April 2007


This is the text of the Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005.

 

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.

 

The first story is about connecting the dots. I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out? It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” They said: “Of course.” My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

 

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

 

It wasn’t all romantic. I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

 

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating. None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

 

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

 

My second story is about love and loss. I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating. 

 

I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down – that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over. I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

 

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

 

I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

 

My third story is about death. When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something. Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

 

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

 

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I’m fine now. This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

 

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

 

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

 

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960′s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions. Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

 

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. 

 

Thank you all very much.

Over at Afrospear, there is a post by Aulelia entitled “Is Mugabe a real African?Lubangakene, during this conversation has brought up a “real” good question: “What can WE do about it?”…. referring to the actions of Mugabe against the people of Zimbabwe. As I read his comment, it dawned on me that it’s difficult to create strategies, whether new or old when, as he states: “Mugabe is not someone I’ve studied deeply, nor do I know much about the situation in Zimbabwe.” 

 

The first thing we need to do therefore, those of us in the diasporic West, the North American AfroSphere, is to educate ourselves on the situation in Zimbabwe and other concerns of Africa. This may also include researching the historical dynamics of how these current situations and/or problems developed. That is what I believe is one of the functions and hopefully, the strength of AfroSpear. Give those who are close to the situation, those from the continent or the country itself, the forum to bring it our consciousness, a voice to educate us, provide us with an opportunity to understand the various dynamics from the voices on the ground. AND as we discuss these issue(s), hopefully we will be able to offer viable solutions which are “relevant” to that particular environment. In Zimbabwe, I am not sure that the dynamics of R/WS (racism/white supremacy) from a North American perspective is as relevant as the aftermath of neo-colonialism. Maybe it is. Maybe they are one and the same dynamics. I will not automatically make that connection. BUT there are other perspectives, voices that I am open to hear from, to help me shape my perspective. And also listen to what “THEY” may need from “us” – those of African descent here.

 

I do know this though. Here in the diasporic West, the issues concerning Africa are not foremost in our minds, nor in our action plans. How many of us have taken part in demonstrations, rallies or informational seminars, organized and convened by the African/Black community in our cities or towns, concerning Darfur? Zimbabwe? Vulture Funds? I do know that in the AfroSphere I have read much more about the sufferings of the people of Iraq, than of the people of Darfur or Zimbabwe. I have read much more on the evils of American foreign policy in the Middle East, than on the negative effects of Western foreign aid and Chinese foreign policy in Africa. I have read much more about issues concerning democracy (or lack thereof) in America and Iraq, than the lack of or fight for democracy in Africa.

 

Sure, there may not much we can do from here. We are concerned with our own daily struggles and issues as African/Black people in the diaspora. But maybe that’s the plan. Divide and conquer. Keep us with our heads down and our eyes fixed on our own problems, so that we don’t see the BIGGER picture. So we don’t understand our connection to the struggles, issues and situations facing the Motherland. That way it’s easier to pick us off, one by one. 

 

If you don’t care about your Mother, you will care less about your brothers and sisters. Which ultimately leads you not to care much about yourself.

 

Asabagna

Whatever in the world can be done, will be done. The question is whether it will be done by you, or to you.

Over the period that we were putting the pieces together to launch the AfroSpear think tank blog site, I came back to this quote a number of times. It was like a beacon for me. Will we forge and direct our own destiny? Will we speak our own stories? Will we share our own experiences? Will we offer the pearls of our own wisdom? Will we exchange our own ideas? Will we debate our own strategies? Will we formulate our solutions? ALL for the greater good of our own community. BECAUSE if we don’t, others will dictate all this for us! 

“Where there is no vision, the people perish;”  Proverbs 29:18

I am so enthused and hopeful. Primarily because the response and support for this vision from the AfroSphere has been encouraging and inspiring. It’s definitely a vision whose time has come. So let’s gather and commune with one another. Regardless of shade, political affiliation, religious beliefs, gender, orientation, nationality and ethnicity. Let the voices of those of African descent ring out true and free here.

You are therefore invited to join AfroSpear. I encourage you to read our “About” and “Mission Statement” sections to know who we are, what we are hoping to accomplish and our rules for engagement.

Let’s celebrate!

