Tag Archive: bigotry


International Womens Day

She Walks Alone …

she walks alone,
barefoot in the paddies of rice,

breaking her back for some precious grains.

she walks alone,

in jo’burg town, with a black eye,

smacked around by him the previous painful night.

she walks alone,

in the streets of neon hazed manila,

along the pristine hedges of rotten london,

on the crowded pavements of lonesome new delhi,

across the rolling plains of the vast bounteous pampas,

over the winding back-ways of the sloping and grimy favelas,

on the glittering pavements of rich and sweetly-scented jeddah,

through the blindingly false boulevards of that sad los angeles town.

she walks alone,

bearing the burden of mother and daughter
of cook and sweeper and wife and mistress and punching-bag,

she walks alone,

through your streets and mine,

standing up as she is beaten more down,

loving a little as the bruises on her face turn purple,

feeding the little ones with morsels of hastily cooked beans.

she walks alone,

in factories and in mills and in buses,

in schools and in brothels and in places in-between.

she walks alone,

staying alive on the alms of the ‘charitable’,

violated by those who from the pulpit preach.

she walks alone,

my sister and yours,

my mother and yours too,

my lover and your beloved as well.

she walks alone,

caged by society in its invisible prison,

a slave of norms and culture and religion and caste,

she walks alone,

but she is the conscience of me and you,

screaming at us silently in hunger and despair,

she walks alone,

and though fearful of you men she may seem,

be warned that she may not forever be this alone,

for she too dreams and thinks and believes,

for she too needs and wants and loves and weeps,

in the silent night of complacency while impotent mankind sleeps,

and she too will rise and in rising slay,

the beasts that in your callous hearts prowl and lay,

and she too will demand her rightful place,

for every mother and sister and lover and daughter has a real, human face …

i d e n t i t y ?

rootless,
scattered beings,

unlike trees,
tentacled roots,
firmly entrenched,
in this earth,

we walk alongside trees,

embroiled in turmoil,
we hate, waging wars,
we discriminate:

tradition,
race,
culture,
patriarchy,
religion,
ideology,

rootless, we flounder,

racing through lives,
rootless, unencumbered,

seeking a home,
eternal exiles, uprooted,

complacent,
skidding, smiling,
killing, proselytising,

inured by dogma,
anaesthetised with learned prejudice,

basking in the illusion, that we, us, i am surefooted,

yet remaining exiles,
all, together,
bound together by gravity, unable to soar into boundless skies,

tearing each other apart,
unafraid, surefooted,

my country right or wrong,
my religion the only one,
my culture the best,
my tradition superior to all the rest,

my book the word of god,

smugly uprooted,

unlike trees,
deeply rooted,
fanning out like banyans, free,

not us,
paying dues, settling scores, doling out fees,

rootless,
floundering,
meandering through bylanes of isolation,

smug, arrogant,
assuredly surefooted,

in the only truth of my culture, my tradition, my race, my people, my religion,

my god,

have we forgotten the trees,

chopped down,
without sorrow,
desecrated,

once firmly rooted,
now flotsam, jetsam,

like i, you, him, her, us and them,

uprooted, snuffed out,

dragging along dead wood,

pompously preaching the rootedness,

of culture,
of tradition,
of race and of religion,

while we remain,

exiles all, blasé and smugly surefooted,

sowing division,
waving flags,
sermonising,

my country right or wrong,

ignoring the lesson of the trees,

of what it really means to be firmly rooted,

posturing instead, ideological fantasies, religious fancies:

i am right,

and thusly so,

you are all very wrong …
… …

Buchenwald – 1979

walking towards horror,
my seven year old eyes,

were sewn open on that day at Buchenwald.

the reeking stench of death
was by now,
lost to the winds,

and ahead,

stood Buchenwald Concentration Camp.

