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A journal dedicated to truth, freedom of speech and radical spiritual consciousness. Our mission is the liberation of men and women from oppression, violence and abuse of any kind, interpersonal, political, religious, economic, psychosexual. We believe as Fidel Castro said, "The weapon of today is not guns but consciousness."

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    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.


    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

    Doc can still throw a punch. He turns 80 April 9, same birthday as another "Bad Nigguh"
               Paul Robeson. April 9 is also the birthday of a Black Power Baby, 2.0, Ras Baraka, the next          Mayor of Newark, NJ. photo Marvin X

    The article below begins with the lie that Robert Chrisman, RIP,founded Black Scholar, when in fact Dr. Nathan Hare was the founder. 

    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.


    Dr. Hare teaches us the Fictive theory, i.e., everything the white man and black man says is fiction, a lie, until proven to be a fact. Dr. Hare's contribution to the Black Scholar has been erased from history by revisionists and their sycophants. Thank Allah we have his archives to put the record straight. Be careful, next these muddle headed intellectuals will tell you Malcolm X founded the Nation of Islam.--Marvin X

    The Black Scholar: Journal of Black Studies and Research

    The Black Scholar: Journal of Black Studies and Research is an internationally acclaimed journal founded by Dr. Robert Chrisman and co-edited with Dr. Robert L. Allen. The Black Scholar began publication in 1969 and has been hailed by the New York Times as "a journal in which the writings of many of today's finest black thinkers may be viewed."
    The entire spectrum of black political and cultural thought appears in the pages of The Black Scholar, represented by leading writers such as Clarence LusaneMelba Joyce BoydManning Marable and Maulana Karenga. Each issue focuses on a subject of major concern in the African American community. Education, black political empowerment, social movements, the multicultural debate, black women's activism, the crisis of the black male, the Ebonics debate, the Million Man March, the New South Africa and many other fundamental subjects have all been probed in the pages of The Black Scholar, which often receives national and international acclaim. There's an almost-complete list of The Black Scholarback issues near the end of this page.
    Among The Black Scholar's other contributors have been Amiri BarakaAngela DavisJulian BondShirley Chisholm,Audre LordeMax RoachNelson MandelaMaya Angelou, and Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
    Source: The Black Scholar Web site. Note: There is a section for comments, suggestions, or corrections at the bottom of the page.
    Robert Chrisman - Founding Publisher and Editor-in-Chief
    Robert Chrisman is a poet and essayist who's been a visiting professor at the University of California at Berkeley,Chair of the Black Studies Department of the University of Nebraska at Omaha until mid-2005 and the principal organizer of that department's Malcolm X Festival for three years. Dr. Chrisman's current research interests include: the impact of modernism on Afro-American authors of the twentieth century; and works of the Afro-Cuban poets,Nicolas Guillen and Nancy Morejon. He published Pan-Africanism (1974), as co-compiler with Nathan Hare,  Court of Appeal: The Black Community Speaks Out on the Racial and Sexual Politics of Thomas vs. Hill (1992), and Robert Hayden: Essays on the Poetry, as co-editor with Laurence Goldstein (2001). This lens has an Amazon module for Dr. Chrisman's books that are currently in print. Dr. Chrisman also was co-compiler (with Dr. Hare) of Contemporary Black Thought: The Best from The Black Scholar (1974), which is out of print.
    Robert L. Allen - Senior Editor
    Robert L. Allen is Professor of African American Studies & Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. His areas of interest include social movements, labor studies, and race & gender studies. Dr. Allen is the author of Black Awakening in Capitalist America (1990); Reluctant Reformers: The Impact of Racism on Social Movement in the U.S. (1983); The Port Chicago Mutiny (1989, republished 2006); Brotherman: The Odyssey of Black Men in America (with Herb Boyd, reprinted 1996); Strong in the Struggle (the life of labor leader Lee Brown), Honoring Sergeant Carter: A Family's Journey to Uncover the Truth About an American Hero (2004); and A Guide to Black Power in America: An Historical Analysis (1970). Dr. Allen currently is researching the life and work of C.L. Dellums, a leader of theBrotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters Union. This lens has an Amazon module below for Dr. Allen's books and other published writings.

    The Black Scholar 40th Anniversary Celebration - November 19 and 20, 2009
    The Black Scholar celebrated 40 years of continuous publishing with a conference hosted by the Department of African American Studies, UC Berkeley, at the Lippman Room, Barrows Hall.

    The Two-Day Conference Featured:

    • Charles P. Henry hosted a panel, "Barak Obama: the First Year." Prof. Henry is Chair, Dept. of African American Studies, UC Berkeley, and author of Long Overdue: The Politics of Racial Reparations (New York University Press, 2007)
    • Ernest Allen, Jr. Professor of African American History at the W. E. B. Du Bois Dept. of Afro-American Studieds, digital archivist and filmmaker, presented a feature-length documentary film, "Look Back in Wonder," on the formation of the Dept. at UMass. Amherst and its highly successful Ph.D. program.
    • Melba Joyce Boyd, Chair, Dept. of Africana Studies, Wayne State University, Detroit, offered a panel on the topic, "The progressive black artist — poetry, music, fiction and film."
    • Special performance by the John Handy Quartet.
    • Awards Luncheon
    Additional featured speakers included Robert ChrismanRober L. Allen, and Laura H. Chrisman.

    From Vol. 39, No. 3-4 (Fall/Winter 2009.)

    Vol. 38, No. 1: The Candidacy of Barack Obama

    Guest Editor: Dr. Charles P. Henry, Professor, University of California, Berkeley

    Preface to the Spring 2008 issue:

    The campaign of Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States provides a rare crystallization of U.S. historical, political, and social movement. Issues of racism, gender, generation, and national identity are reticulated through the prism of Obama's candidacy. We have dedicated a special issue of The Black Scholar to this subject. Dr. Charles P. Henry, Professor and Chair of the Department of Black Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and a leading black political scientist, has served as Guest Editor and assembled major scholars for this effort.

    As Charles Henry points out in his article, "Obama '08 -- Articulate and Clean," Obama's march to the Presidency has been on a road cleared by purposeful black political activity and leadership in modern times, commencing with the Voter Rights Act of 1965, the 1972 presidential candidacy of Cong. Shirley Chisholm and the l984 and 1988 campaigns of Reverend Jesse Jackson.

    Ronald Walters seizes precisely upon the timing of Obama and the historical moment in his essay, "Obama's Edge: Understanding Nation Time," as the black candidacy moved from a flank movement into central command of U.S. consciousness in 2008. Walters notes the juxtaposition of Obamas' new vision with the degradation of the U.S. population, resources, and morale by George W. Bush's presidency. With the phrase, "our time has come," Obama tapped into the conscious and unconscious political will of alienated Americans.

    The international aspects of Barack Obama's candidacy are treated in Clarence Lusane's "We Must Lead the World: The Obama Doctrine and the Re-branding of U.S. Hegemony," which assesses both the status quo postures of Obama foreign policy, as well as the prospects for change that his transparency and legacy of Black political vision offer.

    Central to this candidacy has been the competition with Senator Hillary Clinton, herself an historical first. A leading feminist, Alice Walker's "Lest We Forget: an Open Letter to My Sisters," traces her own personal history anti finds in it the rational for black political movement and supporting Obama's candidacy,

    We consider methodology as Diane Pinderhughes explores the complex intersection of gender, race, and class interest in "Intersectionality: Race and Gender in the 2008 Presidential Nomination Campaign." Ronald Williams' II article, "Barack Obama and the Complicated Boundaries of Blackness" offers a review of the literature. Williams explores the ambiguities of African American identities, with emphasis upon conditions and characteristics of indigenous and non-indigenous African Americans.

    We are also pleased to publish a major text by Barack Obama, his address delivered in Philadelphia on March 18, 2008, "To Form a More Perfect Union," a forthright discussion of racism and its effects, as it impedes the full realization of American democracy. Obama reaffirms his belief in "the more perfect union of the Constitution," a belief which comes from my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people. ... (and which) also comes from my own American story." We hope you enjoy this issue. As always, feel free to send us a letter with your reactions.

    The Editors

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  • 03/31/13--20:53: The Sign on Marvin X's Door
  • This is a Free Speech Zone
    Don't watch 
    your mouth
    your ass 
     the Door Nob!

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    Parable of the Rabbit

    Parable of the Rabbit
    There was a rabbit that laid chicken eggs. People were so impressed with this rabbit they went hunting for rabbit eggs. The eggs were of different colors, beautiful red, green, yellow, purple and blue colored eggs. What a magical rabbit this was.

    Somehow the people made a strange connection between this rabbit and a man who was crucified, resurrected and ascended to heaven. According to this fantastic story, the man arose from inside a cave with a big rock at the entrance. He managed to remove the rock and was seen walking around in a garden. Maybe he was on an egg hunt too.

    It was reported some women were in the garden hunting for the colored rabbit eggs when they saw the man hunting too, searching under bushes and in the grass, behind trees. They said he said he was hungry since he didn't get a chance to finish his last supper because a snitch reported to homeland security that he was a terrorist, had made terrorist remarks at the supper about what was going to happen to the king and his magicians called preachers, teachers and politicians, also known as Ten Percenters.

    He called them liars and the father of lies, also said they were murderers and the truth was not in them. He said if God were their father they would love him but they sought to kill him because he told them the truth. So he was arrested and lynched on a tree, but he survived.

    He told the women he didn't know why they did this to him since he was only trying to tell the truth because his father had told him the truth would set people free. His father told him he was divine and other people were too. We and our father are one, he told the women. They nodded in agreement and walked with him around the garden as he looked for more rabbit eggs to eat.

