Saturday, June 4th, 2016

Better far from all I see, to die fighting to be free: Muhammad Ali recites his poem

Narada Desk | June 4, 2016 3:46 pm Print
During his visit to Ireland in July of 1972, he recited his poem about 1971 Attica prison riots in a television interview with an Irish TV

The boxing legend Muhammad Ali who himself was a furious fighter for the right of blacks in US, had written a couple poems questioning the ‘white pride.’ During his visit to Ireland in July of 1972, he recited his poem about 1971 Attica prison riots in a television interview with an Irish TV.

He said he  wrote it imagining himself as a black prisoner who was responding to a Jailer who informed him about his death sentence.

The Attica prison riots happened in September 9  1971, after a black inmate was killed during his attempts to escape from the prison. The rest of black prisoners started protesting against the killing and took 42 prison guards as hostage.

39 people were killed in the riot that followed.

Many among the 2,200 black prisoners were brutally tortured.

Muhammad  Ali recited the poem very dramatically and compared the struggles of Afro-Americans for freedom and justice in US , with the fight of Irish against British imperialism.

Here you can read the poem:

Better far— from all I see—
To die fighting to be free
What more fitting end could be?

Better surely than in some bed
Where in broken health I’m led
Lingering until I’m dead

Better than with prayers and pleas
Or in the clutch of some disease
Wasting slowly by degrees

Better than a heart attack
or some dose of drug I lack
Let me die by being black

Better far that I should go
Standing here against the foe
Is the sweeter death to know

Better than the bloody stain
on some highway where I’m lain
Torn by flying glass and pane

Better calling death to come
than to die another dumb,
muted victim in the slum

Better than of this prison rot
if there’s any choice I’ve got
Kill me here on the spot

Better for my fight to wage
Now while my blood boils with rage
Less it cool with ancient age

Better violent for us to die
Than to Uncle Tom and try
Making peace just to live a lie

Better now that I say my sooth
I’m gonna die demanding Truth
While I’m still akin to youth

Better now than later on
Now that fear of death is gone
Never mind another dawn.

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