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Archive for February, 2007

Walking On Their Knees… cause they don’t have legs

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007

"Walking on their Knees, Cause they don't have Legs"

Women working 15 hour days
Planting seeds for the harvest
Washing clothes for their husband

A telephone boutique
Nobody they have the money to call
Nobody else with a phone
You see, we may have 2 or 3 televisions in our house
But in Cameroun, there is only 1 television for every 120 people.

Walking on their knees because they don't have legs
Who is forcing them to crawl?
What some people have and what some people don't

People in Wealthy nations:
Throw out plates filled with food
Horde money into bank accounts
Clothes into closets
Toys into attics

What's the matter?—do they lack batteries?
Or do we lack creativity—taking pleasure in consuming
Throw something in the trash when bored of it
Meanwhile, there are children born into this world with no alternatives
A life that is predetermined.

What we have:
Plastic bottles that are useless
What they have:
Plastic bottles that are drums

And how can we be so wasteful?
I wonder…
As my hangers fill with accusations
And closet drawers overflow with hypocrisy.

How can we be so wasteful? (more…)

GPI Gathering: Sunday, February 11, 2007

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007
Facilitating: Shahid
Notes Person: Mo (grrrr)
Present: Shahid, Laila, Fadi, Mo, Cherie
Joining for part of the gathering: Cesar, Jaime

Note: Cherie also submitted some personal notes that she shared during the meeting and asked to be included in the notes

NCOR – March 9-11, 2007:
  • We still have to find out what our time slot is. (Mo)
  • Shahid and Cherie are in to facilitate.
  • Kristen may have a time conflict but will be able to lend drums regardless
  • Laila would preffer to step back, unless no one steps up
  • Mo will probably be out of town. Will participate if he is in town
Video and Audio Recording
  • Laila: We have access to a "top of the line" recording studio at Georgetown. Room needs to be reserved in 2 hour increments. We are still aquiring the software engineering skills necessary to fully leverage the resource.
  • Open Call – to all those who want to learn the technical skillZ.
  • Open Call – If anybody wants their poetry to be recorded, Laila will facilitate the space, but the performer will have to organize getting people in and out of the space.
  • Open Call – Artists that organize and end up recording are invited to be a part of a GPI CD compilation.

Abram's Creek:

  • One Common Unity is asking us when we want to have a retreat.
  • We have to engage a broader swath of folks.
  • Suggestions: Memmorial Day; calling for more organizers to bottomline the retreat.


  • Lois was one of the (sociology?) faculty Jess and Shahid met at a conference they attended last fall and performed at on behalf of the GPI. They discussed a trip to Boston, and she appears below to invite us on two alternative weekends this spring. Faculty members are offering a $500 stipend for the group.
  • We will be reaching out to other universities in Boston
  • Possible Dates: April 12th or April 19th. Involves a trip to Boston and a 4 day weekend committment.
  • Who is interested: Mo, Fadi, Laila, Shahid
  • Shahid is bottomlining.
  • We need to build the capacity within the group to organize these kinds of trips.


The Man We Call President

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

George W. Bush and his family are the worse kind of people

The image of what happens with too much power

Turned on his citizens

Subjecting us to our darkest hour

We’re not even the first to wear the scars

Their family has had a hand in all the wars

And most of us are too busy worrying about cars and stars

Don’t know what happened and don’t know what’s in store

Those people don’t care about this country

Kindly fed us to the wolves for their feast

He stole the highest seat in this country

To keep us in the belly of the beast

Instilled fear in the hearts of the masses

Training us to remain at bay

Time passed and continually passes

Yet nothing has been done to those responsible for that day

Has no reason to, in fact, they’re the closest of friends

They have been for a long time

The Bin Ladins own 7% of our land

To leave on 9/11 they were the first in line

Warmongers, every single one of them

Snatching souls to obtain their goals

Abu Ghraib sounds like Auschwitz… too much for me

Bush resembles Hitler too, especially around the nose

State of the Union

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

Politicians speak on what they plan to do

I’m here to speak on what we’re going through

Unemployment, homelessness, same–sex marriage

A soldier’s deployment… his wife’s loneliness and despair

Teenage pregnancy and abortions no longer a shock

The crime rate in cities reaching all time highs

They blame it on hip hop like they blamed it on rock

People getting high just to get by

The same people in debt up to their eyes

Minimum wage is not nearly enough

And you wonder why people look to the skies

When the going gets rough

Public school system is way below par

Standardized test scores are even lower

Don’t think that degree will get you too far

Yet they tell you we don’t have far to go

They might be right because the end is near

According to Revelations the end is here

I scratch my head trying to figure out what to do

And this is the land my niece was just born into… damn.

