Rage in Brooklyn: East flatbush reacts to police shooting of Kimani Gray
By NAYABA ARINDE Amsterdam News Editor And AMITY PAYE AmNews Web Manager
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Depending on which agency is delivering the report, word is; on Saturday, March 9 around 11:25 p.m., Kimani "Kiki" Gray, 16, was shot 11 times by two undercover police officers. The officers claim the youth was armed. However, a number of witnesses have said the teen did not have a gun at all.
A too, too familiar New York City story.
Over 100 people responded to the shooting and gathered Monday night for a vigil in East Flatbush. Irate, some in the crowd chanted, "NYPD, KKK, how many kids did you kill today?" The vigil was an all-too-common scene of mourners and protestors. There were candles, flowers and photographs. It was nonviolent by all accounts, and then they dispersed.
Though peaceful at first, according to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, "a splinter group" broke off and ran rampant through a Rite Aide, attacking some people and destroying property. Remnants of the crowd created civil unrest, with aired reports stating that police virtually had to barricade themselves in the 67th Precinct. The mainstream media labeled it a "riot."
DNAinfo.com reported that "a large, disorderly group [began] throwing bottles at police" and "threw bottles at cops, broke shop windows and looted a Rite Aid."
"This was not a riot. One person getting arrested for disorderly conduct does not a riot make," retorted Brooklyn City Councilman Charles Barron, who was at the vigil. "This was a situation where the people were rightfully angry. A young man was killed and they want to know why … it was when I got home that I heard there was a riot. But you don't see any images of a riot. What you see is the police in the street with the people."
At Monday's vigil, the crowd marched from East 52nd Street and Tilden Avenue and reportedly planned to march to the 67th Precinct, located on Snyder Avenue, but was blocked off by the police a block away. Protesters, joined by members of Stop Stop-and-Frisk, Malcolm X Grass Roots Movement, the New Black Panthers, Mothers Resist, Picture the Homeless and many others gathered again on Tuesday night at 52nd Street and Church Avenue and marched about 20 blocks toward the nearby 67th Precinct station. However, before they could reach the station, police again barricaded their path this time with a row of outfitted riot police, a row of metal barricades, a row of police officers and a final row of mounted officers, along with at least two helicopters observing from above.
"They already see us as criminals, they are profiling us right now. And we're not dong anything but exercising our Fourth Amendment right," said Jose LaSalle, one of the organizers of the march, who also organizes with the group Stop Stop-and-Frisk. "They have to understand that we are marching because police brutality has risen to a point that we can not take it anymore. We are tired of being silenced. We know that silence is consent, and we no longer consent to the abuse, ethics and policies that these police officers are using on our communities," LaSalle said during an impromptu speak-out that protestors held when they were stopped at Nostrand and Snyder avenues by police barricades.
This week, the Huffington Post reported that on the day Gray was shot, he was spotted hanging out with friends by anti-crime patrol officers working in an unmarked car. When the group of young men noticed the officers, police stated that Gray fidgeted with his waistband and broke away from the crowd. This is when the officers exited their vehicle in an attempt to speak to him. Cops said that Gray "turned on them and pointed a .38-caliber pistol at [them]."
Both officers fired shots, hitting Gray in several places on his torso and legs, according to police. However, BlackYouthProject.org reported that Grey's sister Mahnefah was told by a witness that it was only the "suspicious" adjustment of his waistband that caused the police to shoot and kill her brother.
Witnesses also said Gray begged for his life and reportedly said, "Please don't let me die." One of the officers reportedly replied, "Stay down or we'll shoot you again."
Gray was rushed to Kings County Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Both officers, whose names have not been released, were treated at Methodist Hospital for trauma and tinnitus, ringing in the ears.
"There are too many stories. He had a gun, he didn't have a gun, It's bulls—," said Fatima Shakur, who led the protest march on Tuesday night. "But what is the protocol to deal with Black youth? … Ray Kelly, you need to train your officers to follow protocol. Ray Kelly, please train your officers again. They are not following protocol in the Black community. How many bullets does it take to disarm a child?"
Police quickly announced that Gray had a criminal record, which included charges for breaking into a car and possession of stolen property. The two officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative duty while the shooting remains under investigation.
The police department did not respond to an AmNews request for a response and Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been uncharacteristically quiet on this issue. The police have also not released an image of the gun they said Gray was brandishing, as they have done in similar cases.
Gray's uncle, Cecil Nunes, 65, told the Huffington Post, "He was respectful, but a typical teenager. I have to ask myself why this happened. Why, why, why?"
Gray's mother, Carol, was hospitalized when she heard about her son's death. She was released Sunday morning.
While the Gray family mourns the loss of Kimani, his death reminds community members of others in their past. In 1996, cops from the very same 67th Precinct surrounded what they said was a stolen Honda and shot an unarmed 23-year-old Aswan Watson 18 times. "That boy died with his hands in the air and a hole in his chest," said a distraught witness at the time. As memories of the 1999 42-shot police killing of West African vendor Amadou Diallo resurface, the city is once again reeling from the effects of yet another plain-clothes police killing.
Shantel Davis was also shot and killed by an NYPD officer last year following a car chase that ended just blocks from the location of Gray's shooting Saturday. "We are on East 38th Street, we are on East 38th Street," chanted protest marchers on Tuesday night. "Shantel Davis was assassinated on East 38th Street. No justice, no peace, no racist police. Justice for Shantel Davis."
Finding himself in the thick of things, Flatbush Council Member Jumaane Williams told the Amsterdam News, "This is not about one particular shooting—this is a culmination of things. This is about police and community relations."
Williams continued, "There was a huge community presence at the vigil because people are just fed up. It is not just about the shooting of Kimani Gray. It is because of the daily occurrences—how the police interact with the community, the stop-and-frisk, the abuse of police power and the lack of resources."
Williams, who tweeted live from the first the vigil, quoted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. "A riot is the language of the unheard," he said, then asked the mayor and the police commissioner to visit East Flatbush. Kelly dismissed as a mere request for a "photo op."
Saying that Bloomberg called him on Tuesday morning, Williams told the AmNews, "The leaders have to keep the city safe, but they are misguided in the way they are doing it. You can't triple down on the amount of policing while not tripling down on the resources needed … This is about the lack of resources. I don't have a community center within three miles of my district. We need park space."
Expressing similar sentiment, Barron told the crowd at Tuesday's protest march, "We are fighting capitalism … Poverty is a crime. Unemployment is a crime. Racist institutions, they are crimes ... It's time to be hot. It's time to raise the temperature. We need to grow this and shut this city down. Shut it down! … The real criminal is Mayor Bloomberg."
On Wednesday, Barron said, "This not about one lone issue or even this particular shooting. People are angry because of the history of the Police Department, with all the racial profiling, stops and frisks, the cussing us out, and the use of abuse of police powers. People are sick of the disrespect and abuse of force and violence against them."
"We want the truth to come out. We never believe the police version. Whether he had a gun or not, we need to see if the shooting was justified. We just need the truth, videos, photographs and witnesses," Barron said.
Williams will be hosting the Youth Empowerment Seminar: "Let's Be Real!," taking place on Saturday, March 16, 2 to 6 p.m. at the Tilden Educational Campus, located at 5800 Tilden Ave.
As of press time, a third vigil and protest was scheduled for Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at 52nd Street and Church Avenue in East Flatbush, with the possibility of a fourth protest on Friday, May 15, which is International Day Against Police Brutality.
Additional reporting by TRUDY TOMLINSON and VICTORIA JOHNSON
The Black Love Live Conference ended with Marvin X reading from his The Wisdom of Plato Negro, parables and fables. He read Parable of the Heart, backed by Philadelphia's living legend, pianist Alfie Pollitt. The two have long wanted to perform together. "This is the start of something Alfie and I have talked about for at least two years. It was a pleasure having this Philly legend perform with me. In sha' Allah, there is more to come between us. We share the same musical, artistic and spiritual consciousness."
