We are the Ones

We Have Been Waiting For 

Resistance is The Secret of Joy

How to read this page:  The Spanish translation, by Cuban poet Manuel Verdecia, will usually appear shortly after the English post. Scroll down to other, earlier entries in English and Spanish.  Amanda Navarro is webmaster.



F  e  b  r  u  a  r  y    2018


The Extraordinary Journey of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

By Helene Cooper

©2018 by Alice Walker

There are some books we wish didn’t have to be written.  I felt this many times while reading MADAME PRESIDENT, the extraordinary story of the life of Liberia’s and Africa’s first democratically elected female president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, by Helene Cooper.  At almost every page I found myself plotting how I might help get this book into the hands of every literate African and African-American on the planet, because I knew it would startle, shock and amaze them.  It would scare them into many kinds of soul searching; it would cure them of platitudes about Africa that have so stunted much discourse about the continent.  It would require a determined mind and strong stomach to confront the brutal misogyny that has been faced seemingly forever by African women, and it would necessitate a real evaluation instead of a fanciful one of male selfishness and sense of lordship that has meant, literally, the rape, selling out, and impoverishment of a continent that has since time immemorial been understood by natives and imperialists alike to be phenomenally wealthy.

Helene Cooper’s is the perfect voice to tell this tale; she is wry, she is smart, she comprehends what is happening in and to her native country as only a loving but clear-eyed daughter can.  While Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the body and soul of the woman who has walked in all the lanes of the crooked road and is canny enough to get her people around the next bend.  An understatement, of course, because, actually, Sirleaf is simply astonishing, as the woman who holds together a country not only in tatters from layers of bad government and rampant and hideous wars, but also a country stricken horribly by an Ebola epidemic just as it begins to stand up again, having been virtually slain by decades of unbelievably brutal male dictatorship.

Do we trust some of the saviors who come to help?  Of course not.  But that is not  the point.  I am thankful they appeared, though some of them undoubtedly caused part of the disaster.  What matters is:  The Women of Liberia Stood Up.  Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Stood Up.  The writer, Helene Cooper, is standing up.

I believe with all my heart that this book can be a major force in correcting our misperceptions about a land most African Americans relate to more as myth than as reality, and can lead us all, African Americans, Americans, and indigenous Africans alike, to our true, as opposed to our mythical, home.  The work to be done is immense.  Simply attempting to understand the politics involved in keeping poor countries enslaved by debt is mind boggling.

Even so, let us be encouraged by the women of Liberia who, finally, had had enough.  Women who chose one of their own to lead the way out of wars in which children were drugged, terrorized, and forced to rape and kill family members, and to chant, of “Pappy,” the warlord who clearly tortured them into insanity, as he campaigned for the presidency of the country, “He killed my mother; he killed my father, I will vote for him!”

This is a book to help us grow our universal heart.  A heart anchored in respect for the human mother and the human child;  a book that calls on each of us to protect the sacred inviolability of the human mind, spirit, body and soul.  It is simply a great book, filled as such books often are, with insights into the unimaginably bitter residue of lives distorted by historical misadventures, and external, as well as internal, demonic forces.



Window Sill Vibrant Blue Wood Piece and Wall Hanging Photo by Alice Walker
Photo by Alice Walker

Spring Poem 

Copyright 2018 by Alice Walker

For daisy, zinnia, petunia, jasmine, rose, tenzin, rebecca, rachel

The seed from last year’s garden

Has been scattered

By the wind.

When I return in Spring
Tiny green faces
Are everywhere.

Some have landed
As we might too
In dry
& rocky

But mother has returned
And she
Is the gardener;

She notices.

The stunted plants
Trying their best
Still are stuck
In rocky soil.

Or maybe more discouraging
From a young plant’s
Point of view
In treacherous sand.

Sand looks so solid
But is not
& winter packs it hard
Like earth
& it is earth
But a very fickle kind.
It slips
It slides
Water drains
Right through it.

But the gardener
Who knows
The mother to the plants
Has come home.

She sees.

With her old and dullish trowel
She sets about her work.
For days she has carefully
All the uncomfortables.

Now she moves.

The stunted zinnias
She can almost hear
Gasping for breath
She moves into big pots
No matter that legend
Is: they dislike being moved.

The impatiens
Fainting in the heat
She transplants
To dappled shade.

The huge jasmine
That never blooms
She leaves alone
Except to shower it
With a hose
& Tell it that
Though perhaps it has forgot
She has not
Its function is to create
Heavenly scented flowers
That look like stars.

