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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Message from an Ancestor


Aimé Césaire Speaks

 

It is known, throughout the African Diaspora, how our ancestors communicate with us by way of ear-splitting sights and eye-blinding sounds.  Their spirits touch our minds.  We resist.  They punch harder. Ultimately, they baffle us into wisdom, defeating the efforts of alien spirits to have us endlessly signify upon ourselves and perform stupidities. Aimé Césaire speaks to us about the human climate of 2015.

His poetic masterpiece Cahier d'un retour au pays natal (1938) may be more widely read than his political masterpiece Discours sur le colonialism (1955), but the latter is more crucial for understanding our spiritual geopolitics than the former.   Discourse on Colonialism is a corrective for what Africa Renewal magazine (www.un.org/africarenewal) propagandizes about colonialism and neo-colonialism. The United Nations still has just enough civility to warn us that the contents of Africa Renewal "do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or the publication's supporting organizations."

 

 If we read above and below the lines of a paragraph from Discourse on Colonialism , we smell damnation and wretchedness, the violent scent of the human climate.

Because, after all, we must resign ourselves to the inevitable and say to ourselves, once for all, that the bourgeoisie is condemned to become every day more snarling, more openly ferocious, more shameless, more summarily barbarous; that it is an implacable law that every decadent class finds itself turned into a receptacle into which there flow all the dirty waters of history; that it is a universal law that before it disappears, every class must first disgrace itself completely, on all fronts, and that it is with their heads buried in the dunghill that dying societies utter their swan songs.

Discourse on Colonialism. Trans. Joan Pinkham. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1972: 45.

Aimé Césaire speaks with authority about what is inevitable in our global sewer system in 2015. What he says about class pertains equally to continents, countries, and communities real and imagined.  It is rather an obscene riddle that Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are truth-telling in the sewer and confirming what our ancestors are communicating to us.

 

Jerry W. Ward, Jr.

August 13, 2015

 

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