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.


Libya-- A new 'demon' to demonize


by Barbara Nimri Aziz

If you lived through the telecasts of arguments and battles in 1991 in Iraq, in Afghanistan in 2001, and then in 2003, the attacks and invasion of Iraq, you can recognize the process. Enthusiastically and ably assisted by the media and our intellectuals, the ‘just’ leaders of our democratic Western nations prepare for war.

The process of justifying their aggression is subtle at first. Then, when the opportunity arrives, it swings into action oh so gallantly.  

First we have an internal political crisis—in this case the call by Libyans inspired by the successes in Tunisia and Egypt to challenge their leadership. Some brave opponents are struck down and this in turn leads to more demonstrations. The threatened leader is defiant; he and his sons retaliate, at first with words. The protests continue but the leader vows to die fighting. With threats of serious fighting, hundreds of thousands of Libya’s immigrant laborers rush to the exits. A humanitarian crisis is at hand, we are told. Agencies rush to the borders to help.

The besieged leader sends his troops against demonstrators—this earn him the label: a man who ‘kills his own people’.

The UN goes into action; the Arab League calls a summit and suspends its recalcitrant member. More UN meetings. Sanctions are discussed, and some countries impose sanctions unilaterally. One partner, Italy, suspends its trade and non-aggression agreement with the rogue state. The US leadership boldly calls for regime change. Fears of the madman’s deadly arsenal circulate. (Forget about who sold his guns to him.) Individual nations freeze bank assets of their new enemy. More UN meetings; accusations of genocide spread. Human Rights organizations move into full gear. The international criminal court meets and announces it will launch an investigation of ‘war crimes’. US and allied battleships move towards the besieged country. The Arab leader appears on TV; his hours of talk offer editors around the world abundant clips--quotes to indicate he is a fool, totally unstable (and thereby cannot be trusted to behave rationally, or to engaged in dialogue). Demonization of the leader steps up. It looks like he is out of control—he must go. Any foreigner with prior experience in Libya is called on to give first hand evidence to the media about the eccentricities of the leader. Libyans in exile offer testimonials on the oppression they lived under. Documentaries are swiftly compiled to educate the world: look! we not only have a madman but also a criminal on our hands. Foreign military officers assure media that war ships are standing by, that they are ‘prepared for any option’. At the very least those warships may be available for ‘humanitarian assistance’. 

Who dares to defend the demon, a ‘new Hitler’? No one steps forward to talk about the funds he provided for their project, for their revolution, for their educational scheme. 

I found only one honest review of the ‘good’ West’s relationship with Colonel Gaddafi. Appearing online is “Petroleum and Empire in North Africa: Muamar  Gaddafi Accused of Genocide? NATO Invasion Underway”. Author Keith Harmon Snow has done his homework. Snow is a smart, well informed guy who knows a bit of recent history. Read it: (  

Oil is not the only motive. Petrol interests are a major factor behind the West’s new position on Mr. Gaddafi. There are also geo-military issues. Remember that the USA has for years coveted the center of Africa for its AFRICOM base. No country has been willing to ‘host’ Africom, but here, alas is an opportunity. A few hundred square miles in South central Libya would do perfectly, thank you. With Libya ‘secured’, that base can be in place by the end of the year. What a windfall! 

What I find most chilling is the process by which almost the entire globe, informed and disinterested people alike, now seems to be behind a US-led campaign to oust the man Washington helped bring to power 42 years ago and embraced in recent years.  

The same mechanisms working today against Gaddafi are the same ones that proved so rewarding in Iraq and Afghanistan.  

And the public buys it, hook line and sinker. The same intelligent public that belatedly told Bush and Blair “you lied to us” is now firmly on board for another invasion and another round of criminal acts by the leaders of ‘the free world’. 

Take a look through media and UN archives of the 1991, 2001, and 2003 US-UK led wars and judge for yourselves. 

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