reading revolution: walking thru the riots of our time

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when i was in my teens all my friends aspired for the finer things of life. the flashy cars, the posh houses and the beautiful women (sexist much?). i on the other hand was busy being deep in the books, it was during that time i met fanon, nkrumah, angela davis and them. meeting these people ignited something in me; a yearning for change, for smashing oppressive structures and i haven’t recovered since from those encounters. 

thru the passage of time i took my own path. a path marred by misunderstanding, arching eye brows and a sense of defeat at every turn. yet this is my path and i walked it willingly knowing it has to be the path that has eventually chosen me. i remember now how i raved about these icons of revolutionary theory and praxis and most of my friends thought i was going thru a phase and would backtrack and take the way of the posh houses and shit. and after all these years i’m still here holding on. still reading, practicing the creed and culture of resistance.

when a friend sent me the wretched of the earth by fanon many years ago i knew this is what i was always looking for. i drowned in the book. i studied it, studied it again, mastered it and eventually made it an intrinsic part of my life. it was to be the milestone for my calling or so i believe and still believe. fanon spoke to the heart of this black west african kid on the margins of empire. and i’m not afraid to claim he has spoken likewise to many like me who were struggling with the questions and couldn’t find the answers.

but this isn’t about me. it isn’t about my many stunts with fanon or edward said. it’s about this generation and the wake up call that has been rung before us all. i brought in my story to illustrate a point: that by and by there is an awakening that started in this time and it’s only gaining momentum.

this is a celebration of my people. my tribe. those who embark on fighting, smashing the idols of our time. who realize we must make this world a better place or we all live in the restlessness. it’s a reflective piece on the accomplishments of millennials who took to the streets, parks, squares and highways of the world and declared war on capitalism, white supremacy, patriarchy, imperialism, colonialism and empire. from tahrir square to occupy wall street; from the fees must fall movement to the anti cfa protests.

here we are. fighting the odds. regrouping once again like all the revolutionary ancestors have done in the past on board slave ships or on the motherland calling for the snapping of the colonial hold. ours is a long line of transmission, of fighter women and men who came before us. who told us life on earth must be joyful for all. that one percent doesn’t have to rule, trample, dictate the wishes, dreams and aspirations of the ninety nine percent.

heavy prices have been paid and will continue to be paid by all those who took this path. it’s what chris hedges meant when he said : “To resist radical evil is to endure a life that by the standards of the wider society is a failure. It is to defy injustice at the cost of your career, your reputation, your financial solvency and at times your life. It is to be a lifelong heretic. And, perhaps this is the most important point, it is to accept that the dominant culture, even the liberal elites, will push you to the margins and attempt to discredit not only what you do, but your character.”

the wages of rebellion before the forces of oppression is forever heavy and hard. it’s to take on the high road of a marginal existence. to become a jail bird, a pushed out and an exiled human.

and yet we continue to soldier on. everyone who took on this knew the price is ultimately life itself. that freedom has its costs. that from palestine to chiapas, from gambia has decided to black lives matter the battle for freedom has severe consequences. the marches will be met with brute force. the study groups will be raided and every material is evidence against the holder. and yet we push on! how fucking awesome can it all be!

the odds will be stacked against us but a better life for all is what makes it all worthwhile. that the many modes of oppression have to be unpacked and dismantled once and for all. and until that happens we will be out here: in the streets of africa, the parks of europe, the squares of the middle east and the highways of the americas saying one thing in different tongues: shit gots to change!

and you know what? we gon’ be alright!

alieu bah, commonly called immortal x is a writer, blogger, speaker and activist. once the editorial writer and weekly columnist for the standard newspaper, he’s a well recognized presence amongst young and older people alike as a maverick intellectual.

he’s given lectures and talks at the university of the gambia and various other institutions in the country.


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