so iguess the democratic nomination is over and i feel…sad

May 25, 2008 at 2:09 am (anti-classism, anti-oppression, anti-racism, anti-sexism, prisons, women of color)

here’s the thing.  i will be so happy ot have the first black president.  i think that is awesome.  and i would have been happy to have the first woman president.  (but i have to say that i became quite disenchanted with the clinton campaign after south carolina…really, bill, barack won sc, jesse j won sc, and so did you win sc, pres clinton…but you didnt bother to mention that…) and there have been moments when watching barack (ok i admit it) i tear up.   i mean i think he is…well…sincere.

but this latest kerfuffle that hillary want barack dead is just ridiculous.  of course she wants barack dead.  if i were her i would want barack to die.  whateva the path to nomination is, she has no doubt, and i have no doubt that she would beat mccain and frankly if barack died it would be easier to beat mccain.  i mean acually barack dying is one of the surest ways to the white house.  we blacks (and yes i am speaking for all of us) would flock to her campaign and to the polls with a level of unmitigated grief and love that would be unprecedented in general elections (this is my theoretical secret to dems winning the whtie house…not that i am a democratic…people underestimate the black vote to their peril.  we may not be many but we come to the polls in incredibly low number…and when we come to the polls in high numbers we turn an election…and we will come out for barack…that is what barack is betting on…a couple of percentage points in a couple of key states with afr-am pop’s that normally cant be counted on…white working class is one thing…but the black working class remembers revolution…heard it on the laps of their parents and grandparents…and we had a dream…and that dream is about to come true…if we vote…the first black president…i will address the idea of the first woman pres in a second)

and she the clinton, who yes insulted us, but we liked the nineties better than the aughts (or atleast financially i did) and we should be angry about our great black hope covered in the morass of assassinations blood and we would be energized to change the election…

so of course she wants barack to be killed in a hail of bullets.  it is romantic.  violent.  beautiful. i mean when bobby kennedy died that was a ‘moment’ in the course of history.  it changed people’s lives.

and of course it cropped her mind.  when the msm calls barack the next kennedy.  well, we know what happens to kennedys.

so ted kennedy is in the hospital.  or just out of it.  and she thought bobby.  barry. barack.  evolution?  im not sure.  a path to the white. house.  god damn suree boy!

i aint hating.  i am a writer.  and as for violent. beatiful. romantic. nothing beats the assasination of a dream.  the murder of hope.  and another hope blooming in its place.

and it would rock if we had a woman represented as president.  even more exciting if i felt a kinship with her.

which brings me to a tiny side point.  the racism and the sexism has been awful in this campaign.  but honestly as a black woman it was hard for me to feel as empathetic about the sexism that hillary endured as opposed to the racism.  and i have been wondering why.

here is the closest i got:  because the sexism that i saw in reference to hillary was so different from the sexism i have encountered as a black woman.  because white folks and black folks (okay all folks) view black women as diametrically opposed to white women.  a white woman when she is seen as not following the gender script is seen as angry, masculine, aggressive, hypersexual, which is the normalized version of black woman identity.   the darker you are the more aggressive (especially sexually) and angry you are seen.  you are masculinized.  not seen as vulnerable, feminine, soft, reserved.  i tried to ask macon d over at stuff white people do why this was….i have seen the phenomena but i dont understand the underlying causes.

so hillary crying and that being sympathetic… i wonder if a black woman had done that if she would have been seen as sympathetic (ok hillary got slightly chocked up she didnt cry…but damn msm had a field day with it)  or would she have been seen as deficient, ‘as not being strong’.  and who would have been the women who would have flocked to the polls to support her.  would white women have flocked to the polls to support her?  yes, oprah cries and ‘gets emotional’ but oprah aint running for president.

and i feel like what white women want from black women is for black women to represent and inspire them to ‘strength’ towards a ‘manliness’ and a ‘go gett-m-ness’ that white women feel like they lack. attitude.  a sort of diva self-appreciation.

how easy is it to empathize with someone who is from a different social group with you and still see her weakeness as strength? then speak out for michelle obama.

