Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Life is a circle. A circle of events, and beginnings, and endings that turn into new beginnings.
A few hundred years ago – about 4 – a lot of Africans were taken from this land, this very land that I’m in, and brought to the “New World.” They became the African diaspora. We of the diaspora call this the Motherland. The image of Africa we revere is the Africa that stood 400 years ago. That is the Africa we know, or knew. Strangely however, strangely, things have changed.
I’ve never before felt of something and not of something at the same time. I know I have roots here. I know that someone in my bloodline walked on these lands and was of here, just like these people today are of here. I know this is so.
And yet, at the same time, I am not of here like these people are of here. They speak the language; they practice the customs – that I never knew. I never knew.
I am in Africa, nearly 400 years after the time that Europeans altered my history and made me a product of the “New World,” instead of being a young African girl who would grow and become part of a tribe.
This continent does not know me anymore.
Or maybe it just doesn’t recognize me.
I’ve come home, Mom. It’s me, Abena. Do you remember? Do you remember when I used to walk on your earth at dusk, eating my dinner peacefully outside with my clan? Do you remember how I used to play before they came and took me away? Mom, do you remember? And I know how much you yearned when they took me away. Your body ached; your soul cried, and you were barren for many, many years. As a matter of fact, you still have not fully recovered from the hundreds of years that they deprived you of your offspring. Your hard-working, productive offspring. They took the strongest, the toughest, the most able to endure hundreds of thousands of miles of Atlantic ocean and misery and disease and drudgery and pain and suffering and blood and tears and blood and tears and blood and sweat and beatings and rape and brutality and discrimination and racism and prejudice, and they took us all and tried to beat us into nothing, into slaves, into death – but they could not keep us from surviving. Mom, they took us away, but they could not kill us! They kidnapped us, but could not bury us. Mom, we’ve been gone for so long. I understand why you don’t recognize me. But it’s true; I am here! The last time you saw me 400 years ago, they took me through the Door of No Return, and they had you believe that I would not return. But Mom, they were wrong. Here I am, returned! After 400 years I proved them wrong. Mom, when I left, I did not die. I know you thought I was dead, but I did not die.
Ancestors, I don’t know how you did it. But one thing’s for sure – for anyone to go through what you went through, for anyone to endure the hundreds of years of what you went through without end…kidnapped, shackled, tortured, shipped, enslaved; kidnapped, shackled, tortured, shipped, enslaved; kidnapped, shackled, tortured, shipped enslaved…and the fact that you’re still here, in me, in my melanin, in my hair, in my face, and my eyes…Ancestors, for anyone to go through what you went through, and for you to still be present in me: I ask that you please lend me your spirit. Because with your spirit, I will never die; our life will never end; our culture will never cease; and our memory will never fade. Because to live will be the beginning of the end of a new life, that will be born and will survive the circle of events that occur in our history, that are yet to become the future of our present offspring, whom we have yet to know but will have always known when they enter this life, whether or not it be one thousand miles from where you gave birth to them, because they will travel and journey and wander until they make it back to the source of your stream. They will return in different form but will always be the remnants of your soul.