Friday, December 30, 2005
Man, Where Is Thy Humanity: Egyptian Police Assault Sudanese Refugee Camp Killing 23
Ben Curtis/Associated Press
One Sudanese refugee, left, crying out as he was grabbed by riot policemen, as another, right, tried to hand over his child through a bus window after both were arrested by Egyptian security troops.
In an action that the New York Times tepidly deemed a raid, but in fact, ended up being a massacre, Egyptian police violently assaulted a Sudanese refugee encampment, killing 23 people, including children. Here are some of the gruesome details from the article.
"Egyptian riot police officers rushed into a crowd of unarmed Sudanese migrants early Friday morning, killing at least 23 people, including small children, after the group refused to leave a public park it had occupied for three months hoping to press United Nations officials to relocate them.
The Sudanese - thousands of men, women and children - were packed into what amounted to a traffic island in an upscale neighborhood. They had fled war-torn Sudan, but the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees office in Cairo - across the street from where they camped out - told them that they were not eligible for refugee status or for relocation because it was safe for them to return home.
When the officers charged, women and children tried to huddle together, and to hide under blankets as some men grabbed for anything - tree limbs, metal bars - struggling to fight back...
By nightfall... there were 23 dead, 7 of them children, 8 elderly, and 7 more women.
Cris Bouroncle/AFP -- Getty Images
Police turned water cannons and sticks on Sudanese camped for two months in a park in a bid to start new lives abroad.
The brutal fervor with which the Egyptian police carried out their assault on a cowering crowd of unarmed refugees is horrifying. Here on view is the helmeted and armored fist of the Egyptian state arrayed against women and children fleeing from a war torn homeland. What hope is there for the innocent when they are faced on one side by heartless bureaucrats at the UN and cruel security forces on the other? Ahead of them lies the very hell they fled and behind them their dead.
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Peter Jackson: Sly Racist Hiding Behind Classic Tales?
Kwame McKenzie in an opinion piece on TimesOnline writes that "King Kong feeds into all the colonial hysteria about black hyper-sexuality" and that "The story also touches the raw nerve of the Darwin-based association between black men and apes." He further points out that "...The only major black character was the strong caring second officer to the ship's captain - the good and dutiful slave stereotype" and that if he had not been with his transfixed son he "would have been out of the door soon after the wide eyed, homicidal, half dressed, blacker than black natives of Skull Island started cavorting one hour in."
And here's John Yatt writing on The Two Towers in the Guardian from 2002:
"The Two Towers is the story of the battle between Isengard and Rohan. In the good corner, the riders of Rohan, aka the "Whiteskins": "Yellow is their hair, and bright are their spears. Their leader is very tall." In the evil corner, the orcs of Isengard: "A grim, dark band... swart, slant-eyed" and the "dark" wild men of the hills. So the good guys are white and the bad guys are, erm... black.
This genetic determinism drives the plot in the most brutal manner. White men are good, "dark" men are bad, orcs are worst of all. While 10,000 orcs are massacred with a kind of Dungeons and Dragons version of biological warfare, the wild men left standing at the end of the battle are packed off back to their homes with nothing more than slapped wrists.
We also get a sneak preview of the army that's going to be representing the forces of darkness in part three. Guess what: "Dark faces... black eyes and long black hair, and gold rings in their ears... very cruel wicked men they look". They come from the east and the south. They wield scimitars and ride elephants.
Perhaps I'd better come right out and say it. The Lord of the Rings is racist."
Thanks to Blackfeminism.org
Monday, December 26, 2005
Powell: Domestic spying should continue
Forum: National Security
"My own judgment is that it didn't seem to me, anyway, that it would have been that hard to go get the warrants," Mr. Powell said. "And even in the case of an emergency, you go and do it. The law provides for that."
But Mr. Powell added that "for reasons that the president has discussed and the attorney general has spoken to, they chose not to do it that way."
"I see absolutely nothing wrong with the president authorizing these kinds of actions," he said.
Asked if such eavesdropping should continue, Mr. Powell said, "Yes, of course it should continue."
