|As the World Conference on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and
Related Intolerance approaches, conversations on the topic become claw fights
gnawing away on gritty clauses and explosive phrases, bouts of unrestrained
turpitude unable to reach beyond the first flare of anger. Do you actually
read the words or do you instead try to feel in between them? Do you read in
between the lines or do you actually see them?
Burning questions of race presently rattle the brains of social experts
meandering the halls of the intellectual academy in search of answers. These
are the ordinary and timeworn discussions on "social problems." The same
ideas are regurgitated in various forms in various conferences and forums.
Half attending know about ... half of what they are talking about. Talk
takes up time, space and energy; when we could all be off talking about
something else. Conferences come and go.
Allow me to break this into pieces for you ...
Shortly thereafter, we will all experience the reddening, almost purplish
insult of a bruising, blemishing embarrassment. Suggesting and accepting our
acquired taste for the human family's most tasteless will lead us into a
gut's fill of guilt.
The history of our world had been adversely influenced, shaken, rattled and
rocked by what Rome had done to us. And not because of the wisdom passed
through the cracked walls of broken generations or the whispers passed from
blue-watered, warm shores to barbershop floors caked with grades of hair,
talking excessively about Rome and Rome's ways, Rome's devilish nuances,
life in Rome, and Rome in life and when living in Rome can be like the
Romans while living in Rome
miserable enough because
And Rome's trials as opposed to Rome's exalted and overweening success. We
knew Rome ... well, some say as much as Rome knew us. We knew Rome well
but if Rome
such a problem,
And we knew of and felt Rome's unbridled, uncurbed appetite for conquest and
its quenching, unsatisfied thirst for the blood and soul of others.
But Rome was Rome, and Rome reached the heights of Rome and what the Almighty
had planned for Rome because Rome had been trained and poised to conquer ...
it obviously took the exploited ones by surprise.
Undoubtedly - and, yes, once well known - the exploited ones were by all
measurements once great. It was the sort of greatness beyond history's
expectations, but still within God's reach at that time. They spanned across
large rivers like overgrown, magnificent flowers blooming in the spring,
temples and pyramids erected in a fashion unparalleled. Indeed, they were
once far beyond the cradle of civilization, for they had instead been the
forbearers who rocked the cradle and nursed its worldly possessions. The
exploited ones once held the center of the world in the sweaty palm of their
Now, the Elders continue to contemplate what had happened. What happened to
the richness along the golden edges of those great rivers, and the splendid
trading paths across the burning Sahara, or those almost indestructible stone
structures across the Southern plains. They explain that it was the Great
Rape and Plunder of the "Motherland," their eyes awaiting fiery response,
their posture straightened for congregational acceptance. "It was what they
did to us!" firing the accusatory index finger in the direction of the Roman
legionnaires spying from the back of the audience as they watch and fail to
express the slightest emotion. The Elders, choking on vanity, fail to
remember that the Romans are, indeed, well trained.
However, there was a fundamental, most tragic flaw subtle to the open eye,
but frighteningly obvious to the third eye unseen and talked of in roundabout
ways unheard of by those who claimed to listen. Their Elders continued
looking at wrinkled reflections, the wrinkles through time in the ripples
slashing the inward mirror and thought deep like fish with half-closed
bedroom eyes dragging fins across the ocean floors. The had studied the
maps, perused the time lines and drawn conclusions once they had seen the
massive migrations wiggling spasmodically from the Northeast, through and
around the Continent, then falling off into the deep blue of the Atlantic.
There was a weakness.
How else could they explain it? How do armies win a war? They find an
opening and they exploit it, ultimately crushing the opposition. How do the
conquered ... end up conquered in the first place? Like Scipio seizing the
key moment at the Battle of Canae, inviting the Carthaginian infantry inward
as if allowing the warmth of an easy, center-penetrating victory, the Romans
reared the two sides of their cavalry into an enveloping circle of death.
The exploited, long before the final stage of their dire circumstance, had
trusted the conquering Romans, had for too long placed terrific amounts of
faith in the untested conscience of the Romans.
Before Rome, lessons had been as clear as the tell-tale signs that hung from
the flaunted, bloody spears of an inescapable melancholy brooding and
slapping the Mediterranean shores of Lower Egypt. Many times since past, the
Elders explained, there had been others who came, bent and lumpish and
longing to fill the perdurable intellectual void which left them declassed
and ignorant across the Eastern mouth of the sea. "They were still naked and
unclothed roaming forth across the snowy, frigid Nordic plains, living in
caves while we had already learned the meaning of the constellations,"
boasted the Elders.
Yet, these "naked, unclothed" specimens the Elders and their lot now speak so
lowly of - the loathing, the frustration, the disdain so apparent and easily
detected in the voices of the conquered - managed to roll through the Nile
Delta to the Straits of Gibraltar, as far down as the Horn of Africa
plundering and purging the mastodonic temples and pyramids of civilization's
golden cradle. How? It is during such discussions or such thoughts which
catch the Elders masticating their tongues into the unspeakable, exposing the
glossy pretext of Roman-made racial shams played by both the Romans and the
By no means were the exploited any less intelligent, nor less trained, nor
less superior than their Roman counterparts or the Assyrians, the Greeks
before them and the Arabs, the French, the Turks and the British long
afterwards. But they knew. And for reasons camouflaged by shame and the
spite of blistering truths many of the Elders deliberately overlooked a
marrow of manifesting evidence. Untold was the exploited once exploiting
themselves long before the invasions took place, the years of sightless
disseverance and deviating disunion which helped cause the final demise and
destruction of empires once great. The migration charts studied by the
Elders not only portrayed a conglomeration of nation-states and
principalities circling the Motherland in continental disarray, moving in
nomadic spurts, creating one kingdom after another broken kingdom and then
another, but - like a horrible Cain and Abel replay - they displayed a faded,
disjointed resistance unable to stand against the weight of its own internal
feuds, much less repelling a cultural and military blitzkrieg from the
Hence, it became a very difficult and most disconcerting thought for the
majority of the exploited ones to look at their present condition past the
one dimension. Meaning that while forever annoyed and looking back into the
past, there is a failure to see what is to be, can be, needs to be ... done
in the now. Yet, they clung to the past so, with little challenge to forge
ahead. But, we must recall and step ever so lightly so as to not defeat the
real purpose: to live and to simply be. Meaning? It is indeed hard to
accept the fact that sometimes accountability lays on the person most
affected by what there is for which to be held accountable. This assertion,
which many could and will very well accuse of accommodation, is simply
evaluating why the exploited end up exploited in the first place. For the
sake of finding a cure for an incurable condition, this should be, perhaps,
preferable to the overused notion of the underdog.
C.D. Ellison is Contributing Writer to Metro Connection. He can be reached