Saturday, January 29, 2011

Def. Guapa: Extremely Beautiful & Courageous

The Beautiful Ones: Egyptian Young Lionesses Captured by Seyr-u-Zafer
Still, today my heart pounds fast at the flash of a certain image, at the suggestion of a fist in the air, a sixteen year old hoisting stones in youthful revolution against a machine. The ongoing revolt sweeping North Africa harps back to a centuries old call to battle by young lions, the fierce ones, the most courageous and beautiful.  Edwidge Danticat's words in Create Dangerously come to me,  "Someone who (is) guapa (is) extremely beautiful and courageous--courageously beautiful."  Of course, I think too of the radiant, the beautiful life force that was Malcolm X, eulogized so eloquently by Ossie Davis (another guapo) "Our Manhood. Our Living, Black Manhood." Just like me to see Malcolm X and Ossie Davis and Haiti and Edwidge Danticat's soulful lovesong, Create Dangerously and  Soweto June 16, 1976 in the burst of flames enveloping Egypt/Tunisia/Yemen today. and I have so little sophistication on the issues embroiling North Africa right now, but I do know what stirs me and forces a primal surge to want to pray, to offer my words, to want to add my voice to the rising tide singing a chorus.

The Ones We Have Been Waiting For--Today's Soweto School Girls. Image: Liquidpremium, 2008.
Again, Danticat (no guessing how fiercely I recommend this book), "One of the many ways a sculptor of ancient Egypt was described was as "on who keeps things alive". Before pictures were drawn and amulets were carved for ancient Egyptians tombs, wealthy men and women had their slaves buried with them to keep them company in the next life. The artists who came up with these other types of memorial art...may also have wanted to save lives...As the ancient Egyptian sculptors may have suspected, and as (Haitian martyrs) Marcel Numa and Louis Drouin surely must have believed, we have no other choice"

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