Yearning for learning…not

No amount of administrative, legislative, changes that are going to be made to the schools in Washington soon, will mean anything at all to the performance of Blacks in any kind of American learning institutions…with the exception of the University of Hard Knocks—unless the students involved arrive at school ready, eager to, and prepared to learn. A yearning for learning, so to speak.

So the Mayor appoints a new Schools Chancellor. The President appoints a new War Czar. Big deal. Neither will have much affect in the schools, in the streets of Baghdad.

There is too much attention focused on the top-level leadership of the schools, and not enough attention paid to creating an environment, a culture, where learning is a virtue. Oh sure, some individual “stars” will be born, sooner or later, but we are hard pressed to have a really lasting affect on Black peoples’s schools without doing a cultural 180.

Pianist composer Sun Ra said it, and I’ll repeat it and repeat it. “We’re on the right road. We’re just headed in the wrong direction.”

Black people should want to become, once again, the prosperous, united, intelligent, peaceful people we once were, who gave civilization to the world. If that was the case, our schools would be academies, everywhere. Continue reading

Western Sunrise

Sunday 

Journalist Askia Muhammad to premiere photo exhibit during Islamic Festival Weekend 

            Philadelphia  The New Africa Center/Muslim American Museum & Archive located at 4243 Lancaster Ave. hosted the Philadelphia début of the photography of acclaimed journalist Askia Muhammad.  As a part the 2007 Islamic Heritage Festival & Parade the exhibit opened June 9 2007 at 3:00pm during the Archive’s open house. The exhibit is entitled “Western Sunrise, The Nation of Islam in the West.” 

           Photojournalist Askia Muhammad is also a poet, and a radio and television commentator. He is News Director at Pacifica Radio’s WPFW-FM in Washington and host of “Tuesday Morning Jazz” since 1979 on WPFW; Senior Correspondent for The Final Call; he writes a weekly column in The Washington Informer; he has been an occasional commentator on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered;” and BET.com. He is Editor of National Scene News Bureau, a freelance news agency serving broadcasting, editorial and photographic clients.

            “Askia Muhammad is a personal friend and a superb political analyst,” wrote Congressman John Conyers (D-MI). “He knows both the players and the issues.” Continue reading

Darfur and the Sudan hustle

I confess that at first I was a little embarrassed that I did not join the pack with my own full-throated condemnation of Sudan over Darfur.

So now, here comes President George W. (For “worst in history”) Bush, slapping more sanctions on Sudan, and the chorus screaming “genocide” got louder still. Uh-oh.

Recently I talked to several Black folks who visited Sudan, including Darfur this Spring. More than one of them defended Sudan citing Paul Joseph Goebbels, the German Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda during the Nazi regime, and his “Big Lie Technique.”

To wit: “never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.” They said someone is practicing “The Big Lie” against Sudan.

Hmmm, I thought. Continue reading

Libby to Bush: Pardon Thyself!

Now that President George W. (for “Worst in history”) Bush’s former Special Assistant, and the Chief of Staff for Vice President Dick Cheney—I. Lewis Libby—has been sentenced to jail time for lying during the investigation of the administration’s smear campaign of a critic of Bush’s immoral war of aggression in Iraq, the President must now be hearing the footsteps of the Ghost of Justice and Constitutional rule-of-law, coming up fast behind him.

Beginning with his “selection” by a one-vote margin on the Supreme Court, and not an “election” by the American electorate (which gave more votes to his opponent in 2000), the President has used his awesome powers to systematically murder the rule of law and all semblances of American Justice, in ways we know, and in many ways I’m sure, we don’t know. Continue reading

Permanent Iraq occupation: I told you so

Headline: “Gates: U.S. may be in Iraq for decades.”

I take no joy in saying I told you so. But, I told you so. Several times.

(And two days after-the-fact, The Washington Post agrees in its lead editorial on June 3, 2007. I told you, I told you so.)

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in Hawaii May 31, that South Korea or Japan could be the model for the future in Iraq.

Gates told reporters that “a mutual agreement” with Iraq in which “some force of Americans . . . is present for a protracted period of time, but in ways that are protective of the sovereignty of the host government,” is what the future holds.