    The women kissed him on the cheek, hand and feet and offered him a little wine they had brought in their basket for the egg hunt. He drank the wine, then told the women he had to depart for the upper room in his father's house. He promised they could come visit him one day. After he departed, the women continued hunting for the rabbit eggs and drinking their wine.
    --Marvin X

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    On April 9, Dr. Nathan Hare, The Father of Black Studies in America, will celebrate his 80th year on the planet. The Bay Area will celebrate with the esteemed sociologist and clinical psychologist on Saturday, April 13, 3-5pm. Tentative location is Geoffery's Club, 14th and Franklin, downtown
    Oakland. For more information, please call 510-200-4164. Dr. Hare and the audience will be treated with a piano concert by his wife of 57 years, Dr. Julia Hare. Marvin X, a longtime associate of Dr. Hare, will read from his writings. Tarika Lewis, Destiny Muhammad and Tacuma King are invited to perform with Marvin X.

    Dr. Nathan Hare, sociologist, clinical psychologist, father of Black Studies in America

    This event is sponsored by the Post Newspaper Group, Community Archives Project, Black Bird Press, Black Think Tank and the Berkeley Black Repertory Group Theatre. If you would like to listed as a sponsor, please call 510-200-4164.

    The Dr. Nathan Hare and Dr. Julia Hare Archives

    At the moment, the Hare archives consist of nearly one hundred boxes of materials, including correspondence, notes, note books, news clippings with notes, manuscripts, drafts, articles, speeches,
    emails, published articles in magazines such as Ebony, Jet, Negro Digest/Black World, Black Scholar (Dr. Hare, founder), lecture notes, proposals for the first Black Studies program in America at San Francisco State College, now University, 1968. Included are financial records, floppy disks, video and audio tapes, from speaking events, photos, leaflets, posters, promotional materials. A draft of Dr. Nathan Hare's autobiography is included.

    Materials include his time at the University of Chicago, Howard University, San Francisco State University and his private practice as a clinical psychologist. Dr. Julia Hare's archives include correspondence, speech notes, manuscript drafts, published articles and books such as How to Find and Keep a BMW (Black Man Working) and the Political and Sexual Anorexia of the Black Woman. Dr. Nathan Hare's classic is the Black Anglo-Saxons. His Black Scholar magazine publications are complete, including his letter of resignation.

    His online writings fill volumes and the video record of Dr. Julia Hare is on youtube. Her speech at Tavis Smiley's State of the Black Nation has over a million hits.

    In the field of Black Studies, no one has the stature of Dr. Nathan Hare. As a speaker, Dr. Julia Hare is known as the female Malcolm X.

    The Hare collection is thus fundamental and essential for understanding the evolution of the Black Student movement, Black Studies and Black Consciousness in America over the past sixty years.
    --Marvin X
    project director,
    Community Archives Project

    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

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    You are cordially invited to attend a birthday celebration of 

    our esteemed sociologist and clinical psychologist, the father of Black Studies in America, the Honorable Dr. Nathan Hare.

    Geoffery's Club will host this event at 14th and Franklin, downtown Oakland. The following friends and supporters of Dr. Nathan Hare and Dr. Julia are cordially invited to attend and/or support this event with a generous donation of your time and money (donations of $100-500.00 kindly requested). Send donation to Post Newspaper Group, attention
    Dr. Hare Birthday Celebration.

    Refreshments, entertainment and words of praise will take place in a three minute max open mike in honor of Dr. Nathan Hare.

    There will be an exhibit of the Dr. Nathan Hare and Dr. Julia Hare archives, organized by  the Community Archives Project.

    Invited friends and supporters

    Eugene and Lynette White
    Doris Ward
    Willie Brown
    Charlie Walker
    Norman Brown
    Will and Maxine Ussery
    Mr. and Mrs. Terry Collins
    Eileen Hernandez
    Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Vernado
    Rev. George Murray
    Aubrey LaBrie
    Abdul Sabry
    Ishmael Reed
    Al Young
    Art Sheridan
    Judge Henry Ramsey and Mrs. Eleanor Ramsey
    Rev. Cecil Williams and Janice Merikitani
    Dr. Mona Scott
    Sean Vaughn Scott
    Ramal Lamar
    Terry Collins
    Benny Stewert
    Bernard Stringer
    Sharon Trestkonuff
    JoAnn Mitchell
    Dr. Doroty Tsuruta
    Dr. Oba T'Shaka
    Dr. Kenneth Montiero
    Dr. Wade Nobles
    Association of Black Psychologists
    Association of Black Sociologists
    Black Scholar Magazine
    Robert Allen
    Ernie Allen
    Baba Lumumba
    Judge Colbert
    Joyce Gordon
    Paul Cobb
    Black Love Lives conference
    Black Power Babies
    Duke Williams
    Keith Carson
    Sandre Swanson
    Barbara Lee
    Bobby Seale
    Emory Douglas
    Tarika Lewis
    Billy X
    East Side Arts
    Dr. J. Vern Cromartie
    Majeedah Rahman
    Dr. Fritz Pointer
    Donald Hopkins
    Ronald V. Dellums
    Angela Davis
    Fania Davis
    Clarence Thomas
    Walter Riley
    Ayodele Nzinga
    Mama Ayanna
    Wilson Riles Jr.
    (If your name is not on this list, call us 510-200-4164, thank you)

    If you cannot attend, and if you can, please send your donation to Dr. Hare Birthday Party, c/o Post Newspaper Group.

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  • 04/02/13--16:00: Afro Gringo
  • Floating in time remembered
    buildings colors never imagined
    call the Orishas
    let them beat the drum
    dance the dance
    humble before the gods
    ancestors be praised to the Most High
    I am in this
    all this
    I praise
    Holy Ghost fills me joy happiness
    I sweat like James Brown
    Marvin Gaye sexual healing
    I am in the morning sun
    streets crowded  5 am
    sun  hot
    traffic jam
    morning sun
    maid at work before dawn
    go home at can't see
    dollar a day for tip
    Black Americans
    you think you are all that!
    you Gringo too
    you Gringo too
    your conspicuous consumption
    Gringo too
    Black face Gringo
    Gringo tam bien!

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    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." 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, 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

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    NH photo carlos
    LOS ANGELES _ Inspiring poetry that examines a man’s struggle for dignity and acceptance is the grand prize winner of the 2012-2013 Los Angeles Book Festival.

    Book coverDr. Neal Hall’s “Nigger for Life” reflects the author’s painful, later life discovery that in “unspoken America,” race is the one thing on which he is first judged and measured. The book examines Dr. Hall’s deep sense of betrayal, yet offers clarity and inspiration while considering a topic often considered taboo. Dr. Hall will be honored at a private reception on Friday, March 8 at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood.
    Other winners in the competition:
    WINNER: Nigger for Life – Neal Hall
    RUNNER-UP: A Lot to Say, Sumthin To Talk About – Mschell
    • But By the Chance of War – Richard C. Lyons
    • If Dreams Come True – Noorah Deen
    • A Conscious Guide to Daily Living – Amna Ahktar and Kiran Kaur

    Dr. Nigger

    Dr. Nigger
    Can you cure me without
    touching me with nigga hands
    Can you save my life
    without changing my life
    Can you dance soft-shoe while
    humming those negro tunes
    when my white life codes blue
    Can you reach inside yourself
    beyond the shit we put in you…
    past painful moments we put in you…
    past despair and hopelessness
    we’ve put in you and
    find that old black magic in you
    to save my life without changing
    all the shit we put in you
    Dr. Nigger
    Can you breathe in me
    air free of nigga
    from a nigger not free
    to breathe in free air
    Can you stay on the colored side
    of the color line and reach across
    without touching me with nigga hands
    to restart my blue heart without
    changing my cold heart
    Can you reach past the life
    we’ve taken from you to
    save my life and not
    let white life pass me by
    Dr. Nigger
    save my life
    without taking my life
    Cure me without
    touching me with nigga hands
    Dance soft-shoe while
    humming negro tunes
    while you save my life
    without changing my life
    when my white life codes blue
    Neal Hall, M.D., Copyright 2009

    nigger-for-life“…a warrior of the mind … a warrior of the spirit,
    an activist, a poet.”
    - Cornel West, Ph.D.
    Neal Hall, M.D., graduate of Cornell and Harvard, ophthalmologist and poet, has published a critically acclaimed anthology of verse, Nigger For Life, reflecting his painful, later life discovery, that in “unspoken America,” race is the one thing on which he is “first” judged, by which he is “first” measured, “first”, against which his life and accomplishments are metered diminished value, dignity, equality and justice. All of which have everything to do with accessing choice, opportunity, power and freedom in America.
    It’s no ordinary muse that has Dr. Hall becoming as much a part of his poetry as his poetry has become a part of him. Rather it’s a deep sense of betrayal combined with a passion for life that shows through. He can’t help but bare his intelligence, his wit and his dreams. His anthology is as confronting as it is illuminating, as disarming as it is thought provoking
    Two notable and well respected minds best describe why Nigger For Life is important and timely: Cornel West, Ph.D., (Princeton University) said of the book “…his poetry has the capacity to change ordinary people’s philosophy on social and racial issues”. Beth Richie, Ph.D. (University of Illinois at Chicago) stated the “ … images and issues addressed in Nigger For Life are tremendously important to our [African American] people and the academic field of African American Studies”
    Nigger For Life’s candid, gut wrenching clarity gives it it’s tremendous power and impact to provoke both thought and honest dialog regarding race, racism, equality and freedom, not just in America, but throughout the world. The book’s unique ability to open minds, touch hearts and change philosophies of ordinary people is immeasurable.
    The body of poetry is extraordinary … meaningful beyond black and white, worthy of – down through the ages – analytical and academic study for their compelling, empowering commentary. Nigger for Life should be read, studied and included amongst the great poetry volumes written.
    Nigger For Life can be obtained at:
    Online Interview at:
    Conversations LIVE! Radio

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  • 04/06/13--18:05: PBS will Interview Marvin X

  • Eldridge Cleaver: My friend the Devil, a memoir by Marvin X, Black Bird Press, Berkeley CA 2009

    Marvin X wrote his memoir of Eldridge Cleaver in three weeks, posting a chapter per day on the internet.

