this we all know!” I do realize that all of Africa is not poor, how could it be with the tremendous amount of natural resources that is in Africa?
Well, I am certainly not suggesting that we all can just sit down and join hands and sing “Kumbaya.” I wrote a poem on my feelings and thoughts of Africa and Africans can dislike us until the moon falls from the sky, but that is irrelevant. We are descendants of people who were dragged from Africa and there is no getting around that. Maybe, this is partly why ‘Black’ folks can’t get it together now is because we continue to look at one another and see differences as opposed to likenesses. We are all hated by every other group on this planet and we better recognize that. I don’t think that I would be shot on the spot if I chanced to visit Africa, just because I’m not a ‘true’ African. Of course we have differences because of where we were born and many of us have no idea of our genealogy.
Some descendants of slaves claim they can trace theirs, but seeing as how so many of our ancestors were sold up and down the river to different plantations, this could present a problem. I am not attempting to hone in on Africa as though she would welcome me with open arms as though I am a returning ‘native daughter’, I know that just as there are starving children here in America, there too, are starving children in Africa and yet, I feel that they are in a better position than we are to do something about that situation. I am not claiming to have all the answers, nor can I solve an entire continent’s issues with just a poem, but I do feel as though my having written a poem about my thoughts of Africa should not be torn apart, piece by piece and dissected. Take it for what it is; a heartfelt piece of poetry; nothing more, nothing less! And I did include in my poem, the fact that I thought that the Africans could and should be doing more for themselves than they are actually doing. I get sick and tired of Black folks in America who always go on and on about the kings and queens of Africa and how they were just THE shits and we should be proud of our African heritage when, if as you say, ‘they don’t really care about us’, then someone need tell them that because according to you, they’re delusional. If they(Africans) were so knowledgeable and such builders and militants, they should be in a better position than they are!
Thank you for your comment.
No, I knew you were not trying to answer the question in your poem. I was mostly agreeing with you in my answer, including the fact that it was not all poor and that they were in a much better position to save themselves, and I did not intend to dissect your poem.
I agree that many, many groups hate us- but it us blacks who lost our identity, not the Africans. There is a strange intensity for us that was confusing. For the accepted theory of how we got here we all know that very large number of Africans kidnapped us and sold us to other peoples who took us all over the world. Not all tribes were involved but far too many were. These Africans have left us there for centuries and in some cases over a 1,000 years. They have never claimed any of us as their own and not one country of the dozens of countries or tribe wants us as a group. There is far more evidence on why they are different people and everyone over there is from a different ethnic group-not including those few of us who went to live in Africa-, but this comment would become too long. Still, many of us have gone above and beyond in protecting, giving, and advocating for the people on the continent, including you.
The whole situation with Africa is complicated.
N.S., just what is ‘our’ identity? I would love to know. Since I cannot ‘identify’ with the Africans and according to many, we cannot even ‘identify’ with each other here in AmeriKKKa, just who can we ‘identify’ with? Our aunts and uncles, cousins, nephews, sons and daughters? Because from where I sit, many ‘Black’ families are having problems ‘identifying with their immediate ‘family’, much less do we seem to have any staying power when it comes to looking out for each other. This is ALL due to how we came to be in America. I damn sure cannot ‘identify’ with the whites even though, many ‘Blacks’ seem to be hell bent on trying, what with lightening their skin, taming their tresses via processing, weaves and anything else they can find to slap up there and tame the naps. We have no ‘identity’ and that is why we attempt to emulate others so much.
I do understand that many people think that other groups are appropriating our culture and running with it, but when all is said and done, I don’t think that we are merely singers and dancers who have had our music and our moves stolen. We are a confused people and it is not without some basis. Regardless of whose fault it is as to why we are here, the Africans who YOU say sold other Africans into slavery or the slavers that bought them. And I have a problem with that because as many different dialects as there are in Africa, I have no idea how European slavers could understand the language enough to bargain with African chiefs for stolen tribes. It seems that you would have us believe that over tea and crumpets, the Africans bargained with the Europeans and the Spanish and others over who was to go and who was to stay. Why were the Europeans in Africa in the first place? Gun running? Empire building? Hiding out? I’m not trying to be facetious, but some things just don’t add up and though I know I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed, nor have I an extensive background on African studies, when something just doesn’t make sense to me, it just doesn’t. But be that as it may, this is all irrelevant seeing as how, we are here, they are there and neither seem to be coming out ahead, though we fare worse than the Africans, that is quite obvious. I’ll stop here because on this one, we shall just have to agree to disagree.
