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.


Human Rights Fueling War


by Barbara Nimri Aziz

Human Rights activists and their media friends seem shocked by revelations that Libyan rebel forces are torturing detainees in Libya.

Why? In a recent “Salon’ opinion article (The Human Rights ‘Success’ in Libya; Glen Greenwald reviews how invasions “… are almost always sold by appeal to human rights concerns”. And they do not stop. Greenwald describes how such abuses become part and parcel of a military campaign aimed to topple a ‘brutal’ leader. Anything they execute is justified by that heroic shared goal, even though those western backers themselves conveniently escape any association or responsibility with such abuses.

What we have recently been told about the behavior of Libyan forces towards the people they have captured —first migrant workers they rounded up, then the former regime supporters, and now, detained Libyans during and following the invasion-- should come as no surprise. Some may have gloated over the way the former Libya president was treated by his captors. There were few sympathizers for Gaddafi and no critics of the rebels’ method of meting out that piece of justice. Yet, surely this behavior was systematic of a savagery encouraged by their western supporters who themselves were engaged in what is only later found to be ‘indiscriminate killings’ during their much celebrated smart-bombing of Libya. The murders and abuse by Libyan ground forces was inarguably an expression ‘license to kill’ granted to the heroic rebels by their partners in the air.

In my blog of November 2, 2011 ( I expressed by disgust and shame over the license accorded Libyan ‘rebels’-- allies of our esteemed NATO bombers. Only now, conveniently, we hear evidence that suggests that the widely publicized attack on Moammar Gaddafi may not have been so unique an occurrence.

In his January 27 article in Salon, Greenwald compares celebratory claims made by the invaders of Iraq in 2003 with a 2011 report that “Iraq is quickly slipping back into authoritarianism as its security forces abuse protesters, harass journalists, and torture detainees”, and how Iraq is “becoming a budding police state”. Greenwald concludes “Ironically, those who are the loudest advocates for these wars and then prematurely celebrate the outcome (and themselves) bear significant responsibility for these subsequent abuses: by telling the world that the invasion was a success, it causes the aftermath — the most important part — to be neglected. There is nothing noble about invading and bombing a country into regime change”, he continues, “if what one ushers in is mass instability along with tyranny and abuse by a different regime: typically one that is much more sympathetic to the invading regime-changers.”  But, again, human righters win the day.

As righteous western leaders, their regional lackeys, and human rights documenters supply us with a steady account of human rights abuses in other ‘unpopular’ regimes in support of their selective ‘Arab Spring’ campaign, they are preparing us, the public, for their next noble adventure. All the good people of Europe and America, desperate to share their way of life and their subservience to Israel, ostensibly deeply sensitive to the suffering of Arab sisters and brothers, are ready to sanction yet another war.

Forget about the catastrophe and the abuses that will inevitably follow. We are a naïve, acquiescent and complicit  public.

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