Friday, March 31, 2006

cuba & pakistan

I've written about the 2260 health care professionals that Cuba sent to help Pakistani earthquake victims, and about how they had treated 1,043,125 patients, but even that didn't prepare me for the latest statistic: 73% of the earthquake victims who received medical care, received it from Cuban doctors and paramedics.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

bottom of the cracker barrel

In her post Niggers and Spics, brownfemipower wrestles with the real-life complexities of the workplace alliances and rivalries between Mexican-Americans and African-Americans in the microcosm of the Flint Cracker Barrel.

loose change and the fall of the wtc

Last April Fool's day I wrote a piece which discussed how folks (especially Muslims) relate to certain rumors and conspiracy theories (see april fool's and the fall of granada).

Oddly enough, a few days ago a friend pointed me in the direction of Loose Change a video which discusses the idea that the US government was behind 9/11. To be honest, I'm not sure how much credence to give these sorts of theories. On the one hand, 9/11 has certainly been exploited in order to justify certain policies in the Middle East. But are the people in charge so evil that they would have deliberately and consciously planned for 9/11 to happen in the first place? See the video and judge for yourself.


by Suheir Hammad

it is written
the act of writing is
holy words are
sacred and your breath
brings out the
god in them
i write these words
quickly repeat them
softly to myself
this talisman for you
fold this prayer
around your neck fortify
your back with these
may you walk ever
loved and in love
know the sun
for warmth the moon
for direction
may these words always
remind you your breath
is sacred words
bring out the god
in you

"querido fbi"

I blogged a little bit about him when he passed, but I recently went to a spoken word performance where they showed a Puerto Rican hip-hip video about the death of Filiberto Ojeda Rios so he has been on my mind again. The song was "Querido FBI" by a group called Residente Calle 13. I've noticed that sometimes my links to YouTube don't necessarily last very long. If the video has been removed, hopefully you can also listen to the song here... or if necessary find it on the web yourself.

Washington Post: Puerto Rico Asks Congress to Lean on FBI
Miami Herald: Protests in Puerto Rico mount against FBI over tactics
Democracy Now!: FBI Assassinates Puerto Rican Nationalist Leader Filiberto Ojeda Rios

Planet Grenada:
filiberto ojeda rios
the life and death of filiberto ojeda rios

"the sleeping latino giant has finally awakened"

Immigration reform and related demonstrations around the country are the issue of the day. In Denver, Chicago, Milwaukee, Phoenix, and of course Los Angeles (among other places) Latinos marched in order to press for a more sensible immigration policy. Being held up for particular criticism is House Resolution 4437 (“Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005”) which would:

-Make it more difficult for legal immigrants to become U.S. citizens.
-Disrupt American communities and put all Americans at risk by broadening the definition of smuggling to include anyone who aids or transports an undocumented immigrant.
-Make everyone who comes to the U.S. to work subject not only to deportation but also imprisonment.
-Disrupt the U.S. economy by creating an overly broad and retroactive employment verification system without creating legal channels for needed workers to work lawfully.

It seems kind of obvious to me, but it bears saying: Immigration policy and the anti-immigrant backlash are certainly issues which both Latinos and Muslims should be concerned about. And whenever possible, they should cooperate and coordinate their efforts accordingly. For example, recently in Chicago, I.M.A.N. worked with Latino activists there and supported a march against HR 4437. Hopefully we will see more such coalitions in the future.

Alternet: Immigration Reform in Living Color
Ihasn: The giant awakens! 10,00,000 march in Los Angeles!
La Voz De Aztlan: Aztlan Arising: 700,000+ March in Los Angeles
Common Dreams: "Latino Giant" Awakens: Demonstrations Gaining Strength
Common Dreams: Wage War on Poverty, Not Immigrants
Planet Grenada: inner city muslim action network and latino activists

latino and islamic groups want tancredo to quit
you say it like its a bad thing...
obama and martinez
mexico and immigration

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

solar eclipse today

MSNBC: Watch a total eclipse on the Web It won't be visible in North America but you can see it online.

end of empire

I vaguely remember watching the Iran-Contra hearings on tv and being vaguely impressed by Henry Hyde and then being really surprised later on when I found out he was a Republican. It makes sense though. He was raised a Democrat (Irish Catholic) has supported (and even sponsored) gun control legislation, and currently he is critical of the administration's position on the Iraq War. He may be in the GOP but that doesn't make him stupid or crazy.
"Our power, then, has the grave liability of rendering our theories about the world immune from failure. But by becoming deaf to easily discerned warning signs, we may ignore long-term costs that result from our actions and dismiss reverses that should lead to a re-examination of our goals and means." - Henry Hyde

Imperial Overreach is Accelerating the Global Decline of America by Martin Jacques.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

reverse missionaries

Check out: African Christians bring their zeal to U.S. Reverse missionaries seek to end our sinful ways by Rachel Zoll

I'm tempted to call this "beautifully ironic" except irony isn't quite the right word. After all, the Ethiopian Orthodox and Coptic (Egyptian) Churches are among the oldest forms of Christianity in the world. While the Protestant Churches which are dominant in the United States are all no older than 500 years (Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the door of the Wittenberg Church in 1517). Christianity has a long and ancient history in Africa and so it isn't really ironic that they would send missionaries to the post-Christian West. It's just slightly funny.

Monday, March 27, 2006

"then they came for the..."

Alternet: Keeping Tabs on the Peaceniks Wow, this is bizzare. Food Not Bombs is on the FBI's terrorism watch list? They do things like go dumpster diving and help feed homeless people! We are living in strange times.

Wikipedia: First they came...

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Saturday, March 25, 2006

santana and iraq

LIMA, Peru - Carlos Santana, speaking to Peruvian journalists ahead of a Tuesday concert, said young people's opposition to the war in Iraq is reaching the dimensions of the anti-Vietnam war sentiment in the 1970s.

"There is more value in placing a flower in a rifle barrel than making war," he said. "As Jimi Hendrix used to say, musical notes have more importance than bullets."