Never Again!

we have said,
over and over,

and over and over,
but, but,

as Erich Fried* wrote,

it happened,

it is happening now,

and it will go on happening if nothing is done to stop it from ever happening again** …

    ____________________

* Erich Fried 1921 – 1988.

http://allpoetry.com/Erich-Fried

** taken from and inspired by Erich Fried’s poem “What Happens”

http://poetrypill.blogspot.com/2009/04/what-happens.html?m=1

afzaljhb@gmail.com

“first they came for the _____” ( Mr. Trump, fill in the blanks )

_______________

then they came for the. ______________

( fill in the blanks, Mr. Trump )

be careful,
the extremists appear to be on the ascendancy,

the brutal murderers of daesh and the neonazi drivel of trump,

so be careful: guard your mind,

never forget,
remember,

always,
always remember:

“first they came for the Communists …”*

* – Pastor Martin Niemoller

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Pete's Banjo

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Woody

bigotry is binary – a rant

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Niemoller

instilling fear,
sowing terror,
masked bigots seeking to silence us all.

instilling fear,
sowing discord,
blustery politicians seeking to terrify us all.

instilling bigotry,
entrenching hate,

schizophrenic fascism gestates,
                sinking fanatical talons into the corpse of humanity,

feeding hate,
sowing racism,

doctrines of superiority mutates.

bigotry is binary,

there are no shades of grey,
no colours of the rainbow today,

bigotry is binary,

we’re either white or wrong,
my religion right or wrong,
my country right or wrong,

many heads of the hydra,
monsters reared to prey,

while bigots of all shades,
spew hate as they pray …

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Madiba

a child of war

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a child of war.

as she lies bleeding,
the girl who skipped, hopped to school,
all of nine and a half years old,
with ribbons in her hair and a laugh that was her parent’s pride.

as she lies bleeding,
shrapnel lodged in her torn stomach,
she stares at her skipping rope,
as her blood soaks it the colour of cherries her mummy buys.

as she lies bleeding,
she sees people all around thick black smoke,
blurred visions of scattering feet, shoes left behind,
hearing nothing but the pinging in her smashed eardrums.

as she lies bleeding,
she slips away and then she is dead,
a mangled heap of a nine and a half year old girl,
whose laugh was her mother’s pride.

as she lies bleeding,
for even in death she bleeds some more,
shrapnel wedged in her torn stomach,
stealing the light from her bright little eyes.

as she lies bleeding …

in jallianwala bagh in ‘19,
leningrad in ‘42,
freetown in ‘98,
soweto in ‘76,
jenin in ‘02,
hanoi in ‘68,
beirut in ‘85,

raqqa now,
basra still,
gaza too.

as she lies bleeding,
a little nine and a half year old girl,
whose laugh was her parent’s pride,
we know she’ll bleed more,

tomorrow and in many tomorrows yet unborn,

with shrapnel in her stomach,
ripped open and torn.

as she lies bleeding.

N O T
          I N
                M Y
                       N A M E …

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1.

when rancid racism strikes,
in cocooned fungal minds, narrow, superficially deep,

an insidious venom begins to seep,

into the consciousness of the chattering ones as they sleep.

2.

beliefs held so true, so deep,
stripped of feeling,

empty, hollow, feigned, designed, branded compassion,

feeds conceit in chests swollen with righteous passion.

3.

the racism once firmly entrenched,

enveloping all, a comforting shawl,

needs little to fester, to mutate,

into doctrines of superiority, bigotry, hate.

4.

are we guilty of succumbing to this virulent plague?

sipping martinis, shovelling more, always more onto heaving plates,

falling, slipping into inebriated moments, without care,

as the stench of hate, prejudice, racism,

floats in the evening air.

                _______

Amandla!