    The subject is: Merritt College; seeing Bobby & Huey on campus; the era; early years of BPP; knowing Eldridge. And you can speak in your normal,colorful manner. Be you!--Laurens Grant, producer

    PBS filming on Mon. April 8

    Friday, April 5, 2013 10:15 PM
    "Laurens Grant"
    View contact details
    "Marvin X Jackmon"
    On Fri, 4/5/13, Laurens Grant  wrote:

    From: Laurens Grant

    To: "Marvin X Jackmon"
    Date: Friday, April 5, 2013, 8:45 PM

    Greetings Marvin X!

    I'm hitting you! LOL!

    Are you available for on-camera interview on Monday afternoon? This Mon. April 8. Can you come to our location in Oakland?

    We will be filming in a private home - no one lives there now, so it's totally neutral ground!

    The subject is: Merritt College; seeing Bobby & Huey on campus; the era; early years of BPP; knowing Eldridge. And you can speak in your normal,colorful manner. Be you!

    Let me know if you can do it!

    My cell: 718-219-0412



    Greetings Marvin X!

    I will stay in touch in case we need to slide the time a little!

    And let me know if you need transportation!

    Looking forward!

    My cell: 718-219-0412



    Laurens Grant PBS / Firelight Films
    Producer Black Panther Project 
    l Producer & Director Jesse Owens Producer Freedom Riders
    324 Convent Avenue  l  New York, NY 10031
    Direct: +1-212-234-1324 X4# l Fax: 212-234-6688 l Cell: +1-718-219-0412 


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    Below is an email from former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich. Robert created a petition that's been taking off ever since news leaked that President Obama plans to propose $112 billion in Social Security cuts over the next decade, via a scheme known as "chained CPI."  

    "Mr. President, the chained CPI is a cut to Social Security benefits that would hurt seniors—it's an idea not befitting a Democratic president."

    Sign the Petition!
    Dear MoveOn member,
    Social Security is not driving the deficit, therefore it should not be part of reforms aimed at cutting the deficit.  
    The chained CPI, deceptively portrayed as a reasonable cost of living adjustment, is a cut to Social Security benefits that would hurt seniors.
    That's why I created a petition to President Barack Obama, which says:
    Mr. President, the chained CPI is a cut to Social Security benefits that would hurt seniors—it's an idea not befitting a Democratic president. If you want to reform Social Security, make the wealthy pay their fair share by lifting the cap on income subject to Social Security taxes.
    There are several sensible reforms to Social Security that should be considered to help make it sustainable, including lifting the ceiling on income subject to Social Security from $113,700 to $200,000 or more, as well as instituting a 1% raise in the payroll tax rate, a rate that hasn't changed in over 20 years.
    Both of these reforms would go a long way toward protecting the long-term health of Social Security, but neither should not be conflated with efforts to reduce the federal budget deficit.
    –Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor
    This petition was created on, the progressive, nonprofit petition site. is sponsored by MoveOn Civic Action, which is not responsible for the contents of this or other petitions posted on the site. Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor didn't pay us to send this email—we never rent or sell the list.
    Want to support our work? MoveOn Civic Action is entirely funded by our 7 million members—no corporate contributions, no big checks from CEOs. And our tiny staff ensures that small contributions go a long way. Chip in here.

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    Five Killed in Year’s Deadliest Attack on Americans in Afghanistan

    APTN, via Associated Press
    Afghan soldiers rushed to the scene of a car bombing in Qalat, Afghanistan. Another American was killed in eastern Afghanistan.

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    KABUL, Afghanistan — A suicide car bomb in southern Afghanistan killed three American soldiers and two American civilians, including a State Department Foreign Service officer, on Saturday, the deadliest single attack against United States forces this year, officials said.
    World Twitter Logo.

    Connect With Us on Twitter

    Follow@nytimesworld for international breaking news and headlines.
    The violence came as Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan.
    Attacks are picking up in what is known as the country’s fighting season as the weather gets warmer. And the Taliban are expected to intensify their efforts to destabilize the Afghan security forces as the NATO troops who have secured the country for the last decade start packing up for their departure at the end of 2014.
    The suicide bomber detonated his vehicle on a road in Zabul Province around 11 a.m. as an American convoy passed by, according to American and Afghan officials. The officials and soldiers in the convoy were accompanying Gov. Mohammad Ashraf Nasery of Zabul Province on a trip to inaugurate a new school in Qalat, the provincial capital, where they were to deliver donated books.
    Four other State Department employees were wounded in the blast, one critically. Three Afghans were also killed — a doctor accompanying the governor and two of Mr. Nasery’s bodyguards, said Muhammad Jan Rasoolyar, the deputy governor.
    The United States government did not immediately identify the victims, but they included a Department of Defense employee, three service members and the Foreign Service officer.
    Secretary of State John Kerry, who was traveling to Istanbul on Saturday, said that he had met the State Department officer during his visit late last month to Kabul. She had been assigned to provide him logistical support during his trip.
    “She was everything a Foreign Service officer should be: smart, capable, eager to serve and deeply committed to our country and the difference she was making for the Afghan people,” Mr. Kerry said in a statement in strikingly personal terms, calling the officer’s death an “immeasurable loss.”
    Mr. Kerry said that he had spoken to the woman’s parents. “As a father of two daughters,” he said, “I can’t imagine what her family is feeling today, or her friends and colleagues.”
    The Taliban claimed responsibility for Saturday’s blast, which occurred near a coalition base. It was unclear whether the attack was aimed at the coalition forces or the governor, who survived. The bombing was the deadliest for Americans since July, when a bomb in Wardak Province killed six United States service members, American officials said.
    An American civilian was also killed on Saturday in a separate insurgent strike in the east of the country, although officials did not specify the nature of the attack. So far this year, 30 coalition troops have died in Afghanistan, 24 of them Americans, according toIcasualties, a Web site that tracks military fatalities.
    The death tolls for coalition forces and Afghans have reversed as Afghans have taken the lead in battle, with Afghans now making up the vast majority of victims of combat-related deaths.
    The attacks on Saturday came on the heels of a major Taliban assault in Farah Province last week that killed at least 44 people. In that strike, insurgents stormed a government compound, setting off a seven-hour gun battle that wounded more than 100 people. That attack highlighted the deteriorating security situation in Farah, a restive province that borders Iran to the west and where violent attacks in general have been on the rise.
    Officials from Farah said insurgents have targeted the province as the government in Kabul has dealt with more violent areas of the country.
    General Dempsey’s trip to Afghanistan on Saturday was intended as an assessment of training that the United States can provide to Afghan troops. During a visit to Afghanistan by the general in August, insurgents hiding outside the heavily fortified Bagram Air Base fired a pair of rockets that damaged his plane and slightly wounded two service members. The general was in his quarters and asleep at the time, his spokesman said.

    Steven Lee Myers contributed reporting from Washington, Michael R. Gordon from Istanbul, and Taimoor Shah from Kandahar, Afghanistan.

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    We pray for the recovery of our beloved brother warrior, Jitu Weusi. In our last visit to New York, we spoke with him on the phone. He was in the hospital but holding onto the rope of life.
    --Marvin X

    Dear Family/Community, For those of you who may not have seen this posting on facebook by Nandi, Bro. Jitu's daughter....  Thank you for posting it, Nandi.  We encircle Bro. Jitu and your/our family with prayers for his continued recovery.
    You can send positive thoughts and wishes for wellness to Bro. Jitu at  He will also get the messages sent via his wife, Angela, at

    Jitu Weusi’s Journey: In this Journal Message to the Community,the Education Activist Relates his Biggest Struggle Ever

    • Saturday, April 6, 2013, 8:57
    Jitu Weusi

    Jitu Weusi

    Looking back to December 3, 2012 when I went for a routine doctor’s visit with my physician of 29 years, Dr. Oliver Fine, I would not have thought that three months later I would be incapacitated fighting my biggest struggle ever – to stay alive. The day after that visit I received an alarming call from Dr. Fine urging me to visit the colonoscopy specialist because I was experiencing a precipitous drop in red blood cells. I was anemic. Later, I underwent two exams: a colonoscopy and an endoscopy, both were very invasive procedures. 

    Subsequently, I was urged to do another exam, which required that I swallow a camera scope to obtain images of my intestinal tract. All of these tests were proactive attempts to diagnose the cause of the red blood cell loss, all to no avail.

    Shortly after the camera-swallowing test (I remember it was December 10th because Kenny Gates performed at For My Sweet’s Jazzy Mondays), something strange happened. For about three minutes the right side of my brain felt sizzling-hot like an egg frying, and my hand and right eye were moving uncontrollably. It occurred while I was alone.

    Although concerned and alarmed I chose to keep this incident to myself.

    A month later, on Tuesday, January 15th , I experienced the same symptoms for a longer period of time. This too, I kept to myself. However, the very next day, I had yet another episode while in the presence of my eldest son, Kuzaliwa Kojo Campbell, and my wife, Angela. I was escorted home and immediately thereafter persuaded to go to the hospital. I was later told it was a seizure.

    On Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at approximately 11:47PM I was taken – at my request– to the emergency room of the Cornell New York Presbyterian Hospital at 70th and York Avenues on the Upper East Side of Manhattan of which Dr. 
    Fine has affiliation.

