Wednesday, April 2, 2008

happy belated birthday, Queen Assata

i love and honor Queen Assata Shakur. her example both inspires and guides me. her letter needs no introduction. there is nothing at this leg in my journey that i can hope to add to her wisdom...

happy birthday Queen.

Letter from Assata Shakur

Apr 1, 2008, 11:24

First of all, let me say thank you, to the many people who have helped me to celebrate my 60th birthday. Thank you for your beautiful birthday cards and for your warm and eloquent messages. Thank you for your activism, your radiant energy and most of all for your love. I am sincerely grateful for your support and for your commitment to social justice, truth and freedom.

It is somehow surprising for me to realize that I have lived on this planet for 60 years. I never imagined that I would live this long. Some of those years were very hard years, other years were happier, but I have never forgotten who I am or where I came from. For as long as I can remember, I was acutely aware of my oppression and of the oppression of my people.

In some ways it was easier for my generation. Racism was blatant and obvious. The "Whites Only" signs let us know clearly, what we were up against. Not much has changed, but the system of lies and tricknology is much more sophisticated. Today young people have to be highly informed and acutely analytical, or they will be swept up into a whirlpool of lies and deception.

Freedom, justice and liberty are words that are thrown around a lot in the United States, but for most of us, it is empty rhetoric. With each and every passing day the country becomes more repressive, the police more viciously aggressive and the so-called constitutional guarantees obliterated by scare tactics. The so-called 'Conservatives' are only interested in conserving their privileges and power and helping their rich friends to become richer. Black 'Conservatives' serve their "masters" and are basically interested in grinning, shuffling and 'Uncle Tomming' all the way to the bank. This is the most corrupt administration that has ever existed. They have blatantly stolen not millions, but billions of dollars. They are actively seeking to preserve the old colonial order with a new face, where the oppressed people of Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East are expected to suffer happily, and sing praises to imperialism to the tune of the star spangled banner.

It is extreme arrogance to attack and occupy a country and expect its people to rejoice and lick your feet. Not even Roman Emperors were involved in such misguided conceit. The U.S. government has no right whatsoever, to force its undemocratic "democracy" on the rest of the world. I am 60 years old and I cannot remember a time when my people ever experienced true democracy. It is still the active policy of the U.S. government to use a wide variety of tactics to prevent poor people and people of color from voting. And when we do get to vote, our votes usually do not count. For the most part, there are no decent candidates to vote for, because the U.S, government is a "dollarocracy" where candidates have to beg and pander to the corporate rich in order to be elected.

I am 60 years old, and I have never in my life seen such widespread violence and cruelty. The U.S. government has more people in prison than any other country in the world, and it is now actively involved in creating prisons all over the world. Abu Ghraib is only the tip of the iceberg. People all over the world are being imprisoned in secret prisons, with no formal charges being made against them. They are imprisoned under the most inhumane conditions, and detained for indeterminate periods of time, with no rights, no trials, and no justice whatsoever. In short, the leaders of this country are war criminals. All the U.S. government has to do is call them terrorists or extremists, enemy combatants or whatever and they can do anything they want to these people. I live in Cuba, and the Cuban people watch horrified, as the U.S. Army illegally occupies their land in Guantanamo and commits unspeakable acts of torture on their soil, in the name of "freedom." The U.S. government not only destroys the lives of people around the world, many mothers have cried because many of our young people have had their lives destroyed as well. I believe that this earth was meant for tenderness and not terror. The imperialist countries not only implement terrorist policies in the Third World, their actions also provoke terrorist activities and internal disputes between people. I believe that when Western governments learn to respect the sovereignty of Third world governments, and to offer solidarity and support rather that imperialist policies and exploitation, most of the world's problems will be close to being solved.

Inside the belly of the beast, conditions are also disastrous. Most of the victims of Katrina are still waiting for decent housing and public services. Schools and hospitals around the country are either deteriorating or closing down. Around the country social programs to help poor and working people are mostly a thing of the past. Our young people are being marginalized, criminalized and brutalized. It is often an act of courage to go to school, or simply drive down the street. The U.S. government's occupation of Afghanistan has produced a record increase of heroin production, and the "war on drugs" continues to be a war on poor people and people of color. The police brutality in our communities is not a simple matter of randomly "bad" cops. This government is more repressive than ever and more and more of a police state. When you have a trigger happy president, a trigger happy vice-president, a trigger happy office of homeland security, you are bound to have an increase of trigger happy police and many of our young people are bound to end up dead or imprisoned. The social policies of the United States have deteriorated from so-called benign neglect to malignant hostility or indifference.

The role the press and the media have played in all this has been increasingly malignant. There is no such thing as a free press in the United States. Journalists receive big salaries for telling "official" lies. The media both knowingly and naively became the vehicle for misinforming the people of the United States and convincing the people that it was "necessary" to go to war. Their "reporting" was based on outright lies. Now they "embedded" in the military, continuing to misinform the people, and distort the truth.

