When I went to the Motherland,
I had decided to get to know my roots.
I wanted to get a feel for my heritage and people.
What I found was myself.
I arrived at the Airport and was greeted by my old college friend Mudbay.
It had been years since we talked and I last saw him when we
graduated from Grad School.
He was a Doctor serving his people and I was a successful Attorney.
We left the city and drove off into the Barren Straits.
This was the heart of my people.
Mudbay told me,
I laughed and said,
"Nothing can shock me my friend."
He looked at me with old eyes for one so young.
His demeanor had turn cold and callous.
As we drove further,
I began seeing villages that were burned to a crisp,
smelled things that made me gag,
animals had been killed,
and some things that resembled food and medicine,
but I wasn't sure.
Then it happened,
I heard the crying and screaming of people coming from the next village.
I asked Mudbay,
"What the hell is going on here?"
He looked at me with tears in his eyes and said,
"Freedom, my Brother,
in America you are not exposed to this treatment.
I used to listen to you and the others talk about how bad you had it in America.
The Black people there cannot imagine what bad is,
at least not until you come here."
I just looked at him.
I couldn't say a word because there was nothing to say.
He stopped the vehicle and people immediately crowded around us.
Some were saying,
"Its Doctor Mudbay,"
others were crying,
" Help us Doctor."
Then there were those that I had no idea as to what they were saying.
Mudbay spoke in his native tongue and I could not understand him either.
I didn't have to,
the look on his face said it all.
We made our way to the make-shift hospital and were greeted by people that
were trying to comfort others.
They had no medical degrees,
they had no knowledge of care taking.
But what they had was the hope of one man,
one single man that I called Brother and his name was Mudbay.
He told them what to do and they did it without hesitation,
Mudbay was amazing to watch and it was even more astonishing to see how
he treated each and every one of them.
Co-workers and patients alike,
everyone the same.
An hour had passed and Mudbay walked over to me and said,
"Come with me my Brother,
I want to introduce you to your people."
We walked into the middle of the room and he said,
"People of the Straits,
I want you to meet my Brother from the United States.
He is here visiting and wanting to learn more about his people of the Motherland.
Feel free to talk to him and enlighten him of our existence and of our struggle."
Everyone was staring at me and I felt like a lost child.
Mudbay turned to me and said,
"You are in good hands here.
Now I must go back to work."
I stopped him and said,
"I want to help my Brother."
He smiled at me and said,
"You can help by learning about your people and taking that knowledge back
to the States with you.
Tell them what is going on here.
Tell them of our plight and fight for freedom.
Tell them what you have seen here."
I looked at him and shook my head.
Just as he started to leave me,
There were gunshots and people screaming all around us.
Children crying mothers and fathers dying,
I looked for something to use as a weapon,
but could not find anything.
Not even a surgical tool.
The doors flew open and the soldiers threw canisters of tear gas in the room.
I couldn't see,
but heard the sounds of war and I was standing in the middle of it.
They took us all outside,
the sick, the wounded,
the half dead and the children.
They lined us up in a row.
Their leader shouted,
"Where is Mudbay?
MUDBAY STEP FORTH!"
Mudbay did not move and stood his ground.
After a few seconds,
the soldiers began shooting the people in the head.
My Brother looked at me and said,
"I am sorry that you came here seeking knowledge and only found your death."
I just looked at him and he turned and stepped forward and said,
"I am Mudbay."
The soldiers walked over to him and pointed their guns at him.
The people of the village one by one stepped forward and said,
"I am Mudbay."
"No, I am Mudbay."
"I am Mudbay."
I could not believe what I was seeing or feeling.
I stepped forward and said,
"I am Mudbay."
Everyone looked at me.
The leader of the soldiers laughed and said,
"You most certainly are not Mudbay,
but you can die anyway."
I looked at him and did not blink,
breathe or move.
He put his gun to my head and asked,
"What are you doing here?"
I looked him straight in his eyes and said,
"Learning about my people."
He said to me,
"Then this is all you shall learn."
He cocked the trigger of the gun and gently began to squeeze it.
My Brother stepped forth and said,
"Do not kill him,
for I am Mudbay.
May I speak with him before I die?"
The leader nodded his head and Mudbay walked up to me.
"I am sorry that you are a part of this.
Remember what you have seen today and tell our people in the States
of our fight for freedom.
Freedom comes at a high cost and should never be taken for granted.
I have seen this done in the United States.
Remember me my Brother."
Mudbay looked at his people with tears in his eyes.
They held their breath in anticipation of his next words.
Children were screaming, women were crying and the men were
whispering his name in a low murmur.
The soldiers step forth to take him but Mudbay begin to speak.
"People of the Straits,
I have lived here all my life.
You could say this is my beginning and my end.
When I was a boy,
I grew up wanting to help my people.
So I went to America to get an education and become a Doctor.
This is the way I chose to help save you.
The soldiers here today follow a mad man as a leader.
As children he was my best friend and his name is Jenko.
He craved power even then.
With great power comes an even greater responsibility
to people every where.
Jenko may kill my body but my spirit shall live on.
It will live on through my people and through their songs.
I forgive you Jenko because you are still my Brother,
but you walk the wrong path.
Someday you will come to realize it.
If my death helps you to do so my Brother,
then kill me.
But I ask that you set my people free.
I have done nothing wrong to you,
but show you love and love for my people.
As a Doctor I cannot take a life,
but I can help deliver life into this world.