so racism/sexism that i experience is different than the sexism that white women experience.  because you know that dichotomy that says that women can only be a virgin or a whore?  yeah, black women for the most part get to experience the ‘whore’ part.  so aggressive.  so hypersexual.  so experienced.

and i feel sad.  because the idea that hillary wants obama to die.  is to be expected.  but the fact that t he only good black leader is a dead black leader.  that has me sad.  and the fact that ‘oppression olympics stands in the way of: when we advance we can all advance–is sad.

i guess the question i should have asked was: why is it that no one notices that black women vote overwhelmingly for obama and not hillary.  and our votes ( and the majority of black folks voting for obama are black women.  too many black men are not allowed to vote.  that is the effect of the prison industrial complex) are not counted by msm.  when folks say that women overwhelmingly vote for hillary.  well, black women do not overwhelmingly vote for hillary.  and even though ‘working class white men’ vote for hillary and that is the sort of statistic that accounts for too much of msm’s analysis.  the fact that working class black women vote barack…means what?  not worthy of comment.

if i thought that hillary would make my life as a working class black female easier.  i would vote for her.  no really i would.

but the idea that she wants him dead.  well, i mean, that is just obvious.  you dont run for president without having entertained the thoughts of ordering an assasination or two.

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billie was right

May 21, 2008 at 6:08 pm (anti-oppression)

them thats got shall get

them thats not shall lose

so the bible says

and it still is news

mama may have

papa may have

god bless the child thats got it all

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black eagle

May 21, 2008 at 4:57 pm (aboriginal, anti-racism)

I am not sure how i feel about barack’s ‘native name’.  I am even less sure how I feel about the reporting in this article.  it sounds like a caricature.   With all the stereotypes of native communities.  feathers, headresses, banging drums, and the ‘dancing with wolves’ adoption.  What other ways could the reporter have told the story?  Ways that center the Crow Nation.  That center the relationship that this nation has Barack?  The commonalities that they perceive and share?

By Jeff Mason in Montana

May 20, 2008 11:00am

US Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama became an honorary member of a native American tribe today and promised policies to help tribal people if he wins the White House in November.

The Illinois senator who is leading rival Hillary Clinton in their race for the party’s presidential nomination, joined the Crow Nation, a tribe of some 12,100 members in Montana, taking on a native name and honorary parents in a traditional ceremony.

Obama, who would be the first black US president, was “adopted” by Hartford and Mary Black Eagle and given a name which means “one who helps all people of this land”.

“I was just adopted into the tribe, so I’m still working on my pronunciation,” Senator Obama told a crowd after stumbling over some of the native names.

“I like my new name, Barack Black Eagle,” he said. “That is a good name.”


Many in the audience wore traditional feather headdresses and some banged drums ahead of Senator Obama’s visit, the first by a presidential candidate to the Crow Nation.

Senator Obama held rallies throughout Montana, which holds its primary election on June 3.

The state is home to some 60,000 American Indians, making them a key swing vote, according to Dale Old Horn, 62, a spokesman for the Crow Nation.

Senator Obama said he would appoint a Native American adviser to his senior White House staff if he won and would work on providing better health care and education to reservations across the country.

“Few have been ignored by Washington for as long as Native Americans, the first Americans,” Senator Obama said.

Mr Old Horn said the tribal members related to Senator Obama because of his background.

“His heritage of being poor, of being an outsider, you know those two things are the commonalities that he has with us,” he said.

“We’ve always been treated like outsiders when it comes to government policy. In addition to that, we all grew up poor.”

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saving darfur

May 19, 2008 at 3:49 pm (africa, democratic republic of congo)

i have always wondered how and why were so many people in the WEst to invested and engaged in saving Darfur.  While the war in the Congo doesnt happen in the media.

