The Colonel Qaddafi I Know

I first met Col. Muammar Qaddafi, the leader of Libya in 1978. I was a member of a delegation of 100 or so, which was led by former U.S. Senator William Fulbright. We were a people-to-people “friendship”

Libya was on a downward diplomatic spiral at that time because of Col. Qaddafi’s leadership in what was called the “steadfastness and rejection front.” This bloc–which included Syria, the Palestine Liberation Organization, as well as Libya–was so named because of its steadfastness against, and rejection of Israeli usurpation and occupation of Palestinian land.

The U.S. was ramping up its pressure against Libya, and despite the friendship which Col. Qaddafi showed to Billy Carter, the younger brother of then President Jimmy Carter, soon diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Libya, and Col. Qaddafi and his countrymen were labeled “terrorists.”

I wrote articles which appeared in major corporate-owned newspapers defending what was then called “The Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,” or “people’s land.” While I could defend what I thought was a peaceful people, it became increasingly difficult to argue with Col. Qaddafi’s world image. He was frequently referred to as “mercurial” and that was the best of what was said of him in those days.

Col. Qaddafi helped fuel the rumors. He wrote a book of sayings. It was called “The Green Book.” Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Tse Tung had written “The Red Book,” and it became an essential item in the ideological toolkit of many (if not most) campus revolutionaries in the 1960s. Continue reading

To the Streets of Cairo by way of Watts

Sunset: The Great Pyramid at Giza

As I watched the mayhem of the “Jasmine Revolution” televised from the Streets of Cairo last week, I couldn’t help but think back on the similar revolution in which I was a participant, on the streets of Watts, California.

We did not have Facebook, or Twitter to help us organize mass participation in our uprising. There was no Internet at all, and we certainly did not have cell phones. In fact the only computers in existence at that time were the size of a rail car, and we didn’t even have fax machines.

We did have the “Magnificent Montague,” a Soul Radio deejay, who gave us our anthem–”Burn Baby Burn”–but he did not cause our discontent. No. Weeks before the uprising, Montague invited his listeners to call in every morning, identify themselves and their neighborhood, and then tell the world how they just wanted to “Burn Baby Burn,” as in “burn” meaning to offer the most soulful expression ever heard on the radio.

No, our discontent had been seared into our souls by the brutality of the Los Angeles Police Department under the command of Police Chief William Parker. We were leaderless, but united in the cause in opposition to police brutality. Continue reading

Cynthia McKinney’s no martyr

Cynthia McKinney back in Washington, July 8, 2009

Former six-term Congress member Cynthia McKinney is no martyr. Although the political establishment gives her “no respect,” she is no Rodney Dangerfield. Her plight is identical to that of millions of people around the world.

Snakebit, is an accurate way of describing the scorn in which she is held throughout the corporate-owned media.

For an entire week she languished in an Israeli jail, with only e-mail notices reporting on her whereabouts and her well being. No helicopter gun-ships were sent off the offending country’s coast. No warships. Not even any threatening diplomatic language.

On June 28 out on the open seas, a boat on which she was a passenger was hijacked by Israeli Defense Forces and the 21 persons on board–including Ms. McKinney and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Maguire were arrested. The boat was carrying humanitarian supplies to the Gaza Strip and it was captured on the open seas!

“This is Cynthia McKinney and I’m speaking from an Israeli prison cellblock in Ramle. [I am one of] the Free Gaza 21, human rights activists currently imprisoned for trying to take medical supplies to Gaza, building supplies – and even crayons for children, I had a suitcase full of crayons for children,” Ms. McKinney said in a statement released by the Green Party July 4. Continue reading

Deeply Dismayed about Durban II

Back in 2001 I had one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life when I traveled to Kwa-Zululand in Azania–South Africa. There, on the Indian Ocean is Durban, and there, for two weeks, people of the world gathered to successfully address one of the world’s most vexing problems. It was the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance.

Thanks to heroic efforts by the African Diaspora Group of diplomats and committed Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO), the conference reached a monumental consensus, declaring (among other important decisions) the European Trans-Atlantic slave trade a “crime against humanity.” Together, the nations of the world reached that consensus.

There’s just one caveat however: by the time the final document was approved, after an all-night negotiating session on the final day of the meeting, the United States had already pulled out of the conference, declaring that the objective of ending racism, discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance was not helped by the meeting’s insistence on concentrating on “the past,” rather than looking toward the future.

Prominently, and by their own insistence, world attention was focused on otherwise unheard of suffering people. The discrimination faced by tens of millions of India’s Dalit people–otherwise known as the “untouchables;” the suffering a centuries of persecution of Europe’s Roma people–otherwise known as the “Gypsies”–are classic examples of previously little-known problems which were brought to light in Durban.

In 2001, I thought the United States missed a golden opportunity to lead the world by example. Continue reading

Somalia: The ‘Real Pirates’ go unpunished

Many times I have walked the beaches of Tripoli in Libya, but I was never once shown the graves of U.S. sailors from the U.S.S. Philadelphia, or graves of the American Marines who marched there across the desert under the command of Gen. William Eaton in 1805. They are memorialized in the Marine Hymn: “…to the shores of Tripoli.”

Marines also earned their nickname–”Leathernecks”–during those Tripolitan battles which ended the tyranny of the dreaded Barbary Pirates, because they wore uniforms which had leather high collars to protect them from sword wounds.

I never imagined when I traveled to Tripoli–first in a 1978 delegation led by former U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright, with Presidential brother Billy Carter in the country at the same time; or later after 12-hour boat rides from Malta; or after eight-hour motor caravans from Tunisia with Min. Louis Farrakhan during the era of sanctions–I never imagined that the heroism of those Marines would ever again be a practical example for modern American leaders.