The Struggles Continue … … …

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Comrade Chris Hani

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embroidered on tshirts,
emblazoned across charitable institutions,

emblematic of today,

where capital mows down our collective past,

rendering wethepeople impotent, flaccid, limp,

mere buyers & consumers,
expanding market-reach,

our giddiness palpable,
waistlines expanding like the goodyear blimp,

our struggles on sale,
republished, hardbound,
cashing in,
on display,
buy the book, read the tale,

acceptable, sterile,
aromatically stale,

the revolutionary rebranded,

silver-haired & grandfatherly,
the grandad we all wished we had,

canonising nonviolence,
trumpeting the eternal rebel,
with cigar and beret,

photoshopping our ancestors,
diluting their struggles,

repackaged & consumer-friendly,
end-user accessibility,

simple, plug & play,

hard-work, initiative,
entrepreneurial-spirit,

experts spluttering on,
about how to make-it and make it big today,

welcome to the new theme park, they say,

rugby + mandela,
or baartman by beyoncé,

& oh yes, bring your family too,

cos’ some of our best friends/clients/employees etc. are _______________

( fill in where appropriate ),

there’s room for all to eat and drink and in the shade lay,

sipping cappuccinos under automated palms that oh-so-cutely sway,

fleeing kaffirs, hotnots, gardenboys, maidgirls, coolies, bushies, coloureds, darkies,

escaping monkeys on beaches far, far away,

that’s right,

buy one & get two for freemium today,

under the benevolent gaze of Madiba & MLK,

Biko & Tambo & Sisulu,

Fidel & Hani & Ché.

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Woody’s New Years Rulin’s

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in memory of woody and huddie and pete,

and long may the jazz and blues and folk ring loud …

double-helixed uBuntu

double-helixed uBuntu.

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these interwoven veins,
dna,
double-helixed,

microscopic,
binding us, all of us,
together, as one,

species, one race,
human,

me & you

us,
all,

through
this common
shared
truth:

‘I am because you are’*

all of us
together
as one

me & you = uBuntu*

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* – uBuntu is an isiXhosa/isiZulu concept that espouses the “belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity”

Yoda’s advice to Trump et al

Yoda’s unsolicited advice to the Trump and the Republicans:

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“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
  
       ______________

may the ‘leaders’ heed the little green Jedi’s words.

Never Again

one century ago,

the 30s and 40s,
the world convulsed,

the odour of colonialism,
imperialism, fascism, nazism, genocide, ethnic cleansing,

hung in the air,

an ideology + one name:

nazism, hitler,

moved the world to pledge to us, the succeeding generations:

” N E V E R   A G A I N ”

a hundred years on,

may our silence not condemn,
succeeding generations,

so may this name not be associated with these times:

Donald Trump

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the following was written within a South African context, but sadly i feel similar emotions when hearing Mr. Trump, a person who may one day have the authority to use nuclear weapons, repeatedly make blatantly xenophobic and racist utterances.

Mr. Trump perhaps should be made aware of the ancient African concept of ‘uBuntu’ – uBuntu is an isiXhosa/isiZulu concept that espouses “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity”

“I am because we are”

              _________

in the belly of xenophobia.

when you see them,
passing by your pretty green avenues,

grab your garden rake,
stone the encroaching horde,

they take our jobs,
they marry our women,

put them all
to the sword,

“bloody foreigners”

“wetbacks”

“nigger”

leeching off our taxes,
stinking up the neighborhood,

send them all home,
or better still,
build walls,

seal the borders,
and don’t allow “them” into our fair country,

seek them out in every street,

in every bar,
and finish them off,
one by one,

finish and klaar,

and rest assured,

if not that,
then atleast fuhrer trump and all his cash,

will find you as many  scapegoats you wish to gleefully bash.

                  ______

* – ‘klaar’ is Afrikaans for ‘finished’

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then they came for the ______________

( fill in the blanks, Mr. Trump )

be careful,
the extremists appear to be on the ascendancy,

the brutal murderers of daesh and the neonazi drivel of trump,

so be careful: guard your mind,

never forget,
remember,

always,
always remember:

“first they came for the Communists …”

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the cycle of hate …

the cycle of hate …

reeking of venom,
soaked in the stench of rage,

still, silent, prowling,

lying in wait, to pounce,
maul, go for the jugular,
snap, sink teeth into,

then, of course,

allow the hapless prey to bleed out, then consume,

and naturally,
expel …

to be continued … … …

Humanity ?

