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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Maya on Molly

Published on Tuesday, February 6, 2007 by the Miami Herald (Florida)
Molly Ivins: America's Jericho Voice
by Maya Angelou

Up to the walls of Jericho

She marched with a spear in

her hand

Go blow them ram horns she cried

For the battle is in my hand

The walls have not come down,

but they have been given a

serious shaking.

That Jericho voice is stilled now.

Molly Ivins has been quieted.

The writer and journalist, dearly loved and admired by many, hated and feared by many, died of cancer in her Texas home on Jan. 31.

The walls of ignorance and prejudice and cruelty, which she railed against valiantly all her public life, have not fallen, but their truculence to do so does not speak against her determination to make them collapse.

Weeks before she died, she launched what she called ''an old-fashioned newspaper crusade'' against President Bush's announcement that he was going to send more troops to Iraq.

She wrote, 'We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. Every single day every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. We need people in the streets banging pots and pans and demanding, `Stop it now!' ''

Years ago there was a fundraising gala for People for the American Way in New York, and Molly Ivins was keynote speaker. I was a loyal collector and serious Ivins reader, but I had not met the author. Another famous journalist, who was to have introduced her, had his flight canceled in a Southern city. Norman Lear, founder of the organization, asked me to introduce her. I did not hesitate. I spoke glowingly about Ms. Ivins for a few minutes, then, suddenly, a six-foot-tall, red-haired woman sprang from the wings. She strode onto the stage and over to the microphone. She gave me an enveloping hug and said, in that languorous Texas accent, ``Maya Angelou and I are identical twins, we were separated at birth.''

I am also six feet tall, but I am not white. She was under 50 when she made the statement, and I was in my middle 60s, but our hearts did beat in the same rhythm. Whoever separated us at birth must know it did not work. We were in the struggle for equal rights for all people since we met on that Waldorf Astoria stage. We laughed together without apology, and we wept when weeping was necessary.

I shall be weeping a little more these days, but I shall never forget the charge. Joshua commanded the people to shout, and the walls came tumbling down.


I am shouting,

With two voices,

Walls come down!

Walls come down!

Walls come down!

Poet Maya Angelou is the author of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

©2007 The Washington Post


Share Cropper said...

Thanks for sharing this. She's right; we all need to be shouting to stop this war and warmonger.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Isn't that a beautiful poem and a wonderful story? Molly and Maya, twins separated at birth.