Parable of the Heart
There was a man who loved God. He went to churches, mosques, temples in his search for God. He married, had children, a good job, yet still didn't feel he knew God. He prayed day and night until his knee caps had sores. He called out for God to make Himself known in his life. Hearing nothing from God, he balled his fists at God, in anger and frustration. Why won't God talk to me, he wondered?
He loved his family and they loved him. He gave them all the material comforts, yet he was angry because he felt God was hiding from him, and he wanted God to be real in his life. He tried over and over attending churches, mosques, temples. He studied all the religions, isms, schisms, sects, cults. He almost had a breakdown because he believed God was playing tricks with him.
Finally God spoke to him. He said, look, man, you have everything any man could want: a beautiful family, good job, a sincere heart. Why do you keep calling me? Do you think I am deaf?
I've done all I can do for you. You have everything. Get off your knees, there is no need to pray to me. Why are you praying when I've already answered? Are you an ungrateful wretch? Don't you know I have plenty of work to do with all these wretched beings causing hell on earth? Why do you want me to waste time with you when I made you perfect, without defect?
Your search for me is in vain because I have been with you all the time. Every time your heart beats, that is me moving inside you. Now what else do you need to know?
And so the man came to know God as his heart beating in the day and in the night. He came to believe and know the religion of the heart. He no longer searched for God in buildings, churches, mosques, temples, but instead listened to his heart beat, the rhythm of his soul. He looked to the God within and without, since God also told him He was everywhere in all things, that there was nothing and nowhere He was absent. He was in the trees, rivers, oceans, fish, cows, horses, mountains, old people, poor, rich, youth, hungry, sick, dope fiend, alcoholic, sinner. All is in God and God is in all. He is in the fly, bees, birds, ants, mosquitoes, rats, snakes.
His family was so happy he had found God in his heart. They wondered why it took so long for him to see the light. His wife told him she saw God in his face the day they met.
Celebration, performance and rare interview of legendary Philadelphia musician & composer ALFIE POLLITT who celebrated his 70th earthday on January 6, 2013 at the Philadelphia Clef Club House of Jazz. Performances by Alfie Pollitt and Love's Magic.
BLACK PANTHER CO-FOUNDER BOBBY SEALE
AND MARVIN X AT JOYCE GORDON GALLERY
Since I published the first edition of my essays In the Crazy House Called America in 2002, Black Bird Press, Berkeley, our common mental condition has severely depreciated, from Mild and Moderate to Severe. Madness abounds yet no one has a solution. If President Obama has a trillion dollar defense budget and is president of the number one arm's merchant of the world, engaged in innumerable global wars, we cannot expect a solution from such a sinister individual.
But in a hypocritical manner, the USA offers insurgents and Muslim fundamentalists in Iraq three things: education, jobs and housing, yes, in Afghanistan and elsewhere, soon Syria--but cannot stem the violence in the hoods of America with the same solution that is decreasing violence in Iraq and Afghanistan, alas, the President of Afghanistan claims the USA is in bed with the Taliban to keep America in Afghanistan for the foreseeable future.
Let's focus on the three items: Education, Housing, Jobs. You can offer this and decrease the violence in Iraq, but you cannot offer the same to the boys and girls in the hoods of Chicago, New York, Washington DC, Baltimore, New Orleans, Houston, Los Angeles, Fresno and the Oakland Bay Area.
We call upon President Obama to implement the same program in America that America is employing globally, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan. Don't be surprised if the same offer isn't given to the Muslim fundamentalists if they should somehow gain power in the neo-Syria.
God forbid that Syria should go backward rather than forward!
We are well acquainted with Syria. Our beloved son Abdul El Muhajir (Darrel P. Jackmon) won a Fulbright fellowship to the University of Damascus. He graduated from UC Berkeley in Arabic and Middle Eastern literature, studied at the American University in Cairo, grad study at Harvard.
And then my son suffered manic depression and under medication decided to walk into a train.
My son was the reincarnation of myself. He said he would preach my funeral, yet I had to preach his as many parents are doing these days. Yes, nature is out of order. Children are supposed to bury parents, not the reverse. My father in law is 85 yet has had to bury two of his daughters.
What is the solution?
I have offered you my book How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy, Nisa Ra offers you Black Love Lives and my daughter Muhammida El Muhajir offers you Black Power Babies, surely between Nisa, Muhammida and myself lies the truth!
Afghan government hits back at NATO chief, says war aimless
By Jeremy Laurence | Reuters –
By Jeremy Laurence
KABUL (Reuters) - The Afghan government has hit back at remarks by the head of NATO who said Kabul must recognize the sacrifices made by other states, calling the alliance's war on terrorism inAfghanistan "aimless and unwise".
In the latest outburst of vitriol from the Afghan leadership deriding its Western allies, the spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai said the people of Afghanistan "ask NATO to define the purpose and aim of the so-called war on terror".
"As they question why after a decade, this war in their country has failed to achieve its stated goals, but rather has resulted in the loss of thousands of innocent lives and destruction of their homes", Aimal Faizi said in a statement.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Monday he was concerned about the increasingly harsh rhetoric between Karzai and the United States, which contributes the largest contingent to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.
He told a news conference in Brussels that "we would also expect acknowledgement from the Afghan side that we have ... invested a lot in blood and treasure in helping President Karzai's country to move forward".
More than 3,000 foreign troops from 50 countries have been killed in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led military intervention began in 2001. Some estimates put the cost to the United States alone of the Afghan war in the hundreds of billions of dollars.
Speaking to the state news agency, BIA, Faizi said: "The people of Afghanistan ask NATO Secretary-General that while it is clearly known to NATO that terrorism sanctuaries are outside Afghanistan, why this war then continues in their homes and villages unproductively?"
"Therefore, the Afghan people consider this war as aimless and unwise to continue," he said.
WAR OF WORDS
Karzai marred a debut visit to Afghanistan by the new U.S. defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, last week by accusing Washington and the Taliban of colluding to convince Afghans that foreign forces were needed beyond 2014, when NATO is set to wrap up its combat mission and most foreign troops are to withdraw.
Washington denies the accusation, and found support from Rasmussen who said the allegation was "absolutely ridiculous".
Karzai's remarks further strained already fraught ties between the president and the Western allies who are fighting to protect his government from insurgents.
The United States still has 66,000 troops in Afghanistan, down from almost 100,000 two years ago at the height of a surge ordered by President Barack Obama. Washington intends to withdraw most of them by the end of next year but wants to negotiate a continued, smaller presence.
Karzai has been increasingly assertive towards the United States. Last month, he ordered U.S. special forces to leave Wardak province after residents complained that they, and Afghans working with them, were torturing and killing civilians, an allegation denied by the Americans.
Opposition politicians saw Karzai's order as a political move to bolster his party's support base ahead of a presidential election next year. Karzai is not allowed to stand again.
"As every day passes, our relations with the international community get worse. Whenever President Karzai makes some remarks against Americans, money goes out of the country and businessmen leave," Ahmad Zia Massoud, leader of the Afghan National Front opposition alliance, told Reuters.
He said as tension had risen between Washington and Kabul in the past year, and as Afghanistan prepared to go it alone, some $4.5 billion had poured out of the country and into Dubai where worried Afghans are building homes.
(Additional reporting by Mirwais Harooni; Editing by Jon Hemming)
This week marks ten years since the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
An anti-war protest in Dallas in 2003, one of many that took place across the country and worldwide. (Photo: Dean Terry)
The Iraq war, which most today in the U.S. see as a mistake
, has cost
the U.S. trillions of dollars, billions of which were "wasted
But the devastation for the people of Iraq is incalculable: hundreds of thousands have been killed, over a million remain refugees and U.S. weapons used in the country, such as depleted uranium, have left a haunting legacy far past the drawdown of U.S. troops.