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feminist islam

May 17, 2008 at 3:51 am (Uncategorized)

Azizah al Hibri (left, photo M. Fahsi) and Asma Lamrabet (photo ©)
14 May 08 – Islam is a victim of patriarchal interpretations of the Koran which date back to bygone days and don’t correspond to the original egalitarian message. This is the concept promoted by two Muslim experts, one a Moroccan and the other American Lebanese who are examining the condition of women in Islam

Magda Fahsi/Human Rights Tribune, Brussels – « It has become banal to present Islam as one of the main brakes on modern day life, on women’s rights. The result is that we Muslim women spend our time justifying ourselves and covering ourselves in confusion about the situation of Muslim women whether in Nigeria, Sudan or Afghanistan”. Asma Lamrabet, doctor in the children’s hospital in Rabat, Morocco, co coordinator of a group of research and reflection on Muslim women and author of books on this issue willingly criticises the “simplistic media political” debate of some in the West, prompt to call Islam “retrograde” and to say that “the Muslim woman has become a cultural icon of oppression in the name of religion”.

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first writing since

May 17, 2008 at 12:29 am (anti-oppression, anti-racism, anti-sexism, middle east, palestine, women of color)

this poem inspired me to go to palestine.  It gave me a specific sense of where I beloned in the world.  Stretched across the world.  She wrote it after 9/11.  And told a story of her discovering the bombings in her home city.  For the first year I had a limewire edition of her reading it for Def Poetry.  I would cry.  And promise myself to write something that held the world as honestly.

suheir hamad:

today is a week, and seven is of heavens, gods, science.
evident out my kitchen window is an abstract reality.
sky where once was steel.
smoke where once was flesh.

fire in the city air and i feared for my sister’s life in a way never
before. and then, and now, i fear for the rest of us.

first, please god, let it be a mistake, the pilot’s heart failed, the
plane’s engine died.
then please god, let it be a nightmare, wake me now.
please god, after the second plane, please, don’t let it be anyone
who looks like my brothers.

we did not vilify all white men when mcveigh bombed oklahoma.
america did not give out his family’s addresses or where he went to
church. or blame the bible or pat robertson.

and when we talk about holy books and hooded men and death, why do we
never mention the kkk?

but i know for sure who will pay.

f there are any people on earth who understand how new york is
feeling right now, they are in the west bank and the gaza strip.

6. today it is ten days. last night bush waged war on a man once
openly funded by the
cia. i do not know who is responsible. read too many books, know
too many people to believe what i am told. i don’t give a fuck about
bin laden. his vision of the world does not include me or those i
love. and petittions have been going around for years trying to get
the u.s. sponsored taliban out of power. shit is complicated, and i
don’t know what to think.

but i know for sure who will pay.

in the world, it will be women, mostly colored and poor. women will
have to bury children, and support themselves through grief. “either
you are with us, or with the terrorists” – meaning keep your people
under control and your resistance censored. meaning we got the loot
and the nukes.

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vanishing the palestinians

May 17, 2008 at 12:16 am (middle east, palestine, west bank)

vanishing the palestinians

This was the narrative I grew up with in Britain. It was so effective that no one here doubted its truth for decades and Israelis themselves were astonished to “discover” the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza after 1967. However, in occupying them, Israel was back to the old problem of how to keep the new land without the people. Since physical expulsion was no longer an option, the alternative has been to make the Palestinians disappear as a nation by destroying their society. The history of the last 37 years of Israeli occupation can perhaps be best understood in this context. The Israeli colonisation of land and resources has strangled the Palestinian economy and made statehood unviable. At the same time, the destruction of Palestinian history proceeds unabated. One of the least noted aspects of Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon was the removal to Israel of truckloads of crucial Palestinian archives and documents from the PLO Research Centre in Beirut. The Israelis did the same in 2002 when they invaded Ramallah. Vital statistics, computer hard drives, population statistics and land registers were taken out with the aim of destroying the Palestinian collective memory, history and national existence.

