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.

 

Ramsey Clark’s 85th Birthday: A Celebration I Wouldn’t Have Missed

2013-01-26

by Barbara Nimri Aziz

The banquet opened with a robust invocation-- a song for the recovery of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez—sung appropriately in Persian by Iranian vocalist Hussain Ajhabeizadeh who accompanied himself on a guitar… no less. Surely this couldn’t have happened in the USA? But it did. New York was indeed the venue of this extraordinary evening, one celebrating the 85th birthday of an extraordinary person, Ramsey Clark.

“Whereas today most Americans do not know the name Ramsey Clark, across the world millions do—wherever people are fighting for justice”, noted the party’s host. She wasn’t speaking of ‘convenient’ justice for ‘selected’ victims as defined by US policy makers, their UN lackeys and a compliant media. we knew she referred to a justice for nations, a justice for truth and parity.

What endears Ramsey Clark to people worldwide is his insistence on a universal justice that respects national integrity and independence, that rejects demonization and marginalization of people who refuse to bow to American demands and accept roles the West assigns them. Nicaragua, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Venezuela, Palestine are among nations Ramsey Clark focused his attention over the past half century. Also individuals in US jails: the Cuban Five, Lynne Stewart, Mumia AbuJamal, Leonard Peltier, Aafia Siddiqui, Jamal AlAmin. Few in this country know their names, locked away for decades, imprisoned far from their families. Ramsey’s unremitting role in their struggle is documented by the organization he founded, the International Action Center, celebrating its 20th anniversary this night too.

Attorney Clark and IAC go where even journalists won’t dare. They go there long before professional humanitarians will acknowledge suffering generated by western governments themselves. They go as witnesses to truth. Fortunately for us, IAC is not only dedicated but diligent and productive. Perhaps more important than succor, IAC has assembled a unmatched body of video and written testimony documenting, for example, the years of sanctions against Iraq, the US invasion of Panama, NATO’s Balkan war. Along with the record of Clark’s International War Crimes Tribunals, you can find these on IAC’s rich web site too. And for those curious about Clark’s exceptional career as a lawyer in the US Justice Department, the Civil Rights Movement and beyond, find that online too: www.iacenter.org/gala)

As for the celebratory evening, it was not only affirming but great fun too-- something all activists need from time to time. Nothing wrong with celebrating ourselves, especially behind a figure like Ramsey.

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