[Hey, guys, here is an excerpt from Dreyton, posted for the second time...Let me know what you think.]
Even after a few years of bright orange, state-issued jumpsuits that felt more like ruanas than modern clothing, James Curry would still have argued about the discomfort of wearing a suit. He felt stiff, constrained by a coat that limited the mobility of his arms, and he repeatedly fumbled with a bow tie that he swore was designed to kill him. Nevertheless, James put on the bravest face and told himself that he could endure the discomfort, if only for a few more hours. Besides, he told himself, there were more important matters with which to contend. And as he made his way through the halls of the mosque, aided by his cane at every step, he discarded any thought of the suit.
Soon, James joined a large crowd assembled in the meeting room. He was amazed by the large number of men, as he began to survey the room for an empty seat. Unfortunately, there was only standing room for the late arrivals, and he was forced to join the crowd along the perimeter. James quickly detected the rather sedate mood, but then he noted the unspoken eagerness on the men’s faces, attesting to the importance of this moment. He did not recognize many of those faces, but he knew that, beyond the uniformity of their black suits, he had something in common with all of these men. Like them, he too had been invited to participate in this gathering for a very definitive purpose, and now he wanted to hear the words that would transform this purpose into something real.
It was not long before the organizer of this gathering, a gentleman named Omar Rajiv, arrived. The handsome man walked with a quick stride, outpacing his handlers who, as they followed, continued to whisper about the last-minute details of this day. There was an aura of confidence flowing from the savvy thirty-something—a sureness of self, and a certainty about his purpose and place in the world. When Omar arrived at the front of the room, a hush swept the crowd, and he stood quietly for few seconds, looking into his audience, as if he could analyze the face of each man before him. He turned to his handlers who nodded approvingly—and then back again to his audience with a disarming smile.
“First, let me begin by thanking all of you for coming,” He spoke with humility, while he took off his jacket and turned up his sleeves. “ This, gentlemen, is truly a moment of precedence for everyone of us, for our entire community. And I think we all should be excited that it has finally come.”
Omar Rajiv was nothing short of the personification of charisma and an orator whose ability to persuade was uncanny. His was a gift that few could boast, and having understood its uniqueness, he began to harness it very early in his life. He believed that the key to captivating listeners resided just as much within the physical and emotional languages of the speaker as it did within his words. Content, confidence, and consistency—he always reminded himself, and from those three words, he invented a clever style that made him successful. Omar began every conversation, every speech—and even every debate—by listening with his eyes to the unspoken languages of his audience, by studying their manner to determine what they wanted to hear. Then he would use his first words to reach their souls. That very first utterance was the most important component of any dialogue, because, as Omar told himself, it was the easiest place to construct a bond. And once he had done so, Omar deliberately maneuvered to relax the mood and allow his audience to feel at ease, while he performed before them, carefully selecting words to suit the parameters of their weltanschauung. He drew his strength from the attentiveness of his listeners, each feeling somehow connected to the soft-spoken titan, and in the end, even if he had not initially succeeded in altering their opinions, at least his words planted the seeds that would grow into doubt.
“It is no secret that our neighborhoods are in crisis. It is the reason why we are here, isn’t it?” Omar began, and then he paused to notice the nods from his audience. “We’ve watched one story after another make headlines—a little girl killed in her front yard, a gunfight on a popular street, and any other acts of madness that makes no sense. It is just makes no sense. We’ve watched the violence, assuming that, even in this intrepid city, we are helpless. But, gentlemen, though we are often unwilling to admit it, we are wrong. In fact, these acts of violence make a great deal of sense, and we are not helpless to them.
“These first attacks and the resulting murders were only the beginning. Even the most uninformed observer is able to recognize that a war is brewing, and that our neighborhoods are set to be the battlefield.” Omar began to pace with slow and concise steps. “To be sure, there are those who will argue that this is nothing new, that the westbank has been slipping into chaos for decades. They will contend, albeit with some accuracy, that it was our neglect that allowed the greed of evil men to rob this place of its promise and take it to the brink. Then they will say that it is not their problem, and for the most part, they will have that right, too, because it is not their problem. Perhaps it is, in fact, ours.” He stopped pacing and looked into his audience for the slightest sign of dissent. There was none. “You see, the children who are dying are our children. The homes that are being invaded are, well, our homes. The sense of security that is waning with every new attack is ours, also. And in realizing that, we suddenly begin to ask ourselves the question: what can we do about it? After all, that is the reason why we are here today, isn’t it?
“Every man in this room, whether he is a Muslim or a Christian, has come here for one reason: he believes that we are not helpless, and that we must take a stand. He knows that there is an inherent freedom from fear, and he is willing to fight for it. And he sees our movement as his ally in that fight.” Omar knew that his words were reaching the men. “His is not a fight against great odds—not as long as he isn’t fighting alone. And The Nubian Moment understands that; we understand that we must band together, if we will ever hope to protect our own future. After all, the stakes are too high not to do so.
“As I have said, there is a war brewing, and we stand alone as peacekeepers on the battlefield. For all of its grandiosity, our city government has abandoned us to the wolves. Manipulated by the conservative machine known as The Coalition, our leaders have refused to understand our plight, either by simply ignoring the mounting violence, or by implementing petty gestures that make no real difference. Their concern is for the public outcry over the sale of some faceless corporation—not for the deaths of real people—and sadly enough, their actions show us that, even in this golden age of intellectual prowess, we matter far less than we ever have.” Omar was emboldened. “But that does not make us helpless, and today we will prove it! We have all gathered to fight back and, in one mighty voice, take back our neighborhoods! We have recognized our mission, and now we plan to stand firmly to achieve it, because we know that ours is a race that cannot—that will not—be beaten!”
The applause and cheers that followed shook the room, and the handlers of Omar Rajiv could not have been happier. They knew that their man was the new face of urban activism, and in this room, at this very moment, his ascension to the national stage was beginning with a powerful roar.
Omar returned to speaking in a calmer tone. “What we are about to do today, my brothers, will be historic, and it will send a message to everyone in this city. But, if any of you continue to doubt its possible effectiveness, I ask you to consider this: I sat down with the mother of a murder victim a few nights ago, and as she talked about her loss, while fighting back her tears with every breath, I thought of my own son. Immediately, I became overwhelmed. Immediately, I told myself that I did not want it to be my child the next time, and that something has to be done to save even my neighborhood. Then I thought, ‘Is this really happening in my neighborhood?’ I went on to say, ‘Someone has to do something.’ But I now know that I have to do something, for my son’s sake, for your son’s sake, for you daughter’s sake, for your family’s sake. And like every man here, I know that I cannot do it alone. And so today, gentlemen, we will do it together. Today The Nubian Moment will stand for all of us.”
And with those words from the enthusiastic speaker, James Curry smiled. The second eruption of applause came, and many rose to their feet. It was obvious that Omar Rajiv had spoken the words that they wanted to hear, the words that transformed their purpose into something real. And now they were all ready to act.
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