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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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    Ukraine Crisis: Putin Dangles Nuclear War Threat

    US Senators Advise Sending Defensive Weapons

    By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | September 1, 2014 11:21 AM EST
    US senators have advised sending defensive weapons to Ukraine so the latter can fight off pro-Russian rebels as President Vladimir Putin dangled the threat of nuclear war.
    REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
    Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) walks past U.S. President Barack Obama (C) during a group photo at the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg September 6, 2013. At top left is British Prime Minister David Cameron.
    Robert Menendez, head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator John McCain and Representative Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, all believe the U.S. must help Ukraine in its sovereignty war against Russia.
    Menendez told CNN Ukrainians must be provided with defensive weapons that will make a dent on Russia's ambition to seize the country.



    More importantly, give Ukraine the weapons they need so they can fight, McCain told CBS's Face the Nation.
    On Friday, Ukraine's volunteer fighters expressed dismay over their seeming non-winning stance against the enemy. They said they can hardly sustain the fight against the better equipped pro-Russian rebels what with the latter's armaments and military tanks compared to their "small arms and a few RPGs (rocket propelled grenade launchers)."
    But Mr Putin warned Ukraine's defenders to lay easy on meddling with their affairs, lest Russia be triggered to unleash its most important weapon.
    "I want to remind you that Russia is one of the most powerful nuclear nations," the Russian president said. "This is a reality, not just words."
    Speaking at a youth forum, Mr Putin said Moscow does not have intentions to go into "large-scale conflicts." But a report by state-run Itar-Tass quoted him telling the same audience that Russia is "strengthening our nuclear deterrence forces and our armed forces" to make them more efficient and modernised.
    Thus, "it is better not to come against Russia."
    Ukrainian volunteer battalions said the enemy fighters have dug up artillery positions in eastern Ukraine ready to fully seize the region. NATO, based on satellite images, alleged there are over 1,000 Russian soldiers already inside Ukraine. Britain, meantime, said Russia has moved 4,000 to 5,000 military personnel into the sovereign nation.
    Latest data released by the United Nations revealed at least 2,593 people have died in war-torn eastern Ukraine since the conflict began in April. An average 36 people die each day.
    Meantime, leaders of the European Union threatened Russia with a new round of maximum sanctions if it does not back down on its intentions to invade and seize Ukraine.
    The sanctions, however, won't be really a new list but more of tightening the restrictions already imposed in July on Russia's financial, energy, and defence sectors.
    "It's totally unacceptable that there are Russian soldiers on Ukrainian soil," British Prime Minister David Cameron said. "If [Russia] carries on in this way, the relationship between Europe and Russia, Britain and Russia, America and Russia will be radically different in the future."
    To report problems or to leave feedback about this article, e-mail: e.misa@ibtimes..com.au
    To contact the editor, e-mail: editor@ibtimes.com
    ADVERTISEMENT

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    Congratulations Marvin X for receiving the 1st Annual Pillar Award for your Eldership and tireless work and pioneering spirit in the Black Arts and Black Power movement, thank you for introducing Eldridge Cleaver to Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, thank you for sharing your journey and testimonies, thank you for teaching us how to fight institutionalized racism and white supremacy with your strong example of self-determination through Black Bird Press, thank you moving forward to educate the masses through theater and poetry even after you got 'White Listed' from professorship in the UC System because you taught THE TRUTH, thank you for rising from the jaws of Cointelpro like a Phoenix to continue the struggle!!! We Stand Strong on your Legacy. Bless you Baba Marvin X. Ase, 
    -Toussaint Haki Stewart with the Elder Zone.

    Marvin  X to be honored at Los Angeles Black Book Expo 
    September 13, 2014
    "Congratulations! Marvin X, you have been nominated to receive the LABBX Spoken Worlds Pavilion Humanitarian Award of the Year, for unlimited service to the community of Poetry and Spoken Word, educating and enlightening seekers of Truth. For your poignant and insightful works benefiting humanity and for your tireless search for Truth, Justice and Clarity of Thought."--Denise Lyles-Cook, Director,
    LABBX Spoken Worlds Pavilion



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  • 09/02/14--15:11: Marvin X's Poetic Mission
  • Poetic Mission: A Dialogue on the Role of the Poet and Poetry

    Article excerpt

    Overview
    Recently (24 January 2009), Marvin X, a well known writer and co-founder of the Black Arts Movement (BAM) sent out by email a provocative piece titled "Poetic Mission." On the surface the concern was the controversial investigation of the murder of the Oakland journalist Chauncey Bailey. But "Poetic Mission" goes farther and makes an argument about the role of the poet and poetry.
    Here are some excerpts from "Poetic Mission.":
       The mission of the poet is to express the mind of a people, a
    culture, a civilization. He extends the myths and rituals, taking
    them to the outer limits like a Coltrane or Eric Dolphy tune,
    stretching, transcending all that is, was and will be. His tool is
    language, from which he cannot be limited by political correction
    or submission to the culture police on the left or the right.

    The poet is a healer in the time of sickness, inspiring wholeness
    and celebrating the positive. He must point out contradictions and
    lies....

    The poet's mission was well defined in Mao's classic essay Talks on
    Art and Literature at Yenen Forum. The poet is either part of the
    problem or part of the solution--is he with the oppressor or the
    oppressed? Or we can recall the words of ancestor Paul Robeson,
    "The artist must become a freedom fighter." For whom does he write?
    Does he write to satisfy Pharaoh and his minions, or is his mission
    to liberate the suffering masses from ignorance, although he should
    never consider himself superior, since the teacher always learns
    from his students. If he listens, the poets will come to know the
    pain and trauma of his people and his duty is to relieve the pain
    and trauma with visions, plans and programs for the collective
    good.

    The poetic challenge is to take people to new vistas of
    consciousness that reveal the soul, individual and communal, which
    are one. Language is a communal experience that is not the property
    of the poet. He can add to it with his imagination, but is there
    imagination without myth-ritual? What is the source of imagery
    except the collective myth of a culture or civilization.

