“What ‘Affirmation’ means to me,” by Sundiata Acoli.
“Affirmation” is a political artistic masterpiece that continues to inspire and astound me at every turn. I think it ranks among the greatest liberation classics as Claude McKay’s “If We Must Die,” Che Guevera’s commentary on love and struggle, [inaudible] Davis’s eulogy for Malcolm X, and Marcus Mosiah Garvey’s “If I Die in Atlanta.”
The latter narratives were composed by men, most of whom were speaking on matters related to death. Assata is a woman, her affirmation took a different path. It’s focused is living, in beliefs. Thus “Affirmation” opening line is “I believe in living.” Followed by litany of activities that inspired to believe in better days ahead, to believe in the sun, wind, and water, to sustain as a life belonging to everyone, young and old alike, to believe in the dialectics of seeds growing into trees and the union of opposites, such as tears of pain turning into the joy of rains that bring a bountiful harvest. Again, complete the eternal circle of life.
“Affirmation” next stanza then repeats its scene. “I believe in life,” only this time, openly conflated with death in the paraphrased line. And I’ve seen the death parades marched through the air, divine mud butters by the multitudes. I have seen [inaudible] brought out the song in needless murder of many thousands, and I’ve seen the [inaudible], the humble, the of right, hoodwinked by the band of nonviolence.
Assata has walked cut glass, eaten crow, and then locked, cuffed, gagged, and tagged as a terrorist all [inaudible] oppressive people fighting for freedom and claiming the simple truth that a wall is just a wall. And last, “Affirmation” is ever mindful to me to keep faith in living, in birth, creating life is a [inaudible] love, the wisdom and truth, and the ability of struggle to bring a lost ship home through the storm.
I thank you. This is Sundiata Acoli calling from FCI Cumberland, Maryland.