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.

 

May 2018

PALESTINIANS ARE US;  TO UNDERSTAND THIS IS TO GRASP THE SITUATION’S URGENCY TO YOU. - AW

Support avaaz on this issue!

 

From: ”Ricken Patel – Avaaz” <avaaz@avaaz.org>

Date: May 15, 2018 at 6:58:16 AM PDT

Subject: It’s time for sanctions on Israelsign now

Israeli troops massacred 59 unarmed protesters yesterday in Gaza, and shot 1300 more. It was a massacre!! Israel turned into one of the most brutally racist regimes on the planet, and it’s high time the world rallies behind sanctions on Israel to free Palestinians!

SIGN NOW

Dear Avaaz,

The stinking hypocrisy knows no bounds, and no shame.Israeli troops massacred 59 unarmed protesters yesterday, and shot 1300 more. 1300. They do it *gleefully* — you can watch videos here and here. Yet Israeli spokesmen and their US allies constantly play the victim of “dangerous Palestinians”. CNN reports “deaths in clashes”. What clashes?? It was a massacre!! It IS a massacre. It’s going on today. Another installment of 40 years of Israeli racist brutality and military repression. Avaaz battles racism everywhere. We’ve fought Arab dictatorships for years and it’s time to fight the Israeli one. Israel today is an ethnic dictatorship — one of the most brutally racist regimes on the planet. It has become unhinged, and it deserves to be a pariah state. Other states have faced sanctions for far less. Sanctions on South Africa helped free its black people, it’s time for sanctions on Israel to free the Palestinians. It’s time for the world to rally behind sanctions on Israel.

Take action to help save Palestinian lives!

Israel has marched steadily away from reason and peace and towards the far right. Members of Parliament called for the beating of Ahed Tamimi, the young Palestinian girl who slapped a soldier after her young cousin was shot in the face — and the Defence Minister himself ordered to punish her entire family. Israel’s many enablers will knee-jerk accuse Avaaz and our many Jewish staff and leadership of hating Jews. But we love Jews, as we love all people. The holocaust was real, Jews were brutally oppressed and still face anti semitism worldwide. Many of those who founded Israel wanted it to be a beacon of a better way. But their vision has been betrayed, and Israel has become a brutally racist and repressive regime — it deserves the world’s condemnation. Not just in words, but action.

Take action to help save Palestinian lives!

Two of the most dishonest and dangerous leaders in the world today are Donald Trump and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. Like extremists everywhere, they dream of a world where sensible people lose their judgment and are pulled into two warring camps, one of which is led by them. Let’s show them it won’t work — that ordinary people won’t be sucked into their hate and propaganda, and that we can still see racism and brutality for what it is, and respond. That they can’t take our humanity from us, and we won’t let them succeed in taking freedom and dignity from the Palestinian people.With hope and determination, Ricken, Christoph, Alice, Pascal, Antonia, Fatima, Martyna and the entire Avaaz team.

__________________________________________________________

The Guardian view on Gaza shootings: stop killing unarmed civilians (The Guardian)  -  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/may/14/the-guardian-view-on-gaza-shootings-stop-killing-unarmed-civilians

South Africa recalls envoy to Israel over ‘violent aggression’ on Gaza border (Times of Israel)  -  https://www.timesofisrael.com/south-africa-recalls-envoy-to-israel-over-violent-aggression-on-gaza-border/

Source: Avaaz Email Campaign 

Conscious Earthlings

©2018 by Alice Walker

 

Jews have always been involved

In my awakening.

Long before I knew

Or cared

What they were.

It is this I will remember

Whatever worsening plans

The Zionist Nazis make.

To tell the truth

It has always calmed me

To have them near.

Carrying on, being smart-ass,

Getting into everybody’s business

Sitting up reading poetry

Dissecting the Good Book

With me;

The only book allowed

In jail.

I will not lose this,

Too much time has passed.

I cannot be fooled.

Zionist Nazis are not the Jews

I know; terrorists who would

and do

Kill anyone and anything

To get what they want:

Control over everyone.

                                                                                                         I will never be divided from my friends

 

No matter how bad Zionist Nazis are making

Jews look.  I like especially to see

Them standing firm with the

Same realization I also have:

That the dream of one humanity,

Of one race of humankind

Is being born each day

In every one of us

Who leave race and culture and religion

Handed to us at birth behind

And hold ourselves accountable today

This minute

To the standard of eternal caring

For the one United Tribe

Of Conscious Earthlings.

