Wednesday, May 31, 2006

the wrath of farrakhan

I've been thinking more about Star Trek and Afro-futurism these days and so I thought I'd share this blast from the past... An old In Living Color sketch called: The Wrath of Farrakhan

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

jesus isn't magic

Even though this comes from a "Christian" perspective, I really liked the piece Jesus Isn't Magic by Karen Horst Cobb. She presents a Jesus (as) free from a lot of the typical theological baggage and is concerned with bringing about real change, both in the soul and in the world.

Monday, May 29, 2006

the native orientalists aka "it's easy out here for a sell-out"

Al-Balagh: The Native Orientalists: The Muslims America Loves on why there is a well-funded niche for brown apologists for Western supremacy.

best of friends, worlds apart

Best of Friends, Worlds Apart is about two men, best friends from Cuba, Joel and Achmed, one black, one white, and how their relationship changed when they got to the US.

When I first skimmed this article I thought it was a gimicky human-interest story, but after rereading it, I saw that it was more nuanced than that. It gets into both the positive and negative aspects of race relations in Cuba and looks at the factors which can "guide" Cuban immigrants (whether black or white) to find a place in the US' system of racial identity.

The article made me think of an uncle who once told me that white Cubans were the most racist people on Earth. I would have expected a piece like this to oversimplify and paint a picture of two best friends living in a racial utopia coming to the US and suddenly growing apart. But the article did a half-way decent job of showing that many of the attitudes held by white Cubans in Miami weren't just a result of Americanization but came with them in their luggage (especially when presenting the perspective of Bill Brent, the former Black Panther living in Cuba).

Friday, May 26, 2006

terms of use

If you happen to be in the Detroit area, you should definitely check out the 555 Gallery. They recently completed a show called Mensaje Latino and their two upcoming shows are Urban Alchemy and Terms of Use. I would especially plug Terms of Use because I know a few of the featured artists (and I'm not certain but they might even put up an image I posed for). Anyway, the gallery is run by some good folks and if you are in the area you should give them some support.


(Actually, the guy posing in the above picture is a pretty cool and amazing artist in his own right named Umi Vaughan. He's from Oakland but last I heard he was chillin' in Cuba, presumably working on an anthropology doctorate. If I get my thoughts together I'll say more about him, an interesting guy. Se hizo santo!).

Thursday, May 25, 2006

daara j brings rap back to its african roots

Despite the urgent nature of the material, ''Boomerang" is brimming with optimism. Daara J -- which means ''school of life" -- weds buoyant Afro-Cuban rhythms, crisp hip-hop grooves, and soulful R&B vocals to lyrics that tumble out in a celebratory cultural stew of French, English, Spanish, and their native Wolof.

The album's title refers to the group's belief that hip-hop was, if not born, at least seeded in Africa. ''When we were taken from Africa to be slaves and sent to all parts of the world, a form of rap called tasso, which is rhythm-based storytelling, already existed," explains Freddy. ''When it left the motherland, it remained dormant for a while. And then one day it was awakened. African-Americans forgot where it originally came from. It was a natural evolutionary process for it to come back to Africa, where we have developed it further!"

an apology to james yee

Common Dreams: To Muslim Chaplain James Yee: I Am So Sorry by Rosa Maria Pegueros is a sincere and heart-felt piece but also interesting in its perspective. An American (Latina) is apologizing to an American (Asian, Muslim) for the sins of her (his, our) country.

While Yee was stationed in Guantanamo as a chaplain to the detainees, he was charged with spying, threatened with the death penalty, put in solitary confinement, and tortured until the Army decided to drop the charges. He subsequently resigned his commission. If you are unfamiliar with his story, I urge you to listen to him or read his account at Democracy Now! . He has just published a book about his experiences called For God and Country: Faith and Patriotism Under Fire.

Monday, May 22, 2006

juan cole on the da vinci code

I'm a little surprised at myself that I didn't make this comparison before. In DaVinci Code as Parable of American Modernity, Juan Cole points out that the premise of the Da Vinci code (that Jesus got married and has modern-day descendants) is basically the situation which Muslims are in with regard to Muhammad (saaws). Where Jesus' daughter Sara, and Muhammad's daughter Fatima both have very strong associations with the sacred feminine.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

guantanamo suicide attempts

Truthout: multiple suicide attempts among prisoners at guantanamo

the religious left is back

Truthout: Religious Liberals Gain New Visibility by Caryle Murphy and Alan Cooperman is a story from the Washington Post of some recent trends and developments aomng religious liberals.

gangs claim their turf in iraq


The Gangster Disciples, Latin Kings and Vice Lords were born decades ago in Chicago's most violent neighborhoods. Now, their gang graffiti is showing up 6,400 miles away in one of the world's most dangerous neighborhoods -- Iraq.