No more letting seeds struggle
Where they fall
As if there is
In neglect.

This is an Old
Or New Testament
We might decline.

Placing our belief
In the gardener
The mother of the plants
Who always returns
After the winter thaw:

Sees the condition
Of each one of her green children
And acts
To bring nurturance,
And radiance
To them all.


Leer Poema De Primavera



J a n u a r y   2018


Alice Walker keynote speech — Earth at Risk Conference


Somebody Died for Us: 


Martin Luther King, Jr.

MLK Alice Walkers Garden Remembering Martin Luther King 3

We are the Ones We have been Waiting For

Alice Walker speaking about Martin Luther King, Jr (start time 9:37 to 39:25 end time)

Atlanta, Georgia

Nobel Peace Prize Martin Luther King

MLK at Home Martin Luther King Jr Alice Walker Remember MLK Alice Walkers Garden Remembering Martin Luther King 1



Lesson:  Never Wander Into the Marketplace
After a Silent Retreat.
Or During.  Which Is What I Just Did.

Copyright©2018 by Alice Walker

Perplexed by signs for “bookstore” and finding none, I wandered once again down the path beside the new community building.  I saw folks going in. I had wondered about the lineup of small Buddhas outside the building.  Of course! The bookstore and market!  In I went. Not thinking this was not wise to do on day five of a weeklong silent retreat.

I found so many lovely things inside!  Spring’s book!  Larry’s book!  Prayer flags!  So many lovely things – and of course I chose many!

But then I looked in vain for a salesperson.  None appeared! I went here and there!

Finally I realized there was – this being the up to date commercial age- no sales person! I saw the instructions for how to pay for my purchases by myself.  I found them extremely complicated.  My spaciness?  Yes, but also, my kind of mind. Not good with gadgets and especially intimidated by financial questions and the tapping of machines to “wake them up” at nine o’clock in the morning!

Oh, I tried! And I am glad I made the effort. At least I was not defeated without some attempt to comprehend the machine. To its credit (no pun) it’s written message said plainly: “I prefer cash and checks.” Forgetting I had cash, though no checks, I endeavored the plastic route.  No dice.  I was royally frustrated within minutes!

I decided to save myself complete meltdown and wrote a note (hopefully) to management:  “This is too complicated by far.  Where is the humanity in this? (Envisioning marketplaces in other parts of the world with kids and their grandparents and maybe even a goat or two around.)  Or the sales, for that matter?” – I signed, and left all my lovely, would -be purchases on the counter.

Came up the hill to meditation in something of a huff.  Went straight to the Forgiveness dharma talk by Larry Yang in which he seemed to have watched the entire situation in the bookstore. Especially my somewhat sour (I bet!) glance at the smiling woman at the entrance of the building.  Poor thing!  What clue could she have had?

Anyway, a teaching about exchanging self for other.  In other words, lighten up, not tighten up! And don’t go shopping in the middle of a silent retreat!


This was all settled beautifully of course.  As I was leaving the retreat with a friend she suggested we go inside the bookstore and re-select my would-be purchases. She was handy handling machines, she said.  Her interaction with post- modernity up to date! In fact, they were all still on the counter, just where I left them! I bought two copies of Spring Washam’s amazing book, A Fierce Heart: Finding Strength, Courage, and Wisdom In Any Moment, and two of Larry Yang’s bedrock of a Buddhist book for communities of color: Awakening Together: the Spiritual Practice of Inclusivity and Community.  I got my Tibetan prayer flags, because by now all my old flags are gray and torn, literally shredded by the wind.

The book I hadn’t expected to carry me off, that I bought mainly because I love Taoist poetry, is beside me now as I type:  The Activist’s Tao Te Ching:  Ancient Advice for a Modern Revolution  by William Martin.  Rarely has a book touched so directly the places this revolutionary and poet needed, these days, to be touched.

Listen to this:


Noise confounds our leaders.
They don’t know what to do.
Scurrying this way, then that,
they never find the silent Tao
If they could find that silence,
the country would transform itself.
Simplicity and freedom from desire
would become the natural way,
and destructive habits would fall away,
replaced by patient compassion for all life.

Leaders will never find that silence while serving the current system.  Since dollars have become speech, the noise has overwhelmed all possibility of silence. No one in leadership has ears to hear the quiet among the cacophony of special interests. New systems must be founded on a stillness, a serenity where decisions can be considered from a place of wisdom, not from urgency or expediency.  Of course, we can’t form such systems until we find a silent place within ourselves.