In 1971, Santana was prevented from performing in Peru by the military dictatorship, which deemed his music an "alienating" force. Santana returned to perform in 1995
(full story)

Planet Grenada: carlos santana

Thursday, March 23, 2006

what if she was condoleezza jenkins?

That's kind of deep. A radio host accidentally says "coon" when talking about Condoleezza Rice. (And if you look at the transcript, it really looks like an accident. It's not like some weird shock jock stunt) And he gets fired immediately. Wow.

But then that raises the obvious question: what happens to a working class African-American woman who ISN'T semi-married to the President when they get called "coon" for real? Is this about race, or class, or just power?

The original link expired but I found a replacement here.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

better late than never...

Unfortunately this conference already passed, but if you check their website you can get some sense of what state-of-the-art research is like in this area. IRADAC (Institute for Research on the African Diaspora in the Americas and the Caribbean) in NY just had a day-long conference on March 17 called "Departures and Definitions of Afro-Latino and Afro-Latin American Identity in the New Millennium"

mexico and immigration

Immigration has been in the news lately, especially related to Mexico. I just thought I'd give a taste:
StarTelegram.Com: Mexican ads push guest-worker plan
Trentonian: ‘We are workers, not terrorists’
Black Electorate: Mexico And The Migration Phenomenon
Immigration Daily: Two Sides Of The Same Coin: The Connection Between Legal And Illegal Immigration by James R. Edwards, Jr.

latinos and baseball

I first thought about bringing these links together a long time ago when Spike TV announced that they were doing a special on Latinos in baseball. But then I more seriously started to look for link in early March, but then didn't really work much on it until now. To be honest, I'm not a big sports fan but I figured it would be interesting to see what was out there. Obviously alot of the Latinos in baseball are Afro-Latino which raises some interesting questions. But the last straw which finally got my butt in gear was just the fact that Cuba made it to the final game of the World Baseball Classic (and lost, unfortunately)

Now that I think about it, I wonder if anyone has done research on Afro-Latino identity and baseball players, especially around the time baseball was segregated. I remember reading that at times, African-American baseball players would try to "pass" as Latino and pretend to speak Spanish on the field in order to be able to play against white teams. And in the same vein the New York Cubans (an old team from the Negro Leagues) had no Cubans on the team. Anyway, if anyone could point me to good sources, I'd be interested.

Color Lines: Fields of Broken Dreams: Latinos and Baseball by Marcos Bretón

Early players hit home run for racial equality by Russell Contreras

Minnie Miñoso (Saturnino Orestes Armas Miñoso Arrieta) was a Black Cuban baseball player who played for the Chicago White Sox (and in Mexico, and in the Negro leagues). My dad knew him from a long time ago and somewhere in my house I think there is an autographed photo of him.

ESPN: Rise of the Latinos: Arriba Baseball brings together a number of different profiles and articles on Latinos in baseball.

Latino Legends in Sports Online Magazine and specifically: Latinos in the Major Leagues: The breakdown 2000

Major League Baseball Players by National Origin

Latino Baseball (Your Complete Guide to Latino Baseball)

Wikipedia: Roberto Clemente
Official Roberto Clemente Site

Other Grenada "sports" posts:
accepting the slurs
new york cubans
what's my name, fool?

this is what you can do with a good thesaurus

Will Durst: Don't Impeach, Impale

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

farrakhan in cuba

Most Grenada-esque post in a while:

Havana, Mar 20 (Prensa Latina) US religious leader Louis Farrakhan began a Cuba visit Monday, with plans to meet with US youth studying medicine on the Island.

Upon his arrival in this capital, Farrakhan, also a fighter against racism and poverty, was welcomed by Cuban Parliament Speaker Ricardo Alarcon.

During his stay in the country, he will meet with Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque and other political and social leaders.

As his first official activity, the religious leader will visit the Latin American School of Medicine where about 20,000 students from different countries are studying, including several US low-income youths unable to afford the universities in their country.

Farrakhan also plans to meet with relatives of the five anti-terrorist Cuban prisoners in the US, and members of the Henry Reeve Contingent, made up of Cuban doctors assisting other peoples in natural disaster situations.

The US leader will also tour an art instructors´ school, and meet Cuban athletes.
Prensa Latina

Monday, March 20, 2006

anarchism, hollywood-style

Alternet: Anarchism, Hollywood-Style by Anthony Kaufman, a review of V is for Vendetta. Check out:(the film or the graphic novel)

"a soul, three fingers and at least one good eye"

I once went to an open mike heard a poem which was inspired by Gil Scott-Heron's famous piece "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised". It had a line that went "The revolution will make the government start to suspect and profile anyone with a soul, three fingers, and at least one good eye". It seems like those days are just around the corner. Just between you and me, I could almost understand some of the paranoid anti-Muslim measures which the neo-cons and the powers that be are in favor of these days. I certainly don't agree with them and I think they are horribly mistaken, but I can at least wrap my head around theirs. I "get" where they are coming from. I expect it.

But now, even more mainstream folks who speak out of turn are turning up on the radar:

the American Civil Liberties Union released a series of once secret FBI files that show the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force conducted a secret investigation into the activities of the Thomas Merton Center beginning as early as November 2002, and continuing up until at least last March.

pat robertson is evil: reason #704

Pat Robertson AGAIN calls for Chavez to be assassinated ?!?!? Didn't he realize that he was wrong the first time? Whatever happened to "Thou shalt not kill" and "Love your enemies"? And at the very very least, doesn't he realize it was a bad PR move to call for folks to be assassinated on public airwaves?

MediaMatters for America: Robertson again calls for Chavez's assassination: "Not now, but one day"

past reasons:
pat robertson is evil: reason #865
pat robertson is evil: reason #873

chavez's alleged anti-semitism

Alternet: Chavez's Alleged Anti-Semitism which follows up somewhat from Planet Grenada: chavez and anti-semitism

what has hip-hop really done for racism?

From Black Electorate: What has Hip-Hop really done for Racism? by Al-Tariq Ibn Shabazz.