    In time of struggle and crisis, the poet must become a propagandist
    who whips defeat into victory, sadness into joy. Truth is
    paramount--there are lives at stake, hence this is no game, no job
    for money, no position for publicadoration, no ego trip. Call it
    revolution, change of the most radical form. Marvin X, "Poetic
    Mission." 24 January 2009
    Reading Marvin's "Poetic Mission" provoked a slew of questions, which I emailed to him and others in my address book. Poets Jerry Ward, Jr., Mary Weems, and C. Liegh McInnis (with a poem) responded. Marvin responded to a number of my questions, directly. Below I will I place them in a Q & A format. After which, I will present the other responses.
    Rudy: Maybe the subject should be "poetic missions." The heart of the problem for the poet is to discover what is the Mission, isn't it, if there is such a thing?
    Marvin: Everyone, whether poet, scientist, lover, street sweeper, dope fiend, must ultimately define his/her life's mission or purpose. This is why brother Ptah suggested and I included the 13th Step in my How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy.
    What is the mission of the poet--words can kill or heal. Sonia Sanchez says, "Will your book free us?" Apparently not since the stores are full of black books and we still ain't free.
    The dope fiend must come to understand recovery is only a step--once clean and sober then what? Only to sit in meetings claiming sobriety while still drunk on recovery--so after recovery, then discovery of one's mission.
    Remember that Nancy Wilson song, "I Never Been to Me"? So we can be poet, mother, wife, husband, yet never discover our true mission in life, and even when we discover our mission, we may be too fearful to execute it. …


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    Isn't it the height of hypocrisy for Europeans and Americans to be cry the beheadings by the Islamic State or ISIS while their drones, guns and bombs slaughter Arabs, Africans and Indigenous people throughout the world? Even sadder is much of the behavior of ISIS is matched in many if not most of the so called Islamic States in the area, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the Gulf States. There are regular beheadings, executions, torture chambers, dogmatism and sectarianism in these lands. Imagine America is horrified at the beheading of an American citizen but what did she do to Dr. Allacki and his son in Yemen? Smashed them to smithereens with US Drones, without charges or conviction in a court of law. So who are the real savages, vandals, gangsters and criminal.

    If truth be told and it must, there are no good guys in this global, except the suffering masses who are just beginning to suffer from the bloody drama that is rapidly unfolding in the Middle East and Africa. Wait until the Crusaders return in the fullness of their capabilities. Will not prophesy be fulfilled as the armies near Jerusalem.

    Madmen cannot be restrained for they operate under another logic that includes no fear of death. How can one defeat them? Even death is Paradise they seek. Imagine souls of the young men and women flocking to the ISIS territory must derive from some cancer deep in the global body politic, some spiritual deficit in the society that would make young men and women turn into death angels.

    This desire to spurn materialism for martyrdom is surely a reaction to national and global politics, both can be totally disgusting, especially societies connected to the West's umbilical cord of free market economics or the desire to rape and plunder nations for conspicuous consumption. Follow the money until one is disgusted with the very idea and this is the moment the death angel leaps into action, for the angel can see the 1% will never turn in their butcher knives, never turn into Buddha heads (Mao).  So the angel is open to another point of view, no matter in confronting the Beast he must don the persona of the Beast as well. For sure, there is no compromise, it is liberty or death, dogmatism or death. But was he ever free in the old regime? No, he was beheaded by the king if he did not sing the Parrot song. In his desperation, a new madness sounds good so he accepts the new way--or is it the old, some behavior beyond the cave man days. Is it learned behavior from the Cave man colonial master? We cannot fantom such barbarity, and it cannot be allowed to spread. If they would acquire and use Drones, it would be more civilized, wouldn't it? But the knife, it is so savage.

    For all the ISIS savagery, it doesn't come close to the US trillion dollar annual global killing machine.
    --Marvin X
    3 September 2014

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    Fetch Clay Make Man artIn February of 1964 Muhammad Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, won his first World Heavyweight crown after Sonny Liston refused to come out of his corner at the start of their fight’s seventh round. The boxers had a rematch clause in their contracts, and Liston’s capitulation to the young upstart (and Olympic champion) raised the spectre of a fixed fight, especially given Liston’s mob connections. The rematch was originally scheduled for November of that year, but delays lasted until May of 1965, in part because Ali had a hernia operation. In between, a lot went down.
    Days after the fight with Liston came the revelation Clay joined the Nation of Islam as a convert and a storm of controversy erupted when the movement’s leader, Elijah Muhammad, announced Clay had changed his name to Muhammad Ali. Malcolm X introduced Ali to the Nation and encouraged him to join. Two months after the announcement, X broke with the movement, and was later assassinated in February of 1965 by Nation associates. Rumors of retaliatory death threats began to circulate around Ali, and supposedly even extended to Liston. Promoters didn’t want to touch the fight in lieu of all this, so it was eventually held in an ice rink in the tiny Maine town of Lewiston. On a historical side note, only 2,434 thousand people filled the rink’s 4900 seats, making it the smallest crowd to ever attend a heavyweight championship fight.
    A slightly bizarre sideshow took place during all of this when Ali summoned former actor Lincoln Perry, aka Stepin Fetchit, to join him at his training camp in Chicago, and later introduced him during a press conference as his “secret strategist” (two days before Malcolm X’s assassination).
    Will Power manipulates the timeline of Ali and Perry’s meeting for dramatic purposes in his thought-provoking, entertaining play Fetch Clay, Make Man, having Ali summon Fetchit just days before the fight in order to learn the secret of Jack Johnson’s “anchor punch,” which Ali believes Perry knows. In doing so, he creates a play that successfully examines both men’s legacies through their individual attempts to succeed as black men in a white man’s world. Power’s play suggests these two trailblazers, misunderstood by many and maligned by more, were two very different men who fought the same fight with different tactics.
    Set in Ali’s locker room in Lewiston, with a goon from the Nation named Brother Rashid guarding (and sometimes blocking) the door, Fetchit shows up wondering why he’s been summoned, and as it soon becomes clear, because he has little else to do. The first black film star to become a millionaire was by this time scorned as an Uncle Tom, viewed by many as a traitor to his race for his part in perpetuating some of the worst black stereotypes on the silver screen, or worse, barely remembered, along with the hows and whys of his former success and how much he drove his own career to what was then an unprecedented level of success. The play frames Fetchit’s rise and fall during unobtrusive flashbacks with movie mogul William Fox. In the locker room, once Fetchit learns what Ali wants from him, his old ambition kicks in and he sees a potential opportunity he can play to his own advantage.
    Ali has a maelstrom of things to contend with as he prepares for the fight including a wife ill-suited to her new role as a chaste, modest Muslim; pressure from the Nation to act as a mouthpiece for the movement; the fall-out and resulting threats in the aftermath of Malcolm’s assassination; and preparing for a formidable opponent he knows will try to destroy him. Fetchit initially won’t play along, claiming ignorance about Johnson’s secret punch while angling for his own aims, which include using Ali to reboot his film career. But as the men talk,  Fetchit also becomes keenly interested in Ali as a person, and as a man, and it’s the development of mutual respect and trust between the two men amid a hostile and potentially explosive environment which forms the satisfying core of the play. The denouement is almost as graceful and satisfying to watch as Ali himself during his prime.
    The production currently onstage at Marin Theatre Company boasts a superb cast. Roscoe Orman does a marvelous job of peeling off one layer at a time in revealing the man behind the character of Fetchit in a sharp, masterfully timed performance. Eddie Ray Jackson is a physical marvel as Ali: he’s quick, cut, and it’s easy to imagine him holding hold his own in the ring. Selling the physical part would be enough of a challenge, but he matches that with a portrayal loaded with nuance, empathy and wit. As Clay’s wife Sonji, Katherine Renee Turner smolders and then burns in a magnetic, convincing performance, reminding one of why Ali once said, “My toughest fight was with my first wife.” Jefferson A. Russell is so believable and menacing as the converted thug Brother Rashid I found myself wishing Ali would take him out with a single punch, just like he was about to do to Liston. Robert Sicular did fine work in the smaller role of William Fox.
    Derrick Saunders’ taut direction flows smoothly. The set design by Courtney O’Neill works well, as does the video design by Caite Hevner Kemp which effectively frames the action on stage with real images from the time. The costumes by Heidi Leigh Hanson work well, but some budget considerations were observed from the small theater’s second row.
    Fetch Clay, Make Man runs through September 7th. There are a limited number of discounted tickets available on Goldstar, but even if they’re gone by the time you read this, I encourage you to see it before it ends.
    Marin Theatre Company

