I don't want to see stores looted or buildings burned; but African- Americans have been living in burning buildings for years, choking on smoke as flames burn closer and closer.  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

That’s not a chip on my shoulder. That’s your foot on my neck.  – Malcolm X

"We must never, ever give up. We must be brave. We must be courageous." John Lewis, activist, congressman. 1940-2020 

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness. ~ Dalai Lama

"Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public."  Professor Cornel West.

"Only by learning to live in harmony with your contradictions can you keep it all afloat."  Audre Lorde

"The serious function of racism is distraction". 1995, Toni Morrison; Portland lecture, Playing in The Dark

“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

"Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another." author Toni Morrison (1931- 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" ~ 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 singe


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.


The Man Behind Wikileaks


by Barbara Nimri Aziz

He did not impress me initially, although from the first exposé, the video “Collateral Murder”, I was impressed by the organization’s work.Now with the tensions, threats, and internet war that have developed in the wake of the release of the U.S. diplomatic cables, the exceptional character of this young man is more and more evident.

First, I am completely convinced that these leaks were some government scheme to find a reason to control the internet. For those of us who use alternative news sources and our own intelligence to understand the malice and chicanery that Washington indulges in, much of the information in the cables is not new to us. But the Wikileaks program, especially the most recent release of hundreds of thousands of cables is an astonishing accomplishment that will become a historical watershed.  

Activists and enterprising, courageous journalists have been trying in their own way to inform and motivate the public and confront the excesses of American empire.  But none have succeeded like Wikileaks promises.  

Street protests and inquiries are just not enough. And today we have many angry and bright young people whose can combine their ‘hacking’ abilities with their sense of justice to bring new rules to the game of people and power. Whistle blowing has come of age. And thanks to Wikileaks, they have the outlet they need to disseminate the awful information we now find ourselves poring over. 

With the release of Assange from a British prison, he has become much sought after. On the one hand certain government s  want him. And on the other, the media have found him a person of real significance. Before his recent imprisonment, on more than one occasion, he abruptly ended interviews when the agenda changed and his host went beyond what was probably agreed beforehand. Walking out of an interview with a major network is a rarity in modern-day media.  That it itself tells us something about Assange. 

Also contrary to others who might be advised to stay away from media while under house arrest, Assange is making himself available to the media--some media. In the past few days he has given interviews with Al-Jazeera Arabic as well as the BBC and Al-Jazeera English. I had a chance to watch David Frost’s lengthy talk with Assange on his December 20th Al-Jazeera English program “Frost over the World”. It was a tour de force. Not by the veteran media personality Frost, but by the guest-- Julian Assange. This is a very bright and courageous man who knows exactly what he is doing and what his organization is capable of.  

On David Frost’s side, he like many celebrity journalists, has become rather conventional. He has lost his investigative bite. So that most of his conversations today are polite chats, lacking both challenges and revelations. This interview was  different and the camera focused on host Frost often enough to allow us to witness the awe which his guest’s replies inspired in him. This was a real interview, not a polite chat or a spar. It was apparent that Frost was captivated by the careful, articulate statements of Assange. That itself speaks much. 

By now most of you will have listened to Assange yourself. There are no evasions, no platitudes, no arrogance. He is brilliant in representing his organization, his aim and his legal problems. Normally lawyers might advise a client who is under police investigation not to speak to media.  But I would guess Assange’s legal team understand his special ability to address issues head on and to avoid entrapments or baiting.  

Having also heard Assange answer questions from Al-Jazeera Arabic TV host in another lengthy interview last week, I have even great admiration for his courage and lucidity. Many questions from Al-Jazeera were directed to forthcoming information from US-Israel diplomatic cables. This is perhaps the most sensitive of all US relations, and Assange prepared us that there would be some ‘controversies’ aroused by them. Simply to announce that cables directly related to Israel are forthcoming is in itself an act of immense courage. Stay tuned.  

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