As someone who is highly critical of American foreign policy, Memorial Day is always awkward for me. On the one hand, I strongly oppose America’s historical and current use of the military to further its own imperialistic goals. On the other hand, I refuse to lose sight of the courage, commitment, and fundamental humanity of anyone who is struggling for what they believe to be freedom, justice, and democracy.
To reconcile those two feelings, I have decided to follow the African American tradition of baptizing problematic American cultural practices into the rich and deep waters of Africa. With this in mind, I now use Memorial Day as an opportunity to send love and respect to all of the “soliders” that we’ve lost in the field, military and otherwise.
Particularly, I use this day to honor the memories of everyone who has been a casualty of American imperialism, including political prisoners, victims of the African holocaust, Native Americans, people of color throughout the world, and all of the other noble ancestors on whose sturdy shoulders we stand.
I am eternally indebted to all of them and vow to try my best to vindicate their spirits.