While many mark March 19, 2003 as the day the U.S.-led invasion of the country began, crippling sanctions against Iraq began more than a decade before. And while the George W. Bush administration launched the war, it found willing partners in the Democratic party and corporate media. Below are some voices offering perspective on the anniversary and lead-up to the invasion:
On the invasion:
, writer and global justice activist, speaking on Democracy Now!
When the United States invaded Iraq, a New York Times/CBS News survey estimated that 42 percent of the American public believed that Saddam Hussein was directly responsible for the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. And an ABC News poll said that 55 percent of Americans believed that Saddam Hussein directly supported al-Qaeda. None of this opinion is based on evidence, because there isn’t any. All of it is based on insinuation or to suggestion and outright lies circulated by the U.S. corporate media, otherwise known as the "free press," that hollow pillar on which contemporary American democracy rests. Public support in the U.S. for the war against Iraq was founded on a multitiered edifice of falsehood and deceit, coordinated by the U.S. government and faithfully amplified by the corporate media.
, head of U.N. weapons inspections in Iraq in the lead-up to the 2003 invasion, writing "Iraq War was a terrible mistake and violation of U.N. charter" in CNN
The war aimed to eliminate weapons of mass destruction, but there weren't any.
The war aimed to eliminate al Qaeda in Iraq, but the terrorist group didn't exist in the country until after the invasion. [...]
The Bush administration certainly wanted to go to war, and it advanced eradication of weapons of mass destruction as the main reason. As Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz has since explained, it was the only rationale that was acceptable to all parts of the U.S. administration.
U.N. inspectors were asked to search for, report and destroy real weapons. As we found no weapons and no evidence supporting the suspicions, we reported this. But U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfield dismissed our reports with one of his wittier retorts: "The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."
Rumsfeld's logic was correct, I believe, but it was no excuse for the American and British governments to mislead themselves and the world, as they did, by giving credit to fake evidence or assuming that if weapons items were "unaccounted for" that they must exist. They did not exist.
, investigative journalist, giving author Belen Fernandez his response
to John Bolton's admission that the Iraq invasion "was never about making life better for Iraqis, but about ensuring a safer world for America and its allies."
That sort of honesty, spoken like a true war criminal, would be refreshing if it didn't reveal such an appalling disregard for the value of human life and happiness. The US has destroyed Iraq and in doing so broken the hearts and ruined the lives of millions of people… That sort of psychopathic lack of empathy belies a deep bigotry towards other cultures and a general alienation from the life of our species.
A group of progressives including Phyllis Bennis
of the Institute for Policy Studies andLeslie Cagan
of United for Peace and Justice write
The US war against Iraq was illegal and illegitimate. It violated the UN Charter, the Geneva Conventions and a whole host of international laws and treaties. It violated US laws and our Constitution with impunity. And it was all based on lies: about non-existent links between Iraq and al-Qaeda, about never-were ties between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, about Iraq’s invisible weapons of mass destruction and about Baghdad’s supposed nuclear program, with derivative lies about uranium yellowcake from Niger and aluminum rods from China. There were lies about US troops being welcomed in the streets with sweets and flowers, and lies about thousands of jubilant Iraqis spontaneously tearing down the statue of a hated dictator.
And then there was the lie that the US could send hundreds of thousands of soldiers and billions of dollars worth of weapons across the world to wage war on the cheap. We didn’t have to raise taxes to pay the almost one trillion dollars the Iraq war has cost so far, we could go shopping instead.
It’s common to simply blame Bush and Cheney for the Iraq war, but it’s not accurate. Many voted for or otherwise backed the Iraq war — including Obama’s entire foreign policy team from Kerry
; from Clinton
. Even among those who voted against the war, many facilitated it, likePelosi
, who claimed during the buildup to the Iraq invasion that ‘there was no question Iraq had chemical and biological agents.’ None of these individuals have ever seriously come clean about their conduct during this critical period (and I’ve questioned most of them) — so there’s never been a moment of reckoning for the greatest foreign policy disaster of this generation. The elevation of Democrats who did not seriously question the war likely facilitated Bush and Cheney never being held accountable for their conduct.
2003 or 1991?
Raed Jarrar, Communications Director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, speaking on Up with Chris on Sunday:
Unlike the perception that we have in the U.S. that the war started in 2003, the war started in 1991 and Iraq was pretty much destroyed by 2003. ... When the 2003 invasion happened, it came on the top of another 13 years of destruction, very destructive sanctions and semi-daily bombing campaigns.
(See more from the segment "Iraqis still face violence, corruption as they rebuild" here
, author, co-founder of RootsAction.org and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, writing in Common Dreams
Ten years after the invasion of Iraq, don’t expect the vast numbers of media hotshots and U.S. officials who propelled that catastrophe to utter a word of regret. Many are busy with another project: assisting the push for war on Iran.
Millions of Iraqis have been killed, injured or displaced. One of the most developed countries in the region at the time of the invasion, Iraq now is among the worst in terms of infrastructure and public services. Baghdad ranks lowest in the quality of life of any city in the world, according to a recent global survey from the consultant group Mercer. Moreover, the Iraqi national identity has been replaced by ethnic and sectarian affiliations.
Danny Muller, formerly of Iraq Peace Team and Voices in the Wilderness, a campaign that broke US law to resist economic sanctions and prevent further warfare in Iraq, stated Monday:
The Iraqi people, especially children, have suffered and been brutalized by US troops, mercenaries and multinational corporations to such an extreme extent that a decade later, the US has managed to make a brutal dictator look tepid compared to the level of horror that the US has inflicted on civilians.
Epidemics of cholera after the 2003 massacre, to take one example, speak volumes to the level of destruction that the US caused to the water, sanitation and electrical grids in 1991 and 2003—those basic systems that provide for the public's health have still not been repaired. The ensuing corruption, inefficiency and outright theft still leave most Iraqis without basic access to the most human of needs.
This war lives on in the blood of US soldiers, in the birth defects of stillborn Iraqi infants, in the skyrocketing cases of cancer and toxicity countrywide. The US people saw an entire country of 25 million Iraqis as disposable and less than human. America seems to have developed the collective memory and historical consciousness of a dead moth, but what we have done is downright unforgettable and unforgivable. And as much as we choose to pretend otherwise, most of us know what we did in Iraq: our money, our weapons, our boys in uniform, were sent to kill kids for lies and greed. It's as simple and horrific as that.
Ten years after the invasion of Iraq, it is astonishing in a nation dedicated to the rule of law that every aspect of the war has been debated except the relevant law.
To be sure, a vast array of articles, books and films have documented how pre-war intelligence was "manipulated" or "misrepresented" or "twisted" or "cherry-picked" or "fixed around the policy," and how the Bush Administration's inadequate planning produced a "fiasco," a "blunder," and a "disaster" -- terms used to convey the sinister nature and catastrophic effect of White House miscalculations without actually accusing anyone of anything so incriminating as a felony.
Two notable exceptions are former Los Angeles prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi's book, "The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder," which encountered a virtual boycott by the major news media when published in 2008, and "United States v. George W. Bush et al.," by Elizabeth de la Vega, a former Assistant U.S Attorney who meticulously presents the case for criminal fraud under a little-known federal statute that does not require monetary loss by the victim as a condition for conviction. Both books rest their case on proof of deliberate deception by the President and members of his war cabinet -- not an easy hurdle to overcome in a criminal trial, which requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
Intentional killings based on a mistake are not accidents... if the mistake was predicated on an unreasonable belief about the justification for the killing.
Contrary to common belief, however, an American president can be found guilty of criminal conduct without proof of the corrupt state of mind of the deliberate liar or the malignant motives of Nazis on trial at Nuremberg. The criminal mind also encompasses the all-too-common consciousness of human beings acting carelessly in deciding to kill other human beings, however justified their conduct may seem in their own eyes.