Especially as someone who grew up on Public Enemy and KRS-ONE I still want to hold onto some of my optimism when it comes to thinking about the power of music to politically enlighten urban youth.

I can't help but think of Common's "I used to love H.E.R. (Hip-hop in its Essence and Reality)"

She didn't have a body but she started gettin thick quick
Did a couple of videos and became afrocentric
Out goes the weave, in goes the braids beads medallions
She was on that tip about, stoppin the violence
About my people she was teachin me
By not preachin to me but speakin to me
in a method that was leisurely, so easily I approached
She dug my rap, that's how we got close

But I also have to admit that Ibn Shabazz has a point. If it is true that “The sole purpose of racism is to support and ensure that the White majority and its ethnic subgroups continue to dominate and use Blacks as a means to produce wealth and power” then the music industry in general, and hip-hop in particular are more part of the problem than the solution, especially if you think about how economic power is exercised behind the scenes.

More sober thoughts on hip-hop's limitations from Planet Grenada:
yo! pbs raps
the revolution won't have a video

circle of the black thorn

I wonder if Black Thorn League inspired the fictional Circle of the Black Thorn which appeared in the last season of Angel:

Who they?

The Circle of the Black Thorn.

Sounds like a little sewing club for pirates.

It's a secret society.

Never heard of them.

That's 'cause they're secret.
(Gunn smirks)

There's plenty of these cabals about. They usually spend a lot of time in basements paddling one another's bums to prove their manhood.

These are not frat boys, Spike. The circle's small. It's elite. They got connections you boys can't even comprehend.

They're evil.

Sure. But evil's not the point. Power is.


OK, we get it. They're bad ass. What do they do?

Jeez. Are you guys always this slow? Huh? Starts with an "a," ends in "pocalypse." It's a well-oiled machine, this circle. These people grease the wheels, keep the parts in place. Make sure man's inhumanity to man keeps rolling along.

We thought the senior partners were responsible for the apocalypse.

The senior partners are on a different plane. Down's the players in the circle that make things happen. Hell, you get tapped by one of them, it's kind of like getting the keys to the chocolate factory.

Hakim Bey with his Temporary Autonomous Zones, Imam-of-one's-own-being concept and his Nambla involvement may not seem hellishly apocalyptically evil, but is arguably in the same ballpark as the evil secret society which appeared on Angel.

hard time for soft drinks

Alternet: Hard Time for Soft Drinks about the evils of pop. From time to time I think about the field of "prophetic medicine" or health in general and wonder if I should live a more natural kind of lifestyle. If I find some interesting information I'll pass it along.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

green tea with the imam of the age

This is an older piece from Michael Muhammad Knight where he interviewed Peter Lamborn Wilson/ Hakim Bey: Green Tea with the Imam of the Age

moors, snakes and st. patrick

The Moorish Science Temple of America was a proto-Islamic group founded by Noble Drew Ali which gained some prominence in the United States among African-Americans before the Nation of Islam came on the scene. Not completely unlike the Nation, the Moorish Science had their own peculiar racial doctrines which set up a theological difference between whites and blacks. And so later on, when European-Americans (many of them "hippies" and "beatniks") saw something in Noble Drew Ali's teachings which was appealing to them and they wanted to accept the prophethood of Noble Drew Ali and form the Moorish Orthodox Church, a certain amount of explanation was required. And it just so happens that the explanation they chose connects Islam and the Moors to St. Patrick's Day.

Manifesto of the BLACK THORN LEAGUE

1. According to orally-transmitted teachings of Noble Drew Ali, founder & Prophet of the Moorish Science Temple of America: -- Ireland was once part of the Moorish Empire; that is, the celts were Moslems, & there were black moors from N. Africa also present in Ireland. But the moors were expelled by militant Christianity -- this event is disguised in the legend of St. Patrick's expelling the snakes - for which reason the MST celebrates St. Patrick's Day, in a mood of irony perhaps, in expectation of an eventual Return.

2. In Noble Drew Ali's system, celts are considered an "Asiatic race", & thus potential converts to Moorish Science. We consider NDA's theories to be racial but not racist, because (again according to oral tradition) they were based (at least in part) on spiritual affinity. "Europeans" who wished to Join the MST (including some of the later founders of the Moorish Orthodox Church) were declared to be really celts or "Persians" -- (which may have something to do with the oft-remarked similarity of Eiran and Iran).

3. NDA's hidden history of Ireland may be taken as an esoteric metaphor -but it is supported in some surprising ways by archaeology & even "official" history. In the first place, the celts are an Asiatic race, or at least the most recent arrivals in the west from the mysterious "Hyperborean" heartland of the Aryans -- last of those nomadic migrations which settled India, Persia & Greece.

4. Second: What is one to make of those early Celtic crosses inscribed with the bismillah ("In the Name of God", opening words of the Koran) in kufic Arabic, found in Ireland? The Celtic Church, before its destruction by the Roman hierarchy, maintained a close connection with the desert hermit-monks of Egypt. Is it possible this connection persisted past the 7th/8th centuries, & that the role of the monks was taken up by Moslems? by Sufis? in contact with a still-surviving underground Celtic Church, now become completely heretical, & willing to syncretize Islamic esotericism with its own Nature-oriented & poetic Faith?

5. Such a syncresis was certainly performed centuries later by the Templars & the Assassins (Nizari Ismailis). When the Temple was suppressed by Rome & its leaders burned at the stake, Ireland provided refuge for many incognito Templars. According to The Temple & The Lodge, these Templars later reorganized as a rogue Irish branch of Freemasonry, which (in the early 18th century) would resist amalgamation with the London Grand Lodge. The Islamic connection with masonry is quite clear, both in the Templar & the Rosicrucian traditions, but Irish masonry may have inherited an even earlier Islamic link -- memorialized in those enigmatic crosses!

6. It's interesting to note that Noble Drew Ali's Masonic initiations may not have been limited to Prince Hall or black Shriner transmissions, but may also have included some hidden lines connected to Irish masonry, & dating back to Revolutionary days in American history. It is known that many common soldiers in the British Colonial Army were masons affiliated with the Irish rather than the London Grand Lodge. This "class" difference -was reflected in the American Revolutionary Army, whose officers were "official" masons but whose private ranks tended to be "Irish".

