the war before by safiya bukhari

“getting mad ain’t the same thing as getting involved”

“Talk is cheap, action is supreme.” (98)

“The lesson I first learned from Afeni is that you can’t define yourself by the person with whom you’re in a relationship with. You have to define yourself by who you are and what you believe.” (90-1)

“But her passing wasn’t the only tragedy; the tragedy was that more people didn’t know her, learn from her, or grow from her fund of hard-won wisdom.” (252, afterword by Mumia Abu-Jamal)

i presume safiya was one of the women that mumia was talking about that were blurred by the focus on the men in the party. as long as we’re socialized to take care of everyone and accept that that’s our role in “the struggle”, we run the risk of being relegated to the shadows. that’s not to say that we should live our lives looking for credit, but some would be nice. we also have the opportunity to work to assuage other people’s pain because it’s healing. so i guess it’s not all a wash.

“Safiya’s life is a story that stands for all of us who have not been defeated but have yet to win.” (xxxvi, intro by Laura Whitehorn)


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