Saturday, December 17, 2005
Stop That Noise: Hate and Violence in Hip Hop
Hate speech is a particularly destructive force. Hate speech disfigures and contorts the speaker and cowers, dehumanizes, and degrades the victim. Hate speech is a form of violence that can wound a person psychologically, permanently weaken their self esteem and darken their outlook on life. If we could see its energetically it would probably resemble a serrated knife.
When our cultural and creative output contains hate speech we risk defiling the very soul of the world. With each utterance, our hatred, like a dark cloud electric with storm, lifts off the earth and is transmitted omnidirectionally, announcing to the universe our degradation and attracting violence, destruction, and dark energy in return. Hate speech in music and media can also be the harbingers of genocide and war as was the case in Rwanda. So I urgently call on all Hip Hop artists to decry hate and speak out against those who peddle hatred, and discrimination through their music.
from Homos, Hot Beats & Hip Hop
Author and activist, Keith Boykin describing a panel he served on...
"...Hip hop artists who have recorded homophobic music. I mentioned Brand Nubian, Canibus, Common, Cypress Hill, DMX, Eazy E, Eminem, Goodie Mob, Allen Iverson, Ice Cube, Ja Rule, Jay Z, Mase, Mobb Deep, Public Enemy, Snoop Dogg, T.O.K. and 50 Cent in my list.
Next, I moved to hip hop artists who have challenged homophobia, and here the list was much shorter. I cited Queen Pen, Queen Latifah, Common (who apparently reformed after dating Erykah Badu), Meshell Ndegeocello (who actually transcends hip hop), and Will Smith (who played a gay man in the film Six Degrees of Separation). Moderator James Peterson also reminded me of the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, who recorded a popular underground CD back in 1992 but haven't surfaced much since.
I was also intrigued by P. Diddy and LL Cool J, both of whom are popular hip hop artists who have rarely, if ever, used anti-gay lyrics in their music. And I mentioned LGBT hip hop artists including Caushun, Deep Dickollective, Dutchboy, Tori Fixx and Rainbow Flava."
Friday, December 16, 2005
He won the job but not their hearts
Dr. Randal Pinkett, the "only" winner of The Apprentice"
I DON'T WATCH REALITY TV. But, I was marginally interested in this season's The Apprentice, because brutha Dr. Randal Pinkett was in the running. So, I asked an emotionally invested friend of mine who said, "He's so smart." if he had a heart and she assured me he did have one and that he was "very nice." Well, brutha doctor Pinkett was awarded the six-figure contract with Trump last night, as well as a drubbing in the media today, for cutting down his opponent ruthlessly and being greedy. Its no doubt, a phyrric victory for a guy who markets himself as a "community servant."
Here's a good example of the spin on his win:
"Sometimes winning isn't everything... and that clearly was the case here. Randal Pinkett had an impeccable reputation for being a nice guy, but in the live finale, he proved otherwise.
Black History Month is Ridiculous
Morgan Freeman Defies Labels
Gene That Determines Skin Color Is Discovered
Excerpted from The New York Times
A gene that is responsible for the pale skin of Europeans and the dark skin of Africans has been discovered by scientists at Pennsylvania State University.
The gene comes in two versions, one of which is found in 99 percent of Europeans and the other in 93 to 100 percent of Africans, the researchers report in today's issue of Science. The new gene may shed light on the evolutionary pressures to which Europeans were subjected as their ancestors, who were presumably dark skinned, moved into the northern latitudes some 40,000 years ago.
Humans acquired dark skins in Africa about 1.5 million years ago to shield their newly hairless bodies from the sun. Its ultra-violet rays destroy folic acid, a shortage of which leads to birth defects.
But when the modern humans who left Africa began to live in northern latitudes, they needed more sunlight to penetrate the skin, to permit the chemical reaction that produces vitamin D.
The new gene was first identified not in humans but in a mutant zebra fish, a small striped fish common in aquariums. The mutant fish are known as golden, because their stripes, usually black, are much paler and their bodies more yellow.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Does 50 Cent Equal Tom of Finland?
