AND THE HERETIK SADLY NOTES: Have we come so far or travelled forward so little that Martin Luther King's asssassination death is so little noted today? The Heretik will long remember that most insane year of 1968. A Year with the hope of a Prague Spring. A Summer of Grave Discontent. An Autumn with a Bitter Harvest. Are we now again in Some Nightmare Winter or will we find the Dream in Spring again?
Martin Luther King Junior was silenced in life, but his wisdom will whisper throughout all ages for all time. Truth, while sometimes quiet, is never silent. Truth knows why wild men shout and is ever patient. For truth knows that people have ears and more. Truth knows that what we cannot hear in the din or uproar, we may listen to as a whisper in our hearts. Wisdom is a whisper in winter.
MARVIN GAYE COULD HAVE GONE ON MAKING HAPPY MOTOWN HITS FOR THE REST OF HIS ALL TOO SHORT LIFE Marvin Gaye Was Never About Chump Change (and all money is chump change, champ). With his song "What's Going On?" Marvin Gaye changed the world. When some sorrowful facts are long forgotten, the wisdom in Marvin Gaye's words and his joy in life will float forever free on clouds above. We've got to find a way
To bring some understanding here today
There's too many of you crying
Brother, brother, brother
There's far too many of you dying
You know we've got to find a way
To bring some lovin' here today
We don't need to escalate
War is not the answer
For only love can conquer hate
You know you've got to find a way
To bring some understanding yeah today
Aw, picket lines, picket signs
Don't punish me with brutality
Talk to me so you can see
Oh what's going on,
Tell me what's going on
Ev'ry body thinks we're wrong
Baby who are they to judge us
'Cause our hair is long
You know we've got to find a way
To bring some understanding here today
No American was ever born with a less apt name. Born Malcolm Little and later Malcolm X, the man's words blew away whatever stood against him. And much stood against him. Not least his circumstances. Not least poor choices. Time in prison. As we Americans so casually toss souls in the pit, we might consider what the fire of the depths brought forth from the man who went into prison as Malcolm Little and came out as Malcolm X. What destroys may also purify. What is pure and unalloyed resists all corruption. This is the story of Malcolm X.
Not enough can be said about a man who said it all.
Today marks the end of the month that culminates with the sad smudge that is the fortieth anniversary of the assassination of the man born Malcolm Little,who died as the sainted heretik El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, who was known most simply to many as X.
Today marks the end of Black History Month, a month noted without irony by an official administration of night. So our leaders in Washington celebrate one people as they would defile all.
It is a fallacy, a heresy, to say a history belongs to one people. While some may claim a history, a legacy as particularly their own (so history starts with the one as it must wait to be claimed for the many), the generous history of the great lights belongs to us all. The prophet known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, the man who tried to solve for The Problem as X belongs to us all. This year marks the fortieth anniversay of a man dead in his thirtyninth year. X in life has no more tomorrows, but in memory he claims forever.
So America lights his flame in this hour of anonymous, shadowed perdition. For all, X is as the actor Ossie Davis declared in his most beautiul funeral oration for the hero fallen but never forgotten, "He is Our Shining Prince." Whose future is lit by the shining smile of X, may we never forget that.
Those who live life with the light of love will in time vanquish those who with a hard hand offer only the force of death. Death, yield now again and admit our brother X.
MALCOLM X'S EULOGY Eulogy delivered by Ossie Davis at the funeral of Malcolm X
Faith Temple Church Of God
"Here - at this final hour, in this quiet place - Harlem has come to
bid farewell to one of its brightest hopes -extinguished now, and gone
from us forever. For Harlem is where he worked and where he struggled
and fought - his home of homes, where his heart was, and where his
people are - and it is, therefore, most fitting that we meet once again
- in Harlem - to share these last moments with him. For Harlem has ever
been gracious to those who have loved her, have fought her, and have
defended her honor even to the death.
It is not in the memory of man that this beleaguered, unfortunate, but
nonetheless proud community has found a braver, more gallant young
champion than this Afro-American who lies before us - unconquered
still. I say the word again, as he would want me to : Afro-American -
Afro-American Malcolm, who was a master, was most meticulous in his use
of words. Nobody knew better than he the power words have over minds of
men. Malcolm had stopped being a 'Negro' years ago. It had become too
small, too puny, too weak a word for him. Malcolm was bigger than that.
