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."
The rubble of a home reportedly hit by a U.S.-led coalition airstrike in Kafar Daryan in Syria. (Photo: Sami Ali / AFP/Getty Images)
As the United States passes week seven of its expanded war on Iraq, and week two of air strikes across Syria, a critical question remains unanswered: Who exactly is dying in the air bombardments?
Many fear this question will remain unanswered. "I'm concerned that the U.S. is not held to the same standard as other countries when it comes to violating international law and killing civilians," Raed Jarrar, Policy Impact Coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee, told Common Dreams.
The U.S. military and government have provided virtually no information about civilian and combatant casualties and have denied on-the-ground reports that innocent people are being killed and wounded in the escalating attacks.
But this official version of events is contradicted by mounting reports from Syria. As recently as Monday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights announced that overnight U.S. coalition bombings of alleged ISIS positions in northern and eastern Syria took civilian lives, the exact number unspecified. Observatory director Rami Abdurrahman told theAssociated Press that a strike on a grain silo in the town of Manbij in Aleppo province "killed only civilians there, workers at the site. There was no ISIS inside." He added that the bombings "destroyed the food that was stored there."
The U.S. military on Monday denied the civilian deaths to Reuters but presented no evidence backing its claims. A U.S. Central Command statement released Monday offered no further information about civilian or combatant deaths, stating that air strikes were conducted against a "ISIL vehicles within a staging area adjacent to an ISIL-held grain storage facility near Manbij," in addition to other targets.
The Observatory is not the only organization to sound the alarm on civilian deaths. Human Rights Watch released a report on Sunday that apparent U.S. missile strikes on Idlib in Syria on September 23 killed at least seven civilians. "Three local residents told Human Rights Watch that missiles killed at least two men, two women, and five children," reads the report. Video footage from local residents and the Shaam News Network, available on theHRW website, appear to verify that civilians were wounded and killed in the strikes. According to some estimates, as many as 24 civilians were killed in coalition air strikes on this day.
Pentagon Spokesperson Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby denied those civilian deaths as well, again offering no evidence. "This is a pretty remote area of the country, mostly just desert. It's not — it's not urban," he told the Associated Press. "We don't believe that there's much reason to be too concerned about any collateral damage, you know, to civilian property, that kind of thing."
But numerous journalists say their contacts corroborate reports of civilian deaths, including Foreign Policy's Shane Harris, who tweeted:
The Pentagon has also claimed that civilians are spared in its ongoing bombings of Iraq, which now number over 240 strikes since August eighth. But the U.S. has offered no evidence backing this claim, and numerous voices from Iraq and across the world warn that the renewed U.S. war in the country is bringing further militarization and death to ordinary Iraqis, who are squeezed between siege from ISIS and strikes from above.
According to Jarrar, the failure of the U.S. to account for the Iraqis killed in the 2003 warraises serious concerns about U.S. accountability and honesty over who it kills. "There is strong evidence that the U.S.-led attacks have killed dozens of civilians in Syria in the last few weeks and killed tens and thousands of civilians in Iraq over the last decade, and we haven't seen any investigations into these crimes," said Jarrar. "There is no reason to believe the U.S. will investigate itself."
Robert Naiman, policy director for Just Foreign Policy, told Common Dreams, "There is a big danger here that U.S. air strikes in Syria are going to resemble the drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen in the sense that there is no accountability for who is killed. We have reports of civilian casualties from people in the area and the U.S. government says, 'No, they are bad guys.' There has to be some public accountability for what happens when there are allegations of civilian casualties."
According to Jarrar, the U.S. hand in civilian deaths extends beyond direct bombings. "The indirect U.S. intervention is left unchecked as well: U.S. training and funding and equipping proxy groups in Iraq and Syria. There is very strong evidence that many of the U.S. allies that have been receiving us military assistance and training and equipments have been committing gross human rights violations and the U.S. has not been held accountable."
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,
Call me a political refugee from the USA, yes, I was able to escape the USA slave system, plantation style, a model for Hitler and the Jewish Problem. They wanted me to be a running dog in the imperial wars of America, the continual war for the souls of the deaf, dumb and blind, the 85% who are robbed by the 10%, the bloodsuckers of the poor who use tricknology to keep the 85% deaf dumb and blind to knowledge of self and others, to keep them ignut of the true and living Devil and the true and living God Allah, the Aboriginal Asiatic Black Man, Maker, Owner, God of the planet Earth.
Elijah, Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam brothers and sisters gave me knowledge of self and kind. I am so thankful for the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, for Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Farrakhan, Khalid Muhammad, Akbar Muhammad, Wallace Muhammad--most of all, we are honored for the coming of Master Fard Muhammad.
Marvin X at a Harlem reception in his honor, hosted by Rashidah Ishmaili, center with Marvin X
Winfrey Streets, Student Body President, Edison High School, class of 1961. Marvin X. Jackmon wrote the class song for the class of 1961. Marvin X says, "Yes, I grew up with Winfrey and the Streets family. Winfrey was a natural leader, first as Student Body President, then as leader of the Black Panther Party of Fresno, then finally as choir director of the Black Educational Theatre. He was assassinated in the Black Educational Theatre of Fresno, shot in the back with a shotgun by the reactionary Negroes in Fresno.
Is ISIS guilty of reverse evolution, of behavior reminiscent of pre-Islamic Arabia known as the Days of Ignorance? ISIS claims Islam but its actions seem of the primitive, decadent, savage variety that was the state of affairs prior to the advent of Prophet Muhammad. In fact, there is no known definition of Arab except ambusher, for they were essentially caravan robbers, although the aboriginal inhabitants of Arabia were a civilized people who ruled from Sabah to Jerusalem to the Persian Gulf. These were the Afro-Arabs such as the Queen of Sheba's people. Cheikh Anta Diop tells us the fundamental ideas of Islam were in Arabia a thousand years before Muhammad. So we must distinguish the Semitic Arabs from the Kushitic or Aboriginal Arabs. The savagery raging at this hour is certainly beyond the pale of civilization although they claim it is a return to the purity of the Prophet Muhammad's teachings. The problem is that the behavior of the Arab regimes is little better than that of ISIS, and certainly the Euro-American Crusaders are every bit as savage and barbarian as ISIS and the Arab regimes, along with the Zionists in Israel.
The Arab Spring seems a flicker of light in a room now full of darkness. Mao told us the reactionaries
will never put down their butcher knives, will never turn into Buddha heads, so perhaps it was romanticism of the highest order to think there could be a non-violent revolution in the Arab world that would benefit the suffering masses.
See the Wonderful Ethiopians of the Ancient Cushite Empire, especially, Chapter VIII:
VIII. ARABIA AND HER ANCIENT RACES. 1. Ancient Arabia Part of the Cushite Empire. 2. Divisions of Arabia, Deserta, Felix and Petrae. 3. Arabia Settled by Two Distinct Races 4. The Cushite-Arabians were Civilized Agriculturists. 5. The Semitic-Arabians were a Wild, Nomadic Race. 6. The Cushite-Arabian was the Oldest and Purest Blood. 7. The Rise of Mohammed and the Koreysh.
Islam is the basic monotheistic faith proclaimed by prophets throughout history. The Qur’an does not present a new revelation but rather provide a complete, accurate, and therefore final record of the message.
Islam is the religion of all Prophets - Abraham, Noah, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad (peace be upon them all)
As the basis for a historical community and tradition of faith, however, Islam begins in Mecca with the life and work of Muhammad in the early seventh century.
The pre-Islamic period was the darkest age in human history. It was a time of ignorance and anarchy in the religious and social life in the world.
Pre - Islamic Arabia
The political, social and cultural life developed by the peoples of the ancient world was shattered by the barbarians. The social and religious order organized by Judaism, Christianity and Zoroastrianismhad disintegrated.
The people had forgotten the ideal of their religion. Morality had fallen at low ebb. Corruption, intolerance, persecution and wrangling of creeds and sects prevailed everywhere.
Greatest anarchy prevailed in the social life of the Arabs. There was no ideal morality or discipline in the society.
Corruption, vices superstition, unrestrained freedom and unrestricted enjoyment ruled supreme in the Arab society. Plurality of wives and husbands was the order of the day.
Evil was spread in the whole society.
Adultery was common among the pre-Islamic Arabs. Step sons could marry their step-mothers and even the brothers sometimes married their own sisters. Men and women could have full liberty with their opposites.
Human beings were sacrificed to propitiate gods. Fathers sometimes killed their children also for fear of poverty.
The position of the women was very degrading in the Arab society. They were treated as chattels and with contempt. The birth of a female child was considered as a great curse and she was often buried alive by the heartless father.
Women could not have any share of the property of the husbands or the fathers in a word, no status in the society. Slavery, in its worst form, prevailed in the Arab society; the master can even put his slave to death.
Economically, pre-Islamic Arabian society was very much in the primitive stage the soil being barren; there was little of agriculture in the country.
Prior to the rise of Islam, worst anarchy and confusions prevailed in the religious life of the Arabs. There were some Jews and Christians in Arabia, but they had become corrupt and not hold any higher religious ideal to the Arabs.
Exception the Jew and Christians, the rest of the Arabs followed the most primitive form of religious belief. They were idol worshipers, adoring many gods and goddesses.
The above mentioned evils not only existed among Arabs but in most of the world civilizations at that time.
