Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Praise song for the day

"Sing the names of the dead who brought us here,
who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges,
picked the cotton and the lettuce,
built brick by brick the glittering edifices
they would then keep clean and work inside of"

A damp cold train station in Sweden, the standstill watching wrapped in electricity, hundreds of people absorbed by the live stream from Washington D.C.

It is easy to frown upon such acts of hope. Friends write to me that reality will soon come down on him. Most likely, it will.

But with our own government struggling to be more cynical than even the mayor of Sunnydale, what are not the words of historical awareness! Just think how the poem above, read by Elizabeth Alexander at the inauguration, breaks with the neo-conservative darkness of the last eight years, the seeing of people as a political act, reminding me of Paul Gomberg and his good book on race and contributive justice.

The last three weeks have indeed been busy for me, I have finished the encyclopaedia article for SAGE and right now I am preparing abstracts for conferences in Potsdam and Manchester, a scholarship application to the Crafoord Foundation while trying to fight my own nerves as my talk in Athens, GA, is drawing closer.

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