Young Man’s Story

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

So begins the story of a young boy born into a cold land

Born to a prostitute and her pimp of a man

Born into a world where no one cares to lend a hand

Yet still innocent because he doesn’t yet understand

Some years have passed… he’s just turned 5

His momma is just happy he’s alive

Because she passed on a “gift”… human immunodeficiency virus

The rest of his life will be a struggle to survive

By the time he reaches grade school his momma is dead

Not from what you think but a shot to the head

You see, one day her baby’s daddy gets upset

‘Cause she can’t work no more… she was his main source of bread

This young boy witnessed his momma’s murder

Acted out by the one person he thought would never hurt her

Now he has no parents because daddy received the chair for her

Grandma took him in with plans to make his life better

So far she’s raising him to be a pretty good kid

Yet there’s a fire inside of him she can’t seem to rid

She sees him doing some of the same things his father did

She prays everyday that he doesn’t get a bid

By the Lord’s will he lived to graduate

Grandma’s so proud… she’s practically elated

Hugs, smiles and photographs are the order of the day (more…)

Black Gold-Way Out

Wednesday, February 14th, 2007


Ideas for GPI

Tuesday, February 13th, 2007

I presented these thoughts at the GPI meeting yesterday (February 11). Just feelings I've been having around the whole theme of revolution and how art could be even more effective in making it happen. This by no means is a dis to any of the efforts made by the GPI to help the world in some way, but more a challenge for us artists to use our brains and talents to be an even more threatening force to all forms of oppression.

I have been in cynical withdrawal from normal life and the GPI, wondering and questioning everything that I do and that I see everybody else do. It could be considered a type of madness or depression, but on the other hand, if you look back at history up until this very moment, have there not been operations underlying the public eye? Of which the perpetrators pimp people’s ignorance in order to thrive? I just wonder, what makes us different? How is our art helping to alleviate the pain that we speak of? How is it having a direct hand in stopping the carnage in the world which we criticize and protest (but inadvertently create)? Using art to combat destruction and misery is healing to people who feel the pain being talked/rapped/sung about and is fascinating, repulsive or offensive to others not familiar with the issue or is in favor of the cause of the issue. One element to manipulate to the cause of getting messages across is the content. Another one is through delivery.

The reason why I push good performance is it gets people’s attention, not necessarily by annoyance, but also by touching people emotionally in a non-intrusive or "digestible" way, even though at times I feel like people who are not compassionate need a tank of unavoidable truth about violence and poverty to roll over them. One medium to dispense a message is through drama. People love to get distracted by something they enjoy and like to escape into a situation that is not their own if only for a little while. If something is too preachy, boring, or monotonous in any way period, you lose the attention of most of the people you’re trying to address. Not everyone is trained to have respect for all performers no matter what is going on.

If a group or individual does something theatrical, it does not have to be long. As a matter of fact, short and concise is the best combination when expecting the attention of random passerby who most likely had another destination in mind. Also, when you add passion to good performance, people can feel that. And when you can write performance material in such a way that gives out doses of information interspersed with fluctuating tones or moods, people feel motivated because the material inspires them. They feel like they are a part of something and not just preached at. Let us take lessons from random people that we see on the street, i.e., who stand on the sidewalk and swear up and down that the world is coming to an end, Jesus is our only saviour, blah blah blah, etc, etc. How often do people actually stop to listen, and walk away agreeing fervently and whole-heartedly? None that I’ve seen. You can’t please everyone, and you most certainly aren’t going to get everyone to agree with you, no matter how you say what you have to say. But you can make a difference in the impact you are trying to have on the general public with sharpened performance skills and changing the game up every so often with different methods, and hopefully not only be preaching to the choir. (more…)

Operation Ceasefire 2005 (feat. Guerrilla Poets) on YouTube

Thursday, February 8th, 2007

WATCH VIDEO. In Sept 2005, the Guerrilla Poetry Insurgency shared the stage with Thievery Corporation, Joan Baez, Sweet Honey and the Rock, Head-Roc, Cindy Sheehan, and many more in a concert demanding a ceasefire in Iraq. THANKS TO Shahid Buttar for recording of Baghdad Blues, to Quilting Point for footage from Arabs and Terrorism, and to Arlington Independent Media for Operations Ceasefire footage. On vocals: Mo Alem, Laurie Blair, Shahid Buttar, Jessica Philie, and Laila Shereen Sakr. Kristen Arant (percussions and flute), Mark Nickens (percussions), and Fadi Sakr (percussions).

Guerrilla Poetry Community Reel on YouTube

Thursday, February 8th, 2007

Footage of Guerrilla Poetry Insurgency in action. Includes on stage at Operations Ceasefire 2005 and recorded WPFW Radio Pacific Show featuring Guerrilla Poets Laila Shereen Sakr, Shahid Buttar, Laurie Blair, and Leah Harris. Video footage includes Jessica Philie,Damien Petty, Mo Alem, Kristen Arant, Fadi Sakr, and more. Video Footage thanks to Elie Walton,Michael Lewis, Arlingtong Independent Media, and Spiritual Survival Society. Reel created as part of a portfolio for Guerrilla Poet [ ] Laila.

The DC Guerrilla Poetry Insurgency (GPI) is an anti-authoritarian, collaborative, pro-humanity artists' collective incorporating music, rhythm, spoken word, community and resistance.

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