Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Male/ Female pt. 1

The Ancient Egyptians believed in the balance of male and female energy.
Both male and female were different aspects in the expression of the divine. Separate only in illusion, but one at the source; part of each other and the whole.
The male dieties in the pantheon of Ancient Egypt (Kemet) were represented with female counterparts. For example there was Nu and Naunet, Amun and Amunet, Asar and Aset, thus representing the idea that specific feminine qualities were brought about to balance and compliment the specific masculine qualities in the natural environment.
The Goddess was an intregal part of the Neterian tradition and as in other African religions, the Godesses were
regarded as Supreme Beings in their own right. They were as respected
and elevated as the male divinities.
Often the Goddess Aset (Isis) is seen standing in her “position of power” which is “behind” her brother-husband Asar (Osiris). The female neter (emanation of divinity) stands behind the male neter as a symbol of “structural integrity” or a “strengthened spine” and it is the origin of the adage, “behind every strong man is a strong woman.”

These aspects can never be seen as equal as we now understand the term, rather they were both essential. When reality is seen as a connected whole there can be no one force "better"
than the other, as they are all emanations of the divine. Equality in it's present sense infers sameness; this discounts the unique aspects of each manifestation. No one would say the earth is better than the sky, or that air is better than water.Likewise, no one could with any accuracy say they are equal.
If we pulled away from our planet and viewed it from space - air, water, fire, earth, living organisms, etc., would all be seen as one (planet). The hardened distinctions we make between different phenomena are all based on our own viewpoints and understanding, or lack thereof.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

No More African Studies

"Where you going to get a better job than you get here?" I mean, this is what you say. 'I ain’t left nothing in Africa,' that’s what you say. Why, you left your mind in Africa." ~ Malcolm

Howard University: Staying Competitive or Becoming Uniform?
December 15, 2010 08:30 AM
by R. Asmerom

Howard University is in a critical phase right now. While many continue to question the need of HBCUs in this day and age, the University is going through an academic renewal, by which it is seeking to cut down on departments in order to strengthen other academic offerings. According to the Washington Post, the university is considering cutting its undergraduate programs in philosophy, anthropology, the classics and even African studies.

Although Howard’s intentions are in line with making the school more efficient financially and more focused academically, cuts to certain programs like undergraduate African studies raises questions as to how these changes will impact the identity and legacy of a college which defines itself as being in service to Black studies and Black students.

“Howard University has to demonstrate more than a symbolic commitment,” said Dr. Anthony Samad, professor of political science and African American studies at East Los Angeles College. “Getting rid of African studies is troubling from the perspective that colleges with large African American populations cannot be ignorant about Africa and claim they advance a total and complete global perspective. That’s a perpetuation of what has occurred in America’s study of Africa and the stereotypes that have come out of an uneducated perspective. It’s like Harvard or Yale discontinuing the study of Europe. It just wouldn’t happen.”

At the same time Samad says that he appreciates the efforts of the school to do whatever it takes to heighten its productivity. “Howard is not a Black University. “It must keep current on global curricula that make its graduates competitive in the global space.”

Howard, which is one of the top schools amongst the 105 HBCUs, is competing against not just other Black schools but the top schools in the country to recruit the top Black students. Although Howard is “the leading producer of on-campus African American doctorates and the nation’s only historically black institution identified as a first-tier “Research I” university,” competition is stiff and administration believes that cutting down on its 171 programs will free up more resources to focus on its professional programs like that in medicine, law, dentistry and nursing as well as social work, psychology, business and pharmacology.

“You can’t do everything at once,” said Howard’s President Sidney Ribeau to the Washington Post. One of the 20 undergraduate programs on the chopping block is philosophy. Howard’s philosophy department is significant in that it represents the only philosophy department at a historically black college and a major source of Africana philosophy. A Save Howard Philosophy petition has attracted more than a thousand signatures according to the Post.