Us men,
almost always,
men,

myopic, impotent men,

our manliness oozing, seeping,
dripping,
soaking,

in swathes of red,
scarlet blood on infant skin,

hardened,
caked,
dried on cold, dead flesh.

Who am i,
a man,

myopic, impotent,

my swagger puffed on conceit,

my country right or wrong,
my god not yours,
my culture your caste,
tribe, sect, ideology … … …

Who am i ?

a man ?
knitted into,
shared humanity ?

Perhaps ’tis time,
to let this rotten, festering,
glossy, botoxed, tucked, trimmed, diseased skin,

moult,

laying stark this sham,
this theatre,

these lies, the maggots burrowing deep,

into man,

chiselling, smashing,
beheading, hanging,
shooting, bombing, drone-ing, killing, raping, torturing, killing, killing, killing,

excising man,
ripping man out of humanity.

Yes,
i am man.

memories: Exile & Home

Mrs. Agnes Msimang,
ANC Stalwart and mother to countless South African exiles, during the struggle against Apartheid tyranny.

Long Live the Spirit of The Women!

Now that You have touched a Woman, You have struck a Rock!

Amandla!
All Power to the People!

( the photograph below was taken at Luthuli House, Johannesburg recently )

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the photograph below was taken in Delhi, India, sometime in the mid 1970s

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The Women

(for the countless women, names unknown, who bore the brunt of Apartheid, and who fought the racist system at great cost to themselves and their families, and for my mother, Zubeida Moolla)

Pregnant, your husband on the run,
your daughter, a child, a few years old,

they hauled you in, these brutish men,
into the bowels of Apartheid’s racist hell.

They wanted information, you gave them nothing,
these savage men, who skin happened to be lighter,

and white was right in South Africa back then,

but, you did not cower, you stood resolute,

you, my mother, faced them down, their power,
their ‘racial superiority’, their taunts, their threats.

You, my mother, would not, could not break,

You stood firm, you stood tall.

You, like the countless mothers did not break, did not fall.

You told me many things, of the pains, the struggles,

the scraping for scraps, the desolation of separation
from your beloved Tasneem and your beloved Azad,

my elder sister and brother, whom I could not grow
up with, your beloved children separated by time, by place,

by monstrous Apartheid, by brutish men,
whose skin just happened to be lighter.

You told me many things, as I grew older,
of the years in exile, of the winters that grew ever colder.

You were a fighter, for a just cause,
like countless other South African women,

you sacrificed much, you suffered the pangs,
of memories that cut into your bone, your marrow,

you resisted a system, an ideology, brutal and callous and narrow.

Yes, you lived to see freedom arrive, yet you suffered still,
a family torn apart, and struggling to rebuild a life,

all the while, nursing a void, that nothing could ever fill.

I salute you, mother, as I salute the nameless mothers,

the countless sisters, daughters, women of this land,
who fought, sacrificing it all for taking a moral stand.

I salute you, my mother, and though you have passed,
your body interred in your beloved South African soil,

you shall remain, within me, an ever-present reminder,

of the cost of freedom, the struggles, the hunger, the toil.

I salute you!

(for the brave women of South Africa, of all colours,
who fought against racial discrimination and Apartheid)

meagre scribbles

broken wings, shattered,
hugging the frigid ground,

emotions scampering,
flitting between smiles and tears,

peaking crests, plunging into valleys,

of loss, of fear,
of future unclear,

of that,
of this,

often pain,

and,
sometimes,
sometimes,

a shard of,
bliss.

there shall not be peace …

as hunger rumbles,
desolation stalks,

poverty numbs,
apathy dumbs,

there shall be no peace,

until hungry mouths are fed,
till poverty slithers away,

back into the coffers that prey,

the greedy upon the needy,

this is how it has always been,
is this how it shall always be …

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