H.I.M. Haile Selassie’s address to the United Nations Oct 6, 1963
Mr. Oliver Tambo’s Letter to Emperor Haile Selassie
“You got me flippin’ like flag on a pole”
The free word here is always putting it mildly and briefly, mostly for non-native speakers, always prepared to change gears especially for native speakers – but we don’t need to escalate in that register, though we can – incarnate into some kind of Ishmael Reed wordology, if need be and there, you will never conquer me or “We”.
It’s about the hullabaloo storming around Timbuktu - Brother Jason Diakité as if people in this country don’t know what time it is. Just listen to Jason’s Southern Swedish Skåne accent as he says, so patriotically, and towards the end, so emotionally – tearfully, at the anti-racism prize-giving ceremony:
“I brought with me today, something that I only usually have with me when I leave Sweden, and I have not done that now, because I arrived here by a very short taxi ride.
I brought this here (showing his passport ) I usually only have it, like I said, when I’m leaving Sweden to remind me of all the places I come to, and where I come from. This means a lot to me, this, this collection of papers.
It’s not everyone who lives in Sweden, and is living in Sweden, that has one.
I brought it with me today, to say that this is my proof in each case, that I am not a stranger. So the animosity towards me because of my skin color can never really be xenophobia – it is and will remain racism.
You do not need to be tolerant towards me.
I’m not asking to be tolerated, and your mercy is not something I demand.
However, I demand, with all the strength I can muster, to be judged by my actions and my personality.
And I demand that the doctrine which holds a person higher than another person because of their skin color, religion, sex or sexual orientation, should immediately and forever, be discredited, erased and abandoned.
I demand that I should feel safe in Sweden.
I demand that I have access to the work that my qualifications entitle me to get, access to the kind of accommodation my income can afford.
I demand to be able to pray to the God I want to pray to, and to love the person I want.
I demand the freedom to speak, even of those who may disagree with my expressions.
And I demand to be seen as a part of this community.
But in exchange, I give you my life Sweden. For you, I and my children will always help to build.
I give you my ingenuity.
I give you my creative ability and my energy.
I will love in Sweden, I will live in Sweden, and I will die in Sweden.
Thank you. ”
His emotional last lines echoing our national anthem:
” Ja, jag vill leva, jag vill dö i Norden. Ja, jag vill
leva, jag vill dö i Norden”
Oh, may I live, may die in the Nordic North!
Oh, may I live, may die in the Nordic North!
And you still have the gall to ask him, “Where do you come from?” – the sort of question you forget to ask when he’s scoring goals for Sweden – like Zlatan, like Henke Larsson…
Of course there’s a place known as Timbuktu – far from here
We (you, everybody in Sweden) with or without colour or hair, originally came from Africa, remember?
Jason Timbuktu Diakité also echoes Bob Marley here – and Bob too was only quoting from H.I.M. Haile Selassie’s address to the United Nations Oct 6, 1963, in his song WAR:
“Until the philosophy which holds one race superior
And abandoned –
Everywhere is war – ”
Reggae against apartheid
I guess that you’ve heard of Nobel Prize winner the Rev Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X and Barack Obama and Louis Farrakhan too? We know how the racists feel about our Madiba Nelson Mandela. They will not be invited to shed any crocodile tears at his funeral.
Jason Diakité’s views about the society in which we live and his guest articles in Stockholm Metro have always resonated positively with what I believe about human relations. So Jason said in song – in poetry and not in jest – let Jimme Åkesson go fly like the Swedish flag atop the midsummer maypole, and that’s what’s causing all this excitement? Of course there would be no objection in the idiot racist quarters if he smiled and sang like Satchmo who fought against racism, singing – what did I do to be so black and blue?
Just as there was no excitement – or excrement in the racist quarters when goofy-toothed Bert Karlsson of “New Democracy” a precursor to the Sweden Democrats – when he said (was he joking?) that they (Sweden?) should repatriate Africans from Sweden, back to the jungle, “so that the hungry lions should eat them all up!” He did not lose his parliamentary seat for that – he kept on keeping it warm. On his next state visit to the US he should recommend that sort of thing, “Send all the Negroes back to A-free-k-a so that the lions can eat them all up “– and see what happens….
There was a time when several friends asked me the perfectly ludicrous question:
Had I become a member of Ny Demokrati / New Democracy?
Why should I join Ny Demokrati?
They had seen me on Swedish TV news, standing next to the party leader Ian Wachtmeister. Well, I didn’t even know that I had been standing next to him – I was at Arlanda airport to receive my mother who was coming from London for a week’s visit, that’s all.
With the passing away of Madiba Nelson Mandela, who has come to symbolise the world’s moral conscience against institutionalised racism – even as tributes from world leaders come pouring in, the dominant media atmosphere worldwide is currently one of sadness, wonder and reflection on the lessons that Madiba’s life and achievements communicate to all those with a human heart.
There are those in Sweden who believe – and it’s almost a general consensus, that should the Sweden Democrats win the elections next year and someone like Jimmie Åkesson becomes Sweden’s next prime minister – Sweden – God forbid – would recede into the dark ages, becoming Europe’s first de jure and de facto racist and xenophobic state – in today’s European Union, a union which Jimmie and crew would like Sweden to quit and that they ( the SD) would waste no time in promulgating the sort of laws that live up to their party ideology about the world and the 5 billion people who live outside of Sweden’s borders.
It’s because of this that Jimmie Åkesson and his party comrades and because of what the Nobel Committee believes is their nauseous xenophobic, some say racist attitude, that they and they alone from among all the Swedish political parties represented in the Swedish parliament, have not been invited to the annual Nobel Prize-giving ceremony and dinner which is to take place on 10th December 2013. The reason given by The Nobel Committee is that to extend an invitation to the Sweden Democrats to such a dinner, would have given much pain to Alfred Nobel and that if he were alive today he would have opposed such an invitation, since it is against the spirit of the testament that he wrote before he passed away.
Sweden, even if sometimes considered by some people somewhere, as ”little America” – has some parallels with the US but in many ways is nothing like America, when it comes to the history of race relations.
The first thing that’s so conspicuously missing is the phenomenon known as the Southern plantation – perhaps due to uncongenial weather, even as far down south as Skåne. There’s the obscenity of the race biology institute – a product of its time -missing in the US – and since then Sweden can boast of having been at the forefront in the fight against Apartheid – institutionalised racism – and that we don’t want to see any of it here!
Having said that, one last little thing and it’s about the genre called rap, its language, vocabulary and traditions. Like political discourse, satire in English poetry and prose and the holy Hebrew Bible and the new one in Greek, we have God & his prophets, Jesus too, letting out some steam – I can give you hundreds of examples on demand if you want me to. And from Bob Dylan – and he’s won a lot of prizes and been given many goodly awards – the latest from France – What’s wrong with you?
There’s the classic, a good place to start – some honest discussion : A Rap on Race: James Baldwin and Margaret Mead
You could take a look at political rap lyrics ( modern man/ woman, check out the archives of The Source
political rap songs
Chuck D lyrics
Having said all of the above I must emphasise that my position is in synch with the conclusions expressed by Erik Helmerson about those who boycotted – and were/ are free to boycott the prize-giving ceremony – according to their conscience, in his article in yesterday’s DN : Timbuktu : The right to boycott the ceremony
So, Little Lord Fauntleroy doesn’t like other colours?
”Dunka jimmie gul & blå, hissa i en flaggstång”
The offensive line in question in the unexpurgated version, in translation:
Pound jimmie yellow & blue, hoist a flag pole
—sounds as innocuous as humpty dumpty
Winner of the Polar Award : Black man
Bye for now
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