Snatching liberty seemed compelling. Some of us thrived; some of us died. All of us had a taste. from author Toni Morrison, on friendships.

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.


Al-Jazeera TV is not your panacea.


by Barbara Nimri Aziz

To my liberal friends searching for better international news sources. Take note: Al-Jazeera is not your panacea.

Desperate for alternatives to corporate and Zionist-controlled US media, we long for unvarnished truths and fresh opinions. What is really happening in that far-away world? The world we ourselves dare not step into, the world we are helpless to affect, neither by street protests nor our presumed expertise.

Limited to English-language sources, American sights and hopes are now set on Al-Jazeera English. That the network’s parent company has bought Current TV seems encouraging. This purchase gives the Qatar-based group wide access to American homes-- to help you and me better understand the Middle East. Maybe.

I am for anything that offers more choice. But is Al-Jazeera a real alternative? Is it untainted?

Discerning viewers know they must scrutinize the politics of owners and sponsors of American media companies. Guess what: we have to do the same with foreign sources, even this wholesome-looking Al-Jazeera English. Who controls it and what are the evolving polices of Al-Jazeera’s sponsor?

Qatar owns the 24/7 network that swept the region with quality reporting, provocative debates and sharp analyses. Originally pitched as impartial, Al-Jazeera Arabic injected pride into 400 million Arabs and projected a modern image of their world. It showed the professionalism of Arab journalists and scholars. With its launching in 1996 by Doha-based Al-Jazeera Satellite and Orbit Communications companies, Al-Jazeera Arabic shaped the thoughts and opinions of the Arab-speaking masses. It reported news from places otherwise inaccessible; it showed its mettle by angering selected regional monarchs. It expanded to include children’s and sports channels, all of similarly high quality.

Today Al-Jazeera Arabic has evolved into a political machine that wages war for and against Arab sister states. Its news coverage and analyses are a clear reflection of the Qatar government’s politics, policies  in step with Washington and London. In Syria and Libya, Qatar is a leading media voice for the overthrow of those governments and it arms rebels there. On governance in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and other undemocratic monarchies, like Washington, Qatar and Al-Jazeera maintain a low profile.

Doubtless you’ll be charmed by some Al-Jazeera English programs. Meanwhile consider an equally important Middle East news source, English-language PressTV from Tehran. Now here’s a news network worth our attention. ‘Though less slick than Al-Jazeera, PressTV is replete with real alternative news and views.

Too late: This month PressTV disappeared from our airwaves, dropped by Galaxy 19 Satellite. But there’s no censorship in the USA, is there? Never mind; you'll have Al-Jazeera.

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