There were no basic human rights and the rich ruled the poor and imposed whatever laws they wanted. The world society was primarily divided into ruling class and the ruled.
When God Was a Woman is the U.S. title of a 1976 book by sculptor and art historian Merlin Stone. It was published earlier in the United Kingdom as The Paradise Papers: The Suppression of Women's Rites. It has been translated into French asQuand Dieu était femme (SCE-Services Complets d'Edition, Québec, Canada) in 1978, into Dutch as Eens was God als Vrouw belichaamd - De onderdrukking van de riten van de vrouw in 1979, and into German as Als Gott eine Frau war in 1989. Ms. Stone spent approximately ten years engaged in research of the lesser-known, sometimes hidden depictions of the Sacred Feminine, from European and Middle Eastern societies, in preparation to complete this work. In the book, she describes these archetypal reflections of women as leaders, sacred entities and benevolent matriarchs, and also weaves them into a larger picture of how our modern societies grew to the present imbalanced state.
Possibly the most controversial/debated claim in the book is Stones' interpretation of how peaceful, benevolent matriarchal society and Goddess-reverent traditions (including Ancient Egypt) were attacked, undermined and ultimately destroyed almost completely, by the ancient tribes including Hebrews and later the early Christians. To do this they attempted to destroy any visible symbol of the sacred feminine- including artwork, sculpture, weavings and literature. The reason being that they wanted the Sacred Masculine to become the dominant power, and rule over women and Goddess energies. According to Stone, the Torah or Old Testament was in many ways a male attempt to re-write the story of human society, changing feminine symbolism to masculine.
As the Obama Administration prepared to bomb Syria without congressional or U.N. authorization, it faced two problems. The first was the difficulty of sustaining public support for a new years-long war against ISIS, a group that clearly posed no imminent threat to the “homeland.” A second was the lack of legal justification for launching a new bombing campaign with no viable claim of self-defense or U.N. approval.
The solution to both problems was found in the wholesale concoction of a brand new terror threat that was branded “The Khorasan Group.” After spending weeks depicting ISIS as an unprecedented threat — too radical even for Al Qaeda! — administration officials suddenly began spoon-feeding their favorite media organizations and national security journalists tales of a secret group that was even scarier and more threatening than ISIS, one that posed a direct and immediate threat to the American Homeland. Seemingly out of nowhere, a new terror group was created in media lore.
The unveiling of this new group was performed in a September 13 article by the Associated Press, who cited unnamed U.S. officials to warn of this new shadowy, worse-than-ISIS terror group:
While the Islamic State group [ISIS] is getting the most attention now, another band of extremists in Syria — a mix of hardened jihadis from Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and Europe — poses a more direct and imminent threat to the United States, working with Yemeni bomb-makers to target U.S. aviation, American officials say.
At the center is a cell known as the Khorasan group, a cadre of veteran al-Qaida fighters from Afghanistan and Pakistan who traveled to Syria to link up with the al-Qaida affiliate there, the Nusra Front.
But the Khorasan militants did not go to Syria principally to fight the government of President Bashar Assad, U.S. officials say. Instead, they were sent by al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri to recruit Europeans and Americans whose passports allow them to board a U.S.-bound airliner with less scrutiny from security officials.
AP warned Americans that “the fear is that the Khorasan militants will provide these sophisticated explosives to their Western recruits who could sneak them onto U.S.-bound flights.” It explained that although ISIS has received most of the attention, the Khorasan Group “is considered the more immediate threat.”
The genesis of the name was itself scary: “Khorasan refers to a province under the Islamic caliphate, or religious empire, of old that included parts of Afghanistan.” AP depicted the U.S. officials who were feeding them the narrative as engaging in some sort of act of brave, unauthorized truth-telling: “Many U.S. officials interviewed for this story would not be quoted by name talking about what they said was highly classified intelligence.”
On the morning of September 18, CBS Newsbroadcast a segment that is as pure war propaganda as it gets: directly linking the soon-to-arrive U.S. bombing campaign in Syria to the need to protect Americans from being exploded in civilian jets by Khorasan. With ominous voice tones, the host narrated:
This morning we are learning of a new and growing terror threat coming out of Syria. It’s an Al Qaeda cell you probably never heard of. Nearly everything about them is classified. Bob Orr is in Washington with new information on a group some consider more dangerous than ISIS.
Orr then announced that while ISIS is “dominating headlines and terrorist propaganda,” Orr’s “sources” warn of “a more immediate threat to the U.S. Homeland.” As Orr spoke, CBS flashed alternating video showing scary Muslims in Syria and innocent westerners waiting in line at airports, as he intoned that U.S. officials have ordered “enhanced screening” for “hidden explosives.” This is all coming, Orr explained, from ”an emerging threat in Syria” where “hardened terrorists” are building “hard to detect bombs.”
The U.S. government, Orr explained, is trying to keep this all a secret; they won’t even mention the group’s name in public out of security concerns! But Orr was there to reveal the truth, as his “sources confirm the Al Qaeda cell goes by the name Khorasan.” And they’re “developing fresh plots to attack U.S. aviation.”
Later that day, Obama administration officials began publicly touting the group, when Director of National Intelligence James Clapper warned starkly: “In terms of threat to the homeland, Khorasan may pose as much of a danger as the Islamic State.” Then followed an avalanche of uncritical media reports detailing this Supreme Threat, excitingly citing anonymous officials as though they had uncovered a big secret the government was trying to conceal.
On September 20, The New York Timesdevoted a long article to strongly hyping the Khorasan Group. Headlined “U.S. Suspects More Direct Threats Beyond ISIS,” the article began by announcing that U.S. officials believe a different group other than ISIS “posed a more direct threat to America and Europe.” Specifically:
American officials said that the group called Khorasan had emerged in the past year as the cell in Syria that may be the most intent on hitting the United States or its installations overseas with a terror attack. The officials said that the group is led by Muhsin al-Fadhli, a senior Qaeda operative who, according to the State Department, was so close to Bin Laden that he was among a small group of people who knew about the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks before they were launched.
Again, the threat they posed reached all the way to the U.S.: “Members of the cell are said to be particularly interested in devising terror plots using concealed explosives.”
This Khorasan-attacking-Americans alarm spread quickly and explosively in the landscape of U.S. national security reporting. The Daily Beast‘s Eli Lakewarned on September 23 — the day after the first U.S. bombs fell in Syria — that “American analysts had pieced together detailed information on a pending attack from an outfit that informally called itself ‘the Khorasan Group’ to use hard-to-detect explosives on American and European airliners.” He added even more ominously: “The planning from the Khorasan Group … suggests at least an aspiration to launch more-coordinated and larger attacks on the West in the style of the 9/11 attacks from 2001″ (days later, Lake, along with Josh Rogin, actually claimed that“Iran has long been harboring senior al Qaeda, al Nusra, and so-called Khorasan Group leaders as part of its complicated strategy to influence the region”).
On the day of the bombing campaign, NBC News’ Richard Engel tweeted this:
That tweet linked to an NBC Nightly News report in which anchor Brian Williams introduced Khorasan with a graphic declaring it “The New Enemy,” and Engel went on to explain that the group is “considered a threat to the U.S. because, U.S. intelligence officials say, it wants to bring down airplanes with explosives.”
Once the bombing campaign was underway, ISIS — the original theme of the attack — largely faded into the background, as Obama officials and media allies aggressively touted attacks on Khorasan leaders and the disruption of its American-targeting plots. On the first day of the bombing, The Washington Postannounced that “the United States also pounded a little-known but well-resourced al-Qaeda cell that some American officials fear could pose a direct threat to the United States.” It explained:
The Pentagon said in a statement early Tuesday that the United States conducted eight strikes west of Aleppo against the cell, called the Khorasan Group, targeting its “training camps, an explosives and munitions production facility, a communications building and command and control facilities.”
The same day, CNN claimed that “among the targets of U.S. strikes across Syria early Tuesday was the Khorasan Group.” The bombing campaign in Syria was thus magically transformed into an act of pure self-defense, given that ”the group was actively plotting against a U.S. homeland target and Western targets, a senior U.S. official told CNN on Tuesday.” The bevy of anonymous sources cited by CNN had a hard time keep their stories straight:
The official said the group posed an “imminent” threat. Another U.S. official later said the threat was not imminent in the sense that there were no known targets or attacks expected in the next few weeks.
The plots were believed to be in an advanced stage, the second U.S. official said. There were indications that the militants had obtained materials and were working on new improvised explosive devices that would be hard to detect, including common hand-held electronic devices and airplane carry-on items such as toiletries.
Nonetheless, what was clear was that this group had to be bombed in Syria to save American lives, as the terrorist group even planned to conceal explosive devices in toothpaste or flammable clothing as a means to target U.S. airliners. The day following the first bombings, Attorney General Eric Holder claimed: “We hit them last night out of a concern that they were getting close to an execution date of some of the plans that we have seen.”
CNN’s supremely stenographic Pentagon reporter, Barbara Starr, went on air as videos of shiny new American fighter jets and the Syria bombing were shown and explained that this was all necessary to stop a Khorasan attack very close to being carried out against the west:
What we are hearing from a senior US official is the reason they struck Khorasan right now is they had intelligence that the group — of Al Qaeda veterans — was in the stages of planning an attack against the US homeland and/or an attack against a target in Europe, and the information indicated Khorasan was well on its way — perhaps in its final stages — of planning that attack.