Asabagna

I received this comment from a blogger from Nigeria, obyno, in response to my post on “The Prophets of Negrology“. I found it very interesting and wanted to share it by posting it. Here it is:  

Two of the issues you raised in this post, namely, the Don Imus brouhaha and the Duke Lacrosse players comedy show, are threads that have been leading me to the bolstering of a theory that I have had for a long time. It is one I consider to be utterly horrible and whose entertaintment really qualifies one to go on and be cut, drawn, quartered and if possible set ablaze.

It goes like this. All races are definitely not equal. Some are truly more equal than others. Equality however is not a function of certain ineluctable, genetic differentiation, but a result of the development or lack of a habit of intellectual introspection. Intellectual introspection in this case is dimensioned into levels whose effect is measurable by:

1)All phenomena is measurable by their effect on you and you alone.
2)Its inclusion of your fellow beings in the evaluation of phenomena.
3)The consideration of your fellow beings and other less animate beings such as are found in your biological environment in the evaluation of phenomena.

All three taken together, in my view, work to establish an individual’s position on the ladder of progress. Enlarging the set, they can point to a people’s position on this same ladder and therefore become a measure of racial progress. However I have taken certain liberties in setting these measures. Because the theory is still largely that, a theory, and hardly anything better than a series of observations looking for an overcoat, I have elected to suggest that at any point in time, arising from an alteration of perspective and attitude, a person, and indeed a people can hop up or down from one level to the other as the case may be. Sometimes I fear that I have introduced this caveat as pressure valve to prevent the attacks which such a theory probably deserves, by people who might consider themselves victimised by it. So here goes:

As a fact it is a non sequitor to infer that a group of people have the capacity to think together in a certain direction. Having established this, it is then only true to indicate that they therefore cannot all be lumped together for any measurement on the level of their thinking. Rather it is safest to generalise on this by focusing on trends and seeming trends which their opinions when trolled for appear to be revealing. Even the aftermath of this does not yield the toga of truth to whatever ideas appear to be in prevalence.

However there are some affects which if taken altogether might put hands together to reveal an objective that one might say is generalized, and not necessarily in statistical terms. It is this objective that when used as a prism can yield treasures about how they regard themselves, their environment and their place in that ecosystem. The almost palpable sound of a sigh of accomplishment rippling through African-america as evidenced in its blogs, newspaper columns, radio/tv interviews given, before and after the Don Imus firing proper, left me confused about the evolutionary stage of much of our intellectualising as a people. All through the farce (I use the word, farce, without disrespect to the women in America who were the recipients of the Imus’ radio slur), Pillars of African-american opinion like the Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson attempted to negotiate Don Imus surrender with their backs turned, all the while, to the fifth columnists, the enemies within, who had afterall given Don Imus the go-ahead to violate those women – I mean the purveyors and arch-angels of hip-hop culture.

I have followed the careers of Imus and the other so called shock jocks in america’s radio journalism and have come to marvel at the fact that they have created a profession and in so many cases, fabulous fortunes out of stealing popular elements of American culture, sharpening them by adding a layering of their own particular inimitable talent and personality, and then returning same to the American people. The fact is that their success is original only as much as they have excelled at looking at everyday things in a sharply new way. There is probably no word more everyday in popular American English grammar than the word “Nigga” or “Ho”. Together of course, with all the neccessary verbal paraphernalia, that go with being able to add tragic and monumentally heartbreaking meaning to those words.

That is why I took painful issue with people like Russel Simmons, (who by the way I have always respected and admired for the symbolism I always believed they represented by their ability to break out of the cycle of poverty that for centuries have imprisoned and ground to death hundreds of millions of other African-anericans), whose best defence seemed to be that since a rapper was born into violence and crime and hate and so much disrespect, then we should expect them to afflict all of us with the fruits of their antecedents and no more from us all. In the racial progress theory I am working on, that equates only to the first level. Obsession with how your behaviour is limited only by your own limitations. 

I haven’t read or heard anything faintly suggesting to me that Don Imus is racist. He took words out of the lips of the hip-hop cultural vanguard, at least in the music genre, and flung it right back at America. That Mr. Sharpton et al did not see this (or if they had, was announcing that vision by only just now, going after Don Imus) was for me the real tragedy of the whole thing. Don Imus has completed his hand-wringing and been busted for his mistakes. That he apologized equates to a hoping around on my ladder of progress, albeit in an upward more rewarding direction, something the Russel Simmonses and Jay Zs and Snoops and The Games are not doing yet. And about being busted…well his perspective, if not his attitude has suffered alteration. It would be a travesty to now not go ahead and engage all the other bastions whose inspiration pushed Don Imus to what in effect has been his waterloo. If not the objective of the whole exercise would have been to smoke out Don Imus while the supply lines to the other Imus{es} remained vibrant, waiting for the next time another fire would flare up.

