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"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.

 

Two African Men

2009-09-28

by Barbara Nimri Aziz

They addressed the UN general assembly in New York last week. A first time for each man. Was it planned so that the contrast between their presentations would be so stark? One spoke for 90 minutes, the other took barely 20.

One is African Arab, the other African American. One has been in power for 40 years while the second, a newcomer—has headed his country for 8 months. One spoke in his native Arabic; the other in English. One expressed a widespread disapproval of the UN and world nations. The other, although critical at times, raised future possibilities and called for harmonization, muting any hint of censure. Need I go on?

Even if the press highlighted the Arab leader’s eccentricities and excesses, a close reading of the speech of Moammar Kaddafi of Libya is hard both to admire or to defend--whatever one thinks about the history of failures of the world body. What the Arab declared was not unreasonable. And much of what Kaddafi said was, in my opinion, true. Many heads of state present there may have wanted to utter what Kaddafi dared, but lacked the courage.

What Kaddafi did was offer the world press, especially western media, an opportunity to contrast this new, handsome, elegant and eloquent western leader with a rough, long-winded and long-serving Arab head of state. The better Obama ‘appeared’--and he is clearly a man of ‘appearance’-- which is not to say he is phony. (More and more  critics are viewing him as ‘a paper tiger’.)  Yet the American’s elegance only heightened the comparison. It made me, as an Arab, want to hide under the nearest table.

US and British media seemed to delight in highlighting the Arab’s style and they took advantage of the Libyan’s problems over his NY city accommodation to emphasize what appeared to be ‘silliness’.  Kaddafi provided the media with photo ops no journalist could pass up.

Even now, when Libya is enjoying normalization with the st1:place>US, and where mainly US businesses will benefit, it is at the cost of Arab dignity and leadership. Who is at fault? How can this change? I wonder: would the presumed successor to the Libyan leadership, Moammar’s son Saif, be a better match?

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