Posted By: Ras C. Liontree In Response To: The Tarzan Fixation (Ayinde)
Date: Tuesday, 27 December 2005, at 12:14 p.m.
In Response To: The Tarzan Fixation (Ayinde)
I Said: "It would be great if someone else was answering the call who was of black skin. If there was not a need I would not go. There is a need so I act out of my ability to respond to that need."
You Said* :”Yeah right! You already know WHY many Diasporian Black Africans cannot take up positions in Africa.”
I Say: The subject matter I was writing on was about answering the need presented to me by inmates of the Rastafari Faith in a prison 1 hour away from my home. I do not know if a confusion occurred for you to respond about taking up positions in Africa.
You are correct about me knowing why certain Diasporian Black Africans may not have an ability to respond to the need presented by the inmates to volunteer time. It is a burden within this system to free up to volunteer and many cannot answer that invitation for a variety of reasons. The prison system is at a loss for supporting the Rastafari inmates needs because the last Rastafari volunteer in all of the state was several years ago…five I think. This happened to be Elder Roots, one of the two Rastafari who ran the Abysinnian Assembly Of The Living God---Triad House Of Rastafari. Elder Roots knows me well and has written a letter of recommendation for me to grow in my involvement with advocacy for Rastafari. I have put the call out to the community I reside in for more volunteers and as of yet, no Diasporian Black Africans have been able to. One young Black bredren has an intention to come forward the next time I go (this Friday) for Niyabinghi Chants. I am glad he will be coming and look forward to him growing in his relation to the incarcerated bredren. I am not living in a very diverse setting here in the mountains so most of my Diasporian Black African bredren and sistren are 3 hours east where I used to live in the much larger and more diverse Triad(Winston-Salem, Greensboro, High Point).
You Said: “You are free to do what is legally permissible, but I will never be supportive of a White person trying to teach Black people about developing, history and/or spirituality.”
I Say: I am a vehicle to bring in other peoples teachment on Black development, history and spirituality through books and vidoes of Marcus Garvey, Haile Selassie I, The Rastafari Movement, Queen Menen I, The Prison Revolution, Mumia Abu Jamal, Repatriation….Through conscious reggae music and interviews on sed subjects with Black Self Determined people from North Carolina to Jamaica to Ghana to Kenya to Ethiopia.
I did say I try to live self determination and that manifests in my works and heart which may serve as teachment. Then I said the reasonings and people(countenance) that I meet in the prison teach me. This is natural. An iron sharpening iron. These inmates want to see pictures from my travels in Africa of the land, of Rastafari, of the variety of African People. They want to hear truth about being in Africa. This is me being a bridge. These times we have together are food for the group and for me.
You Said: “To add insult to injury, you are doing 'works' in a prison situation. It does not matter if these Blacks invited you. You could have simply declined on humanitarian grounds which is bigger than what a few imprisoned Blacks want. You could have let them know that there are well-informed Black Africans who should take up that challenge, but due to reparations not being paid, and because most Black Africans are trapped in bread and butter survival issues because of White colonization and corruption, there is a shortage of Black Africans presently, but that you are pushing the reparations issue to help resolve that (If reparations is even on your list of 'works' you are 'called' to do). “
I Say: In our region there are not Black Africans that have been found or have sought the prison to volunteer with the incarcerated Rastafari outside of Elder Roots and Ras Makonnen who stopped being able to make the trips several years ago. I’m hopeful about this younger bredren who intends to come on my next visit.
So I was faced with a question a year or so ago when no one else was available or seeking to support the inmates: Do I provide the inmates with what they want---INFORMATION on Africa, Rastafari….? My answer was yes I will go and see how it is. After the first time I met with them(them is changing quite often as ones are thrown in solitary confinement for months at a time in direct connection to them being Rastafari) and knew from their input and request that they wanted me to come again and I knew then that I should go again and that’s what I have been doing. Each time I go I take notes on issues they are facing and resources they need. Other prisons are now inviting me so I have gone over 4 hours one way to a well organized group of 20 plus Rastafari who asked for me to keep coming. I do not know if I can. I will if I can but 8 hours on a Wednseday round trip is tuff. This specific group requested certain material so I am working to put the package together and send it through the proper channels.
