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Assata’s Invitation To Wake Up

People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.

Assata Shakur (who lives in exile in Cuba, and just became the first woman on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists List) was referring to the oppression of Black people in the U.S. when she wrote these words in her autobiography. But is it just me, or do they resonate with Buddhist imperatives to wake up? To recognize dukkha, the illusions of samsara, the prison of craving and the construct of the self?

Take care, BPFers, enjoy the weekend, and practice like your hair is on fire and your people must become free.


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Comments (3)

  • Jay Garces

    Am I trippin’ or is that Assata on this peaceful Buddhist site? You’re taking it to a whole new level here & about time!

    Don’t believe the domestic terrorist hype about this woman who has always stood strong against police terror in our communities. They offering $2 mil reward to get her back for life in prison but letting those white shooters in Florida off. Her nephew gets the scenario right with:

    She maybe made mistakes in her life, but she came out of 2Pac’s ghetto life story to show us not to be slaves to the every day fear & despair we live with here. Peace.

  • John Eden

    This is great Katie! Love that you’re incorporating her voice into this discussion. Voices against the Empire. She’s clearly not a terrorist…

  • Katie Loncke

    Thanks you two — I was a little nervous posting this, so glad and relieved that other BPFers appreciate her! To me it seems like even people committed to nonviolent liberation and anti-oppression work (maybe especially these people!) would be wise to very seriously study and appreciate the contributions from militant freedom fighters who have sometimes found it necessary to take up arms in self-defense. So much to wisdom to be learned from Black Power revolutionary movements, even if we take up different strategies based on our own convictions and conditions.

    Seriously though, thank you for your comments because it’s super meaningful to me to meet other people who draw inspiration from figures like Assata *and* who study and practice Buddhism! Would love to hear more of other people’s thoughts on how Assata’s life and work infuses and uplifts our liberatory engaged Buddhist practice.

© 2017 Buddhist Peace Fellowship

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