All of that laid the fear-producing groundwork for President Obama to claim self-defense when he announced the bombing campaign on September 23 with this boast: “Once again, it must be clear to anyone who would plot against America and try to do Americans harm that we will not tolerate safe havens for terrorists who threaten our people. ”
The renowned scholar, author and activist Dr. Cornel West, joins us to discuss his latest book, "Black Prophetic Fire." West engages in conversation with the German scholar and thinker Christa Buschendorf about six revolutionary African-American leaders: Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Du Bois, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Ella Baker, Malcolm X and Ida B. Wells. Even as the United States is led by its first black president, West says he is fearful that we may be "witnessing the death of black prophetic fire in our time."
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We spend the rest of the hour with renowned scholar, author and activist Dr. Cornel West. He’s a professor at Union Theological Seminary and author of numerous books. His latest, out this week, is Black Prophetic Fire. In it, he engages in conversation with the German scholar and thinker Christa Buschendorf about six revolutionary African-American leaders: Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King Jr., Ella Baker, Malcolm X and Ida B. Wells.
AMYGOODMAN: Even as the United States is led by its first black president, Dr. West says he’s fearful we may be, quote, "witnessing the death of black prophetic fire in our time."
Dr. Cornel West, welcome back to Democracy Now!
CORNELWEST: Always a blessing to be here. And I want to salute both of you, what mighty forces of good you are, to use the language of John Coltrane. And I want to acknowledge, too, Sister Christa, who is the most distinguished American scholar, or at least scholar on American studies in not just Germany, but Europe, as not just an interlocutor, but the book would not exist without her. So it’s a wonderful call-and-response, dialogical engagement with this most precious of modern traditions, of black prophetic tradition.
AMYGOODMAN: What do you mean by "black prophetic fire"?
CORNELWEST: Black prophetic fire is really about a deep love for black people, a love of justice, but it’s connected to the four questions that Du Bois wrestles with. How does integrity face oppression? What does honesty do in the face of deception? What does decency do in the face of insult? And how does virtue meet brute force. So, in the face of terror, in the face of trauma, in the face of stigma, 400 years of black people wrestling with all three, what do we produce? This caravan of love, this love train—love of justice, love of poor people, love of working people.
But it’s weak and feeble these days. It’s week and feeble, trying to bounce back. But Ferguson, among the young people, we’re seeing it. Now, this was written, of course, before Ferguson. But when you look at the Phillip Agnews of Dream Defenders, when you look at the Organization of Black Struggle down there, you look at Tef Poe and Tory and the others in Ferguson, you see this magnificent renaissance. And that brings joy to my heart.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, the book, you begin with Frederick Douglass.
CORNELWEST: Yes, yes, yes.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And not only as an activist and scholar, but as an incredible writer and his importance in 19th century America.
CORNELWEST: Yeah, he’s certainly the most eloquent ex-slave in the history of the modern world. And by "eloquence," I mean what Cicero and Quintilian meant: wisdom speaking—of course, he connects it with courage, unbelievable courage to act, and deep, deep love. And there’s simply nobody like him. And we need his spirit these days, because we live in the age of the sellout. We live in the age of those who are willing to sacrifice integrity for cupidity or integrity for venality, of selling their souls. And Douglass, flawed like all of us, stood tall right in the heat of struggle. No matter what popularity was to be sacrificed, he told the truth about the viciousness of white supremacist slavery.
AMYGOODMAN: Can you just give us a thumbnail sketch of who he was, born on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, enslaved as a youth and teenager?
CORNELWEST: Yes, to, well, actually made his way up, first to New England, you know, underground, with the help of his wife. He’s in camouflage, as it were. And he meets the white abolitionists, of course, towering white brother like William Lloyd Garrison and a host of others. Wendell Phillips would be another. Charles Sumner would be another. They would be vanilla brothers, who, in deep solidarity with the black struggle for freedom—like Father Pfleger in Chicago, like Christopher Hedges, like Noam Chomsky, Eric Foner. You’ve got a number of them, of course, Dorothy Day, and like Sister Amy herself. We’re talking about on the vanilla side of town, look at Americans say, "We’re going to focus on these particular black folk, these particular black folk." And that’s a beautiful thing. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel would be an example like that. And, of course, the rich tradition of Latinos. My god, Albizu Campos put black folk at the center, the Puerto Rican—Cesar Chavez.
AMYGOODMAN: Talk about Frederick Douglass’s struggles, who he was recognized by.
CORNELWEST: Well, the first text, of course, he had to be authorized by William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Phillips, who would write the introduction and say he actually wrote this book, because in America the very idea of a black person writing a book was rendered—was under deep suspicion. And so, in his first autobiography, where he told this powerful story—of what? Very much like this recent text by Brother Edward Baptist on slavery and American capitalism. It was not just terror, but torture, to generate high levels of productivity—for what? Profit, profit, profit. So that when we talk about American terrorism—and we live in the age of terrorism. And terrorists, of no matter what stripe, no matter what color, they’re gangsters, and they’re thugs. No doubt about that. But American terrorism, we don’t like to talk about, first toward our precious indigenous peoples, and then the slaves for 240 years, and almost 80 years under the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Constitution being a pro-slavery document, a pro-terrorist document, for over 80 years, in practice. Wonderful words on paper, now, but when it came to black folk, it was still a rationalizer of vicious of slavery. And Douglass was keeping track of the humanity of those precious black folk and saying, "I’m willing to tell the truth"—with a bounty on his head.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And Douglass was not only a revolutionary in terms of the struggle for emancipation of African Americans, he was also, in his newspaper, one of the fiercest critics of the U.S. war against Mexico. He was also an advocate for women’s suffrage and the equality of women. Can you—
CORNELWEST: Absolutely, absolutely. You see, because integrity requires moral consistency, what Jane Austen called constancy, being willing to follow through on your moral convictions regardless of what the cost is, regardless of the risk that you have to take. And most importantly, he was willing to die. You see, anybody in America who tells the truth about the barbarity of white supremacy and its legacy must be willing to die. You’ve got to recognize that you become a target, not just of fellow citizens with character assassination, but with literal assassination in terms of the powers that be. Why? Because the most dangerous thing in America is for black rage to take the form of love and justice among everyday people, among the black masses, that then invite human beings of integrity of all colors. That’s a major threat to the system. That’s one of the reasons why our young black people are being so viciously targeted with the soul murder in the educational system, with the vicious mass incarceration. You know, Brother Carl Dix and I have called for stop mass incarceration today, stop it now. And one of the reasons why you see this massive unemployment, and yet no serious attention to it, the level of almost genocidal attack on our precious young people is really beyond language. We don’t really have a language for it. It’s that vicious. It’s that ugly.
AMYGOODMAN: Some have talked about the killing of Mike Brown as a modern-day lynching. Can you talk about Ida B. Wells?
CORNELWEST: Yes, yeah, Ida B. Wells.
AMYGOODMAN: Tell us who she was.
CORNELWEST: We end the text with Sister Ida B., because in many ways she’s probably the most courageous of all of them. And that’s hard to say, but it really is true, because she, at a time in which Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Du Bois are arguing back and forth over conceptions of education, civil rights struggle versus subservience to the powers that be, in Booker T. Washington’s case, she looks the raw violence in the face and writes the classic, Red Terror. "I want to talk about Jim Crow-Jane Crow lynching that sits at the very center of American life, has been trivialized in so many ways." And, of course, she’s run out of Tennessee with a bounty on her head. Thank God that T. Thomas Fortune at The New York Age was in place at that time.
AMYGOODMAN: She was born in 1862.
CORNELWEST: She was born a slave.
CORNELWEST: She was born a slave in Mississippi. Both parents died very quickly. She had to raise her brothers and sisters, and went on to become one of the great intellectuals, one of the great freedom fighters. And, yeah, she—
AMYGOODMAN: Championed the campaign against lynching?
CORNELWEST: Oh, yes, anti-terrorism. See, a lot of people don’t realize, you see, black freedom movement has always been an anti-terrorist movement. NAACP itself responded to the riots in Springfield, Illinois. It’s in the face of American terrorism. And Ferguson is an extension of it. It’s in the face of American terrorism.
AMYGOODMAN: Juan, you also write about Ida B. Wells in your book, News for All the People.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, yeah, I mean, just as Cornel mentioned, the fact that she began reporting in her Memphis Free Speech and Headlight about the killing of three of her friends in Memphis and was run out of town, her press destroyed, but then she went all around the country covering—exposing lynchings throughout the country. And really—was really—
AMYGOODMAN: Didn’t they burn her press to the ground?
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: She really was one of the original muckrakers, but the muckrakers that are not talked about.
CORNELWEST: Before Upton Sinclair. Before.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Before Sinclair and Lincoln Steffens and all the others.
