Monthly Archives: June 2013

this is bigger than Paula Deen: by @Dr David J Leonard

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Paula Deen symbolizes the injustices plaguing the entire restaurant industry.

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My opening statement: Trayvon and the Fight For Justice

re-blogged from:   Dr  David J Leonard

see more about the author below


“Ladies of the Jury,

I am angry; I am angry at how Trayvon Martin is being portrayed in this court; I am outraged by the disrespect directed at him within the news.  I am saddened that the defense seems based on racial stereotypes and racist appeals rather than facts.  I am outraged that the defense seems to be: he’s black.  Not surprising given that facts we know.

Can you imagine a defense attorney standing before the court and showing pictures of your white child in an effort to demonize and victim blame?  What do you think the reaction would be if an attorney or a news station consistently put out images of guns, smoke, marijuana and other photos that sought to turn your child into a “thug” who deserved it.  What do you think the reaction would be from white America?

Can you imagine the outcry if dozens of white youths were being gunned down by police and security guards in a matter of months?

Can you imagine the extensive political discussions; the media stories that would saturate the airwaves?

If a white youth was killed on the way to buying skittles for a friend, would he be recast as the assailant; as a person to hate

Can you imagine Fox News or any number of newspapers reporting about a school suspension for one of the victims or doctoring pictures in an attempt to make these victims less sympathetic?

Can you imagine a person holding up a sign calling these victims “thugs” and “hoodlums.” Just think about the media frenzy, the concern from politicians, and the national horror every time a school shooting happens in suburbia or every time a White woman goes missing…can you imagine if women routinely went missing from your community and the news and police department simply couldn’t be bothered?

This isn’t simply a trial about George Zimmerman and justice for Trayvon; it is trial about who’s life matters; who is entitled to justice. It’s a trial about race in America

I want you to close your eyes for a second, and imagine that your son or daughter, sister or brother, granddaughter or grandson, ventured to the corner store for some Skittles and tea but never returned? Can you imagine if Peter or Jan was gunned down right around the corner from your house and the police didn’t notify you right away? Can you imagine if little Cindy or Bobby sat in the morgue for days as you searched to find out what happened them? Can you even imagine the police letting the perpetrator go or the news media remaining silent? Can you even fathom learning about background and drug tests on your child? Can you imagine the news media demonizing your child, blaming your child for his own death?

I have listened to Don West for many hours (or many minutes) and have to say I am not surprised.  In the 4 long hours, he continued the defense strategy to dehumanize, mock, and disrespect Trayvon Martin, and his family.   With this statement he showed little concern for the black community and the nation as a whole, playing the racism card with precision.

Trayvon Martin was killed; he lost his life. His parents, family, and friends are devastated. Their lives have been changed forever.

Yet, he starts with a joke: “Knock knock. Who’s there? George Zimmerman. George Zimmerman who? Good, you’re on the jury,” Really, levity? Can you imagine the outrage had he made a joke at a trial involving the killing of a white youth; probably not which tell us everything we need to know about this case and a society that consistently doesn’t show itself not to value black life.

Can you imagine of Johnnie Cochran opened America’s last trial of century with a knock knock joke? In a country where racial profiling, stop and frisk, and#every28hours are almost daily realities; your attempt at levity is yet another moment of disrespect.  His “joke” is causing a lot of anger and pain.   It is yet another example where black life is pushed into the background; where black pain and trauma is neither seen nor felt. Can you feel his parents pain; is it “legible.”

But that is no concern of the defense since it thinks George is the true victim.  That is what we have been told today; that George was victim of Trayvon, armed with “sidewalk,” on that fateful night.  While Trayvon lost his life, the defense wants to paint POOR Georgie as the victim. This version seems to be as much of a fantasy as other nursery rhymes.

While Trayvon parents lost their child, their future, they want us to feel sorry for George because he is depressed, because he gained weight, and because his life has forever changed.  Trayvon life was ended; George Zimmerman is not a victim, he is the defendant.