 

###

 

 

Happy Mother’s Day

Alice Walker and Rebecca Walker

Mexico City, 2018

 

Alice Walker Mother and Father, Minnie Tallulah, Grant Walker

Happy Mother’s Day Mother and Grandmother,

and Father and Grandfather!

Minnie Tallulah Grant Walker

and

Willie Lee Walker

Georgia, the Thirties

(Same cheekbones and attitude!)

 

 

Julie Otsuka’s Novels

©2018 by Alice Walker

 

Julie Otsuka’s novels The Buddha in the Attic and When the Emperor Was Divine were given to me by a Japanese-American friend who knew of my interest in Japanese history and culture.  I had been intrigued years earlier by her account of her family’s forced “internment” in an American concentration camp, during World War II.

What happened to Japanese -Americans during that war, uprooted and forced to relocate in barren deserts, and other such desolate places, is an unknown among most Americans. Partly this is because the Japanese- Americans, ashamed to have been treated so badly by white, European- Americans, rarely, if ever, wanted members of their communities to talk about it.  But also, there was, there must have been, the belief that the suffering and humiliation they endured would eventually be forgotten.

There is a suffering – especially when coupled with humiliation – that goes so deeply into the soul that it can never be forgotten.  It must be faced. And, a place must be found for it.  That is what Julie Otsuka does in these two extraordinary books.  She shows us what happened, the horrible treatment of the Japanese -American cooks and nannies and houseboys and gardeners, as well as the teachers, doctors, lawyers, and mothers and fathers and girls and boys, when the United States government decided that all yellow people were spies for the emperor of Japan. These overnight “enemy aliens” were perceived to represent a danger to their new country, and were deprived of goods and livelihoods and shipped off to parts of the country most of them had never known or even imagined. For years.

In their slender elegance – matched by a restrained, if tough and invincible pride of heritage -– these books represent a literary monument to all who were abused, all who suffered physical and spiritual wounds, all who managed to rise again, and all who fell.  

Every word, chosen by Otsuka as carefully as if it were a flower, is laid on an altar of literary beauty, so that those who endured and those who could not, might know, if only through their descendants, that they have been remembered in just the right way, and may rest.

There are times one feels so grateful to be part of one’s profession; in this case, that of writer; that this world, for all its heartache, seems the right place to cast one’s lot.

### 

Ley, Las novelas de Julie Otsuka

 

 

 April 2018

 

May God Bless the People of Gaza, April 9, 2018

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE CHILDREN OF GAZA: FROM ALICE WALKER

Gaza Children are blessed beings 2018-04-23 Alice Walker Letter

photo source: video May God Bless the People of Gaza

En español, Queridos Niños de Gaza

April 10th, 2018

Dear Children of Gaza,

My letter of support for your march will reach you too late to support your brave efforts of April 9th, to confront and somehow humanize your oppressors, the women and men, many of whom are only a few years older than you, of the Israeli military. I am deeply sorry for this because I think you are amazing human beings who demonstrate as much courage and resilience as any children the world has ever seen. You have of course paid dearly for this and no words that I or anyone else can say will take away the pain that lies leaden in your hearts.

You were commemorating, yesterday, someone that I loved very much when I was young: Martin Luther king. I met him briefly while I was a student; a blessing I hold dearer the older I get. He sacrificed so much for the people of America, my country; people whose beautiful humanity was often lost to them because they were led by vicious, greedy people who used race – the color of a person’s skin – to separate and stunt us. Even as a child I saw this was as idiotic as separating people by the color of their hair. We were all, in my country, made smaller and meaner by an arbitrary system of separation that has led today to a country where no one trusts “leadership” and no one feels safe.

What the world will eventually understand, and by then it will be too late, is: As Gaza goes, so goes the world. All human activity teaches something to the human race. What is happening in Gaza, and has been happening in Gaza, the brutality of the theft of the lives and livelihoods of a people, will be seared so deeply into common consciousness across the globe that it will become acceptable, even in areas where people assume they are safe.

It is as if humans all have separate heads, but only one brain. In fact, I have written a poem about that. But never mind!

I send you my love, my caring, my understanding of as much of your culture and history as I have been able to absorb. I have considered this the duty of a conscious adult whose taxes are used, against my will, to finance much of the disaster befalling you.

All adults owe you the respect of making the attempt to understand what you are up against; what you have been up against for decades. The world will continue to suffer from its neglect of you. And what oppresses you today may well become what oppresses everyone in the not so distant future.

