- ÉG: It seems to me that on any kind of boat you can be closer to yourself while in a plane you're really detached from yourself - you're not yourself, you're something else. And I'm saying this jokingly - and I'm not alone in this - it's not normal for a person to be suspended in the air even if man's always dreamed of being a bird. Accordingly, I take this boat regularly when I have to go to Martinique or New York.
- MD: This boat is also the Atlantic crossing
- ÉG: That's another matter. It's also a paradox, because this is an ultra comfortable, super-luxurious ship...and when you lean over the ship's railing, you can't stop thinking about the Africans at the bottom of the sea...
Alain Locke on black art
“There’s plenty to be angry about – the fact that black women in America are three times more likely to die in childbirth than white women, the race-baiting, anti-abortion billboard campaign in America that claims that black women’s wombs are the most dangerous place for black babies, the way that poverty is only worthy of discussion now that white, middle-class people are feeling the pain.
My father used to say that if a person isn’t angry then they aren’t paying attention. I say that if you aren’t angry, the odds are you are one of the people pissing me off.”
- Pamela Merritt, founder of blog AngryBlackBitch for the Guardian
In our representation of death, it is necessary to critique the notion that sacrifice is essential to resistance and the transformation of power relations. Living in Africa on a continent which signifies death and destruction in the imperialist imaginary, it is imperative to uncouple sacrifice from resistance. Faced with the denial of state responsibility for the basic conditions of life in villages, towns and cities across the continent we cannot indulge the genocidal fantasies of sacrifice. Hence, it is disturbing to read filmmakers who insist upon valorising sacrifice and torture as a necessity for the pastoral reinvention of Africa.’
- Zackie Achmat, ‘“Off the Control Track”: Power, Resistance, and Representation in South African Documentaries 1984-1994’ (1994), p.22 (online here)
The Haitian Revolution was an unthinkable event from the perspective of contemporary Europe and the United States, centrally, no doubt, because of deeply embedded ideologies of racial superiority, but we should also recognise that the Haitian Revolution was unthinkable because it violated the rule of property. A simple syllogism is at work here: the republic must protect private property; slaves are private property; therefore Republicanism must oppose the freeing of the slaves. With the example of Haiti, in effect, the republican pretence to value freedom and equality directly conflicts with the rule of property - and property wins out. In this sense the exclusion of the Haitian Revolution from the canon of republicanism is powerful evidence of the sacred status of property to the republic. It may be appropriate, in fact, that Haiti be excluded from the list of republican revolutions, not because the Haitian Revolution is somehow unworthy of the republican spirit but, on the contrary, because republicanism does not live up to the spirit of freedom and equality contained in the Haitian rebellion against slavery!
Michael Hardt & Antonio Negri, Commonwealth (2009), 13-14