    After arriving and providing staff with a recent history of events, examinations began immediately. The staff conducted a CT scan of the head and a chest X-ray. While waiting for the results, I took notice of my surroundings for the first time. I observed a scene straight out of an episode of MASH. All around me were people—hospital staff and patients alike. Space was limited; there were beds in the hallways and the family waiting areas were transformed into makeshift rooms. The hospital was severely impacted after Hurricane Sandy hit, closing two other NY hospitals. It would be days before I would be assigned a bed.

    A Mass in Brain Detected

    At 2:45AM, reports from the first tests returned – a mass was detected on the right frontal lobe of my brain which was causing the seizures. Also, a large mass was seen on my lung. In the next few days, while still in the emergency room, I underwent more tests, which served to produce more questions. More CT scans were taken of my abdomen and pelvis as cancer was being speculated but the specific type of cancer was unknown. Cancer. “The Big C”. 

    This was a surprise to me. I was not in pain. How could I possibly have cancer? The hospital had their team of doctors that attended to me going forward. They started me on the drug Keppra to control the seizure activity. They arranged for a biopsy of the lung mass. The results were conclusive. The results were surprising. The results confirmed that which was mere speculation the day before. Malignant. Cancer.
    Family Team Formed, Message to Community Drafted

    The next morning, a team of doctors who reported to Dr. Fine gave me a complete analysis along with their suggestion as to a path to healing. My family (on the ground with me) included my wife Angela Weusi, Dr. Damali Campbell, Kweli Campbell and Kojo Campbell. They would form a team to help with the analysis and help answer any questions that I had. The additional tests that were taken revealed additional masses on the right hip and the kidney. The diagnosis was that I had advanced stages of kidney cancer that had metastasized to the brain, lung and my right hip. A message was drafted to send out to the family and community as to the diagnosis at the time.

    The first decision I had to make following my diagnosis was to find an oncologist. Dr. Fine recommended Dr. Nannus, an oncologist who specializes in cancer of the kidney. Having been his patient for 29 years, I trusted his opinion. After consulting with a neurosurgery team, Dr. Nannus recommended that the first course of action was to remove the tumor on the brain because tumors on the brain don’t typically respond well to chemotherapy. The neurosurgeon, Dr. Schwartz, consulted with me and my family about performing brain surgery. Brain surgery! He claimed that if there was only one tumor near the surface of the brain, then its removal would be easy. Brain surgery—easy?! The neurosurgeon hypothesized that if surgery was done to remove the lesion on the right side of brain and if it was successful, it could slow the spread of the cancer to the other organs. Brain surgery. At this point I needed a moment. I needed to think. This was a lot to understand. I needed guidance. I spoke with my 86-year-old godmother and best friend of my deceased mother, Alma Carroll, who told me that I should go ahead and do what the doctors suggested because everything would be on my side. Hearing this is what I needed to make the decision to move forward and to get through the hurdle before me.

    Soon after testing was done in the PET scan lab and MRI and all was approved for the surgery, I was taken to surgery at about 4PM in the evening. The last thing I remember was the head nurse explaining to me the effects of the anesthesia she was giving to me. She told me to relax and enjoy myself. Shortly thereafter, I was in dreamland. It was about 1:30AM the next morning when I awoke with a headache, feeling like I had a hole in my head. My wife was beside me. I squeezed her hand and told her that I had a headache. She called for the head nurse in the Neurosurgery ICU recovering room to come and deliver pain medication for the throbbing headache I was experiencing.
    The drug of the day was Percocet, which allowed me to sleep 
    to the next morning.

    Difficult Adjustments

    I was told the following day that the surgery went well, and for a moment I felt like a rock star with a cult following, as various doctors and other medical staff routinely came around to ensure that my post-op experience was going along well. This feeling would soon fade as I began to understand the extent of the surgery. One of the earliest experiences was a complete loss of bathroom functioning. Bathroom functioning! Because the procedure was to the brain, the mobility of my legs and arms was affected. If I can’t move my legs, I can’t walk to the bathroom; something I didn’t bargain for. I became completely dependent on someone else to change my diaper at least a half-dozen times a day. Initially, I was constipated so my embarrassment went undetected. But four days later, I had a breakthrough and suddenly there was an outpouring of stool. While overjoyed for the intestinal evacuation, I was embarrassed and upset by my inability to better control the situation or participate in the cleanup.

    It is needless to say that my stay at the hospital was a difficult adjustment. I rarely got any rest; there was a constant stream of medical staff coming to my room at all hours of the night and day to meddle in my medical business— drawing blood, checking my blood pressure and sugar levels, and giving me some kind of injection or another. Most were competent, getting it right on the first try; more than a few were not so competent—rendering my right hand to a most painful but legal form of abuse. A drug regimen began and was now in full swing: steroids to reduce brain swelling which causes blood sugar instability; Insulin to control the blood sugar instability; keppra for the seizure activity; a blood transfusion was needed on several occasions. Physical therapy would be needed to move again and a walker would be needed to preserve the strength of my hip which is weak and a fall could mean a hip fracture.

    My wife, my children, a rock of support

    During this crisis my spirit was bolstered by midnight visits from my sons, Toure and Kojo. It was refreshing to open my eyes at midnight to see Kojo reading over his lesson plans or Toure with insomnia cookies in hand. My daughter Kweli took some time off from work and would read the NY Times so I could keep abreast of such issues as Obama’s battle with Congress, Hugo Chavez’ health (now deceased) and updates on the Nets and Knicks.

    I spent very little time alone as my wife was at the hospital daily giving me solace and confidence to deal with all the machinations as we dealt with modern medicine in a big hospital. We would often lament about how medicine today operates on a factory-type model (system with various pieces to carry out order and assignments: many employees, doctors, doctor assistants, nurses, nurse’s aides, technicians, janitors, transporters, etc.). Over a period of six weeks, I could identify hundreds of jobs that would be available for people to work in a comprehensive medical center or hospital.
    During this time I had visits from all my children who live in other states: Nandi Campbell, Makini Campbell, Taifa Graves and Hazina Campbell-Dorius. They all came in at various times to attend to my health and well-being. My sister Shirley Clarke came in from California and showered me with attention. I had weekly visits from my brother and his wife, Job and Muslimah Mashariki. Visits from concerned nephews and nieces also served as a source of comfort.

    Condition stabilized, Chemotherapy commences

    Once my medical condition was stabilized, the medical team transferred me to the Baker Pavilion wing of the hospital where I would receive intensive physical therapy 4 hours a day, five days a week. The occupation and physical therapists managed to get me out of bed and into a wheelchair every day, helping me to regain some of the basic functions I had lost after the surgery. Meanwhile, I was given a battery of tests such as X-rays, eye exams and other specialty tests for eye, nose and ears. My medical team advised that I start receiving radiation treatments for the brain and begin an intravenous form of chemo once a week. The radiation treatments were an experience I struggled heavily with as it required the most discipline. I was prescribed 3 sessions of radiation treatment to my brain where the mass was removed and 3 more to another area where an earlier test discovered a small mass. The procedure called for me to be fitted for a device that would allow the technicians to get radiation to a targeted area in my brain. I had to be strapped down with my head stationary while they zapped my brain.
    The chemotherapy is to slow down the progression of the cancer in all areas of my body. While I have been told that I am holding up surprisingly well for a chemo patient, I have struggled at times. After my second week of chemotherapy I experienced fever and chills. It was discovered that this reaction was a result of a urinary tract infection (UTI), which was qualitatively the worst pain I had experienced since arriving at the hospital. On the night of the 23rd, I awoke no less than 20x crying in pain from the burning that accompanied my urination. The next day, because of my persistence, I was moved to a floor that specialized in infectious disease— fifth-floor MASH unit. They employed a team of nurses to analyze and treat the problem. In order to cure the UTI, I had to undergo a series of tests to identify the type of infection and proper treatment. Here, I received more effective antibiotics.
    My UTI soon went away.

    Not cured, but strong

    This has been a difficult ordeal, fraught with lows and lower lows. I have been faced with difficult decisions regarding treatment options. I have had to confront head-on the aftermath of brain surgery and the debilitation that follows.
    Since my arrival in the hospital I have had to daily engage in a battle, a war, against cancer. It may have temporarily taken away my ability to stand and walk to the bathroom on my own, but it has not taken away my resolve to fight. And each battle that I have faced, I have not faced alone. My family has been a constant source of support and companionship, giving me strength to face each battle head-on. I have also been blessed with home-cooked meals from my daughter-in-law Debbie Campbell and my daughter Dr. Damali Campbell that greatly aided in my food consumption and kept me strong during the chemotherapy.
    I am not cured, but I am feeling stronger. I don’t know how many days I have remaining in this life. I feel great and have no pains at the current moment.

    Outpourings of Love

    I thank God. I thank my entire family, 8 children, 12 grandchildren, my wife and friends and relatives for the support given to me in making this journey possible.
    I am thankful for the many calls, letters of concern, words of encouragement and overall outpouring of love.

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      Book Description

      April 5, 2007  1574780395  978-1574780390
      The defining work of the Black Arts Movement, Black Fire is at once a rich anthology and an extraordinary source document. Nearly 200 selections, including poetry, essays, short stories, and plays, from over 75 cultural critics, writers, and political leaders, capture the social and cultural turmoil of the 1960s. In his new introduction, Amiri Baraka reflects nearly four decades later on both the movement and the book.