And as long as this continues to be the objective towards which all of our arguments and  observations about ourselves and the world around us, for and against, propel us, then that manic hopping back and forth up and down the ladder of racial progress would continue to enervate us.

Sick, right? But it was only you who got me thinking.

Well Imus got his azzz canned! Hip Hop Hooray!… Ho!… Hey!…. Ho! (Did I just say: “Ho?!”). The Prophets of Negrology can now pat themselves on the back cause they showed the white man! They mobilized their power and influence to bring down a powerful rich white media icon over his insensitive…. no racist, misogynist remarks against our sisters, the queens of our race. But yet….sniff….sniff…. I can’t help feeling that “something stinks in Negrodia”. Does anyone else smell it!?

 

At first the whole Imus thing was a non-issue to me. Just history, recent history mind you, repeating itself. I figured he would apologize, appear on one of the Prophets of Negrology radio programs, get admonished, act contrite and ask forgiveness, claim sheepishly that “I am not a racist… I got Black friends and I do lots for under-privilege youths…”, go for therapy to understand how he picked up this demon (“the devil made me do it!”), wait for a couple days or so until something more juicy comes up for the media to latch onto, (like…. Anna Nicole Smith gave birth to a baby while being deceased and now they have to go on another intensive dna search to identify the baby daddy… is it Christ’s?…. or Mohammed’s?…. or maybe even Lucifer’s?), then go back to making money for CBS and being a category on “Jeopardy”. But alas…. Imus got fired and the Prophets of Negrology are content and smug once again.

 

However, I have two issues. One is, well… when are the Prophets of Negrology going to take issue with the rappers, comedians and other Black entertainers over their insensitive…. no racist, misogynist remarks against our sisters, the queens of our race? When are they going to “name names” and call for “our” community and society at large to boycott these so-called artists? Yes, I’m talking about R. Kelly, Jay-Z, Ludacris, Snoop, and Dave Chappelle! When are they going to call for demonstrations against the media moguls (BET included), record companies, record stores, radio stations, as well as the actual cd’s and t.v shows, which produce, distribute and perform this filth? This quote is too true: “A man who doesn’t respect himself wastes his breath demanding that others respect him.” I have heard our sisters, the queens of our race, referred to by derogatory names by Black men, WORSE than what was stated by Imus. And these same Black men were gladly gettin’ PAID for saying it! So please tell me, how is Imus suppose to know or behave any better? 

 

Two, when are these Prophets of Negrology, the more noteworthy of whom attach the moniker “Reverend” at the beginning of their names to signify that they are ambassadors of Christ…. which by association, automatically clokes them in the robes and collars of credibility, and hence the keepers of the flame against the darkness of social injustice…. when are they going to apologize to the Duke lacrosse players who were so falsely accused and politically charged, based on a obviously non-credible and incredible complaint? Imus, whether sincere or not, apologized for his error. These Prophets were front and center, playing to the cameras, calling for the head (or was it the balls?), of these young men. Or was the injustice they went through acceptable due to the color of their skin, as well as their economic and social class? (hmmmm… sounds strangely familiar….) Well, I may be in the visible minority on this one (as opposed to being just a “visible minority”), but I believe that if you know better, you do better. My Granny always used to remark: “those who knows it, feels it.” AND we have felt this kind of injustice before! So when we innocently and/or even through our best intentions, get caught up in the frenzy (media frenzy for some) of adding to this injustice, we need to address it, apologize and ask for forgiveness. Call me naïve, crazy or even a sell-out, but that would be the “Christian” thing to do, especially for a “Reverend”. 

