Monday, December 31, 2007

"ya bhutto" by marvin x

Benazir Bhutto


Ya, Bhutto

Who are these people

Who kill fathers sons daughters

What God do they serve

What ghost in the night

Is there money enough

Power enough

Greed enough

Murder enough

To satisfy this beast

Who devours all in its path

The children of the poor are not safe

Even children of the rich

This monster is vile

His teeth a wicked bite

Snatching you like Godzilla

When you came home preaching freedom

But there are those who cry freedom

But mean slavery of yesterday

There are those who pray in the mosque

Then murder in the street

who crush the spirit

Who silence the poets

The singers of freedom

Who deny the humanity of women

What God is this

Who empowers these devils with lust

and venom

Worse than the cobra’s sting

Ya Bhutto

What now in that sacred land

Shall your sons take the mantle

Shall the children cower in fear

Or will they stand

face the guns bombs

Paid by the Mighty Beast

Who shouts democracy

But means slavery

Who allows dictators to crush opposition

To be president for life.

He discards his general uniform

To dawn the suit and tie of Shaitan

To claim the persona of the puppet

Who smiles in tears

Choking from strings hanging from his neck.

Ya, Bhutto, you tried

To bring a better day

But demons must play out their drama

Their dance in the night

They will never put down their butcher knives

Never turn into Buddha heads.

More must be sacrificed

The judges and lawyers are not enough

The soldiers must accept flowers from the people

Not slaughter them in the streets

There are not jails enough to confine freedom

The torture chambers may fill to overflow

But freedom must rise at the end of the day.

Ya, Bhutto, your last word was the magic word: Allah.

Surely we are from Allah

And to Him we return.



reflections on bhutto's assassination

who you gonna call?

1230 05
The full story is at Common Dreams: Vatican to Train more Exorcists It just seemed so bizzare I felt like sharing. With all the other evils in the world I wonder how one concludes that there needs to be a bold new initiative against demons? Then again, when he was Cardinal Ratzinger he also denounced the Harry Potter series. (see harry potter and the book-burning benedict)

Planet Grenada and the Papacy
the passing of the pope
papal bull
a muslim response to the pope
more on pope benedict and islam
pope benedict: the first year

Sunday, December 30, 2007

"armageddon has been in effect... go get a late pass!" (part one)

Is Public Enemy right? Has Armageddon been in effect? (some might say that the show Strange Love is one of the signs of the end times.) The title for this blog entry just came to me last night when I was driving around listening to It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold us Back but in reality I've been mulling over the same question (in different language) for a while these days.

For example, the Dawnbreaker Collective, mentioned in the last post would probably answer that question in the affirmative. Firstly, the Bahai Faith teaches that the Second Coming of Christ and the arrival of the Mahdi already occurred over 150 years ago (in which case, most of us will definitely need that late pass). But secondly, even though the song "Son of Being" may seem upbeat at first, some of the lyrics definitely have their pessimistic end-of-the-world side (e.g. "the whole world getting rolled like a Cuban cigar", "the world's just a pothole", "this place won't last so you better take a picture"). In fact, the Bahai Faith generally uses metaphorical interpretation to stretch the meaning of the end-time prophecies of many different religions in order to claim that they have already been fulfilled by the central figures of their faith.

Or to consider PE's words from a different direction... yesterday I was listening to an audio tape of Imam Jamil al-Amin (formerly H. Rap Brown) giving a jummah sermon entitled "What Color is Pharaoh?". Imam Al-Amin set up a comparison between Pharaoh's treatment of the children of Israel, COINTELPRO's treatment of Black activists during the Civil Rights era and the government's treatment of Muslims "today". (the sermon was given fifteen years ago). History isn't just history. Things move in cycles. Patterns repeat. But then perhaps that suggests that prophecy might not be prophecy.

In an older post, the number of the beast we already touched on Preterism, an understanding of Christian eschatology which holds that all are most of the prophecies in the Book of Revelation were fulfilled by 70 AD when the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans.

