Days Black People Not Re-Enslaved By Trump

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Botha is Dead

We are not sad and there are no tears.
He died in his home at rest in old age with security and family, far more than his victims did.

We are not sad.

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Dear Madonna


I don't usually find myself writing celebrities. I usually have words for pundits, black sell outs and the like. But of late you have gotten my attention. Yes I have been following, though not closely, your campaign to have a black boy from Africa come into your home where you can save him from a life of poverty. Perhaps you have been inspired by your friends Jolee and Pitt. If you in fact would like to save some black people from poverty I assure you that there are quite a few in London that could use your considerable star power and monies. Here in the US, you know that country that is largely responsible for your stardom, there are millions of black people who are poor, dirt poor and could use your money. No need to go to Malawi when New Orleans offers many people more than willing to take your money. Of coure helping poor black people in "First world" countries doesn't quite get the media attention as scooping up orphans in Africa, but this isn't about attention is it?

On the other hand, maybe this is about some deep seated want to have a black baby in which case I assure you that there are not a few black men in London and the US who would be more than happy to provide you with a "one drop rule" black baby and would probably forgo any kind of paperwork and legal issues such as child support. If that doesn't suit your fancy then perhaps you could extend your hand to one of those black girls who will be having an abortion this year because they got knocked up. I'm sure she'd have her child if she knew that it would be taken care of and live the celebrity life. But of course this option too will not gather any media attention because everyone knows black poor people are poor because they are lazy and deserve to be poor.

Also, has it occured to you that perhaps there are other ways to help poor babies in Africa? Maybe it hasn't occured to you but if you funded a project to build a hospital, you know like Mutombo did in the Democratic Republic of Congo, you could actually help thousands if not millions of black babies. Or perhaps fund a project to get running water into villages or electricity so that the children can access the internet and have access to the same information we do here in "the west". Of course, you don't get the satisfaction of having a little black baby look up at you with loving eyes but this isn't about you.

Is it?

Garvey's Ghost

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

RE: Slavery, Genocide and the Politics of Outrage: Understanding the New “Racial Olympics”

Back on February 26, 2006 I was "forced" to write a response to an web article dated from 1997 entitled Islam and the African People where the author in an attempt to smear Afrocentric Scholars such as Molefe Assante as Orientalists (as a corollary to racist) because they dare to point out the complex history of Islam and Arabs in Africa which included slave trading, Jihads as well as great centers of learning such as Timbuktu. That response turned into a two part series entitled:

Afrocentricity and Islam
Afrocentricity and Islam II

What bothered me most about that 1997 article was that a great deal of persons who are Muslim would be prone to believe that the author was "correct" much like many Christians believe their positions to be "correct" simply because many of these individuals are not only emotionally invested in believing the material but they also have not and most likely will not go and do the research and fact check for themselves. Fast forward to this article from Spring 2005 issue of Middle East Report in which the article Slavery, Genocide and the Politics of Outrage: Understanding the New “Racial Olympics” can be found. It is a strang piece that, unfortunately, is partly a near complete rehash of the 1997 article with a longer bibliography and yet contradicts itself later by supporting some of the claims made against so called "Afrocentrics". What is perhaps most disturbing about this piece, aside from it's date of publication, would be that the author apparently feels no need to check in with his collegues at Columbia (Manning Marable comes to mind) or other African Scholars to make sure he gets certain claims "right". had he done so I presume that the article would have had a different tone altogether or wouldn't have been written. That's not to say that I don't agree with everything the author says. I do agree with some points but lets get on with the analysis.

Aidi begins with:
In October 1999, PBS aired TheWonders of the African World, a six-part documentary produced by the renowned African-American intellectual, Henry Louis Gates, wherein the Harvard educator travels from Egypt to Sudan and down the Swahili coast of East Africa and up though parts of West Africa examining the encounter between Africa and Arab civilization and the role of Africans and Arabs in the enslavement of Africans. In Egypt, Gates reflects on the “facial features” of monuments in Aswan, noting the “blackness” of the pharaohs and pondering whether construction of the Aswan Dam that inundated ancient Nubia was an act of Arab racism.

I saw that show as well and it's repeats. I didn't like Gates' attitude throughout much of the show but it should bear in mind that though Gates is, in his words, HNIC, at Harvard, he is a writer and not a Egyptologist as say Diop was. But that's not really the point. What is clear from the beginning is that Aidi wants to sow doubt on the "blackness" of the ancient Egyptians by putting in quotes the "facial features" and the "Blackness" of the Pharaohs. See no "africentric" scholar has the blackness of the Egyptians in dispute so would not put such things in quotes. In fact anyone familiar with Diop's work would also refrain from quoting because his work put's the "Blackness" question to rest. In case we need help here I would point you to figure 17 of the chapter 2 of Diop's work Civilization or Barbarism, in which the Egyptians drew pictures of the "types" of people in and around Egypt and they clearly show themselves as black wholly haired people. I would also remind the author that the Khemet and Sudan both are references to the black land as in land of the blacks. So since the ancient people were pretty clear as to what the Egyptians looked like (in terms of its founding population) there should be no confusion or use of quotes when discussing the blackness of the Egyptians. Let us continue though:

The Wonders of the African World was guided by peculiarly American conceptions of race and blackness, the most obvious being the “one-drop rule,” by which anyone deemed possessing so much as one drop of black blood was to be considered fully black and subjected to the legal system of racial domination known as Jim Crow. Asked by one critic why he considered ancient Egyptians more authentically African than modern Egyptians, Gates responds: “I suspect that if the average ancient Egyptian had shown up in Mississippi in 1950, they would have been flung into the back of the bus. And that is black enough for me.”

I want to agree with Aidi here. I agree that the conception of Race in America is the silliest holdover from early White Supremacy. It is absolutely ridiculous to claim that a person with a black ancestor some 5 or so generations back is as black as someone who never had a non-black ancestor is biologically impossible and is the mark of a continued wish for white purity. that said though, even though Gates was hedging his bets with the "back of the bus" statement it is clear from our previous discussion that he needn't use such a stretch. Of course then there is this issue of "modern Egyptians". I would point out to Aidi that 'modern Americans" do not in any way resemble the ancient Americans. Furthermore, genetic studies have shown that the many of the current North African inhabitants have gene pools that point outside of Africa for their origins, something that would not be the case with the ancient Egyptians. Ahhhh that degree in biology sure does come in handy sometimes.

Of course the issue that Aidi wants to bring up is what constitutes an Arab vs. an African. Whereas in America the question is whether a person is really white (one drop rule) Aidi (and I suspect others) asks, is whether a person is really black or decides that a person is "black when they are doing something negative and not black when they are doing something he agrees with.