On the tenth anniversary of the invasion, the only truly serious question about the war is whether President George W. Bush and those who participated in the decision to invade Iraq did anything illegal or unconstitutional or criminal.
To raise such a question about a war initiated by own's own country is always "a vocation of agony," as Martin Luther King, Jr. said of the war in Vietnam when he finally chose in 1967 to break his silence about the conflict. Whatever the reasons for avoiding the Iraq question, whether it is President Obama's understandable fear of further polarizing a sorely divided nation, or out of respect for the 4,422 Americans who gave their lives fighting for what they believed was a just cause, or because the legal issues are too big or too difficult, we must finally say about Iraq what Dr. King said about Vietnam. "We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak."
The whole litany of excuses for the catastrophe in Iraq has been recited in the language of mistake and misadventure, as if the war were a tragic accident, like a colossal train wreck caused by an act of God.
Intentional killings based on a mistake are not accidents, however, if the mistake was predicated on an unreasonable belief about the justification for the killing. This is the case whether the person on trial is a police officer who killed an innocent citizen in the mistaken belief that the suspect had a gun and presented a lethal threat, or a president who ordered the invasion of Iraq in the mistaken belief that Saddam Hussein possessed WMDs that posed a threat to America's national security.
If a police officer's belief that his victim posed a deadly threat was not only wrong, but unreasonable, in the sense that a prudent police officer exercising due diligence in similar circumstances would not have fired his weapon, the killing constitutes criminal homicide. There is considerable disagreement among the courts and legal commentators about whether the homicide is murder or is to be treated more leniently, either as voluntary manslaughter or the lesser offense of negligent homicide, but there is universal agreement that carelessness in the use of deadly force is criminal.
What did the President know and when did he know it? Wrong question. The proper question is: What should a reasonably prudent president have known about the legal justification for invading Iraq and why didn't the President know it?
We are so used to war and the threat of war as a legitimate adjunct of foreign policy that we easily lose sight of the reality that war consists of acts which, if performed by a private citizen or organization, would constitute serious felonies: mass murder, assaults with deadly weapons, maiming, arson, kidnaping, and the malicious destruction of property. The law immunizes political leaders from criminal liability so long as the war is legally justified. As a matter of international law, this generally means in compliance with the U.N. Charter. In terms of domestic law, it means in compliance with the U.S. Consitution, which requires either a declaration of war or a congressional authorization for the use of military force.
A careful reading of the Authorization for the Use of Force
adopted by large bipartisan majorities in both the House and Senate shows the congressional authorization was hardly the "blank check" the news media portrayed it as. Congress limited the President's use of military force against Iraq by authorizing war only to:
(1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq, and
(2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq."
The use of the word "and" after the first paragraph is critical. While Congress did not require an imminent or immediate threat, it was not prepared to authorize the President to go to war over a violation of a Security Council Resolution involving WMDs unless there was also some likelihood that if left unchecked, Saddam would present a "continuing threat" of using those weapons against the United States in the foreseeable future.
In fact, there was no continuing threat because Saddam did not actually possess any WMDs. Nor were there reasonable grounds to believe at the time of the invasion that Saddam Hussein presented such a threat. The October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate
(pdf), prepared for the President by the CIA and other intelligence agencies and made available to him five months before the invasion, made clear that while there were reasonable grounds to believe that "Baghdad has chemical and biological weapons," Saddam would not use them against the United States unless Iraq were attacked by us or threatened with an "imminent or unavoidable" attack.
The NIE, originally classified as Top Secret and released to the public in July 2003, contained this Key Judgment: "Baghdad for now appears to be drawing a line short of conducting terrorist attacks with conventional or CBW [chemical and biological warfare] against the United States, fearing that exposure of Iraq involvement would provide Washington a stronger case for making war. Iraq probably would attempt clandestine attacks against the US Homeland if Baghdad feared [that] an attack that threatened the survival of the regime were imminent or unavoidable, or possibly for revenge."
In other words, a reasonably prudent president would have known from reading the NIE that as long as the United States did not attack or threaten to attack, Iraq posed no continuing threat to the United States, as the congressional authorization required. A reasonable president therefore would have known that invading Iraq would have been unconstitutional.
If President Bush knew he had no constitutional authority to go to war, then he knowingly broke the law and a properly instructed jury would have little difficulty in finding him guilty of murder. Even if he was not conscious of any wrongdoing, which seems more likely, a jury would still be warranted in finding him guilty, at the very least, of criminally negligent homicide if it found that his ignorance constituted a failure to perform the duties of his office with due diligence.
The mother whose dead body was found in the bombed ruins of Baghdad, holding her baby so tight they could not be pried apart and had to be buried together, can no longer be dismissed as "collateral damage." That mother and child, and the more than 3,000 Iraqi civilians killed directly by U.S. bombs and artillery fire in the first month alone, as well as the Iraqi troops killed while defending their country against an arguably unlawful and unreasonable attack, may have been victims of criminal homicide.
Without criminal trials, we will never know. The law, Justice Holmes reminded us, is nothing more than a prediction of how courts will rule in particular cases, and in cases involving jury trial, we should add, a prediction of what jurors will decide in applying the law to the facts. Until we have court decisions and jury verdicts, statements about the legality or constitutionality or criminality of the war in Iraq, or enhanced interrogations, or targeted killings, or the "war on terror" itself, will remain on the Opinion Page and continue to elude even the judgment of history.
A depleted uranium penetrator from the A-10 30mm round. (Photo: Wikipedia)In 2012, European researchers visited a scrap metal site in Al Zubayr, an area near Basrah in southern Iraq. A local police officer told them that the site had at one time held military scrap metal from the bloody battles waged during the American invasion. A local guard told the researchers that children had been seen playing on the scrap during that time, and both adults and children had worked disassembling the military leftovers. At one point, the guard said, members of an international organization with equipment and white suits showed up, told guards that the site was very dangerous and "quickly ran off."
The researchers, working with the Dutch peace group IKV Pax Christi, with funding from the Norwegian government, visited areas in Iraq where depleted uranium contamination had been reported by Iraqis and international observers. Depleted uranium is a chemically toxic and radioactive heavy metal produced as a waste product of the nuclear power industry. Depleted uranium was used in armor-piercing munitions fired by US and Coalition forces during both the 2003 invasion and the 1991 Gulf war in Iraq.
There are between 300 and 365 sites where depleted uranium contamination was identified by Iraqi authorities the years following the 2003 US invasion, with an estimated cleanup cost of $30 million to $45 million, according to a report
recently released by IKV Pax Christi. Iraqi authorities are currently cleaning up the sites, mostly located in the Basrah region, and 30 to 35 sites still need to be decontaminated.
The health impacts of depleted uranium have been subject to international debate since the 1991 Gulf war in Iraq, and the US and British governments have disputed allegations that their weapons have poisoned soldiers and civilians and caused increased rates of cancer and birth defects. Depleted uranium is 40 percent less radioactive than uranium in its natural form, but the heavy metal is toxic and can potentially cause kidney damage, according to the US Department of Defense.
Doctors and researchers have reported increased rates of cancer and birth defects in areas where coalition forces used depleted uranium, but a lack of data and long-term studies in contaminated areas make it difficult to determine if depleted uranium contributed to the uptick in health problems along with other environmental and war-related factors, according to the report.
Sensationalist reports on the impacts of depleted uranium, along with a general distrust of both foreign and domestic authorities, have stoked continued anxiety among civilians about the potential dangers of contamination, the report states.
Research conducted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from 2006 to 2007 in four areas in Iraq determined that radioactivity from depleted uranium did not pose a significant health risk to civilians who might encounter residues or inhale airborne radioactive dusts, but the IAEA warned that civilians could be exposed to higher doses if they enter vehicles destroyed by depleted uranium munitions.
The IAEA has recommended that contaminated military equipment not be reprocessed as scrap and instead be disposed of as low-level radioactive waste.
