Condolences on the passing of Chokwe Lumumba (2014)

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    On behalf of the Puerto Rican independence movement, as well as on behalf of my brother, Oscar López Rivera — the longest held political prisoner in Puerto Rico’s history, I want to express my deepest sense of condolences to the family, friends, and to all those who labored with him fighting the good fight against racism and colonialism, and for Black liberation, to the harvest of fruits of justice and freedom.

    Chokwe was truly an exceptional leader — a man who walked the walk, and in the words of Bertolt Brecht, became indispensable. His words and deeds will always resonate with us. His solidarity, particularly with the Puerto Rican and Mexican people, was unquestionable and unswerving.

    Chokwe clearly understood, as in the lyrics of Mercedes Sosa, everything changes. Tactics needed to be constantly re-molded, but what did not change was his love for his people; and his “Southern Song”.

    In that spirit In the words of Margaret Walker’s “Southern Song”: 

    I want my body bathed again by southern suns, 

    my soul reclaimed again from southern land. 

    I want to rest again in southern fields, in grass and hay and clover
    bloom; 

    to lay my hand again upon the clay baked by a southern sun, to touch the rain-soaked earth and smell the smell of soil.

    I want my rest unbroken in the fields of southern earth;
    freedom to watch the corn wave silver in the sun and
    mark the splashing of a brook, a pond with ducks and
    frogs and count the clouds.

    I want no mobs to wrench me from my southern rest; no
    forms to take me in the night and burn my shack and
    make for me a nightmare full of oil and flame.

    I want my careless song to strike no minor key; no fiend to
    stand between my body’s southern song- the fusion of
    the South, my body’s song and me.”

     

    Chokwe, you have indeed been, the fusion of the South.

    Hasta La Victoria Siempre, dear Chokwe Lumumba.

    José E. López