I've been at a loss for words about this verdict and the long history, a litany, of miscarriages of justice, the injustice and anti-justice, against Black people in this country, against people of color, against women, against sexual, ethnic and religious minorities, against working-class and poor folks, about the structural impediments to change, the ways that the people in power maintain their power through various forms of violence and oppression, and make it diffuse, naturalize it, discursively and materially, how they attempt to and often succeed in industrializing our consciousnesses to accept it, to expect it, to participate in it, in part through silence...
Friday night I listened to Jeremiah Wright on Bill Moyers's PBS show Now, having to defend himself against the smears and distortions the Right Wing and establishment media have been propagating, to destroy the presidential candidacy of Barack Obama, the electoral chances of the Democratic Party, and Black religious faith and traditions in general. I haven't been able to post since as a result, and even now, I really don't even have a free second to catch up with the missed posts, a number of which are still in half-finished form. (The school year's end is still more than a month away....)
So here's one poem by Claude McKay, about the kind of violence from an earlier period in our national history that just keeps playing out in different forms (50+ bullets vs. a noose on a tree limb or post), despite the many changes, which still are too few....
If you'd like information on the Sean Bell case from those seeking justice on his behalf, consider going to Justice for Sean.
Update: Here's Bernie's much more articulate take.
His Spirit in smoke ascended to high heaven.
His father, by the cruelest way of pain,
Had bidden him to his bosom once again;
The awful sin remained still unforgiven.
All night a bright and solitary star
(Perchance the one that ever guided him,
Yet gave him up at last to Fate's wild whim)
Hung pitifully o'er the swinging char.
Day dawned, and soon the mixed crowds came to view
The ghastly body swaying in the sun
The women thronged to look, but never a one
Showed sorrow in her eyes of steely blue;
And little lads, lynchers that were to be,
Danced round the dreadful thing in fiendish glee.
Copyright © Estate of Claude McKay, 2008.