Category Archives: Global Justice

A Reminder for Our Liberal Selves

A Reminder for Our Liberal Selves:

Black people are systematically destroyed by the media and the marketers

as well as by police bullets.

Black voices are destroyed by well-meaning White voices

We do know… it’s Christmas
We know what time it is
We have known the time, calculated the time
lived in rhythm with the moon cycle and seasons for millennia

We are best placed to speak on “Black issues”
We are also well placed to speak on issues other than “Black issues”

For as we know
as we have been forced to learn,
forced to abandon our languages, adopt and adapt new ones:
the oppressed will always know more about their oppressor
than the oppressor can ever know about them.

So we do not let Black faces on stage fool us
into believing power structures have fundamentally changed

Black faces in the boardroom
Black faces in the White House
In ‘liberal’ newspapers
Fronting TV shows…
Black faces in uniform.

And if the White Supremacist structure of the White House
the boardroom, the entertainment industry, the news media,
remains intact
how far can Black Words within these platforms make a difference?

Can we use the master’s tools to knock down and build new houses?

Can Black words in well-meaning well-read media platforms

breathe

surrounded by ads for corporations that continue to profit from our deaths…?

bwm

No Such Thing As Human Rights – Casey Camp-Horinek

In December 2015 Voices that Shake! travelled to the alternative summit at COP 21 in Paris to offer solidarity to indigenous communities fighting for climate justice. This video features a speech extract delivered by Casey Camp-Horinek of the Ponca Nation and organiser with Indigenous Environmental Network recorded on Human Rights Day, 10th December 2015.

A transcript of the speech is below:

“…We are suffering from environmental genocide where I live. The Occupied Territory of the United States of Amerikkka that belongs to the indigenous nations of the Americas has long understood the policies that have come down.

We have had in the Concho Nation six treaties made, not one has been honoured. So when I hear of a treaty coming out of the UN I understand…

One of my relations told me – and we are all related, I want us to remember that – he said Continue reading

‘Return’ – poem for the Ogoni 9 Living Memorial Journey to Nigeria

The 10th November marks 20 years since the execution of writer, poet and environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni leaders for their protests against Shell oil destroying their land.
To mark the occasion Platform have shipped the Battle Bus (the Living Memorial to the Ogoni 9 designed by Sokari Douglas Camp), over to Nigeria in an act of solidarity with the Ogoni people.

At present the bus is still impounded by Nigerian customs – the head of which was on the tribunal that decided the fate of the Ogoni 9 back in 1995. Keep in touch with updates and solidarity with the Ogoni who have threatened to mobilize and cripple the economy unless the bus is released via #bus4ogoni9 and #Freethebus hashtags.

This poem was commissioned by Platform and forms part of a leaflet designed by graphic artist Jon Daniel and also featuring artwork from Alfreedo Jaar.

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You can read a blog on the poem over on Platform’s website here.

Continent Chop Chop – Virtual Migrants tour

Virtual Migrants collective has been working hard on a touring poetical musical digital mash-up theatrical production that connects austerity, refugees and climate justice. We’ve been in rigorous rehearsals upping our performance game in song, poetry, story-telling and even a lil slice of grime. Guided by the calm soul energy wisdom of Amanda Huxtable the show is now ready for the road.

Blurb about the show and tour dates are below.

A performance project by the Virtual Migrants collective.

‘Climate Change Kwansabas’ – performance + download

Here’s the performance from Zena Edwards, Selina Nwulu and myself that we put together to showcase our commissioned poems at Writing Climate Change at the Free Word Centre.

Our collection takes race and climate as its central theme. In looking globally at who is most affected by climate change, we see that those disproportionately affected are countries within the global south, people from the majority world who directly rely on the land or the sea for their food and survival.

We consider how climate change impacts diaspora communities and how ongoing inequality and historical legacies of colonialism have led to migration and dislocation from ancestral lands. The collection seeks to engage with dialogues about climate change that take into account the criminalisation of Black communities.

You can download these poems together with all the other commissions from writers Sarah ButlerNick HuntStevie RonnieDan Simpson  as a PDF here.
Check the Free Word blog to watch the other commissions and for a panel discussion.

‘Spring in November’: Climate Change Kwansabas

After attending TippingPoints’ Weatherfronts conference in September several commissions were made available to write about the issues. Myself, Zena Edwards and Selina Nwulu applied to write a series of kwansaba poems developing on from conversations we began at the conference with Dorothea Smartt and other attendees.

I chose to focus my commissioned poem on several dates throughout the last month in which issues of race have raised the global temperature. The connected through-line of fire and heat a questioning of how we use, measure and connect to our climate.

Spring in November

5/11
Bonfire Night. A man hanged, drawn, quartrd.
Yet beyond council fences, flames flicker still.
This desire. This fire. Within. It burns.
Treason trumps torture. Famous anon. take streets
A million White masks. Black face unity.
Can we turn? Hunt out witches’ wisdom?
Seek council with shaman? Lest we forget

9/11
From Guy’s London torture Tower blood flows
Colours Israeli Red Sea, clots the Atlntic.
Nine eleven. Not Pnochet, not Opium wars,
Great War. Heroic death. Brave butchry. Sacred.
Pin Vctoria to chests and sing victory.
Are these Afghan poppies? Made in China?
Or is this drug a British export?

10/11
Black death spawns a White saviour virus
Locusts take air, buzz over brown mouths
A bread basket is branded basket case
Feed the world with helplss needy Africns
Do They know it’s thirty-four shoppng days
until Xmas? Give Us your fcking money
How much a pith helmet Space suit?

10/11
Flying above our planet you may pause
How fragile. Where are the borders? Walls?
Shudder. Someone has left the gas on.
Are those candles for the Ogoni nine?
An eternal smogged flame for Saro-Wiwa?
Bonfire fury night and day where maps
are drawn. Protest hung. And village quartrd.

19/11
Back to earth for student sun rise
Black history strides strong from October
This term, we face race, qstion ugenics
Reject their choice cuts, favour ital diets.
High pressure sweeps in from the south
to reduce recycle replant our server farms.
Cold front here to stay. Kettles boil.

25/11
Steam release across Ocean. Sgrgatd city burns.
Nothing to see here in post racial society.
Black Out this bleak Friday. Buy nothing
Mammon clutches mama’s throat. Hands up. Off.
Thick smoke revrses the choke hold. Cough.
Tears stream. Levees break. In these storms
a chance to remembr who we are.

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Mental Fights #3: Climate Change Conversations. And Questions…

The TippingPoint Weatherfronts event posed certain questions:
What is the role of the writer in addressing climate change? What kind of story is climate change? And inspired more: Who gets to tell this story? Whose voices are negated? And how can we approach climate change from a climate justice and reparations angle?

From my latest Sable Litmag column:

Climate Change Conversations. And Questions…

 

Gambia boat