-William Martin

Shopping while pursuing peace definitely interferes with finding this silent place. -AW

Meanwhile:  I just finished FIRE AND FURY, Inside the Trump White House, by Michael Wolff.  It is deeply troubling and positively deeply important.  We might not survive this debacle, but I cheer the writer’s craft, and courage, and willingness to alert humanity.

Leer esto, Una Leccion: Nunca Vayas Por El Mercado, en español



Encouraged by the Miracles of Life

©2018 by Alice Walker

for Rebecca, Tenzin and Rachel

December 6, 2018

For instance:
The wisdom of the mango tree.

Two years ago

A hurricane
Named Patricia
-The worst storm
ever to hit Earth
according to those keeping record
of relatively recent times-
Destroyed two mango trees
I planted thirty years

With sorrow, we pulled up one stump
But while preparing
To pull up stump #2
We noticed at the very top
Of it
Clinging for dear life,
A tiny twig of a branch had started
To grow.

It’s solitary tenacity
Moved me.

I grieved the huge tree
The Mango used to be
With luscious mangoes
Hanging down
And hanging as well
A bright green swing
I had placed on a stout branch
For my grandchild.

Last year I noticed the tiny branch
Left out of pity on the otherwise
Dead seeming stump
Had begun to grow.

This year I see it has grown
And has shaped itself
Into a tree.

From a distance you cannot even tell
This “tree” is growing
Out of a stump!

Here is the miracle –
How did it know

To do this?

That though only a sprig of a branch
And a spindly one
At that
How did it know
It was supposed to be
A tree!

Next year it may well
Produce mangoes!

From this experience
My faith in us

In just this way
The way of the tiny mango twig
That knew it was supposed
To be a tree
We will also know

-however betrayed, broken, deformed or distorted
we may become, whole parts of us sheared off in a multitude
of human storms –

That we are meant to be
Upstanding, fully rounded,
Goodness producing
Human beings.

We will grow ourselves back
To our original form
If even one leaf is left to us;
And we will drop our fruit
To nourish the world.




D e c e m b e r   2017

Movie Coco boy guitar Alice Walker website 2017-12

A Good Prayer For Starting One’s Day In These Times …

Humans are amazing.  Thank You

For Making Us! 

Whoever or Whatever You are,

Of whatever Dimension or Frequency!

Thank you for giving us Ourselves to enjoy!

For instance, I went last night to my local movie palace in Oaklandia (as Frida Kahlo would call it) and saw the Pixar movie COCO, which revolves around the Mexican custom of celebrating the Day of the Dead.  As usual I knew almost nothing about it beforehand.  Someone I admire said she’d heard it was great.  Well, “great.”  You know. But even so.  She is great and I went from there.  It is a marvel!  Which I won’t give away except to say it warmed my heart once again to see that artists of all kinds are stepping up to their global duty to bring dignity and clarity and compassion and understanding back into the world.

As someone who has loved Mexico from long before I fled Mississippi to be temporarily restored by the soulfulness of Oaxaca almost half a century ago, it has been torture to hear the rude, ignorant things said about Mexico and Mexicans by someone temporarily in office as US president.  He clearly understands nothing of the depth and greatness of the Mexican soul.

Watching COCO (how it was even made is a mystery!) I was reminded of my own first encounter with Day of the Dead ceremonies in a huge cemetery many miles from the city of Oaxaca.  First of all, I was taken there by a gay Mexican man who explained to me that in his culture (Indigenous rather than Conquistador) there has always been a traditional role for gay men:  one of which is to take care of the family altar.  Another is to make sure that marigold petals (plentiful and bright orange) reach thickly from doorway to street so the souls returning to check out the altar can find their way home.  Another is to accompany their sisters in society so that no one dares be uncivil to them.  Also, a duty to introduce strangers, beautifully, to a ritual unknown to them: the celebration of the Mexican family’s connection to its dead.

I think I’ve written about this in my journals, coming soon as GATHERING BLOSSOMS UNDER FIRE, but essentially what happened is I was simply astonished at this humongous celebration of the rich dance between life and death being played out in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of a cemetery that seemed as large as a small city.  People eating and drinking, playing every instrument imaginable, playing cards… in fact, partying around their family’s tombstones and tombs.  I was enchanted.  A state I love!