There are at least two sides to this: What are the implications of having gang-affiliated soldiers in Iraq? (But actualy, this doesn't seem to be a big concern because in Iraq, the American soldiers, even those in rival gangs, are united by a common enemy.) The larger issue is what happens in urban areas when gang members go back home with military know-how and access to equipment? Can we say blowback?

us secretly backing warlords in somalia

Truthout: US Secretly Backing Warlords in Somalia shows that the government is willing to back secular Somali warlords in order to fight against Muslim-factions.

The latest clashes, last week and over the weekend, were some of the most violent in Mogadishu since the end of the American intervention in 1994, and left 150 dead and hundreds more wounded. Leaders of the interim government blamed U.S. support of the militias for provoking the clashes.

The country has a weak transitional government operating largely out of neighboring Kenya and the southern city of Baidoa. Most of Somalia is in anarchy, ruled by a patchwork of competing warlords; the capital is too unsafe for even Somalia's acting prime minister to visit.

Leaders of the transitional government said they have warned U.S. officials that working with the warlords is shortsighted and dangerous.

"We would prefer that the U.S. work with the transitional government and not with criminals," the prime minister, Ali Mohamed Gedi, said in an interview. "This is a dangerous game. Somalia is not a stable place and we want the U.S. in Somalia. But in a more constructive way. Clearly we have a common objective to stabilize Somalia, but the U.S. is using the wrong channels."

Many of the warlords have their own agendas, Somali officials said, and some reportedly fought against the United States in 1993 during street battles that culminated in an attack that downed two U.S. Black Hawk helicopters and left 18 Army Rangers dead.

"The U.S. government funded the warlords in the recent battle in Mogadishu, there is no doubt about that," government spokesman Abdirahman Dinari told journalists by telephone from Baidoa. "This cooperation . . . only fuels further civil war."

U.S. officials have refused repeated requests to provide details about the nature and extent of their support for the coalition of warlords, which calls itself the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism in what some Somalis say is a marketing ploy to get U.S. support.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

blog break

I've been taking a break for a few days. I've been spending more time reading other people's blogs and thinking about other things. For example, I've been pondering about the paraphrased Hisham Aidi quote in Grenada's header ("Islam is at the heart... ") and how its implications can be developed and fleshed out and implemented. How broadly or narrowly can "like-minded" (whatever that means) people define a platform and a coalition? Muslims? Third-World people? Latino activists? Pan-Africanists? Progressives? Cultural activists?People on the Spritual Left? How big is the boat?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

el emigrante


I could have made this another "why the devil has more vacation-time than santa" post but later changed my mind about the title. A few days ago I read an article about a racist video game called Border Patrol (available free online) where the objective was to shoot Mexicans trying to cross the border; you could kill a "drug smuggler" a "mexican nationalist" or a "breeder" (a pregnant woman with two children). In the course of looking for the game I also found Krazie Bone's Ghetto Chase where the player runs from the police through various backyards (collecting crack pipes and marijuana leaves for extra points), Kaboom! The Suicide Bombing Game (pretty self-explanatory) along with many other games in a similar vein. On some level, I've known for a while that video games have been pushing the envelope and getting more and more extreme, but I'm actually (a little) surprised by how many games out there are racist, stereotypical, crudely violent and offensive. It makes me feel old and crotchety.

For a more academic look at the border patrol game, read's "Border Patrol" Video Game: Appalling Social Irresponsibility

And for a slightly different sort of game, check out El Emigrante where you get to be a Mexican mouse (Speedy Gonzalez?) on a bicycle fleeing from the police. It is different from Border Patrol in that the player identifies with the immigrant and it is different from Kaboom and Ghetto Chase in that it doesn't blatantly employ stereotypes. In contrast with the previous games, El Emigrante isn't racially offensive but it is deafeatist. (There is no way to win. The immigrant always gets caught, it's just a matter of time).

What do you think?

Monday, May 15, 2006


See also:
wild pigeon a previous Grenada piece on a Chinese Muslim poet meeting with repression from the Chinese government. And on a more positive note, fighting terrorism with islam deals with how in Yemen, militancy and extremism is being effectively countered through dialogue.
What I find really compelling is that in each of these examples, the force of ideas and words is at least as impressive or threatening to the Powers that Be, as the force of weapons or other conventional political tools. The pen (or the tongue) really is more powerful than the sword.

star spangled hypocrite

This is a follow-up post of sorts to "jose can you see..."