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    Self-determination, Unity and Buy Black Alive at the 20th Annual International Locks Conference: Natural Hair, Wholistic Health and Beauty Expo‏

    Bob Marley wrote and sung a song, “Get up, Stand Up” which encouraged people to be active in the pursuit of peace and justice. Fannie Lou Hammer also urged people to become active in the pursuit of justice by saying, "All my life I've been sick and tired. Now I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired" and "Nobody's free until everybody's free."

    Assata Shakur echoed the call for unity and action by saying, "We can't afford to be spectators while our lives deteriorate. We have to truly love our people and work to make that love stronger." Lauren Hill reverberated “I won’t be compromised no more, I can’t be victimized no more. I just don't sympathize no more. Cause now I understand..." Before them all, Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey rallied the people to do for self, urging black people to wake up rise up by saying, "Rise up you mighty people, you can accomplish what you will." The key element expressed is self-determination, unity, and strong belief that as a people we can change conditions not conducive to living a whole, healthy, and productive life.
    At the upcoming 20th Annual International Locks Conference: Natural Hair, Wholistic Health and Beauty Expo, attendees will have the opportunity to see and participate in a living example of self-determination, of the power of unity, networking, and buying black. The conference will be held on Saturday and Sunday, October 4 and 5, 2014, each day from 11:00 AM to 9:30 PM, at the Universal Audenried Charter High School, 3301 Tasker Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19145.
    Just imagine 20 years of serving the community; 20 years of exchanging great information; 20 years offering good and healthy food; 20 years of cultural fashions; 20 years of honoring our ancestors; 20 years of soulful drumming and thought-provoking spoken word; 20 years of greeting and meeting new and old friends; 20 years of building, supporting, and helping to start new black businesses; 20 years of celebrating natural hair, our heritage, and our beautiful loving black families; 20 years of jaw-dropping natural hairstyling; 20 years of learning wholistic approaches to wellness; 20 years of serving as a model of self-determination and promoting our cultural expression and connections; 20 years of raising consciousness; 20 years of presenting scholars; and 20 years of a spiritual high. In a time when the streets and news headlines are full of murder, grief, injustice, and police brutality, the 20th Annual International Locks Conference: Natural Hair, Wholistic Health and Beauty Expo offers a necessary and momentary break to allow folks in neighborhoods to breathe in the healing energy of love, unity, knowledge of self, and to regain strength and courage to keep fighting for justice and to be introduced to strategies and solutions to the ills that our communities nationwide are facing.
    The Kuumba Family Organizing Committee chose “Long Road to Consciousness” for the theme of its Annual International Lock Conference: Natural Hair, Wholistic Health and Beauty Expo to celebrate the 20th year of producing a two-day event that is bigger than an Afro, much more than a fashion show and unique natural hairstyles, more than the selling of crafts and quality goods, more than the sharing of wholistic health services and eating good foods. The authentic and original Locks Conference has served as an example of what self-determination (doing for self) truly means, an awakening to new thought and actions. Doing self is a communal concept and has grown into multiple natural hair shows around the country, more and more black people starting businesses, more folks examining their history, refining their sense of self, connecting to Aboriginal Indigenous and African culture, and returning to their natural selves. “Consciousness” is defined as an internal knowledge, an awareness of one’s own existence, sensations, thoughts, and surroundings, and the state of being awake intellectually. The 20th Annual International Lock Conference: Natural Hair, Wholistic Health and Beauty Expo is continuing the tradition of promoting the idea of building and supporting black businesses, honoring ancestors, and learning more about and unapologetically celebrating natural hair, cultural expressions, the strength of family, and good health. This much-anticipated national autumn opportunity for family gathering, spiritual renewal, and networking has always been held the first weekend in October.
    The Locks Conference features two full days of informative workshops, panel discussions, leading experts from the natural hair care field, world-renowned scholars, authors, activists, and artists from a myriad of professions, live musical performances, martial arts demonstrations, soul line dancing, self-defense for women, live food demonstrations, children’s workshops, a Kuumba marketplace full of gifted craftspeople, talented vendors, service providers from around the country, a cultural fashion show, and a stunning natural hair show and competition. As special additions, the conference will also offer the opportunity to view the explosive film Urban Kryptonite and to give tribute to the UNIA centennial year and Black August.
    By popular demand, the conference will again include a wholistic health, healing, and wellness pavilion offering a wide variety of demonstrations and services such as massage; reflexology; muscle testing; Reiki; sound, breath, and crystal healing; herbal remedies, and soul sweat /aquatic therapy. Furthermore, in keeping with the request for elevating consciousness, the Kuumba Family Organizing Committee is proud to announce the expansion of our popular Ida B. Wells authors’ corner at the Conference dedicated to literacy and domestic harmony. In addition to being available for inspiring discussions and book signings, many talented authors from across the country such as Dr. Marimba Ani, noted historian Runoko Rashidi, Kevin A. Muhammad, Wallace Durham, and Dr. Akosua Ali-Sabree; Dr. Ali Muhammad, Professor Griff, Professor Salim Haji Amir Ali, D’Jehuty Maat-Ra, Cochise Tarak Saa, Ras Ben, Nekhena Evans, Minister Enqi Sangreal, Minister Alif Allah, Dalani Aamon, and Norm Bond will also be presenting informative workshops during the conference.
    The complete list of presenters and artists is impressive and longer than this space allows. The organizers acknowledge that although the conference is 20 years young, and it is still full of excitement, opportunities for growth, lots of shopping, and good food, all the ills in the world will not be solved at the event. However, the loving feeling, sense of unity, sharing and exchange of life affirming information will certainly add to attendees having a positive experience. The conference organizers are putting out two special calls. One call is for drummers of the African Diaspora far and near to come and participate in a drumming tribute for our fallen youth, a tribute to the ancestors and prayers for our warriors’ safety. We need to acknowledge that we are the people and answers we have been waiting for and rise up the drum vibration that sends messages and speaks unapologetically to our spirits. The second call is for all those people who have been supporting the original Locks Conference from the very beginning in 1994 and beyond to bring either an early Annual International Locks Conference flyer from the first ten years or a program booklet from the years of 1995 to 2004 for which they will receive a unique gift. Remember that the 20th Annual International Locks Conference: Natural Hair, Wholistic Health and Beauty Expo is for the uplifting of our lives.
    The Annual International Locks Conference, a private, not-for-profit community educational and cultural event organized by the Kuumba Family Organizing Committee and the Hair-ITAGE Society, is also sponsored by Zuresh Natural products; Unitees, Inc.; Chic Afrique; Amadi Wellness Connection; the Money School; Ujima Press RC; Sweet Spot Desserts; Locs Socks; Nubian Essence; I Munch Cafe; Akoma Ntosoa: United Hearts Cultural Academy; GMI Contractors; and Zaki Associates. A small donation is requested. Mark your calendar and make a plan to attend the conference which will be held on Saturday and Sunday, October 4 and 5, 2014, each day from 11:00 AM to 9:30 PM, at the Universal Audenried Charter High School, 3301 Tasker Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19145.
    For more information, to volunteer, or to register for our annual hair show and competition, and/or to see a detailed schedule of the speakers and activities being offered at the 20th Annual International Locks Conference log onto the web site:www.Locksconference.com or email: info@LocksConference.com or contact the a contact the Kuumba Family Organizing Committee at (888) 305-3186.