But then, just as I was swooning over all this, I heard the most beautiful singing I’ve heard in my life, and I am from Georgia, where folks have been known to carry a tune!  What is that?  I wanted to know.  And our guide courteously led us through all the lights and revelry to the very back of the cemetery where there stood the ruins of a church, inside of which dozens of people were singing.  Well, yes, I started to weep.  But not as much as when I asked:  Who are they and why are they singing these mournful and soul stirring songs, and my friend said:  They are singing for those to whom no one comes to visit.

What can one say?  There are people in this world who know what Soul is.  The movie COCO shares with us some of this.  Soul.  In Southern black culture, for centuries, this word had huge significance; today a somewhat related meaning would be empathy.  Which we quickly noted our enslavers lacked.





Wheatfields Alicewalkersgarden.com

 I Live Now As If I Will Never See You Again

Copyright 2017 by Alice Walker

I live now

As if I will never see you
I should have been living
This way all along.

Here is a cure for every kind
Of impatience
& Irritation;
Every anticipation
Of regret.

I love you as I love the fields
That I see
From my window,
Like them
Your colors are changing;
Some are fading.

They are still, these fields
But only from a distance;
Up close even the bees
Are dancing.
Everything moves.

One day the slowly
Growing trees
Rob us of the view.

Cultivate a sense
Of having been born
For this time.

The best “marriage”
You can make now
Is between you
And society.

For my dancing friends at Stanford University. 





N o v e m b e r   2017


Mandela on historic trip to Palestine this week

(26 to 29 November 2017)

Nelson Mandela trip to Palestine November 2017 Alice Walkers Garden

PRESS ALERT – Mandela on historic trip to Palestine this week (26 to 29 November 2017)

26 November 2017

Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Chief Mandla Mandela MP, is on a historic visit to Palestine. Mandela, who arrived in Palestine this morning (Sunday 26 November), will hold several meetings with Palestinian leaders including President Mahmoud Abbas.

Chief Mandela will also visit the Holy Towns of Bethlehem and Jerusalem, both located in the occupied Palestinian West Bank, as well as the mausoleum of Yasser Arafat in Ramallah. Mandela’s grandfather, Nelson Mandela, was a close friend of Arafat having explained in his famous Ted Koppel interview that: “Our stand is that Arafat is a comrade in arms and we treat him as such” (video source: https://youtu.be/i5TiUhhm7cQ):

Chief Mandela, who is a senior Member of the South African Parliament, is a close ally of the BDS movement and Palestinian struggle against Israeli Apartheid. On Thursday evening in Amman (Jordan), prior to his entry to Palestine, Chief Mandela had a meeting and received a briefing from Palestinian leader, Omar Barghouti, of the Palestinian BDS National Committee.

Following his meeting with Mandela, Barghouti commented that: “Chief Mandla Mandela is exceptionally inspiring, not only for carrying forward Madiba’s legacy of justice and internationalism, but also for seeing solidarity with the struggle for Palestinian liberation as a South African ethical obligation. Palestinians are proud of and deeply grateful for this solidarity from Madiba, Chief Mandla Mandela and from the great people of South Africa.” During his meeting Barghouti reiterated Palestinian support for the shut down of the SA Embassy in Tel Aviv.

To arrange an interview with Chef Mandla Mandela while in Palestine or for further information on his itinerary contact: +27 (0) 74 054 3826

Source: Issued by Kwara Kekana on behalf of BDS South Africa

Comunicado de prensa traducido al español


It Is Our (Frightful ) Duty

 To Study The Talmud

©2017 by Alice Walker

The first time I was accused

Of appearing to be anti-Semitic
The shock did not wear off
For days.
The man who charged me
Was a friend.
A Jewish Soul
Who I thought understood
Or could learn to understand
Almost anything.

He could not understand

Why I thought Israel should give back
The land it took
From a poorly defended
People in a war that lasted
Six days. I cringed
About our small house
In Mississippi (where black people
Often assumed he was a racist)
Deeply offended by his attempt
To insult my character
And spoke to him
Earnestly of “dignity” “justice”
“honor” and “peace.”

Sometimes, later in life,

You do laugh at yourself.
You understand, finally,
That you’ve understood
Nothing. Nothing at all.
That in this case, for instance,
That of the famed Six Day War,
It was all a show,
A true “Theatre” war;
The battlefield a stage,
Though bombs and bullets were real.
Only the people who lost the battle
Got a close-up
Of the set.
And the set-up.