In terms of Reparations our organization is not legally allowed to advocate for it. I advocate for it on my radio show, in my conversations with people, in my writing, and hope to be in a position in the future to have a positive effect. This is part of what Prince Zara Yacub is representing to the AU through his Peace Foundation and I’m hopeful to support him in it. I have financially supported every request I have seen over this board as well as other programs not represented on this board. These have not been big contributions but its been what I could do.
I said: "For your question I ask one to you. How is it that white Quakers could play a role in the Underground Railroad? The ones who chose to do that had to step up to organize money, food, clothes, transportation, and safe houses while risking their life by listening to their heart and conscience. If they did not break the human law set for them the Underground Railroad would not have occurred. If they got stuck in saying wait I am white so therefore should not step up with action then Harriet Tubman and others escaping the plantations would not have had the physical necessities required for such a trip north. There was a need and they answered it."
You Said : “So you are emulating the Quakers now. That is why I am very careful about how and when I accept help from Whites. When we are reasoning for our self-determination they often try to throw what they did back in our faces. One day I will go some more into that Quakers story.”
I Say: I am a birth right Friend/Quaker and still attend Quaker Meeting to this day. This is one piece of my Heritage. I choose to continue using the tool of Quakerism(sitting in silence in community to wait upon truth termed “the inner light” to reveal itself to me). This silence and commitment to pacifism is what brought some(not all were part of the Underground Railroad or pacifist and many were slave owners) Quakers to realize they had to step up to challenge the inhumane system of slavery.
I said: "How does a calling come? Through surrendering and seeking. I fasted for four days in the the wilderness alone before my first trip to Ghana asking to be guided. I did not know what knowledge and calling awaited me there but I had to empty myself in order to be a vessel for Jah to reveal his calling to me."
You Said* “I know some people who went into the bushes to meditate for some time. They did not claim to have emptied themselves (whatever you mean there, although I won't suggest that), but then they went into a police station and shot up the place. They said that God commanded them to do so. I think one was killed and the others are in jail now.”
I say: Ayinde you are right. People will claim Gods divine guidance to do horrific things. I cannot expect you to believe that I am guided by love/Jah just because I say I have that intention. This is only something one would have to see the fruits of or see the carnage from to decide if indeed I am guided by my heart/Jah or by dillusion, hatred…. Also I do expect Diasporian Black Africans and other people of color to be weary of me because of my skin color and the legacy it carries. I do not expect, once I am known, to be judged by my skin color but rather by my works. If someone does not accept me for my works then I seek to overstand why while not getting paralyzed in the human judgement. Though I intend to be guided by love/Jah it does not mean I do not fail. This is life and this failure is where my commitment to guidance comes in. To learn from my mistakes, to learn from others, to keep growing.
What I mean by ‘emptying myself’ is to work at shifting the effect of the brainwash system by marking my intention to be of service in the world. Going into the natural world for four days to mark my transition into adulthood was an emptying process. There I fasted. There I cried. There I asked the Almighty to guide me to be in service. I set my intention to be of service and in essence continued the process of surrendering the agenda implanted in me from this system to be “white” and follow a career path and not nourish my unique fruits and callings. This is what I mean by emptying myself. To die to that which no longer serves me and to be born into the power of faith—action towards the highest fulfillment of my ability to serve Jah.
I apologize for the following statement,
“If they got stuck in saying wait I am white so therefore should not step up with action then Harriet Tubman and others escaping the plantations would not have had the physical necessities required for such a trip north.”
I say: When I wrote this I was focusing on the need and ability for “white” people to stand up and act. I apologize for the assumption that Harriet Tubman and others would not have been able to make the journey without food, transportation, money, and housing provided through the Underground Railroad Network. I wrote about the Quakers role in the Underground Railroad and not the courage, faith, dexterity, and strength it took for Africans in captivity to go north. I was providing historical information about the cooperative element between the races that supported Black Collective Determination to get physically free from the slave master and the physical area that legally supported slavery.