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    Marvin X as Gangster Poet/Philosopher. "I only want to tell the truth, the low down dirty truth Sun Ra told me to teach, not the Miller Lite truth, the low down dirty truth."--Marvin X
    "Marvin X, you don't know but the gangsters and hustlers are reading your books. I know because I go to their homes and they have your books on their coffee tables. Trust me, the hustlers and gangsters are reading Marvin X. They have great respect for you, Marvin, You would never know how much the brothers respect you."














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  • 09/03/14--21:39: Article 0
  • Marvin X as Gangster Poet/Philosopher. "I only want to tell the truth, the low down dirty truth Sun Ra told me to teach, not the Miller Lite truth, the low down dirty truth.
    As per the Bay Area, I was told, "Marvin X, you don't know but the gangsters and hustlers are reading your books. I know because I go to their homes and they have your books on their coffee tables. Trust me, the hustlers and gangsters are reading Marvin X.

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    Spreading Democracy
    President Barack Obama...now,
    You’ve got “bug splat” on your hands, That happens in a handshake, a handoff.

    Oops!
    January 10, 2010
    A family of twelve: women, men, and children dead. “Bug Splat”!
    Pilotless drone in Pakistan
    Piloted from Kansas

    “We’re sorry.
    We’ll give you some money.”

    Got blood on your hands, now President Obama...Who decides? Killed more “terrorists” than “W”? You’re a Warrior now?
    Oops!
    U.S. airstrike, Tuesday February 23, 2010 Kills twenty-seven Afghan civilians
    Thirteen women
    Thirteen children and one man blown to bits. “Bug Splat”!

    You know about this Mr. President?
    Any blood on your hands?
    Twelve wounded...missing limbs....badly burned

    You know about this Mr. President?
    You read the press. You know about this?

    Four women, eight children burned unrecognizably Your generals Betray us and want
    “A judicious use of fire”...that is
    Blow-up and burn-up people with greater precision “Splat,” it’s over!

    Oops!
    March 2010
    Twenty-eight civilians killed in Marjah, Afghanistan Thirteen children...girls and boys
    Thirteen women, two men
    Like so many insects! Bugs!

    “We’re sorry.
    We’ll give you some money...

    For the birth defects
    From depleted uranium in Falujah, Iraq

    A newborn with three heads
    A little girl with only one arm Children with paralyzed spines.”

    “We turn our heads. We can not look.”
    Oops! ...Announcement
    “Thirty women and children killed
    At various checkpoints throughout Iraq.”

    2
    “We’re...
    Oops!
    U.S. raid on bus, April 20, 2010
    Kills five passengers near Khandahar
    Four women...one infant in a mother’s arms “Sorry...

    Oops!
    U. S. rocket hits housing compound, July 27, 2010 Kills fifty seven civilians in the village of Rigi. Twenty- seven women
    Thirty children...no men.

    “We’re sorry.
    Can we give you some money”?

    Oops!
    U.S. helicopter raid, March 2, 2011 Kills nine boys near Kabul
    Shot them one after the other

    Four were seven years old Three were eight years old One was nine years old One was twelve years old
    They were gathering firewood Under a tree
    In the mountains
    For the cold Afghan winter
    Two helicopters hovered over the children

    3
    Fired rockets and bullets
    Chopped up bodies, badly Three children were missing heads
    Six children were missing arms or legs.

    Parents gathered PIECES of their CHILDREN... their CHILDREN...their CHILDREN!!! Put THEM together
    “Wrapped THEM in Swaddling Clothes” Buried PIECES...of their CHILDREN
    in a family plot.
    Oops,
    Again, May 29, 2011
    Airstrike kills 14
    Five girls, seven boys and two women

    Major Sunset Belinsky barked between gulps of blood: “Babies used as shields must be bombed
    We cannot be sorry...feel regret
    We may offer some money...money...money...

    We have the best democracy money can buy.”
    Oh No!!!
    August 8, 2011
    85 civilians killed in Majar Libya near Ziltan Victims of another NATO/US airstrike

    Bombs from Jets Missiles from warships Dismembered
    Burned

    4
    32 women
    20 men
    33 children
    (9 members of a single family) Splat!

    Dismembered Fragments of flesh Dangling in the air
    On the alter of an oil rig
    A sacrifice to democracy In the name of Democracy.