Malcolm had become an Afro-American and he wanted - so desperately -
that we, that all his people, would become Afro-Americans too.
There are those who will consider it their duty, as friends of the
Negro people, to tell us to revile him, to flee, even from the presence
of his memory, to save ourselves by writing him out of the history of
our turbulent times. Many will ask what Harlem finds to honor in this
stormy, controversial and bold young captain - and we will smile. Many
will say turn away - away from this man, for he is not a man but a
demon, a monster, a subverter and an enemy of the black man - and we
will smile. They will say that he is of hate - a fanatic, a racist -
who can only bring evil to the cause for which you struggle! And we
will answer and say to them : Did you ever talk to Brother Malcolm? Did
you ever touch him, or have him smile at you? Did you ever really
listen to him? Did he ever do a mean thing? Was he ever himself
associated with violence or any public disturbance? For if you did you
would know him. And if you knew him you would know why we must honor
Malcolm was our manhood, our living, black manhood! This was his
meaning to his people. And, in honoring him, we honor the best in
ourselves. Last year, from Africa, he wrote these words to a friend:
'My journey', he says, 'is almost ended, and I have a much broader
scope than when I started out, which I believe will add new life and
dimension to our struggle for freedom and honor and dignity in the
States. I am writing these things so that you will know for a fact the
tremendous sympathy and support we have among the African States for
our Human Rights struggle. The main thing is that we keep a United
Front wherein our most valuable time and energy will not be wasted
fighting each other.' However we may have differed with him - or with
each other about him and his value as a man - let his going from us
serve only to bring us together, now.
Consigning these mortal remains to earth, the common mother of all,
secure in the knowledge that what we place in the ground is no more now
a man - but a seed - which, after the winter of our discontent, will
come forth again to meet us. And we will know him then for what he was
and is - a Prince - our own black shining Prince! - who didn't hesitate
to die, because he loved us so."
Ignorance and evil are commonplace. How many know much else about Hannah Arendt but for her succinct comment on “the banality of evil?” Evil, banal or otherwise, simple in its brutality or complex in its machinations, surrounds us now, a foul vapor that chokes the spirit. What is the role of a citiizen? How are we to respond?
The real damage is done by those millions who want to 'survive.'The honest men who just want to be left in peace. Those who don’t want their little lives disturbed by anything bigger than themselves. Those with no sides and no causes. Those who won’t take measure of their own strength, for fear of antagonizing their own weakness. Those who don’t like to make waves—or enemies. Those for whom freedom, honor, truth, and principles are only literature.
Out in the open darkness descends with crushing weight. A light flickers in what looks to be a house. Best to find comfort from the chill and the dark and silence. Find it in that small house, with a small light.
Those who live small, mate small, die small. It’s the reductionist approach to life: if you keep it small, you’ll keep it under control. If you don’t make any noise, the bogeyman won’t find you.
Ours is an anonymous age. If there is a problem, let someone else deal. Nuance unneeded, details dispatched, death, destruction, and destiny await only others or those who deserve their fate. Don’t people only get what they deserve?
But it’s all an illusion, because they die too, those people who roll up their spirits into tiny little balls so as to be safe. Safe?! From what?
I am searching now for one uppity woman. Yes. Needed now: one uppity woman. An uppity woman would confront these dragons, fight them all with a more fierce flame, send them all flameless back to their caves. I am searching now for my own Sophie Scholl.
Life is always on the edge of death; narrow streets lead to the same place as wide avenues, and a little candle burns itself out just like a flaming torch does. I choose my own way to burn.
I have found my Sophie Scholl, but only in the pages of history. From those pages yet she speaks to me. . She is the white rose undying, even in defeat undaunted. The wisdom of a spirit withers not nor wilts.
And Sophie would look at me and say: What you would find in me you must instead find in yourself.
A brief not before continuing. All entries by The Heretik on Uppity Women were inspired by a piece by : James Wolcott.
Additional entries on Uppity Women can be found here and here (a shorter appreciation of Sophie Scholl, her brother and a friend). This piece incorporates some of the shorter appreciation.
Thanks to my friend Bad Tux for continuing the story and from whom I found Sophie's quote above. Bad Tux is a very Snarky Penguin. Visit him on his ice floe.
Thanks to Bruderhof as source of quote and white rose pic.