By Odysseus Ward
I intend to speak honestly of what I see and know. On those things I am unable to truly know, but can as a keen observer comprehend, I will imagine and present as conjectures that I hope will not offend.
May brevity provide clarity where countless words seemingly cannot on what it is to live as the hated and/or the forgotten in this world.
Your home is broken into. Many members of your family are killed and you are locked away or carted off to provide free labor at the robber’s home or business. The robbers/killers then invite all their friends and family over to celebrate their grand discovery and innovative approach to business.
They, of course, do this while demonizing and mocking you at every opportunity, spitting in your face when you demand justice. The demonization of your existence spreads to nearby towns until nearly everyone is on board with hating you and loving the one who has harmed you most.
The thieves/killers, though decidedly resentful of your existence, cannot deny the value of your home’s decor and the many artifacts of your life, so they hold a yard sale and generate massive wealth from not only your labor but from the selling of those things you and your family created while, again, demonizing you for daring to exist at all.
And the entire time this unfolds before your eyes, you are told time and time again that you are wrong to be angry. You are told that the robbers/killers are the ones who built that home, even though you know it is stolen. You are told that you are the originators of nothing and little more than squatters on someone As of this writing it has been ten weeks since I began attending a weekly street protest in Bloomfield called Revolutionary Fridays to bring attention to the need for systemic change to address the problems our society faces. State violence, environmental destruction, racial hatred, economic inequality, legalized political corruption, and a laundry list of other issues are why we are out there. People who attend the protest are asked to bring or make a sign about an issue that they are passionate about and every week people make new signs. There is no shortage of issues to complain about because the political and economic system continues to put the needs of the few over the wellbeing of the many. Who are these people that stand on a street corner every Friday? We are survivors. We are poor. We are angry. We are not afraid. And we are not going away. We are out there and we will continue to be out there until we get the system change needed to survive in this world. We are taking it to the street because we have been abandoned by the so called “movements” that were supposed to help us fight this system. They told us that we should vote for Democrats who else’s land, the thieves’ land, and you should be thankful that you are not dead like the family whose names you can no longer remember.
To be in this world as a black person is to live amongst thieves who brazenly declare themselves the righteous kindly saviors in the story of your genocide, a genocide of their making, a genocide of one people that plays out amid the graves of an ongoing genocide of another.
To the native eye, seeing our genocide as they endure their own is, I must imagine, doubly enraging. Tripled as they watch their customs reviled and replaced by the usurper’s callous industrialism.
Quadrupled as their livelihoods are snatched away by an avaricious force of shortsighted exploiters. Quintupled as they are swept from their lands to make way for the burning madhouse that would become the United States. Sextupled as treaty after treaty with this ill-begotten empire is broken and/or ignored. Their justified and righteous anger at this pale plague upon their land and our world cannot be fully quantified, for it continues in the most hideous of ways… unseen.
The native, infused with ancestral insights, likely sees this parasitic empire more clearly than any other. They watch not as some cowering spright but as the great mountains, rivers and forests would watch the wild posturing of a single man daring to confront Gaia herself, unmoved and fully aware that the man is doomed by his actions. Though he may shear the tops from the highest peaks, his days among the clouds are numbered. Though he may dam the river and alter its course, it will soon cease to quench his thirsts. Though he may fell the mightiest oak and the tallest sequoia, he will forever remain weak and small.
Their view, I am apt to presume, is a long one. A view that understands time knows little of kindness, least of all for those who do not care for their own or for the land, flora, and fauna on which their existence relies. They, like no other, see the one true karma gaining unfathomable, untamable, unrelenting power to unleash upon the tormentors of this world. They see that we, all of us, will pay the price for the comfort of a global minority hellbent on dominating that which they have never taken the time to appreciate or fully understand.
They see it. We feel it. Collectively, we all know what’s to come.
So… Amid the anguish of knowing we are despised and amid the anger of their ongoing erasure, we stand together in protest against the slights and abuses levied against us and our only home. Together we stand as our lives are snatched and forgotten. We stand as our people are draped in hashtags and our missing sisters deftly erased from the discourse. We persist because the cures for this global affliction can only come from those most deeply impacted and educated by its malicious machinations.
Odysseus Ward is a self described angry empath sailing the seas of curiosity and battling the sirens of injustice.