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and i still think that zion is a beautiful word

May 17, 2008 at 12:07 am (anti-oppression, middle east, prisons, west bank)

When I was younger I was in love with the idea of Zion.  I associated it with the old reggae song -Dreamland- that still puts me in a good mood, the Idea that Einstein proposed when he called himself a Zionist,  aplace of refuge for refugees around the world.  I place that was a beacon of peace in a world of division.  A glowing model to the world on how people could live.  I traveled to the West Bank in 2003 and 2004.  Lived there.  And saw what the  dream of Zion had becomeby the Israeli government.  A nightmare of checkpoints, economic isolation (that Israel feeds off of by controlling theborders) dying children, graphic images, indignity, the daily toll of survivng under occupation.   We had a little saying: Its the occupation stupid.

So the candidates are fighting over who is more pro-Israel, which is translated as more pro Israeli government.  Even Barack has a hypocritical stance.  Hel’ll talke to anyone without conditions, except Hamas.  Hamas is a legally internationally-observed elctions, elected government.  By democratic choice of the people of the West Bank and Gaza.  It is the Palestinian government.  And Israel’s response is to lock the government up.  REally, during the spring and summer o f 2006, before and during the scuffle with Lebanon, they stole most members of the Hamas government and put them in jail.  We cant even pretend that is legal under international law or our agreed upon ideas of justice.

Then the Hamas injailed members said dont release us until you listen to the Palestinian Political Prisoners Movement.

The only countries that are allowed to be a democracy are the ones that the US supports.  And the US supports Israel.  unconditionally.

And so Barack, who wont talk to Hamas until the agree to a vague set of guidelines, guidelines which are more accusatory than achievable,

Look I dont agree with the vision that Hamas has set forth for Palestine.  I am an outsider looking in.  But really to say that Hamas has to say that Israel has the right to exist is ridiculous.  Chavez does not think that the US has a right to exist.  No empire has the right to exist.  No country has the right to colonize another people.

But to say that because the US representative of Hamas (who is this guy?  Does he live in the States?  Why is he not in jail?  Maybe he lives in Canada.  Or Timbuktu.) endoresed Barack means that he wont be staunchly pro-Israel is ridiculous.  The majorit of people around the world love Barack.  They invest in his message of HOPE and cHANGE more than I do.  But honestly after the past decade or two, we are all looking at the bottom of Pandora’s box.

What they  love more is that he is Brown.  That his father was African, that he spent his childhood in Asia.  That he knows the thirdworld with a first love, sweet, innocent, open.

Maybe he will cut them a break.

But this is why I love Palestine.  Or at least part of the reason.  Because they are the great unloved.  Even Barack cant treat their democratic choice as legitimate.   It is so popular and powerful to demean Palestine.

They are my hope.  All of the righteous underdogs.

And I still think that Zion is a beautiful word.

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lebanon fighting

May 9, 2008 at 7:58 pm (lebanon, middle east)

from Rami Elamine:

Below is an article form Al Jazeera on the latest situation in Lebanon. However, a little context is important, particularly since the article doesn’t mention the involvement of the US. While the General Strike called by the Lebanese confederation of labor helped spark these clashes, it was the US backed government’s decision to go after Hizbullah, albeit not yet by military means, which added fuel to the fire and may have pushed the nearly 2 year political standoff between the government and the Hizbullah led opposition into a more confrontational phase. However, the economic conditions that led to the calling of the general strike in the first place are also an important factor in all this. Just as in the rest of the global South, food and fuel prices have skyrocketed in Lebanon and so the key demand of the strike was increasing of the minimum wage from $200/month to $600 so that people can afford basic necessities. In Lebanon, this class divide coincides with confessional/sectarian divisions in that the largest sect, the Shi’a, make up most of the country’s poor. So its no surprise that they were the biggest supporters of the strike.

What the US has to do with all this is that its war, and divide and conquer strategy in Iraq has created sectarian tensions between sunnis and shi’a and divisions within countries in western asia and africa that didn’t exist a few years ago (Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Somalia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, etc), causing massive instability. Instead of drawing the right lesson from the fact that its proxies in all these countries are becoming smaller and less popular and, therefore, unable to win militarily, the US seems to be pushing them to do just that–take out or cripple those opposed to US hegemony in the region by any means necessary. Even though this backfired in GAza, they did it in Iraq with the attack on the Sadrists in Basra on March 25 (which has now killed more than a 1000 iraqis, 3/4 of whom are civilians, mostly in the Shi’a slum of Sadr City) and they’ve been trying to do it in Lebanon since Israel’s failed war and invasion in the summer of 2006.