    Can we give you some dollars? Do dollars mean anything here?
    Again,
    NATO regrets the air strike
    February 16, 2012
    This time in Kapisa Province, near Kabul
    The danger? The imminent threat to U.S. forces? Six children ages six to fourteen
    One mentally ill young man around eighteen

    Now, what’s this? March 12, 2012
    “U.S. soldier kills 16 Afghan civilians.”
    Cowardly, murdered nine children, while they slept Cowardly, murdered four women, while they slept Cowardly, murdered three men while they slept

    One grandfather, one baby, one man While they slept
    5
    Afghans say it was more than one soldier
    Navy SEALS? Green Berets? One? Two? Three? Their system creates them
    Takes their soul, their empathy

    This in the light of burning Korans in bonfires...and Urinating on bodies of dead Taliban militants
    Bringing home trophy photos of body parts All part of White Manifest Destiny...
    Operation Enduring Freedom ... Spreading Democracy ... and death.
    Oh No!
    Al-Majala, Yemen
    March 29, 2012
    46 civilians massacred – we even have names
    14 members of the Haydara family
    27 members of the Al Anbouri family
    22 children: Nasser six years old, Arwa four, Fatima two, Maha twelve, Soumaya nine, Shafika four, Shafiq two

    Heads and limbs...here and there
    Human flesh mixed with goats and sheep

    Missed the target
    So sorry
    We’ll give you some money Some American dollars Surely you’ll feel better

    February 17, 2013...an airstrike
    In Kunar Provience, Afghanistan
    Four women, five children, and one man

    6

    Body parts here...and body there...but
    Not to worry,
    We’ll give you some money
    “Restitution” that term is fair
    Fifty thousand dollars for killing your mother Fifty thousand for your daughter
    Fifty thousand dollars for murdering your father Fifty thousand for your son
    Now, you have wealth beyond compare! ....then

    Oops!
    Thursday, December 12, 2013

    What a way to end the year
    Honor the season of the Prince of Peace

    A Headline: “Air Strike Kills 15 Civilians in Yemen by Mistake” Their wedding car convoy
    Mistaken for an Al Qaeda convoy
    Ten died instantly...blown to bits by a missile blast Five died later in hospital...missing body parts,

    And 9/11 echoes, “Why do they hate us? Why?”
    This is one way the USA teaches, Spreads peace, spreads Democracy. Democracy?
    What more can they want?

    What more can we want?
    (“Bug Splat” - What drone pilots call the dead from their attacks)
    Fritz Pointer
    4 September 2014 


    Fritz Pointer is professor emeritus of English at Contra Costa College, Richmond CA. He is also brother of the Pointer Sisters. 

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     Hello,

    I'm writing to let you know about 'Marvin X Books Project'.

    Take a moment to check it out on Indiegogo and also share it with your friends. All the tools are there. Get perks, make a contribution, or simply follow updates. If enough of us get behind it, we can make 'Marvin X Books Project' happen!

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    Hello,

    I'm writing to let you know about 'Marvin X Books Project'.

    Take a moment to check it out on Indiegogo and also share it with your friends. All the tools are there. Get perks, make a contribution, or simply follow updates. If enough of us get behind it, we can make 'Marvin X Books Project' happen!

    https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/872476/emal/8219923



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    In light of the West discovering that hundreds of their children are departing Europe and America to join ISIS, we reprint this review of the film My Son the Fanatic. 

    Marvin X reviews the film My Son the Fanatic



    Understanding London--And Boston!





     

    “If they are going to kill him, I don’t care. My oldest son is killed, so I don’t care. I don’t care if my youngest son is going to be killed today. I want the world to hear this. And, I don’t care if I am going to get killed too. And I will say Allahu Akbar!“--Mother of Boston Bombers

    My Son the Fanatic
    a film review
    by 
    Marvin X

    In light of recent events in London (and now Boston), I thought it would be important for a clearer understanding of London's Muslim community (and America's) to resend this review of the film My Son The Fanatic.

     

    Most western politicians, media spooks and experts refuse to address the root cause of young men and women willing to self destruct as suicide bombers or why they choose to become fundamentalist Muslims. Westerners and the moderate Muslim experts continue in denial that white supremacy is the root cause of their former colonial subjects desire to remove the last vestiges of the disease of cultural imperialism.


    White supremacy has spread hopelessness in young Muslims in Europe and cultural imperialism has spread it to the former colonies, now neo-colonial regimes best described by journalist Ayman Al Amir, who recently said, “Terrorism is the consequence of political ostracism, not religious fanaticism. It is fermented not in the mosques of Egypt or the madrassas of Pakistan but in solitary confinement cells, torture chambers, and the environment of fear wielded by dictatorial regimes.”


    The film reveals that Muslims in Europe, and London in particular, are not only politically disenfranchised but culturally, economically, and spirituality alienated as well.


    This alienation is simply the nature of the beast, the Mother Country, that devours the little people from the colonies who seek comfort in the Mother but are rejected for being less than human, thus in a twist of the Oedipus complex, they seek to destroy the Mother who has all but destroyed them, stunted their personalities and possibilities for human and spiritual development. (President Obama described the Boston bombers as stunted men!


    The Review of the film My Son the Fanatic


    …Essentially, it is about the colonized man, the colonized family and its attempt at de-colonization. Ironically, we are challenged to decide who is the fanatic, the father or the son, for both are battling their supposed demons. For the son, it is western culture—the father fights to escape eastern culture, i.e., his Pakistani roots. The son wants to return to his religious roots, Islamic fundamentalism. The father is fanatically in love with secularism—he is non-religious, in love with jazz, blues, alcohol and whores, one in particular.



    What if Osama Bin Laden and his band of devils came to your house at the invitation of your son? When his son comes under the influence of fundamental Islam, he get his father to allow a Muslim teacher to visit from Lahore, Pakistan, turning the house into an Islamic center, which the father reluctantly allows because of his deep love for his son. Although he arranges for his son to marry a London policeman’s daughter, the son rejects his father’s request, opting for Islam, claiming the girl represents the worst of western culture. Couldn’t he see how the policeman abhorred him, the son asks the father.



    The father is blind: his loveless job as a London taxi driver exposes him to street life and he succumbs, falling seriously in love with a whore, rejecting his homely wife who has failed to inspire him, perhaps because she doesn’t represent the decadent western culture he loves, symbolized and summarized in the whore. For him, the whore has life, love, tenderness, and freedom. Why can’t he get this at home? Is it because the wife represents the old world he rejects so totally?  …After his son and comrades attack the whores for being whores—the son actually attacks his father’s whore, spitting on her, and striking her in a violent anti-prostitution riot, forcing the father to expel the imam, with the son departing in disgust.

    …In the German trick Mr. Schitz, we see the arrogance of western man who derides the father for being the “little man.” What can the little man from the East do with the white whore, the symbol of western civilization? The little man is inferior by nature, with defects, genetic of course, which disqualifies him from being on par with western man.