      488 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 7 illus., appends., notes, bibl., index
      John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture
      ISBN  978-0-8078-2934-9
      Published: May 2005

      ISBN  978-0-8078-5598-0
      Published: May 2005
      Literary Nationalism in the 1960s and 1970s
      James Edward Smethurst

      Awards & Distinctions
      2006 James A. Rawley Prize, Organization of American Historians
      A 2005 Choice Outstanding Academic Title
      Emerging from a matrix of Old Left, black nationalist, and bohemian ideologies and institutions, African American artists and intellectuals in the 1960s coalesced to form the Black Arts Movement, the cultural wing of the Black Power Movement. In this comprehensive analysis, James Smethurst examines the formation of the Black Arts Movement and demonstrates how it deeply influenced the production and reception of literature and art in the United States through its negotiations of the ideological climate of the Cold War, decolonization, and the civil rights movement.
      Taking a regional approach, Smethurst examines local expressions of the nascent Black Arts Movement, a movement distinctive in its geographical reach and diversity, while always keeping the frame of the larger movement in view. The Black Arts Movement, he argues, fundamentally changed American attitudes about the relationship between popular culture and "high" art and dramatically transformed the landscape of public funding for the arts.

      About the Author

      James Edward Smethurst is associate professor of Afro-American studies at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. He is author of The New Red Negro: The Literary Left and African American Poetry, 1930-1946 and coeditor of Left of the Color Line: Race, Radicalism, and Twentieth-Century Literature of the United States.


      "A richly insightful and informative account of the often occluded racial dynamics of early modernism."
      --Journal of American Studies
      "The most comprehensive work published to date on the Black Arts Movement, painstakingly detailing the movement's national thrust. . . . This book is a monumental achievement and will serve as the definitive text on the movement for some time to come."
      --Journal of African American History
      "Smethurst… has written a tour-de-force that will quickly become the definitive analysis of the sprawling and internally contradictory entity known as the Black Arts movement."
      --Against the Current
      "Mapping important connections and offering a cornucopia of information, The Black Arts Movement: Literary Nationalism in the 1960s and 1970s is a truly valuable contribution to the study of American letters. Smethurst gets it right! His thorough research and astute analysis overcome two decades of deliberate critical misrepresentation to help us examine a tumultuous era when visionary leadership and nationwide grassroots participation created a dynamic, paradigm-changing cultural renaissance."--Lorenzo Thomas, University of Houston-Downtown
      "A momentous and singular contribution to the study of literary ethnic nationalism in particular, and post-World War II cultural history in general. Anyone interested in United States culture and politics in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s will be drawn to The Black Arts Movement as a chronicle, survey, and fabulous reference."--Alan Wald, University of Michigan

      Somethin' Proper

      The Life and Times of a North American African Poet

      Marvin X (Marvin E. Jackmon) [El Muhajir]. Somethin' Proper: The Life and Times of a North American African Poet. Castro Valley, CA: Black Bird P, 1998. 278 pp. $29.95.
      Marvin X's autobiography Somethin' Proper is one of the most significant works to come out of the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. It tells the story of perhaps the most important African American Muslim poet to appear in the United States during the Civil Rights era. The book opens with an introduction by scholar Nathan Hare, a key figure in the Black Studies Movement of the period. Marvin X then takes center stage with an exploration of his life's story, juxtaposed with the rapidly changing events and movements of contemporary history: the Civil Rights Movement, the Black Arts 

      Autobiography/ African American culture. In this autobiography, Marvin X, the first North American African Islamic poet to achieve international recognition for his poetry and plays tells the story, "of the black consciousness movement and the world of the troubled inner city" (from Nathan Hare's Introduction). His work has been compared to that of Franz Fanon and LeRoi Jones. "Somethin' Proper works: writers should tell our history, that's our job" -- Amiri Baraka. "Through the poetry of Marvin X, I became conscious of my own ethnicity" -- Janice Mirikitani. 278pp. Black Bird Press

      Marvin X (b. 1944), poet, playwright, essayist, director, and lecturer. Marvin Ellis Jackmon was born on 29 May 1944 in Fowler, California. He attended high school in Fresno and received a BA and MA in English from San Francisco State College (now San Francisco State University). The mid-1960s were formative years for Jackmon. He became involved in theater, founded his own press, published several plays and volumes of poetry, and became increasingly alienated because of racism and the Vietnam War. Under the influence of Elijah Muhammad, he became a Black Muslim and has published since then under the names El Muhajir and Marvin X. He has also used the name Nazzam al Fitnah Muhajir.

      Marvin X and Ed Bullins founded the Black Arts/West Theatre in San Francisco in 1966, and several of his plays were staged during that period in San Francisco, Oakland, New York, and by local companies across the United States. His one-act play Flowers for the Trashman was staged in San Francisco in 1965 and was included in the anthology Black Fire (1968); a musical version, Take Care of Business, was produced in 1971. The play presents the confrontation between two cellmates in a jail—one a young African American college student, the other a middle-aged white man. Another one-act play, The Black Bird, a Black Muslim allegory in which a young man offers lessons in life awareness to two small girls, appeared in 1969 and was included in New Plays from the Black Theatre that year. Several other plays, including The Trial, Resurrection of the Dead, and In the Name of Love, have been successfully staged, and Marvin X has remained an important advocate of African American theater.

      In 1967, Marvin X was convicted, during the Vietnam War, for refusing induction and fled to Canada; eventually he was arrested in Honduras, was returned to the United States, and was sentenced to five months in prison. In his statement on being sentenced—later reprinted in Black Scholar (1971) and also in Clyde Taylor's anthology,Vietnam and Black America (1973)—he argues that
      Any judge, any jury, is guilty of insanity that would have the nerve to judge and convict and imprison a black man because he did not appear in a courtroom on a charge of refusing to commit crimes against humanity, crimes against his own brothers and sisters, the peace-loving people of Vietnam.

      Marvin X founded El Kitab Sudan publishing house in 1967; several of his books of poetry and proverbs have been published there. Much of Marvin X's poetry is militant in its anger at American racism and injustice. For example, in “Did You Vote Nigger?” he uses rough dialect and directs his irony at African Americans who believe in the government but are actually its pawns. Many of the proverbs in The Son of Man (1969) express alienation from white America. However, many of Marvin X's proverbs and poems express more concern with what African Americans can do positively for themselves, without being paralyzed by hatred. He insists that the answer is to concentrate on establishing a racial identity and to “understand that art is celebration of Allah.” The poems in Fly to Allah, Black Man Listen (1969), and other volumes from his El Kitab Sudan press are characterized by their intensity and their message of racial unity under a religious banner.

      Marvin X has remained active as a lecturer, teacher, theatrical producer, editor, and exponent of Islam. His work in advocating racial cohesion and religious dedication as an antidote to the legacy of racism he saw around him in the 1960s and 1970s made him an important voice of his generation.
      • Lorenzo Thomas, “Marvin X,” in DLBvol. 38Afro-American Writers after 1955: Dramatists and Prose Writers, eds. Thadious Davis and Trudier Harris, 1985, pp. 177–184.
      • Bernard L. Peterson, Jr., “Marvin X,” in Contemporary Black American Playwrights and Their Plays, 1988, pp. 332–333. “El Muhajir,” in CAvol. 26, eds. Hal May and James G. Lesniak, 1989, pp. 132–133
      Michael E. Greene

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      Poet's body exhumed: Was Pablo Neruda poisoned?

      A judge ordered a poet's body exhumed to look for evidence that Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda was killed by agents of Gen. Augusto Pinochet's brutal dictatorship.

      By Eva Vergara, Associated Press / April 8, 2013
      Forensic anthropologists dig at the grave of Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda as they prepare for the exhumation of the poet's remains in Isla Negra, Chile, April 7. The poet's body was exhumed today in an effort to clear up four decades of suspicion about how the poet died in the days after Chile's military coup.

      Chilean forensic experts exhumed the body of Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda on Monday, trying to solve a four-decade mystery about the death of one the greatest poets of the 20th century.

      The official version is that that the poet died from prostate cancer and the trauma of witnessing the 1973 military coup that led to the persecution and killing of many of his friends. But his driver and many other Chileans say Neruda was murdered by agents of Gen. Augusto Pinochet's brutal dictatorship.
      Experts were concerned that high salinity and humidity could affect the exhumation at Neruda's home in Isla Negra, a rocky outcropping overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
      But Patricio Bustos, head of Chile's medical legal service, said Neruda's casket is in good shape after the one-hour exhumation. After draping Neruda's coffin in the Chilean national flag, forensics workers took his remains to the capital for tests. They could also be analyzed abroad and Bustos said they have offers from labs in the United States and Europe.
      "After we take a look at our lab, following the biomedical safety measures and with total vigilance, we will be able to set a timeline for the process," Bustos told reporters.
      "The most complex part will be searching for toxic substances that could not only be classic poisons, but also, according to testimonies, could be medical substances at very high doses to harm the poet."
      Neruda, who won the Nobel prize for literature in 1971, was best known for romantic verses, especially the collection "Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair." He was also a leftist diplomat and close friend of socialist President Santiago Allende, who committed suicide rather than surrender to troops during the Sept. 11, 1973 coup led by Pinochet.
      Neruda planned to go into exile, where he would have been an influential voice against the dictatorship. Just a day before he was scheduled to leave, he was taken by ambulance to the Santa Maria hospital in Santiago to keep him safe from political persecution.
      Officially, Neruda died there on Sept. 23 from natural causes related to the emotional trauma of the coup.
      For years, his driver and bodyguard, Manuel Araya has said that the poet was murdered when agents of the dictatorship injected poison into his stomach at the clinic.
      "If it hadn't been for that shot Neruda wouldn't have died," Araya said.
      "After seeing him being removed from the site, I felt a huge amount of pain because I lived the 24 hours with Neruda before his death. It took a long time, but justice has been served."
      Former President Eduardo Frei Montalva died at the same clinic nine years later. Although doctors listed the cause of his 1982 death as septic shock from stomach hernia surgery, an investigation almost three decades later showed that the vocal opponent of the Pinochet regime had been slowly poisoned to death.
      The exhumation was approved by Judge Mario Carroza on a request by Chile's Communist Party. It was attended by the driver and one of Neruda's four nephews.
      "It was an emotional moment that reached our very fibers," said Rodolfo Reyes, one of Neruda's nephews.
      "It's very important that the truth is known and the eyes of the world are set on this new investigation."


