Forthcoming

“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"

 

Nov 5, 2018 A report on two pstate NY races:--CD 19, and NY State Senate 42. From Egypt and Tunisia new films by and about women-- "Youm el-Setat" and "El-Jaida"

Sept 24 Do war memoirs really advance education? Attacks on BDS and Americans' freedom of speech continues.

Sept 17-- Sport stars and politcal dissent stemming from Kaepernick's actions. NY State's Sept 13 Primaries

Sept 10  Assessing Muslim Americans' ongoing fight for Muslim rights, and in the context of today's election cycle.

Aug 27, Where are Muslim Americans in the US administration's immigrant purge?

Aug 20 Celebrating achievements-- Sam Anderson and Rosemari Mealy. And still more published memoirs fro Middle East peoples

August 1- The inexorable struggle for Palestinian rights

July 2, WBAI Radio  Exploring EXILE in American literature:--  "Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits", and "In The Light of What We Know".

June 25 EXILE in literature: a review of the novels "Cutting For Stone" and "A Thousand Years of Good Prayers".

June 18, The vicissitudes of Nepal's fledgling democracy. And a review of White House Ramadan "iftar" ceremonies.

June 11 The rentier economy of Jordan and current public protests. How the UK and US use Jordan. And celebrities' role in news.,

June 4 "Naila and The Uprising" a film memory of Palestinian resistance. And: why is Tariq Ramadan imprisoned?

April 30 How could detante in Korea affect other conflicts? And a look at our own role in plastic pollution.

April 23  The US mission creep into Syria, and more reviews of children's books about refugees. 

April 16  Why are Islamist rebels are being escorted out of the so called liberated areas, and where are they going? and a review of new Arab American memoirs 

April 9; Saudi Arabia's long and deep times with the US film industry. And we review the plethora of Arab women's memoirs

April 2 documenting war trauma. Do some war traumatized matter more than others? 

March 26 Iraq's neglected agricultural industry, and the persecution of Swiss-Arab Muslim scholar Tariq Ramadan

March 19, Iraq today. And the legal challenges facing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against apartheid Israel.

March 12,Commentary on the fall of Myanmar's Ang Sang SuKyi; and recent observations for Iraq.

Jan 8, 7:45 am Film review of "Land of the Pomegranates", and an introduction to the American organization "Muslimish"

Nov 27, Russia and Syria: commentary on this longstanding relationship in the current international scene

Nov 20. A look at the new crisis created around Lebanon PM Hariri's resignation. Comments on a culture that's infused and spilling over with sexual predators.

Nov 13 Update on Kirkuk, Iraq. Veterans Day USA: Is celebration of war heros increasing?.

Nov 6, WBAI  News of Kirkuk, N. Iraq after the failed Kurdish referendum; Accusations towards male religious figures in ongoing sexual abuse exposes.

Sept 25: Syria update: the changing status quo and resulting change in US media coverage.. The Kurdish referendum

Sept 18: Myanmar's Ang San Su Kyi's eary history; beware of simplistic sectarian analyses

Sept 11: women as pawns in justifying American "wars to protect"

August 28, 7:45 am WBAI. Linda Sarsour, Arab American and US Muslim community leader: in her defence. Margo Shetterley author of "Hidden Figures"

Aug 21, WBAI Palestinian-American Rasmea Odeh, stripped of citizenship and deported this week.

Aug 14: BN Review of the anti-Israel boycott action in the US Congress. WBAI, 90.5 fm

July 10:  Nepal just completed its first election in 20 years for nationwide local admin posts.

July 3, WBAI Radio. "All politics is local":-- the hard work of using local news resources.

June 26: WBAI Radio We ask why is there no anti-war movement in the US? And: “Martyrdom”—an archaic phrase but a concept we need to think about today.

June 19  On the 50th anniversary of the 1967 war, and Israel's seemingly unstoppable political, diplomatic and territorial march, it’s remarkable that the Palestinian voice is heard at all.

June 12  The dilemma of 'moderate Amercian Muslims; following ReclaimNY , a child of Steve Bannon and Robert Mercer.

May 1, Workers Day, WBAI 99.5 fm. BN Aziz highlights the rise of the 'gig economy'

April 24, 7:45 WBAI 99.5 fm. A check on our progress as American Muslims; and, Lynne Stewart: the Peoples' Lawyer. 

