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What sort of men were these, then, who had been torn away from their families, their countries, their religions, with a savagery unparalleled in history?

Gentle men, polite, considerate, unquestionably superior to those who tortured them – that collection of adventurers who slashed and violated and spat on Africa to make the stripping of her the easier.

The men they took away knew how to build houses, govern empires, erect cities, cultivate fields, mine for metals, weave cotton, forge steel.

Their religion had its own beauty, based on mystical connections with the founder of the city. Their customs were pleasing, built on unity, kindness, respect for age.

No coercion, only mutual assistance, the joy of living, a free acceptance of discipline.

Order – Earnestness –Poetry and Freedom.

From the untroubled private citizen to the almost fabulous leader there was an unbroken chain of understanding and trust. No science? Indeed yes; but also, to protect them from fear, they possessed great myths in which the most subtle observation and the most daring imagination were balanced and blended. No art? They had their magnificent sculpture, in which human feeling erupted so unrestrained yet followed the obsessive laws of rhythm in its organization of the major elements of a material called upon to capture, in order to redistribute, the most secret forces of the universe…

Monuments in the very heart of Africa? Schools? Hospitals? Not a single good burgher of the twentieth century, no Durand, no Smith, no Brown even suspects that such things existed in Africa before the Europeans came…

But Schoelcher reminds us of their presence, discovered by Caillé , Mollien, The Cander brothers. And, though nowhere he reminds us that when the Portuguese landed on the banks of the Congo in 1498, they found a rich and flourishing state there and that the courtiers of Ambas were dressed in robes of silk and brocade, at least he knows that Africa had brought itself up to a juridical concept of the state, and he is aware, living in the very flood of Imperialism, that European civilization, after all, is only one more civilization among many – and far from being the most merciful.

Frantz Fanon, Black skins white masks.

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fire & smoke

She was the fire in my chest,
the volcano in thine breast.
Albeit my ice heart,
she burned bright and she burned blue.
She made my glacier part,
And my soul flew.

Mine own lungs’ oxygen kindled her,
as well as the brazier she lodged in my ribs.
Now she burns no more,
She left my core sore.
All that’s left is to vomit ash.

Sometimes at dawn if I am lucky,
I find my soul’s dew,
ruined waters of my spirit.
Even rarer i find a heavy fog,
or a light mist.
As though she burnt bright,
Even if only for a night.
On those days i am a kite.

And she is both the fire and the smoke,
devouring me, lifting me or choking me.

Queer little twists and quirks go a long way into the making of an individual.To suppress them all and follow clock and calendar and creed until the individual is lost in  the neutral gray of the host to be less than true to our inheritance….

Life, that gorgeous quality of life, is not accompanied by following another man’s rules. It is true we have the same hungers and the same thirsts, but they are for different things and in different ways and in different seasons….Lay  down your own day, follow it to its noon, your own noon, or you will sit in an outer hall listening to the chimes but never reaching high enough to strike your own.

Virginia Nash

The attempt to infer existence from thought is a contradiction. For thought takes away from the real and thinks it by abrogating its actuality, by translating it into the sphere of the impossible.

Kierkegaard

The word ‘spirit’ has all but lost its meaning, and the human mind itself has been impoverished. For, though we may discuss endlessly what is the real difference between man and animals, there is no doubt that man is the only animal who is influenced by its idea of itself, so that lowering the status of reason has lowered the status of man and undermined to foundations of his dignity.

Reason initially considered as absolute and capable of solving all problems, finally seems to remove all problems by degrading itself.

Roubiczek