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.


What 'Tahrir' Really Means.


by Barbara Nimri Aziz

I wonder if Americans can grasp the feeling, focused in Egypt but reverberating around the word, of imminent victory and a new dawn.  

Many Americans can remember their own emotions when they elected Barak Obama as their president not long ago. Remember the tears of pride, the reality that your time has come, that ordinary people can really have power.  This is what Egyptians are experiencing today.

Whatever the outcome, and whatever the difficulties the new era may hold, there is immense pride at what has already been achieved in Egypt. This is shared by all Arab peoples. A new dignity unknown by most of our populations has arrived. Look at the children in the streets of Egypt!  Their parents want them to relish this moment, a moment they dreamed for so so long.  

Think back again to American citizens, especially African Americans, at the arrival of Barak Obama in the White House. What a sense of dignity that fostered! There is nothing like it. It cannot be underestimated. And it arrives, in the case of Egypt and in African American history, after an era of repression and lost dignity. 

Yes, there are many unknowns for Egypt’s people as it moves out of its dictatorship. But they are willing to take the risk. That in itself is telling of their past indignities and silence. 

American and British media warn of the emergence of a ‘threatening’ Muslim power taking the helm in Egypt and engulfing the world. They invoke the specter of Iran in 1979, as if that revolution had no benefits. Such fears are clearly stoked by Zionist interests, since to be sure, Israeli’s security and interest are most at risk. Why would it not be so? Yet, is not Egyptian interest important too, an interest which has been subsumed to Israel’s for decades? Egyptians are taking back their nation. 

Not to forget American interests. Both Tunisia’s revolution and now Egypt’s are at one level, indisputably anti-American statements. Powerful and costly statements. Their citizens know that the indignities they suffered, the poverty caused by neo-liberalism, their thwarted democratic goals, and the submission to Zionist interests, is founded on American policy in the region.  

It is rare to see Israelis on the run; this sight will gratify many around the world. But Washington cannot run. Let us see how the American administration is able to change, to learn a lesson from Egypt’s people. We also wait to see the future role to be played by the numerous educated and successful Egyptians working in the US. 

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Tahrir Diwan

a poem.. a song..
poem "Claims", by Lisa S. Majaj
from the chapbook "These Words" by Lisa S. Majaj

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poem Qur'an Surat Al-Qadr
from 'Approaching The Qur'an' CD, male reciter

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