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Comrade Zayd Malik Shakur (born James F. Coston)


"On May 2, 1973 I, along with Zayd Malik Shakur and Sundiata Acoli were stopped on the New Jersey Turnpike, supposedly for a 'faulty tail light.' Sundiata Acoli got out of the car to determine why we were stopped. Zayd and I remained in the car. State trooper Harper then came to the car, opened the door and began to question us. Because we were black, and riding in a car with Vermont license plates, he claimed he became 'suspicious.' He then drew his gun, pointed it at us, and told us to put our hands up in the air, in front of us, where he could see them. I complied and in a split second, there was a sound that came from outside the car, there was a sudden movement, and I was shot once with my arms held up in the air, and then once again from the back. Zayd Malik Shakur was later killed, trooper Werner Forester was killed, and even though trooper Harper admitted that he shot and killed Zayd Malik Shakur, under the New Jersey felony murder law, I was charged with killing both Zayd Malik Shakur, who was my closest friend and comrade, and charged in the death of trooper Forester. Never in my life have I felt such grief. Zayd had vowed to protect me, and to help me to get to a safe place, and it was clear that he had lost his life, trying to protect both me and Sundiata. Although he was also unarmed, and the gun that killed trooper Forester was found under Zayd’s leg, Sundiata Acoli, who was captured later, was also charged with both deaths. Neither Sundiata Acoli nor I ever received a fair trial."
-- Assata Shakur

A PROFESSIONAL REVOLUTIONARY By Zayd Malik Shakur

To those of us who have dedicated our lives to the liberation of Black people, who have dared to say, "We shall have our freedom or the earth will be leveled by our attempts to gain it," death is a common occurrence. It is something we had to accept, for we knew that in waging struggle to free ourselves from the chains of slavery, our choices are small, either to be jailed or assassinated - but we had nothing to lose and everything to gain.

We know that where there is struggle there is sacrifice. The death of Zayd Malik Shakur was a sacrifice, for in our struggle some deaths are lighter than a feather and others are as weighty as a mountain. The death of Zayd Malik Shakur was/as is the death of all revolutionaries and freedom fighters/weightier than a mountain, for Zayd not only practiced the principles of revolutionary warfare - he taught others to do the same.

Zayd used to say, "A revolutionary is a professional, so you must be a professional revolutionary." In his life and death Zayd said:

I may - if you wish - lose my livelihood
I may sell my shirt and bed,
I may work as a stonecutter,
A street sweeper, a porter.
I may clean your stores
Or rummage your garbage for food.
I may lay down hungry,
O enemy of the Sun,
But
I shall not compromise
And to the last pulse in my veins
I shall resist.

You may take the last strip of my land,
Feed my youth to prison cells.
You may plunder my heritage,
You may burn my books, my poems
Or feed my flesh to the dogs.
You may spread a web of terror
On the roofs of my village,
O Enemy of the Sun,
But
I shall not compromise
And to the last pulse in my veins
I shall resist.

You may put out the light in my eyes.
You may deprive me of my mother's kisses.
You may curse my father, my People,
You may distort my history,
You may deprive my children of a smile
And of life's necessities.
You may fool my friends with a borrowed face.
You may build walls of hatred around me.
You may glue my eyes to humiliations,
O Enemy of the Sun,
But
I shall not compromise
And to the last pulse in my veins
I shall resist.

O Enemy of the Sun
The decorations are raised at the port.
The ejaculations fill the air,
A glow in the hearts,
And in the horizon
A sail is seen
Challenging the wind
And the depths.
It is Field Marshall Dedan Kamathi (Mau Mau)
Returning home
From the sea of loss.

It is the return of the Sun,
Of my exiled ones
And for her sake, and his
I swear
I shall not compromise
And to the last pulse in my veins
I shall resist,
Resist--and resist.

Zayd Malik Shakur
A Spark in the Prairie Fire
Black Panther Party

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