You Said: “Saying you received a 'calling' does not mean anything. I find that people who claim they received a 'calling' as the excuse for their actions are not into reasoning. In my view, people can claim ANYTHING they do as they received a 'calling' to do so. That amounts to nothing. That response is not divine, reasonable or sensible. It is just a way to avoid working out the real or false self aggrandizing motivations for actions.”
I Say: You are right. One saying they have a calling does not mean anything. One following through and bearing fruit from a “calling” does show something.
My intention is to learn and to work. I do not know if I come off as someone who is not open to reasoning in its true essence of sharpening each other’s mind and spirit.
In terms of “false self aggrandizing motivation for actions” do you think that I would work hard to balance economic, family, and time to volunteer at a Maximum Security Prison to amp my ego? Is that what is getting me out of bed extra early in the morning? Do you think working to save thousands of dollars over many years to go to different parts of Africa is manifest from a desire to listen to reggae in Africa and think now I am really Rasta? I have had Malaria twice in Ghana and come close to death, which was an amazingly powerful experience. You do not know me and that makes “reasoning” challenging over this cyber space connection. You cannot see my eyes to know if I am sincere or if I am a liar. For me to say I am ‘called’ says nothing to you if you have no way to confirm that statement. The internal reference many of us have is the reality that negative things are done in the name of a “calling”. I cannot prove my calling to you. I can share what I am doing and if the opportunity came you could meet ones I am working with and see if fruit is ripening from my works within human relationship and within physical creation. I cannot show you my works over cyber space unless you were to view our slide presentation on people we work with and things we do….but you can’t smell, or taste, or interact with the works. I am not saying you would accept them or me if we met eye to eye.
If you met Elders of the Rastafari Faith in Africa that you respected and they shared from their experience that I was sincere and in correct action how would you handle that?
You Said: “Like it or not you are White and Blacks should be suspicious of what you claim to be about in a Black Movement. I do not see you as a Brother. I see you as a privileged White who is capitalizing on a situation because Blacks have not been treated fairly. I see you as I see most other Whites. You are looking for Black support to proclaim yourself an exception to the rule. But the truth is, in my view, you are not such an exception. If you simply take the word of some Blacks who are mentally and/or materially impoverished and will take help from anywhere, you can be in a deluded state for a long time, much to your own detriment.”
I Say: If I take other peoples word to know myself and my worth and my work this is not good. This was part of my rite of passage on the mountain, to burn my need for others support. If I had not done this I would never have been able to bust through my family’s judgement and others about going to Africa and then finding a home there. If my motivation was to “claim” things by what others said, especially if they are mentally or materially impoverished, that is delusional and not balanced. You do not know me, you do not know who knows me, and you do not know why they love me or do not. I will try to answer Starshyne’s questions next. He asks about my teachers and I will share about them. Maybe you will know some of them. That may not effect your view of me but hopefully you will not consider them materially or mentally impoverished. Ayinde I am a brother to whoever opens their heart to me.
You Said: “Having said all of that, you can do what is legally permissible, but rest assured that by feeling you are entitled (called) to BE and DO as you are doing in Africa, you have aligned yourself AGAINST Black Africans who are working for self-determination and want to remove all vestiges of a White savior. You are automatically another White who is fueling divisions among Blacks Africans.”
Ayinde what do you think I am being or doing in Africa?
Dr. Kofi Sam is a radical Ghanaian who has been in government and in university and has seen how ineffectual both are at supporting Appropriate Works for the continent. He has run an Appropriate Technology Center called Approtech since the 70s. The last trip to Africa in June of 2005 Debra, our girls, and I led five college students to work with him. He is working on many different projects. One project is building prototype furniture out of the Neem Tree that Kwame Nkrumah planted throughout Ghana starting in 1957 with Ghana’s independence. This tree is not just an anti malarial medicinal. It is fast growing, takes little water, is termite resistant, and will grow again even when chopped down. Deforestation is occurring throughout Africa. Each day in Ghana I would see about five big flat bed trucks carrying logs from huge Old Growth Mahogany trees to be used for furniture building. We raised over $2000 worth of equipment and funds to support his work. Dr. Sam does not say Neem furniture is THE solution for deforestation but it is A solution. While we were there we built a simple roofed structure made out of appropriate materials (less cement more coconut fiber for roofing tiles, Neem Tree posts, mud bricks instead of cement block) that now serves young women who tie die a line of appropriate clothing which has no underarm so its natural air-conditioning.
