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Look at that man he has squinting eyes / To me he is doubtful don’t you think?

That other one, and that one as well, / I count a dozen, more hostile than me

 

 

Dangerous Abroad

 By Betty Wamalwa Muragori

I left the shores of my own safe home,

To wander far and wide,

A ship adrift in foreign storms

In search of new adventure

Out of the blue from winding queue,

I alone am called

“Yes you, madam just follow me,”

“We want a word or two,”

“We won’t be long” the woman said

She smiled her mouth stretched wide,

I stepped aside and followed swift with no commotion

Quite curious now to play this game

To see where it would lead

And soon enough with little fuss the two start interrogation,

A sharp barrage of questions, to maximize intimidation

“Where are you going Madam!”

“Where have you come from Madam!”

“What were you doing there Madam!”

“And why Madam!”

 

I looked at those two and chose my attack

I decided to purr like a cat

And hid my claws for grand effect,

I must confess, I was going to play

 “Giving a Keynote address at a conference”

I spoke with divine composure

“What do you mean Madam?”

 

“I was the guest of honour,”

I followed kindly enough with two new questions

“Are you surprised?

Don’t I fit your bill?”

I now spoke motherly sweet,

“Is it my height, or perhaps my weight?

Or maybe my hair or rather that it’s not there?

“I know,”

I explained some more

“I cut it off, first in girlish pride

Only to expose a pleasing shaped head,

I chose to keep it,

See it in profile, at its very best

I urged them both,

But don’t touch,

That’s out of bounds, I will not abide your hands on my head.”

 

The woman spoke up,

 

“In these days you can’t be too careful,

The pattern has changed,

The world is upside down,

Women have joined men in their criminal ways,

They are shooting and killing and robbing some banks!

Now, we make no assumptions”

 

She blinked in rapid succession

 

“Don’t take it like that,

We are doing our job,

This is how we were trained,”

 

Said the man.

 

“And what job is that?”

 

I growled down low,

 

“Is that work, to lay in wait for me,

Oh lucky me, oh, what joy,

My very own welcoming committee!

How did you know I was passing through?

When this is but my very first time with you?”

 

The innocent man spoke up some more,

Unaware of the threat in my molten voice

 

“Oh madam, we don’t mean to offend,

I am employed to guard the nation

We are highly trained in detection

We have to be alert to stop all intrusions

You know these days there are dangers and more,

Alkida, and other terrorists afoot,

Spreading dread and fear from state to state

And ours is no exception”

 

I looked at him who had just spoke

With honest aplomb and certain clear tones

So sure of his words

 

And I started to snarl

The cat became lioness hunting her prey

 

Oh thank you kind sir for that wise explanation

I see your point in its full summation

Those terrorists are truly exasperating

Endangering lives of innocent victims

I just wanted to know,

How many of them have been like me?

Beautiful and brown I mean

A woman, that is, from Africa?

Take your time, do not haste, and make a mistake

I am sure you have facts from the internet

Of scary insurgent women

From the Dark Continent,

Who have blown themselves up for a peculiar cause?

Do let me in on your special report”

 

I watched for awhile with the grip of my eye

Slowly I resumed my speaking

 

So it is I with terrorist look, I alone in this colourful crowd?

I see a flaw in this deduction that could cost you a nation

I offer you aid for no special reward,

Look at that man he has squinting eyes

To me he is doubtful don’t you think?

That other one, and that one as well,

I count a dozen, more hostile than me,

Why not call them as well,

Really, I could do with the company,

So alone am I here all by myself”

 

And this last I speak for all to hear

 

The two are taken aback,

They turn to exchange incredulous looks,

Abruptly they send me away

“OK Madam, you can go!”

They say, as if dispensing a favour,

But the feline in me, won’t leave, not so soon, not yet,

I hold my look and watch them some more,

And when I am done, turn slowly to go.

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Betty Wamalwa Muragori is especially interested in how Africans are constructing new identities as they redefine their place in the world.  She believes in the power of words.  She has a BSc degree from the University of Nairobi and MA in Environment from Clark University in Worcester Mass. USA.  Currently Betty works for an international conservation organization in Nairobi, Kenya. 

 
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Cut off My Tongue by Sitawa Namwalie

Cut Off My Tongue will leave you speechless! It rants, sweats, and breaks into song and dance as it explores the truths that shape us Modern Africans: Our beliefs, the way we behave and why. Woven into music and dance, Sitawa Namwalie's dramatised poetry is moving and frighteningly honest. It is politics—and love—that bites as it teases!

Blue Note—A Story of Modern Jazz

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

Fiction

#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter

Non-fiction

#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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Exporting American Dreams

 Thurgood Marshall's African Journey

By Mary L. Dudziak

Thurgood Marshall became a living icon of civil rights when he argued Brown v. Board of Education before the Supreme Court in 1954. Six years later, he was at a crossroads. A rising generation of activists were making sit-ins and demonstrations rather than lawsuits the hallmark of the civil rights movement. What role, he wondered, could he now play? When in 1960 Kenyan independence leaders asked him to help write their constitution, Marshall threw himself into their cause. Here was a new arena in which law might serve as the tool with which to forge a just society. In Exporting American Dreams: Thurgood Marshall's African Journey (2008) Mary Dudziak recounts with poignancy and power the untold story of Marshall's journey to Africa

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

*   *   *   *   *

Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice.

"Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality."Lisa Adkins, University of London

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A Matter of Justice

Eisenhower and the Beginning of the Civil Rights Revolution

By David. A. Nichols

David A. Nichols  takes us inside the Oval Office to look over Ike's shoulder as he worked behind the scenes, prior to Brown, to desegregate the District of Columbia and complete the desegregation of the armed forces. We watch as Eisenhower, assisted by his close collaborator, Attorney General Herbert Brownell, Jr., sifted through candidates for federal judgeships and appointed five pro-civil rights justices to the Supreme Court and progressive judges to lower courts. We witness Eisenhower crafting civil rights legislation, deftly building a congressional coalition that passed the first civil rights act in eighty-two years, and maneuvering to avoid a showdown with Orval Faubus, the governor of Arkansas, over desegregation of Little Rock's Central High. Nichols demonstrates that Eisenhower, though he was a product of his time and its backward racial attitudes, was actually more progressive on civil rights in the 1950s than his predecessor, Harry Truman, and his successors, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. . . . 

In fact, Eisenhower's actions laid the legal and political groundwork for the more familiar breakthroughs in civil rights achieved in the 1960s.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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Enjoy!

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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ChickenBones Store (Books, DVDs, Music, and more)

 

 

 

 

update 19 June 2012

 

 

 

Home Betty Wamalwa Muragori Table  Transitional Writings on Africa  

Related files:   Queen Africa (and other poems)  Dangerous Abroad   Blue Eyed Dolls in Africa   How I Became a Marxist  An African Out in the World  

Mind Games and O  ther Poems  Say My Name   The Seasons of My City