Aidi continues:

By emphasizing the role of the Arabs and Africans in the slave trade, Gates was engaging in the common American practice of allocating “racial guilt,” in this case underlining Arab and African “blame” for slavery. As one African reviewer wrote, “Some of us fear that in [his] efforts to repair relations between White America and Black America, [Gates] may be sowing the seeds of discord between African-Americans and the peoples of the African continent.”[2]

Gates is probably trying to repair relations with white America and I, among others agree that Gates is sloppy with history and has displayed various condescending attitudes towards Africans. But even though he has theses issues it does not negate from the particular facts that Africans had been involved in the slave trade as sellers to both Europeans and Arabs and that Arabs on the East coast of Africa had also engaged in slave trading and plantation systems (see Afrocentricity and Islam posts). Denial gets us nowhere. But denial is one of the smallest of Aidi's issues. But what is perhaps more troubling is that Aidi then contradicts his apparent condemnation of the Afrocentric position by writing later:

The conflict between Arab and African nationalism is also an ideological “war of visions.” While many sub-Saharan African regimes sought to celebrate their indigenous languages and cultures after independence, many North African regimes that joined the Arab League would embrace their own “migration myth,” retroactively tracing their populations’ national origin to Arabia (a claim that would provide ammunition for black nationalists and others seeking to portray North Africans as settlers). Most North African states made Arabness (‘uruba) the official identity, Arabic the official language and suppressed—or even criminalized—the expression of indigenous, non-Arab languages and identities. The homogenizing historiography of the state builders is now coming under attack by self-described “indigenous” nationalist movements in the Sudan and the Maghrib. In Morocco, the Berberophone movement has successfully pressured the government to change history textbooks that claimed that the country’s entire population, Arabic- and Berber-speakers alike, originated in the Middle East.

Abdellatif Aboul-Ela, director of the cultural office of the Egyptian embassy in Washington, responded with an op-ed in the Washington Post which captured many Egyptians’ attitudes toward race and Africa: “They should not…involve us in this racial problem that I thought was solved and buried a long time ago. We are not in any way related to the original black Africans of the Deep South. Egypt, of course, is a country in Africa, but this doesn’t mean it belongs to Africa at large. This is an Egyptian heritage, not an African heritage…. We cannot say by any means we are black or white.”[40]

Many African and African-American observers note that Arab heads of state will spout a pan-African rhetoric while being deeply contemptuous of Africa. Nasser supported the civil rights movement and spoke passionately of continental solidarity, but also said: “We are in Africa… We will never in any circumstances relinquish our responsibility to support, with all our might, the spread of enlightenment and civilization to the remotest depths of the jungle.”[38] Likewise, Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi, another champion of Africa known for his grandiloquent appeals to black America, is the author of TheGreen Book, which holds that blacks have more children than other races because they “are sluggish in a climate that is always hot.” Qaddafi has attempted to annex northern Chad, arming groups along the Chadian and Sudanese borders in an effort to build an “Arab belt” across the Sahara. These supremacist attitudes permeate Arab intellectual circles. Egyptian historian Hilmi Shaarawi, arguably the Arab world’s most renowned Africanist, has tartly observed that most Arabic-language scholarship on Africa treats the continent as a “cultural vacuum,” a “continent without any culture and civilization” waiting to be fecundated by Islam and Arab culture.[39] {note: if this is the conclusion come up by an Arab Africanist, one can only imagine the attitude present in the 11 and 12th centuries!}


With the rise of independent media, the forbidden subjects of race and racism in the Arab world are being raised. Al-Jazeera’s critical coverage of the Darfur crisis led to the arrest and conviction of its Khartoum bureau chief, Islam Salih, for “disseminating false news.”..Recently, Egyptian pro-democracy activist Saadeddin Ibrahim denounced the “racist tendencies of the Arabs” noting that Arab silence in face of killings of non-Arabs by Arabs was “a cowardly and hidden racism.”[88] Similarly, Gamal Nkrumah has written forcefully against color prejudice (“shadism”) in the Arab world, as symbolized by the penchant for hair dying and skin bleaching creams.[89] Arab scholars are also increasingly challenging the age-old claptrap about “Muslim colorblindness” and the “benignity of Oriental slavery,” and questioning national myths of origin.

How can Aidi on one hand condemn Afrocentrics for highlighting Arab and Muslim involvement in slave trading and cultural "genocide" and on the other show Arabs bringing up the same issues. How can Aidi write that Afrocentrics have it wrong, when he quotes a source that completely removes Egypt from Africa a typical move done by Europeans being done by those that Aidi would want we Nationalists would have us partner up with. I can only presume that Aidi fees that African-Americans and other designated "black" peoples don't have the right to make such charges or bring up such contradictions.

Next he writes:

Black nationalists are not the only group in the United States to claim certain cultures, spaces and eras of the Arab world as theirs for their own purposes.

Wow. So after questioning the "blackness" of the ancient Egyptians he pulls the "Arab world" card. This is the classic annexation of land in Africa that has been recorded as being overrun by various people and then acting as if it never belonged to the people who were first there. It's right up there with the claims that black Indians are Caucasians as purported by European "scholars". It never really occurs to Aidi that had the Roman empire not fallen that the area he calls the 'Arab word" would be the European world. What constitutes the Arab world inside the continent of Africa is but an accident of history. Let us continue.

Malcolm X, one of the first to try to reconcile Arab and black nationalisms, tells of a transforming encounter he had with an Algerian diplomat in Ghana: “I was speaking with the Algerian ambassador, who is extremely militant and is a revolutionary in the true sense of the word…. When I told him that my political, social and economic philosophy was black nationalism, he asked me very frankly, well, where did that leave him? Because he was white…he was Algerian, and to all appearances he was a white man. And he said if I define my objective as the victory of black nationalism, where does that leave him?”[3]

I cannot speak for Egun Malcolm X but I would suppose that what made him respect the Algerian diplomat was his militancy and revolutionary attitude that was in line with what Malcolm X was about. of course Black Nationalists have never had a problem with white people (Arab or otherwise) who embraced the goals of Black Nationalism. If the Algerian diplomat felt that he needed to have allegiances with other whites then I would suppose that it would put him at odds with Malcolm X. But as noted before I cannot speak for egun Malcolm X. The author then writes:

The presence of Arabs on the African continent—“white” ones like the Algerian ambassador, but especially those who appear phenotypically “black” but reject the label “African”—has elicited numerous ideological reactions, from Malcolm’s pro-Arab pan-Africanism to militantly anti-Islamic, anti-Arab strands of Afrocentrism. In the early 1970s, a school of black nationalism emerged that is strongly distrustful of the Arab world.Since the September 11, 2001 attacks, that school has become stridently political, making common cause with movements, such as those of Christian evangelicals, Zionists and neo-conservatives, with which it has historically been at odds.

It is of interest that that author does not actually name these "militantly anti-Islamic, Anti-Arab strands of afrocentrism. Of course he can't because as with the 1997 article there is no proof. There is no doubt that there are persons, most of whom are not scholars by any stretch of the imagination who hold very hostile views of Islam, Arabs AND "native" Africans but those people cannot be called Afrocentrists. If they are to be considered so, then in the name of equal treatment I would propose that we say that the Osama Bin Ladin types represent proper Islam. Not prepared to do that, then.....

The second specious claim in this article is that black nationalists have joined forces with Christian Evangelicals, Zionists and neo-conservatives. Say what? This article should be trashed based on that statement alone. The last Pan-Africanist/Nationalist to make the mistake of backing Zionism was Marcus Garvey, who said "and Palestine for the Jew." (note: neo-garveyism totally rejects Zionism and stands that Marcus Garvey was in err to back Zionism). Most Christian Black Nationalists are also very opposed to the rabid Christian Evangelical right and have no taste for neo-conservatives. So exactly who are these Black Nationalist organizations that are in league with the US Right? I want to know. Really. Let us move on.

