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.

 

April's Elusive Promise:

2015-04-07

by Barbara Nimri Aziz

April is a difficult month in northeastern US. By difficult, I mean it’s annoying and at the same time promising. Promising because it marks the end of winter’s discomforts. Yet real relief and signs of new growth remain elusive.

The landscape into which we dreamily gaze in anticipation of that relief is not only colorless. It’s drab and hazy and lifeless. At least winter gave us crisp, clear air, and the radiant contrast of sparkling, white snow and naked, black trees that frame a magnificent eagle gliding through the river valley. Our shy red cardinals are easy to spot in winter too. And the ice! Sheets of ice cling in giant curtains over rock hillsides and rows of glass icicles hang from roofs outside our windows.

Now, with ice and snow melting away, fields are littered with broken branches and other winter detritus. New York City streets not yet rain-washed, stink terribly from the droppings of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers’ pet dogs. Pieces of discarded city life, hidden under snow for months now lie exposed, soggy, and undecipherable. 

But warmer days assure us winter is ending (if not ended). Taking the air temperature as our cue, we have our cars washed of months of accumulated mud and salt; we enthusiastically pack away woolens and boots and optimistically pull off plastic insulation from windows. We let our shoulders relax and open our necks to the wind and lift our faces to speak real words to our neighbors who during winter only got a nod from behind our knit-wrapped heads.

Suddenly the thaw ends. Temperatures plummet and we awaken to four inches of spring snow. Puddles of water and mud in driveways and streets freeze, so that stepping on this tender snow-cover becomes particularly hazardous.

We search the landscape for color. That corner patch of earth catching some midday sun? Alas, a budding crocus. (Perhaps an early daffodil.) I recognize emerging green leaves that might release a blossom tomorrow.

Newly arrived birds bring color too:--blue of blue jays, red of robin, and rust of merganser ducks. With these flecks of color we become more assured that spring’s really here. Our confidence grows when we detect new smells:-- the unmistakable aroma of healthy, rotting earth, tree bark falling away to release the odors of new growth.  I inhale deeply.  

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