There are even a few groups in the Islamic orbit which say that the Mahdi has already come (e.g. the Nation of Islam, the Ahmdiyyah, the African Islamic Mission). I think that in a future post I would like to consider how these groups understand their various mahdist claims in light of the fact that the world seems to have gone on, much as before. I'm especially interested in how believers in the Sudanese Muhammad Ahmad do this. More later.

Planet Grenada:
the mahdi
remember imam jamil al-amin

Central Mosque: Description of Imam al-Mahdi
Central Mosque: The Coming of Isa (as)
Wikipedia: People Claiming to be the Mahdi
Chuck D: Flavploitation?
Chuck D's blog

Thursday, December 27, 2007

o son of being / the spark

I honestly don't remember what chain of links first brought me here, but these days I've been intrigued by this new Bahai hip-hop group called the Dawnbreakers Collective and their catchy new single, O Son of Being.

The refrain:
"O SON OF BEING! Make mention of Me on My earth, that in My heaven I may remember thee." comes from a Bahai text called "The Hidden Words", which some Bahais identify with a Book of Fatima which the prophet Muhammad's daughter is said (according to some Shiis) to have received from the angel Jibreel after the Prophet's death.

Personally I find the Hidden Words to be very reminiscent of the Hadith Qudsi (The intensely heart-softening subset of Islamic hadith where Allah/God speaks in the first person).

The above 'hidden word' is particularly reminiscent of the following hadith:

On the authority of Abu Harayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Allah the Almighty said:

I am as My servant thinks I am. I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembley better than it. And if he draws near to Me an arm's length, I draw near to him a fathom's length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.

I would argue that there is much in the Bahai faith which is derivative of Islamic sources (including later Sufis, poets and philosophers along with obvious sources like the Quran and hadith). To show this carefully would take more time than I'm able to spend at the moment, but some of those links are pretty evident, even from a cursory analysis.

While we are on the subject of the spiritual inspiration behind hip-hop music, the other example which was on my mind as I was writing this is The Roots' song "The Spark". (I wouldn't consider The Roots an "Islamic" hip-hop group per se. From what I gather, one of their members is a Five Percenter and another past member is Sunni, and both perspectives come out in their lyrics). For example, in "The Spark", the hadith qudsi:

"My servant draws not near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him, and My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him. When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks."

becomes the somewhat more irreverent lyrical chorus:

"Yo, the feet that I walk with
The ears that I hear with, the eyes that I see with
The mouth that I talk with, the terror that I stalk with
Now it's time to spark shit"
I wish I could find the video online, but instead I could only find the lyrics (included below). In spite of the vulgarity, the song actually does come off successfully as the sincere prayerful voice of a flawed Muslim.

Original Hip-Hop Lyrics: The Spark
Hip-Hop Linguistics: Dawnbreaker Collective creates Baha’i album

Other hadith qudsi:
last man to enter paradise
and so it was said

Grenada's Bahai past:
since when was blindness a good thing?
bahai thought police

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

the black knight

I thought I should give a nod to Just Another Angry Black Muslim Woman? for her excellent gift of some Afro-Arab history with: The Black Knight: ‘Antar and the Arab Epic

see also:
Wikipedia: Antarah ibn Shaddad

Grenada's past:
catching up
black, but comely
a fatwa on pan-arab racism
the african palestinian connection

felipe luciano

Over at Khalil Al-Puerto Rikani's blog I found this recording of Felipe Luciano (former Last Poet and Young Lords memmber) introducing Eddie Palmieri with a a powerful spoken word piece called "Puerto Rican Rhythms":

You can also check out an older Felipe Luciano performing "Jibaro / My Pretty Nigger" on Def Poetry Jam:

Luciano prefaces his poem with some topical comments (especially considering that today is the first day of Kwanzaa, which represents umoja or unity). Afterwards there is also a performance by muMs da Schemer.

the last poets
young lords
niggers are scared of revolution
"...being the last one around"

Thursday, December 20, 2007

millie pulled a pistol on santa / kwanzaa

Yeah, I know it is in the dark side... but the other day I was in my car listening to some old De La Soul was thinking how "Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa" was sort of timely due to the upcoming holiday. Also, more generally, I'm dealing with a lot of young people these days and I am often amazed at the kind of challenges they have to deal with in their lives.

"Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa" (lyrics from OHHLA)
"Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa" (song on YouTube)

Speaking of upcoming holidays, I hope that any Black bloggers reading this would consider doing some Kwanzaa blogging and maybe even set up Kwanzaa blogring. To be honest, I wouldn't go around calling myself Afrocentric. And I don't plan on having any rituals with fruit and candles and such this year. But I feel really good about the idea of Black folks taking a solid week out of the year to engage in some sustained thought, reflection and discussion around the seven principles of Nguzo Saba; a process which could be powerfully supported through the use of the internet.

Kwanzaa and Grenada's Past

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

eid mubarak y'all

Peace and blessings to you and yours.

Friday, December 14, 2007

catching up

I've had the seeds of a lot of different posts rattling around in my head but I'm short on time so I think I'm "forced" to just do a link dump instead of a more thoughtful consideration

Over at Umar Lee's blog, “Ugly Black Women”, Perfect Arab Wives, and Matters of Race starts to discuss some of the less idealized aspects of race relations in the Arab world. This piece was originally inspired by Not Sure What To Make of this “Discussion” over at Soliloquies of a Stranger (The life of an African American, Muslim, Muhaajirah (Expat), from the hood, in an Inter-Racial Marriage. It Doesn’t get any stranger than that!).

Abdur Rahman Muhammad finally concluded his series with Why Blackamerican Muslims Don’t Stand For Justice Pt. 5

Ever since my post i and i and thou I've been meaning to find and share information about Baye Fall, an African-based, dreadlock-wearing Sufi order who are sometimes called "Muslim Rastas". Recently I saw a pretty 'Grenada-esque' entry over at Pa' Africa Muchacho tu ta loco?, written by Dominican blogger Francisco Perez who is currently travelling in Senegal. He has a brief entry on Cheikh Lo an African musician who is a member of the Baye Fall. I wish I had a more detailed understanding of the group, but I suspect that they could be a very strong example in my favor with respect to the ongoing discussions with Sondjata (see islam and afrocentrism, afrocentricity and islam ii) on whether Islam is consistent with being African.

Francisco also has another entry on the upcoming Eid al-Adha entitled What Would Jesus Buy? I'm not sure what else to say about the holiday. This year I feel like the holiday has surprised me. I'm not totally certain which city I'll be in for Eid. I have a couple of old posts about Eid al-Adha but I don't have any genuinely new comments for now.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

good for the scalp, good for the soul

I found this article over at Tariq Nelson's blog, but I learned about this barbershop years ago hanging out with some Muslim friends in Chicago. This kind of story is definitely a nice change of pace.

why blackamerican muslims don't stand up for justice

The title of this series by Abdul-Rahman M threw me off at first and made me disinclined to even read what he had to say. But after examining the articles I have to say that it is actually a very thought-provoking historically-grounded series examining (firstly) the different factors which encouraged African-American Muslims to drop-out of the Black American protest tradition during the 60's and 70's and (secondly) the challenges, distractions and obstacles which have made it difficult for orthodox Blackamerican Muslims to participate in that protest tradition in a stronger way.

Why Blackamerican Muslims Don't Stand Up for Justice, Part One
Why Blackamerican Muslims Don't Stand Up for Justice, Part Two
Why Blackamerican Muslims Don't Stand Up for Justice, Part Three
Why Blackamerican Muslims Don't Stand Up for Justice, Part Four

(the final piece, part five is still pending)