7. Historians sometimes forget that in the 18th century, in America, the Irish were generally considered "no better than Negroes". In 1741 on St. Patrick's Day in New York a riot broke out, involving a conspiracy which included Irish, African, & Native American men & women -- naturally "of the meanest sort." Some Irish conspirators were overheard to swear they'd kill as many "white people" as possible. The uprising failed & the plotters were executed. As the bodies of two hanged in the open air decayed in an Iron gibbet, "observers noticed a gruesome, yet instructive, transformation. The corpse of an Irishman turned black & his hair curly while the corpse of Caesar the African, bleached white. It was accounted a 'wondrous phenomenon'" (Linebaugh & Rediker, "The Many-Headed Hydra").

8. Clearly the Celt & African were linked not only in the gaze of the oppressor class, but also in their own world-view -- as comrades, as somehow the same -- in a solidarity which extended to Indians & to other "Europeans" who fell beneath the level of the "respectable poor" into the category of slaves & outcasts. Racist feelings did not divide the 18th century poor & marginalized -- as would become the case under later Capitalism. Rather the marginalized of all races constituted an underclass & moreover, an underclass with some awareness of itself, hence with a certain power (the power of the "strong victim"). This consciousness might well have been developed in part by Irish-black "masonry" of some sort. And Noble Drew Ali might have known of this tradition, which he masked (or perhaps unveiled) in his parable of the snakes - & celebration of March 17th.

9. In another interpretation of St. Patrick's anti-reptilism, the "snakes" he banished were in fact "druids", i.e. Celtic pagans. The snake may have been an emblem of the Old Faith, as it is for many forms of paganism, including African (Damballah) & Indian (the Nagas) -- & even for the Ophite Christianity of Egypt (Christ himself depicted as a crucified snake).

10. Celtic pagan lore was embedded in the Romance traditions especially in the Arthurian material -- & here once again. we find ourselves in the world of the Arabo-Celtic crosses. For the romances are permeated with "Islamic" consciousness. In Malory's Morte dArthur & Eschenbach's Parzifal many Saracen (i.e. Moslem/Moorish) knights are depicted not as enemies but allies of the Celts -- & in the latter book the entire story is attributed to Moorish sources (which are now lost). Saracens, Christians, & crypto-pagans are united in a mystical cult of chivalry which transcends outward religious forms, & is emblematized not only in pagan symbols like the Grail & the Questing Beast, but even in such cultural borrowings as the lute (al-'ud in Arabic), or indeed the cult of romantic/chivalric love, transmitted from Islam to the west by Sufis in Spain.

11. Ireland's contacts with Spain certainly extend back into the Islamic period, & the so-called "Black Irish" may have as many Moorish as castillian genes. Medieval Irish monks probably absorbed Sufism & Islamic philosophy along with the art of the illuminated manuscript -- witness the extraordinary stylistic resonance between the Book of Eells & the Kufic Korans of Omayyad Spain. If St. Francis could visit N. Africa & come back to Italy wearing a Sufi's patched cloak, so the Irish might easily borrow from Egypt & al-Andalus.

12. All speculation aside, the Moorish Orthodox Church entertains its own esoteric interpretation of NDA's teachings on these matters. We heartily endorse his "elective affinity" theory of affiliation with a greater spiritual Celto-Asiatic "race". DNA counts for something, but soul for a great deal more. "Every man & woman their own vine & fig tree" (one of NDA's slogans) is not a matter of fate but of character, not of birth but of choice.

13. In our historical/imaginative exegesis & unfolding of NDA's parable, we have uncovered a complex of heretical Islamic & Moorish cultural strands linking Celtic neo-paganism, esoteric Christianity, & the Arthurian cycle, thru Sufism & masonry, to the perennial libertarian struggle of the marginalized & oppressed peoples of the "Atlantic" world.

14. We propose to embody this poetic complex in a popular chivalric order, devoted symbolically to the cause of "bringing the snakes back to Ireland" - that is, of uniting all these mystical strands into one patterned weave, which will restore the power of its synergistic or syncretistic power to the hearts of those who respond to the particular "taste" of its mix. We have borrowed this slogan from contemporary neo-pagans in order to symbolize the special mission our order will undertake toward Celtic-Moorish friendship. The BLACK THORN LEAGUE will be open to all, regardless of whether they are MOC members or not, providing only that they support this particular goal.

15. "Black" in our title signifies not only the black banners of the moors but also the black flag of anarchy. "Blackthorn", because the tree symbolizes druid Irelands & is used to make cudgels. "League", in honor of the various Irish rebel groups which have organized as such. Other organizational models include such Masonic revolutionary groups as the Carbonari, or Proudhon's anarchist "Holy Vehm", or Bakunin's Revolutionary Brotherhood. We also emulate certain anarcho-Taoist Chinese tongs (such as the Chaos Society)~~ & hope to evolve the kind of informal mutual aid webworks they developed.

16. The League will bestow the Order of the Black Thorn as title & honor, & will hold an annual conclave & banquet on St. Patrick's Day in memory both of Noble Drew Ali's vision, & of those rioters of 1741 who conspired in low taverns to overthrow the State. Bring The Snakes Back To Ireland!

Friday, March 17, 2006

"my pride is racist people say, but no one minds st. patrick's day"

I haven't heard this song, or seen this video in a very long time. But given today's date it seemed appropriate. The song is called "Split Personality" from a group called Basehead.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

happy birthday to me

Cool. Tomorrow is Planet Grenada's birthday. It's been an interesting year.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

more marvin x

Chicken Bone: Artist Profile: Marvin X
In the mid-1960s, playwright Marvin X founded the Black House, the Black Education Theater and many other Tenderloin stages that served as headquarters for the Black Arts Movement.

In 2004, X put on the Tenderloin Book Fair and University of Poetry, a sprawling daylong lit fest. Now 61, he's writing a book about Islamic history in the Bay Area and is writing a play with Dead Prez.