From the Black Commentator: Star spangled hypocrite features links to a Spanish version of the Star-spangled banner commissioned by the U.S. Bureau of Education in 1919, four different Spanish versions of the anthem available on the U.S. State Department's website, and news accounts of a certain someone apparently having no problem with Spanish versions of the national anthem when pandering to Latino voters on the campaign trail.

should africa look to latin america?

Helen at Afrorise! asks the very Grenada-esque question: Should Africa look to Latin America? (as a model for social, economic, and political development)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

jesus in india

I've been noticing that recently a lot of the people who have been making their way to Planet Grenada have come here looking for an Islamic perspective on The Da Vinci Code. So to help quench their thirst I'd thought I'd also pass along a link to the book Jesus in India which suggests that Jesus survived the crucifixion and travelled to Afghanistan (where he possibly married and had children) and moved on to Kashimir where (it is alleged) his tomb can be found. I'm not claiming the theory is true. And I'm definitely not saying that this is THE Muslim perspective on these matters. I would just say it is an example of sustained speculation on the subject of what happened after the crucifixion from someone claiming to be Muslim. And y'all might be interested.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

the third resurrection is still alive and kicking

The site has slowed down some since it started, but Third Resurrection is still there as before. And we recently added a new member. Tavis Adibudeen from Lantern Torch: Creative Illumination. If you know of other bloggers who might be interested in joining send them my way.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

as a black latina, where do i count?

Alternet: As a Black Latina, Where Do I Count? by Shana White is an older piece by a Black Nicaraguan woman who grew up in East Palo Alto, California. She starts off with the question:

When the U.S. Census recently reported that Latinos had replaced African-Americans as the largest minority in the United States, I wondered, "How can I replace myself?"

and then she goes on to talk about her personal and family experience between those "two" communities. If you are a frequent visitor to Planet Grenada you know I've definitely posted articles like this before... although this may be the first by an Afrolatina from a Central American-American (?) background.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

from vicente guerrero to vicente fox

Indymedia: Mexico welcomed fugitive slaves and African American job-seekers by Ron Wilkins is an amazing piece on how Mexico of the past had a relatively positive relationship with people of African descent from the North.

on being black at a latino march

I like the article overall. My one huge complaint would be the unstated assumption that being "Black" implies being non-immigrant and Anglo. I once met a woman from Ghana who used the labels "plane Blacks" and "boat Blacks" (based on how folks came to be in the United States). In general I don't like those sorts of divisions but I have noticed that a lot of times "boat Blacks" (in my head, I sometimes use the term Afro-Gringos) tend to assume that there are only a small number of ways to "be Black" (i.e. those based on the experience of slavery in the United States, especially the American South, Reconstruction, the Great Migration, the Civil Rights movement and modern hip-hop culture.) And there is often a tendancy to marginalize and ignore the Black experience in other parts of the Americas, Africa, and the rest of the diaspora.

Van Jones' piece below is well-intentioned and worth reading. But his difficulties with the Spanish slogans and "Latin" (probably African) rhythms have more to do with his Anglo-ness than his Blackness

praise the prophet poetry competition


Friday, May 05, 2006

late first impressions of may 1st

So I went to a local immigrant rights march on Monday. It gave me a lot to think about.

Firstly, I think these sorts of events are amazing. It is powerful and galvanizing to think of thousands of people coming out just to affirm that they have rights and demand that they be treated fairly. I was especially impressed with how diverse the speakers were. "Of course" Mexican and Mexican-American speakers were well represented but other voices definitely made contributions.Young. Old. Male. Female. Latino. Muslim. African-American. Legal. "Illegal". And white allies from the labor movement.

Secondly, what gave me a bit more to think about was how ideologically diverse the people involved seemed to be. Immigration, affirmative-action, anti-war, pro-local economy, labor. Everyone had their issue. It made me wonder if the group of people gathered there would be able to continue to coordinate their efforts and agree what a next step would look like. To be hoest, the strategic/critical side of my brain was a little skeptical of what political changes would really come out of that particular gathering. But the friend whom I was with pointed out that its not really about that. It has more to do with letting people know that they are not alone, letting them feel empowered, letting them have a voice. The rest comes later.

A day without an immigrant
Immigrant Solidarity Network
No HR 4437 Network
A.N.S.W.E.R. and the Great American Boycott

immigration across the blogosphere

Here is Elenamary's massive clearinghouse of blog links on the immigration-related events of May 1st (thanks for the shout-out)

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

senzala or quilombo

Just the other day I got into a conversation about anarchism with a Chicana friend of mine so the subject has been on my mind. In Senzala or Quilombo: Reflections on APOC and the fate of Black Anarchism, Pedro Ribeiro metaphorically connects APOC, the Anarchist People of Color organization with the Brazilian qilombos, the free communities of runaway slaves.

natural islam

From the Anarchist People of Color site: In the article Natural Islam, Salim (a libertarian socialist Shia Muslim Sufi author) discusses the relation between activism and authority (both religious and political).

islamic anarchism?

