Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Requiescat In Pacem

Another hero is gone. Kenya's Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to win a Nobel Peace Price, has died from cancer.

From the Los Angeles Times:

Africa's first female Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai, has died of cancer, it was announced Monday by the environmental group she founded. ...

Maathai won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize for her environmental and social activism. In 1977, she founded the Green Belt Movement, a women's environmental organization that challenged unbridled development in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, and planted more than 30 million trees.

The U.S.-educated activist was also the first Kenyan woman to receive a doctorate, from the University of Nairobi in 1971.

Ms. Maathai did her work under difficult circumstances under Daniel Arap Moi's harsh regime. The simple act of planting trees resulted in beatings and arrests, yet she continued the fight to stop the destruction of the forests by commercial interests and to educate Kenyans and Africans on the importance of protecting the environment.

I offer the following poem by Dylan Thomas as a tribute to Ms. Maathai. May she rest in peace.

A Refusal To Mourn The Death, By Fire, Of A Child In London

Never until the mankind making
Bird beast and flower
Fathering and all humbling darkness
Tells with silence the last light breaking
And the still hour
Is come of the sea tumbling in harness

And I must enter again the round
Zion of the water bead
And the synagogue of the ear of corn
Shall I let pray the shadow of a sound
Or sow my salt seed
In the least valley of sackcloth to mourn

The majesty and burning of the child's death.
I shall not murder
The mankind of her going with a grave truth
Nor blaspheme down the stations of the breath
With any further
Elegy of innocence and youth.

Deep with the first dead lies London's daughter,
Robed in the long friends,
The grains beyond age, the dark veins of her mother,
Secret by the unmourning water
Of the riding Thames.
After the first death, there is no other.


Blogger shrimplate said...

A moment of silence to pay my respects...

11:50 AM  

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