 

Now to reality. The Prophets of Negrology need to wake up and realize that they have no real power. They are stooges. They are a distraction from the real issues. They are the “Sanjayas” of the moment, until American Idol resumes next Tuesday night. They had no direct influence in getting Imus fired! The ONLY reason Imus got fired was that it was no longer profitable for the networks to keep him! Sponsors were pulling out of his show. He then became a financial liability. The NCAA made this call to networks: “You know the BILLIONS of dollars you make during March Madness and Football Bowl Season? Well… that is now in jeopardy because of Imus’s remarks.” The next call was made to Imus: “You’re fired!…. and no…. this is not Donald Trump.” In the same light of reality: when racist and misogynist rap music, music videos, t.v. shows, comedians, movies etc., are no longer profitable, then the Prophets of Negrology will be permitted to wail and rally against it. Let’s not get it twisted! Until then, we will continue to live out this truth from the song, “Shut em down” by The Prophets of Rage, Public Enemy:

 

“Howdy ‘all, this is Bernie Cross house, yours truly of the KKK! I’d like to express our deepest gratitude at the destruction of the inferior nigger race, and I’m especially pleased to report it’s destroying itself without our help! To all you gangs, hoodlums, drug pushers and users, and other worthless niggers killing each other, we’d like to thank you all, for saving us the time, trouble and legality, for the final chapter of riddin’ y’all off the face of the earth! Your solution to our problem is greatly appreciated! So keep sellin’ us your soul. Thank yah!”

 

I have to end with this excerpt from Jason Whitlock, a Black sports columnist. It’s just too good not to share:

 

“We have more important issues to deal with than Imus. If we are unwilling to clean up the filth and disrespect we heap on each other, nothing will change with our condition. You can fire every Don Imus in the country, and our incarceration rate, fatherless-child rate, illiteracy rate and murder rate will still continue to skyrocket. A man who doesn’t respect himself wastes his breath demanding that others respect him. We don’t respect ourselves right now. If we did, we wouldn’t call each other the N-word. If we did, we wouldn’t let people with prison values define who we are in music and videos. If we did, we wouldn’t call black women bitches and hos and abandon them when they have our babies. If we had the proper level of self-respect, we wouldn’t act like it’s only a crime when a white man disrespects us. We hold Imus to a higher standard than we hold ourselves. That’s a (freaking) shame. We need leadership that is interested in fixing the culture we’ve adopted. We need leadership that makes all of us take tremendous pride in educating ourselves. We need leadership that can reach professional athletes and entertainers and get them to understand that they’re ambassadors and play an important role in defining who we are and what values our culture will embrace.”

                                                                                                                      

I say we need AfroSpear!

I have been wanting to do this post for some time now and emerging out of Passion Week, there has been a renewed urgency within my spirit to “drop it like it’s hot!”

 

A few weeks ago I had seen the movie “300”, about the exploits of the 300 Spartan warriors who faced the enormous Persian army of Xerxes in his conquest of Greece. Their bravery and ultimate sacrifice against insurmountable odds was premised by me in a post by thefreeslave called: “The Only Politics That Is Relevant Is The Politics of Revolution”. I utilized the dynamics of Spartan society as an example of the mindset we as an African/Black community should emulate, if we want to start a revolution of renewed thought and practice to successfully combat against the oppression and injustice of the eurocentric/western society. Here is the section of the post in which I referred to this: 

 

“… well let me suggest that we employ the mindset of the Spartans…. as seen in the movie “300”. Let’s have a real revolution of thought and practice. Let us create a community of Black/African men and women who from birth are trained to be warriors, and by this I mean have a warrior mentality where their only… I repeat and emphasize, ONLY commitment is to this community. Two very difficult choices will have to be made for this to work. First, those who can’t or don’t measure up physically, emotionally, spiritually and/or make a real contribution to the community… we cut them loose. So those who are chronic substance abusers, societal and moral deviants (i.e murderers, abusers of women and children, etc.), those who are unteachable, those who cannot/will not develop a community first attitude, those who are weak willed and/or weak minded, and anything else that is an anchor to our progress…. we turn them out. Second, we don’t get hooked into other peoples/groups struggles. Let white women (feminists) fend for themselves. Let the homosexuals fight their own battles for their civil rights. Let the Native Indians (who owned slaves and are more than willing to disentangle themselves from that history) engage the white man in their own struggle. Let the poor white trailer trash agitate for their own political/economic empowerment. F*CK THE RAINBOW COALITION! It’s a burden on our advancement! It should be all about us and ONLY us. I contend that ONLY by this type of revolution, can even START to develop a strong and progressive Black/African community. Purification of community values. Single-mindedness of community purpose. Revolution of community focus.” 