I have heard that “we are all Trayvon Martin,” yet we are not Trayvon Martin – and we never could be. White America is never suspicious. White America can walk to the store without fear of being hunted down. White America can count on justice and a nation grieving at the loss of White life. We aren’t Trayvon Martin, we are George Zimmerman: presumed innocent until proven innocent.  If we were all Trayvon Martin, if the jury and the judge, the media and society as a whole, was Trayvon Martin, we wouldn’t have been subjected to the joke, forced to listen to more lamenting of George the victim, and most certain forced to sit through another effort turn Trayvon into the assailant.  I hope that you, a jury, clearly not of Trayvon’s peers, can see behind the white colored glasses to see this vicious defense strategy in our march toward justice.

The defense strategy to dehumanize Trayvon, to paint him as a gangsta who deserved to be killed, is reprehensible.  It is beyond the pale.  I hope we see that; I hope we denounce that here and everywhere.  The decision to make a joke at this trial is sad reminder of what’s a stake here: justice and saying Trayvon’s life matters.  If it does, lets take a stand for justice.  Let us stand together to life up Trayvon in the name of equal justice building toward the fulfillment of our freedom dreams.

In a week where the Supreme Court of the United States concluded that diversity isn’t a compelling issue, where this same group of justices decided that voting discrimination was no longer an issue worthy of governmental oversight, you have the potential to say “no.”

No to the perpetuation of racist stereotypes;

No to the pandering to white racism;

No to a society that rarely sees or hears black suffering.

Yes to justice;

No to hatred;

Yes to a future, no to a racist past.

With  disenfranchisement making a sad return, spaces of change and justice are becoming and more scarce within these halls.  The power to lead us on a different path sits not just with you but those of us who must organize, who must demand justice for Tryavon, for Rekia, for Jordan, for those being pushed out of school and into prisons, and for those being denied the right to vote from D.C. to Mississippi.  Yes, this is 1 case but it is a moment where we can open up the windows justice toward a new tomorrow.”

More about the author



6 lessons we can learn from ‘Jena 6’

The oak tree where nooses were hung at the Jena High School campus in the Fall of 2006 no longer stands. It was chopped down, presumably in an effort to erase racial tension in the small Louisiana town of Jena.


CLICK HERE (and link at bottom of post) TO DOWNLOAD LESSONS pdf format)

The school’s main academic building is also gone, destroyed by an arson that has raised questions about a possible link to the racial discord.

What remains in the predominately white, rural town are legal battles involving black students who have become known internationally as the “Jena Six.” They are accused of beating a white student at the climax of a period of racial tension sparked by the noose hanging. Five of the students were initially charged as adults with attempted second-degree murder and conspiracy; the sixth was charged as a juvenile.

Advocates at the Southern Poverty Law Center and elsewhere, though recognizing clearly that violence is never an acceptable solution to racial tensions, argue that charges against the black students were disproportionate to the actual offense and that their race played a factor in the charges levied. Others disagree.

But, what educators must never forget is this: Had school officials in Jena paid closer attention to racial divisions on campus, addressed the noose-hanging incident properly and kept tensions from escalating, the beating may never have happened at all.

CLICK HERE (and link at top of post) TO DOWNLOAD LESSONS pdf format)


Six Lessons from Jena | Teaching Tolerance

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Why Paula Deen Matters

re-blogged from ChangeLab

The Food Network dumped Paula Deen. While many are angry at them, it seems to me to be a pretty okay outcome. After all, Deen went from local restaurant owner to multimillionaire culinary superstar with their help. And all of this in a country in which many restaurant workers are denied sick leave, and most earn less than a livable wage.

And while the decision seems sudden, I’m guessing the Food Network has been aware of Deen’s nasty little race problem for a while. In her own autobiography, she admits to having been stopped from presenting a recipe for a Sambo burger to her audience. So this wasn’t a one-strike-and-you’re-out kind of situation. Anyway, I’m just not able to muster sympathy for someone who expresses a desire for a traditional Southern plantation style wedding with all black waiters (which, if you know something about traditional Southern plantations, as Deen admits she does, would mean the wait staff would be playing the parts of slaves).