The resurgence of this strand of black nationalism, which sees Arabs as “not our people” and “guilty” of inflicting the same devastation on Africa as the white West, is the result of centuries-old tensions between African-American Muslims and Christians, strained relations between African-Americans and Arab-Americans in urban areas, and a reaction to the clash between African and Arab nationalism in the Afro-Arab borderlands, particularly in the Sudan.

Again, in the Afrocentricity and Islam posts, I cover the grounds for the "guilty" of inflicting devastation on Africa so I wont rehash it here. However; this claim of "tensions" between African-American Muslims and Christians is overblown. While there is definitely a religious leaning of African-Americans towards Christianity for historical reasons, the largest Muslim group in America are African-Americans. We have lived with black muslims for decades without issue. In many cases African-American Muslims are afforded extra respect for being Muslim. What the author does not overstate is the conflict between Arab-Americans and African-Americans. And I'll point out that not a few African-American Muslims have issues with the attitudes of Arab Muslims which I think the author should spend his time researching and writing about. Lastly it amuses me that Mr. Aidi does not see the apparently conflict that the ideas of Arab Nationalism being waged in Africa. Can you imagine for a minute A military contingent from say Cameroon went to Saudi Arabia and waged African Nationalism? Not a single Arab would find that acceptable, In fact Mr Aidi points this out himself when he writes:

One Iraqi insurgent profiled by The Guardian said that some rebels deliberately target black soldiers: “To have Negroes occupying us is a particular humiliation… Sometimes we aborted a mission because there were no Negroes.”[72]

Yes, "Negroes" are particularly offensive when not in supine positions.

Yes, but somehow Black Nationalists who object Arabs or Arab minded individuals waging Arab nationalism in Africa are being "strident". OK. Let us move on.

This anti-Arab black nationalism has found expression in the new initiative demanding reparations from the Arab League for “Afro-Arab slavery” and the campaign to penalize Sudan for the Darfur tragedy. Both efforts are inspired by the view that Arabic-speaking North Africans (of all hues) are an “alien race” on African soil.

I honestly was not aware that some group has petitioned the Arab League for reparations. Interesting. As for Sudan I need to agree with the author on the point that the Northern Sudan people are Arabic speaking Africans. From what I can tell, the adjective "Arab" is being used in a way similar to that of Tutsi and Hutu in Rwanda. What is important though is how the people see themselves. Does the government in Khartoum think of themselves as part of the Arab world (and culture) or as a part of the African world. I'm still waiting to see images of "actual arabs" as in Saudi Arabs as in Lebanese and Palestinian Arab (typifying here) in the Darfur conflict. I haven't seen that yet.

Generally I get the feeling that the author really wants to get at the intricacies of the Darfur situation. The parts where he actually focuses in on that are successfull but the parts where he feels the need to castigate so called "Nationalists" it is clear that he is outside his area of expertise. The constant conflation of black conservatives, progressives and nationalists is a sign that he is looking to make a case by linking any and everything that appear to support his thesis. That may fly in a journal called Middle East Report that somehow includes Morocco, but in the wider audience it cannot hold water. Before concluding this post I want to respond to a set of questions posed by Mr. Aidi:

How did Arabs transmute, almost overnight, from being seen by African-Americans as allies in the struggle against Western racism to a slave-trading “intruder race” occupying Africa? How did the pro-Arab pan-Africanism of Malcolm X lose out to the anti-Arab black nationalism of Asante, Williams and Soyinka? Some, like Sherman Jackson, have attributed this change to the “exploitative” relations between Arabs and African-Americans in urban America—and the anti-black bigotry of some Muslim immigrants. Malcolm X defended Middle Eastern immigrants from the bigotry charge thusly: “Now a lot of Arabs might like for you to think that they are white, but whenever you see them involved in the international picture, they are lined up with the dark world. They can come around here and pose as white. But when they get back, they’re not white.” But even this defense began to ring hollow, as many African-Americans began to feel not unjustifiably that Arab nationalism was turning its back on pan-Africanism and the “dark world.” Equally important in inflaming black nationalist rage are the supremacist strains of Arab nationalism and Islamism espoused by various North African states that openly speak of subjugating or civilizing non-Muslim and non-Arabic speaking groups. The militant Arab-Islamist nationalism of the Khartoum regime, in particular, figures prominently in Afrocentrist and black nationalist thought, with many, like Chancellor Williams, arguing that the Sudanese civil war is merely a continuation of a centuries-old race war between invading Arabs and indigenous Africans. But how did the Sudanese civil war and its most recent permutation, the Darfur conflict, come to be so widely seen as pitting “Arabs” versus “indigenous” Africans?

One has to understand that as certain black people matured in their outlook, they came to realize that though they were immediately against European domination and exploitation, it was clear that other people can, would and have dominated African people. realizing this, we moved from the idea that we are simply anti-West to being anti-domination by anyone. This is the actual state of the Nationalist/Pan-Africanist. Thus the so-called "Pro-Arab" Pan-Africanism of Malcolm X was still a part of the "immature" Pan-Africanism as Malcolm had only just begun to step out on the world stage as an independent thinker and doer. And let us not fool ourselves, many other countries that "supported" African-American struggles were aware that bringing up the subject of discrimination and violence against the black population was a nice tool to use against the US on the international scene.

Of course the quote above precedes Aidi's self contradictions on the matter of so called "Anti-Arabism". But Speaking of Assante. What is his specific position on Arabs and Islam? I asked him that earlier this year and he said:

I have never written
against any religion, just in support of African as a
religion. When you ask a Jew, what religion are you? They
say, I am Jewish. When you ask me, I say, I am African. I do
not have any hatred for the Arabs, but Mecca is their holy
city, and Arabic is their holy language. Why should I want
what is theirs? No, I am an African, full stop.

So unless Aidi knows something that Assante does not. Aidi has no means of supporting his statement that Molefe Assante is "Anti-Arab".
Moving on to Malcolm X's quote we find something very instructive. I have always contended in my arguments against the One Drop Rule that it is biologically impossible for a black person to "pass" as a white person. The very definitions negate such foolishness. That Malcolm can say that Arabs can at once be "white" as in identify as non-colored and then situationally identify as "colored" when it is opportune, speaks volumes as to the distrust that a reasonable African person would have of Arabs who act thus. As a black man, I am black here, there and anywhere. Therefore I remain for the Black man (woman and child) here, there and anywhere I find myself. There is no option to "Opt out" and to "re-identify" as Assante says: I am African. Full stop. I cannot fully trust a so called ally who will change allegiances when it suites him. makes no sense. I don't think Malcolm fully understood the implications of his statement then.

Lastly, I'll agree with Aidi that the current situation in Darfur, as I have seen it thus far, is not a biological "Arab" vs. "African" conflict but it may well be a conflict of Arab Nationalist allegiance on one side against a more plural African identified side which still is a bad thing.

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Black Panthers As Conservatives? Word?

I usually find the work of Gregory Kane to be well done and concise but today for some inexplicable reason Gregory Kane has apparently missed his morning coffee or something because he writes the following regarding the Black Panther Party:

When you go, remind them of one thing: Those reunions will be celebrating the greatest black conservative organization ever.

Yes, the Black Panther Party for Self Defense was, in essence, a black conservative organization. Oh, they didn’t call themselves that. And they didn’t vote Republican. In fact, they had little use for Democrats. Exhibit A for that is the cover of a June 1968 edition of the Black Panther newspaper showing the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy after he had been shot in California.