King: The Black Arts Movement is built on many ideals. Which, for you, are the strongest?

Marvin: The Black Arts Movement is about consciousness-raising music and literature. It's about the Paul Robeson concept of the artistic freedom fighter; about making statements that saturate the political nervous system.

King: You've been called a radical activist. What would you tell a group of 20-year-old playwrights if they said they don't care about radicalism?

Marvin: I would say what Mao Zedong said: "Let a hundred schools of thought contend." I don't want anything to do with them. Go do your thing. I've got a mission to actually change something. Like Bush said, you with me or against me. Contrary to Bush, the main addiction in America is not oil, it's white supremacy. That's the addiction from which all other addictions spring. Deal with the problem of supremacy, and you'll solve the greed for oil, the murder for oil. That's what's radical to me. We need a thousand Frantz Fanons, and white people need to have a 12-step supremacy-recovery program. Go in, have a detox. Maybe it'll help you, and us.

King: Do you think hip-hop is to black culture now what jazz in the 60s was to the Black Arts Movement?

Marvin: No! Jazz in the 60s was aligned with the freedom struggle, the music of Archie Shepp, Pharoah Sanders. It was liberation music. Hip-hop don't have that, at least not on BET, MTV. That's because the ruling class don't want people awake. They want people asleep. . . . I grew up in a politically charged household. My parents were involved in the NAACP and published a black newspaper in Fresno, so it's not strange for me to be politically conscious.

King: What do you think about the concept of Black History Month?

Marvin: Now people are writing about the Black Arts Movement. But you won't dare invite the originators, who are still alive. You don't want them around because that would reveal your contradictions.

children's crusade

The children are victims of a 20-year insurgency waged by the Lord's Resistance Army, a shadowy rebel group that wants to overthrow the government and install the Ten Commandments as law. Since it was founded in the 1980s, the group has kidnapped an estimated 20,000 children to serve as fighters, porters and sex slaves.

Thousands of the children have escaped. When they return home, many suffer post-traumatic stress disorder, having witnessed brutal killings -- sometimes of a parent or sibling -- or having been raped, beaten, deprived of water and food or forced to kill, according to a study published in the Lancet medical journal in March 2004.

For a previous post on Christian terrorism, check out: eric robert rudolph

"goodbye children"

World Net Daily: Isaac Hayes quits 'South Park' after spoof on Scientologists It makes sense that he would quit working on South Park after it started to mock his own faith. (Hayes is a Scientologist). But he apparently didn't have a problem with South Park mocking every other religion, so I don't think he can claim that he wants to respect all religions equally.

the south park where chef becomes muslim

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

sandra day o'connor says us risks edging near to dictatorship

Sandra Day O'Connor, a Republican-appointed judge who retired last month after 24 years on the supreme court, has said the US is in danger of edging towards dictatorship if the party's rightwingers continue to attack the judiciary.

In a strongly worded speech at Georgetown University, reported by National Public Radio and the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Ms O'Connor took aim at Republican leaders whose repeated denunciations of the courts for alleged liberal bias could, she said, be contributing to a climate of violence against judges.

Ms O'Connor, nominated by Ronald Reagan as the first woman supreme court justice, declared: "We must be ever-vigilant against those who would strong-arm the judiciary."

She pointed to autocracies in the developing world and former Communist countries as lessons on where interference with the judiciary might lead. "It takes a lot of degeneration before a country falls into dictatorship, but we should avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings."

Common Dreams: Former Top Judge Says US Risks Edging Near to Dictatorship

Monday, March 13, 2006

louder than a bomb

In These Times: Louder Than a Bomb: an Interview with Chicago Hip-Hopper Kevin Coval by Aaron Sarver.

I just saw Kevin Coval recently. It was the second time I saw him live. He's a decent Chicago poet who has some interesting pieces dealing with his Jewish heritage and how it connects to his political convictions. He has this nice piece which connects the swaying of orthodox Jews while davening to hip-hop headnodding which he performed on Def Poetry Jam a while back.

a soldier's story

Has anyone out there seen A Soldier's Story ? That's one gooood movie. The film was based on the Pulitzer Prize winning work by Charles Fuller, A Soldier's Play about the murder of an African-American, Sgt. Waters (played by Adolph Caesar) near an army base. The officer sent to investigate the murder, Capt. Davenport (played by Howard E. Rollins Jr.) is also Black, and many of the soldiers on the base are also African-American. The initial suspicion is that the murder was racially motivated and committed by the Klan but the story (often told through flashbacks from when Waters was alive) gradually gets more and more complex.

The setting of the film is in some ways like one of those Russian Easter eggs... a shell within a shell within a shell. It takes place during World War II when the Allies are fighting against a Nazi regime... inside the United States which is still very racist, on an army base where segregation is still practiced, among African-American soldiers where some of them have very definite ideas of what it means to be Black.

For example, in one flashback scene, Sgt. Waters says to CJ, a Black solider from the south:

Them Nazis ain't all crazy. Whole lot of people just can't seem to fit in to where things seem to be going. Like you, CJ. See, the Black race can't afford you no more. There used to be a time, we'd see someone like you singin', clownin', yassuh-bossin'...and we wouldn't do anything. Folks liked that. You were good. Homey kind of nigger. When they needed somebody to mistreat, call a name or two, they paraded you.Reminded them of the good old days. Not no more. The day of the Geechee is gone, boy. And you're going with it. We can't let nobody go on believing we're all fools like you.

In another scene, Sgt. Waters talks about an earlier time during WWI,

You know the damage one ignorant Negro can do? We were in France in the first war; we'd won decorations. But the white boys had told all them French gals that we had tails. Then they found this ignorant colored soldier, paid him to tie a tail to his ass and run around half-naked, making monkey sounds. Put him on the big round table in the Cafe Napoleon, put a reed in his hand, crown on his head, blanket on his shoulders, and made him eat *bananas* in front of all them Frenchies. Oh, how the white boys danced that night... passed out leaflets with that boy's picture on it. Called him Moonshine, King of the Monkeys. And when we slit his throat, you know that fool asked us what he had done wrong?