Regardless, in the days since she got dumped, the Food Network’s Facebook page has exploded with threats of boycotts, with some of Deen’s supporters throwing n-bombs in the process of defending their idol. Then this past Sunday, the New York Times ran a story about the line down the block that formed outside of Deen’s Savannah restaurant. That line was like a protest march in support of Deen who those on line defend as someone who should be forgiven for clinging to racism for going on seven decades now because she was “born at another time.”

I find all of this troubling. Not surprising, mind you, but troubling. Why? Because those arguing that Deen should be forgiven fail to understand something really basic that’s at stake. Whites of that other time being referred to, basically the 1950s and 1960s, were indeed raised in a culture of racism so thick it would have been difficult to see through it. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t have choices. There has always been resistance to racism among whites, and denying it is historical revisionism.

I was reminded of that this past Friday, June 21. On that date, 49 years ago, two white men, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman (along with an African American man named James Chaney) were murdered by a Ku Klux Klan lynch mob near Meridian, Mississippi because they were registering black voters. Also in June, 46 years ago, the Supreme Court decision in the Loving v. Virginia case struck down laws banning interracial marriage. Richard Loving was a white man, and the Loving case dominated the news cycle for months, especially in the South.

You’d have to have been living under a rock to be ignorant of these events back in the 1960s. Paula Deen made choices, even if her choice was to see no evil, hear no evil, and speak…okay, well, two out of three anyway. But there’s more.

When I started my career 34 years ago, I wrote with a typewriter. Wite-Out was an essential tool. When I made typing errors, I had to stop, paint them out, and then wait for the paint to dry before I could type over them. I did a whole lot of typing, so this ritual was like a reflex to me. I did it automatically and I did it uncritically because that’s just how it was done.

If my boss caught me using Wite-Out on my computer screen today, and repeatedly, in spite of having it pointed out that it is out of sync with the times and is damaging the equipment, would you blame her if she fired me? No. You might feel sorry for me for being “born in another time,” but you’d probably agree with my boss that I’m just not adaptable enough for a job that requires word processing on a computer. Same is true if I insisted on exclusively using land lines in a mobile business or only used postal mail in a business requiring speedy communication.

The point here is that the context for the kind of racism that Paula Deen grew up with has changed. Deen herself has changed. She couldn’t be a successful businesswoman if she was the same person she was in 1965, and last I looked she wasn’t walking around in poodle skirts and bobby socks. But, there is a pile of evidence growing that in the course of all that change, certain ideas about race have stayed pretty much the same.

If we’re genuinely concerned about racial equity, rather than defend her for failing to adapt to a new racial consensus (that, by the way, exists because we got past the idea that people of color are subhuman), we might just ask ourselves why those racist ideas have survived, even when so many other things like Wite-Out and sending most of our mail by post have gone by the wayside. There’s an important lesson to be learned from Deen’s story. Of course, that lesson is only valuable if we wish to make the kind of changes that it demands of us.


Paula Deen Admits Using The N-Word & Making Racial Jokes In Explosive Deposition

Paula Deen Damns Herself By Excusing Her Racism By Claiming She’s Old







re-blogged from ChangeLab

“By now I’m guessing you’ve all heard about Food Network personality, Paula Deen’s, giant P.R. problem. When the transcript of a video deposition revealed she’s used racist slurs, including the n-bomb, her TV I.Q. went into the toilet and her Southern fried racism became an internet meme.

In response, Deen’s lawyer released statement of apology I’ll spare you the details. Basically the apology revealed an ignorance so intense it almost served as an excuse. When it comes to race, the lights are out and no one is at home at Deen manor. But there’s one thing about the apology that goes beyond ignorance. Her lawyer boils down Deen by saying that it’s okay that she’s kinda racist because she’s old.

Here’s a taste of what Deen, Inc. laid down,

…[Deen] was born 60 years ago when America’s South had schools that were segregated, different bathrooms, different restaurants and Americans rode in different parts of the bus. This is not today…

So, the suggestion is, while those old days of overt racism aren’t the same as today, it stank so bad that a bit of that stink still lingers on Paula Deen. Say what?