I am willing to die in order to give you back your life Jenko.
I only ask that you lead our people to freedom?"
Mudbay stretched his arms out to both sides,
looked at me and slowly turned towards Jenko.
Jenko nodded and the soldiers shot him down like a dog in the streets.
They took his lifeless body and cut his head off and hung it on a stick for
all to see.
The leader walked up to me and said,
"Do you see how it is here Black man from America?
We struggle in this country everyday to stay alive.
Mudbay spoke of freedom.
Freedom is only found in death here.
Do you wish to be free Black man from America?
WELL DO YOU!"
I just looked at Jenko as he put his gun to my head.
The crazed look in his eyes told me that he was going to kill me at
I relaxed my voice and said,
"Jenko, Mudbay died for you,
me and everyone here.
He died for his Country and his beliefs in life.
You have the nerve and audacity to call yourself a leader.
You will never know what freedom is,
but you will always know that blood runs from your hands."
I got up off my knees and moved towards Jenko and his men
pointed their weapons towards me.
I didn't even look at them,
but as I stared in Jenko's eyes,
I saw it!
Jenko looked at me and said,
"What the hell are you looking at Black man from America?"
We were now standing face to face and I said,
"A tyrant with fear in his eyes.
I now see what Mudbay saw in you.
You hide behind your men and your gun.
You fear freedom Jenko.
It is freedom that shall be your downfall and it shall be the
Spirit of Mudbay that will defeat you."
Jenko grabbed me by the throat and stuck his gun in my mouth.
"It would be so easy to kill you Black man from America.
But my fight is not with you.
You speak of freedom,
but you are as slaves to the ways of the White man in a land
that speaks of freedom and yet it enslaves its own
economically, racially and through drug dependence,
while it boast of a constitution that says that all men are created equal
and yet denies one the dignity of being Black in the so called
land of the free.
It was Americans that came to the Motherland and enslaved my people
and took us across the waters to be enslaved to masters that we
didn't know existed.
Then they came here to teach us the ways of the White man.
WE DIDN'T NEED THEIR WAYS HERE!"
Jenko and I stared into each other's eyes,
"Maybe you don't need his ways Brother,
but you do need his knowledge in order to develop our Motherland."
Jenko lowered his gun and looked at the sky.
For one second I thought I saw a flash of humanity come from him.
He turned to me and said,
"You are free to leave."
"What about my people here?"
He smacked me in the face and said,
"You don't belong here,
I looked around and saw the faces of a proud people that faced death
with dignity and honor.
They began to sing and I could only guess it was a freedom song.
It was at this point I asked Jenko to allow me to bury Mudbay.
He looked at me and said,
"I don't care what you do with him,
but if you're here in the morning,
you will be lying next to him in the ground."
He stared at me with cold black eyes and ordered his men to leave.
People were crying and running everywhere.
I walked over and picked up the body of Mudbay and carried it into what was
left of the make-shift hospital.
I then went back outside and took his head off the pole.
I stared at it for a few minutes and thought to myself,
"I am so sorry my Brother."
As college roommates he would smile and tell me stories of the Motherland
and how he grew up.
He spoke with pride whenever he would talk of freedom.
A million memories passed through my mind as I walked back to the hospital
with his head in my hands.
The people looked at me but I could not see them.
Tunnel vision prevented me from acknowledging them.
I sat with his body for hours.
I was cold,
tired and hurting from the events of the day.
A lady that I saw Mudbay treating earlier walked up to me and gently touched
my face with her hands.
Even though we did not speak the same language I knew what she was saying.
Another person began to treat my wounds with the knowledge that Mudbay
had passed on to them.
A small child brought me some water in a broken cup and smiled at me.
I sat there and cried.
I cried for Mudbay,
my people and myself.
The next morning I woke up in the same corner that I had went to sleep in.
Mudbay's body had been moved.
I looked all over the hospital and could not find it.
Then I noticed that the hospital was empty.
I walked outside and saw a crowd of people.
As I made my way through them,
two small children took me by the hands and lead me to the center of the gathering.
There was Mudbay wrapped in African Ceremonial garb and his head
was placed onto his body.
The people were singing a song that was so beautiful.
This place that had been a war zone just yesterday,
felt like paradise today.
I did not understand the song,
but I knew it was a prayer for his soul.
An African Priestess walked up to me and placed a torch in my hand.
She walked me to where they had placed Mudbay high upon a wooden altar
and motioned for me to light it.
I lit it and watched it burn slowly.
The smoked rose to the heavens and I felt a chill run through my body.
It was as if Mudbay had passed right through me.
One of the elders walked up to me and placed beads around my neck
and said what sounded like to me,
"My Brother, My friend."
I gently smiled and touched his shoulder and said,
"My Brother, My Friend."
I glanced over to the right and saw Jenko and his soldiers.
I walked over to him and said,
"It didn't have to be like this.
He wasn't a man of war.
You still lose Jenko and you've made him stronger.
If you want to kill me,
then as we say in America,
just do it."
Jenko looked at me,
"It is time for you to leave Black man from America.
Remember what you have seen here."
I stared at him,
"I'll remember and talk of freedom."
The soldiers took me back to the Airport and put me on a plane.
I looked at the Motherland and began to cry.
I thought about Mudbay and my people and cried even harder.
I think I cried myself to sleep for when I woke up,
I was back in the United States.
I was not the same man that had left,
but a changed man that had learned the cost of freedom
and of a man named Mudbay.
Written by Jlivory