I think I have more of Sgt. Waters in me than I care to admit. Probably some CJ too. And the less said about that, the better.

Also, check out: A Soldier's Story Script but this is like the script available for Deep Cover in that the document doesn't include the speakers' names. So it is useful if you want to find a particular quote, once you've already seen the film but it is not so useful if you want to follow the story. I also looked for the script to the original play online, but the only sites which come up are ones that aren't free.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

not really the same thing but it is in the same ballpark

I was pretty surprised when Brownfemipower and other women of color bloggers were alluding to the fact that for some reason their blogs seemed to come up in searches for internet pornography (See A Radical Woman of Color Perspective). In the case of Planet Grenada, I use site meter and to keep track of hits and in general I would say that visitors are getting what they came for. (Only occasionally, some people are looking for specific information related to the island nation of Grenada).

But what surprised me recently is that yesterday, I received the greatest daily number of hits EVER on Planet Grenada (413 page views) but the overwhelming number of them were from people searching for info on wafah dufour (Bin Laden's niece who posed half-nekkid... yes nekkid... in GQ and is trying to have a music career). Since I actually have a brief blog entry on her it is not as inappropriate as what is going on with the abovementioned radical women of color bloggers, but still, I would never have expected (or hoped) that this would be my most popular post.
What is also kind of odd is that the original post went up over a month ago so why is the spike happening now?

Friday, March 10, 2006

post traumatic slave syndrome

In These Times recently published an interview with Dr. Joy DeGruy Leary, author of Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing. The basic idea seems to be that the legacy of slavery constituted a kind of trauma and consequently African-Americans today generally suffer from something akin to post-traumatic stress disorder. I have my reservations. Personally I'm a bigger fan of Frantz Fanon or Naim Akbar when it comes to understanding Black psychology. But from a certain perspective, they are all saying basically the same thing: Racism drives Black folks crazy. And somehow Fanon and Akbar both manage to sound optimistic and empowering as they say this.

Fanon says: Yes, Black folks (well... mostly the colonized Algerians) are crazy. Literally, clinically crazy. But so are the French. And things will be okay after the revolution.

Akbar says: Yes, Black folks are crazy (in a cultural sense). But things will be okay after you read my latest book.

But Leary sounds like she is saying Blacks are literally crazy in a clinical sense, in a way which tends to call into question Black humanity. Moreover, she sees the problem as rooted in past slavery rather than present conditions, which then puts serious limits on what we can do to get well. Anyway, tell me what you think.

gordon parks r.i.p.

I only want to be a soldier, I'm holding on, to a culture
Focused like Gordon Parks when it's sorta dark
For niggas that's flooded with ice, my thoughts the ark
- "Dooinit" , Common

NYTimes: Gordon Parks, a Master of the Camera, Dies at 93
Wikipedia: Gordon Parks

whites will be a minority in ny

New York Times: Whites to Be Minority in N.Y. Soon, Data Show
In New York City itself, whites have been a minority since the 1980's. But now the demographics of the surrounding area has been changing a lot as well.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

the african palestinian connection

From Third Resurrection: The African Palestinian Connection by Rami Nashashibi

inner city muslim action network and latino activists

This particular march will be happening in Chicago, but there might be others in your vicinity. But I mainly think it is great that I.M.A.N. is even involved in this. They are an Islamic organization with a real commitment to helping people here and not just "back home" in Muslim countries.

Click here for more info on HR 4437
Click Here for more information about the march

In keeping with IMAN's (Inner City Muslim Action Network) larger commitment to advocate on behalf of and organize along side the most vulnerable and exploited sectors of our community, particularly in urban areas, IMAN is actively requesting larger Muslim participation in tomorrow's march and rally against Bill HR 4437.

Bill HR 4437, commonly referred to as the Sensenbrenner Bill (after Republican House Representative Sensennbrenner from Wisconsin), is one of the most draconian and unjust pieces of legislation to be introduced to congress in recent years. While it has deep implications for all immigrants and the larger society, it most viscously targets the large undocumented Latino community and anyone or any entity that provides them with the most nominal level of support, including the most basic human services.

IMAN will join a coalition of many leading Latino organizations and agencies across the state to take part in a Day of General Strike on Friday March 10th. Please join us to demonstrate the concern of the larger Muslim community for this social justice and human dignity issue. As sectors of the Muslim community continue to struggle with its own legislative injustices, our larger community cant afford to be silent or aloof from these types of actions and opportunities to build solidarity with our Latino brothers and sisters across the state. Moreover, this is a great opportunity for segments of the Latino community to interact with the Muslims through their presence at the march and through the Friday Jummah Prayer, which will be in English and translated into Spanish.

Email or call the IMAN Office at 773-434-IMAN to speak with Adalberto Madrigal for organizing details

Meet at 11am to car pool in the parking lot of the New IMAN Health Clinic and Administrative Center at 2748 W. 63rd Street, just east of 63rd Street and California Avenue or meet at the marching location itself at 11:45am to march with IMAN at Ashland and Lake. Finally, some of you may wish to join us at the rally itself at the Federal Plaza at 230 S Dearborn St at 2pm, right after Jummah services.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

what a country!

I think Bowling for Columbine was so on target. There is something in U.S. American history which laced "us" with a stream of fear and alarmism but somehow bypassed Canada. And it's something older than 9/11. My guess is that alot of it is wrapped up with slavery. Nat Turner, the Haitian Revolution, etc. The fear of the black/brown mass rising up. And so today, fear becomes an easy button for politicians to push.

afro-latino? latino? black?

From Elenamary's site: Afro-Latino? Latino? Black? (On Mariah Carey)

race and dc comics

In the course of looking for links on black comic books (mainly the Storm/Black Panther wedding being done by Marvel Comics) I came across an article called The Racial Justice Experience: Diversity In The DC Universe: 1961 - Today by John Wells which summarizes how race has been dealt with by DC.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

better late than never...