      If You Forget Me

      I want you to know
      one thing.

      You know how this is:
      if I look
      at the crystal moon, at the red branch
      of the slow autumn at my window,
      if I touch
      near the fire
      the impalpable ash
      or the wrinkled body of the log,
      everything carries me to you,
      as if everything that exists,
      aromas, light, metals,
      were little boats
      that sail
      toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

      Well, now,
      if little by little you stop loving me
      I shall stop loving you, little by little.

      If suddenly
      you forget me,
      do not look for me,
      for I shall already have forgotten you.

      If you think it long and mad,
      the wind of banners
      that passes through my life,
      and you decide
      to leave me at the shore
      of the heart where I have roots,
      that on that day,
      at that hour,
      I shall lift my arms
      and my roots will set off
      to seek another land.

      if each day,
      each hour,
      you feel that you are destined for me
      with implacable sweetness,
      if each day a flower
      climbs up to your lips to seek me,
      ah my love, ah my own,
      in me all that fire is repeated,
      in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
      my love feeds on your love, beloved,
      and as long as you live it will be in your arms
      without leaving mine.

      I do not love you...

      I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
      or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
      I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
      in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

      I love you as the plant that never blooms
      but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
      thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
      risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

      I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
      I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
      so I love you because I know no other way than this:
      where I does not exist, nor you,
      so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
      so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

      I Like for You to be Still

      I like for you to be still:
      it is as though you were absent,
      and you hear me from far away
      and my voice does not touch you.
      It seems as though your eyes had flown away
      and it seems that a kiss had sealed your mouth.

      As all things are filled with my soul
      you emerge from the things,
      filled with my soul.
      You are like my soul,
      a butterfly of dream,
      and you are like the word Melancholy.

      I like for you to be still
      and you seem far away.
      It sounds as though you were lamenting,
      a butterly cooing like a dove.
      And you hear me from far away, and my voice does not reach you:
      Let me come down to be still in your silence.

      And let me talk to you with your silence
      that is bright as a lamp, simple as a ring.
      You are like the night,
      with its stillness and constellations.
      Your silence is that of a star,
      as remote and candid.

      I like for you to be still:
      it is as though you were absent,
      distant and full of sorrow as though you had died.
      One word then, one smile, is enough.
      And I am happy,
      happy that it's not true.

      Tonight I Can Write...

      Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

      Write for example, "The night is shattered
      and the blue stars shiver in the distance."

      The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.

      Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
      I loved her,
      and sometimes she loved me too.

      Through nights like this one, I held her in my arms.
      I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.

      She loved me, sometimes I loved her too.
      How could one not have loved her great still eyes.

      Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
      To think that I do not have her.
      To feel that I have lost her.

      To hear the immense night,
      still more immense without her.
      And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.

      What does it matter that my love could not keep her.
      The night is shattered
      and she is not with me.

      This is all.
      In the distance someone is singing.
      In the distance.
      My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

      My sight searches for her as though to go to her.
      My heart looks for her,
      and she is not with me.

      The same night whitening the same trees.
      We, of that time, are no longer the same.

      I no longer love her, that's certain,
      but how I loved her.
      My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.

      Another's. She will be another's.
      Like my kisses before.
      Her bright body.
      Her infinite eyes.

      I no longer love her, that's certain,
      but maybe I love her.
      Love is so short,
      forgetting is so long.

      Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms
      my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

      Thought this be the last pain that she makes me suffer
      and these the last verses that I write for her.


      Because of you, in gardens of blossoming flowers
      I ache from the perfumes of spring.

      I have forgotten your face,
      I no longer remember your hands;
      how did your lips feel on mine?

      Because of you, I love the white statues drowsing in the parks
      the white statues that have neither voice nor sight.

      I have forgotten your voice, your happy voice;
      I have forgotten your eyes.

      Like a flower to its perfume,
      I am bound to my vague memory of you.
      I live with pain that is like a wound;
      if you touch me, you will do me irreparable harm.

      Your caresses enfold me,
      like climbing vines on melancholy walls.
      I have forgotten your love,
      yet I seem to glimpse you in every window.

      Because of you, the heady perfumes of summer pain me;
      because of you, I again seek out the signs that precipitates desires:
      shooting stars and falling objects.

      I crave your mouth...

      I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair.
      Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets.
      Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all day
      I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps.

      I hunger for your sleek laugh,
      your hands the color of a savage harvest,
      hunger for the pale stones of your fingernails,
      I want to eat your skin like a whole almond.

      I want to eat the sunbeam flaring in your lovely body,
      the sovereign nose of your arrogant face,
      I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes,

      and I pace around hungry, sniffing the twilight,
      hunting for you, for your hot heart,
      Like a puma in the barrens of Quitratue.

      Don't go far off...

      Don't go far off, not even for a day, because --
      because -- I don't know how to say it:
      a day is long and I will be waiting for you,
      as in an empty station when the trains are parked off somewhere else,

      Don't leave me, even for an hour, because
      then the little drops of anguish will all run together,
      the smoke that roams looking for a home
      will drift into me, choking my lost heart.

      Oh, may your silhouette never dissolve on the beach;
      may your eyelids never flutter into the empty distance.
      Don't leave me for a second, my dearest,

      because in that moment you'll have gone so far
      I'll wander mazily over all the earth, asking,
      Will you come back? Will you leave me here, dying?

      Maybe you'll remember...

      Maybe you'll remember that razor-faced man
      who slipped out from the dark like a blade
      and -- before we realized -- knew what was there:
      he saw the smoke and concluded fire.

      The pallid woman with black hair
      rose like a fish from the abyss,
      and the two of them built up a contraption,
      armed to the teeth, against love.

      Man and woman, they felled mountains and gardens,
      they went down to the river, they scaled the walls,
      they hoisted their atrocious artillery up the hill.

      Then love knew it was called love.
      And when I lifted my eyes to your name,
      suddenly your heart showed me my way.

      You will remember...

      You will remember that leaping stream 
      where sweet aromas rose and trembled, 
      and sometimes a bird, wearing water 
      and slowness, its winter feathers. 

      You will remember those gifts from the earth: 
      indelible scents, gold clay, 
      weeds in the thicket and crazy roots, 
      magical thorns like swords. 

      You'll remember the bouquet you picked, 
      shadows and silent water, 
      bouquet like a foam-covered stone. 

      That time was like never, and like always. 
      So we go there, where nothing is waiting; 
      we find everything waiting there. 

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      In assembling the Dr. Nathan Hare and Dr. Julia Hare papers, we found Nathan's professional boxing robe.  The Bay Area will celebrate the 80th birthday of Dr. Nathan Hare, our Franz Fanon, on Saturday, April 13, 3-5pm at Geoffery's Club, 410 14th Street @ Franklin, downtown Oakland. 
      photo Marvin X

       Paul Robeson "The Artistic Freedom Fighter"

                              City Councilman Ras Baraka 
      The Next Mayor of Newark, New Jersey
      Newark will celebrate the birthday of Ras Baraka
      on Friday, April 12, at the home of his parents,
      Mrs. Amina Baraka and Mr. Amiri Baraka,
      808 S. 10th Street, Newark, NJ.

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      Peace Envoys From Taliban at Loose Ends in Qatar

