Building Bridges to Peace
By Queen Mother Imakhu
Peace seems like a lovely topic. People hold stereotypical mental
images of everyone holding hands, smiling, all former are all the
Here's the problem: We are not all the same. It is true that
when you get right down to it, we are all energy. That makes us
the same, yes. A Kemetic sage once said, "Man's illusion is that
there is disunion among them. In truth, we are one." The
Priciples of Maat teach the interconnectedness of life. As such,
our actions impact upon all. Therefore, it is our collective and
individual responsibility to respect boundaries, yet know when to
lend a hand. Part of the boundary lines relate to gender, culture,
and cultural attribution. We came here in different packages,
with different life experiences resulting from the package.
When a person says to me, "But when I see you I don't see
color," it's really just a way for the person to "big himself up"
to give the impression that he/she is so evolved, my skin tone
doesn't matter. Actually, it's an insult. He's just told me that my
life experiences are meaningless to him, and that he doesn't
care to hear, know, or really see me. Start telling the
"I-don't-see-color" person the harsh reality of your life as a
person of color, and get ready to witness a meltdown - or,
extreme anger for ruining his Eden. Or denial with minimizing.
Either you're exaggerating, lying, or creating your own harsh
How can you build a bridge with someone who refuses to see or
Our stories have value. We are here in different packages so we
may learn from one another. And if we really want to talk peace,
then we must deal with the package, like it or not. This is not
only across cultural and gender lines, but also in families,
personal relationships, and neighborhoods.
Truthfully, the path to peace is about communication, which
includes listening and validating another's experience (no matter
how uncomfortable), working through the healing process, and
finding common ground. There are understood rules of
engagement, and hopefully, mutual respect for the differing
parties. When all efforts fail, then the peace agreement
becomes, "You stay over there, and I'll stay here."
common ground. Most often we can find it if we sincerely try hard
enough. Enjoying the same foods, movies, TV shows, clothing...
how life is experienced through these activities. There is also
commonality in sorrow.
I always say, "There is no prejudice when it comes to affliction
An addict (drugs, food, etc.) does not care who supplies him with
his fix. I've also visited addiction support groups that look like a
rainbow connection. They tend to be comprised of diverse folks
who valiantly share in the triumphs and tragedies of their
recovery. Kinship. Healing. Together.
Healing through and from physical and emotional challenges tend
to unify people too. I remember when I was hospitalized for
severe pneumonia in 2006. I shared a room with a Dominican
woman who also had pneumonia, and spoke little English. I
understand Spanish better than I speak it. However, my High
School Spanish came in handy as, gasping for breath, we both
shared our frustrations about our health, our doctors, and the
The commonalities with affliction and addiction? For one, the
knowledge that healing takes time, and cannot be rushed. There
are those who wish to push the atrocities of abuse aside, or erase
abusive acts by ignoring them - both impossible, and unhealthy.
Oppression, past and present, leaves deep scars. The societal
healing process must be honored through awareness, admission,
eradication, and assistance. The other addiction/affliction
commonalities? Vulnerability. Human frailty. Isn't it sad that we
often must be forced into humility in order to reach out for
another's hand, not caring whose hand it is? If I'm drowning, I'd
be a fool to reject a ready, willing, and able rescuer who doesn't
happen to look like me.
As a performer, teacher, and lecturer, I travel a great deal,
servicing diverse populations. It amazes me to find how I
remember them too. The deeper blessing comes when we
can forge a friendship.
There is a Kemetic scripture in the
Book of Ankhsheshonqi:
"May I recognize my friends so I may share my goods with
them. May I recognize my brother and sister that I may
open my heart to them."
With open eyes, open hands, open mind, and open heart,
may we work to build bridges to peace. May we work
through and with the dissonances, knowing they will lead
harmony. May we remember that Love is the greatest
bridge of all.
One of my favorite
John Denver songs has
always been "Season
Suite" ROCKY MOUNTAIN
HIGH album. Even at the
age of twelve, I
understood it. The lyrics
made me cry
"Riding on the tapestry
of all there is to see, so
many ways, and oh so
Rejoicing in the
differences - there's no
one just like me.
Yet as different as we
are, we're still the same.
And oh, I love the life
within me...I feel a part of
everything I see.
And oh, I love the life
around me... A part of
everything is here in me."