CORNELWEST: That’s exactly right. And this is very important in terms of our present moment, because you remember Carl Rowan. Carl Rowan was the most popular black journalist in the 1960s. He demonized Malcolm X. He trivialized Martin Luther King Jr. when he came out against the empire in Vietnam. And we’re living in a moment now where there’s a kind of Carl Rowanization of black journalism. So you see it on TV, in MSNBC and so forth, of people who act as if they’re saying something critical, but in fact it’s milquetoast, and it’s well adjusted to the status quo. And when we look back at the 1960s, very few people talk about Carl Rowan in any positive way. And you see his vicious attacks on Spike Lee when Spike made the movie on Malcolm X, and especially that Reader’s Digest piece that he wrote in ’67 talking about how Martin Luther King Jr. had lost integrity, lost responsibility. You say, "Carl, what are you talking about?" But same is true for so many of the black journalists today on TV and those who are often in mainstream white newspapers. The black independent press is being lost, just like black independent radio is being lost. And this Black Prophetic Fire is simply a way of saying, well, when it comes to our youth, when it comes to our music, when it comes to the culture, when it comes to politics, we need a renaissance of integrity, courage, vision, willingness to serve and, most importantly, willingness to sacrifice.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: One of your other subjects in the book is W. E. B. Du Bois. And you call him, along with John Dewey, one of the two towering intellectual figures of the early 20th century.
CORNELWEST: Yeah, it’s true. I mean, W. E. B. Du Bois, you just say that brother’s name, and you want to be silent for a while. You know, 95 years of struggle. And keep in mind, what did he say when he was on the boat after 95 years? "Cheer up, Negro. You can never win in America. You must cast your struggle on an international stage. I’m going to Ghana. I’m going to Africa. I remain tied to the best of America, but I recognize that it may very well be the case that America needs a revolution. But America but does not have the capacity for revolution, only capacity for counterrevolution at the moment. But we can go other places—Latin America, Asia, Africa." There’s nobody like W. E. B. Du Bois.
AMYGOODMAN: He was a sociologist, a historian, a civil rights activist, born in 1868, dies in 1963. We want to play a clip of W. E. B. Du Bois speaking in 1951 about African Americans’ and workers’ rights in an audio recording preserved by the Pacifica Radio Archives.
W. E. B. DU BOIS: Because most American Negroes of education and property have long since oversimplified their problem and tried to separate it from all other social problems, they conceive that their fight is simply to have the same rights and privileges as other American citizens. They do not for a moment stop to question how far the organization of work and distribution of wealth in America is perfect, nor do they for a moment conceive that the economic organization of America may have fundamental injustices and shortcomings which seriously affect not only Negroes, but the whole world.
AMYGOODMAN: W. E. B. Du Bois, speaking in 1951—
CORNELWEST: Wow, that’s incredible.
AMYGOODMAN: —the Pan-Africanist, the sociologist, the civil rights leader. Talk about how he was represented and how he’s remembered and how you feel he was sanitized? What has been whited out of his history?
CORNELWEST: Well, it’s just amazing to hear his voice. I salute both of you for keeping his voice alive, his presence alive. Keep in mind he’s 83 years old. He’s just emerged from a court case where they’ve had him in handcuffs. He was head of the Peace Information Center, which is simply an organization to ban nuclear weapons. He was viewed as a representative of a foreign government or agent of a foreign government. He was under arrest. He had just married Sister Shirley Graham Du Bois, a towering freedom fighter in her own right, on Valentine’s Day of 1951. And he’s still strong as ever. He’s left-wing. He’s a threat, not just to the system; he’s a threat to the black middle class. They’re attempting to gain access to a mainstream. They’re attempting to become more and more part of a status quo. He is determined to follow through on the love for poor people, oppressed people. But he begins on the chocolate side of town, as so many of us. He starts with black people and loves brown, red, yellow, white, across the board. And when, I think, the history is written of the decline and fall of the American empire, Du Bois’s voice will probably be the major voice, along that of Herman Melville and Toni Morrison and a few others. He was a truth teller.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: The importance of his major works, Black Reconstruction, Souls of Black Folk, in terms of shaping how modern scholars deal with the history of African Americans?
CORNELWEST: Absolutely, because he put capitalism at the center. He put at the center of American capitalism slavery. He put at the center of American slavery black humanity, black agency, with the oppression—what kind of creative responses. When you heard Curtis Mayfield sing "We are a Winner," where does his hope come from? Where does his joy come from? You’ve got to keep track of the creativity. You’ve got to keep track of the sense of community, the we-consciousness. When he always cast it in an international—or didn’t always, he started casting it in an international context in the 19-teens, so he understood empire, as well. His famous essay, "The Damnation of Women," highly sensitive to patriarchy emerging. Of course, I think he would say similar things about our gay brothers and lesbian sisters.
AMYGOODMAN: His feelings about communism?
CORNELWEST: Well, he started as a pink socialist; he ended very much as a communist. He joined the Communist Party before he left the United States. But he always recognized a certain kind of free thinking. At a certain moment, he’s critical of Stalinism; another moment, he’s too uncritical of Stalinism. But he’s very improvisational in his concern with oppressed peoples. And he always understood the centrality of music, primarily the spirituals for him. For us, it would be blues and rhythm and blues and hip-hop.
AMYGOODMAN: I wanted to ask you about Ella Baker.
CORNELWEST: Oh, yeah.
AMYGOODMAN: Born 1903, dies 1986. She played a key role in some of the most influential organizations of her time, including the NAACP, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, or SNCC. This is Ella Baker speaking in 1974 in a video produced by the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights.
ELLABAKER: Brothers and sisters in the struggle for human dignity and freedom, I am here to represent the struggle that has gone on for 300 or more years, a struggle to be recognized as citizens in a country in which we were born.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: That was Ella Baker speaking in 1974. Her importance in the struggle overall?
CORNELWEST: I think she is the central figure in this text, and, I think, in the American tradition when it comes to democratic theory and practice. And here she’s even more important than Brother Martin, because Martin is still tied to a messianic model of leadership. He’s still tied to that one charismatic figure at the top. Ella Baker understood that leadership is something that comes not just from below, but it comes in the creative capacities of those Sly Stone called everyday people, those James Cleveland called ordinary people. So she’s always highly suspicious of the charismatic messianic figure at the top, the male egos that bounce off against one another in front of the cameras when it comes to various marches. She’s doing the work and understands that leadership comes from among the everyday—interacting with the everyday people and, most importantly, understanding the centrality of we-consciousness, as opposed to that isolated ego. And she enacted it. Stokely, Bob Moses, Diane Nash—we can go on and on and on—Occupy, in that sense, is an extension of the best of Ella Baker. And I think anytime we talk about Martin Luther King Jr., we must talk about Malcolm X, we must talk about Ella Baker. All three go hand in hand.
AMYGOODMAN: And talk about, as you do, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X—
CORNELWEST: Oh, yes.
AMYGOODMAN: —in this book, Black Prophetic Fire.
CORNELWEST: Oh, absolutely. Malcolm, I mean, good God, we just don’t have a language for that brother. He’s black music in motion. He’s jazz enacted and embodied, in that sense. And as he grew, he’s John Coltrane’s Love Supreme at the core. He starts not loving white folk enough, but he grows. He matures. But his intensity, his authenticity, his sincerity in telling the truth and exposing lies and bearing witness is, I think, in many ways, unprecedented. In the beginnings as a gangster, he’s Malcolm Little. He’s loved by Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X. And then he takes on the world with his love, with his willingness to live, his willingness to die, for struggle for the people.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And Martin Luther King Jr., who—the only one of these figures who’s been adopted by American society as part of the lexicon or the history of our own country?
CORNELWEST: Yeah, exactly, the deodorized, sanitized Martin. Of course, Martin, in many ways, is the closest to me as a Christian, because we both choose the way of the cross. And the way of the cross is unarmed truth and unapologetic love. And the condition of the truth is always to allow the least of these suffering to be heard. And, of course, that love means that you end up loving not just neighbor, not just stranger, but you even love your enemies, because enemies can change. You don’t trump their sense of possibility. It’s tied to a cross of a Palestinian Jew named Jesus, and it’s something that allows you to look death in the face and say, "Death, where is thy sting? Grave, where is thy victory?" We’re willing to live and die for the everyday people.
AMYGOODMAN: We have 20 seconds, but where does President Obama fit into this picture? Or does he?
CORNELWEST: President Obama is a neoliberal centrist. He is a pro-imperial president. He is brilliant, he’s charismatic, but he is the head of the American empire and sits at the center of the U.S. status quo. The black prophetic tradition is a profound critique and indictment of the system that he heads, and of course generates profound disappointment in the priorities of Wall Street, of drones, of mass surveillance that we’ve seen in his administration. But we say it in love. People say, "Oh, Brother West, you’re always putting the president down and then talking about love." I love the brother. I pray for his safety and his family. He’s wrong.
AMYGOODMAN: Cornel West, Black Prophetic Fire.
Cornel West with two daughters of Marvin X, Nefertiti and Amira
Cornel and Marvin X celebrated the 60th birthday of Prison Prophet Mumia Abu Jamal in Philly.
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The Psycho-linguistic Crisis of the North American African
4/16/98 (c) 1998 By Marvin X www.blackbirdpressnews.blogspot.com
I have long wanted to discuss language problems relating to the psychology of the oppressed. Let's begin with the notion that the oppressed is a disoriented person suffering symptoms of amnesia :he is not quite sure who he is, where he is, where he came from or where he is going.