AN OLD SHRINK OF MINE USED TO SAY,
As a people, we have not come to terms with the facts of homosexuality, nor have we come to understand that the fight for GLBT civil rights is the logical and moral extension of the fight for our own rights. And as Black men, our failure to acknowledge, accept, welcome and celebrate all people regardless of sexual preference is directly related to the fact that we pass on AIDS faster than any other demographic in the U.S. We become what we fear and despise, period.
So, I submit this little trope and the above bits of visual culture to serve my argument that - hyper machismo equals homoerotic.
And I'm not the only one digging the connection. Check out this hilarious mash up of G-Unit and Queen posted on eyeteeth.org:
Friday, December 09, 2005
Time Ticks Away for Tookie
An article in the Chronicle a couple of days ago suggested that without clear doubt about his guilt based on DNA or a turned witness, no modern governor would stay the execution. But, if I were Arnold Schwarzenegger, at this point, I would be asking myself, "Do I want the blood of this man on my hands and on the conscience of the state I love, and the subsequent blood that will be shed because of the reaction in the street? Or, can I handle the families of the victims being mad at me?" Well, from a political standpoint, and even more importantly as a legacy statement, the choice would be clear to me. In addition, the Governor should meditate deeply on the spiritual questions being played out here: questions of faith in the ultimate untarnished goodness at the center of every living being and the possibility of salvation.
"With him our belief in human redemption also sits on the gallows"
David Batstone Redemption on trial in California
In this particular case, the question must be "Has Stokely Williams been redeemed?" I, for one, believe that he has been saved. And, this clear turning, both in his character, action, and effect is reason enough to halt this execution. Moreover, the questionable credibility of the circumstantial evidence arrayed against him and the likely ulterior motives of the "witnesses" urge us to pause before now allowing, what amounts to, state-sanctioned murder. It can now be convincingly argued that killing Stokely Williams' would hurt us more than allowing him to live.
"Williams has become a major figure in the gang peace movement. He has co-authored 10 books from Death Row. The message is clear: Violence is never a solution. He urges young gang kids to get out before it destroys them and the lives of their family members. That's a powerful message from one of the founders of the Crips.
Williams first made a public plea to hundreds of gang members who gathered at a Los Angeles hotel in 1993 for a summit called Hands Across Watts. He did not hide his early role in the Crips, but on a pre-recorded videotape filmed for the summit told the young gang members that he lamented his history. Recounting this first public event to the San Francisco Chronicle, Williams said, "I told them I never thought I could change my life, that I thought I would be a Crip forever. But I developed common sense, wisdom and knowledge. I changed."
This clear turning toward the light that has occurred in Tookie Williams and its powerful and positive effects on his community supply ample evidence that we may not be doomed forever for our mistakes and transgressions; that good lies still within our power to create and to reap; that we are capable of being generative of peace, love, joy, respect and empowerment; that we can be freed from the shackles of hatred, violence and damnation; that we may even be redeemed in the hearts of those we love.
Short audio clip as a prelude to a longer interview with Mr. Williams that Tavis Smiley will be airing on his new nationally syndicated radio show the weekend of December 9th.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
The Slow Slide from Liberator to Dictator
"When Yoweri Museveni fought his way to power in Uganda in 1986 he said he would only need five years to clean up Uganda. Some ten years later he said the same thing. In July 2005 he arranged a change in the 1995 constitution which limits the presidency to two five-year terms, enabling him to stand for re-election in the polls due in March 2006. In January 2006 he will celebrate twenty years in power.
Moreover, when his main rival, Kizza Besigye, returned to Uganda from exile in October to run against him for the presidency, Museveni had him arrested and charged with rape, treason and an assortment of other offences. When it seemed Besigye might be given bail, a group of armed men – not in uniform – snatched him from the courtroom at gunpoint and whisked him away.
This surely is the transformation of a dictator who came to power through the barrel of a gun, legitimised himself through tolerance and democratic institutions but, when faced with an election he might lose, reasserted his military might. Or is it?"