      Banaras Khan/Agence France-Presse
      Tayeb Agha, center, the Taliban leader’s chief of staff, in November 2001. He is one of the diplomats stranded in Qatar.
      World Twitter Logo.
      DOHA, Qatar — When a handful of Taliban emissaries flew into Qatar on an American plane in 2010, the Obama administration hoped they would help negotiate a peace deal that could stabilize Afghanistan and allow the United States a graceful exit.
      Three years after that secret arrival, the Taliban officials remain idle and their political office here remains unused.
      “They are just living here enjoying the air-conditioning, driving luxury cars, eating and making babies,” one Afghan diplomat in Qatar said. “It’s all they can do; they have no work to do.”
      They are unlikely to see a negotiating table anytime soon either, with the new fighting season in Afghanistan off to a particularly violent start and with the latest push to restart talks all but abandoned. Once again, the Taliban’s attention is on the battlefield, and on what may be gained or lost there as the American military begins its withdrawal from the war.
      The Taliban presence here — eight or more relatively high-ranking officials with their families, Afghan officials say — is occasionally reconfirmed in a sighting on the streets or, in the case of the Afghan diplomat, when the Taliban men come to the sleepy Afghan Embassy here to register the birth of another child.
      Early insurgent negotiations with American officials had a faltering start, initially over a proposed prisoner exchange, in which five Taliban figures being held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, would be released in exchange for the freedom of the lone American soldier being held prisoner by the Taliban, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. But American officials say that their talks have ended and that there have been no further discussions with the Taliban since early 2012.
      Recently, Western diplomats in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, expressed hope that the discussions might resume amid intense diplomatic activity by many countries to push peace talks, this time led by Afghanistan. That hope now appears to have fizzled once again, and diplomats’ expectations of some movement by the end of March from the Taliban side have come to naught. President Hamid Karzai met here with the Qatari emir,Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, on March 31 in what Afghan officials billed as discussions about opening the office, but no developments were announced after the meeting.
      “There is a limit to how long we can wait,” said another Western diplomat familiar with the peace efforts. “If at some point they don’t issue statements, it’s not open-ended. There are ways we can pressure the Taliban in Qatar.”
      Officially, the Qataris have never explicitly admitted that the Taliban are even present here, and the government-controlled press never mentions it, although they have acknowledged that they are willing to host an official office for peace talks.
      Qatari officials did not respond to requests for comment about the Taliban presence.
      “With the Taliban, the Qataris have a hot potato,” said an Afghan journalist working here, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of being expelled. “How do you handle hosting suicide bombers? They can’t acknowledge them until that sort of activity stops.”
      The Taliban representatives here are not lightweights. The most prominent among them isTayeb Agha, the chief of staff to the Taliban’s leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar. Others include Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, the former Taliban health minister, and Qari din Mohammed Hanafi, their former minister of planning. The delegation includes veteran diplomats like Mualavi Shahabadin Delawar, the former Taliban ambassador to Saudi Arabia; Sohail Shaheen, a former ambassador to Pakistan; and Hafiz Aziz Rahman, the representative to the United Nations for the Taliban government when it ruled Afghanistan.
      Just why the effort to open a Taliban office has faltered is a matter of dispute. The Americans say the Taliban have simply decided to continue fighting, worried by pressure from their own hard-liners and concerned that entering peace talks would sap their will on the battlefield. “No one wants to be the last one to die before peace talks start,” as one diplomat put it.
      The Taliban say the Americans reneged on their confidence-building pledge to free the Guantánamo five, which would have been politically difficult for President Obama, given bipartisan opposition in Congress to such releases. Instead, the Americans insisted that talks would have to include the Afghan government first. The Taliban has rejected that condition, deriding the government of President Hamid Karzai as a puppet regime and saying it would talk to the Afghan government only after reaching a settlement with the Americans.
      Still, neither Western diplomats nor the Taliban have given up on the idea of talks in Qatar. “There are Taliban all over the place talking about peace, but the U.S. government’s view is that the most promising is the Doha track,” one diplomat said.
      Wahid Muzhda, a former official in the Taliban’s Foreign Ministry who now lives in Kabul but maintains contacts with the insurgents, said that “some of the Taliban still believe it’s worth having the office there, but its prospects do look dim.”
      Both Taliban and American officials publicly agree on one thing: that they are no longer talking to each another, officially or unofficially.
      That, however, is a development that the Afghan government has refused to believe. President Karzai has openly accused the Americans of doing so. “We think they are secretly talking,” the Afghan diplomat in Qatar said. “America is the best friend of Afghanistan, and between friends we should tell each other what we’re doing.”
      The Afghans have not tried to block the Qatari initiative. “It suits everybody,” said the Afghan journalist working in Doha. “The Americans want their soldier back, the Taliban want a vacation, the Pakistanis want the Taliban to look independent of them, and the Afghans want distance between the Pakistanis and the Taliban.”
      While in Qatar, the Taliban have scrupulously avoided all public appearances, refusing interviews and issuing no statements — which the Qataris have made a condition of their presence.
      An Afghan diplomat was at a shopping mall in Doha recently and heard a child call out in Pashto, the language used by most Taliban.
      The diplomat turned and saw Hanif din Mohammad, a Taliban representative from northern Badakhshan Province. Introducing himself as an embassy official, the diplomat then said, “So, are you from the other side?” Blushing, the Talib turned and walked away, children in tow.
      Alissa J. Rubin and Sangar Rahimi contributed reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan.

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      After the Party: Music and the Black Panthers

      Musicians don't often end up on FBI watch lists, but the Last Poets did, thanks to their links with the Black Panthers. Dorian Lynskey looks back at a time when pop and politics collided as never before
      Photo of LAST POETS
      The Last Poets in 1970, left to right, Umar Bin Hassan, Jalal Mansur Nuriddin and Abiodun Oyewole. Photograph: GAB Archive/Redferns
      One day last December, Umar Bin Hassan of the Last Poets attended a gathering in Chicago to commemorate local Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton, who was shot dead by the police 40 years earlier. There were about 30 people, including the widows of Hampton and fellow Panther Eldridge Cleaver, and former members of radical groups such as Weatherman. "We laughed and drank wine and talked about what we all had been through," Hassan says. "I'm glad I made it. It was good to see a lot of those people still living, you know?"
      They were survivors of a turbulent period. In 1968, just two years after Oakland residents Huey Newton and Bobby Seale formed the Black Panthers, FBI director J Edgar Hoover called the party "the greatest threat to the internal security of the country" and set about spending millions of dollars to infiltrate, sabotage and divide it. By the mid 70s, it was in terminal decline, and Hampton was far from the only fatality.
      The Panthers' legacy has been fiercely debated ever since. Some people claim the leadership, especially Newton, were their own worst enemies: paranoid hotheads prone to violence and cronyism. Others regard them as heroes who gave young African-Americans power and pride in the face of endemic racism, only to be brought down by Hoover's machinations. A new project, Tongues on Fire, aims to accentuate the positive, bringing together the party's official artist and minister of culture, Emory Douglas, with musicians such as the Last Poets, the Roots and jazz saxophonist David Murray.
      Valerie Malot, a Frenchwoman who is Murray's wife and producer, conceived Tongues on Fire after attending an activist convention in Oakland and seeing Bobby Seale selling a Panther-themed hot sauce named after the famous 60s war cry Burn Baby Burn. "I was really shocked when you've tried all your life to change people's conditions and you end up selling hot sauce at a convention," she says. Malot's focus on Douglas makes sense. He came to work on the Black Panther newspaper when the party had barely a dozen members, and the vivid, revolutionary designs he produced during the subsequent decade are part of the era's visual vocabulary. But the Panthers' relationship with music was much more complex.
      When Newton and Seale were preparing the first edition of the newspaper in 1966, they listened obsessively to "brother Bobby" Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited, especially Ballad of a Thin Man, which Newton read, rather fancifully, as a parable of racist oppression. At this point, black artists were still using code words such as "respect" and "pushing" when dealing with the subject of race. Even after blackness entered pop's lexicon via James Brown's Say It Loud – I'm Black and I'm Proud, Newton and Seale's rhetoric, and Douglas's artwork, only found their musical analogue with the arrival of the Last Poets.
      Formed in Harlem in 1968, the Last Poets lost most of their founding members before they even recorded their debut album. The classic lineup on the Poets' eponymous 1970 release consisted of Abiodun Oyewole, Jalal Mansur Nuriddin and Umar Bin Hassan. In his hometown of Akron, Ohio, Hassan had been an angry young man looking for direction when he saw the Panthers' first televised action: their armed entrance into the California legislature in May 1967.
      "Woah," he remembers. "I was so excited to see some young black men do that. The Panthers were my first introduction to black militancy. About two months later I saw Huey Newton on the news, standing on the fenders of two cars and throwing down his fists at these white cops. I thought the revolution was going to begin and end in California. I ain't never been in a gang, but if I was going to be in a gang I wanted to be in a gang that stood up and defended the black community from racist cops."
      Nobody had ever heard anything like the Last Poets. They combined the militant spirit of avant-garde jazz musicians such as Archie Shepp with the furious poetry of Amiri Baraka, who called for "poems that kill: assassin poems". Their rage was aimed at both white America ("the Statue of Liberty is a prostitute") and apathetic, unrevolutionary black people. Controversially, they called these people "niggers".
      "The Last Poets out-niggered everybody," Hassan says with a throaty chuckle. "We had Wake Up Niggers, Niggers Are Scared of Revolution … Our thing was not to use that word as casually as the kids today. You got young kids who think it's OK to be a nigger. Nah, it ain't OK. We were trying to get rid of the nigger in our community and in ourselves. The difference between us and hip-hop is we had direction, we had a movement, we had people who kept our eyes on the prize. We weren't just bullshitting and jiving."
      Despite zero airplay, the response to the album from those who heard it was "overwhelming" and the Panthers saw a fantastic recruitment opportunity in the Poets. "Everybody knew how much the people liked us and everybody wanted us to become a part of their thing," says Hassan. "But we kept ourselves independent." They did not need to be card-carrying members in order to be useful. "Music to [the Panthers] was something to get people's attention so they could speak," says David Murray, who was a teenager at the time. "Like a trumpet sounds and then there's a speech."
      Very soon the party had a soundtrack, with such radical poets as the Watts Prophets, Nikki Giovanni and Gil Scott-Heron emerging almost simultaneously (although Scott-Heron was sceptical about "would-be revolutionaries" with "afros, handshakes and dashikis" in his song Brother). Sympathetic rock stars such as Santana and the Grateful Dead played fundraisers. The party even attempted to launch its own musical stars. Elaine Brown, a new recruit who later became the party's minister of information and, eventually, chairman, recorded a vocal jazz album called Seize the Time and a follow-up for Motown, Until We're Free. At Emory Douglas's suggestion, four San Francisco Panthers formed a Temptations-style soul group with the Marx-inspired name of the Lumpen, though songs such as Revolution Is the Only Solution and Old Pig Nixon were a long way from the Temptations in terms of chart appeal.
      Unlike the Last Poets' output, this was pure propaganda music. As the Lumpen's Michael Torrance explains on the Black Panther history site It's About Time: "The music was simply another facet of service to the Party and the Revolution. Furthermore, since we were an educational cadre, rigorous study was necessary to be able to translate the ideology of the BPP into song." The musicians employed the same strategy as Douglas did with his artwork. "Huey and Bobby always said that the African-American community wasn't a reading community but they learned through observation and participation," Douglas says. "[African revolutionary] Samora Machel said you have to be able to speak in a way that a child could understand." Indeed, the Panthers' most famous song, written after Newton's arrest for murdering a police officer in 1967, was a two-line chant that even children could sing: "Black is beautiful/ Free Huey!"
      In 1970, the year the Last Poets began their album with the ominous phrase "time is running out", it seemed to many US radicals, black and white alike, that revolution was imminent. But within a couple of years, the Black Panther Party was in disarray, largely thanks to the dirty tricks of the FBI. "Those who have the power always have the time and resources to get together," Hassan says. "They took their blows for a minute but then they realised, 'We gotta come back at this.'"
      The agency fomented civil war between Newton and Cleaver, with bloody consequences. Douglas, who was regularly tailed by FBI agents, remembers seeing his artwork imitated on a forged pamphlet attacking another black organisation. "They tried to destroy and discredit the Black Panther Party by any means necessary," he says. "We knew what was going on but you couldn't put your finger on it." The Watts Writers Workshop, the base of the Watts Prophets, was burned to the ground by a trusted employee who, it transpired, was an FBI plant. The Last Poets were constantly monitored, as Hassan discovered years later when he saw his FBI files. "We were on President Nixon's list, the defence department list, the national security list. It kind of blew my mind."
      Not all the blame, however, can be laid at the government's door. The Huey Newton who emerged from jail to retake the party leadership in late 1970 was a troubled, paranoid character who acquired a taste for cocaine and groupies and soon fell out with Cleaver. "Bobby Seale was the brains," says David Murray. "Huey Newton was an action person. He would just go and do it. That might also be why he's not alive [Newton was shot by a crack dealer in 1989]."
      Despite positive achievements such as a free breakfast programme for poor children, the mood of mistrust caused Panther members to desert en masse. Elaine Brown resigned the chairmanship in 1977 after Newton approved the beating of a female party administrator. Eight years earlier she had recorded Seize the Time. Now the time was definitely past.
      "We all thought we were moving towards bringing about something new, something good, for America – not just for black people, but for all people," Hassan says. "But when you started seeing one brother go one way and another brother snitching, a lot of us went back on to the streets doing what we were doing before, selling drugs or hustling, because we were disappointed." Hassan himself left the Last Poets in 1974 and became a cocaine addict, giving poetry readings in crackhouses. "Yeah man, there was a lot of disappointment."
      Asked about the Panthers' balance sheet, Emory Douglas draws a long sigh. "I would say we did the best we could under the circumstances. You have to understand that never in the history of the country had any organisation stood up to the challenges in the way we did and at such a young age." David Murray thinks the party has to be seen in context. "This was a time when California was changing the world. I was a hippie, I was a Black Panther, I was in the Nation of Islam. That was how you grew up during that time – you had to dabble in each one."
      Tongues on Fire demonstrates that the era's revolutionary art, visual and musical, outlasted the party that inspired it. Chaka Khan and Chic's Nile Rodgers drew from their experience as members. Bands such as Public Enemy (whose Chuck D remembers singing "Free Huey!" as a child) pitched themselves as the Panthers' heirs: "This party started right in '66/ With a pro-black radical mix." Naturally, they were fans of the Last Poets.
      A few years ago, Hassan met former Panther chairman David Hilliard in Oakland. "He said, 'Do you know how important you guys were? People listened to y'all. Y'all made people want to be Panthers and join the Nation of Islam. Y'all were as important as anyone because you made people think.' It took me a long time to understand how much influence we had on that time."
      Tongues on Fire: A Tribute to the Black Panthers, featuring David Murray, the Last Poets and the Roots, is at the Barbican, London, on 11 September.