The report also warns that scrap metal dealers are spreading contamination, and poor oversight has allowed children and other civilians access to contaminated areas and equipment with little or no information about the potential dangers of exposure.
The report documents evidence that depleted uranium munitions were fired on light vehicles, buildings and other civilian infrastructure, including the Iraqi Ministry of Planning in Baghdad.
"The use of depleted uranium in populated areas is alarming," the report states, casting doubt on previous assurances by coalition forces that depleted uranium would only be used on targeted armored vehicles, a major justification for using the heavy metal during the war.
The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has estimated that 1,000 to 2,000 metric tons of depleted uranium was fired during the 2003 war in Iraq.
The extent of the depleted uranium contamination remains unclear, however, and the report blames a lack of transparency on behalf of coalition and US forces on the use of depleted uranium during the invasion. There is an absence of data and "crucial information" on the amount and types of depleted uranium weapons used, their targets, and the remediation efforts undertaken shortly after the war by the provisional government, making it difficult for international aid organizations and Iraqi authorities to assess and manage contamination with the ultimate goal of reducing harm to civilians.
In a statement, a military official with US Central Command told Truthout that US forces and the US embassy "tried to share everything we knew with the Iraqis (Ministry of Health), including locations depleted uranium [was] used, as best as we could track it." He added that no depleted uranium munitions were used after 2003.
A spokesperson with the Defense Department stated that, under wartime conditions, it would be "impossible" to track all the depleted uranium used during fighting.
The report argues that the Iraqi government lacks the resources to decontaminate areas impacted by depleted uranium and has been unable to regulate the trade of military metal. More international assistance and data from the US military is needed, and with both adults and children reportedly coming into contact with the scrap, concerns about potential health impacts remain very real in Iraq.
How are you keeping?
I know you support KPOO Radio, 89.5FM, San Francisco, and www.kpoo.com
when you can. Now, more than ever, we need your help.
Around since 1973, listener-supported and non-profit, KPOO is facing the possibility of going off the air as early as June 2013.
Transmitter costs and other operating expenses average 10,000.00 per month.
We programmers are volunteers, so all tax-deductible donations go directly to the operation of the station.
I am appealing to you to send a cheque or money order right away:
KPOO Radio, 89.5FM
P.O. Box 156650
San Francisco 94115 CA
Alternatively, you can use PayPal online: www.kpoo.com
, select donations, and follow the instructions. Any amount is appreciated.
Feel free to circulate this request among your wealthy and wise colleagues who enjoy cutting-edge, independent and non-commercial radio programming. No amount is too small--nor too large. Thanks, much, Marvin. No justice, no peace..
Safi wa Nairobi/swn
P.S. I have copied Jerome Parson, KPOO General Manager, on this email...
We love you John Henry Doyle, Master of Black Arts Theatre, West Coast style
Ed Bullins, Marvin X style.
John Coltrane My Favorite Things 1961
1. My Favorite Things 13.41
2. Everytime We Say Goodbye 5.39
3. Summertime 11.31
4. But Not for Me 9.34
John Coltrane - saxophone
McCoy Tyner - piano
Steve Davis - bass
Elvin Jones - drums
Praise be to Allah for John Doyle's journey with us, A genius of Theatre with his heart and soul, nothing else mattered to him, except take directions, follow the script, surrender your soul to the director. And most times he was right with special insight: he was director, actor, set designer, light designer, promoter, We did it all in the Black Arts Theatre, of which John was the continuation. After John came , Buriel Clay, Black Lights Explosion Company with Michael Catlett, et al. And then came the return of Marvin X with the Black Educational Theatre's Resurrection of the Dead, with Sun Ra's music in Take Care of Business, musical version of TCB. Then Ayodele Nzinga directed In the Name of Love at Laney College Theatre, 1998. Then Marvin X's Recovery Theatre, 1996-2002, with Geoffery Grier, Ayodele Nzinga, PhD. Ayo directed and starred in One Day in the Life, the longest running African American drama in Northern California.
But John Doyle was in the tradition. As-Salaam-Alaikum, Brother John, Master Teacher.
ever flowing river
beyond a dream
thoughts concocted in total madness
madness of genius
Grass Roots Theatre
pimps ho's hustlers tricks squares
John employed them all
found a way for them to look at the man and woman in the mirror
Remember the time when we were better than ourselves divine
John, master teacher, if you listen, follow orders
He will take you there
land beyond imagination
Black Arts West Theatre
grass roots theatre
no shame here
dope fiends on stage in real life
living color pimps
playing pimps hustlers
Man in the Mirror
Remember the Time
Better ax somebody.
Love you, John!
In assembling the Dr. Nathan Hare and Dr. Julia Hare papers, we found Nathan's boxing robe. In background Archive Project's associate Rahim Ali. photo Marvin X
By Rudolph Lewis
Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart" was the first African novel I read (in my college requirements) and probably the first African who spoke to me directly of his homeland and his people. The novel did not initially make the impact that it subsequently made on my understanding of African humanity.
Chinua Achebe: Writer, critic, social historian
March 22, 2013
Chinua Achebe, the David and Marianna Fisher University professor and professor of Africana studies at Brown University , died in Boston Thursday evening, March 21, 2013. Achebe, among the world’s greatest writers of his time, joined the Brown faculty in the fall of 2009.
PROVIDENCE , R.I. [ Brown University ] — Brown University learned this morning of the death of Chinua Achebe in Boston Thursday evening, March 21, 2013.
Achebe, the David and Marianna Fisher University Professor and professor of Africana studies, joined the Brown faculty in September 2009.
Best known for his novels and essays which critique postcolonial Nigerian politics and society as well as the impact of the West on Africa , Achebe was widely acknowledged as “godfather” to a generation of African writers. His first novel, Things Fall Apart, is the most widely read work of African fiction, having sold more than 12 million copies in English alone. It has been translated into 50 languages.
Among his activities at Brown was the annual Achebe Colloquium on Africa , an international gathering of scholars, policymakers, elected officials, writers, and others with a shared interest in current-day African affairs.
“The colloquia he organized at Brown attracted a grand array of guests and effectively demonstrated how the humanities can build understanding by drawing from and encouraging a variety of perspectives,” said Brown University President Christina H. Paxson. “We were honored to have him among us.”
“Professor Achebe’s contribution to world literature is incalculable,” said Brown President Emerita Ruth J. Simmons, who led the University when Achebe came to Brown. “Millions find in his singular voice a way to understand the conflicting opportunities and demands of living in a post-colonial world. The courageous personal and artistic example he offered will never be extinguished. Brown is fortunate to have been his home.”
From Corey D.B. Walker, associate professor and chair of the Department of Africana studies:
He was more than just a colleague, faculty member, and teacher at Brown. He was a gift to the world. We are very privileged to have had him with us for the last four years and even more so for allowing us to get close to him and his family.
At a time like this we could draw many words of wisdom and comfort from the deep wells of various African cultures and traditions to honor him. The most fitting is the simple and elegant phrase, “A great tree has fallen.”
Indeed, the passing of Chinua Achebe is an event of global significance. The entire faculty and staff in the Department of Africana Studies share in the celebration of the great life that is Chinua Achebe.
From Anani Dzidzienyo, associate professor of Africana studies and Portuguese and Brazilian studies:
Part of his impact was that he was always a part of Africana studies. His presence in the department affirmed our intellectual mission and strengthened our commitment and dedication to Africana studies. Indeed, his presence was powerful. When he was first appointed, a friend told me we had captured history and planted it in Churchill House.
He brought the whole history of contemporary African writing to Brown from the time when he wrote Things Fall Apart to the present. His name symbolizes the themes and issues that characterize African societies and cultures. His presence at Brown is something we could not have imagined before it happened. He was an inspiration to us and our students. As a student remarked, “It is incredible that he is here with us.”