 

Not long after I dropped this comment, God and I had an ongoing conversation which I will summarize. He asked me if it is better to utilize the example of those who have been successful or those who has failed in their efforts, as the basis of what we should do to be successful ourselves. That was an easy answer for me: “the example of those one who have been successful….” I said. He then took me to the story of Gideon and the 300 men who were victorious in their conflict against, what on the surface would also be considered “insurmountable odds”. 

 

The biblical saga of Gideon goes from Judges, chapters 6-8. Long story short, the children of Israel for 7 years were being oppressed by the Midianites and other eastern peoples, to the point where they had to live in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds. Their crops and livestock were destroyed. The invaders were so numerous that they were like swarms of locust and it was impossible to count their men and camels. Through various events God called Gideon to fight against these invaders and drive them out of Israel with 300 men, from an original army of 32,000! These 300 men purposely attacked, pursued and defeated 135,000 men! 

 

As I meditated on this story, God revealed certain truths to me. First, Gideon had to transform his way of thinking by committing to change his relationship with God. By doing this, he built and strengthened his faith in God and thus had the confidence that he could achieve victory against these “insurmountable odds”, with only 300 men. Second, the fight against oppression and injustice for Gideon was not for personal glory, or the glory of his 300 men or even for the glory of Israel. It was for the glory of God (Judges 7:2). Third, this reflected the mindset that although “many are called, few are indeed chosen.” AND that “chosen few” can, not only overcome “insurmountable odds” when attacked, but more importantly, can confidently devise plans and develop strategies to fearlessly initiate the attacking, pursuing and defeating of their enemy! Finally, this 300 were not “trained” warriors, however they were fearless and yet, humble! Gideon himself was a farmer. I found it interesting and revealing the process God used to choose the 300. First, He reduced their number from 32,000 to 10,000 by removing those who were afraid (Judges 7:3). Then he separated the most humble 300 from the 10,000 that were left (Judges 7: 4-7). 

 

So now back to the mindset to create “a revolution of renewed thought and practice within the African/Black community to successfully combat against the oppression and injustice of the eurocentric/western society.” I don’t have all the answers but I do see a different premise to all this. I had stated: “Let us create a community of Black/African men and women who from birth are trained to be warriors, and by this I mean have a warrior mentality where their only… I repeat and emphasize, ONLY commitment is to this community.” I conclude now that to successfully attack, pursue and defeat those forces that would oppress us, it is better to bring together a “chosen few” who are fearless and humble, AND who’s ONLY commitment is to glorify God. Would everything or anything else follow as I had described above; would it still be relevant or would it all get thrown out. I honestly don’t know. I still believe however that there is a definite process to identify the “chosen few”, represented by Gideon’ victorious 300, who will be the “warriors” to lead this struggle. I just saw the film “Amazing Grace”, on the life and struggles of William Wilberforce in his quest to get the African slave trade abolished by the British parliament. I am also reminded of the life and struggle of Dr. Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela. These were the Gideons’ of their generation. There were and are many more “Gideons” throughout history, and today no doubt. They were and are the “chosen few” who rallied others around them to fight the oppression and injustice of their time, not just because it was the right thing to do. They faced and overcame “insurmountable odds”, for the glory of God.

“If God be for us, who can be against us.” Romans 8:31.

Asabagna.

“O Death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”

A bad day for Jesus

became a GOOD FRIDAY for all of us.

Because the story didn’t end there.

The hope of our joy is that RESURRECTION SUNDAY is coming!  

3 days later

I always had an idea, a vision really, to create a diasporic-wide think tank type blog. I envisioned that it would focus on discussing issues, exchanging ideas and creating strategies, with the objective of developing concrete and viable solutions to tackle the concerns relating to those of us of African descent worldwide. 

 

shared this vision over at thefreeslave blog page and I was overwhelmed by how enthusiastically it was received. It is not necessarily an original idea on my part and others have previously either engaged in similar discussions or have created such a venue. However it garnered much discussion, offers of assistance and words of encouragement.

 

I would like to acknowledge two brothers who have taken hold of the vision and ran with it. Francis L. Holland and Exodus Mentality have been engaged in the type of discussions that I had hoped would be initiated through the vision of AfroSpear. These brothers are an inspiration. Below I linked 2 recent discussions from their pages, which are an example of the think tank based discussions that I hope to be engaged in through AfroSpear, once we get the site launched.

 

“Can the AfroSpear Help Reduce Urban Violence?”

“Open Thread: What’s number 1”

 

 

Humbly,

Asabagna

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