    Mr. Schitz can pat the “little man” or eastern man on the head, kick him to the ground and apply any number of verbal insults, until eastern man finds a bat in the truck of his car and threatens to use it. Of course, this is the colonized man fighting back, regaining his manhood. The father fights on a personal level, the son on a politico-religious level, but both are fighting colonialism.



    Their misunderstanding each other’s fight is symbolic of the tension between moderate and fundamental Muslims. We know we cannot go back to Islam of the Prophet’s day, but nor can we accept the passivity of the moderates. There is no excuse for one billion Muslims being humiliated by a few million Jews in Israel. This is not a question of hatred, but the result of political backwardness, the non-use of power. With Muslim unity, the Palestinian problem could be resolved tomorrow morning. 
    Until contradictions between moderate and fundamental Muslims are resolved, eastern man will not be able to successfully challenge western man. This, of course, will necessitate revolution because moderate Muslims control most Islamic societies and have no plans to give up power without a struggle—those who struggle against them being described as terrorists to disqualify legitimate freedom fighters who will ultimately challenge the corrupt, undemocratic, secular Muslim nations.



    The final question is what will be the nature of the new Nation of Islam. Can fundamentalism function in the modern era or is it antithetical? Will it be repressive, will it be democratic in any sense, not necessarily in the western democratic sense? Will Iran be an example? Tunisia? Turkey? For sure, the motion in the Muslim world will lead to a synthesis of the best of the old and the new. 

    Let us understand clearly, if the reactionary secular regimes cannot or do not eradicate ignorance, poverty and disease, they will be replaced.



    The father’s love of the whore was real. She represented the poor underclass that even the revolutionary son could not accept because of his moral myopia. If the father had married her (another wife being acceptable in Islam), perhaps the son would have respected him and the tension between the old and new would have eased, allowing the possibility of a better day.



    After the present convolutions, look for a marriage between old Islam and the new, between East and West. We will either come together or go to hell together. For all his attempts to claim allegiance to the Islamic past, Osama Bin Laden is the most modern of men, using modern technology, modern weapons, modern financial systems, and modern media techniques to the best of his ability.

    *   *   *   *   *

    This film review appears in Marvin X's book of essays, In the Crazy House Called America, Black Bird Press, 2002. 
    posted 5 August 2005

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    You’ve Received a Campaign Update!


    Hello Marvin X,

    Here’s an update for you from the ‘Marvin X Books Project’ team:
    Imagine, Marvin X is called the USA's Rumi, Saadi and Hafiz (Bob Holman); Plato teaching on the streets of Oakland (Ishmael Reed). Marvin has taught at UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, Fresno State University, San Francisco State University, Mills College, University of Nevada, Reno.
    He has received fellowships from Columbia University, National Endowment for the Arts and planning grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities. 
    Visit the ‘Marvin X Books Project’ campaign.
    Comment on or view this announcement here.
    Respond directly to the campaign owner here.
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    Sincerely,
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    You’ve Received a Campaign Update!

    Hello Marvin X,
    Here’s an update for you from the ‘Marvin X Books Project’ team:
    Congratulations Marvin X for receiving the 1st Annual Pillar Award for your Eldership and tireless work and pioneering spirit in the Black Arts and Black Power movement, thank you for introducing Eldridge Cleaver to Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, thank you for sharing your journey and testimonies, thank you for teaching us how to fight institutionalized racism and white supremacy with your strong example of self-determination through Black Bird Press, thank you moving forward to educate the masses through theater and poetry even after you got 'White Listed' from professorship in the UC System because you taught THE TRUTH, thank you for rising from the jaws of Cointelpro like a Phoenix to continue the struggle!!! We Stand Strong on your Legacy. Bless you Baba Marvin X. Ase, 
    -Toussaint Haki Stewart with the Elder Zone. Pan African Family Festival, Oakland, Labor Day, 2014

    Marvin  X to be honored at Los Angeles Black Book Expo 
    September 13, 2014

    "Congratulations! Marvin X, you have been nominated to receive the LABBX Spoken Worlds Pavilion Humanitarian Award of the Year, for unlimited service to the community of Poetry and Spoken Word, educating and enlightening seekers of Truth. For your poignant and insightful works benefiting humanity and for your tireless search for Truth, Justice and Clarity of Thought."--Denise Lyles-Cook, Director,
    LABBX Spoken Worlds Pavilion
    Visit the ‘Marvin X Books Project’ campaign.
    Comment on or view this announcement here.
    Respond directly to the campaign owner here.
    Help spread the word about the campaign!
       
    Note: To stop receiving updates from Marvin X Books Project, clickhere.
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    Sincerely,
    The Indiegogo Team

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    Photo
    Kadeian Brown, left, and Judian Brown own Black Girls Divine Beauty Supply and Salon, off Church Avenue in Flatbush, Brooklyn. CreditKirsten Luce for The New York Times

    Continue reading the main storyShare This Page
    Not much seems unusual about Judian and Kadeian Brown’s storefront in a tidy plaza off Church Avenue in Flatbush, Brooklyn, a neighborhood where every block seems to have its own African hair-braiding salon.
    Posters of African-American women with long, sleek hair fill the window. Round jars of shea butter belly up to slender boxes of hair dye on the shelves. Wigs perch on mannequin heads.
    What makes Black Girls Divine Beauty Supply and Salon’s visitors do a double-take is the skin color of the proprietors. “I go, ‘Look at all the faces on the boxes,’ ” said Judian Brown, recalling other shopkeepers’ and customers’ surprise when they realize she is not an employee, but the owner. “Who should be owning these stores?”
    The Brown sisters’ is one small shop in a multibillion-dollar industry, centered on something that is both a point of pride and a political flash point for black women: their hair. But the Browns are among only a few hundred black owners of the roughly 10,000 stores that sell hair products like relaxers, curl creams, wigs and hair weaves to black women, not just in New York but across the country. The vast majority have Korean-American owners, a phenomenon dating back to the 1970s that has stoked tensions between black consumers and Korean businesspeople over what some black people see as one ethnic group profiting from, yet shutting out, another.