When I read this I had to read it twice because I could not believe that Brother Kane would attempt to connect the Black Panther Party for Self Defense with what we know of today as conservatism. This is the kind of misrepresentation along the lines of the black Republicans who created an radio spot with numerous historical inaccuracies. So what possessed Mr. Kane to make such a declaration?

But on many of their core principles, the Panthers were the forerunners of today’s black conservatives. Four examples prove my point.

1. The Panthers absolutely believed in the Second Amendment. Today’s black liberal Democrats scurry for the hills whenever anybody mentions gun rights. In 1966, Newton and Seale had the gall to tell Oakland and the world that both the spirit and letter of the words “a well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” applied to black folks.

2. The Panthers believed black people could be racists. They totally rejected the nonsense that in order to be a racist, you have to have power. This foolishness has been stinking out black America for years. The way this particular line of reasoning goes is that since black folks have no power, we can’t be racist.

3.The Panthers started a free breakfast program for poor urban kids. Oh sure, they’d have preferred the government had done it. But when the government failed, the Panthers applied a simple conservative principle: If the government can’t or won’t do it, do it yourself.

4. The Panthers started free health clinics for poor urban residents. See example three for the reasoning.

5. The Panthers were anti-FBI.

Methinks Mr. Kane has mistook revolutionary with conservative. Given that Mr. Kane has decided to let the dictionary do the talking lets take him up on his reasoning. by the dictionary a conservative is:

holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation, typically in relation to politics and religion.

Taking this approach what would a traditional attitude of a black person be holding at the time of the Panthers? traditionally Africans in America were to be subservient to white people and be satisfied with the racist policies of the US. Clearly since the Panthers were willing to confront the system of "racism" head on and change the "traditional" way in which black folk dealt with racism, they could not be seen as conservative in that light could they. That some so called 'Liberals" may be averse to gun ownership and use does not make the Panthers conservative anymore than being a Christian makes one a pacifist.

Let's look at the example of the free breakfast programs and clinics. How is it a "conservative" principle to do for self? Do for self is a human imperative that is only submerged to social contract. Of course it was the right thing to do but that does not let the government off the hook for failing to provide for the common good which is the duty of the government. If the government is not doing what it is supposed to do (a-la-Katrina) it is obviously the duty of the citizen to provide for himself but that does not let the government off the hook ad such programs should not be seen as a means to let the government off the hook either. It would seem to me that Kane is falling into league with Walter "Willy" Williams who thinks that the government shouldn't do a damn thing for anyone.

Taking on the anti-FBI stand, well I'm sure the conservatives claim to not want big government but I think Kane would be hard pressed to prove that todays conservatives, or even the previous ones would want the FBI abolished. J Edgar Hoover may have been a racist poof but in matters other than race, the FBI is how crime families and other large criminal organizations get dealt with. Kane ought to also remember that it was by butting in on states business, that many of the Civil Rights that Africans in America "enjoy" were implemented.

I wanted to leave the "racist" thing for last because I have a huge problem with the word as it is used. Mr. Kane's usage of the term in his article underscores the problem.

because one definition of racism is “hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.”

exactly the problem: "One definition" I despise when terms can change here and there depending on who the user wants to guilt trip. I have written extensively on the proper use of the term racist:

Race is a group of humans with common physical characteristics determined by their genetics. Ist implies the study of. Therefore a racist is someone who studies people with common physical characteristics determined by their genetics.

You'll find that this definition is not only etymologically correct but it also forces the user to be more precise with his or her discussion of the topic. So of course Black people can be racist as can anyone else on the planet. The power equation that is discussed by Kane is a particular form of racism, racism being, again by the dictionary:

a philosophy regarding race or a group of people with common physical characteristics determined by their genetics

One such philosophy is called White Supremacy which is defined by the good Dr. Welsing via Neely Fuller Jr. as:

"The local and global power system structured and maintained by persons who classify themselves as white, whether consciously or subconsciously determined. This system consists of patterns of perception, logic, symbol formation, thought, speech, action and emotional response, as conducted simultaneously in all areas of people activity (economics, education, entertainment, labor, law, politics, religion, sex and war). The ultimate purpose of the system is to prevent white genetic annihilation on Earth- a planet in which the overwhelming majority of people are classified as non-white (black, brown, red and yellow) by white-skinned people."

Thus the proposition that one has power in order to establish and maintain White Supremacy is readily apparent.
Of course what Mr. Kane is actually implying is that black people can prejudge other people and can make nasty statements or generalizations about other people. Of course he is right. however as with Huey and the guns, name calling is not a power move, the ability to self-determine is and to self determine one needs power.

I suggest that Mr. Kane drop his allegiance to the fluid definition of "racism" as practiced by the mainstream as it is used to equivocate black people's general reactions to the abuse of this society and the abuse that the society hands out to black folk. but until then count me as disappointed in Mr. Kane's latest.

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Monday, October 16, 2006

Better As Slaves?

Some things are best left un-responded to and some things need to have a response made. So I interrupt my reading and work to respond to a claim made by a Gerald Schoenewolf that

"It could be pointed out, for example, that Africa at the time of slavery was
still primarily a jungle, as yet uncivilized or industrialized. Life there was savage, as
savage as the jungle for most people, and that it was the Africans themselves who first
enslaved their own people. They sold their own people to other countries, and those
brought to Europe, South America, America, and other countries, were in many ways
better off than they had been in Africa."

Now under most circumstances I would have ignored this as a case of Silly-Ass-White-Man(tm) speak except for a very important fact: Many Africans in America think along very similar lines. Therefore I need to address this particular point. Now there are various ways of looking at the above statement. The author could mean a couple of things but in general the statement above implies one or all of the following hypotheses:

1) At the time of enslavement, African life was materially worse off than the situation in which they would have found themselves wherever they did in their lifetime.

2) Africans in America, due to slavery were saved from savagery and brought to the light of Christian civilization.

3) Because of slavery, Africans of the diaspora were spared from the current tragedies of Africa and therefore are better off.

Interestingly, related to this topic I was thinking about the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation and the push to find a cure for malaria. While everyone is falling over themselves to congratulate Mr. Gates I could not help but think of how, if Africa had not been exploited as it was, there probably would have been a cure already and Africans would not need a handout now. But that is getting ahead of myself here.

Lets deal with hypothesis number one. Hugh Thomas author of The Slave Trade writes:

As befitted an imperial people, the Songhai used gold for money, though without any inscriptions; elsewhere, cloth (in Timbuktu, the turquidi cloth of the Hausa city of Kano), bars of salt, cattle, dates, and millet were employed as substitutes. Horses had been bred for hundreds of years; they were to be seen in West Africa as early as the tenth century A.D. Cities on the Niger such as Segum KanKan, Timbuktu, and Djene, as well as Gao, numbered over ten thousand in 1440, some being perhaps as large as thirty thousand. The Hausa cities of Katsina and Kano, on its high rock, had perhaps a hundred thousand each, Other settlements had ben established along the edge of the forest in the south, such as Bono-Mansu and Kong. All had substantial markets, even if the houses and mosques were mud built.