Students, past and present, have expectantly mixed reaction to the school’s evolution. “Change is not necessarily a bad thing,” said Queshia Bradley, a 2006 graduate of Howard. “As I understand it, the undergraduate programs that are being cut have a very low student enrollment. So why not reign in resources by cutting down the 171 programs Howard offers?” It will be interesting to see how matriculation will be affected by the changes, especially amongst those who value a liberal arts focus. “The other side of the coin is that [Howard may be] robbing these students of an experience just because their focus isn’t valued,” said Bradley. “Which raises the bigger question not just on how Howard is devaluing these programs, but how educational institutions generally support more tangible programs [like engineering and business].

Spelman alumnus and cofounder of the HBCU site AUCAlumni.com, Tiffani Murray, believes that Howards’ remodeling is strictly a business decision and one that will help the institution remain strong and relevant for many years to come. “I think that the school could continue to operate and fund departments and professors that have a low enrollment, but at what cost?,” she asked. “We can look at some of the HBCUs that have closed their doors in the past decade and think that if some choices had been made differently or strategies employed they could still have students attending them. I think if it is a choice of making changes that will keep HBCUs in operation and competitive with mainstream schools that are attracting the same top students or keeping programs and the risk of the schools going into debt, the choice is clear.”

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Day The Music Died

Our poor younger generation...

Lamentations 5:14

"The elders have ceased from the gate, the young men from their musick.
The joy of our heart is ceased; our dance is turned into mourning."


YouTube Comments under songs released during the Golden age of Hip Hop:

"Man As a 15 year old, I LOVE BACK IN DA DAY MUSIC cause WTF is up with Radio 2day?"


"Where has the real music gone? Don't hear music like this anymore."

"im 15. i hate lil wayne . i hate mainstream music."

"You don't know what I'd do to be born in the 70's. You real lucky."

"Man i miss the 90s. Man, what happen to music?"

"This IS REAL Hip-Hop. We Ain't got real Hip-Hop currently."

"Rap didn't only have a point back then, it made a strong lyrical statement that people had to read between the lines to know what it was. Now i'm hearing songs such as Swag by soulja boy that make absolutely no sense, he doesn't even say anything."

"I actually was born in 1994 but I LOVE this kind of music! All of this modern SHIT is just NOTHING compared to this!"

"Hip hop is not dead, it lives in the North!!!"

"take note, the difference between this music and the rap of today is the feeling. Just llisten to this song ,it evokes a kind of feeling that makes you think and ponder.

Not just dance and shake your ass to this but groove, nod your head to this."

"back when rappers went to college."

"1990 and still has more rhythm than the shit being released today."

"this is when music was jammin!! oh i wish i could go back to the old days!"

"Im only 18 and I listen to nuthin but the real stuff. My siblings are all in their late 20's and early 30's...I was exposed to this alot. I hate the non sense they put out today...My generation just cant appreciate anything but garbage."

"i miss these days. Kids now have NO IDEA what real hip hop is and never will. All that garbage that come sout now is so disposable, stuff like this is forever."

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


John Henrik Clarke to Mary Lefkowitz in the Black Athena Debate, March, 1996:

“I think you have emphasized too much the word Black. We’ve made the same mistake. Black tells you how you look but it don’t tell you who you are. The proper name of people must always relate to land, history and culture.”

Inner Civilization* on the use of the word "black":

"The truth is, race or color should be important to us only when we need it to be. Our blackness should not be the most important characteristic we use to identify ourselves. It may serve as an initial element in our identification, but this is not the criteria we should use to strengthen ourselves as a people. We should consider ourselves "black" in comparison to "whites” and that is all. Think: whites only refer to themselves as whites in the context of black-white relations. The remainder of the time they are simply "normal" human beings conducting their affairs within the legacy of the universal human condition experienced by all humankind.
The focus on race, as we can see by our behavior today, does not necessarily strengthen our ties and obligations to each other as African Americans or as human beings. Kinship, tradition, a deep sense of community, culture, heritage, faith and determination---these are the elements that strengthen communities and give them texture.
Our skin color is important in the sense that it serves as a threshold on the path towards better understanding what our heritage is, where our homelands were, what our traditions and cultures are, and how our social ties and kinship should be structured. Quite unlike skin color, our culture and ties of kinship are aspects of our lives we have a choice in shaping; they are aspects that we can always improve upon. The way we choose to strengthen our culture, our spirits, and our family structure is up to our own determination and our own efforts. These are the elements of our existence that were lost upon our arrival in America. These are the essential factors of life that have concerned all people across the globe and throughout the ages. Dealing with these issues is what makes us human; it is what makes us know that we are really alive. Unfortunately these are the aspects of our life in America we have neglected the most. In other words we are humans being first and as healthy human beings it is critical that we maintain a significant connection with a common heritage, culture and structure of values."