    Photo
    The Hair Shop is one of many beauty stores on Fulton Street in Downtown Brooklyn.CreditKirsten Luce for The New York Times

    A growing awareness of this imbalance has spurred more black people to hang out their own shingles. The people producing the products have changed, too: As “going natural” — abandoning artificially smoothed hair in favor of naturally textured curls and braids — has become more popular and the Internet has expanded, black entrepreneurs, most of them women, are claiming a bigger share of the shelves in women’s medicine cabinets.
    “We’re aware of where our dollars are going, we’re aware of the power of our dollars, we’re aware of the cultural significance of the way that we choose to wear our hair,” said Patrice Grell Yursik, the founder of Afrobella, a popular natural-hair blog. “There’s been a lot of taking back the power, and a lot of that is from the Internet.”
    Dozens of bloggers flock to industry shows to test new products, review them for their readers and spread the word on social media. Hundreds of thousands of women watch natural hairstyle tutorials on YouTube. Rochelle Graham-Campbell’s line, Alikay Naturals, which she has marketed through her YouTube videos, is among the most successful of the homegrown brands, including Curls and Oyin Handmade, that have gained traction online and earned a spot on retail shelves.
    Still, nothing beats brick-and-mortar stores for convenience, and the chance to touch and sniff the creams, which has prompted groups like the Beauty Supply Institute, in Atlanta, to start training blacks to open their own stores.
    The ownership question has been fraught for years. Some black customers complain that Korean managers follow them around their stores as if suspecting they will steal. Some black shopkeepers accuse wholesalers and wig manufacturers, most of which are owned by Koreans, of refusing to do business with anyone but other Koreans.
    A 2006 documentary about Koreans’ dominance of the industry by Aron Ranen spurred some black women to join boycotts of Korean-owned stores. Mr. Ranen has chronicled one case in Pittsburg, Calif., in which a black store owner was accused of setting fire to a nearby Korean-owned store.
    Korean immigrants began entering the American hair business in the 1960s, when wigs were among South Korea’s top exports. Hair-care retail was not much of a leap.
    And competition was scant: Until midcentury, many black women bought products from door-to-door saleswomen. Few stores were devoted to hair products. White flight closed many white-owned storefronts, clearing the way for Korean shops.
    “A lot of people think these people were taking it away from black owners, but that’s not the case,” said Lori Tharps, a co-author of the book “Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America.”
    “They were creating new businesses,” she said. “And they were doing it in places where nobody else wanted to open a store.”
    A saying among Korean immigrants has it that “whoever picks you up at the airport is the one who will give you a job,” whether in beauty supplies or in other Korean-dominated businesses like greengroceries or nail salons.
    That proved true for Tony Park, 45, who owns Sugar Beauty Supply on Flatbush Avenue in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn. Like many other Korean shopkeepers, he got his start in the industry working for a friend’s store after moving to the United States. He saved up to open his own store around four years ago: The American dream, Mr. Park called it.

    Photo
    Takeya Daniels shopped at Neoh Beauty Supplies on Flatbush in Brooklyn.CreditKirsten Luce for The New York Times

    He explained the Korean connection to the industry simply: “Most wholesalers are Korean. They can speak Korean; I can speak Korean.” (As labor costs rose in South Korea, wig production moved to China and settled more recently elsewhere in Asia, where labor is cheap. Koreans still own many manufacturers.)
    Kaysong Lee, the publisher of Beauty Times, an industry publication written in both Korean and English, said he was shocked by the simmering anger directed at Korean owners, many of whom turned to the business after they were shut out of traditional career paths because of the language barrier. He argued in a Beauty Times column in March that the competition between Korean-run stores had driven down prices for black consumers.
    “Despite many challenges, Korean-Americans opened their businesses in the heart of African-American communities and made available quality beauty-related products at low prices,” he wrote. “It does not make any sense to treat these hardworking Korean-American business owners as a band of criminals.”
    Black people running their own stores say that securing accounts with the major Korean wholesalers can be tough, because they require retailers to buy in bulk to qualify for discounts. For first-time Korean owners, who can join forces with established owners or split costs with other retailers, the way is often smoother, not the least because the wholesalers sometimes offer easier terms to other Koreans.
    Outside Detroit, Princess Hill is opening her second beauty supply store catering to black women in an area where black-owned businesses like hers are scarce, part of what she calls a movement to “take the power back from people who made you powerless.”
    She found that she would have to order 10,000 berets to qualify for a 50 percent discount and free shipping — an impossible deal, given that she might sell 100 berets in a year.
    As a result, she said, customers may complain that “our products can be a quarter more, or even 50 cents or a dollar, than the Korean stores, and they don’t really understand why.” Other black proprietors face complaints about not stocking enough products.
    But younger, natural-haired black consumers — “naturalistas,” as some call them — are more aware than ever of where their dollars go, and what goes in their hair.
    They are women like Corinthia Alvarez, 25, a nursing student in Brooklyn, who spends up to a few hours a day scrolling through Instagram, watching YouTube videos and reading reviews to learn about new products and styles, and then trying them herself. Her hair can cost her as much as $80 a month.
    “You have your phone bill, you have your cable bill and then you have to buy your hair products,” she said on a recent afternoon outside the Hair Shop on Fulton Street in Downtown Brooklyn, where mannequin faces peered alluringly from behind their curtains of false hair in a dozen styles and colors. “Melah” wore a swoop of blond-streaked strands, “Jessy” a coppery-red bob; platinum-blond ringlets cascaded down “Yara’s” shoulders.
    Ms. Alvarez’s newest acquisition: Curls “crème brule” whipped curl cream. “I take a lot of pride in my hair,” she said. “If my hair doesn’t look nice, I don’t feel like I’m pretty.”

    In South Florida, Ms. Graham-Campbell of Alikay Naturals recently made the biggest announcement of her career to her nearly 100,000 YouTube subscribers: Her line of organic hair creams, oils and conditioners for black women, products she had cooked up in her kitchen, was hitting the shelves of Target stores.
    Ms. Graham-Campbell, 27, started her business with $100 as a college student, marketing her products on YouTube and selling them on Etsy. Now her videos can draw as many as 200,000 views from fans. “They want to know, who’s the face behind the brand?” she said. “Are you able to relate to my hair, are you able to relate to my struggles and to my journey of being natural?”
    Most of all, she said, she loves hearing from women who notice her photo on Alikay bottles. They tell her that they tell their children: “Someone that looks like you makes that product.”

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    Denver woman accused of trying to go to Syria to help ISIS plans to plead guilty 

    Shannon Conley, who was arrested at Denver International Airport while trying to go to Syria to help ISIS, plans to plead guilty in the case, according to federal documents filed on Friday.