The smelting Iron and steel in West Africa was similar to that in Europe in the thirteenth century, before the advent of power driven by the waterwheel. Senegambia had iron and copper industries, and the quality of African steel approached that of Toledo before the fifteenth century. These metals equipped most African households with knives, spears, axes, and hoes. Goldsmithery was of a high quality: "The thread and texture of their hatbands and chainings is so fine that...our ablest European artists would find it difficult to imitate them" a Dutch captain wrote in 1700. It is true that West Africans did not have wheeled vehicles, but those were still rare in Europe. Nor did they use horses for carrying goods long distances, since they were vulnerable to the tsetse fly in the forests near the coast. But it would be false to depict West Africa, at the moment of it's contact with Portugal, and Europe, as lived in by primitive peoples. In many respects, they were at a higher level than those whom the Spaniards and Portuguese would soon meet in the New World.

In stark contrast, if we exclude the horrors of the middle passage, Colonial America and the Caribbean was no where near the level of advancement that the Africans had previously lived. By all measures slavery in the Americas was a huge step backwards in civilization for the African at that time. It is evident that with the occasional exception of literacy and certain architecture developed in Europe (due to the climate of that area of the world), the African, as admitted by early European explorers, was every much the equal to the European. Thus instead of slavery being of great benefit to the African it is demonstrable that it was not only bad for the victim, but also bad for those Africans who cooperated in the enslavement of African.

Hypothesis number two can only be taken seriously if you actually believe that African religions are inherently inferior to Judaism, Islam and Christianity though in this case the argument would be Judaism and Christianity. Of course from my previous posts I don't hold such an opinion.

The last hypothesis is the one that most people have in mind when this subject comes up. I find that we need to ask a question when such sentiments are aired:

Would Africa developed into the place it is now if contact with the European had not gone the way it did?

See the problem most people have is that they think that Africa is the way it is because they believe the non-sense that I quoted at the beginning of this post. Having smashed that idea with facts we know that Africa was not a place of savages roaming the jungle but rather a place of technology, arts, commerce, philosophy, etc. Therefore it is highly probable that had the Atlantic Slave Trade not occurred, had colonialism not occurred with it's attendant murder of millions of natives and the establishment of corrupt governments set up to facilitate the extraction of raw materials to the "mother countries" Africa would be a far different place than it is now. Hence it is arguable that, along with those Africans who cooperated with the European, that it was the European that was uncivilized and largely responsible for Africa's current crisis. That Africans descended from the slave trade are arguably "better off" than those in say, Darfur, is not indicative of the "goodness" of Europe and America, but rather a simple accident of history given that if one is of African descent odds are against you being in the US. Similarly a Jew being born in America rather than living in Nazi Germany is just as "lucky" isn't he?

So when Gerald Schoenewolf writes:

But if one even begins to say these things one is quickly shouted down as though one were a complete madman.

Yes of course one would be shouted down because one would be a complete ignorant ass to make the statement immediately preceding this quote. Of course the reason why he could even make the statement is due to most peoples sheer ignorance of African history prior to slavery. And that's why. Sometimes. Some things need to be responded to.

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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Religion and Politics

The NY Times recently ran a series on just how entangled the state and religion actual is. I wanted to comment on the series but really don't have the time as a lot of the posts would require a lot of legal theorising and I'm trying to read Kwame Toure's book. I'll probably revisit the subject but I wanted to post this video

because it shows how much a scam the whole religion conflation with the state has become. What had started as a principle to make sure that the State did not oppress religious people, has become a cesspool of tax breaks and flat out violations of "equal protection" that has transformed the 4th Amendment into the largest tax loophole in existance. But more on that later.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Currently Being Read:

Ready For Revolution:

The Life and Struggles of Stokely Carmichael {Kwame Toure}

Next Month on November 15th will be the 8th aniversary of Kwame Toure's passing to Orun (Spirit world). This blog would have probably been named after him if he had been my primary influence but I truely owe my awakening to Garvey (Marcus and Amy). But next to them I hold Brother Toure in high esteem for his non-wavering commitment to African Liberation. A rare brother that took on the struggles of black people worldwide. Anyway. I enjoyed Black Power (and it's a part of my suggested reading list) and when I heard that this book was being released I knew it was one I needed to get to read. Anyway. It's far larger than I expected. Already annoyed that it wasn't the "Life and Struggles of Kwame Toure {Stokely Carmichael} But I'll assume that the Egun (Ancestor) was okay with it. I'll need to dig up an old tribute I did to brother Kwame.

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Colonel Tigh as Osama Bin Ladin

Anyone who knows me knows I have a thing for Space/Technology Sci-Fi because those films show us what is in store technologically for us in the future. Some near, some far. For example, Minority Report was a nice introduction to the Bush administration's idea that one can be locked up for what the government thinks you will do (or say) in the future. We call it "preventative detention" among other euphemisms.

I have enjoyed the new Battlestar Galactica series as a more "realistic" and "serious" version of the original series which I enjoyed as a child. On a side note I'd like to know:

Where the heck is boxer?

Anyway. The series premier from last Friday gave us Tigh as Osama Bin Ladin; beard, injury (And eye for a kidney) and replete with cane. This opener focuses attention on the suicide bomber. It is unfortunate that many Americans will not have watched this episode because if they had they would clearly understand the admittedly simplified justification for the insurgency in Iraq whether one agrees with suicide bombings or not. I think it was also great that the writers showed the dissent in the ranks about the use of suicide bombings since we also know that the persons who perpetrated the 9-11 events also had misgivings about the killing of innocent people.

I think this particular episode ranks up there with my favorite Deep Space Nine episode where Cisco has to justify the selling of arms to mercenaries in order to win the war against the Dominion.

The greatest take away line, well perhaps two, was when Tigh says (paraphrased):

"You may change your mind when you're locked away in detention." This has to be a clear reference to how torture and imprisonment in an occupation can radicalize people. I haven't watched the director's blog entry yet so I could be wrong about their intentions.

Interestingly, the viewer is put into an interesting position. Although this is fiction, the issue at hand is very real. If one sympathizes with the humans then one may find oneself agreeing with the resistance. If one thinks that Colonel Tigh is a hero then one has to question one's take on suicide bombings. Even if you say that he's a hero but was wrong to use a suicide bomber then here in the real world one would then have to consider the Palestinians and Iraqis. One cannot use the excuse that this is all fiction to hide from this moral situation.

The website asks a potent question. Who's side would you choose? If one believes that the Cylons are inherently evil, then resistance to their occupation is "right". Then, why wouldn't the people fighting the Israeli occupation of Palestine be any different?

In one part of the online "resistance" webisodes, Colonel Tigh reminds one of his troops that it was the Cylons who first bombed Caprica. Again, if "first wrong" is the moral justification for resistance then again one has to consider the Palestinians and Iraq.

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Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Last King Of Scotland

I saw this film today. I think it was an excellent film, for what it is. That is, it is another Africa through the eyes of a white foreigner movie. I will say that I was very impressed with Forest Whitaker's portrayal of Idi Amin. I did not appreciate nor think it was necessary to darken him up in some of the scenes the way that they did. For those unfamiliar with Idi Amin, he was a very dark "rotund" African. Mr. Whitaker fits the physical role very well and I don't think that the extra blackening cream as was done in the plane hangar scene was necessary. It was also done very badly as you could see his true complexion on his nose. I will guess that the makeup artist was not black (though I won't put money on that).