A very brief piece on Gustave-Henri Jossot (1866-1951), a French cartoonist who moved in Anarchist circles and eventually converted to Islam.

blacks and immigration reform

Blacks and Immigration Reform: Conflicted, But Why? by Anthony Asadullah Samad

In a strange twist of events leading up to the “Day Without Mexicans” protest, there was suddenly this overwhelming focus on where African Americans stood on the issue. While this focus certainly was heightened by a half-cocked Ted Hayes rollin’ into Leimert Park with Minutemen in tow, talkin’ about Black people will help immigrants build an economy in Mexico. Hayes is clearly the latest iteration of Sambo politics that advances the position of the conservative right without any concern of how crazy he really makes black people look. Of course, the media is there front and center, while a few so-called “black spokespersons” front off the whole race escalating Black/Latino tensions on a whole ‘nother front simply because some folk want to scapegoat immigrants and play up the politics of fear that permeate two already exploited communities. These Negroes are trying to do to immigrants what America did to Blacks at the end of the 19th Century when poor whites decried that Blacks were taking their jobs because of industrialization. That’s what makes this dangerous.

The fact that African Americans feel the need to take position needs to be called into question. There has been no Latino “litmus test” on HR 40 (Reparation bill) or even where Latinos stand on police abuse or jailhouse attacks on African Americans. We tend to cooperate where we can, but each community has its own issues. Yet, “are you with us” is now a prevailing inquiry among Blacks and Latinos. Certainly any group that knows the social change history of Blacks in America (including the history of the “Day of Absence” for which this protest was modeled) know that our involvement in social (and political change) is crucial. Yeah, this legislation is targeting Mexicans, but Haitians, Jamaicans, and Africans impacted by this bill. We should be allies in advocating for compassionate reform. Solidarity where possible. That’s how it’s always been.

There are deeper issues here. The concern that immigrants take jobs from black people drives the opposition. It’s a false premise that has nothing to do with immigration, and everything to do with competition. Immigrants don’t take work—they make work. They sell fruits, or flowers or other goods. Most of the jobs they fill are not jobs Blacks want. I know over three dozen upper middle class black families looking for black gardeners but can’t find one. It’s the same with housekeepers, babysitters, live-in nannies and day laborers. The competition between Black and Latinos (on all levels) stem from the networks each creates that support their desire to work and improve their communities. Only 25% of all jobs in America are advertised. The rest are “inside referrals.” Work is disappearing for African Americans because we want to be the only one on the job and put little in the job “pipeline.” Latinos refer who they know. Blacks used to do the same.

Blacks could provide enough jobs for everybody to work if they’d only support themselves. In 1965, it was Jewish businesses taking work from Blacks. In 1992, it was Koreans. Now, it’s immigrants. And opposing Blacks think they can help immigrants build their “own country.” Yeah, right? That’s pure rhetoric and the source of the confliction on this issue—an issue not really ours. Blacks can’t build their own economy here in America. We need not play the role of being victims.

Wanna know our issue? Black America’s focus should not be on who’s taking jobs, but who’s making jobs. When Blacks learn how to make work, they’ll have work. Immigration won’t even be an issue. It’s not for any other community who simply make work for their people to work.

Anthony Asadullah Samad is a national columnist, managing director of the Urban Issues Forum ( and author of 50 Years After Brown: The State of Black Equality In America. He can be reached at

"when you get yourself into a situation you can't get out of..."

It has just been on my mind...
From the movie Traffic:

You know, when they forced Khruschev out, he sat down and wrote two letters to his successor. He said - "When you get yourself into a situation you can't get out of, open the first letter, and you'll be safe. When you get yourself into another situation you can't get out of, open the second letter". Soon enough, he gets into a tight situation, and he opens the first letter. It says - "Blame it all on me". So he blames it all on the old guy, and it worked like a charm. When he got himself into a second situation, he opened the second letter. It said - "Sit down, and write two letters..."

The full screenplay for Traffic

Monday, May 01, 2006

bunny vs. world

For fun: Bunny vs. World by Helmi Bastami is the name of an odd flash game where you are a rabbit ninja who must fight against the forces of Adolph Bunne, a fascist rabbit supremacist who has risen to power in the animal world. The game is more than a bit bloody but other than that, the story, the look of the game, and the music are very well done.