We know to a great extent he was stripped of his cultural trappings and forced to don the apparel of the so-called negro, for American slavery would not allow him to retain knowledge of his African self--it was a danger to the slave master's plan of eternal servitude. So the proud African was beaten down from Kunta Kinte to Toby, perhaps the first level in his psycho-linguistic crisis: who am I, what is my name? Once in the Americas, he was no longer Yoruba, Hausa, Ibo, Congo, Ashante but Negro, and according to Grimm's law (the consonants C,K, and G being interchangeable) he was a dead, from the Greek Necro, something dead, lifeless, without motion and spirit. Of course, he retained some of his African consciousness in the deep structure of his mind, in the bowels of his soul and he expressed it in his dance, his love life, his work habits, his songs and shouts, but basically he was a trumatized victim of kidnapping, rape and mass murder--genocide, for after all, when it was all said and done, between 50 and 100 million of his brothers and sisters were lost in the Middle Passage, the voyage between Africa and the Americas, thrown to the sharks that trailing slave ships, one of which was named Jesus, perhaps the same one whose captain had the miraculous conversion and wrote the song Amazing Grace! But changing the African into Negro was a primary problem in terms of identity which persists until today, even as we speak a new generation is now in crisis trying to decide whether they shall be called by Christian, Muslim or traditional African names, trying to decide whether they are Americans, Afro-Americans, African-Americans, Bilalians, Khemites, Sudanese, or North American Africans.
With this term I've tried to emphasize our cultural roots by making Africa the noun rather than the adjective. Also, I wanted to identify us geo-politically: we are Africans on the continent of North America, as opposed to Africans in Central and South America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia or the Motherland. As such, we are unique and have created an original African Culture in North America, imitated throughout the world.
The whole world wants to talk like us, dance like us, sing like us, dress like us: we have the highest standard of living of any Africans in the world and are thus in the position of leadership even though we lack any degree of National sovereignty, are yet a defacto Nation, albeit captive and colonized, exploited 24/7 by any pimp fearless enough to enter the ghetto, and there are many from around the world, including Asians, Arabs, Jews, Africans, West Indians, and Latins. I refuse to be sympathetic to anyone exploiting North American Africans--call me anti Pan African, anti Third World, whatever, but don't pimp my people and expect me to accept it because you're from Africa or Jamaica. I wouldn't go to Jamaica and exploit Jamaicans, then have the nerve to refer to them as "you people." I would be nice and diplomatic on their turf--then talk about them when I got home.
We are often derided by our African and Caribbean brothers, sometimes called "black Americans" but often simply "Americans," said in the most derogatory manner, as if we're dirt or feces, meanwhile they are in America enjoying the benefits of our struggle with the white man. If everything is so cool in Jamaica, why did they leave their Island in the sun?
With the last statement, we enter the Pan African psycholinguistic crisis, transcending the borders of North America, and perhaps the crisis of the North American African cannot be understood except in terms of the international Pan African struggle for liberation from neo-colonialism, the last stage of imperialism. The colonized man--wherever he is, wherever he's from--is a sick man, mentally ill. And as Franz Fanon pointed out, the only way the colonized man can regain his mental health is through the act and process of revolution. Dr. Nathan Hare tells us in his introduction to my autobiography SOMETHIN' PROPER, that neither messianic religiosity nor chemical dependency will free us. We must grab the bull by the horns or slay the dragon.
I referred to an African as black brother recently. He responded, "Why do you call me that?""What do you want me to call you," I asked. He said, "Call me gentleman." And the beat goes on. Here was a man blacker than night, ashamed of himself, preferring to be called a gentle man rather than Black man, once proud, but now whipped into gentleness, or servility, expressing clearly the mark of oppression, the mark of the beast.
The recent discussion of Ebonics was most certainly an example of the psycholinguistic crisis of North American Africans. Of course we are bilingual, with one pattern of speech used in the "slave huts" and one for the "big house." Technically, if we were able to deconstruct the language of the "slave huts" we would be in a position to deconstruct the "big house" language as well. And why shouldn't deconstruction of the Mother Tongue be the point of departure for acquiring language skills? Let's start with the child's primary language and build; teach the child that even his so-called slang, dialect or African speech patterns can be examined and explained according to the rules of grammar, the universal rules of grammar, i.e., the science of linguistics. Is there any sound, any speech pattern in any language that cannot be explained and thus respected on a scientific level?
We know that no matter what language Africans speak, whether English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, we speak it from an African speech pattern, from an African grammatical structure. Is there a genetic basis for this phenomenon, I'm not sure, but its existence appears universal throughout Pan Africa.
Nigger or Nigguh has caused the most severe psycholinguistic crisis among North American Africans. Earlier we traced its etymology to the Greek Necro, something dead, which is more befitting and functional than the Spanish Negro (black), or Niger, from the river. We became dead beings in the transformation from Africa to America, so quiet as its kept, Negro is very appropriate to call us. Of course the Honorable Eliajah Muhammad said we were so-called Negroes and therefore not truly Negroes, but temporarily under the spell of white magic--white power--which caused us to be deaf, dumb and blind to the knowledge of self and others, therefore dead. We had become the living dead, dispised and rejected around the world, even today, although the vailent struggle of the 60s put us in a more favorable light in the eyes of the world. The dead socalled Negro awakened and shook off the chains on his brain and let the world know he was no longer dead, no longer a tool and fool of the white man. He rejected being called Negro and Nigger and became Black man, the Aboriginal Asiatic Black man, ruler of the planet earth, god of the universe. For a moment, it appeared he truly believed this mythology, which was as valid as any other mythology, at least it was original and Afrocentric. But with the destruction of the black liberation movement, we can say the Negro returned, as per plan of the U.S.A.'s counter intelligence program, Cointelpro: kill the black man and bring back the Negro or shall we say the Nigger that the Master used to know, and to make sure he remains dead, introduce CRACK to make him a first class zombie, the corpse of a man.
Imagine, for the first time in history, the black women lost her ass behind crack, meanwhile the white woman was at Gold's gym working on acquiring an ass, which I must admit, she has obtained. But this point takes us off course into psychosomatics. Let's stay with psycholinguistics.
In the 70s, 80s and 90s, the so-called Negro has been fighting to erase the N word from our vocabulary, particularly brothers in prison who have been the most negroid in their death dealing criminality. Perhaps in their guilt, they have been trying to purify their behavior and speech to gain self respect and dignity--if caught using the N word, they will require the user to do any number of pushups. This is very noble, but the reality is that the N word has now transcended the North American African community and is in wide use by Asian, Latin and white youth who call each other nigguh as a badge of honor. We no longer have a monopoly on our language, and this is another reason for the present crisis: our culture is forever eluding our control, consequently making us the most insecure people on earth. We have lost everything on the good ship America--for three centuries we lost complete and total control over the fruits of our labor, the primary source of security. How else does one secure the family, the women and children?
Not long ago, I heard rappers discussing their tour of Italy. Upon arriving at the airport, the first thing they heard Italian youth discussing was how many "Bitches" they had, obviously influenced by hip hop culture or shall we say specifically gansta rap--yeah, ganstas who when caught are ignorant of a preliminary hearing. But let us deconstruct the controversial term BITCH. Besides Nigger or Nigguh, no other term has caused more controversy of late, no other term has created a crisis situation among North American Africa, prompting the Million Man Marchers to vow never to use the term again. They claimed it demeaned the black woman, the mother of civilization. My personal view is that crack culture demeaned the black man and women to the extent that the term "bitch" has taken on new meaning and now refers to both male and female, and a discussion of the term cannot be limited to the feminine gender. Youth in the dope culture will quickly address a tweeking, fumbing OG as "punk bitch." For example, to a male they will say, "Punk-bitch, you better take this dope and get the fuck up outta here wit da quickness." This sentence is most indicative of the pyscholinguistic crisis because it reveals the utter destruction of filial piety (respect or duty of children to elders) in the North American African community. When adults began buying crack from children, children saw the utter weakness in the older generation and lost total respect which was expressed in verbal denunciations such as "punk bitch." In my recovery drama ONE DAY IN THE LIFE, a youth confronts the late Huey Newton and myself with the following words as we sat in a West Oakland crack house: "Yeah, you nigguhs is dope fiends, you ain't no revolutionaries, so don't say shit to me bout no program. How you gon buy dope from me and my podnas--I mean, I'm in recovery now but when I was a dealer, you couldn't come to me and tell me you some revolutionaries--you some punk-bitch nigguhs. When you get your shit together we'll have some respect fa ya, but until then, don't talk to us bout no revolution, O.G., cause if I saw ya comin on my turf, I'd make a movie out that ass, podna. Don't be no walkin contradiction ma nigguhs."