Mutual agreement, protective of the sovereignty of the host government, my eye! Protective of American corporations is more like it. Continue reading

Ending the war by definition

Speaker & crew defend surrender May 24I’m going to go out on a limb here and make a startling prediction: Combat operations (as we know them) will end in Iraq in 2008!

Bold, isn’t it?

But I can tell that you’re probably not convinced that I know something that all the 170,000-some-odd U.S. military personnel; all the brass hats and the suits at the Pentagon; and all the chicken-hawks at the White House (who ducked out of their own military service when they were of age) don’t know about what’s going on in Iraq. I don’t. But, the word is that the President has already started floating trial baloons, such as a transition to “a different configuration” in Iraq after the surge is completed this summer.

I just know that whatever happens on the ground, they are going to “say” something different about what’s going to be going on in Iraq for the foreseeable future. They are going to “say” that combat operations are going to end, and that as many as 50,000 troops will come home. Start planning the parades. Continue reading

Sudan and the “genocide pimps”

African or Arab Sudanese youth? 

I just can’t get a handle on what’s really going on in Sudan.

My base instinct is to dismiss all of the full page ads and high profile media criticism of whatever the atrocities there , as theater intended to upend an Islamic government…an Islamic government that just happens to be in the largest, and one of the most mineral rich countries on the African continent. An Islamic government that has ports on the Red Sea, the head waters of the Nile River, rich agricultural potential, and which borders on nine–count them–nine other African nations. Sudan has the potential of being a bridge between Islamic (Arab) North Africa and Bantu (Black) Sub-Saharan Africa. In my book, that makes Sudan, an “enemy” of Judeo-Christian Imperialism, by simple definition.

And did I say that Sudan has vast un-developed oil resources, not to mention that Sudan supplies the U.S. 80 percent of its gum arabic, an essential product in soft drinks like Coke, Pepsi and 7-Up? But the subject of gum arabic and Coke has become a big headline joke. Sanctions against Sudan will cause Americans to lose weight and be healthier because there will be fewer soft drinks available. Hardy, har, har, har. That kind of smugness is just par for the course for White folks. Continue reading

Mumia Abu Jamal’s Last Stand?

Mumia Abu JamalPress your hand on the glass partition. The proud, Dread locked Black man on the other side lifts his shackled hands and touches the glass.

Shake hands with Mumia Abu Jamal at S.C.I. Huntingdon, in the hills of southern Pennsylvania. That’s how he received visitors when I met him there in the early ‘90s–through inch-thick glass, via a telephone. He would read several commentaries for radio broadcast. We would record with a crude microphone arrangement we had to improvise. The prison authorities did not want to accommodate him in any way. They did not want him publicizing his cause to supporters all around the world. They feel he’s a cop killer. Continue reading

Malcolm X, House Negroes, Field Negroes & Terrorists

There is hardly one credible list of the Top 10 Black Leaders who’ve emerged in the 400 year history of the United States which does not include either Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali or both. Sadly, the name of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, the mentor of both men, is usually missing from those same lists.

Most white people in America, find it hard to understand why Blacks still honor Brother Malcolm now, more than ever before even though in 1999 a U.S. postage stamp was issued in his honor. His family’s “slave name” was “Little,” but in Harlem’s after-hours street life, he was anointed “Detroit Red,” for his complexion, his reddish brown conked hair, his hometown.

In prison he was “resurrected from the dead,” as Brother Malcolm when he accepted the religion of Islam as taught by Mr. Muhammad. He earned the “X” in his name after passing a rigorous examination of Mr. Muhammad’s “Lessons.” he had to recite–with 100 percent accuracy–a list of 23 “Actual Facts” concerning the planet Earth, its astronomy, physics and geography, as well as a list of 10 questions and their answers called “Student Enrollment.”

The “X” symbolized the Blackman’s lost Muslim name and the mathematical term for the “unknown quantity.” It also symbolized rejection of the American culture. He was an “ex” American so-called Negro. Continue reading

At the intersection of race and class

Pyramids, Sudan

When I was attending San Jose State College with schoolmates Tommy Smith and John Carlos, Dr. Harry Edwards was an instructor, and the director of some type of “poverty program,” an “equal opportunity program.” He once told me when I asked for a job in his agency, that I was not qualified because I was “latent bourgeoisie.” I only recently figured out what he meant by that. Continue reading