Saturday, December 26, 2009

In The Search For Peace, We Must All Look Within.

You hear and see it all the time, young kids using the term, “Peace” or “Peace Out” when talking to their friends. But to many, the term, PEACE, is only a slogan that they use flippantly—without really understanding what they say. Because, being about peace is about consciously living your life in a peaceful manner. It means going out of your way to be peaceful.

But then again, I guess they are only doing what we grownups do—just spouting lip service when it comes to peace. Just talking the talk, but rarely walking the walk. We want our children to live in peace, but everywhere they turn, they see a world of violent chaos. From wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, to extreme violence in just about every aspect of our Mainstream Media. They see Dads cursing and threatening the umpires in Little League and Moms swearing at other drivers who cut them off on the freeway.

So when we watch the horrific video of Derrion Albert’s murder, by young teens who look just like him; and who should be mostly concerned about midterms and sports and school dances, instead of gang fights and weapons and beefs, why do we always go into a state of shock? We knee-jerk and call for more cops and tougher prison sentences. Then we put flowers and candles to make us feel like we’re doing something, and after a short period, we go back to sleep.

I say that to say this: In The Search For Peace, We Must All Look Within—first! If we adults start living lives of peace, then it will eventually snowball and trickle down to the youth. If we counter and balance the violence in movies, with movies like ‘Nothing But A Man’ (Pictured Above)—a movie that shows a Black man and woman struggling together to survive and get ahead in life. The couple, played by Ivan Dixon and Abbey Lincoln, have the deck stacked against them, but together they face their problems and grow stronger in the end. Even though they are faced with so many obstacles, they remain together and deal with their issues. And throughout this ordeal, they keep their dignity and self-respect for themselves and each other.

The quest for peace must begin with each individual. I will close this post with my poem, ‘Peace Begins Within’.

Peace Begins Within

How do we find peace in a time of war?

How do we show love in a time of hate?

How do we find a way to show kindness

And not be taken for weakness?

It begins within

It begins with loving yourself into a peaceful tranquility

We are all children of God, sublime creations of our Creator

Our bodies are living temples and testaments to his plan

Once we become like our Creator

And start loving ourselves like He loves us

We begin to realize that by killing another

We are killing our self

Our Self


Love is the eternal answer to the eternal question

Loving yourself permeates love for other human beings

In the angelic faces of our children, I see God

We must show them

Peace begins within.

Rob Batista—Copyright 2009

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


It was on page 23. A small 3 column article at the bottom of the page that the reporters can probably turn out in their sleep because of the frequency. Only the streets and names change. "Man fatally shot near Paterson's Harlem home". Like I said, it was buried deep in the paper; well after the latest on Tiger Woods and the White House crashers. It was even after a picture of A-Rod and Kate hanging out in London. And also a big write-up of John Gotti Jr. coming home for Christmas. There was also a pic and article of Marilyn Monroe allegedly smoking ganja way back in the fifties. All of these articles came before the tragic story of Kwame Dancey.

Kwame was only 22, so to me, it is misleading to say that a "man" was shot; he was still a kid as far as I am concerned. There was probably so much of life that he still hadn't accomplished. There were probably so many places he hadn't visited and so many things he still hadn't done in life. No, at 22, he was still a youth--and I say this with no disrespect.

Disrespect, what an intriguiging word. The article said that Kwame lived with his father who was a correction officer. His friends described him as a college student from a good family. "He was a good kid who was going to college and wasn't into gangs or drugs," a man who knew him named Malik Finney said. The article said someone walked up to him and shot him intentionally. "He was the intended target," a source said. So someone was mad enough at young Kwame that he shot him like a dog on the street.

So many of our young boys are killed for something as trivial as disrespect. It seems that when you feel powerless, respect is very important. For many of our young Black and Latino males who have been shown a lack of respect by the system and by people in power, getting disrespected by their peers--by people who look like them and in essence, are in the same boat they're in--is unacceptable. Respect is something you can get killed over. You can get killed for stepping on somebody's toe, or for dancing with the wrong girl at a party. The crazy thing is, you can get killed and not even know why because what you may not give a second thought to, someone else can seethe over and explode. Because many times, respect, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

I am not saying that this is why Kwame was killed. All I am saying is that in the newspaper article, everybody they interviewed said he was a good guy who was in college and was basically doing the right thing. So I believe it was a perceived lack of respect by his killer that led to his death. We are living in insane times and I really feel a cultural mental illness has taken over many of our youth. Over a period of time, a lot of our young have lost the ability to rationalize, sympathize and compromise. It is now all about their ego--they are the only ones that matter. And if they feel any twinge of jealousy or envy, or yes, disrespect, they will lash out. And to hell with everybody else.

Rest in peace Kwame, you are my son even though I never met you. And until we all feel this way, the next Kwame Dancey is right around the corner.