My associate, J.B. Saunders, asked me to include a word-picture of male "bitch behavior" as expressed in the crack ritual. An example of this comes from the obserevation of monkeys when the female is ready to present herself to the male. She will go to a corner of a cage or by a tree and exposed her rear end to the male, letting hm know he can come and get her or know her as the Bible says. In the crack house, the male bitch will expose his posterior in his ritual of crawling on all fours around the room, supposedly looking for crack, but mainly picking up lint and other particles, even chips of dry wall. The ultimately expression of male bitch behavior is the so-called straight guy who under desperation, i,e. , when the tweeking ritual is exhausted, will present his posterior to the dope dealer--accompanied with the words "I'll do anything for another hit," and perform homosexual acts to obtain more crack, but in his psycho-linguistic crisis he adamantly denies he is gay, all the while swallowing the dope dealer's penis and cum. The worse bitch in the world is the bitch in denial! And even that bitch will--in a moment of scandalous activity declare, "I know I'm a bitch." But why bitch? My views on the matter are prejudiced by the fact that I grew up in a house with six sisters who referred to themselves as bitches--and I must say, many times acted like bitches, if we mean behavior unbecoming a woman--such behavior being acceptable only during PMS or pregnancy! But is it demeaning to say, "That's a fine bitch!" We know words only have the power we give them, i.e., we define words. Bourgeoisie culture cannot define mass culture or the culture of the grass roots. A rich man cannot tell a poor man what to say. If a rich man comes to the poor man's community, he better talk like a poor man or he may be a dead man! Those who want to criminalize black language are in many cases people who are in the business of criminalizing black people for the benefit of the real criminals, the Masters of the Realm. Not only do you not like the way I talk, but you don't like my dress, my eating habits, my choice of drugs, they way I pray and the loud manner of my worship, how I earn a living--my hair or non-hair--actually, you don't like anything about me, in fact, you wish I were dead, if fact, you do everything you can to kill me, in fact, you have now made a new industry of confining me for life without the possibility of parole.
From a writer's perspective, a poet, much of endgame in the psycholinguistic crisis is censorship, pure and simple, a violation of First Amendment rights and human rights. I have a right to say what I want to say the way I want to say it. This is an old tired discussion we encountered thirty years ago in the Black Arts/Black Culture revolution of the 60s: shall we define ourselves or the shall the masters and their pitiful bourgeoisie imps impose their definitions, their hypocritical, perverted moral standards. If a bitch is bitch call her a bitch. If yo mama is a bitch call her a bitch. If your wife is a bitch call it, your daughters call it. The worse bitch in the world is the bitch in denial. And as I've said, men are known to be bitches too!
There was a time when we were kings and queens, in Africa and during the 60s in America, but this was B.C., before crack. With the coming of crack, we reduced ourselves beyond slavery. We returned to the auction block of the crack house, and indeed, in fact, became bitches and hoes. With crack, the sexual etiquette of North American Africans has been forever altered and whether we will again reach the level of kings and queens depends more on the success of our total liberation than our correct grammatical structure, after all, we see Asians, Arabs, Latins, come to America and get rich while speaking no English, yet we are being deluded by our leaders into believing we must speak the Kings English in order to be successful. If nothing else, the rappers have shown us they can make millions for themselves and billions for the white man utilizing three words: bitch, hoe and motherfucker. The tragic reality is that the black bourgeoisie failed to teach inner city youth proper English or anything proper for that matter, so the upper class must reap with rewards of neglect, in the form of their children as well, enraptured by rap and thus incomprehensible to the middle-class parents--as my daughter has said, "You might not like rap, but if you want to understand me, you better try to understand rap." To paraphrase Eryka Badu, the psycholinguistic crisis goes on and on......on and on.....
Ah, we remember Elder Freeman. As I recall, he was one of the Panthers who showed us the inside of the building where the Panthers had a shootout with the L.A. police in 1969. It was a bullet riddled space wherein the Panthers had held off the LAPD for several hours. We were on a tour of Los Angeles during our fight to teach at Fresno State University. Gov. Ronald Reagan had removed Angela Davis from UCLA and myself. During this time I was also shown the BSU meeting room on the campus of UCLA where Black Panthers Bunchy Carter and John Huggins were murdered by members of the US organization, no doubt inspired by COINTELPRO. Elder Freeman talked about his role in the BPP in several documentaries. We worked with him in the Bay Area on many community projects. He was, in short, a true trooper! Thank you, Elder Freeman, for your revolutionary work! --Marvin X
VETERAN BLACK PANTHER PARTY FIELD MARSHAL
RONALD "ELDER" FREEMAN HAS JOINED THE ANCESTORS !!!
For Those Of You Who Missed Meeting With Elder Freeman In Harlem During This Past Weekend's Annual Black Panther Party Film Festival; Please check out the below interview with this comrade who joined the L.A. Branch of the Southern California BPP Chapter in 1967.
Oh, Mohja how much water can run from rivers to sea how much blood can soak the earth the guns of tyrants know no end a people awakened are bigger than bullets there is no sleep in their eyes no more stunted backs and fear of broken limbs even men, women and children are humble with sacrifice the old the young play their roles with smiles they endure torture chambers with laughs they submit to rape and mutilations there is no victory for oppressors whose days are numbered as the clock ticks as the sun rises let the people continue til victory surely they smell it on their hands taste it on lips believe it in their hearts know it in their minds no more backwardness no fear let there be resistance til victory. --Marvin X/El Muhajir
Syrian poet/professor Dr. Mohja Kahf
Oh Marvin, how much blood can soak the earth?
The angels asked, “will you create a species who will shed blood
and overrun the earth with evil?”
And it turns out “rivers of blood” is no metaphor:
see the stones of narrow alleys in Duma
shiny with blood hissing from humans? Dark
and dazzling, it keeps pouring and pumping
from the inexhaustible soft flesh of Syrians,
and neither regime cluster bombs from the air,
nor rebel car bombs on the ground,
ask them their names before they die.
They are mowed down like wheat harvested by machine,
and every stalk has seven ears, and every ear a hundred grains.
They bleed like irrigation canals into the earth.
Even one little girl in Idlib with a carotid artery cut
becomes a river of blood. Who knew she could be a river
running all the way over the ocean, to you,
draining me of my heart? And God said to the angels,
We congratulate the Peralta Community College District, Merritt College in particular, as the birth place of the Bay Area Black Cultural Revolution, including the Black Panther Party, Black Arts and Black Studies Movements. Merritt gave birth to two Black Panther groups: The Black Panther Party of Self Defense (Bobby Seale, Huey Newton, et al.) and the Black Panther Party of Northern California (Ken Freeman, Ernie Allen, Oba T'Shaka, et al). Through the Afro American Association meetings at Merritt ,headed by Donald Warden, aka Khalid Abdullah Tariq Al Mansour, students gained knowledge of African consciousness. According to AAA member Ed Howard, Kwanza originated in Oakland. Maulana Ron Karenga was the Los Angeles representative of the AAA. As per the Black Arts Movement, Merritt students were key, e.g., Sarah Webster Fabio, Ellendar Barnes, Ernie Allen, Richard Thorne, Maurice Dawson, Kenny and Carol Freeman, Ann Williams, Isaac Moore, Adam David Miller and Marvin X. Merritt had the first Black Studies program in the nation, although San Francisco State had the first on a major college campus. Alas, many of the San Francisco State University students involved in the BSU and Student Third World Strike at SFSU were Peralta College District transfers. --Marvin X, A.A., Sociology, Merritt College, 1964
“A Winchester rifle should have a place of honor in every black home, and it should be used for that protection which the law refuses to give. When the white man who is always the aggressor knows he runs as great risk of biting the dust every time his Afro-American victim does, he will have greater respect for Afro-American life.” – Ida B. Wells
Letter to North American Africans
“The value put on black life by the occupation force in Ferguson and in our communities across the country is no different than the value put on the lives of the “natives” in Afghanistan and Iraq by the U.S. occupation forces.”
The Black radical tradition has always understood the inextricable link between racism and militarism: racism as a manifestation of white supremacist ideology, and militarism as the mechanism to enforce that ideology.
That fundamental link grounds our analysis of the Obama administration’s policies in Iraq and Syria. But the link between race (white supremacy) and the deployment of violence to enforce the interests of white supremacy also explains the repressive mission and role of the police in the colonized barrios and segregated African American communities within the U.S.
Achelle Mbembe explains in “Necropolitics” that “…in modern philosophical thought and European political practice …, the colony represents the site where sovereignty consists fundamentally in the exercise of a power outside the law … where ‘peace’ is more likely to take on the face of a ‘war without end.’” In the non-white world of the internal and global colonies, the rules are different. In those zones where the consent of the oppressed is not expected, colonial/capitalist domination is reinforced with force and violence.
In those colonized spaces it is clear that the people are not the ones to be “protected and served,” and even gestures such as throwing one’s hands up to surrender only means that the police have a better shot. Even the time-honored idea of national sovereignty is different in the non-European world than what is taught in political science and international relations classes, according to Mbembe. As we have witnessed in Iraq, Libya and Syria, sovereignty “relies, to a large degree, in the power and capacity to dictate who may live and who must die.”
That is why the Obama administration has not bothered to give its actions in Syria any legal justification. As Samantha Powers, Obama’s lunatic representative to the United Nations claimed, the U.S. has all of the authority it needs to bomb in Syria.
“In those colonized spaces it is clear that the people are not the ones to be ‘protected and served,’ and even gestures such as throwing one’s hands up to surrender only means that the police have a better shot.”
The African Americans who are supporting the latest war plans in Iraq and Syria while simultaneously calling for something called justice in Ferguson have forgotten, or never completely understood, that the war being waged by the U.S. to maintain global Western hegemony also includes them as a target. If Congress can give unanimous consent to the murder of more than 2,000 people in Gaza, the majority of them women and children, why would anyone think that those same people would really care about a few hundred African Americans who are being murdered annually by police forces charged with containing a population that has been rendered economically superfluous?
The value put on black life by the occupation force in Ferguson and in our communities across the country is no different than the value put on the lives of the “natives” in Afghanistan and Iraq by the U.S. occupation forces. The cavalier way in which white policymakers decide issues of war in the non-white nations of the global South and place tens of thousands of innocents at risk mirrors the value they put on non-white life in the U.S., especially when those non-white bodies are involved in activities that they define as threatening – like resisting, or at this point simply existing.