In the spirit of Ghanian proverbs, and by implication African proverbs, I leave these words for contemplation: “The path crosses the river and the river crosses the path. Which came first, the path or the river?”
May you travel well, Professor Achebe.
During his time at Brown, Achebe convened four colloquia:
The 2012 Achebe Colloquium focused on the security situation throughout northern, central, and eastern Africa; ethno-religious insurgency and regime change in West Africa; and peace-building efforts taking place in southern Africa .
The 2010 Achebe Colloquium focused on three African nations — Rwanda , Congo , and Nigeria — and the crucial issues impacting those countries, the continent, and the world.
University flags are flying at half-staff, and the University will plan an appropriate memorial in celebration of Achebe’s life and work.
Ras Baraka, next Mayor of Newark, New Jersey
We support the mayoral races of Ras Baraka and Chokwe Lumumba, but as my friend, Baba Lumumba, noted, what is the endgame of this political process? What are these guys going to do differently than their predecessors? Can they do anything. For sure, the rats are biting their heels, trying to configure a way to use them and debase them so they can crawl back on the plantation. Amina Baraka, mother of Ras, says she is not going to let the rats destroy her son. And will Jackson, Mississippi, allow a radical black nationalist to take power in that majority black city? We know Mississippi is not the brightest place on the planet.
Chokwe Lumumba, next Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi
In Oakland, we had three do nothing black mayors, Wilson, Harris and Dellums. So while we will do all in our power to support Ras and Chokwe, we yet wonder about the possibilities in this game of politicks! Only people's power can radically alter the status quo once and forever. In Newark, Ras must overcome the Corey Booker division of Blacks and Puerto Ricans. In Jackson, don't be surprised if the devils don't come up with their own version of a Black radical to oppose Chokwe, just as the devils in Brooklyn, NY came up with the son of Dr. Leonard Jeffries to oppose City Councilman Charles Bsrron's run for the US Congress. No matter, I support the campaigns of Ras Baraka and Chokwe Lumumba.--Marvin X
There has to be a two step
1. the system must be played - bond rating, etc. WE NEED SOME OF OUR
LAWYERS THAT HAVE MASTERED THEIR DOUBLE SPEAK - their game
2. Our game: neighborhood hot houses and local urban agriculture so
people can escape factory food and as Curtis says "get back to living
again" - also Form neighborhood brigades - monthly clean up of all
streets and lots, monthly free health clinics, MONTHLY NEIGHBORHOOD
ASSEMBLIES, lighted schools so they become community centers after 5,
absolute no cocaine or hard drugs - time to get real and use the police
like they should be used - what else you all have in mind 0- MAIN THING
IS HOW TO DO THIS, METHOD IS KEY
2014 IS THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE MISSISSIPPI SUMMER PROJECT
NEWARK, NJ: Ras Baraka
JACKSON, MISS: Chokwe Lumumba
Are there any other electoral races that we should be focused on because of the issues impacting the African American community over the next six months?
Concerning these two races, what research is going on? Are the campaigns being archived?
What have they learned from Harold Washington? See our research on Harold Washington: http://eblackchicago.org/
Rise in Egypt Sex Assaults Sets Off Clash Over Blame
Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters
Women in Cairo's Tahrir Square protested on the second anniversary of the revolution on Jan. 25.
Published: March 25, 2013
CAIRO — The sheer number of women sexually abused and gang raped in a single public square had become too big to ignore. Conservative Islamists in Egypt
’s new political elite were outraged — at the women.
Tara Todras-Whitehill for The New York Times
Hania Moheeb described her rape in a television interview.
“Sometimes,” said Adel Abdel Maqsoud Afifi, a police general, lawmaker and ultraconservative Islamist, “a girl contributes 100 percent to her own raping when she puts herself in these conditions.”
The increase in sexual assaults over the last two years has set off a new battle over who is to blame, and the debate has become a stark and painful illustration of the convulsions racking Egypt as it tries to reinvent itself.
Under President Hosni Mubarak, the omnipresent police kept sexual assault out of the public squares and the public eye. But since Mr. Mubarak’s exit in 2011, the withdrawal of the security forces has allowed sexual assault to explode into the open, terrorizing Egyptian women.
Women, though, have also taken advantage of another aspect of the breakdown in authority — by speaking out through the newly aggressive news media, defying social taboos to demand attention for a problem the old government often denied. At the same time, some Islamist elected officials have used their new positions to vent some of the most patriarchal impulses in Egypt’s traditional culture and a deep hostility to women’s participation in politics.
The female victims, these officials declared, had invited the attacks by participating in public protests. “How do they ask the Ministry of Interior to protect a woman when she stands among men?” Reda Saleh Al al-Hefnawi, a lawmaker from the Muslim Brotherhood
’s political party, asked at a parliamentary meeting on the issue.
The revolution initially promised to reopen public space to women. Men and women demonstrated together in Tahrir Square peacefully during the heady 18 days and nights that led to the ouster of Mr. Mubarak. But within minutes of his departure the threat re-emerged in a group attack on the CBS News correspondent Lara Logan. There are no official statistics on women attacked — partly because few women report offenses — but all acknowledge that the attacks have grown bolder and more violent.
By the second anniversary of the revolution, on Jan. 25, the symbolic core of the revolution — Tahrir Square — had become a no-go zone for women, especially after dark.
During a demonstration that day against the new Islamist-led government, an extraordinary wave of sexual assaults — at least 18 confirmed by human rights groups, and more, according to Egypt’s semiofficial National Council of Women — shocked the country, drawing public attention from President Mohamed Morsi
and Western diplomats.
Hania Moheeb, 42, a journalist, was one of the first victims to speak out about her experience that day. In a television interview, she recounted how a group of men had surrounded her, stripped off her clothes and violated her for three quarters of an hour. The men all shouted that they were trying to rescue her, Ms. Moheeb recalled, and by the time an ambulance arrived she could no longer differentiate her assailants from defenders.
To alleviate the social stigma usually attached to sexual assault victims in Egypt’s conservative culture, her husband, Dr. Sherif Al Kerdani, appeared alongside her.
“My wife did nothing wrong,” Dr. Kerdani said.
In the 18 confirmed attacks that day, six women were hospitalized, according to interviews conducted by human rights groups. One woman was stabbed in her genitals, and another required a hysterectomy.
In the aftermath, victims of other sexual assaults around Tahrir Square over the last two years have come forward as well. “When I see Mohamed Mahmoud Street on television from home, my hand automatically grabs my pants,” Yasmine Al Baramawy said in a television interview, recalling her own attack last November.
She and a friend were each surrounded by two separate rings of attackers, she said. Some claimed to be protecting her from others but joined in the attack. They used knives to cut most of the clothes off her body and then pinned her half-naked to the hood of a car. And they continued to torment her on a slow, hourlong drive to a nearby neighborhood, where, she said, residents finally interceded to rescue her.
“They told people I had a bomb on my abdomen to stop anybody from rescuing me,” Ms. Baramawy said.
The attacks have underscored the failure of the Morsi government, with its links to the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, to restore social order. The comments by the president’s Islamist allies blaming the women have proved embarrassing.
Pakinam el-Sharkawy, the president’s political adviser and the highest-ranking woman in his administration, called such statements “completely unacceptable.”
She attributed the attacks to the general breakdown in security but also to the refusal of the protesters to allow the police into the square since the revolt against Mr. Mubarak. “The protesters insist on keeping security out of the square, even to regulate traffic,” she said.
On Sunday, the Morsi government convened a meeting of women to discuss plans for their advancement. So far, though, its most tangible measure to address the problem is draft legislation to criminalize sexual harassment.
But women’s rights advocates say the bill would do nothing to protect women from social attitudes and scorn that assault victims face in hospitals and police stations — not to mention in the Parliament — if they try to bring legal complaints.
Ms. Moheeb said in an interview that after she was attacked, nurses told her to keep silent in order to protect her reputation.
