Saturday, February 27, 2010

Interview with Dennis Brutus

image by Carlos Lutuff from Yes Magazine

There will come a time we believe
when the shape of the planet
and the divisions of the land

will be less important.

We will be caught in a glow of friendship

A red star of hope
will illuminate our lives
A star of hope

A star of joy

A star of freedom
Dennis Brutus 2008

"I went to prison on Robben Island. I was arrested for protesting against apartheid. I was willing to make that sacrifice for the struggle. And I will continue as long as I am alive"
Dennis Brutus 2008

The excellent publication Foreign Policy in Focus has published an interview with South African anti-apartheid activist and poet Dennis Brutus who died in December 2009. (I have written about Dennis Brutus before here, here and here). The interview took place a few months before his death and ranges over Brutus's formative years, his life as an anti- apartheid activist and poet, and his thoughts about contemporary events. Brutus continues to be an inspiration for people who rail against injustice and oppression. The quotes and poem below are from the interview.
If you have a sense that there is this global struggle going on, where one is winning little victories in a number of places, then the real question in my mind should be how do we combine all these successes and develop them into a powerful voice. But it certainly seems to me that the mere fact that one is occasionally winning a few victories, however small they be, is one way to keep going"

"It seems to me that at the heart of the present system of exploitation and oppression are the concepts of private property and profit. Sooner or later we're going to have to grapple with that issue. If we don't, I think we cannot say that we are serious about changing the world"
At Night after Porto Alegre
In South African Airways 747

In this dim winged cathedral
soaring above oceans of silvery cloud
far beyond Atlantic's tumultuous heave
we move, star-girt distant
from greed's debris, genocides calcineal bones
curled in our own private shrines
or bent over light-pooled pages
we move to a new world, a new earth where finally
our dreams can be fulfilled

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