I was tagged by Black Looks a few weeks ago
1. Black and White or Color; how do you prefer your movies?

Color. (I'm not always deep. I'm a fan of the old Twilight Zones and a few old movies... 12 Angry Men comes to mind... but I generally want some color. Goodnight and Goodluck was alright but I'd much rather read about the McCarthy era in a book.)

2. What is the one single subject that bores you to near-death?

Sports. Like Huey Freeman says: "And today in sports, a black man somewhere ran with a ball and jumped with a ball and threw a ball and people got really excited as if they hadn't seen it a million times before"

3. MP3s, CDs, Tapes or Records: what is your favorite medium for prerecorded music?

8-Track.. lol... I used to DJ so I appreciate vinyl. I feel like I'm practically Amish since I've never downloaded music onto an I-pod or burned a CD on my computer. But seriously, I guess I'm still a CD-person.

4. You are handed one first class trip plane ticket to anywhere in the world and ten million dollars cash. All of this is yours provided that you leave and not tell anyone where you are going … Ever. This includes family, friends, everyone. Would you take the money and ticket and run?

With ten million I could take care of my family, friends, everyone.

5. Seriously, what do you consider the world’s most pressing issue now?

This is kind of a cop-out because it's kind of amorphous but I would say global north-south issues.

6. How would you rectify the world’s most pressing issue?

Among other things, political power needs to be decentralized, shared among different countries. We need a stronger UN, and other international bodies. Third world countries should democratize (on their own terms), develop and cooperate.

7. You are given the chance to go back and change one thing in your life; what would that be?

I have an answer but I'm not sharing.

8. You are given the chance to go back and change one event in world history, what would that be?

First I will get onto a soapbox and suggest that history actually isn't determined by individuals or specific events... especially if you think about Guns, Germs and Steel.
I also saw Butterfly Effect one too many times so I'm actually really skeptical as to how effective any changes would be.
But for the moment I'll say I would prevent exposing Europe to the Black Death. That way, Europe's Dark Ages would have progressed very differently, and so would the early encounter between the Indigenous people of the Americas and the Europeans.

9. A night at the opera, or a night at the Grand Ole’ Opry – Which do you choose?

Since I don't speak Italian, I will say Grand Ole' Opry.

10. What is the one great unsolved crime of all time you’d like to solve?

The 2000 Presidential election.

11. One famous author can come to dinner with you. Who would that be, and what would you serve for the meal?

Sushi with Suheir Hammad.

12. You discover that John Lennon was right, that there is no hell below us, and above us there is only sky — what’s the first immoral thing you might do to celebrate this fact?

I'm Muslim, but I have a certain amount of respect for Buddhism. I really do think that certain vices really do have real spiritual consequences which we experience even in this life. So I'm not actually certain that I would go out an rob a bank or something. Um.... eat a ham sandwich?

plan for iran

Alternet: The Peace Movement's Plan For Iran starts to raise the question of what people of conscience can do to prevent a war between the US and Iran.

post-oscar wrap up

So, the Academy apparently gave in to the pressure and the Palestinian film Paradise Now was designated as coming from the "Palestinian Authority".

Argentinian composer Gustavo Santaolalla won best original score for his work on Brokeback Mountain and he gave a thanks to all his Latin peoples.

Crash won for best picture. I thought the film was interesting and better than average but in certain respects it fell short. It did a fair job of discussing the complexities of race relations but the contradiction represented by Matt Dillon's character (being both hero and villain) was too big to swallow. Perhaps a better actor could have made it more palatable, but in the end I think the character, as written, is unbelievable. Other characters from Crash certainly represent varying combinations of virtue and vice but Dillon's character straddles too wide a fence for anyone to sit on convincingly.

I was surprised that Dolly Parton didn't win best song for Travelling Thru from the Transamerica soundtrack. I was impressed by the irony of having a country-style gospel song which talks about being "born again" in a movie about a transgendered person waiting to get their operation.
Instead Three 6 Mafia won the Oscar for best original song "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" from Hustle and Flow. On the one hand, it is good to see more Black people winning Oscars, especially since Jesus (as) doesn't get enough shout-outs at these kinds of award ceremonies. (And he did get a shout-out, along with George Clooney and their mommas) On the other hand, it is disheartening to vividly see what kinds of roles for people of color tend to get the big prize. (Denzel didn't get the Oscar for Malcolm X, he got it for Training Day. And in another year, Do The Right Thing didn't win best picture, but Driving Miss Daisy did) But maybe I'm being a little paranoid since even the white guys tend to win Oscars for playing crazy or broken men (Charlie, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Rain Man, etc.)

Did anybody else watch the Oscars? What do y'all think?

Alternet: Crash wins!
Al-Jazeera: New Trouble for Paradise Now
Lyrics to It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp
Lyrics to Travellin Thru
Blog for Transamerica (with music)
Good Summary of Movie Award History which isn't IMDB

Monday, March 06, 2006

us intervention in venezuela

Common Dreams: US Intervention in Venezuela by Medea Benjamin looks at why the US calls Chavez undemocratic even though he keeps getting re-elected and has higher approval ratings than Bush.

chavez and iran

Miami Herald: Chávez's wooing of Iran called troubling

Sunday, March 05, 2006

support our ceos


Another piece from Ron English

the art and subversion of ron english


I'm not sure what this picture means except that it seems to go well with the previous entry. For those that don't know, Ron English is the artist whose paintings were featured throughout the film Super Size Me. He also has his own website which is full of other images he's created called Popaganda. Enjoy... or be unsettled and disturbed. It could go either way with this guy's stuff. Or check out: Ron English: Agit-Pop Artist

where is the beef?

When I first became Muslim, I gave up eating pork. At the same time, I was generally reading and thinking more critically about what kinds of food I put in my mouth and what that meant politically and healthwise. After a while, as I learned a little more about Islamic laws, I stopped eating supermarket meat(non-fish, non-zabiha) as well. And quickly thereafter I decided it would be simpler to tell people "I am a vegetarian" and avoid meat altogether and I continued this way for years. At the moment, my eating habits aren't really any different but technically I'm not sure I would call myself vegetarian. In principle, I'm just sticking to a halal diet. But I definitely don't go out of my way to eat halal meat (even though there is a Muslim grocery store an easy walk from my house).

