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.

 

New RadioTahrir podcasts on Syria; Mazin Qumsiyeh's Women's Day Letter from Palestine

2016-03-08

by Barbara Nimri Aziz

Friends: Marhaba-- On March 3, in an addenda to my teach-in "An Other Syria: Returning to The Nation" at SUNY Purchase, NY, I assembled interviews I conducted in Syria before 2011. To hear these podcasts, punch in 'syria' and listen. You can also access my audio archive through iTunes. Go to iTunes store; punch in "Tahrir" and scroll down to 'podcasts' where the first item is RadioTahrir. Click our logo and select from the list, then listen. It's free; and the audio quality is pretty good. Search 'Syria' for my articles on Syria.

Today, in lieu my blog, I forward this letter from Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh my colleague at Bethlehem University.

On this International Women's Day, I am in Amman attending the Lancet Palestinian Health Alliance Conference where most presentations are by brilliant women (thank you Rita Giacaman for excellent coordination/organizing). In this conference public health issues are discussed in the regional context and in the context of Israeli colonial occupation. I was inspired mostly by people here: good dedicated experts who present the data regardless of how they get attacked by the powerful elite who profit from war, conflict and inequality. We saw sobering numbers about health access inequality, lack of accessibility to medical services, political interference in health, increased cancer rates, increased congenital birth defects, communicable disease, deteriorating mental health, torture and forced feeding and much more. From my lab, we had a poster on genotoxicity. Here is a report on last year's conference held at the American University of Beirut.   I celebrate Women's Day in Amman (Jordan) and then in Palestine (I will be on my way back to the besieged homeland today). I lament how the mainstream media misses the point  intentionally. They highlight elite women (some who make the lives of women everywhere more difficult such as Hilary Clinton), and they fail to give credit to those women on the front line who change things (like colleagues and friends Rana Bishara, Rehab Nazzal, Rita Giacaman, and a million other activists). The media even fails to explain the origin of this day. Having an annual dedicated day for women (action) was proposed in 1910 by Clara Zetkin of Germany at the International Conference of Working Women. Inspired by women socialist movements for fair working conditions in the USA in 1908 and 1909, movements grew of women demanding their rights (until then they did not even have a right to vote). The first women’s day on 8 March 1911 launched demonstrations for women workers’ rights (right to vote, right to fair work condition, right to live free from oppression, right to life, against wars etc). After a long struggle and many lives lost along the way, the UN recognized 8 March as an “International” (I prefer global) women’s day in 1977, 66 years after it was launched by brave socialist women. Thus women’s day is about actions against injustice not about Hilary Clinton who stands in the way of change and pledges allegiance to Zionist lobbies! On 26 October 1929 in Jerusalem, the First Arab Women’s Congress of Palestine gathered about 200 women. The demands were rights of women and against the Balfour Declaration, against the racist idea of Zionism, for self-determination, and for full equality (gender, religion etc). They elected a 14 member Executive Committee headed by Matiel E. T. Mogannam, author of a book titled “The Arab Women and the Palestinian Problem” published 1937.  Moghannam explained the innovative strategies of Palestinian women in the 1920s: they lobbyed the colonial power, wrote in newspapers, and in 1928 held the first demonstration in history that used automobiles with 120 cars arriving in the streets of Jerusalem from across Palestine). See my book Popular Resistance in Palestine: A history of hope and empowerment The struggle of women in Palestine continues. Many people like me believe sincerely that had women been in charge here, we would have had a free Palestine today. My mother, now 84, showed us by example what giving and self-sacrifice and love of people and land means. My wife and three sisters are likewise examples of what we all should aspire to do: kind, dedicated, and hard-working human beings. Like millions before them and millions of their contemporaries, these women make life livable while many men (and a few women) engage in hurting others and pushing for conflicts and war. Words are too mediocre and inadequate to express our feelings but I simply want to say to all the women working for peace and justice: thank you and to pledge that we will work with you for more progressive change in our societies. As males, we must challenge the system we inherited of giving privilege to men (Patriarchal societies we live in). This must be in deed not in words. For the local situation of Palestinian women today, I urge you to read this remarkable new issue of the excellent magazine “This Week in Palestine” dedicated to our better half.

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