Update from Sierra Leone on Nov. 27, 2009: The love and dignity of Salone

Well, I only have a couple days left here in Salone (Sierra Leone), and I already miss being home in Africa. It's difficult — no, impossible — to explain the feeling you have being at home. Despite the conditions imposed on our Africa, there is not the feeling of restriction and isolation from each other that you feel in the U.S. and other imperialist centers.

I know the Africans who have lived all their lives in the imperialist centers are thinking, "What is this fool talking about?" That's because you don't even realize you've experienced that feeling all your life until you get home and that feeling isn't imposed on you.

The first time I came to Africa, I thought it was just a feeling of being home that overwhelmed me. But it's more than that. It's more than just seeing the immense beauty of Africa — and it IS beautiful, both the land and our sisters and brothers. The feeling of isolation is gone here. There is an openness, a connectedness that has been taken away from us in these imperialist centers.

In Africa, two sisters or two brothers who are friends could walk down the street holding hands and nothing is assumed except that they are friends. A brother and a sister can hold hands and it doesn't mean that either of them are coming on to the other. It is just a connectedness and an ability to relate and be closer to each other. It is a natural thing that helps you to see how unnatural the relationships and boundaries that are imposed on us under colonialism are.

In the U.S., if you see two brothers or two sisters holding hands, it's assumed they're MORE than just friends. If I held the hand of another brother's girlfriend — friend or not — I'd probably have to fight that brother because he'd assume I'm trying to push up on her. It ain't like that in Africa. Now, this ain't a statement that Africa has been untouched by colonialism in terms of how brothers and sisters — or even Africans in general — relate to each other. In fact, imperialism has had a deep ideological impact and there are backwards traditions and attitudes, particularly toward African women, that previously were foreign to Africa.

But notwithstanding that, there remains an openness and connectedness at home that has been stolen from us. We need to consciously restore that as we liberate our Africa and our dispersed people and build this new liberated society.

Another thing I want to note is that here in Salone, I have experienced, more than anywhere else in African communities, an overwhelming sense of dignity. In Salone, the conditions are bad. No electricity, no clean water, which means a lot of unnecessary sickness. On average, people are expected to die before they reach 40. But despite that, Africans walk down the street with their heads high. These brothers and sisters step out clean in the mornings — and I mean CLEAN, y'all!

There are a lot of educated or skilled people. In other places they might be allowed to join the ranks of the petty bourgeoisie, but here they have no jobs. But you don't see many people begging unless they are blind or lame in some way. Africans try to find some kind of way to hustle up some food if it means growing fruit or making bread and walking around selling it. The dignity of the people is high.

The people also don't need any convincing that they need to make struggle for freedom. I think this must be partially attributed to the organizing work of the African People's Socialist Party-Sierra Leone (APSP-SL) here. These comrades are clearly on the grind, and judging from how the newspapers have been printing articles about the Party every day for the past few days, the sellouts are feeling the heat.

I'm gonna miss Salone. Just hearing the music here alone ought to make the African struggling to get free burst out of every negro!

I'm gonna be goin' away and missing my Africa again soon, but like that chump who calls himself the governor of "Califlower" once said, "I'll be back."
Let's liberate and unite our home and liberate ourselves!

Izwe Lethu I Afrika! (Africa is Our Land!)



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