Since the film was just as much if not more about the white man in Uganda than about Amin, the opportunity to understand Amin was lost. There is a scene where Amin discusses his childhood being a servant boy which lasts maybe a minute. I would have liked to have had the movie start from these early events in his life leading up to where the movie left off. Instead the movie begins just when Amin has taken over from Obote. Thus while we are given the expected arch of "promises" to "Atrocities" of the African big man. we are only given glimpses into what made Amin even possible. For example, we are told in a scene that Amin is the work of the British and that he was, at that point in the movie, doing a fine job. In another scene Amin briefly mentions his time in Kenya. but we are not made to know, if we didn't already, what exactly he was doing in Kenya. How do we know that Amin was simply paranoid when he went on his killing sprees? Given that he himself came to power via a coup why would he not be fearful of the same happening to him? Similarly, since he was in Kenya brualizing the Mau Mau, then can we simply say that Amin was just evil, and that his evil was not informed by the military environment he was in that devalued black life? Exploring these themes would help us to understand what motivate the "good intentioned" coup maker into a killing regime as well as explore the complicity of other parties in this. Again, Amin was illiterate, so he was, in my opinion, very subject to influence of people who had their own agendas.

If one is paying attention one will also find hints of Amin's illiteracy.

One other problem I had with the film was the scene in which Amin discusses Africa as being the home of civilization and a quick reference to Black Power. Like my critique of Hotel Rwanda I did not appreciate how black power politics or the use of "afro-centric" ideology or imagery is casually thrown about by the villains of movies about Africa. I believe such things are done in an attempt to get the public to believe that such ideologies promote the actions taken by the villains in the movies.

Overall I would recommend this film to everyone interested in African history and politics and I think the film ought to be used as subject matter in a African history class for criticism and analysis.

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Friday, October 06, 2006

Right, Wrong and Ifa, A Follow Up

I realized that my last post could cause confusion regarding Ifa and, say, morality. It would seem to the uninformed that Ifa has no rules at all. I want to make sure I clarify this for the reader.

One of the things about Ifa, and indeed about many non Christian, Islamic or Judaic or even Khemetic religions is that you won't find a set of "do not's". You wont find a stated rule outlawing killing because in practice killing can be the right thing to do depending on the situation. For example, killing to defend ones family would be considered justifiable in Ifa. Another example is that you will not find across the board prohibition against alcohol consumption. Rather through Odu and consultation with one's Ori (spiritual head), it may be determined that a particular person should not consume alcohol while another person will be free to do so. The person for whom alcohol is prohibited will not be upset or jealous about those who can because it is understood that such a situation is best for them and only them.
Thus when we hear people speak of a lack of dogmatism in Ifa, it is in this light that they say such things. The problem though, as stated in the earlier post, such an apparent flexible behavioral system can lead persons to have a "whatever is cool with you" attitude towards other people's actions. This is unfortunate since in many Odu you will find examples of behavior and actions that are consistently frowned upon (witchcraft for example).

When I was studying the religion of the Assante I came across a statement in which it was said that teaching children about God was not necessary because God's existence is self evident. Instead what we note in many African religions is a stress on how one communicates with God and one's ancestors. God is much like a family member you don't see but you are expected to call up every now and then. God is also like a very important family member to which proper deference is required. Thus, there is a huge amount of time spent by practicioners of ATR on ritual. Here in the US among African-Americans, who have largely been divorced from their ancestral cultures, are especially prone to this. I have been arguing for some time that there needs to be a greater emphasis on ATR philosophy and worldview in such a manner that those who do not wish to become priests (and it always seems that everybody want's to move up through the ranks of these religions) but rather be "lay persons" can still enjoy the benefits of the religion(s).

Anyway. I hope this clarifies the issue of right/wrong in regards to Ifa.

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Right, Wrong and Ifa

This is a post I never ever thought I'd have to make but since I'm given to criticizing other religions or their adherents I should be consistent and do the same for mine. Before I get into the meat of this post I want to offer a bit of relevant information.

Typically I find the reasoning for people changing religions to be weak. In particular I find that black people who convert from say, Christianity to Islam to only really be fooling themselves as, in my opinion a great deal of people born into Christianity are almost universally uninformed or mis-informed regarding the religion. I lay the blame for that squarely on the leadership. The other problem I have with such conversions is that many take the religions from which they convert to way more seriously then they took the religion from which they converted from. So for example when I hear people say, for example that they converted to Islam because they found it to be more stressful on the importance of family, I often respond that I know plenty of Christian denominations that stress the importance of family and that it is most likely that the denomination they belonged to did but they probably were too busy rebelling to pay attention.

On a related note, African-Americans have a special relationship with Islam given the activities of the Nation Of Islam. Many African-Americans who are Muslim today are Muslims largely by the example of Malcolm X and other high profile NOI persons. Through the NOI, Islam has been seen in the African-American community as the original religion of the black man, a wholly untrue statement but one that attracts many people. The NOI's reputation in dealing with "wayward" blacks has also attracted many black people, men in particular to Islam. The point here is that many conversions to other religions in the American Black community is largely due to a discomfort with the Christian church that most of us grew up with. The things that drive this desire to leave the Church are many but mostly fall into a few categories.

We have those that are frustrated by the churches apparent passivity in dealing with black issues.
We have those that reject Christianity as the religion of the white man.
We have those that reject the church because they don't feel accepted because they are a part of a marginalized group such as homosexuals and feel that the church is being too judgmental and dogmatic.

The first two people are generally grouped together because in general the dissatisfaction of the first group will usually lead them to information that puts them into the second group. Once one is in the second group there are a few things that happen. If one is wedded to the Heaven/Hell, Judeo-Christian idea of religion, then one is more likely to move towards Islam which, in spite of it's practicing differences is not much different from the Christian church in terms of monotheism, biblical history, etc. As an added bonus one can point to African countries that are Muslim and one can point to Muslims in African history.

For those of us not wedded to the Heaven/Hell, Judeo-Christian idea of religion, we tend to go towards Egypt and a few of us to the West African religions of the Yoruba and Assante. This is often the result of deep study into African history and culture as well as an acknowledgement that many African-American ancestors hail from these parts of Africa. Hence a great deal of us who find ourselves within the ATR community are there due not only because of a wish to find a more fulfilling religion but also to connect us to our history and heretofore lost people. One of the problems with this self discovery process is that many ATR adherents will present the particular faith system as the opposite of Islam, Christianity or Judaism. In this process they feel the need to make the ATR of their choosing conform to that which they object to or reject about those religions. Herein lies a huge problem. What happens in this process is the bending of an ATR to what we want a religion to be rather than conforming ourselves to that which the religion is about. Hence this post.

recently I had an e-mail appear in my inbox from a discussion group I am a part of. The e-mail posed what I thought was a ridiculous question: Is there right or wrong in Ifa?

"What a dumb question" I thought to myself. I was sure that someone would respond that yes Ifa has right and wrong, here's an Odu (story) and the question would be put to rest. I was shocked and disturbed when the following response came:

You have it right . Because Ifa is the Wisdom of nature. It is only concerned with balance not right and wrong. What is right and wrong involves dogma;ifa is gnostic as oppose to dogmatic. The bird is not bad for eating he ladybug;t is merely surviving and in the process, is keeping the planet from being overrun with ladybugs. It is the destiny of the bird to eat ladybugs. Ase? This is why Ifa has very few hard and fast taboos that apply universally to human beings. Because we make ans agreement with Spirit to follow a certain destiny when we re-inter the world ( Aiye), All of the Holy Odu do not apply to us, universally; thus the admonition against judging others . To assume that we know someones destiny, and therefore know what is good for them, is the height of arrogance. There would be no need for guidance from the ancestors and Orisa which speak through counsel with Orunmila , Iba Se. For example Orunmila says that it is best for a man to only one wife and yet in another Odu may speak of a man having more than one wife. This can be very confusing to the Western, linear mindset. The Odu that speaks of monogamy for the client is what puts that client in alignment with his destiny; however, the Odu that speaks to the other client about having a polygamous household applies to his destiny. The lack of dogma makes responsible for his/her life and therefore is empowering. That having been said , we come into the world good and blessed therefore Ifa teaches that simply having good character ( Iwa Pele) will assure that we are aligning ourselves with our destiny on the whole.

