Journal of the People’s Pastor

“Writing The History I’ve Lived, Living The History I Write!”


Part III: Darfur Diary – My Journey to Belgium

The next day, Saturday, December 11th, I took a train to Antwerp, Belgium. I was
surprised how dingy and dirty the train and the train station were. So unlike other European cities. The 30 minute ride cost 6 euros. The ride was smooth and from the double decker train, I had a panoramic view, passing farmland, factories, rows of small houses, even a Bourbon Street. There were cities with names like Vilvoorde Mechelan, Mechelan Neckerspoil, Antwerp Bechem. I arrived safely at my destination, Antwerp Central. It was the end of the line. Walking out of the train, seeing the crowds coming and going, I immediately thought of Grand Central Station, but looked at from the inside and outside, it reminded me of a medieval castle. In the front and on the side was a modern shopping mall. There were hotels, stores, bars, restaurants, even a McDonald and Pizza Hut. “Antwerp is the tourist city. Brussels is the political city,” said a young receptionist.

I decided to wait in a small unimposing hotel name Florida. Two mistakes, – there was a TV playing at the end of the reception desk. It attracted my attention. To my dismay, disgust, anger and embarrassment, on the TV screen was a continuous parade of half naked, behind shaking, body gyrating, buffoon apparel, contortion faced, violence extolling, filthy mouth rappers. They are the modern version of the old Black painted face, huge white painted lips, stupid acting, vaudeville minstrel show characters we fought so hard to eradicate, along with the name calling, like niggers and darkies, colored only toilets, restaurants, public transportation, segregated schools, neighborhoods, jobs, little lantern holding grotesque statures, lynching and bombing, all designed to kill and dehumanize people of African Ancestry and to make the world think that Blacks are nobodies.

To repeat, we fought so hard to eliminate the above. Multitudes suffered torture, the confiscation of land, property, every kind of humiliation, even paying the ultimate price, and now, here are the children, glorying in the self-demeaning, self-defacing work of the racists. These rappers were outdoing all the old racist caricatures, for they added violence, sex, drugs, liquor and vulgarity to their reprehensible performances. Amos and Andy, who were white, but who became rich mimicking and mocking Black people, should be the name we give to some of these rappers. Their performances should be called the Amos and Andy Show. Bull Connor, Al Jolson and their entire ilk, must be somewhere laughing hysterically and saying, “We told you that our makeup and performances were accurate descriptions of the niggars.”

What makes these rappers worst, their validation of the old ministerial shows is projected across the world. Moreover, even worst, they exert enormous influence over our children. And the dominate class in society or the money makers, seeing the profitability, encourage the rappers to do more violence, sex, drug-taking, liquor-drinking stuff, while they, the money makers, go laughing to the bank.

Hopefully, all this destructive, comic opera will disappear with this generation and the next generation will fulfill the dreams for which their mothers and fathers paid so much. They will view this hip hop generation as an intoxicated aberration in our people’s gallant struggle to free themselves and the world. I do feel compelled to add, however, perhaps I have over generalized the rappers. There are some rappers who share my disgust and are striving to be positive and to set and example that the youth can follow. And we all can feel proud. I’d like to mention one of the members of our church, Tylibah Washington, hopefully she will reach stardom and use her influence in a positive way.

The second mistake, or major blunder, I made was, while waiting and looking on one side of the station, the delegation was on the other side. I spent several hours walking around the city. I studied the people, places and history. I could not get the Congo and Angola off my mind. The Congo used to be called, the Belgium Congo. I pondered the huge “Cannons of Steel,” crowded businesses and shopping malls, even the train station where I had arrived, the tree-lined streets, here in Antwerp and Belgium and what would these cities, this country, Europe, would have been like if Africa had not been raped and ravaged, enslaved and colonized.

I returned to the hotel. I made myself content that my intentions were noble. I did show up at the EU and NATO, and I did walk part of the way. It was all I had planned to do anyway. The trip to Antwerp was interesting and informative.

For dinner I had more pasta. I had a delightful conversation with a young hotel receptionist named Maire. She is from Shesay, below Madagasta on the Southeast coast of Africa. Her father, named Alex, was a professional jazz man. She feels that music especially jazz is in her genes. She plans to be a professional musician. She and another contestant are competing for 1st prize in a major contest. The results will be announced next week. I told her I will be looking for her name in neon lights.

Later, I was informed there was a candlelight vigil at midnight. The next morning they started for The Hague. When they arrived, they charged the government of Sudan with war crimes and crimes against humanity. Deng had told me he planned to get arrested. He wanted to make the point, he, an innocent man, was arrested, while murderous criminals in Sudan remain free; in fact, wasn’t even charged with a crime. For whatever reasons, he did not get arrested.

As I readied myself for bed, on the TV screen came JayZ. He was rapping what was supposed to be his retirement number. Our church was in the video. We contracted with him to clean up the language. The line about the “B” was deleted. “I’ve got 99 problems but a “B” ain’t one.”

To be continued…

Upcoming Events

Attend the Timbuktu Learning Center’s weekly Thursday Night Community Forums. All Forums are held at the House of the Lord Church from 7pm to 9pm.

Join Operation Life Line if you need assistance or know someone who needs assistance with their mortgages as it relates to foreclosures, predatory lending and/or subprime lending.

Attend NRLAA’s monthly forum Focus on Africa the 2nd Saturday from 2pm to 4pm
Organizing Meetings regarding Darfur every Thursday - 12noon @ the House of the Lord Church

Attend the Stop the Genocide in Darfur, Sudan Rally on Friday, April 4, 2008, assemble 12noon at the Sudan Mission located at , walk to the Isaiah Wall then over to the Chinese Embassy located at 350 E. 35th Street for a Rally from 1pm to 2pm.