We must always remind ourselves that in the colonies of the world as well as the racialized, segregated communities in the capitalist metropolis, the non-white is seen as the living negation of everything deemed important to the European mind – the underclass, the violent, the welfare queens, gangbangers, the terrorists – the quintessence of evil. And in reminding ourselves of this reality we can remain clear about what forces and interests we should oppose and with whom to be in solidarity.
What this means is that we cannot afford the comforting myths of U.S. benevolence that attempt to conceal the naked deployment of U.S. state power in the service of Western capitalist/colonialist interests. And we must view with suspicion, if not treat with disdain, our comrades, white and black, who support U.S. interventions, even if they frame that support in leftist justifications. For oppressed nations and peoples’ of the world, the U.S. white supremacist colonial/capitalist patriarchy is and remains the principle contradiction. There must not be any nationalist sentimentality or equivocation on that position.
“The cavalier way in which white policymakers decide issues of war in the non-white nations of the global South and place tens of thousands of innocents at risk mirrors the value they put on non-white life in the U.S.”
The current phase of naked aggression in Syria is not a reflection of U.S. strength but rather its weakness. Nonetheless, we cannot underestimate the threat that the continued reliance on militarism and repression poses for African Americans and the peoples of the world. In the U.S., the national security apparatus has been moving systematically to strengthen its ability to target, contain, disrupt and repress when necessary all domestic oppositional movements. The threat of domestic terrorism provided the convenient cover for intensifying those efforts in the post-9/11 period, the result being graphically demonstrated by the militarized police in Boston and their police-state tactics in the aftermath of the Boston bombing, and in Ferguson, Missouri in response to a few hundred demonstrators protesting another killing of an unarmed black person.
The white supremacist, colonial/capitalist, patriarchal ruling classes of the U.S. and Europe are clear, even if we are not, that war and repression will be used with brutal efficiency to maintain their hegemony. Their brief turn toward utilizing “soft power” to shore up “legitimacy” in response to popular opposition to the Bush administration with the “selection” of Barack Obama (the smiling brown face of imperialist domination), was only a short-term tactical innovation of that strategy.
Scholars, pundits and commentators from across the political spectrum in the U.S. have already started to speculate on the legacy of Obama’s presidency. And even though his record of “accomplishments” is thin, very few will identify the most significant but insidious legacy of his presidency – concealing the reality of racialized violence in the service of Western global white supremacy.
Ajamu Baraka is a human rights activist, organizer and geo-political analyst. Baraka is an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) in Washington, D.C. and editor and contributing columnist for the Black Agenda Report. He is a contributor to “Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence” (Counterpunch Books, 2014). He can be reached at email@example.com andwww.AjamuBaraka.com
Letter to the White Man
Dear Mr. White Man:
I write to you in the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. I pray for you at this hour. I pray that you will remove yourself from all Muslim lands at the earliest possible date. You have known for centuries the day would arrive when your beheading would be in order for all your sins against the righteous people of the planet earth. Yes, you have known many of the righteous would go down as well, especially those associated with you in any form or fashion.
Surely you know from the story of Job or Ayub, that Allah will use the devil to do his work, i.e., he will fight fire with fire. We know you are the fire man of the planet; no one has more fire power than you, more guns, bombs, bullets, nuclear weapons, poison gas, germ warfare, chemical warfare. Yes, you are the king. Yet, the time arrives for a changing of the guard. That hour has arrived that the prophets told us about; the hour of the final battle between God and the devil. You have revealed yourself as the devil simply because you love doing evil, i.e., robbing, cheating, raping, dominating the planet with your filthy ways, your filthy women, men and children.
Talk of beheading? Wasn't it your brother King Leopold who practiced the art of beheading and chopping arms and hands during his rape of the Congo? You chopped hands of Africans in the American slave system when you learned they could read and write, since you wanted them kept in triple darkness, deaf dumb and blind for eternity, if you had your way. You lynched them, men and women, you deemed too uppity and recalcitrant; often you burned them at the stake for just looking at you and your filthy woman.
And so what goes around comes around. There are few good guys in this tragic drama full of classic hubris and other human flaws made so famous in the plays of Shakespeare, greed, pride, niggardliness, hatred, and other deadly sins. More than anything, it is lust for power that is the downfall of many men, women, nations, empires.
If the Muslims have been fighting for centuries, better that you remove yourself from the battle, although we know your domination is entwined with the reactionary regimes in the area that are the primary cause of present events. Your sycophants will prove insincere as you are, as hypocritical as you are, especially since they emulate your behavior. They mastered your iniquities and now a force of pure evil has arisen to adjudicate matters. They ask one question: what side are you on--the wrong answer is cause for heads to fall. This is the type of justice you have inspired after centuries of injustice to the poor, the ignorant and diseased, the disenfranchised and economically deprived.
You have revealed yourself as an insincere, dishonest broker of peace and justice. We can see your attitude and behavior with respect to nationhood rights for Palestinians: a clear example of your insincerity and duplicity. You persist to clamor for peace in occupied Palestine, yet we know without justice there shall never be peace while the Zionists keep their boots and guns on the necks of Palestinians. Your Zionist allies have the best army in the world, the best guns, planes, bombs, yet they claim fear of security. The fear is hearing the cry for justice, for there is no true fear of security, especially with the USA and Europe as the ultimate maintainer of the Zionist entity. Demanding Hamas demilitarize is asking the men to deliver their balls to the altar of Zionist aggression. We see what happened in America when the 200,000 Africans gave up their guns after the Civil War. We have languished ever since in the caldron of Americana.
The real tragedy is the common people caught in this final dance between God and the devil. It would be nice if you were on the moral high ground as Christian Crusaders, although you seem to expect another Hundred Years War in the Holy Lands. Didn't the Kurd Saladin end your Crusades in 1187 when he drove you from Jerusalem? It took a century more for the last remaining Crusaders to depart Syria for Europe.
Now here you are again, sick with it, that same Crusading spirit resurrected for another doom in the land of Islam. Whether the righteous Muslims must suffer in the present quagmire is not the question, whether they are innocent is not to be considered, for the devils must meet on the battlefield for that last round, unless of course, lessons are learned, but we doubt this is possible because this educational objective involves decolonization, including the deconstruction of white supremacy ideology. Some call it white lunacy and so it is.
Often lunacy is a virus that spreads to the sane and they become infected until the insanity is full blown madness on their part. And of course, such madness can be a severe pathological phenomena that is reported as pure evil. Yet this evil is ready to battle what they perceive as a greater evil, the decadent regimes, the people who have strayed from the straight path. You say who gave them authority in such moral matters, especially while they themselves are guilty of plunder, rape, robbery, the poison of sectarianism and dogmatism of the most virulent variety. Unfortunately, they took authority and in many cases you are backing them--you love playing both sides of the fence, donning the persona of duplicity so pervasive in Middle Eastern political chicanery.
Sadly, there are few right in this matter and perhaps it will be better if one combatant should extricate himself from the battlefield. But, alas, it appears, Mr. White Man, you have every intention to continue involving yourself in a matter of great complexity, much of tribal origin, theological concern, beyond the pure economics of the matter, which is no doubt your primary interest. There are mythological concerns, the Caliphate, rise of the Persians who desire to rule from the Tigris and Euphrates to the Mediterranean.
For sure, there is no future for the State of Israel in the area. Its days are numbered along with those of the reactionary, autocratic political and religious orders, with whom Israel is in bed with as we write. Yes, there are many Odd Fellows in this bed of iniquity.
Go home, Whitey, please, for the peace of the world. Let the Arabs kill each other until they are not only ready for peace but ready for justice, especially among themselves--for sure they have regressed to Ya'um Jahiliyah or the days of ignorance that preceded the birth of Islam. You cannot help them because you have yet given justice to the North American Africans who are descendants of those who suffered the American Slave System.
Marvin X is a free thinker. See his Beyond Religion, toward Spirituality; also, How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy, Black Bird Press, Oakland. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At some point in almost every movie set in the world of journalism, someone drops a big speech about the Truth. “Nothing’s riding on this,” an editor growls at Woodward and Bernstein in the film “All the President’s Men” amid the horror-flick gloom, “except the First Amendment of the Constitution, freedom of the press and maybe the future of the country.” The rare exception to this big speech rule may be “His Girl Friday,” the greatest movie ever set in a newsroom, which ditched sanctimony for the syncopated report of wits firing at each other like Tommy guns.
The big speech in “Kill the Messenger,” a likable if formulaically pulse-pounding fiction about a real investigative reporter, Gary Webb, arrives near the end. By then, Gary (Jeremy Renner, affable and on cruise control), has tramped, in victory and defeat, through his newspaper, The San Jose Mercury News, and parachuted in and out of danger while chasing a name-making story. It’s the mid-1990s. Mobile phones are as big as clown shoes, and a cutie named Monica Lewinsky has been working in the White House. Gary should be riding high after reporting a series, “Dark Alliance,” linking the Central Intelligence Agency with Nicaraguan contras and the wildfire-like spread of crack through black neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Instead, he sounds and looks haunted or maybe hunted.
