Forthcoming

"Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another." author Toni Morrison (1931- 05.08.2019)

“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"v  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 singer at 89

 

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.

 

Ghazi Khankan (1934-2012) and the 64th anniversary of the Nakba

2012-05-14

by Barbara Nimri Aziz

What enables a citizen to work for peace and justice day after day, year after year… for three generations? Some answers can be found in the life of Ghazi Khankan. Our American-New York brother died suddenly two weeks ago, Khankan’s resolute manner exemplifies the enduring struggle and demonstrates the finest qualities of a long-distance runner in this demanding phase of our US history.

The Zionist undermining of all efforts at peace pervades the US culture, a sinister, energetic shadow of its brutish force across Arab and Muslim lands themselves. Since 1967 when voices swelled in opposition to Zionist expansion into Palestinian lands and homes, Arabs in this country organized, campaigned, wrote, spoke and marched to expose the myths and present the realities-- to speak truth to power. Most eloquently expressed by our scholar Edward Said, the struggle was implemented and paid for by many, many lesser known. There are those whose lives were sacrificed, others whose health and family were the price, and countless anonymous, tireless activists whose livelihoods were thwarted. 

Forces set against Palestine merged into assaults on Bosnians, Chechens, Iraqis, and became a confrontation that found its fullest, ugliest expression against what seemed an assault against all Muslim peoples and our faith itself.  

One who defended Palestinian rights in the early 1960s and stayed faithful up to his last breath was Ghazi Khankan. From the 1964 World Fair in New York when Khankan joined with MT Mehdi in a campaign to defend a mural of Palestinian history at the exhibition’s Jordan pavilion, he was there—daily-- trying to educate, to persuade, to join, to reason, to connect. From that fight for Palestinian rights Khankan moved to a career embracing African American Muslim leadership. He went on to challenge falsehoods in US media, to correct the myths, to inter-faith dialogue, to champion Muslim American rights.

Following his sudden death, testimonials to Ghazi Khankan’s integrity and leadership broadcast across the internet. Countless friends and colleagues recalled his work with MT Mehdi, another noble leader of these decades-long struggles. These men’s persistence, their intellect and humor, and their enduring belief in justice were remembered in testimonial after testimonial. They launched the Eid stamp, not a minor matter in the US. Another institution they initiated was the Star and Crescent in public places, a symbol of Muslim American presence alongside other American faiths. When inter-faith dialogue became a community educational strategy, Ghazi was at its center. Long before the dreadful watershed events of September 2001, Khankan was there-- tireless, patient, well-informed, moving forward without rancor, whether leading demonstrations on Fifth Avenue, conducting inter-faith matrimonials or teaching Arabic.

Khankan, despite a lifetime commitment to Palestinian sovereignty was not of Palestinian origin but Syrian. After graduating from the Lysee Francais in Aleppo, he went to AUB in Beirut, then UCLA in Los Angeles. Khankan remained in the US, settling in New York with his wife Tanya and together they raised their children Dhalia and Yahya.

See the May Day broadcast on WBAI Radio N.Y., May 1, 2012. Now ‘podcast’-- Podcast.radiotahrir.org.

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