I'm not sure why I'm saying any of this except it seemed a good introduction to justify why I'm including links to:

The Meatrix (a site which parodies the Matrix in order to criticize factory farming) and the McDonalds Video Game (A "simple" Sim-city type game where you get to run McDonalds and are encouraged to do all sorts of shady and unethical things just to stay in business).

I'm not the kind of extremist who goes around splashing red paint on fur coats, or breaks into labs to free the animals from the experiments. I'm not even taking the position that "Meat is Murder", after all qurbani is a part of Islam too.

See also:
Crescent Life: Who Says Muslims Can't be Vegetarian?
Elightenment: Islamic Vegetarians Fight the System
Grenada: sean muttaqi, vegan reich and the hardline movement

Saturday, March 04, 2006

tears and solidarity also...

I haven't written on Sunni-Shia unity in a while, so I thought I should pass along this link from Ihsan: tears and solidarity also... on the events in Iraq in the wake of the destruction of the shrine of the 10th and 11th imams.

Friday, March 03, 2006

afrocentricity and islam ii

In response to Afrocentricity and Islam II over at Garvey's Ghost I just wanted to make a couple of points:

It is possible I was being unfair and assumed that Sondjata believed certain things which he actually wouldn't agree with. I just saw our exchanges as tapping into a larger conversation between Muslims and Afrocentrists of different stripes where individual Muslims and individual Afrocentrists take different positions, but there seem to be some general trends.

For example, I would say that Molefi Kete Asante who literally wrote the book on Afrocentrism is "anti-Islamic" in the sense that he dismisses Islam as merely being a form of Arab nationalism and says that Blacks who are Muslim aren't truly Afrocentric. Others are more in the middle, like Cheikh Anta Diop or Blyden who have more positive things to say about Islam without necessarily being Muslim themselves. And at the other end you have people like Naim Akbar (the psychologist and author) who would identify themselves as both Afrocentric and Muslim at the same time. Another good example would be Duse Muhammad Ali (an Egyptian Muslim who was an early Pan-Africanist and an influence on Marcus Garvey). So not all advocates for Afrocentrism/Pan-Africanism have the same relationship to Islam. Some are quite positive, while others are quite negative. And I'm not making any claims about where Sondjata fits on that continuum.

The other big idea which I hope to throw out there is that perhaps it would be good to not have a rigid concept of what it means to be "African", especially for the purposes of Pan-Africanism. "Africa" is larger than the events which occur within the geographic boundaries of the continent of Africa before the native inhabitants were influenced by outside forces. "Africa" is a living set of cultures which changes over time, accepts new elements, makes them her own, and transforms them in her own image. It is also something which spills outside borders and includes the whole diaspora, from the streets of Harlem, the favelas in Brazil, the southside of Chicago, the dancehall of Kingston, mardis gras in New Orleans, Cuban hip-hop, the Hatian Revolution, the military campaigns of Hannibal, or the writings of the al-Jahiz the classical Black Iraqi author. And I would argue that this is especially true when it comes to looking at the Black presence in Middle Eastern civilizations.

Let's assume that Diop is right in saying that ancient Egypt was a Black African civilization. Even if Jacob and his children were blonde-haired blue-eyed Vikings when they arrived in Egypt, their descendants hundreds of years later had definitely intermarried with the native population and left Egypt as an African-descended nation. (the Bible is actually rather explicit on how Abraham, Joseph and Moses married African women. And it is also possible to give more examples from the Bible and Muslim writings to expand on this point.) So it seems wrong to simply dismiss the Abrahamic religions as being absolutely foreign to Africa.

That's basically what I wanted to get across in these discussions.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

what the hell?


What the hell?

Actually, one of these opened up near me. It still boggles my mind how a store can open up and have a racial slur as its name....

latino voice of opposition to the war: march for peace

OBJECTIVE: A 241 mile march that aims at ensuring that the Latino voice of opposition to the War is heard loud and clear across the Americas.

WHAT/ WHEN: Fernando Suarez del Solar, Pablo Paredes, Camilo Mejia and Aidan Delgado will lead a coalition of the willing across this 241 mile quest for peace starting in Tijuana, Mexico, going through Marine Corps Depot Camp Pendleton to the Cesar Chavez burial site in La Paz, CA, culminating in The Mission district of San Francisco with a memorial ceremony and blood drive.

The March will begin on 12 March 2006. The coalition of the willing will arrive at La Paz, CA on 22 March 2006 and culminate in San Francisco from 26 March 2006 to 27 March 2006.

WHY: Latinos represent nearly 15% of the US population and 11% of the US military, with many serving in combat or hazardous duty occupations. In addition, an estimated 20% of the fallen service members in the early months of the invasion were Latino. With the continued growth of the Latino population and its vital importance to the future of this country, it is time the Latino community become an active and vocal part of the 60%+ of US citizens that oppose this War. It is also time to show the Latino community that they have a voice and a right to fight for peace and stability. Fernando Suarez Del Solar is committed to self-sacrifice. At 50 years of age he cares more about ending this war than even his own health. We make this call not only to the Latino population but to all those who agree with our message “No more bloodshed in Iraq”.

organizing the religious left

In These Times: Organizing the Religious Left by Bob Burnett is another brief review of Lerner's The Left Hand of God.

And from Common Dreams: Praise the Lord and Pass the Petition by Ira Chernus talks more concretely about how some of this organizing is starting to take place among Lutherans.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

black arabs / moors

Another blog I just found out about is called CORNBREAD & CURRY & COUSCOUS and what got my attention was their relatively recent entry: BLACK ARABS/MOORS

many hispanics finding faith in islam

From a blog I just found out about called Muslima's Voice: Many Hispanics finding faith in Islam And at the Muallaf blog, one can also find the conversion story of Marcela Rojas