I likewise agree to disagree likewise on our identity. Plenty of signs of our identity and culture are already there, but they have been hidden or need interpretation, and they are by no means related to just music and dancing. We will all know at the right time(and no, you won’t be in trouble, even though you don’t believe what I say about our identity at this moment, and anyone who says otherwise is lying), but for now, Black American or Black works for the great(one that is special like no other) and peculiar group of blacks in this country until we all know our name.
However, the non-European evidence for them selling us comes from their personal testimonies, some of which people I know have heard as well as what I heard myself(I heard one guy say in an informal, very casual setting that he didn’t feel guilty his ancestors had sold ours over here), other remarks which are on the Internet including YouTube, as well as formal acknowledgements by the leaders of Benin and Senegal and high ranking people from other countries in the Bight of Benin and West Africa of their role in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. There is plenty of evidence of African help for the Arab Slave Trade on the other side of Africa. We were sold by enemy tribes. It would also be impossible for those whites to go into Africa, seize tens of millions of us in the vast territory(even just the coastal regions) of the then unfamiliar West Coast of Africa with their primitive weapons(including their guns, which were only a little better than useless during the trade), and transport us to the Americas with no help. Unless you believe in the black indigenous theory, it is hard to see where there can be any doubt that Africans played an important part in our coming over here.
Oh, for goodness sake! There YOU go, with some special Gawd on high just for us Black folks in AmeriKKKa. Are you serious? I have always admired you, right up to this point! “One that is special?” Well, we could sure use some ‘special’ treatment from ‘one who is special’ right about oh…say….400 years ago???!!!! If ‘one’ is so goddamn special, then where the hell is this ‘one so special’? Waiting on an epiphany? A bolt of lightning? A Big Mac attack? What?
And as for me being in any trouble? Posh, tish and piss on that! I don’t believe in any higher being, be it ‘Black special’ or ‘white special’. And I am quite shocked that YOU of all people is sitting somewhere waiting on the ‘rapture’ of some sorts that is especially for YOU…OH! OH! And other ‘Blacks’ in AmeriKKKa, of course…and even little ole me who must be teetering on the brink of being “in trouble” with this ‘one that is special’.
Alright, I’ll bite! “Oh, ‘one that is special’ please hear my plea! Where might ye be? We could sure use some intervention right about now to get the pink Caucasoids all up off our ass. Don’t you see them filling our asses with bullets? You don’t see our children getting sent from the classroom straight into a For Profit Prison? What the hell are you waiting on? Why can you not just open the doors of all the prisons in AmeriKKKa and free our innocent Black brothers and sisters? Not powerful enough to do that, eh? I didn’t think so! Okay! Okay! Maybe, I am asking for too much. So, I’ll tone it down a bit. How about you at least get the racist ass KKKops off our backs? Damn! Still too much for you? I fucking thought so!”
I tried N.S.! I really did, to believe in your ‘one so special’ but it just ain’t happening.
You mean to say that there are people who are still around who are centuries old and who are sitting somewhere in a hut telling about their experiences of actually witnessing the African tribal leaders sell members of other tribes to the pink-assed motherfuckers that sailed to the African continent for the sole purpose of finding ‘slave’ labor to build up a shithole that had been stolen and when it was determined that the few remaining original inhabitants refused to build this shithole to the specifications of their captors, into boats these inhuman predatory beasts, jumped, whereupon, they landed in Africa and had, handed to them, some Black captives who then thanked the African tribal leaders, IN THEIR DIALECT, for these hardy souls and then set sail back to AmeriKKKa? Someone is actually sitting somewhere telling this very same story from their own eyewitness account? For real? Really? I BELIEVE!!!! Oh, yes I DON’T!
I’m going to have to ‘shoot’ this down!
Primitive weapons? A gun? No N.S.! A primitive weapon is a SPEAR! It is not a gun and the Caucasoid cocksuckers didn’t have primitive spears, they had the technology to fill those Africans full of bullet holes, the same holes that they are filling us with so that we look like Swiss cheese on a slab in the morgue, N.S.!!