    Shannon Maureen Conley, a 19-year-old also known as Halima Conley, was arrested at Denver International Airport in April as she tried to board a plane to Turkey.FACEBOOKShannon Maureen Conley, a 19-year-old also known as Halima Conley, was arrested at Denver International Airport in April as she tried to board a plane to Turkey.
    DENVER — A 19-year-old suburban Denver woman accused of trying to go to Syria to help ISIS plans to plead guilty in the case.
    Federal documents filed Friday say an agreement has been reached in the case against Shannon Conley, who was arrested at Denver International Airport in April while boarding a flight she hoped would ultimately get her to Syria.
    Details of the agreement were not part of the court filing, but Conley’s public defender Robert Pepin asked to schedule a change of plea hearing. Pepin declined to comment Monday.
    The details of such deals cannot be disclosed until a change of plea hearing, said Jeff Dorschner, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Denver.
    FBI agents say Conley, a licensed nurse’s aide who lived with her parents in Arvada, Colorado, was intent on waging jihad in the Middle East, despite their repeated efforts to stop her.
    In several overt meetings over eight months, Conley, a convert to Islam, told members of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force that she was planning to travel overseas and marry a man she met online, who she believed was a Tunisian fighting for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, an al-Qaida splinter group also known as ISIL or ISIS that has overrun parts of Iraq and Syria.
    Conley said she planned to fly to Turkey and then travel to Syria. According to court documents, she told agents she wanted to fight, but if she couldn’t, she would use her nursing skills to help jihadi warriors.



    Shannon Maureen Conley, 19, was arrested while trying to board a filght on her way to Syria, where she was allegedly planning to meet with the terrorist group ISIS.AMANDA KOST/DENVERCHANNEL.COMShannon Maureen Conley, 19, was arrested while trying to board a filght on her way to Syria, where she was allegedly planning to meet with the terrorist group ISIS.
    Her parents, Ana and John Conley, told investigators that there were several firearms in their ranch home at the end of a cul-de-sac and that their daughter had recently taken one of the rifles to practice at a shooting range, according to the documents.

    FBI agents encouraged her parents to talk to Conley about finding more moderate beliefs. But just days after her father refused to let her marry her suitor, whom she apparently met online, he found a one-way plane ticket to Turkey with her name on it. Authorities have said they are still investigating the man, identified in court documents only as Y.M.

    Even four days before her arrest, she continued to tell the agents there was nothing they could do to change her mind, the documents say.

    FBI agents became aware of Conley’s growing interest in extremism in November after she alarmed employees of a suburban Denver church by wandering around with a backpack and taking notes on the layout of the campus, according to the court documents. The church, Faith Bible Chapel in Arvada, was the scene of a 2007 shooting in which a man killed two missionary workers.

    Few people who went to high school with Conley knew her personally, but some recalled her wearing a headscarf in gym class and requesting a special room for daily prayer.



    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/denver-woman-terrorism-case-plans-plead-guilty-article-1.1899597#ixzz3CtWiNtWJ

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    Black Bird Press News & Review: Film Review: My Son the Fanatic




    Marvin X's review explains why children are flocking from Europe and America to join ISIS.

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    I understand why Westerners 

    are joining jihadi movements 

    like ISIS. 

    I was almost

    one 

    of them.Share on FacebookMore Optio

     September 3 
    Michael Muhammad Knight is the author of 9 books, including Tripping with Allah: Islam, Drugs, and Writing.​


    Iraqi Shiite militia fighters hold the Islamic State flag as they celebrate after breaking the siege of Amerli by Islamic State militants. (Youssef Boudlal/Reuters)
    The Islamic State just released a gruesome new beheading video, again helmed by a western-bred Jihadist. As often happens, I received messages asking for explanation.
    You see, I’m the jihadi who never was.
    Twenty years ago, I ditched my Catholic high school in upstate New York to study at a Saudi-funded madrassa in Pakistan. A fresh convert, I jumped at the chance to live at a mosque and study Qur’an all day.
    This was in the mid-1990s, during an escalation of the Chechen resistance against Russian rule. After class, we’d turn on the television and watch feeds of destruction and suffering. The videos were upsetting. So upsetting that soon I found myself thinking about abandoning my religious education to pick up a gun and fight for Chechen freedom.
    It wasn’t a verse I’d read in our Qur’an study circles that made me want to fight, but rather my American values. I had grown up in the Reagan ’80s. I learned from G.I. Joe cartoons to (in the words of the theme song) “fight for freedom, wherever there’s trouble.” I assumed that individuals had the right — and the duty — to intervene anywhere on the planet where they perceived threats to freedom, justice and equality.
    For me, wanting to go to Chechnya wasn’t reducible to my “Muslim rage” or “hatred for the West.” This may be hard to believe, but I thought about the war in terms of compassion. Like so many Americans moved by their love of country to serve in the armed forces, I yearned to fight oppression and protect the safety and dignity of others. I believed that this world was in bad shape. I placed my faith in somewhat magical solutions claiming that the world could be fixed by a renewal of authentic Islam and a truly Islamic system of government. But I also believed that working toward justice was more valuable than my own life.
    Eventually, I decided to stay in Islamabad. And the people who eventually convinced me not to fight weren’t the kinds of Muslims propped up in the media as liberal, West-friendly reformers. They were deeply conservative; some would call them “intolerant.” In the same learning environment in which I was told that my non-Muslim mother would burn in eternal hellfire, I was also told that I could achieve more good in the world as a scholar than as a soldier, and that I should strive to be more than a body in a ditch. These traditionalists reminded me of Muhammad’s statement that the ink of scholars was holier than the blood of martyrs.
    The media often draw a clear line between our imagined categories of “good” and “bad” Muslims. My brothers in Pakistan would have made that division much more complicated than some could imagine.These men whom I perceived as superheroes of piety, speaking to me as the authorized voice of the tradition itself, said that violence was not the best that I could offer.
    Some kids in my situation seem to have received different advice.
    It’s easy to assume that religious people, particularly Muslims, simply do things because their religions tell them to. But when I think about my impulse at age 17 to run away and become a fighter for the Chechen rebels, I consider more than religious factors. My imagined scenario of liberating Chechnya and turning it into an Islamic state was a purely American fantasy, grounded in American ideals and values. Whenever I hear of an American who flies across the globe to throw himself into freedom struggles that are not his own, I think, What a very, very American thing to do.
    And that’s the problem. We are raised to love violence and view military conquest as a benevolent act. The American kid who wants to intervene in another nation’s civil war owes his worldview as much to American exceptionalism as to jihadist interpretations of scripture. I grew up in a country that glorifies military sacrifice and feels entitled to rebuild other societies according to its own vision. I internalized these values before ever thinking about religion. Before I even knew what a Muslim was, let alone concepts such as “jihad” or an “Islamic state,” my American life had taught me that that’s what brave men do.

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    BAM Master Poet Marvin X and the BAM Poets Choir & Arkestra are now available for booking. The group performed at the University of California, Merced, Feb./Mar. 2014, and at Oakland's Malcolm X Jazz Fest, May 17, 2014.
    For booking: Marvin X, 510-200-4164



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