I don't want to see stores looted or buildings burned; but African- Americans have been living in burning buildings for years, choking on smoke as flames burn closer and closer.  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

That’s not a chip on my shoulder. That’s your foot on my neck.  – Malcolm X

"We must never, ever give up. We must be brave. We must be courageous." John Lewis, activist, congressman. 1940-2020 

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness. ~ Dalai Lama

"Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public."  Professor Cornel West.

"Only by learning to live in harmony with your contradictions can you keep it all afloat."  Audre Lorde

"The serious function of racism is distraction". 1995, Toni Morrison; Portland lecture, Playing in The Dark

“If I tell the story, I control the version. Because if I tell the story, I can make you laugh, and I would rather have you laugh at me than feel sorry for me.” Nora Ephron

"Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another." author Toni Morrison (1931- 2019)

“If I tell the story, I control the version. Because if I tell the story, I can make you laugh, and I would rather have you laugh at me than feel sorry for me”; Nora Ephron, author/comedian

"Make your story count". Michelle Obama

"Social pain is understood through the lens of racial animus". Researcher/author Sean McElwee writing in Salon, 2016

"We are citizens, not subjects. We have the right to criticize government without fear."  Chelsea Manning; activist/whisleblower

“My father was a slave and my people died to build this country, and I’m going to stay right here and have a part of it, just like you, And no fascist minded people, like you, will drive me from it. Is that clear?” Paul Robeson; activist/singer

“We have a system of justice in this country that treats you much better if you're rich and guilty than if you're poor and innocent”. from civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson

“This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak today?” Frederick Douglass, WHAT TO THE SLAVE IS 4TH JULY? 07.05.1852 (full text in blog)

Senator Elizabeth Warren "We're a country that is built on our differences; that is our strength, not our weakness"

"We are more alike than we are different" ~ Maya Angelou

As a Black writer, I was expected to accept the role of victim. That made it difficult in the beginning to be a writer.      James Baldwin

I often feel that there must have been something that I should’ve done that I didn’t do. But I can’t identify what it is that I didn’t do. That’s the first difficulty. And the second is, what makes you think you’re it?   

         Harry Belafonte, activist and singe


It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble; It's what you know for sure that just ainst so.

Mark Twain


You can't be brave if you've only had wonderful things happen to you.

Mary Tyler Moore


 You can’t defend Christianity by being against refugees and other religions

Pope Francis:


"I don't have to be what you want me to be". Muhammad Ali

"The Secret of Living Well and Longer: eat half, walk double, laugh triple, and love without measure"  attributed to Tibetan sources

Recent audio posts include interviews with Rumi interpreter Shahram Shiva, London-based author Aamer Hussein, South African Muslim scholar, professor Farid Esack, and Iraqi journalist Nermeen Al-Mufti's brief account of Kirkuk City history. Your comments on our blogs are always welcome.


“Eid Eve and Morning”


by Barbara Nimri Aziz

Eid begins. I send wishes for a happy and blessed Eid to all friends and associates, worldwide. You know what my main wish is.

Meanwhile some thoughts from the day’s events.

How long has the US been involved in wars in the Middle East?

According to a professor’s comment aired over the authoritative, self-styled liberal,  Northeastern Public Radio, it’s almost a decade. A decade? 

So claims a distinguished American professor/former military officer in “Academic Minute”, a new radio feature distributed across the US over the enlightened media, on a network followed by the most educated’ Americans. In today’s 60 second edition, the professor summarizes American military history in the Middle East—all 9 years of it!  And what about the remaining 95% of Americans who don’t follow these so-called experts? Well that same widely distributed radio network swiftly moved from “Academic Minute” to devote 10 minutes to Sunday’s final scores of university football matches.

So tell me: what is the real reason young Arab men and women dream of studying in the USA?

And the storm “Irene”. Well, with our Wall St. premises under mandatory evacuation order, my WBAI Radio station shut down Sat. night. So, from my retreat on the Beaverkill River in New York, we kept a closer watch on “Irene”. With my neighbors I followed the rise of the water meter by meter, as it became increasingly swift and fierce. From 5 am after fajr prayer, until 4:30 pm, it swelled. Trees, like enormous whales suddenly invading from the ocean, swished by in the muddy current. Chunks of trees looked like elephants with legs upturned, bouncing along in the raging water. Thankfully the worst of the flood was during daylight hours. Some villagers left; those of us remaining on the banks of the Beaverkill kept in touch, ready to evacuate to a neighbor on high ground. (We’ve had worse floods in here before this.)

The main fear from these storms is falling trees. Indeed, local roads are impassable, even this morning. My electricity was off for only half the day, but I hear millions are without power today. Business is hampered, they say-- for a few hours, 48 hours at the most. Isthis a crisis? Consider elsewhere. Can anyone here possibly, possibly imagine what life in Iraq is without power day after day, year after year after year, through summers and winters? And those blackouts are man-made in Washington and London.

Storm “Irene” has been a great opportunity for US politicians and emergency services to show off. At their control centers Saturday night and through Sunday, politicians asserted their leadership, their lofty humanitarian values. Not to be caught sleeping as happened in Hurricane Katrina. Today’s preparations may guarantee re-election of many officials. It’s proof that the US emergency system can handle something more serious, from other kinds of threats.

Will this experience of a rare regional storm force Washington to turn its attention to weather and the causes and results of climate change? Will it help Americans imagine what their war machines do to targeted tens of millions of across the globe?

Appeals: Don’t close this essay before you call for the Release of Suhair Atassi. Find out about her and act.

What am I reading? Ishiguro’s When We Were Orphans. What prose! A master of English, classic style. And Malcolm X, by Manning Marable, in preparation for a radio discussion. Also for radio review, The Arabs, A History—560 pp -- by an exalted Oxford University professor; I cannot recommend it, despite its rave reviews.

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