That’s no kind of excuse. I mean, sure, Paula Deen is old. She was born in 1947. That means she was 16 years old when segregationist Alabama Governor George Wallace famously stood at the door of Foster Auditorium to block attempts to integrate the University of Alabama. That’s an elder for sure. She was also 16 when Birmingham, Alabama Commissioner of Public Safety Bull Connor horrified every decent human being in the United States by turning fire hoses and attack dogs on peaceful civil rights demonstrators, including children. She was 8 when racists in Mississippi brutalized and murdered African American 14 year old Emmett Till for daring to speak up to a white woman.

Paula Deen was a witness to this history, some of which happened just beyond her back fence. She was 17, on the cusp of adulthood, when Fannie Lou Hamer, on behalf of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, went up against Lyndon Johnson at the Democratic National Convention, famously demanding to be seated by saying,

All of this is on account we want to register [sic], to become first-class citizens, and if the Freedom Democratic Party is not seated now, I question America. Is this America, the land of the free and the home of the brave where we have to sleep with our telephones off the hooks because our lives be threatened daily because we want to live as decent human beings – in America?

And Paul Deen was 16 when Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his historic I Have A Dream speech at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, and 21 years old when Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis in the name of white supremacy.

In the decades since then, Paula Deen has become a culinary icon. She is the ambassador of a major brand and owner of a successful restaurant business. She has, I imagine, met people from all walks of life. As a lifelong Southerner, I’m guessing Ms. Deen has some black friends and acquaintances and has employed black people in her businesses many times over.

All of these experiences are the benefits of age. They are advantages younger white people don’t have. Younger generations grew up in a time of backlash, not of progress. They must rely on history books to know that there was a time when racial slurs were commonplace, and lynchings and church bombings, terrorism and cross burnings were part of the regular news cycle. Not so for Paula. She was there.

So using age as an excuse for one’s racism, especially in the case of a white Southerner, is really just a way of saying that in spite of having been a witness to history and having first hand knowledge of black people, and of the damage that racism has done to black lives, not to mention having seen the mammoth struggle of black people to overcome racism right in her own backyard, she remains unable to see black folk as just folk. And if she slips and uses the “n” word now and then, why, we ought to just give her a pass.”

New film spotlights ‘unheard’ voices in Civil Rights Movement

Moorbey'z Blog

By COURTENAY BROWN Special to the AmNews

New York Amsterdam News                                                                                                                                                     

While women such as Rosa Parks, Angela Davis, and Shirley Chisholm were crucial to the Civil Rights Movement, the New York City premiere of “Reflections Unheard: Black Women in Civil Rights” will bring new, important yet lesser-known names of female activists into the mix.

The documentary was written, directed, and produced by filmmaker Nev Nnaji, a film graduate from Boston University. Through sit-down interviews, Nnaji chronicles the experiences of women from well-known Civil Rights groups such as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and The Black Panther Party, as well as other organizations, including the Third World Women’s Alliance, that are not as well-known. Unlike other films about the Civil Rights era, Nnaji incorporates her personal experiences into the film in order to introduce women who Nnaji describes as the “backbone of the movement.”

“My film deals with women…

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This essay is the first in a series titled ‘9 Dances of Struggle, Vice and Ghosts. I’m toying with the idea of putting them together as a collection, so enjoy ’em while they’re free, folks. Apologies for the weird layout and spacing, but the concept is that they flow to the rhythm of the soundtrack. Sound (and looks) crazy, but give it a go anyhows…

I stick my finger into the barrel of the revolver. Half the gathered crowd gasps, the other shake their heads.

The gun’s shaking in his grip.

Do it!

“There’ll be no more hunger.”

Do it!

“There’ll be no more corruption.”

Do it!

“There’ll be no more war.”

I’m yelling.

“DO IT!”

So…that was me in my mid-twenties and recalled from California allegedly to help put out fires collateral to the inferno of Robert Mugabe’s agrarian revolution.

As the Shona would lament, loudly : Mai-weh! (Mother…

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‘Election Night 2000′

George W. Bush is the 43rd President of the U.S.A – according to FoxNews, anyway – on the
antiquated television set of a dancehall in a favela of Rio de Janeiro.

Len’s finger lifts a rusted blind and he peers out the window. Outside, down the road, a convoy of
buses head down toward the club.

