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.

 

While mothers in Gaza and Syria bury their sons…

2012-11-23

by Barbara Nimri Aziz

Here on America’s Thanksgiving weekend, I accompany a mother as she arranges final rites for her only son Robert. Because I knew Robert and his mom, I’ve been drawn into the family during his final days and hours, with his last feebly spoken words to us, decisions with medics on his transfer to the hospice, searching his mobile phone to locate associates we never met, contacting distant family.

What stands out in this otherwise sad and heavy experience is the support system available to his mother; she’s 86 and a widow with no family nearby.

Having recently returned from Asia, I remember how friends there express pity and disdain for what they understand as an impoverished family structure in the West. “There’s no one to look after you”, they charge. “You’ve no help at times of need.” This is true only to a limited degree. Anyway I wonder if the West can match the misery I see so many Asian daughters-in-law experience (only one of many ills I see in that ‘glorified’ extended family-- Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Christian).

Reviewing recent election statistics, I am reminded that a startling 28% of adult Americans live alone. (In Scandinavian countries, it’s 45%.) But this doesn’t mean Americans and Europeans endure their personal crises alone. Today, what I am witnessing around the death of Robert is testimony to this. Pauline, the grieving mother who I’ve been with this week, is a member of a neighborhood circle of 8 women. These friends range in age from 72 to 90; some live alone; some have children; some have salaried jobs while others are retired. They meet regularly, it seems, to celebrate birthdays and for holiday celebrations; they phone each other to check on needs; they listen to each other, advise each other, and they have fun together too. I met most of them in recent days, gathering around Pauline after they learned her son was failing. Distant relatives will be flying in from California, Georgia and elsewhere for the funeral but Pauline’s friends are here at the hardest moments and will be here after the relatives return to their homes.

Back to our Gaza and Syrian mothers: their sons and daughters die as martyrs. Most of us do not understand that experience, deaths which the entire nation mourns and also celebrates. Meanwhile so many of these war mothers are deprived of the wide possibilities women could have, in order to birth and nurture their young ones-- their duty for the revolution.  

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