What’s really frightening and what really needs to be exposed is how the US backed, neoliberal gov’t of Fuad Siniora has begun really whipping up sectarian tensions. It’s always been implicit in their attacks on the Shiite dominated opposition but it’s now been taken to a whole new level and partly explains why the street fighting so reminiscent of the 15 year civil war which claimed more than 150,000 lives has begun. In what are unprecedented remarks by any political leader let alone the religious head of one of the sects, the Sunni spiritual leader Mufti Mohammed Rashid Kabbani said yesterday, “Sunni Muslims in Lebanon have had enough” and that “Sunni Muslims are fed up with such violations of their freedom and dignity.” He went on to call Hizbullah “armed gangs of outlaws that have carried out the ugliest attacks against the citizens and their safety” and accused them of “invading” Beirut and trying to “kidnap” the airport.

Sorry to go on so long but its important that people begin to get their heads around this before the US propaganda machine kicks in and frames the debate in a way that prevents people from doing something about this and justifies more wars and occupations in the Middle East.



Beirut racked by street battles
THURSDAY, MAY 08, 2008

Six people have been killed and 15 people wounded in Lebanon, according to security sources, as the country’s political crisis threatened to spiral out of control.

Fighting in Beirut intensified on Thursday, the second day of anti-government protests, after a speech by Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah secretary-general, in which he called a government crackdown on the Shia group “tantamount to a declaration of war”.

In several neighbourhoods across the capital automatic rifle fire could be heard as fighters in support of Hezbollah and the allied Amal group exchanged fire with pro-government fighters in the worst domestic fighting since the 1975-90 civil war.

Clashes were reported to have broken out in other parts of the country, with another seven people reported injured in the Beqaa valley.

The Lebanese army did not participate in the fighting.

But Robert Fisk, a journalist in Beirut, speaking to Al Jazeera, said that could change if the fighting escalated.

“If we have a situation where one group of people move into another group’s area – either Shia or Sunni –  then the army may have to take much harsher measures and that immediately raises the question of ‘what is the future of the Lebanese army’, because it’s made up of all the citizens of this country, not just one group or the other,” Fisk said.

Gun battles

“The fighting seems to be spreading,” reported James Bays, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Beirut. “It’s something all the political parties said they wanted to avoid.”

Thursday’s fighting occurred on Corniche Mazraa, a major thoroughfare in Beirut that has become a demarcation line between mainly Sunni and Shia neighbourhoods, and the nearby Ras el-Nabeh area.

The violence later spread to Khandaq el-Ghamiq, adjacent to the centre of the city.

Television footage showed armed and masked men taking cover on street corners next to shuttered shops.

Shootings and explosions were also reported near the office of Aisha Bakkar, the Sunni spiritual leader allied with the government, and in Ein el-Tineh where the opposition-aligned parliament speaker has his official residence.

Hezbollah speech

Fighting broke out after Nasrallah, in a televised address, said the political crisis in Lebanon had “entered a new phase” because of what Hezbollah claims are government moves against the Shia group, including launching an investigation into Hezbollah‘s private telephone network.

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“This decision is a declaration of war against the resistance [Hezbollah],” said Nasrallah.

“This decision [by the government] is designed to push the resistance and the military into direct confrontation.”

He warned that Hezbollah would act to stop any attempt by the government to dismantle the network.

Later, in his own televised address, Saad Hariri, leader of the Lebanese parliamentary majority and son of the assassinated former prime minister, put the blame back on Hezbollah, saying: “What fate are you dragging the Muslims to – are you dragging us back to civil war?”

He proposed a compromise solution spearheaded by the army – seen as neutral – to end the fighting and “save Lebanon from hell” and called for Hezbollah to lift its “siege” of the capital.