I responded:

must disagree somewhat with what is presented below. The fact that we strive for Iwa Pele, defined as "good" character means that there is good and bad in Ifa. Good character can only be good relative to something else. To take the bird example. it may be a matter of survival for a bird to kill an insect to eat, but would it be good for a bird to kill another bird? Well generally speaking, humans are the only species that kills other members of the same species, so given that it would be bad if a bird killed another bird. We would know that something is wrong.

I think that sometimes in our quest to be non-judgmental, we fail to allow ourselves to say when wrong is wrong is wrong. The fact that in yoruba society there existed "courts" prior to colonialism means that the ability to judge behavior is not outiside the culture of the Yoruba.

I want to note that when I said "bird" I meant to specify that it is abnormal if it happens at all) for a bird to kill another bird of the same species. Cross species killing may happen but is beyond the scope of the example. In response I was told:

What is Iwa Pele for one may not be Iwa Pele for another. A military person may have Iwa Pele in being a good killer. A priest my have Iwa Pele in being an understanding one. From what I understand Ifa does not jude the killer or the priest. We think we know what is good character this is where a lot of problem may come from. How do we know what is good or bad character for everyone? We do not.

Maybe good character comes in being able to accept all as what he is and realise if he is good at it he has good character as a killer. That way when dealing with him we will not expect him to act like a priest.?????

I responded by saying:

Presuming warfare is "good" then one can have "Iwa Pele" despite having to kill someone. That is, then, that killing may not be in and of itself a bad thing but the motive for killing may well be bad. There is a huge danger in supposing that something is bad only depending on how it is percieved. If we follow that thinking to it's logical ends, then having sexual relations with a child can be seen as "good" since by some reasoning it can be seen as beneficial. I'm not sure we want to go there.

A person who for their entire life is "good" who up and kills a person out of say jealousy. may well still have Iwa Pele , but as far as their actions are concerned they have done something wrong. we hear of this all the time when we see children or adults who are accused of crimes and their neighbors and family say how nice they were and the like. Whereas in other cases neighbors and family will say how they knew that such and such a person was "not right" or had an "evil" personality which is consistent with the bad behavior they exhibited.

Again. It is important to separate bad acts from bad character since people with good character can commit bad acts and people with bad character can commit "good" acts. Iwa Pele is supposed to be about the totality of ones actions and thoughts.

The last response to that was:

As a young priest I do not know what is good or what is bad. I only know that the best thing is to consult IFA because what maybe in accord with the destiny of the person I alone can not decide.
This has been a debate that I have seen in other groups and I do not understand how people determine good and bad. I have a friend that is very concerned with good and bad Karma so he does not achieve his goals and he makes a lot of people have problems for believing in him. I always think he puts too much attention on his lord and not enough on achieving his objectives.

The largest problem with the above response is that according to ifa, ones Ori (head, destiny) is chosen prior to the birth of the body. If there is no right or wrong then someones Ori could decide that they want fame and power by any means accessible. By the statement made by the priest, if that person came to a Babalawo who found that this persons destiny was to become rich and powerful by any means then the Babalawo would find himself in the position of giving the OK for murder if that option avails itself if such a thing would lead to the persons destiny. I cannot see how such a situation is deemed acceptible.

This was the basic close of the argument as the response to this was almost the same as the previous response. What is particularly disturbing is that the individual with whom I was having the conversation with could not even bring himself to say whether he thought that having sexual relations with a child was right or wrong. Now it is particularly disturbing that a priest could not make such an obvious judgment call. This individual brought up Karma (a hindu concept) to make his point. If one wants to use outside religious ideas to make the point in regards to Ifa, then one can simply go to Khemet where we find the Oracles of Maat where it states clearly:

"I will not mistreat children."

This is among 43 other Oracles discussing wrong behavior.

So then, One cannot state that ideas of right and wrong are the result of dogmatic religions such as Judaism, Christianity or Islam. Such a charge is simply unfounded. I find it disturbing that people are in Ifa in order to escape judgement or ideas of right and wrong. Of course there will be differences on what constitutes right and wrong but they will be there. If the leadership cannot say unequivocally that things such as child molesting is wrong, then the leadership of this religion will need to be held to account.

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Ghetto Games

Minister Faust of Bro Log Fame and author of a number of books has posted his this months "Bamoozled Awards". This particular edition got my attention because of what the award was granted for:

TORONTO -- A shoeless, elderly drunk is tormented by a group of thugs who laugh hysterically as they douse his head with antifreeze, drop his personal belongings into a storm sewer and knock him to his knees with a milk crate.

"In another scene, a young man is dragged from his parked car and beaten repeatedly outside a liquor store; his head stomped into the pavement until he loses consciousness. One of his attackers steals cash from his pocket as he lies lifeless in a parking lot.

"In the final act, eight men stomp, punch and kick a shirtless male to cries of 'Pound 'em out' and 'I'm gonna kill you bitch.' Knocked out cold, the victim is dragged across the pavement. The camera operator remarks smugly, 'I think that (expletive) is dead.'

"Roll credits: It's Ghetto Fights 2, one of a series of DVDs that feature actual home videos of violent street fights and group beatings, available at your local HMV, Music World and other retail outlets across Canada for about $16 each.

There is something very wrong with a particular segment of black youth who think that this behavior is acceptable but I think that images such as these explains statements I saw in another article in the NY Times in which race relations between "Hispanics" and "Blacks" in Georgia are discussed. Relevant to this discussion is the following comment:

The killing of six Mexican farm workers in a robbery last year in Tifton, about 30 miles away — and the arrest of four black men in the case — has heightened the friction. Nothing so violent has occurred here, but some Hispanics say black criminals focus on immigrants in this town, too...

Mr. Gaona, who said his perceptions of black Americans were shaped in Mexico by news reports of crime and violence in poor urban areas, recalled, “I was thinking: ‘He’s black. Who knows what he wants from me?’ I was just trying to keep my distance.”

So we have a company in California that solicits video tapes of felony assault and we have retail outlets willing to sell this material of felony assaults directly to the public not to mention the internet in which anyone anywhere can watch the videos which results in people like Mr. Gaona to think that black people are "moyos" and think that they are criminals.

You simply cannot put this kind of material out in the public and then be surprised when police and other people treat black youth with no respect.

Beyond that I am curious about the legality of the material. In the instances of other "adult" material such as sexual material, it is arguable that the activities seen on sexually explicit material is between one, two or more consenting adults and that said activities are in and of themselves not illegal (Sodomy laws having been deemed unconstitutional in the US). On the other hand the activities described at the head of this post do not involve consenting adults IF they are in fact not staged events. Assuming these events are not staged (as the solicitation for the tapes implies) then what we have are tapes of actual prosecutable criminal actions. Are these solved cases? Were these individuals arrested and tried for these felony assaults? If not why haven't these tapes been seized as evidence of a crime and the videographers tracked down and arrested for accessory to a crime should they refuse to name the persons on tape?

