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.

 

"story of a duck and a slipper"-- an end of year tale

2008-12-20

by Barbara Nimri Aziz

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What a wonderful end of term send off Iraqi journalist Muntathar el-Zeidi (petition in support) gave the US president and the world!

This young man achieved the ultimate ridicule, the ultimate insult, the ultimate weapon. The simple shoe, heaved so accurately with its heavy meaning has hit homes across the globe. For those of us from eastern and Arab culture, our humble slipper has deep social significance to a foe. Directed at an adversary, it can be a stronger statement than any deadly weapon.

But what about the presidential duck. Holder of the most powerful office in the world, they say, ducked to miss the beautifully timed and perfectly directed missile. How this weapon forced GW Bush to duck is even more of a victory than if the thing had hit him smack in the face. Imagine, any person of such stature forced to crouch behind a post, like a scared rabbit. He ducked, like any common sniper or scared cowardly, defenseless animal. Regardless, Bush did not evade the attack. It could not have been a more perfect scenario— an internationally covered press conference.

 

The symbolism both of the ‘ducking president’ and the ‘shoe’ has not been lost on anyone, most especially Arab journalists and the public. What a heyday they are enjoying. It is truly an historic occasion, to record in drawing and song, to tell and retell our grandchildren, something to restore pride, to revive hope, to know this giant can be felled.

How poignant that this simple (almost) harmless act can indeed be so redeeming an action for the millions of humiliations, murders, insults, losses and hardships of years of US brutality starting with the embargo in 1990.

 

I recall a colleague in Algeria noting how US leaders were forced to sneak in an out of their occupied lands, despite garrisons of troops, tanks, combat aircraft and ultra super surveillance at their disposal. “Remember how Ms. Rice, Mr. Gates, Mr. Rumsfeld and GW always arrive in Iraq unannounced to visit the troops or review their battlements? They fly into a secured green zone or a US military base, and are out of Iraq within hours.” This, my colleague points out, laughing, in contrast to the Iranian head of state who announces his visit to Iraq two weeks before, flies into Baghdad airport greeted by officials and press, then makes his way by motorcade into the capital.

What is imperial power?

 

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