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The Pains of Colonization

These words flowed after an intense session in a leadership gathering that I attended and I am still digesting the words…

I bring in with me

The voices of the dead

The colonized, the tormented

I bring in the truths

Oftentimes discarded, hidden

Purposely neglected

I bring in the pain

Of ancestors grieving their lost

Of generations seeking what was taken

The wisdom, the land, the culture

Ravaged, plundered, plummeted

To graves, to stones, to blood tainted lands

From those who called us “Indios”

Lazy, stupid, monkeys

Black and brown colored bodies

Treated as flora and fauna

Set up as commodities

Our mothers and fathers traded

Like pinch of salt and spices

Yet what was done and what was lost

Was put upon my people to recover

To move on, to deal with , “to develop”

For our people have been relentlessly told

We are lacking

We are not progressive

We are not organized

Not fit to rule our lands

Generations upon generations

We were stripped of who we were

Forces to take in our colonizers’ lenses

Our tormentors’ practices,

To bear our colonizers’ name

That to this day hung in all the maps

In all the places

And that our history started

When we were “discovered”

Like lost people faltering in caring

For the lands that we call home.

Ridiculed of our stewardship of our islands

Relegated to slaves to our own homes

Our cultures dismantled to extinction

And our lips speaking our colonizers’ tongues

How do I make sense of these?

That my eyes and my thoughts

And my words carry the bloodshed before me

That I have been living in my oppressed body

The guilt of being a version

Of what our colonizers wanted us to be

Productivity driven, shackled by time

Pushed to perfection, to profess

To either or and never “with”

I live with the knowledge

That the voices urging me

To be grandiose, to scale, to do more

To have a sense of urgency

Were never my ancestors’ words

I live with the truths

That I am unlearning

Generations of imprinting, assimilating, imposing

Learning to redefine myself, my culture, my people

I live with the knowledge

That my very being

Is a by product of slavery

Of oppression, of colonialism

And what about you?

In your white colored bodies

Can you live with the knowledge

That your wealth, your progress, your development

Are tainted by our ancestors’ blood?

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