A Travesty in Timbuktu

Sawfish headress. Ijo. Nigeria - Musée du quai Branly - Wikicommons

Sawfish headress. Ijo. Nigeria – Musée du quai Branly – Wikicommons

Ya’ll act like I’m Killmonger when I try to tell you
About how they looted my ancestral home in Benin
And burned down the libraries at Timbuktu

You think I am trying to be edgy
By claiming my history
Defending your European roots
As the true source of all mystery

All art, love and light and all that is true
The source of shiny, happy feelings
With vaulted Gothic ceilings
The art of the European masters
Not their Bertha Mason enslaved mulatto bastards…

Half my bloodline arrived in American in chains
From West Africa, where it pains me to say
The colonizers burned and looted as well as enslaved
Erasing our history so they can pretend
That we don’t have any today

How you brag and bray
About your superior role
In the cultural landscape of history
Dismissing me and my kind
For being behind a movement
To fund black churches that burned to the ground
Because you find them of less import
And historical relevance
And European elegance
If you know what I mean

The Quai Branly museum in Paris
Just a thirteen minute drive away
From Notre Dame still houses, today
Some of the thousands of treasures
The French stole from my ancestors
In 1892 from the Kingdom of Dahomey

So if I decide to send some funds
To a black church in the south
Instead of Notre Dame
Try not to pout and act out
Like I defamed you

For my ancestor’s histories were stolen
Burned and erased
With no reparations made to this very day
No, the artwork has not been replaced
To the land from which we were also stolen away
By the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade.

~ by Sumiko Saulson on April 18, 2019.

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