As we pray for you, young ones, so dedicated to learning and growth, pray also for us. You have probably heard how the violence that you have faced for generations, as children and as adults, has now lodged in our own cities and schools in America. It is the same violence; it’s only commitment is to itself and to its own unending growth. In its aftermath the “victors” suck up the oil and dig out the precious minerals, metals, and stones. In the case of Palestine, they demolish your homes and even drain away your drinking water. They think they will be happy, these “winners,” as rich conquerors dancing on your graves. But true happiness comes from doing what is right, a rightness based on inner peace. It is this that both you, and Martin Luther King, demonstrate to the world. It is an offering that has cost you more suffering than most humans can even bear to learn about. It is nonetheless, because humans can be beautiful, and earth is in essence a paradise that we must protect, the only work at this moment that truly matters.

In solidarity and caring,

Alice Walker

En español, Queridos Niños de Gaza

As Long As There Are Children

(Grownups Must Behave!)

NO! to War March

Oakland, California

April 15, 2018

Oakland CA US Syria War Protest 2018-04-15

As Long As There Are Children

(Grownups Must Behave!)

NO! to War March

Oakland, California

April 15, 2018

© 2018 Alice Walker

As long as there are children

Grownups must behave

And stop acting like

They are the only ones

Around the place.

This place is earth

And it is overwhelmingly

Peopled by children –

Those who are born

And those still to come

Though potentially present already

In their mothers’ eggs.

As long as there are children

Children must realize

They are a global tribe:

They must let no

So called grownup

Tell them they have nothing in common

With their tribal kin

In Gaza, Somalia, Syria, Vietnam, China, Russia,

Iran,

Or Ethiopia.

As long as there are children

Grownups must behave!

As long as there are children

They must study

With suspicion

Every word grownups say.

Those same grownups

Who are responsible

For the combustible predicament

We are in all over the Earth.

Those same grownups who pretend they know

The secrets of the Universe

Yet don’t even know one thing

About Facebook.

That they know much of anything

Is a fiction.

For what, on the evidence,

Do they know?

How to put the lives

Of children

-Who belong to everyone-

In gravest danger!

How to maim and kill

Children at will

In every war

Whether soft or hard;

Whether with bullets

Or vaccines

Or the withholding

Of bread.

As long as there are children;

Grownups must behave!

As long as there are children

They must be protected

From their devices.

The micro-wave radiation in them is increasing

And the  brains of the young

Are still forming.

In our daughters’ bodies,

The eggs of our future

Ancestors and Descendants

Are being fried.

As long as there are children

Remember the child in you.

Protect her.

Protect him.

Protect them.

Protect all the babies

Of planet earth:

Whether the fox

Chased and torn apart by mad men (and women)

Or the rhino shot and killed

By mad men (and women)

Or the elephant shot and killed

By mad men (and women).

Protect the child

Mighty Mother Earth Herself

Has become

In the hands of creatures

Who never learned respect;

And whose feelings of compassion were deleted,

Assuming they ever existed,

A very long time ago.

As long as there are children,

Grownups must behave!

War attacks all air, all forests, all animals,

All water, all humans.

As long as there are young ones

Of any kind:  Whether baboon, human, or bluejay:

Say no to war.

How do grownups

Truly say No

To War?

 

By not paying for it.

Some so-called grownups will harass you when

You attempt to do this: Not Pay For War.  But do not be discouraged.

As your elder, it is my job to help you think

Your way around this obstacle of taxes

That have the blood of the children

Of the world on them.

It is fairly simple, though discipline rarely is:

Knowing they will find a way to penalize us for boycotting

The IRS

As a form of protest

I propose a simpler form of direct action:

The #I DON’T NEED IT movement.

What does this mean?  You may well ask.

It means that because money

is all these so-called Grownups

Appear to understand

That we stop buying whatever new gadget

They are selling.

We can withdraw the energy of our dollars

Without saying a word.

Or by saying or thinking or believing, 

With only our soul as witness:

I DON’T NEED IT.  

I don’t need the endless distraction

Of having to buy every bauble dangled

Before my eyes

As thousands of children and their parents

Are traumatized and killed.

I don’t need the river of junk

I am required to buy to make me

Forget I’ve been forced to be

An accomplice in mass slaughter.

I will wear my old coat, my old shoes,

Drive my old car,

Thank you very much.

Whatever you’re selling me to make me forget:

I DON’T NEED IT.

We can begin to stop War

By withdrawing financial

Energy from anything

That depresses us

And sends us searching

For painkillers

Including

Sex,

Crack, alcohol, and opioids.

We can begin to stop war

By practicing non-compliance

With whatever in the society

Supports it.  Especially an economy

That endorses and promotes other criminal offenses, like private prisons

For its mostly poor

And of color populations.