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Film as Prophecy and Response
ON THE FIFTH NIGHT of the riots in Paris, I was talking to Howard French, a senior writer for the New York Times, who said that it was an "open secret" how bad the ghettos were in France and Europe. So, its not a total surprise that others would have predicted the unrest that ripped Paris in november. La Haine, reviewed on Slate.com by Matt Feeney, is a 1995 film by Mathieu Kassovitz which examines the lives of three young men from a housing project outside Paris, Jewish Vinz (Vincent Cassel), North African Saïd (Saïd Taghmaoui), and West African Hubert (Hubert Koundré) over a single day during which a near-fatal police beating of a youth has sparked a minor uprising in the projects.
The film, which is only available in European formats is enjoying renewed interest since the riots.
Also out of Paris, "The French Democracy" - the first film that examines the riots. It's a short "machinimaa" - which is a film made out of a video game. It's creator, 27-year-old Alex Chan, lives in Seine-Saint-Denis, a suburb north of Paris that was affected by the violence. "Many French people still don't know or don't want to really understand what happened in their neighborhood," said the young filmmaker, "That's why I chose this ironic title of 'The French Democracy' in order to refer to the fact that the youth prefer to use Molotov cocktails than ballot papers to get heard by the government. In this way in my movie, I try to bring people to think or to understand — not to necessarily forgive — what can push a young person or teenager to act like this." Go here to see the film.
Fanning Flames, Spreading Smoke: Visual Media In Paris Riots
M. Junaid Alam
Monday, December 05, 2005
Condoleezza Rice: Apologist for Torture and Gulag
US Secretary of State Rice reads a prepared statement to reporters in Maryland. Credit: Reuters
Today, in carefully crafted language, Condoleeza Rice defended the Bush administration policy of rendition - the transfer of prisoners to countries that specialize in torture. An op-ed piece in The Guardian on Sunday warned that "the evidence is now overwhelming that terror suspects are being flown beyond the reach of anti-torture laws to be questioned in countries where torture may be used." and that "Condoleezza Rice's reported intention to warn European countries to 'back off' their concerns in this area when she visits this week is guaranteed to inflame the issue further, smacking as it does of bullying and blackmail." Really, it's just more of the same from this administration. As BlackBloggah, it's tough to watch this great sistah get pimped by a c+ whiteboy but if you lie down with dogs you're going to wake up with fleas. And, Isn't this the second "Good Negro" who has stood in the line of fire for the Bush clan. It reminds me of those fateful words from Colin Powell before delivering the "yellow powder" speech before the U.N. when he said, "Now I'll always be remembered as the one who made the case for war" Well, now Ms. Rice can always be remembered as the one who made the case for torture.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Racist Killers of British Youth are Sentenced
"You took from Anthony Walker his most precious possession; that is to say his life and all it held for him. He was a young man of enormous promise, lost in a moment. " - Mr Justice Leveson
THE racist thugs who murdered 18 year old Anthony Walker with an ice-axe were told yesterday they will spend a total of at least 40 years behind bars for what the judge described as "racist thuggery of a type that is poisonous to any civilised society". Mr Justice Leveson handed down mandatory life sentences to 20-year-old Paul Taylor and Michael Barton, 17.
Anthony Walker was waiting at a bus stop with his cousin, Marcus Binns, and girlfriend Louise Thompson when Barton began shouting racist abuse on 29 July. The judge speculated that Barton and Taylor may have objected to a white woman being accompanied by two black men.
Will it never end?
Tonight, some sickos desecrated the sight where Anthony Walker was murdered. Is there no honour and decency in the hearts of racists. The Sun angrily called for someone to come forward who knows about this heinous act.
From the Sun:
The mindless thugs who daubed graffiti where Anthony Walker was murdered are the lowest form of life.
The nation is reeling from the shock of AnthonyÂs racist murder.
Yet morons think it clever to desecrate his memory at the end of his killerÂs trial.
BB: The ghost of Emmett Till walks the streets tonight