If/Shall

By | 1 November 2019

(a work in progress)

if either 
if either of the parties 
if any goods
if the commander of a ship of war
if either of the parties 
if either 
if any gun 
if any moor
if any vessel
if any vessel of the united states
if any american vessel
if any vessel of either of the parties
if we 
if any ship of war
if a ship of war
if there shall

merchants shall all goods shall no examination shall unless it shall goods on board shall no other person whatever shall no vessel shall who shall

if any american citizen shall
no will shall the consul shall and if there shall the effects shall the party shall the property shall
if a will shall

the consuls of the united states of america shall they shall they shall if any citizens of the united states shall

the consul shall unless he shall any redress shall

if any difference shall

peace and harmony shall a friendly application shall that application shall no appeal shall no appeal shall and if a war shall nine months shall otherwise shall the citizens of the united states shall the treaty shall it shall

Note

In 2015 I collaborated with the scholar Omar Berrada at the annual Tamaas workshop in Paris, France. We were exploring issues of racism in Morocco, particularly in the wake of sub-Saharan Africans attempting to cross to Europe from Morocco. As part of our exploration Omar brought to my attention The Treaty of Peace and Friendship with Morocco, signed in 1787, between the United States of America and Morocco. ‘If/Shall’ is based on this Treaty. I presented the first draft of this poem at our presentation at the end of the workshop. The treaty has been in existence for 232 years and remains the ‘longest unbroken treaty relationship in United States history’.

 


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