:: Archive of Alice Walkers Garden Home Page 2017 ::
D e c e m b e r 2017
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.
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
I love you as I love the fields
That I see
From my window,
Your colors are changing;
Some are fading.
They are still, these fields
But only from a distance;
Up close even the bees
One day the slowly
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
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)
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
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
The man who charged me
Was a friend.
A Jewish Soul
Who I thought understood
Or could learn to understand
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
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
Palestinian children, after years
Of throwing stones
At grown up assassins
In helmets and armored tanks
Are killing themselves
To save their murderers
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
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,
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,
The poor? Was his mother, Mary,
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
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
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
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.
Also interview with Miko Peled below.
Original Source: posted on July 2, 2013, Interview on BFM radio during my visit to Malaysia — https://www.bfm.my/miko-peled-profile.html