I am 60 years old and I am proud to be one of those people who stood up against the ruthless, evil, imperialist policies of the U.S. government. In my lifetime I have opposed the war against the Vietnamese people, the illegal contras – war in Nicaragua, the illegal coup in Chile, the invasion of Haiti and of Grenada, and every other illegal, immoral and genocidal war the U.S. government has ever waged. I have never been a criminal and I never will be one. I am 60 years old and in spite of government repression, in spite of the media's lies and distortions, in spite of the U.S, government's COINTELPRO Program to criminalize and demonize political opponents, I feel proud to count myself as someone who believes in peace and believes in freedom. I am proud to have been a member of the Black Panther Party although the U.S. government continues try to distort history and continues to persecute ex-members of the Black Panther Party. Just recently, the U.S. government has indicted and arrested 8 ex-Black Panthers in a case that was dismissed 30 years ago. The case was dismissed some 30 years ago when it became obvious that the most vicious forms of extreme torture were used to extract false confessions from some of the so-called defendants.

I am 60 years and it is doubtful that I will ever live to see my people free of oppression and repression. But I am totally convinced that our collective dream of freedom will some day be realized. I sincerely implore young people to develop their minds, to develop their skills, to expand their states of consciousness, and sharpen their abilities to analyze reality. Those Africans who conspired with the European slave trade to sell us into slavery were seduced by trinkets. I hope and pray that our young people will not continue to fall into the same traps. I have always loved my people and always loved our culture. The culture of my people has always been rich and always been filled with the seeds of resistance. I hope that young people hold fast to that tradition. I sincerely hope that all young people will have the courage and the wisdom to hold on tight to their humanity and their historical mission. Most people in the Americas, were either indigenous people whose ancestors were victims of genocide, or brought to this hemisphere as slaves, or came to this continent seeking freedom. I believe that it is our collective duty to make freedom a reality. I truly believe that it is possible to end oppression and repression on this planet. If we all see ourselves as citizens of this planet, and citizens of the world, it will be easier for us to save this planet and recognize the human rights of human beings around the world.

Much love, Much Solidarity,

May we all make freedom a reality,

Assata Shakur

thanks to Bill W. & for sharing this great wisdom with me. it is my pleasure and duty to pay it forward.



Ensayn1 said...

Hi Foucsedpurpose, I am going to post this on my site as well if thats cool with you. Also, I found a link with a movie with and about Assata Shakur. I will come back and post the link.

Ensayn1 said... Check out the movie, very very interesting and most of all POWERFUL!!!

tasha212 said...


Thanks for this. I have loved Assata Shakur since I read her autobiography my freshman year in college. There are not that many revolutionary women left. I think that younger women are going to have to pick up the torch and carry on that legacy.

Khadija said...


Thanks for posting this. It's interesting that Ms. Shakur can clearly see what's going on in the US of A all the way from her home in Cuba. Meanwhile, many of us sitting in the middle of the mess refuse to purchase one the "clues" that you keep suggesting that people get.

This just confirms the accuracy of something I heard Dr. Maulana Karenga say in a radio interview---illusion is much more dangerous than plain ignorance.

Peace, sis.

focusedpurpose said...

hi Ensayn1-

go for it bro:-) those of us that are blessed with are responsible to share with others. it really is that simple.

thanks for the link! i am all over it:-) one of the great things that i walked away from corporate america with is the results of the gallup strength finders poll. this poll was used to isolate our subordinates' strengths and leverage those gifts. i took the poll and discovered that one of my strengths is the desire to learn.

thank you for blessing me with an opportunity to learn. i love it!


focusedpurpose said...

hi Tasha and Khadija:-)

it is my pleasure and duty to share!

i love Queen Assata. she is an inspiration as well as a great example for me.

Khadija the masses are being seduced, in part because they like pleasure more than discipline and truth.

there is a book by Robert Green called Seduction; read it if you get a chance. you will see the parallels. Queen called it when she said we need to be consistently separating reality from illusion. i teach mine that EVERYTHING they see on t.v. is fiction. all of it. most people are taught the opposite. it really is a backwards material world.

i also teach that it is only real when read and cross referenced. when my babies were little babies there was no t.v. allowed. being read to was the law of the land. period. more people need to get on that unpopular program and save themeselves and loved ones.


Khadija said...


I'll have to check out the gallup strength finder poll you mentioned---it sounds like it would help me better harness my gifts!

Also, Robert Greene is one of my favorite authors! I love his books & others that fall into the "how things work in real life" category.

To all of my fellow book lovers, I second FocusedPurpose's suggestion that you check out Mr. Greene's book "The Art of Seduction." To those who enjoy these sorts of books, let me suggest some of my other favorites that are also in the "how things really work" category:

Other books by Robert Greene:
[1] "The 48 Laws of Power"
[2] "The 33 Strategies of War"

There are other books by Renaissance authors that are surprisingly current in their insights about how things work in real life:

[1] "The Art of Worldly Wisdom" by Baltasar Gracian
[2] "Maxims and Reflections: Ricordi" by Francesco Guicciardini


PurpleZoe said...

Peace ^_^

Happy Belated Birthday to Queen Assata.

You're an inspiration, Focus.
Focusing is precisely what the Underrepresented need to do.


focusedpurpose said...

Khadija, i am adding to my book list! thank you for sharing sis:-)

welcome PZ!

thank you for your kind words. we all have so much to offer. your sweet energy inspires me as well.

i look forward to your next visit.

blessings in abundance,

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

she is definetly the truth. Great selection queen

focusedpurpose said...

thanks T!:-)