Well, let me put it to you THIS way! What would the tribal leaders have done with the captives of other tribes IF the pink-assed Caucasoid hadn’t been around, just attempting to gain some free labor to build up a stolen country? What would they have done N.S.? If there had been no one around to give these captives to, what would have happened to them? You can spin the shit anyway you like, but it is people like you that get on my last goddamn nerve! You sit somewhere attempting to downplay the role of those pink-skinned rejects from hell by stating that it was the African tribal leaders fault that we got ourselves a big ole case of slavery in AmeriKKKa, bigotry, racism, prejudice, Jim Crow, hate groups; the whole goddamn nine yards and ain’t a motherfucking pink-assed piece of worthless filth, guilty as hell of crawling and slithering over to Africa with the express purpose of bringing back free labor to build up what has now descended into a shithole.
And I also suppose that it wasn’t the pink-assed Caucasoid that even rowed the slaves back to AmeriKKKa. I suppose that the African tribal leaders accomplished THAT also. Am I right, N.S.? According to your way of thinking, I would be right on time with this because we all know that the African tribal leaders also had the boats just a waiting to hand deliver their African captives to the Caucasoid cocksuckers! Oh yes, indeed! After a meal of tea and scones and tacos, it was sailing time!
You know, you really ought to take something for this shit you’re spewing out. So spew it out elsewhere! Don’t come in here and vomit all over my goddamn blog with this vile ass bile because by the time those pink-assed skin motherfuckers had gone over to Africa and drooled over all those Black bodies that they were going to get by hook or by crook, they had the technology to do exactly what they did do and not a goddamn African tribal chief could have stopped them! And you goddamn well know this!
Liked the poem. It touched me deeply. I wish I could write as beautifully and poignantly as you, but alas it is not to be. Otherwise, I, too, would endeavor to speak and write my sorrows and outrage at the awful spectacles of history.
I read the exchange between you and N.S. I understand the righteousness of your anger.
At one point in your exchange, you query the notion of identity. Since I’m unfamiliar with you outlook, not being very familiar with your writing and therefore the range of your thinking, it may be that you are familiar with Franz Fanon’s work, and in particular his 1952 ” Peau Noire, Masques Blanc” (Black Skin, White Masks) — in which case I’m not broaching anything you didn’t already know. On the other hand, not everyone on the planet has read the man, and it may be that you haven’t.
“Black Skin, White Masks” is a book about culture under colonialism and how the hegemonic culture of the oppressor is internalized, willy nilly, by everyon, including the oppressed, and, therefore, how the oppressed are gifted, so to speak, a collective neurosis that leaves them crippled at the center of their very souls. Fanon endeavor’s to demonstrate to his fellow black man, his Martiniquean countrymen and countrywomen, how they are dominated in their own minds by images of themselves that have been fashioned or conditioned by the racism of the colonial masters. The upshot is that both the oppressor and the oppressed see and experience the world as a reality comprised of “races,” some hegemonic, others subjugated, but everyone belonging to either this or that “race.” But to Fanon, this mindset is precisely what both the white man and the black man must transcend, that they may begin seeing themselves for what they truly are: both, equally and as one, human.
I leave you with a brief quote from Fanon’s “Black Skin, White Masks,” the last few words of the book:
I, the man of color, want only this:
That the tool never possess the man. That the enslavement of man by man cease forever. That is, of one by another. That it be possible for me to discover and to love man, wherever he may be.
The Negro is not. Any more than the white mam.
Both must turn their backs on the inhuman voices which were those of their respective ancestors in order that authentic communication be possible. Before it can adopt a positive voice, freedom requires an effort at dis-alienation. At the beginning of his life a man is always clotted, he is drowned in contingency. The tragedy of the man is that he was once a child.
It is through the effort to recapture the self and to scrutinize the self, it is through the lasting tension of their freedom that men will be able to create the ideal conditions of existence for a human world.
Why not the quite simple attempt to touch the other, to feel the other, to explain the other to myself?
Was my freedom not given to me then in order to build the world of the You?
[. . .] I want the world to recognize, with me, the open door of every consciousness.
My final prayer:
O my body, make of me always a man who questions!
. . .Quote ends.
Frantz Fanon, 1986
Your identity? Human. Like me. Like everyone.
BTW: Fanon’s book can be obtained as a .pdf file online in a format that is eminently readable:
Click to access __Black_Skin__White_Masks__Pluto_Classics_.pdf
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Thank you Norman! I sincerely appreciate the ‘thumbs-up’ on this one and I also appreciate you taking the time to share with me, words from Fanon’s book. I like what I’ve read thus far and yes, I should be ‘identifying’ with being of the ‘human’ race and that should be all the identity I need.
Thank you for that! Again, I sincerely appreciate your sincere comment, I really do!
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