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18 January 2007

Rumble, young man

Muhammad Ali turns 65 today
. . . with his voice muted, but his mind still clear.


Rumble, young man

(A poem from Rumble in the Jungle)

Last night I had a dream, When I got to Africa,
I had one hell of a rumble.
I had to beat Tarzan’s behind first,
For claiming to be King of the Jungle.
For this fight, I’ve wrestled with alligators,
I’ve tustled with a whale.
I done handcuffed lightning
And put thunder in jail.
You know I’m bad.
I have murdered a rock,
I’ve injured a stone, and hospitalized a brick.
I’m so bad, I make medicine sick.
I’m so fast, man,
I can run through a hurricane and not get wet.
When George Foreman meets me,
He’ll pay his debt.
I can drown the drink of water, and kill a dead tree.
Wait till you see Muhammad Ali.

The NEXT Ali quote (below), versus the famous image of Elvis that appeared in Life Magazine showing Presley getting a haircut before starting his military enlistment - the difference in the messages conveyed by two male super-stars - explains why The Rumbler is more Blogaulaire's idol than The Rocker.

Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over.

This is the day when such evils must come to an end.

I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here.

I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality. If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years.

As quoted in Redemption Song: Muhammad Ali and the
Spirit of the Sixties
(1999) by Mike Marqusee. The quote also appeared in the International Socialist Review Issue 33 (January–February 2004)

See also "Muhammed Ali" in Wikipidia

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