With police protection negligible, some women are taking their security into their own hands. At a recent march to call attention to the sexual attacks, several women held knives above their heads. “Don’t worry about me,” said Abeer Haridi, 40, a lawyer. “I’m armed.”
Members of the political elite, meanwhile, have appeared more concerned with blaming one another. The Muslim Brotherhood “plotted the sexual harassment in Tahrir Square” to intimidate the demonstrators, asserted Mohamed Abu Al Ghar, the president of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party.
The Muslim Brotherhood said opposition leaders “ignored the brutal party of harassment and rape” in the square, according to a column on the Brotherhood Web site. The rapes are “a disgrace on their foreheads,” the column declared.
Other Brotherhood lawmakers faulted protest organizers for failing to segregate the demonstrators by gender as the Islamists usually do.
Some ultraconservative Islamists, now a political power alongside the Brotherhood, condemned the women for speaking out at all.
“You see those women speaking like ogres, without shame, politeness, fear or even femininity,” declared a television preacher, Ahmed Abdullah, known as Sheik Abu Islam.
Such a woman is “like a demon,” he said, wondering why anyone should sympathize with those “naked” women who “went there to get raped.”
Ms. Moheeb called such remarks “scandalous” and accused Islamist lawmakers of being complicit.
“When ordinary people say such things, ignorance might be an excuse,” Ms. Moheeb said, “but when somebody in the legislature makes such comments, they’re encouraging the assailants.”
Marvin X on Same Sex Marriage
We were taught the purpose of marriage was for the procreation of the species. If this is still the purpose of marriage, then we must be against same sex marriage, but if marriage is for love then it does not matter if the marriage is same sex or not. For sure, same sex couples cannot procreate the species, but they can fall in love and remain in love as long as straight couples. We think same sex couples, absent the procreation motive, have every right to marry, especially when we consider that 50% of straight marriages end in failure. Can the same sex couple do better, time shall tell. We know they don't do much better in the area of partner violence, verbal and emotional abuse. Shall we say they are simply normal human beings in this regard?
As per our President coming out in favor of same sex marriage, we expect a politician to be political, to evolve at the expeditious moment for political gain. Yet we must be truthful and recognize this is but another diversion from the very serious economic matters facing this nation. What do the homeless and jobless care about who's marrying whom? They have more important matters that approach life and death, thus they would have misplaced priorities to concern themselves with same sex marriage. The President should be inclined to concern himself with more pressing matters, especially since he only made a personal not policy statement.
Enter the reply from his worthy opponent Mich Romney, "I support marriage between a man and woman." Now we could believe this statement if it weren't from a Mormon, a religious group that still practices polygamy or plural marriage, if only on the down under. But if you are familiar with Mormons, we know many of them are hardly down under, they are open and unashamedly practicing their religion that did indeed ban polygamy officially many years ago.
Monkey Mind Media and "The First Gay President"
So the Monkey Mind Media that perpetuates the world of make believe is off and running with "The First Gay President," taking our minds completely off pressing economic issues. But we are too old to be concerned with what other people do in public or private, whether straight or gay/lesbian.
We must admit we like the natural order of things, though as an artist we are known to transcend the natural, so perhaps we should shut up since no one wants to hear what an old man thinks, especially one who has transcended so much of what normal people consider natural. Alas, my son cried, "Dad, why can't you drink like normal people!"
Today, though, much of what used to be natural is no longer such. Because of growth hormones in meat and other genetically altered foods, it is not surprising to find the emasculation of man and the masculation of females, i.e., black is white and white is black or the upside down world of today.
What we are alluding to is not solely sexual but political and economic. It is a political policy when women are entering colleges in great numbers and earning advance degrees while men, especially in the black community, are entering prison. Imagine the result of this social-sexual economic reality on the black family in particular. Not only are the prisons a breeding ground of homosexuality with the concomitant diseases, including HIV/AIDS, but such behavior is forcibly altering the sexual identity of men and women, for if the men are wards of the state, what choice do women have but to love each other, whether they want to or not? With men as prisoners of war, the women must bond with each other, often times for sexual and economic reasons. Yes, women are pimping these days, after all, brother pimp is doing twenty-five to life! Need we mention the economic independence of women in general. Even though black mothers have had to play the male role for, yes, centuries, it is even more pervasive today, to the extent the young women are saying, "He the baby mama, I'm the baby daddy. He stays at home babysitting while I work." Indeed, someone remarked recently how many young men can be seen on the streets pushing baby carriages during working hours.
Same Sex Chickens, Cows
Long ago we heard about animals, chickens, cows, turning homosexual. We know a diet of Big Macs and KFC is consequently altering the sexuality of our boys and girls. We know hormones are recycled in the water, and even chemical residue from plastic water bottles is polluting the water and causing sex changes in those who drink it.
And finally, we must consider that we are at the end of an Age of Time, entering a new cycle that is bringing forth a new consciousness. The old patriarchy is giving way to a balance between the patriarchy and matriarchy or Ma'at. In this process of transformation, we must be aware of the crisis in sexual identity as men and women seek to put themselves in harmony with the universe. Although so much of the ancient teachings may be considered reactionary, we think manhood and womanhood rituals are urgently needed so our boys and girls have some understanding of gender roles. For sure, men must no longer think of women as their chattel property. And this must be true for same gender loving persons.
Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Askia Toure, Marvin X, Haki Madhubuti and Everett Hoagland, some of the leading voices of the Black Arts Movement of the Sixties, will be featured in Stand Our Ground: Poems for Trayvon Martin and Marissa Alexander. The ultimate purpose of the book is to raise funds the justice campaigns of both cases and to raise awareness about the persistence of racial injustice.
“We are honored and excited to have these legendary world-renowned poets involved in this important project, says Ewuare X. Osayande, creator and editor of the book. “These poets have spent their entire careers as writers doing exactly what we are attempting to do with this book – speak truth to power and to empower the people. Their involvement is an affirmation of the mission and aim of Stand Our Ground: Poems for Trayvon Martin and Marissa Alexander.”
Marvin X, Master poet/teacher and Black Arts Movement co-founder, appears in Stand Our Ground. Marvin X founded Black Arts West Theatre, San Francisco, 1966, the Black House (with Eldridge Cleaver) 1967,and worked at the New Lafayette Theatre in Harlem, New York, 1968, served as associate editor of Black Theatre Magazine, also associate editor of the Journal of Black Poetry, Black Dialogue, Soulbook; contributed to Negro Digest/Black World and Muhammad Speaks. He is the author of 30 books published by his Black Bird Press.
Amira Jackmon, Esq., (Yale, Stanford Law), Senior Agent of the Community Archives Project, informs us Stanford University will inspect the Hare Archives next week, making it quite possible the Nathan Hare and Dr. Julia Hare papers will be acquired by Dr. Hare's "deadline" of April 9, his 80th birthday. "Don't make me rich after I die!" he urged Marvin X, project director. Asking price for the Hare archives: two million dollars ($2,000,000.00).