Congress recently passed a law that requires persons who produce sexually explicit material to have on record the age verification and related items. Is there an equivalent law for these Ghetto Fights? If not why not? Are we saying that Americans find felony assault more acceptable than an image of a woman with her breasts showing?

Equally disturbing is that media retailers such as HMV who as of April 2006 reported a profit of 1825.9 Million Pounds or roughly $3.4 Billion, sees a need to stock and sell video that features felony assault? As if they could not afford to take a stand on principle and say we don't need to make a another million (if that) selling videos of felony assault even if our competitors will.

On an equal note I would like to point out that the US government saw fit to try and convict a blind cleric that the individuals who first bombed the World Trade Center, based on the fact that he provided inspiration for those acts. I am on record as being opposed to such a conviction as it criminalizes speech rather than action. However; given that such a conviction actually occurred why is it that companies that trade in the videography of actual (not simulated) criminal behavior is not being prosecuted along the same lines? It is arguable, beyond reasonable doubt, that the existence of such videos may encourage others to act out and film similar criminal acts with the hopes of being paid for such a production. Indeed that Well known MC's are on record as endorsing the videotaping of actual criminal acts would also make them similarly liable as was Rahman. If those individuals cannot be held legally responsible for endorsing clearly criminal acts then Rahmans conviction should be overturned.

Anyway you look at it it's dirty.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

First Dem Ship We.. Den Dem Ship It To We.

When I first stumbled on This article I simply had to stop reading because I was too upset to continue. It's bad enough that we got idiots running around killing and raping people. It's bad enough that we have to deal with arms dealers willing and ready to sell guns to those who apparently only know the art of war. It's bad enough that Africa had been through the Atlantic Slave Trade (Maafa), now to add insult to injury, ships now come to Africa to again harm our people and exploit our land with the help, again, of the "leadership" of Africa.

Mr. Oudrawogol went outside to investigate. Beside the family’s compound, near his manioc and corn fields, he saw a stinking slick of black sludge...

Over the next few days, the skin of his 6-month-old son, Salam, bloomed with blisters, which burst into weeping sores all over his body. The whole family suffered headaches, nosebleeds and stomach aches...

It came from a Greek-owned tanker flying a Panamanian flag and leased by the London branch of a Swiss trading corporation whose fiscal headquarters are in the Netherlands. Safe disposal in Europe would have cost about $300,000, or perhaps twice that, counting the cost of delays. But because of decisions and actions made not only here but also in Europe, it was dumped on the doorstep of some of the world’s poorest people.

The tale of the sludge can be traced to July 2, when a rust-streaked tanker, the Probo Koala, arrived in Amsterdam after a lengthy stay in the Mediterranean. Leased by Trafigura, a global oil and metals trading company, it was pausing on its way to Estonia to unload what the company said was 250 tons of “marslops” or “regular slops.” That is the wash water from cleaning a ship’s holds, which would normally be laced with oil, gasoline, caustic soda or other chemicals...

At first the Ivorian government did not acknowledge that something was amiss, even though the rank smell was spreading through the streets of Abidjan. Officials say they suspect they will find more dump sites than the 18 identified so far.

And this is the stuff we know about.

Africa has long been a dumping ground for all sorts of things the developed world has no use for. “This is the underbelly of globalization,” said Jim Puckett, an activist at the Basel Action Network, an environmental group that fights toxic waste dumping. “Environmental regulations in the north have made disposing of waste expensive, so corporations look south.”

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Sunday, October 01, 2006

Inalienable Rights

This is a cut and past of a post written by our good DeskRat who posted this on another board we both frequent:

they are fascists.

they steal elections , they stage terrorist attacks and then blame the terrorism on "straw men" that they created .

they "detain" enemies , spy on critics ,tear up the people's god given rights, buy off and intimidate a complacent corrupt media .

they loot the public treasury , make war on lies and whims , rewrite the laws of conquered nations in order to steal the conquered people's oil , topple duly elected governments , assassinate elected leaders , spread 4 million pounds of depleted uranium dust around the globe through our common air and water... they are mass murderers , assassins , and fascists , plain and simple.

think about it.

without the declaration of independence , there is no justification for a constitution -- with no constitution , no bill of rights, aka the first 10 amendments to the constitution.

the declaration of independence asserts "that we hold these truths to be SELF EVIDENT , THAT ALL MEN (*which now would read as ALL HUMANS) ARE CREATED EQUAL AND ENDOWED BY THEIR CREATOR WITH CERTAIN INALIENABLE RIGHTS --among which are life , liberty and the pursuit of happiness"

the 1776 declaration of independence was in effect ALSO a declaration of war against rule by the british crown . they were explaining WHY they had chosen to resort to force , if necessary , to sever the bonds of british rule.

the constitution , which begins with opening phrase in its preamble , "We THE PEOPLE, " came much later--1789-- AFTER the war against british rule was won and the "self evident" principles stated in the declaration of independence were FOREVER set in stone as the foundation and guiding roadmap for whatever new nation that the liberated colonials would arrive at.

The point is this: the constitution and bill of rights --the first 10 amendments to the constitution DON"T GIVE RIGHTS--they only serve as written GUARANTEES of the rights all equal human beings have been ENDOWED with from birth by their creator .

the declaration of independence is intended to say that proof isn't even needed that all human beings have these rights BECAUSE IT'S ALREADY "SELF EVIDENT" and that it's also SELF EVIDENT that government's "authority" comes only from consent of the governed .

they are also saying by their subsequent actions that they would go to war with their government--the british crown --to preserve these god-given rights and their upset-victory in the war over the superpower of that day--england-- was viewed as more "self evident" proof of the correctness of the former colonials' analysis and correctness of their actions--war against the tyrant who had usurped their god given liberties --- the declaration goes further to say that it is not only your right , but your DUTY to yourselves and your creator to use force- if necessary- to oppose ANY government that has overstepped its bounds and refuses to allow peaceful redress of greivance and ignores all reasonable demands that it cease violating the rights endowed in "we the people" by our creator.

in other words , these "rights to life , liberty and the pursuit of happiness" cannot be taken away by government--any government-- because government didn't give them out in the first place --the creator did--these god-given rights, along with human intellect are intrinsic to the condition of being human-- sine qua non --"without this, nothing!" --without our minds and our god-given freedoms we slip below the state of being what we were created for , and intended to be

and secondly , these god given rights apply to ALL humans --american humans and otherwise --because it is held as "self evident" truth that ALL HUMANS ARE CREATED EQUAL .

therefore ALL humans have equal rights and designations such as "enemy combatant" are irrelevant , false and simply cannot apply .

any people designated as such , cannot be treated in anyway that violates the rights they were endowed with at birth by the creator...

--to grant government powers to take away your rights is self-negating of that "divine endowment" the declaration of independence speaks of .that divine endowment is the EVERYTHING that everything that is america , is supposed to be based upon.

in this case , self-negation is akin to suicide .

if rights ultimately derive from the creator and not the government , then the government cannot take rights away from the people--without denigrating the creator , without denigrating the creation and without usurping the rights of "we the people" --the source upon whom all governmental authority solely depends .

come election time--or sooner , sweep out the house and the senate of all the apologists , mouth pieces and water carriers for fascism .

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