Young Somali refugees living in the world’s largest refugee camp, in Kenya, have sent letters of encouragement to Syrian refugee children who have also had to flee their homeland. The young Somali students reside in the Dadaab refugee camp, in north-eastern Kenya. It is home to nearly 400,000 refugees, the majority of whom have fled conflict, drought and famine in Somalia over the last 23 years. Care International, the aid agency that provides many basic services at the camp, organised the pen pal exchange and delivered the handwritten letters to Syrian children at the Refugee Assistance Centre in Amman, Jordan.They offer messages of solidarity, encouragement and advice to their “dear brothers and sisters”.Perhaps the best line: “Be the stars and the new presidents of Syria.”
People have an intuitive — some would say God-given — drive for purpose. They want to be called to something big. Some of us are lucky enough to experience that, at work, at home, or elsewhere. For others, life fails to deliver on their big dreams. Most learn to accept it. But a terrible few are driven to extremism.
I did this series after having a chat with akazkucha. At the time we were looking at Sean Murphy's Wolverine Alphabets and thought we'd do our own as a fun exercise. The idea was to pick a word beginning with each letter of the alphabet, then illustrating that word in the shape of the letter. I then proposed doing it as a daily challenge… at which I failed. I got stuck at 'S' and the rest of the series didn't get done till 2012. (Yeah, towards the end I sort of goof off - “X de” for 'X' was not proper and was done for laughs!)
I have to say this, then I’ll sit down. Back during slavery, when Black people like me talked to the slaves, they didn’t kill ‘em, they sent some old house Negro along behind him to undo what he said. You have to read the history of slavery to understand this.
There were two kinds of Negroes. There was that old house Negro and the field Negro. And the house Negro always looked out for his master. When the field Negroes got too much out of line, he held them back in check. He put ‘em back on the plantation.
The house Negro could afford to do that because he lived better than the field Negro. He ate better, he dressed better, and he lived in a better house. He lived right up next to his master - in the attic or the basement. He ate the same food his master ate and wore his same clothes. And he could talk just like his master - good diction. And he loved his master more than his master loved himself. That’s why he didn’t want his master hurt.
If the master got sick, he’d say, “What’s the matter, boss, we sick?” When the master’s house caught afire, he’d try and put the fire out. He didn’t want his master’s house burned. He never wanted his master’s property threatened. And he was more defensive of it than the master was. That was the house Negro.
But then you had some field Negroes, who lived in huts, had nothing to lose. They wore the worst kind of clothes. They ate the worst food. And they caught hell. They felt the sting of the lash. They hated their master. Oh yes, they did.
If the master got sick, they’d pray that the master died. If the master’s house caught afire, they’d pray for a strong wind to come along. This was the difference between the two.
And today you still have house Negroes and field Negroes.
I’m a field Negro.
If I can’t live in the house as a human being, I’m praying for a wind to come along. If the master won’t treat me right and he’s sick, I’ll tell the doctor to go in the other direction. But if all of us are going to live as human beings, as brothers, then I’m for a society of human beings that can practice brotherhood.
But before I sit down, I want to thank you for listening to me. I hope I haven’t put anybody on the spot. I’m not intending to try and stir you up and make you do something that you wouldn’t have done anyway.
I pray that God will bless you in everything that you do. I pray that you will grow intellectually, so that you can understand the problems of the world and where you fit into, in that world picture. And I pray that all the fear that has ever been in your heart will be taken out, and when you look at that man, if you know he’s nothing but a coward, you won’t fear him. If he wasn’t a coward, he wouldn’t gang up on you. He wouldn’t need to sneak around here. This is how they function. They function in mobs - that’s a coward. They put on a sheet so you won’t know who they are - that’s a coward.
No! The time will come when that sheet will be ripped off. If the federal government doesn’t take it off, we’ll take it off.