Published in: SF Bay View, July 15, 2011
They tell you that I’m the monster,
But it’s my humanity they seek to take.
Every day that I awake, I break the law.
Every time I pass a book to one of my fellow convicts,
Each time I greet one of my brothers in peace and unity,
Black, brown or white,
This is what they call gang activity
As they pull out their pens and begin to write,
Slap their cuffs on me and slam me in the hole,
Beat me down black and blue.
But I’m the monster, they lie to you.
– Ikemba S. Mutulu
As always, a souljah’s greeting to the Bay View. I wish that I could think of more words to inspire the people out there to take a closer look, to watch the watchers, understand the tremendous damage being done in the misuse and corruption of the court system and prisons etc.
But more than any words, the actions of the men there in Pelican Bay speak volumes. How easy it is to lash out at one’s tormentors, to draw blood for blood and repeat the barbarism influenced upon them in kind.
But to lay bare one’s own bones, to starve oneself, is truly a difficult thing. To watch your brothers and comrades emaciate themselves for you – to improve the conditions in hopes of creating a more human and productive environment for you – how could anyone not join in or offer their support?
How could anyone not see the incredible, beautiful humanity in these men? Men among men. There is nothing else I can say. I am with you and I am with them.
Tu wa moja watu (We are the people)!