We can become Grownups who know how to behave,

 Ourselves!

By studying the connection between

Our mindless shopping behavior

And the deaths of children

Just like our own.

We can stop war

By not shopping our way through the bad news of it;

As it creeps ever closer to our door.

We can stop war

By not funding it.

### En español, Mientras Haya Niños Los Adultos Deben Comportarse ###

 

Winnie Mandela We Love you

Winnie Mandela te amamos

See Search for poem

  

 

Book Jacket - With Our Grief: Reading Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo”

Those Who Love Us

Never Leave Us Alone

With Our Grief:  Reading Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo

©2018 by Alice Walker

Those who love us never leave us alone with our grief.  At the moment they show us our wound, they reveal they have the medicine.  Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo” is a perfect example of this.

I’m not sure there was ever a harder read than this, for those of us duty bound to carry the ancestors, to work for them, as we engage in daily life in different parts of the world where they were brought in chains. And where they, as slaves to cruel, or curious, or indifferent white persons (with few exceptions) existed in precarious suspension, disconnected from their real life, and where we also have had to struggle to protect our humanity, to experience joy of life, in spite of everything evil we have witnessed or to which we have been subjected.

Reading Barracoon one understands immediately the problem many black people, years ago, especially black intellectuals and political leaders, had with it.  It resolutely records the atrocities African peoples inflicted on each other, long before shackled Africans, traumatized, ill, disoriented, starved, arrived on ships as “black cargo” in the hellish West.  Who could face this vision of the violently cruel behavior of the “brethren” and the “sistren” who first captured our ancestors?  Who would want to know, via a blow by blow account, how African chiefs deliberately set out to capture Africans from neighboring tribes, to provoke wars of conquest in order to capture for the slave trade, people – men, women, children – who belonged to Africa?  And to do this in so hideous a fashion that reading about it two hundred years later brings waves of horror and distress.  This is, make no mistake, a harrowing read.

We are being shown the wound.

However, Zora Neale Hurston’s genius has once again produced a Maestrapiece.  What is a Maestrapiece?  It is the feminine perspective or part of the structure, whether in stone or fancy, without which the entire edifice is a lie.  And we have suffered so much from this one:  that Africans were only victims of the slave trade, not participants.  Poor Zora.  An anthropologist, no less!  A daughter of Eatonville, Florida where truth, what was real, what actually happened to somebody, mattered.  And so, she sits with Cudjo Lewis.  She shares peaches and watermelon.  ( Imagine how many generations of black people would never admit to eating watermelon!)* She gets the grisly story from one of the last people able to tell it.  How black people came to America, how we were treated by black and white.  How black Americans, enslaved themselves, ridiculed the Africans; making their lives so much harder. How the whites simply treated their “slaves” like pieces of machinery.  But machinery that could be whipped if it didn’t produce enough.  Fast enough.  Machinery that could be mutilated, raped, killed, if the desire arose.  Machinery that could be cheated, cheerfully, without a trace of guilt.

And then, the story of Cudjo Lewis’s life after Emancipation.  His happiness with “freedom,” helping to create a community, a church, building his own house. His tender love for his wife, Seely, and their children.  The horrible deaths that follow.  We see a man so lonely for Africa, so lonely for his family, we are struck with the realization that he is naming something we ourselves work hard to avoid: how lonely we are too in this still foreign land: lonely for our true culture, our people, our singular connection to a specific understanding of the Universe. And that what we long for, as in Cudjo Lewis’ case, is gone forever. But we see something else: the nobility of a soul that has suffered to the point almost of erasure, and still it struggles to be whole, present, giving.  Growing in love, deepening in understanding.  Cudjo’s wisdom becomes so apparent, toward the end of his life, that neighbors ask him to speak to them in parables. Which he does.  Offering peace.

Here is the medicine:

That though the heart is breaking, happiness can exist in a moment, also.  And because the moment in which we live is all the time there really is, we can keep going. It may be true, and often is, that every person we hold dear is taken from us. Still.  From moment to moment, we watch our beans and our watermelons grow.  We plant. We hoe.  We harvest. We share with neighbors.  If a young anthropologist appears with two hams and gives us one, we look forward to enjoying it.

Life, inexhaustible, goes on.  And we do too.  Carrying our wounds and our medicines as we go.

Ours is an amazing, a spectacular, journey in the Americas.  It is so remarkable one can only be thankful for it, bizarre as that may sound.  Perhaps our planet is for learning to appreciate the extraordinary wonder of life that surrounds even our suffering, and to say Yes, if through the thickest of tears.