Later I would march

Or be arrested
Protesting this war and that
And marvel how it never mattered.
On days we marched in our tens of thousands
The people we hoped to influence
Were taking a holiday. Bush was
good at this. He let the media
Spread the word he was chillin’ on his
12,000 or is it 20,000
Acre ranch.
Bill and Barack made themselves

When I was in Palestine

As an elder
Doing my job
Of keeping tabs
On Earth’s children
I remembered my concern
And how my friend
Had brushed it off.

“Israel needs that land to protect itself.”

He said. As though this should be
Self- evident. It wasn’t then;
It isn’t now.

The land taken

Has never been returned.
In fact, more stolen land
Has followed the first assaults
And thefts.
Palestinian children, after years
Of throwing stones
At grown up assassins
In helmets and armored tanks
Are killing themselves
These days
To save their murderers
The trouble.

Unlike most Americans
I have witnessed Palestine
Under Israeli rule. It is demonic
To the core. But where to look
For the inspiration
For so much evil? Where
To find the teachings that influence
And sanction such limitless cruel behavior?

Where to find that part

Of the puzzle that is missing?
We’ve intuited there must be one.
And we were right.


We must go back

As grown ups, now,
Not as the gullible children we once were,
And study our programming,
From the beginning.
All of it: The Christian, the Jewish,
The Muslim; even the Buddhist. All of it, without exception,
At the root.

For the study of Israel, of Gaza, of Palestine,

Of the bombed out cities of the Middle East,
Of the creeping Palestination
Of our police, streets, and prisons
In America,
Of war in general,
It is our duty, I believe, to study The Talmud.
It is within this book that,
I believe, we will find answers
To some of the questions
That most perplex us.

Where to start?

You will find some information,

Slanted, unfortunately,
By Googling. For a more in depth study
I recommend starting with YouTube. Simply follow the trail of “The
Talmud” as its poison belatedly winds its way
Into our collective consciousness.

Some of what you find will sound

Too crazy to be true. Unfortunately those bits are likely
To be true. Some of the more evasive studies
Will exhibit unbelievable attempts
At sugar coating extremely disagreeable pills.
But hang in there, checking
And double checking, listening to everybody,
Even the teachers with the twisted pasts
That scare you the most,
And the taped rants of outraged citizens that sound
Like madcap characters on Car Talk
Except they are not laughing
But are righteously outraged.

Study hard, with an open

If deeply offended mind,
Until you can sift the false
From the true.

Is Jesus boiling eternally in hot excrement,

For his “crime” of throwing the bankers
Out of the Temple? For loving, standing with,
And defending
The poor? Was his mother, Mary,
A whore?

Are Goyim (us) meant to be slaves of Jews, and not only

That, but to enjoy it?
Are three year old (and a day) girls eligible for marriage and intercourse?
Are young boys fair game for rape?
Must even the best of the Goyim (us, again) be killed?
Pause a moment and think what this could mean
Or already has meant
In our own lifetime.

You may find that as the cattle

We have begun to feel we are
We have an ancient history of oppression
Of which most of us have not been even vaguely
Aware. You will find that we, Goyim, sub-humans, animals
-The Palestinians of Gaza
The most obvious representatives of us
At the present time – are a cruel example of what may be done
With impunity, and without conscience,
By a Chosen people,
To the vast majority of the people
On the planet
Who were not Chosen.
Not chosen to receive the same dubious
“Blessing” of
Supremacy over the Earth,
Humans, and Beasts of this realm. As is
Stated plainly in the first chapter
Of the Bible we all read.
The Unchosen who, until now,
Were too scared of being
Called names
To demand to know why.

It is a “Blessing” Jesus did not want.

One that, risking crucifixion, he refused.
One reason he is loved
By those who recognize a good
And righteous person
When they encounter one.
Seen in this light he wasn’t even
A spiritual progressive, but a committed
Revolutionary: a Che Guevara
Of the ancient past.

A past as scary, if not scarier, than

Our own time: A past that,
Unfortunately, is not even past (quoting

We discover this

To our enlightened grief
As we study
The Talmud,
Our own ignorance,
And the devastating impact of both
On our abandoned world.


See: The General’s Son: Journey of An Israeli In Palestine, by Miko Peled, introduction by Alice Walker

Also interview with Miko Peled below.

Source:  posted on July 2, 2013, Interview on BFM radio during my visit to Malaysia  – http://www.bfm.my/miko-peled-profile.html