See Ramzy Baroud's assessment on how our Muslim community misuses celebrity Muslims as surrogates for their own stuggle.

 

Monday April 17 WBAI Radio, NYC. Why is there essential no anti-war movement in the USA?

April 10;  A critical look at media coverage of the US assault on Syria; and an update on ReclaimNY.

B. Nimri Aziz weekly radio commentary on events around the globe and in the USA. Listen in at 99.5 fm, or online www.wbai.org where we are livestreamed.

"We are more alike than we are different"

  Maya Angelou

March 8, Women's Day Radio Specials  10-11 am on WJFF Radio, 90.5 fm, and 11:am on WBAI, 99.5 New York: B. Nimri Aziz interviews director Amber Fares about her new film "Speed Sisters" and exerpts from 2009-2010 interviews with professional women in Syria, Nadia Khost and Nidaa Al-Islam.

 

 

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.

 

Voting in an Off-Election Year

2013-11-05

by Barbara Nimri Aziz

 

Later today I’ll drag myself to my nearby polling station, not reluctantly but somewhat mindlessly. I admit it: I don’t know the names of political candidates or their party affiliation in today’s election. Who will I vote for?

So why bother? It’s a state of mind I probably share with most other voting age Americans today.

These 2013 polls are not even called ‘mid-term elections’. Those happen next year when congressional and senate seats are contested. They’re immensely important because they decide which party holds the majority in Congress; this in turn will determine the potential of the presidency, also who’ll chair the influential US congressional committees. As we see in the current administration, although Democrats hold a slim senate majority, most reforms proposed by the president are blocked in the House of Representatives. Confronted by an unfriendly majority Republican Congress, Obama’s power has been hugely diminished throughout his tenure. Any chance to correct this comes only next year, when American media do their job to inform and prepare us on various national races, at least the close ones, and when some major controversies are hotly debated

But what about today’s election? Since it’s not a ‘president-creating’ event, we voters hear little about it. (Forget about world citizens usually enchanted by US elections.) Today’s contests are local, or town, elections; today we pick our community administrators and vote on referendums having to do with our environment, our taxes, our employment programs. You may have heard about New York City’s mayoral battle, and the races for two governorships—in Virginia and New Jersey. But I don’t reside in any of those places. Today, I can only vote for my local council, judge, and our rural equivalent of mayor. Ho hum.

First, in many regions of this state (and perhaps across the country) a lot of those names on the ballot are unopposed. Yes, only one candidate; thus no real choice for us voters. Second, our local media—regional newspapers, community radio and TV stations--devote little attention to these races. So finding out about candidates calls for a major personal effort-- for me, at least. The few  banners posted on trees and lawns around town listing names—Helen Lee, Tom Sush, Andrea Reynosa, e.g., don’t indicate their political party. To find that I need to peruse a special (finely printed) listing in a local paper. Or I wait until I arrive in the polling station. (One notice I read carries the Democratic Party logo, but a rider says ‘paid for by the candidate’—hmm, what do I make of that? This ad, for Reynosa, says she stands for 3 P’s—Protect, Preserve, and Promote. Not very helpful. Besides, she’s running for Tusten Town Council and I can’t vote there, whatever I may think of her cryptic 3 P agenda.)

Maybe I should take a rain check and wait for a real election. Problem is: I believe in local governance and its role in our democracy.

The municipality is where things are done, or not done, that directly affect my daily life. Here’s where property and school taxes are levied; here’s where roads are maintained, power lines repaired, school standards are checked, where our library is funded, where construction codes are monitored, where police are posted, where our town court and fire department are, and where the budget for community health and welfare services is decided.

Our Town Supervisor (local mayor) and her Councilmen and women may receive only part-time salaries of as little as $15,000. Yet they decide the allocation of budgets of half a million dollars and more. They do the work that maintains the roads and electric lines, rain or shine, keeps schools running and controls crime.

It’s my Town Council’s initiative that may win state and federal grants for major local projects-- grants that boost employment, support the arts, build social centers, repair roads and streams, supplement school educational programs, allocate funds for the needy. In effect, it is these almost anonymous women and men to whom I owe my safety, my opportunities and the quality of day-to-day life I enjoy-- through our winter storms, at my free library and parkland, and in the pure water I drink.

Excuse me. I better get to the polls before closing time.

Comments welcome

 

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