Bass begins to throb, sexy and menacing. He takes a long drag from the blunt between his
fingers. Exhales


“Let’s roll…”

A convoy of buses rolling through township dust. SOWETO, South Africa. 1976. School kids and
placard-waving activists disembark and head towards a school.

Streams of chiselled young men and Giselle-like women, early teens and older stream past me,
Lenny and the camera crew, and into the hall.

The activists are confronted by a cordon of apartheid cops. German Shepherds straining on their
leashes. Guns gleaming in the sunlight.

A revolver is slammed down on the cloakroom counter. Its owner reluctantly hands it over. A
truly honest soul checks in a stun grenade. The cloakroom clerk disinterestedly shrugs and makes out a receipt.

The revellers head into the club. We set up our cameras. The dancefloor is cleared. On
opposite banks stand two tribes.

There is a tense stand-off between the cops and the chanting activists.

The massive statue of Christ the Redeemer watches over us.

“Welcome to the Big Show…”

Four revellers – a guy and a girl from each side – step forward onto the dancefloor. A
brass-knuckled punch is thrown.

A teargas canister silently loops through the air. The crowd surges forward, unafraid anymore.

The intended target of the punch dodges it. The game is on. To the beat of themusic, the other
revellers begin to square up, each picking a partner, a target.

A schoolgirl rushes ahead, distancing herself, for a moment, from her comrades. A rubber bullet is

A punch connects. To the beat, combat is joined.

Mayhem as bullets and dogs and batons and dust and teargas swirl amidst the choking township

The battle on the dancefloor swings into full effect. Girls on roller-skates surge in with knives
then retreat.

The famous black and white snapshot of Hector Pietersen, mortally wounded, being rushed to

“This shall be the birth of our free nation…”

Behind a corrugated iron shack, two schoolboys dressed in khaki school uniforms stand. One holds
a Molotov Cocktail in his shaky hands. His friend asks,

“Mandla, what are you doing?”

Mandla lights the firebomb. Nonchalantly hurls it towards the armoured vehicles


“Sparking things off…”

This is the story of another of us Struggle kids. It’s also part of the series ’9 Dances Of Struggle, Vice and Ghosts.” Names and certain situations have been fictionalized.


So The Kid was there.

He was there in Soweto.

16 year-old kid on the streets on his way to class on June 16.

To be fair, The Kid was no model student.

As soon as shit hits the fan him and his crew head straight to the

local bottle store.

Loot the shit outta the place.

The Kid downed his first bomb of Smirmnoff on June 16, 1976.

See, for all the tragedy and the glory, we had two actual choices,

militarily when up against the Apartheid Machine


Blow the shit outta planes miles high in the sky over foreign lands


Arafat and crew.

Or. Take back the streets of home.

Make the townships ungovernable.

Make ‘em our areas.

The establishment wouldn’t be welcome here.

The greying hair is being scratched furiously now.

You’ve just slapped this schizo’s paw from your ass and he’s saying, Oh Kid.

If only we’d met then, dear boy.

The guy was a terrorist, Kid.

Don’t be fooled, ma comrade.

“Mandela was a terrorist.

Sat up there on that stand and preached communism.”

Crazy Hair looks bored as he purses his lips


“So we gave him 27 years to think about it…”

You’ve found yourself at this refuge 4 the lonely the and lost, mostly

broken down men, like yurself, now.

Guys – like Gary the DJ ex-cop who who was there in Soweto.

Guys like Marx, rehab escapee thinkin’ about making a run up North to the wilds

of Zimbabwe.

Mustachioed Inspector Cleauseau over there – his wife fleecing him outta

his final savings.

Slip off your sandals and tip-toe past burn-outs, aslumber.

Make you way to the back, to your nest.

The fluorescent light’s still on.

Slight ‘neath your covers.

Wring off your blue jeans.

The cot above you vibrates to the rhythm of the furiously masturbating AIDS volunteer

from Merseyside.

You bury yourself under your quilt.

All that remains of you.


Is a naked hand, reaching for light.