*A popular caricature of African Americans for centuries portrayed them mindlessly eating watermelon. This so damaged the psyche of many black children that they grew up actually hating the fruit or, if they ate it, as adults, and liked it, this fact was hidden.  I think the tender fragility of souls under extreme racist stress played a part in the denial of the African participation in the slave trade.

Leer en español, Los Que Nos Aman Nunca Nos Dejan Solos Con Nuestro Dolor: Leyendo BARRACOON: La Historia Del Último Cargamento De Negros

 

March 2018

Alice Walker Deepak Chopra Liberatum Mexico Festival 2018

I was delighted to meet and listen to Deepak Chopra at the Liberatum gathering in Mexico City this week.  His wisdom, and self-confidence in sharing it, is wonderful, as was his teaching from his new book THE HEALING SELF. I like this photo for many reasons but a primary one is: it’s good for a society to see its elders at work.

Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D. is co-editor of this very caring, comprehensive, and spiritually thoughtful book, that appears to  consider all known  aspects of the healing process.  Toward the end there is a useful and somewhat reassuring chapter on Alzheimer’s, something apparently many people, starting as early as their  forties(!) begin to worry about.  Oops, time to learn that German and Swahili!

 

  M a r c h  21st

Dear Hermana, I just want to congratulate you on the World´s Poetry Day. Poetry, as Marti said, is more necessary to people than any other thing since it gives them the strength and the desire to live.This afternoon we´ll have a special reading and a toast. Much love from, Manuel

 M a r c h  2018

PRESS STATEMENT

Israel’s Chief Rabbi calls black people ‘monkeys’  *22 March 2018 | https://goo.gl/CRDgid

Un Dicho Sabio De Los Antepasados

One Wise Saying

Of the Ancestors

Is Worth More Than a Thousand

Toxic

Ideologies

Waters HR8 WAPO Ad 2018-03

One Wise Saying

Of the Ancestors

Is Worth More Than a Thousand

Toxic

Ideologies

©2018 by Alice Walker

For instance:
“I’ve been called
everything
but a child
of God.”
Well, there you stand
Mud splattered
Unable
Because of intrigues
And laws
To defend yourself
Against
Their attacks.
Hundreds of years
Of this.
And so,
You concede
The obvious:
Their lineage of oppression
Is equal
To your centuries
Of enduring
Their abuse.
What are they declaring now?
That you are a monkey?
A donkey?
A chimp?
A baboon?
A communist,
A conspiracy theorist,
An anti-Semite?
A know nothing,
A moron,
A disgrace,
A shrew?
It is all so seen before:
But the Ancestors,
Denied the right to protest,
On pain of lynching
And/or beheading,
Threw out one true line
That can be stated-
In any circumstance
Of character assassination-
By all the rest
Of us.  Standing
As we do
And as they did too
Usually defenseless
Before the arrogant
And morally
Infinitesimal.
“I’ve been ‘buked
And I’ve been scorned,
I’ve been talked about
Sure as you’re born”
Is also
A solace:
Who can deny the support
Of those words
As sung by the choral angels
Of  Morehouse, Howard,
Spelman,
And Tuskegee?
But the line: “I’ve been called
Everything
But a child
Of God”
So simple and direct
We still see the faces
And feel the quiet eyes of the many thousands
Gone,
Covers most slander.

~~~

Un Dicho Sabio De Los Antepasados

~~~

F  e  b  r  u  a  r  y    2018

MADAME PRESIDENT

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.

LA SEÑORA PRESIDENTE en español

 

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
Ground.
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
Noted
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
Justice
In neglect.
This is an Old
Or New Testament
Teaching
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,
Happiness
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: 

Remembering

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

 

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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:

Silence 

Noise confounds our leaders.

They don’t know what to do.

Scurrying this way, then that,

they never find the silent Tao

within.

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

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mango-tree-alice-walker-post-2018-01-06

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
Ago.
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
Incredibly
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
Returns.
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.

~#~

 El PoemaALENTADA POR LOS MILAGROS DE LA VIDAen Español

 

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.

UNA BUENA ORACIÓN PARA EMPEZAR NUESTRO DÍA EN ESTOS TIEMPOS

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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
Again;
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
Will
Rob us of the view.
Therefore:
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. 

 

Leer AHORA VIVO COMO SI NO FUERA A VERTE NUNCA OTRA VEZ en español

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N o v e m b e r   2017

PRESS ALERT

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
However
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
Scarce.
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
Faulkner).
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.

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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

 

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