He also called for the immediate election of a consensus presidential candidate.

‘Calm and restraint’

In the US, the United Nations security council also called for “calm and restraint”, urging all sides to return to peaceful dialogue.

The council issued a non-binding policy statement, which lacks the force of a resolution, after a briefing by Terje Roed-Larsen, a UN special envoy to the Middle East, who warned that the situation in Lebanon was the worst since the civil war.

“At the top of the agenda at the Security Council today is the issue of armed militias in the streets of Beirut and elsewhere,” Roed-Larsen said, speaking to Al Jazeera after the briefing.

“What we are seeing today illustrates the necessities of integrating the Lebanese militias into the army. Unless this is done I fear that what we are seeing today will continue.”

The White House demanded Hezbollah stop “disruptive activities”.

Hezbollah needs to make a choice – be a terrorist organisation or be a political party, but quit trying to be both,” Gordon Johndroe, a White House spokesman, said.

“They need to start playing a constructive role and stop their disruptive activities now.”

‘Tension rising’

Unrest began on Wednesday during a general strike, called by the main labour union over price increases and wage demands, which quickly developed into a confrontation between supporters of the government and the opposition.

Protests continued on Thursday, with many roads blocked by barricades of burning tyres.

The Lebanese army command issued a call for calm, saying that if the violence continued, it would affect the unity of the military.

Rula Amin, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Beirut, reported that people were trying to flee the city.

“Some people are leaving the capital to remote villages, others are walking out of their homes with suitcases, heading for the airport by foot, hoping that any plane will take them,” she said.

“Tension is rising – today violence spread outside the capital … You can see more and more people on the street with guns.”

Saudi Arabia warned the opposition against an escalation of the situation.

“The kingdom urges the groups behind the escalation to reconsider their position, and to realise that leading Lebanon towards turmoil will not bring victory to any party except extremist external forces,” the state’s SPA news agency quoted an official as saying.

Fears that the political conflict in Lebanon could escalate into sectarian conflict were heightened when Mohammed Rashid Kabbani, Lebanon’s Sunni grand mufti, spoke against Hezbollah for the first time.

“Sunni Muslims in Lebanon have had enough,” Kabbani said in a televised address from his office.

The Sunni spiritual leader referred to Hezbollah as “armed gangs of outlaws that have carried out the ugliest attacks against the citizens and their safety”.

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black women, islam, and hiphop

May 7, 2008 at 4:43 pm (anti-sexism, islam, middle east, palestine, women of color)

there is a great article at racialicious

on black muslim women and hiphop.  Okay actually the article originates on Muslimah Media Watch. Gorgeous pictures of Erykah Badu and Eve. And a discussion as to what consitutues Islam. It reminded me of my first visit to the West Bank and haing a discussion with a teeenager muslim woman named yasmmina about he connection between Black Muslims and Islam. Malcolm X and Sunni. Yasmina who considered herself an Islamist thought of Islam as both a policial as well as a spiritual idenity. And while we did not have a discussion about the dogma or beliefs of the Nation of Islam and 5 percenters, there was a definite connection and appreciation that people would be willing to take on the label of ‘Muslim’ especially in a post-9/11 world.

What struck me was how much variety and diversity Yasmina assumed to be a part of the Islamic world. And the variety of wary that Muslim women have interpreted the Koran and present themselves to the world.

I appreciate that Eve gives gratitude to Allah but says that she cannot follow Islam properly. I think that in the Black community, women identifying as Muslim in many ways gives them a hiphop cred that is difficult for women to achieve. In that Muslims in hiphop culture are considered to be ‘deep’, ‘strong’, and ‘dedicated soldiers’ that allows for Black women to be able to move through many of the sexist assumptions about women mc’s. There is also a sense within the Black community that Muslim women are somehow moe socially protected and respectable than other women. (ya know there are ho’s and then there are queens).

One of my inspirations to live in the Middle East was the respect I had for Muslimwomen in hiphop. So that political connection that Yasmina and I talked about matters.

I am going to try to get the original article by McMurray.

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