Written by Peter Landesman, “Kill the Messenger” is based on a book by Nick Schou about Mr. Webb, his rise and fall, and Mr. Webb’s own book, “Dark Alliance,” his 1998 follow-up to his much-heralded, much-contested 1996 Mercury News series. The film tracks Gary as he reports the story, opening soon after a slinky number, Coral Baca (Paz Vega), hands him a Pandora’s box of a tip. Baca points Gary in the direction of Danilo Blandon (Yul Vazquez), a Nicaraguan drug smuggler and contra supporter who supplies product to a Los Angeles dealer, Ricky Ross (Michael Kenneth Williams). Suddenly, Gary is at a foreign prison visiting another shadowy power player, Norwin Meneses (Andy Garcia), who swans around the yard in a straw hat twirling a golf club.
The director Michael Cuesta started as an independent filmmaker (his credits include“L.I.E.”) but, like many other indies, also works in television. He directed the pilot of “Homeland” (he’s one of its executive producers) and helped establish its insinuatingly intimate, often claustrophobic feel and nervous rhythms, partly through its hand-held camerawork. The look that Mr. Cuesta and his director of photography, Sean Bobbitt, give “Kill the Messenger” at times evokes “Homeland,” but the movie’s cinematography isn’t as frenetic and self-consciously raw, and there’s less bobbing and weaving. Even so, the visual choices in the movie, including all the close-ups of Gary’s face as it lightens and darkens, help create the sense that something deeply personal is at stake.
Mr. Cuesta does his best work in the early scenes of Gary’s sleuthing, which develop a nice, agitated pulse. And because Gary’s dawning awareness of the story’s magnitude mirrors your experience as a moviegoer (you figure it out together), and because Mr. Cuesta keeps you close at Gary’s side, you feel invested in his fate. But the film falters as the story swells and churns, and real people like Representative Maxine Waters of California enter the fray in clips alongside fictionalized scenes meant to look like documentary footage. Gary’s story comes under attack, including from big media types, and he enters a downward spiral as so, too, does the film. There are high-horse speeches, long goodbyes, enveloping sadness, a sense of doom; mostly, there is a journalist betrayed by many factors, including his own calling.
“Kill the Messenger” is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian). Adult language.
“Who is Malala?” shouted the Taliban gunman who leapt onto a crowded bus in northwestern Pakistan two years ago, then fired a bullet into the head of Malala Yousafzai, a 15-year-old schoolgirl and outspoken activist.
That question has been answered many times since by Ms. Yousafzai herself, who survived her injuries and went on to become an impassioned advocate, global celebrity and, on Friday, the latest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize alongside the Indian child rights campaigner Kailash Satyarthi.
Yet since that decisive gunshot in October 2012, Ms. Yousafzai and her compelling story have been reshaped by a range of powerful forces — often, though not always, for good — in ways that have left her straddling perilous fault lines of culture, politics and religion.
In Pakistan, conservatives assailed the schoolgirl as an unwitting pawn in an American-led assault. In the West, she came to embody the excesses of violent Islam, or was recruited by campaigners to raise money and awareness for their causes. Ms. Yousafzai, guided by her father and a public relations team, helped to transform that image herself, co-writing a best-selling memoir.
And now the Nobel Prize committee has provided a fresh twist on her story, recasting her as an envoy for South Asian peace.
Announcing the prize in Oslo on Friday, the committee chairman, Thorbjorn Jagland, said it was important for “a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism” — a resonant message in a week in which the Pakistani and Indian armies have exchanged shellfire across a disputed stretch of border, killing 20 villagers. But it was also a message that highlighted how far Ms. Yousafzai has come from her original incarnation as the schoolgirl who defied the Taliban and lived to tell the tale.
Amid the debate about the politics of her celebrity, few question the heroism of Ms. Yousafzai — a charismatic and exceptionally eloquent teenager who has followed an astonishing trajectory since being airlifted from Pakistan’s Swat Valley. At just 17, she has visited with President Obama and the queen of England, addressed the United Nations, and become the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize since it was created in 1901.
She learned of her award on Friday when a teacher called her from a chemistry lesson at Edgbaston High School for Girls in Birmingham, the English city she now calls home.
“I was totally surprised when she told me, ‘Congratulations, you have won the Nobel Peace Prize, and you are sharing it with a great person who is also working for children’s rights,’ ” Ms. Yousafzai said at a news conference.
She will share the $1.1 million prize with Mr. Satyarthi, 60, a veteran, soft-spoken activist based in New Delhi who has rescued trafficked children from slavery.
“If with my humble efforts the voice of tens of millions of children in the world who are living in servitude is being heard, congratulations to all,” Mr. Satyarthi said in a television interview on Friday.
There had been some speculation that the Nobel committee, which last year gave the prize to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, might withhold it this year, as it did in 1972 during the Vietnam War.
Yet Ms. Yousafzai offered an emotional counterpoint to grinding conflict in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere. “With her courage and determination, Malala has shown what terrorists fear most: a girl with a book,” said Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general.
In Pakistan, she has come to symbolize the country’s existential struggle against Islamist violence. She rose to prominence in 2009 as the author of an anonymous blog that described life in Swat at a time when fighters, armed with Kalashnikovs, terrorized the valley’s residents and shut schools where girls were being educated.
Later, she became a national news media figure, speaking about the need for peace, which drew her into the Taliban’s cross hairs. In the summer of 2012, the insurgents hatched a plan to kill her, then put it into action that October.
After the shooting, with life-threatening wounds to her head, Ms. Yousafzai was flown to Britain for treatment. But back in Pakistan, a news media-driven backlash had already started, some of it by crude conspiracy theories — accusations that the teenager was a C.I.A. agent, a blasphemer or a traitor.
But more reasonable people were discomfited, too — in particular by the way Western news media outlets lionized Ms. Yousafzai at a time when American drones were pounding targets in the tribal areas, sometimes killing civilians.
“Malala’s story, and the way it was framed, fitted neatly into a certain Western narrative,” said Ziyad Faisal, an economics student in Milan, Italy. “But at the end of the day, she’s just a teenage girl. She means so many things to so many people.”
After surgeons inserted a titanium plate in her head, Ms. Yousafzai made a rapid recovery, and quickly drowned out her critics with her preternatural poise and speaking skills. She shifted her focus, moving away from the fight against the Taliban and toward a broader advocacy for children. An alliance with Gordon Brown, the former British prime minister turned education campaigner, honed a message she continued to deliver on Friday.
“This award is for all those children who are voiceless, whose voices need to be heard,” she said. “I speak for them, and I stand up with them.”
But that advocacy — important yet politically inoffensive — has also drawn sharp criticism from those who say that the choice of Ms. Yousafzai exemplifies the way the Nobel Prize has strayed far from the purpose intended by Alfred Nobel, the Swedish chemist who invented dynamite and who originated the prize.
“This is not for fine people who have done nice things and are glad to receive it,” said Fredrik Heffermehl, a Norwegian jurist who has written a book on the prize. “All of that is irrelevant. What Nobel wanted was a prize that promoted global disarmament.”
Nonetheless, for the many Pakistanis and Indians who enthusiastically hailed the joint win by Ms. Yousafzai and Mr. Satyarthi, it was a welcome taste of what unites, rather than divides their countries: a shared interest in education and in improving the plight of millions of downtrodden and abused children. And for Ms. Yousafzai, it brings her story full circle, back to South Asia.
Once-cynical voices in Pakistan were drowned out on Friday by a chorus of well-wishers. “A bright moment in dark times,” said Nadeem Farooq Paracha, a news media commentator, on Twitter.
But a few clung to the old conspiracy theories. “Her shooting was a ready-made drama that was created by foreign powers,” said Ghulam Farooq, a newspaper editor in Ms. Yousafzai’s hometown, Mingora.
Others noted ironies — that Pakistan’s previous Nobel Prize winner, a scientist from the minority Ahmadi community, had been shunned for his religious beliefs, and that for all of her travel, the one country that Ms. Yousafzai cannot visit, for security reasons, is her own.
“Maybe Malala can come home now?” said Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, a Pakistani filmmaker who won an Academy Award in 2012.
I don't know how Marvin X gets so much information--especially since he doesn't have a TV. For sure, knowing him, I don't need to watch CNN. He mostly stays at home but he knows everything going on in the world and comments on everything that is of interest to him.--Quitta, Berkeley CA
I read the Black Bird News every morning. I can't start the day without seeing what Marvin X has to say. There are few bold enough to deal with the subjects Marvin writes about or posts on Black Bird News.--Emanuel, Fresno CA
Highly informed, he speaks to many societal levels and to both genders—to the intellectual as well as to the man/woman on the street or the unfortunate in prison—to the mind as well as the heart. His topics range from global politics and economics to those between men and women in their household. Common sense dominates his thought. He shuns political correctness for the truth of life. He is a Master Teacher in many fields of thought—religion and psychology, sociology and anthropology, history and politics, literature and the humanities. He is a needed Counselor, for he knows himself, on the deepest of personal levels and he reveals that self to us, that we might be his beneficiaries.
Two daughters of Marvin X, Nefertiti and Amira, and Cornel West at Marvin X's Kings and Queens of Black Consciousness Concert, San Francisco State University, April 1,2001.
Nefertiti teaches English at a Community College in Houston, TX. She, Amira and daughter Muhammida, help their father with event planning. Attorney Amira recently won a case against Burger King and just won a round in a case against the Port of Oakland (see Eastbay Express).