ET entry for would-be assassin Moustapha Lo

For today on Executed Today it’s one of my entries: Moustapha Lo, who drew a loaded gun on Senegalese prime minister Leopold Sedar Senghor in 1967. He later claimed, rather unconvincingly in my opinion, that he wasn’t trying to kill Senghor, only to scare him. He was executed by firing squad on this day in 1967.

Yesterday I realized ET had only one entry for Senegal (and it’s also mine) and went to see if there were any other executions for that country. I saw Moustapha Lo and realized his death date was only one day away and of course I just had to write the entry for him in a hurry. I think it turned out pretty well.

In addition to being a statesman, Senghor was a good poet. I took a course on comparative literature at Wright State University the summer before I went to college, and we studied his poems. One, called “New York”, was good enough that I memorized a verse:

New York, I say New York! Let black blood flow into your blood
Let it wash the rust from your steel joints, like an oil of life
Let it give your bridges the curve of hips and supple vines
Now the ancient age returns, unity is restored
The reconciliation of the Lion and Bull and Tree
Idea links to action, the ear to the heart, sign to meaning
See your rivers stirring with musk alligators and sea-cows with mirage eyes
No need to invent the sirens. Just open your eyes to the April rainbow
And your ears, especially your ears, to God
Who in one burst of saxophone laughter
Created heaven and earth in six days
And on the seventh slept a deep Negro’s sleep.

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