Survivor Spirits, Survivor Souls

Coumba Toure <>

I have been unlearning to pledge allegiance, to money, to power, to whiteness, to military and to regimentation.
I have been unlearning to be prejudiced and to segregate for the benefit of big men, for the older, for the able.
I have been unlearning to be impressed by the luxurious and to trust the complicated,

to give more importance to the literate, to equate brand names with beauty.
I have been unlearning to consider better the city person and backward the village and to ignore the outcasts.
I have been unlearning to be angry at the beggar and to be afraid of the sick ones.
I have been unlearning to keep my mind in prison and deny common sense

for the sake of laws and rules already written.
I have been unlearning to believe what is printed on newspaper or shown on television,

just based on the quality of technology production.
I have been unlearning to promote the white manís science and religion.
I have been unlearning to believe in the futility of trying to challenge the big and the powerful.

As I read the stories of unlearning, pieces of my own stories rush back to my mind.
And my fundamental question remains.
How did they grow up to be conscious and to be different?
How did they make it out of the abattoir of minds they call schools? How did they get out of tracts that were set to make them content and miserably confined in trying to catch up, trying to fit, and sometimes passing ?
Because so many people went through similar experience but didnít come out the same way.

How did they remember who they were before they learned all the lies?

How did they find a way out of the overload of lies that everyone chews on and calls information or advertising?

When the messages are so persistent, so clear, so easily acceptable and comfortable.

"Money is the first and last value. With that everything else can be bought. So get a lot of money, buy a lot of things and you will be the best."

Itís almost everything, because if you are black, you are out, if you speak with a strong accent, you are out, if you are too fat, you are out, or if you... you are out, until very few people actually fit.

I have been unlearning to obey to unjust laws, unlearning everything.

Each of the stories of unlearning in this publication is to me a testimony of the powers of the human spirit. The concept that comes to my mind is "survivorís spirit". And there are so many people throughout the world who could fit. Our spirits do survive, our souls can and do recover, maybe better and faster than our bodies do.

For those who could hate are still loving, those who were taught to break are still building, those from whom life was taken are still giving life. Still renewing the human spirit. They are people that sustain my faith in the face of pure madness like the one we are living through.

UnlearningÖ still unlearning

I have been unlearning by asking questions to see the other side of what I believed was true.

I have been unlearning by comparing how I was treated to how I treat people.

I have been unlearning by trusting my feelings and facing their source.

I have been unlearning by looking back at my own actions and questioning my positions.

and striving to grow and be a source of joy, not a source of pain.

I have been unlearning by trying everyday and looking for alternatives.

I have been unlearning by keeping my eyes on beautifully minded people. They are my mentors.