Henry, the stroke victim in the top bunk opposite yours stutters that

tomorrow’s Sunday, you should come join God’s choir.

The fluorescent bulb goes silent and the guy above you explodes into his

waiting tissue.


In our shared darkness, the room calms itself and begins to breathe in sync with the

science of sleep.

Sleeping with ghosts, us all under the covers now.”

“What happened is that the gangstas were the only ones to be able to handle the cops.

We killed pigs that day, there were SABC cameramen but between our mobs and the


Cameras got stolen…

There were many more dead on both sides than were shown.

As per usual the Regime thought that they could suppress things quickly.

But things had spiralled.

We’d moered them, given them a fucking black eye.

And the kids who died that day – they are heroes to this nation, J, no doubt at all –

but the guys who burnt the cops. These were gangsters.”

On the way back home that day everything was engulfed in smoke.

As I crossed the bridge to my part of town, I saw dead school-mates, unarmed.

Their faces half-blown off, gnawed by cop dogs.

And next to these dead school kids lay the occasional black or white man,

in police – and especially military fatigues.

Their throats slit.

Burning tyres around some of their necks.

My brother’s shoes.

I recognized my brother’s shoes.

He was months away from graduating.

He was better than me.

I joined Umkhonto the next day.

The Party was banned and – after what had transpired – nowhere to be seen.

The guys who signed us up were the same gangstas who’d moer’d the boers.


It was crazy times to be a kid, J.

Crazy times.

They guided us through Lesotho, sometimes Mozambique or Botswana, Angola.

We traveled there in smart hijacked cars which were untraceable.

Because that what’s in demand over the border.

And on the return trip, our tyres were bulging with Mandrax.

‘Cos that’s what’s in demand down South.

The drugs are always quick cash in SA.

And cash = guns.

“Sanctions – busting.”

One Good Cop throws up his hands.

Smith and the Rhodesians had Unilaterally Declared Independence to avoid a hand over

to black power.

The world had cut us off.

Men like Trevor, were the guys who kept Rhodesia ticking.

He’s sardonic, resigned as he bows his head, chin in hand.

“And these new sanctions blockades from the same people who did

it to the previous rulers, who do you think, J? our present chiefs turn to for

their loot


“Comrade XXXX has been accused of

improper conduct

with the partner of Comrade XXXXXX…”

TK smiles, grips you, holding you back. Stage. He wants you two to hear

for yourselves what you’re getting into.

Not that either of you can no longer pontificate, nor object.

Nor. Reverse.

Given your own, uh-hmm, circumstances…

You’ve spent 14 million Rand on this friggin’ shindig.

2 X the price each of your homes.

Minus that piece-of-shit Mazowe barnhouse.

+++Kid’s love affair with the Cape Property.

From which she’s now fled.


An ole’ fogie named Richard Armour – with a name like that how the heck wasn’t he

playing for our side? –

“Politics, it seems to me, for years, or all too long. Has been concerned with left or right

instead of right or wrong…”

As the futures of the revolution bare their (admittedly) pert buttocks.

For bald eagles from the media, you turn to TK


“So this is what’s going to win it for us?”

The weariness, as J’ll point out.

Which The Kid ran away from.

All you can do is grip the laaitie’s designer shoulder pad, giggle, though you don’t really

mean it.

This was your play Ruben, you’ll never remind the kid.

And then. Smile. Re-assure. With humility


“This time, Ruben. This wins it for us. This time, I guess…”



And then there’s Rock ‘n’ this 20-something kid on stage who’s name also started with

a J.

AND the bloody mines thing.

Which we’d all fought for.

Which was always part of the plan.




“You’re doing this because of this girl aren’t you, J?

“Made a promise…”

“And Trevor knows you’re writing a book about it?”

“Yup -”

“You’re writing a book about politics and sex and crime?!


That’s a sure way to get shot, esse!” : Bull.

The Kid spent most of the 80′s drunk and high and a foot soldier in the armed struggle.

He lived the high life, he has this great story about him and

Brenda Fassie in Libya.

Gaddafi had a thing for Brenda and flew her and the crew over for an arms deal and a

music concert.

