Monday, December 31, 2012

si dios fuera negro

I was listening to the radio a few nights ago when I heard the song "Si Dios Fuera Negro" (If God was black...). At first I thought the song seemed radical and subversive along the lines of El Mundo Va Acabarse or the Five Percenter theology. But on further consideration I've decided its really more in line with other mild and understated "protests" in Afro-latin music such as Negro Bembon or No Le Pegue a la Negra, after all, the song seems to presuppose and reenforce the idea that God is actually white.

food, health and the new year

As the year closes I've been trying to read through different books I have on health and food to try to come up with a plan for next year; a personalized mix of (in no particular order) Andrew Weil, Oprah, Joel Fuhrman, Imam ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, Al-Ghazali, Atkins, Dean Ornish and others. I'm still trying to decide which rules I'm going to follow strictly and which are going to be "soft".

between afrocentrism and islam

I've recently been "channel-surfing" on YouTube and found a number of different discussions/ debates on Islam and black authenticity. The basic bone of contention is whether Islam should be viewed as a "white" Arab creation foreign to Africa or should Islam be viewed as an integral part of African life. Among the more vocal defenders of the latter position are Dr. Wesley Muhammad and the Allah Team along with the authors behind the Black Arabia blog. Dr. Muhammad is an interesting puzzle in that has a doctorate in Islamic Studies from the University of Michigan but is also follower of Elijah Muhammad (He started off as a Five Percenter with the name "True Islam" but now he is a follower of Louis Farrakhan). So in his published works he actually engages with the orthodox Islamic tradition in a serious way while departing from it at various points. Michael Muhammad Knight shares some of his own thoughts on this paradoxical situation in a recent talk at Harvard:
For a more "orthodox" view of how Africa and its diaspora overlaps with Muslim life, I would recommend checking out: Third Resurrection

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

if they could get their act together it would be like "wonder twin powers, activate!"

 Lawrence Lessig: Occupy Movement Should Join Forces With Tea Party

insights with dr. sherman jackson

Insights with Dr. Sherman Jackson from ALIM Program on Vimeo.
h/t to Marc Manley

idle no more

Idle No More calls on all people to join in a revolution which honors and fulfills Indigenous sovereignty which protects the land and water. Colonization continues through attacks to Indigenous rights and damage to the land and water. We must repair these violations, live the spirit and intent of the treaty relationship, work towards justice in action, and protect Mother Earth. On December 10th, Indigenous people and allies stood in solidarity across Canada to assert Indigenous sovereignty and begin the work towards sustainable, renewable development. All people will be affected by the continued damage to the land and water and we welcome Indigenous and non-Indigenous allies to join in creating healthy sustainable communities. We encourage youth to become engaged in this movement as you are the leaders of our future. There have always been individuals and groups who have been working towards these goals – Idle No More seeks to create solidarity and further support these goals. We recognize that there may be backlash, and encourage people to stay strong and united in spirit.

Plan of Action: Support and encourage grassroots to create their own forums to learn more about Indigenous rights and our responsibilities to our Nationhood via teach-ins, rallies and social media. Build relationships and create understanding with allies across Canada. Take steps to contribute to building relationships with international agencies such as the UN to raise awareness to the conditions Indigenous people have been subjected to and assert our sovereignty in the international arena. Acknowledge and honor the hard work of all grassroots people who have worked, and continue to work towards these goals – you are our inspiration.

We contend that: 
The Treaties are nation to nation agreements between First Nations and the British Crown who are sovereign nations. The Treaties are agreements that cannot be altered or broken by one side of the two Nations. The spirit and intent of the Treaty agreements meant that First Nations peoples would share the land, but retain their inherent rights to lands and resources. Instead, First Nations have experienced a history of colonization which has resulted in outstanding land claims, lack of resources and unequal funding for services such as education and housing.  

We contend that: 
The state of Canada has become one of the wealthiest countries in the world by using the land and resources. Canadian mining, logging, oil and fishing companies are the most powerful in the world due to land and resources. Some of the poorest First Nations communities (such as Attawapiskat) have mines or other developments on their land but do not get a share of the profit. The taking of resources has left many lands and waters poisoned – the animals and plants are dying in many areas in Canada. We cannot live without the land and water. We have laws older than this colonial government about how to live with the land.

We contend that: 
Currently, this government is trying to pass many laws so that reserve lands can also be bought and sold by big companies to get profit from resources. They are promising to share this time…Why would these promises be different from past promises? We will be left with nothing but poisoned water, land and air. This is an attempt to take away sovereignty and the inherent right to land and resources from First Nations peoples.

We contend that: 
There are many examples of other countries moving towards sustainability, and we must demand sustainable development as well. We believe in healthy, just, equitable and sustainable communities and have a vision and plan of how to build them. Please join us in creating this vision.