      0 0


      Breeding mental illness in the US

      Rampant over-prescribing of drugs contributes to a system that is better at producing disorders than rectifying them.

      Last Modified: 10 Apr 2013 09:49
      Belen Fernandez

      Belen Fernandez is the author of The Imperial Messenger: Thomas Friedman at Work, published by Verso. She is a contributing editor at Jacobin Magazine.

      "Standard psychiatric diagnoses… do not correspond to meaningful clusters of symptoms in the real world" and can counter-productively result in "further stigma, discrimination and social exclusion" for their recipients [Reuters]
      In a recent article on the BBC News website, Professor Peter Kinderman - head of the Institute of Psychology, Health and Society at the University of Liverpool - warns that the forthcoming edition of theAmerican Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual "will lower many diagnostic thresholds and increase the number of people in the general population seen as having a mental illness".
      According to Kinderman, the manual - scheduled for publication in May 2013 - constitutes a dangerous effort to pathologise emotions and other symptoms of human existence and will exacerbate the rampant over-prescribing of drugs that already occurs "despite significant side-effects and poor evidence of their effectiveness".
      The practice of attributing emotional distress and other phenomena to alleged cerebral/biological abnormalities rather than to social and psychological causes, writes Kinderman, is particularly problematic: "Standard psychiatric diagnoses… do not correspond to meaningful clusters of symptoms in the real world" and can counter-productively result in "further stigma, discrimination and social exclusion" for their recipients.
      Regarding the impending updates to the psychiatric manual, Kinderman notes that "[t]he new diagnosis of 'disruptive mood dysregulation disorder' will turn childhood temper tantrums into symptoms of a mental illness", while relaxed criteria for "generalised anxiety disorder" will turn "the worries of everyday life into targets for medical treatment". Normal grief will undergo conversion into "major depressive disorder". Additional cutting-edge maladies will include "internet addiction" and "sex addiction".
      No guidelines are apparently provided as to how to go about diagnosing societies that obsessively pathologise routine aspects of individual life.
      Societal diagnostics 
      Incidentally, the tendency toward over-diagnosis and over-prescription that dominates the mental health care scene in the US contributes to a system that is better at producing disorders than rectifying them.
      For example, it is not difficult to see how anxiety that otherwise would not be present can be generated by inculcating persons with the fear that something is always wrong with them and that it requires purchase of a substance, service, or gadget to fix - a process aided by ubiquitous advertising for antidepressants.
      The profitable endurance of the depression industry in particular is presumably ensured by the very nature of contemporary society - not least by the isolation of the individual who has been conditioned to believe that self-made success and material gains trump inter-human bonds in importance.
      To be sure, neoliberal policies dependent on the obstruction of communal solidarity facilitate a mass alienation from human reality and deprive individuals of psychological support networks enjoyed in certain other cultures.
      It could be argued that alienation in the US begins at birth, an event too often characterised by scheduled Caesarean sections, the immediate removal of newborns from the vicinity of their mothers in defiance of natural bonding needs, and hospital distribution of infant formula encouraging mothers to simplify their lives by administering expensive and potentially toxic material to their offspring rather than the free nutrition that is generally located in their own breasts.
      And it is pretty much downhill from there.
       Sequestration will damage US social safety net
      The "socialisation" process of children increasingly involves fundamentally anti-socialising activities such as video games and other technological distractions, the all-pervasiveness of which renders the proliferation of attention deficit disorder somewhat less than surprising. Of course, this does not stop ADD from being treated by and large as an individual mental defect rather than a societally induced condition.
      Energetic children are reformed into automatons via the fanatical prescription of pharmaceuticals with side effects ranging from depression to sudden death, while a cultural insistence on individual triumph and competition over collaboration likely contributes to such manifestations of emotional insecurity as the institutionalised practice of bullying at US schools.
      Luckily for drug companies and other entities that profit from mental disturbance, the New York Timesreported in February with regard to victims of bullying and bullies themselves that "researchers have found that [an] elevated risk of psychiatric trouble extends into adulthood, sometimes even a decade after the intimidation has ended".
      Disconnecting from the human condition 
      My own personal experience with mental health issues in the US includes a prolonged panic attack I suffered in high school in the late 90s. Convinced for a period of six months that I was on the verge of spontaneous death, I would hyperventilate, unceasingly check my pulse, and hide in bathroom stalls.
      After later living abroad for many years in locations less estranged from reality, I concluded that the attacks had been hypochondriac fallout of extreme anxiety over the possibility of stigmatisation by society for exhibiting any indication of physical or psychological weakness - such as anxiety itself.
      Of course, the structure and habits of other societies and cultures can also have adverse effects on the human nervous system; however, the position of the US as global superpower means that its acute unhinging from humanity contains worldwide ramifications.
      For example, the mass production of isolated persons lacking empathy naturally facilitates the frequent military devastation of populations abroad - a hobby that has been deemed more lucrative than, say,providing health care to US children.
      The agricultural imperialism of US-based corporations like Monsanto, patron saint of the genetic modification of food, has also proved an effective means of global population control, facilitating thesuicide of hundreds of thousands of farmers in India.
      Obviously, a nutritional reliance on modified and artificial ingredients and other materials that do not technically qualify as food does not bode well for biological - and therefore also psychological - processes. The quest for profit at the expense of the functioning of the body is further evidence of the US disconnect from the human condition, which is reinforced by schizophrenic electronic multi-tasking and the general reduction of interpersonal relations to a barrage of mobile phone beeps and Facebook notifications.
      In my interview last year with renowned Indian essayist Pankaj Mishra, he commented on the contemporary deterioration of the human essence:
      "Our capacity for uncritical love has been expended recklessly in recent years on the free market… This was the false god we were instructed to worship during the era of globalisation and most of us duly obliged, even the least resourceful and economically underprivileged peoples, dazzled by our new goods and gadgets, the routinely updated models of mobile phones… [Now] we can see more clearly how a tiny minority has enriched itself, leaving many others feeling cheated, and exposed to deprivation and suffering." 
      Professor Kinderman notes in his BBC News article on mental illness that therapy constitutes a "humane and effective alternative… to traditional psychiatric diagnoses".
      Any truly effective therapeutic approach, however, would require a thorough examination of the inhumane context in which minds function - and, presumably, a comprehensive systemic rewiring.
      Belen Fernandez is the author of The Imperial Messenger: Thomas Friedman at Workreleased by Verso in 2011. She is a member of the Jacobin Magazine editorial board, and her articles have appeared in the London Review of Books blogThe BafflerAl Akhbar English and many other publications. 
      Follow her on Twitter: @MariaBelen_Fdez

      The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.

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