Marvin X, Dr. Julia Hare, Dr. Nathan Hare and Attorney Amira Jackmon, Senior Agent of the Community Archives Project
Dr. Hare on the Black Scholar
One other thing, on the issue of whether the journal was black if all of its support or money wasn’t -- and I said that would be determined by its content (by which I was including its ideology) – I should exlain that it is true that Bob was black (or half-black, in that his father was white – doesn’t matter that both of his wives were white, as Julia complained to the New York Times, to Charlayne Hunter, whose husband, unknown to Julia, was also white!—so he was half black but he was not black black. Indeed, the white guy, Allen Ross, and I got along well and even saw eye to eye on most things. It was Bob Chrisman that both of us had problems with, indeed as I said this morning, Al quit before I did and frequently asked me to work with him with The Black Scholar Book Club, before the died. It was Julia’s idea to call Al’s widow, who came to our apartment with her and Al’s daughter and the three of them urged me to leave The Black Scholar, over my protests that I didn’t have time, that I had to finish my dissertation for the psychology Ph.D. in order to graduate in August. They said if I got out now that would give me more time in time to finish my thesis . That wasn’t true, but I didn’t finish it on time. I’d already planned to leave The Black Scholar once I’d graduated, before Allen Ross left. But by the time I left, the three persons on the board were Marxists and we’d argue over whether some articles should be in the journal. That included black nationalist like Haki Madhubuti, though his article was published. And after I left there was even a forum to rebut it, but perhaps causing the uninitiated to think blackness was being highlighted if anything, and giving Haki some props to boot -- so it’s easy to be misled. Bob even balked at publishing maverick Marxists like Eldridge Cleaver when he was in Algiers and out of sorts with the Panthers and the movement and a black professor in Canada, who had a divergent view – momentarily forget his name, he wasn’t famous or anything, and we did publish him, but increasingly I was losing out, once Gloria started siding with the other two, I guess partly because I had pulled away to a considerable degree in the course of the psychology degree. So the Marxist thing was just one of the reasons I left. Plus they were Marxists but acting independent of other Marxists, so far as I know, with the other two basically conceding to Bob and his caucusing with them. So actually Bob took it over. He chose Robert Allen, with my consent, as I wasn’t expecting or even cut out for no screed. Neither Al nor I wanted to hurt The Black Scholar. It was suggested to me that I sue. I could have sued but with the shaky finances of the journal it could have crumbled. What I would have done if I’m doing it now was go with Al Ross with the Black Scholar Book Club as he had left with and implored me continuously to join him, and I also could have taken the lecture bureau, which was Bob idea trying to get part of my plenteous lecture fees at the time, but I was the one who knew how it worked and set it up. Indeed one thing I came up with, Classified Ads, Bob at first opposed. I told you how we turned the corner by refusing Signet’s first printing of 105,000 copies of “The Best of the Black Scholar” over the size of the author’s cut per book, and wound up getting a bigger cut per book on two books, with 4,000 and 3,000 copies printed of each before they went out of print. There we turned the corner at the door of the big-time into the upper echelons of mediocrity. People who would build a dune in the sand disdain skylifts.
Come to think of it I don’t know that Bob ever built anything else. If you don’t count the poem or two after he was at The Black Scholar and once took a leave of a month or so to work on some writing. He wasn’t missed but came back without the writing done, whatever it was. I mean the brother wrote an article in Scanlon’s, one of the few ever published anywhere, including in The Black Scholar, I remember one in the shortlved Scanlon’s called “Ecology is a Racist Shuck.” You don’t say. I almost simultaneously did an article for The Black Scholar called “Black Ecology,” which was translated into several languages around the world. Did he build that article. Indeed, I used to write little publisher’s statements and initial them. One day Al told me Bob opposed me doing them, so I stopped doing them, as I had other things to do. If you look at them you may see they set the tone. I interviewed people like Muhammad Ali (stayed a weekend in his home and did roadwork with him one morning when he was living outside Philadelphia to do the interview., and because I didn’t sign them when Robert Hauser wrote the biography of Ali he attributed it to The Black Scholar and didn’t mention me. Queen Mother Moore was interviewed in my apartment (Bob didn’t know her) and I also paid my way to Detroit while I was on a speaking engagement somewhere and interviewed Robert Williams shortly after he got back from China.
P.S. The three of us agreed to chip in $300 apiece and start The Black Scholar, but Bob could only come up with $150.
From: Nathan Hare [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, March 28, 2013 10:48 PM
To: 'Marvin X Jackmon'
Subject: RE: Hare papers
I still forgot to give you your glasses, I was trying to explain so much as usual, as I find it’s easy for people to be misguided for lack of facts they don’t have. E.g. Brother Editor didn’t come to The Black Scholar as a poet; I don’t think he’d ever published a poem so much as in a student newspaper at that point. But even if he had been Baraka, he didn’t use poetry to build The Black Scholar. He might have helped to build a poet or two in time, through The Black Scholar, but their poetry did not build The Black Scholar. The Black Scholar hit the ground running with the first issue, with essentially all of the articles obtained by me. They didn’t know him and there was not yet The Black Scholar to know. As I said this morning, Julia got it in Newsweek through friends she had met in her job as Director of Education for the soon-to-be-opened Oakland Museum. He didn’t build The Black Scholar, The Black Scholar made him, if we can say he ever was fully made, i.e., a made man, he is certainly not a self-made man, but a man who came to The Black Scholar on the make, with nothing beyond the tools of an unknown English teacher.
I’ll hang on to the glasses. By the way, I didn’t mean for you guys to gut my brown supply chest next to the white file cabinet. I guess its contents were so scarce and rumpled you thought it was something rare.
It is only when we reach this age
we come to see we know nothing
knowing is beginning
yet The End
and so we begin and end with ignorance
it is the only thing we can claim for sure
we are sure about this
after all the women, wine, dope, money
momentary passions in the night
things eternally oppositional
The moment can transcend the moment into the eternal
and if we don't get there so what
let's have ease after difficulty
no oppositional personality
silencia por favor.
no words can cover all the years tears fears
silencia por favor.
--El Muhajir (Marvin X)
Silencia Por Favor
It is only when we reach this age
we come to see we know nothing
knowing is beginning
yet it is The End
and so we begin and end with ignorance
it is the only thing we can claim for sure
ignorance and illusion
we are sure about this
after all the women, wine, dope, money
momentary passions in the night
things eternally oppositional
The moment can transcend the moment into the eternal
and if we don't get there so what
let's have ease after difficulty
no oppositional personality
silencia por favor.
no words can cover all the years tears fears
silencia por favor.
--El Muhajir (Marvin X)
Marvin X is now available for readings/lecturers:
Marvin X interviewed at the Black Power Babies Conversation, Philadelphia, PA.
He also participated at the Black Love Lives Conference, University of Penn, reading with Philly's living legend, pianist Alfie Pollitt.
His most recent book is The Wisdom of Plato Negro
, parables/fables, Black Bird Press, Berkeley, 2012. President Davis and Reginald James, students at Marvin X's Academy of da Corner, Oakland
President is now at Howard University, Reginald at UC Berkeley. Pictured at Sankofa Books, Washington DC.
Marvin X appears in the anthologies Black Fire, Bum Rush the Pages, Mumia, Black California; the forthcoming Stand Our Ground and the forthcoming D'jango. He edited a Journal of Pan African Studies Poetry issue. He is project director of the Community Archives Project and teaches at Academy of da Corner, 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland.
Marvin X, Dr. Julia Hare, Dr. Nathan Hare and Attorney Amira Jackmon, Senior Agent of the Community Archives Project. The project is agent for the Dr. Julia Hare and Dr. Nathan Hare archives. Stanford University has requested to view the Hare papers for possible acquisition.
Marvin X, aka Plato Negro, at Academy of da Corner, seated beside him is Prof of Legal Affairs, Gregory Fields.
Academy student Jermaine, Civil Rights attorney Walter Riley, Blues living legend Sugarpie de Stanto and Marvin X at Academy of da Corner, 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland.
Friday April 12, 6:30 p.m.
Educate, Motivate, Organize!
Dallas Fundraiser for The Peoples Lawyer,
Our Brother, Atty. Chokwe Lumumba
Candidate for Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi
Inviting Political Leaders, Churches, Grass Roots and Community Organizations, Student Organizations, and the Masses to meet, hear and support this Freedom Fighter.
Donations can be made at:
Educate, Motivate, Organize!
Call Dr. Evans at 213-247-4189 to help organize this fundraiser
The National Afrikan Amerikan Family Reunion Association (NAAFRA), NCOBRA, Guerilla Mainframe, Black Development Fund, And others
The Pan-African Connection Bookstore
Art Gallery and ResourceCenter
828 Fourth Ave., Dallas Texas,
(New Location Across From FairPark Music Hall)