Here are some Quotes by Dr. Sam:
Speaking about the upper class brainwashed African:
“For I insist that the system which trains or better still indoctrinates the ‘educated’elite to clothe himself in an underwear, a long sleeved shirt, a suit and a neck tie in order to keep warm, and goes into an office and sips hot coffee to keep warmer still, and yet switches on an air-conditioner to keep cool; not only leaves the body with skin rashes but also a rash on the mind enslaving our mental faculties, else how can you describe the rural African, who clothes himself with what is produced locally and consumes what he produces, as ‘illiterate’ but the one who clothes himself with imported clothing and feeds himself imported food as ‘educated’!”
“After all, what is the use of the type of education for the African which depletes Africa of its resources both human and material-the doctors, the engineers, the scientists, leave for so called greener pastures, initially made green by his ancestors, through slavery and colonization; and throughout history the gold, the minerals, the timbers etc. also leave to make those foreign pastures GREENER still!”
“What foodstuff cannot grow in Africa, why is Africa importing food to increase its foreign debt? Joseph from ancient Egypt fed the world, in Biblical times. Let African here and the Diaspora resolve to feed the world once again.”
Just a note. Dr. Sam has a simple idea for food production in Ghana. The main road from Accra to Cape Coast all the way to Axim has villages stretched all down it. Why not have the government plough 50 feet from the road on both sides and then provide different seeds to each village and just before the rainy season plant. This would be bountiful rather than importing foodstuffs.
Besides supporting Approtech our group went to many other conscious Africans and Repatriates to learn and support their programs.
The bridge that is created by these students coming back to the U.S with Africa demystified and in their heart ripples into their respective communities and changes their life path for the better. Artemis, one of our participants, is now working to get forward to Ghana to support a village near Cape Coast in creating a primary school. Artemis is an African American man who is majoring in education and through this trip experienced the place his ancestors were last crammed before the middle passage; the slave dungeons and the door of no return. Artemis was able to walk forward through the door of return beginning a re-membering process. Kristin, a Caucasian participant, has blatantly racist parents and has ancestors who were slave owners. She walked the land of Africa, met many friends, and began the process of atonement for her family’s role in the dis-membering of African people.
These participants are not on the tourist trail; they are getting educated by those revolutionary Africans and Repatriates who seek minds to change. I did not know when I went to Ghana in 1997 after my Rite Of Passage that I would be led into facilitating other people’s experiences in Ghana or other countries. I also did not know when I went to Africa for the first time that I would have Haile Selassie I revealed to me as the Almighty in flesh. I had been seeking Rastafari and resonated to so much of the teachings but could not wrap my mental or spiritual around the full revelation of H.I.M. It came with the help of Ras Quaquale on a Beach in Ghana and it has not left.
In reference to your question I ask myself “ what am I entitled to in this life?” I am entitled to knowing my creator and seeking his/her will. I am entitled to a judgement/blessing by my creator on the basis of my works/life or lack thereof.
In reference to white saviors I burn the image of a white jeez-us savior, I burn the robbery of people from the first slave ship to the trap door the priest in the slave castle used to pick their next African rape victim, I burn the box that puts people in submission to a “savior” and does not inspire them to become creators on earth of good things.
Ayinde your final words are strong and effect me. My final words to you and whoever may read this is that, as I have posted before, if so moved let us share links, resources, and ideas to forward the works of cooperation amongst those seeking appropriate development and networks in Africa. I am open and ready to share and support and learn and do what I can for this earth regardless of the continent, person, class, or creed.
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