the sky a blank canvas

Day 59.   Dreaming last night, but I can’t remember a thing.  I just know I was dreaming, the feeling was still with me, awake again before sunrise.  Looking for a sliver of the moon, but no.

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Lorenzo Benton.  Abdul.  HB.  Mutawally.  I can count 12 names now.  Randall Ellis makes 13.  At least 60 were moved without medical personnel from Pelican Bay, leaving the 4 representatives {Todd Ashker, Arturo Castellanos, Antonio Guillen, Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa (Dewberry)} behind.  Separated.  And how many in Corcoran?  How many in all the other prisons?  This article only mentions 44 men on hunger strike?  Names.  Numbers.  Places.  Why don’t I have all of this information?  They’re all just a bunch of criminal right?  Gang members.  So what does it matter?

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White Supremacy.  There’s an answer.  We Irish know the names and faces of our own hunger strikers, and knew them at the time.  Why is this not happening here?  Maybe it is because we had enough gang members on the outside to paint murals on the walls of the sections of our towns that we controlled, using guns and barbed wire to keep the occupiers and colonists out of our neighborhoods.  We made our own media.  And racism in Ireland was not about skin color.  Some of the hunger strikers of 1981 had been driven and burned out of their homes by racist mobs.

But America constructed race-as-skin color and wrote this new construct into it’s constitution, and that’s the shadow we live under here today.  So is it because so many of the hunger strikers today are just so many People of Color?  Criminals all, no doubt.  What if they were all young, cute, female, white political activists and the media had their pictures?  Every one in the US, and plenty elsewhere, would be seeing their faces on the news every night after 2 months of starvation.  It would be history in the making.

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This is only to bring up the question: “How much is a life worth?”  And what is more oppressive?  Anarchists being incarcerated for months after refusing to snitch before a grand jury, or 500 men in solitary for over 10 years?  80 men in solitary for over 20 years?  One man in solitary for 48 years? What if they are murderers?  Does this “justice” make you feel better?  Make the world a better place?  And what if race, religion, or other affiliations are illusions used by those in power to hide the political and social consciousness of those who would dare resist?  Gang members.  Criminals.  Terrorists.  Not living, breathing human beings with mothers, children, spouses, or families who suffer also from the theft of members of their community.

I’m going to do some serious digging for information.  The invisibility of this moment is greatly the responsibility of people like me.  And since I’m not being paid to be a journalist, I can say what I want and ask whatever I need to ask.  I won’t waste time being sorry, I have some phone calls to make.  “Tiocfaidh ár lá,” is say to myself.  “Tiocfaidh ár lá.”

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“we can only hope that our strength is a reflection of your strength.  ALL RACES – prison solidarity”

-Mutope Duguma, on hunger strike right now!

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