Muammar surrounds himself with these hijab-ed female commandos concealing

sub-machine guns made by his sworn enemy.

Brenda’s high as a kite and Gaddafi’s introducing his distinguished music guest

and Brenda grabs one of the concealed commandos and

lofts up the gun, like a trophy.

Gaddafi Laughed.

Guns are being aimed directly at this crazy, beautiful South African’s head,

but all she wants to do is. Dance.

And so, Muammar obliges.

In golden rays of sunlight, the Mad Dog of the Middle East and the Wild Girl of

South African protest song.


As sixty-thousand Arabs look on.

It all catches up, you know?

Funnily enough, when you returned to Banksy’s next time round, the Sopranos was on.

The epic saga was heading into it’s death spiral and there was Christopher being

smothered out by Big Tony’s love to Van Morrison doing Pink Floyd


“The child has grown

The dream is gone…”

The Kid managed to dodge the law all through the struggle.

Hosted guys like the current Prez, strategized with guys like my dad, took

his orders directly from



The Kid was no hypocrite.

Saw himself as a thug, fighting a war.

Got picked up time and time again – once, and this is how small the circles run –

by XXXX XX XXXX, head of hit squad CCB (Citizens. Co-operation. Bureau.)

and cousin to…u guessed it


Uncle Trevor XXXXX XX XXXX.

Anyhow, The Kid always turned down legal help from the Party.

Stood up for himself to expressionless grey old white judges.

And got off. Every time.

So, on the Soprano’s reality’s setting in.

The final showdown looming.

Tony’s crew is decimated and as he lays in bed, shotgun in hand,

the quote by the same guy who raged against the dying of the light.

Plays is in his – and my – mind.

Something about the ceremony of innocence, lost or something.

The blood-dimmed tide…

The Kid’s Struggle came to an end on the day he’d fought for all his life.

You’re having to be held up as they guide you to the voting booth.

So this is the day.

This is the day.

Your first vote as a Free South African.

Yet in this moment of triumph. Ultimate.

You can’t even make out the letters on the form.

But, still, you’re determined to have your say, in this new booze-rayed Nation.

But it’s all just so bloody blurred.

You finally manage an ‘X’ in a box, clearest.

They found you collapsed in that voting booth.

In your hand is gripped the culmination of your Struggle.

With an X, your vote etched for the Party of Apartheid.

You’d voted National Party.

Before passing flat-out,


“Collateral damage…” The Kid smirks, strolling off into that dusty Yeoville eve.

“Perhaps I Was Addicted To The Dark Side…”

Images play silently on a large Sony Trinetron T.V. screen. The ticker at the bottom of the screen describes the latest details relating to the images being viewed
The L.A. Riots.

Rodney King’s lips mutely ask why can’t we all just get along?

Reginald Denny steps out of his truck on live television. Helicopters circle – closing in for the money shot – as a brick violently knocks the blood red cap off his head.

The three of us look up from the plush green velvet couch we sit on. Beside the television, J carefully slides a shiny black vinyl record from its angry-looking sleeve.


A group of school kids – me, Sizwe, Rock included – are lined up at the edge of manicured green lawn on a sports field at Saints’.

An LAPD cop, mirrored Ray-Bans ‘n all, tracks a rioter through the sights of his high-powered assault rifle.

Us school kids dig the spikes of our running shoes into the white chalk of the starting line.

Aforementioned LAPD cop is being tracked down the stubby barrel of MAC-10 sub-machine gun.

The Sports Master holds up a starter pistol.

J places the shiny black disc into a vintage phonograph.

The solid wood-cased speakers of J’s sound system stare out at those gathered in his oak-panelled office – or ‘THE LAB’ – as it will come to be known in legend.

The stylus arm rises. The vinyl record begins to spin as the needle hovers over it.

The cop’s finger makes contact with the trigger as the stylus head gently drops down. Soft crackling.

The needle finds the record’s grooves and spins towards sound.

Then the cop squeezes the trigger.

The starter pistol lets off a “POP!”

The sound of gunfire. From a cop’s rifle, as the MAC-10 bursts into life.

NWA’s “Fuck Tha Police” gets the race started. Again.