But, lo and behold, the 21st Century world of naval shipping is again bedeviled by and at the mercy of pirates off the coast of Africa. Continue reading

Where the war criminals roam

Oh give me a home,

Where war criminals roam,

And international bankers get paid.

Where seldom is heard,

A soul-searching word,

And the headlines say it’s all okay…

Be careful what you wish for, because it just might come true.

Shortly after the 9-11 attacks, Pres. George W. (for “Worst in history”) Bush wished for payback for Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein because, “he tried to kill my father.”

Ever since then, better than one million Iraqis and tens of thousands of Americans have been footing that bill. That’s just the cost in terms of the dead and injured in the immoral and illegal adventure in Iraq. The sixth anniversary of that debacle is this week.

I say immoral because, since the dawn of civilization, human beings have only considered war “justified” when it is in self defense, in retaliation for an attack, never for pre-emptive reasons, such as those given for the “shock and awe” terror which was unleashed on Iraq, a country which was no threat to the U.S. or even its neighbors because of more than a decade of crippling sanctions dictated by this country.

That is immoral. That is un-Christian. That is uncivilized. Continue reading

What if Obama’s grandfather was Palestinian?

Could President-elect Barack Hussein Obama’s “historical memory”–inherited from his paternal grandfather Hussein Onyango Obama–of the brutal British suppression of the Kenyan independence movement in the 1950s affect the “special relationship” between the United States and long time ally, the United Kingdom?

But what if his grandfather had been Palestinian?

After reporting on the barbaric torture inflicted on Hussein Onyango Obama in a Dec. 3, 2008 article published online by The Times of London, writer Ben Macintyre says that the first African American President-elect’s views towards the United Kingdom just might be different from those of the previous 43 White U.S. presidents.

“Barack Obama’s grandfather was imprisoned and brutally tortured by the British during the violent struggle for Kenyan independence,” Mr. Macintyre and co-author Paul Orengoh reported. “He was arrested in 1949 and jailed for two years in a high-security prison where, according to his family, he was subjected to horrific violence to extract information about the growing insurgency.

“The African warders were instructed by the White soldiers to whip him every morning and evening till he confessed,” said Sarah Onyango, Hussein Onyango’s third wife, the woman the President-elect refers to as Granny Sarah,” the article states.

Hussein Onyango Obama served with the British Army in Burma during World War II, yet four years after the war his employer, a British Army officer for whom he served as a cook, rewarded his loyal valet by firing him, then denouncing him to the authorities on suspicion of “consorting with troublemakers.” Continue reading

Bush’s Africa ‘Glass’ Half-full

Dr. Jendayi Frazer

If you ask me, Pres. George W. Bush’s middle initial stands for “Worst-President-in-history.”

But even a broken clock which has stopped running will show the correct time twice every day.

And so, maybe, perhaps, possibly, it might be conceivable, and I might consider it within the remote realm of credulity that there is one area on the 24,896 square miles on the face of the Earth where this president’s policies did not produce a dung-heap. Lucky for him and for us it’s a big place. So looking at a world map, a “C-grade” in Africa, helps average out the numerous “Fs” and “D-minuses” he’s earned everywhere else, including the United States.

Dr. Jendayi Frazer, the outgoing Deputy U.S. Secretary of State for Africa says that when it comes to the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief in Africa he’s done a good job. If you ask me again, I’ll concede: Pres. Bush’s Africa “glass” is half-full, rather than half-empty.

“The story is very positive and perhaps as positive as the ‘60s,” Ambassador Frazer told members of The Trotter Group of African American columnists and commentators at the State Department Nov. 12. “I think that the ‘60s were a very promising and positive time on the continent in general in terms of the dynamics of the continent and certainly this is a period that is even more so.” Continue reading

‘Winter Soldiers’ denounce the war they fought

Vice President Dick Cheney and Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), marked March 19, the fifth anniversary of the illegal and immoral U.S. invasion of Iraq by visiting there, where they proclaimed its success.

Meanwhile, thousands of anti-war protestors marked the occasion in Washington with a full week of acts of civil disobedience and teach-ins.

Led by active-duty personnel and veterans the mostly all-White bands of war protestors raised their voices against the senseless mayhem in Iraq and Afghanistan that is the Bush administration policy. They were joined by members of Code Pink, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans For Peace, and the Stop Loss Congress on Capitol Hill a week before the anniversary.

Chanting “We are the Revolution,” 45 protestors were arrested at First St. and Independence Ave. on the House of Representatives’ side of the Capitol, and at the garage entrance to the Hart Bldg. on the Senate side.

“We’re saying to Congress, basically: ‘You guys have ridden a Peace Horse up to Capitol Hill. You haven’t made good on your promises. You haven’t done the job we elected you to do,’ which was de-fund the war and bring the troops home,” Jamillah El-Shafei, of the Stop Loss Congress said in an interview.

“We want them home now, not in 10 years. We’re (also) doing some blockading to confront Congress with civil resistance. Even if it’s for 45 minutes, in an effort to make the point: they have to listen to what the people say. Which is: bring our troops home and stop this policy of the back-door draft,” she continued. Continue reading

If White People Only Knew

If White People Only Knew

What Black People really pray for

Every Sunday in church,

White People would pray every night

For the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright.

He brings that Old Time Religion.

An eye for an eye.

Chickens come home to roost.

If White People Only Knew what Iraqis really pray for

Every Friday at the mosque,

White People would pray,

Every day

For Bani Sadr.

Is he Ayatollah?

If White People Only Knew

What Black People really pray for

Every Sunday in church,

Modern Pharaoh, get drownded.

Modern Babylon System, falling. Falling. Continue reading