*From the chapter Developing Black Thought.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


"Our purpose is what fuels the soul’s natural inclination toward certain activities which bring us a sense of deep fulfillment, satisfaction and peace. Our purpose is stored in our soul. 
It is triggered by hardships, directed by love and is rooted in a desire to selflessly contribute to some form of evolution.

Because the purpose is a covenant between the soul and her Creator, it’s wiser to work at fulfilling it regardless of worldly standards. Human beings are encouraged to lose themselves in calculations and futile gain whereas their soul has a particular, urgent work to do before she returns to her Majesty."


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

This I Believe

"This I Believe" is an international project engaging people in writing and sharing essays describing the core values that guide their daily lives. I would like to add one more entry for the record.

- I believe in the single bullet theory.

- I believe a lone assasin killed JFK.

- I believe a long, bloody perpetual war on terrorism will make the world a more safe, secure place.

- I believe in Darwin's theory of Evolution despite the lack of scientific evidence for it.

- I believe James Earl Ray acted alone in killing MLK.

- I believe terrorists exist because they hate freedom.

- I believe the world is a much safer place with Saddam Hussein gone.

- I believe the slaves in the south were generally - happy.

- I believe in Manifest Destiny.

- I believe Lincoln freed the slaves.

- I believe Jesus Christ was killed then miraculously came back to life three days later.

- I believe any other culture that holds an equally outrageous story believes in myth and magic.
- I believe Elvis is dead (I think).

- I believe Sirhan Sirhan shot RFK point blank in the back of the head while standing
four feet in front of him- and of course that he too acted alone.

- I believe the perpetual war on drugs has made our streets much safer.

- I believe Christopher Columbus was a hero who discovered America in 1492.

- I believe all of those people who say he was not a hero because he was responsible for murdering and enslaving approximately 8 million Native Americans in the Caribbean are crazy, for putting us in jeapordy of not having Columbus day off.

- I believe I believe the U.S. Civil war was fought for States Rights.

- I believe Malcolm X was killed because he preached hate and violence.

- I believe we shall overcome... some day.

- I believe that the two atom bombs dropped on Japanese civilians saved lives.

- I believe heaven is a place up in the clouds.

- I believe the huge military budget expense taken from taxpayers is for "defense".

- I believe all the wars we fight in other people's countries are for our defense.

- I am pleased to believe we are now living in Post-racial America.

- I believe science can and will explain the origins of life and the universe ( if it hasn't already).

- I believe only around 150,000 Vietnamese were killed during the war.

- I believe Common supports cop killers and violence.

- I believe when the Europeans and the United States over the past century violently invaded and exploited Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Vietnam, Cambodia, Lebanon, the Congo, Panama, Haiti, Grenada, Australia, New Zealand, Laos, Algeria, Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt, Kenya, Namibia, Botswana, Hawaii and the Phillipines - it wasn't the same kind of violence. It was... good violence.

- I believe science and technology will one day make the world a wonderful uptopic place to live.

- I believe the market place is self-regulated by an invisible hand.

- I believe in trickle down economics.

- I believe I can fly.

- I believe I can touch the sky.

- I believe the Native Americans "had it coming".

- I believe modern Jews are God's chosen people and that God wanted them to establish a democratic military state backed by Western powers at the expense of the Palestinians.

- I believe that both World Trade Towers collapsed, free fall, from burning jet fuel.

- I believe World Trade Center building 7 collapsed for the same reason, although it wasn't hit by an aircraft loaded with jet fuel.

- I believe too much investigation beyond what you are told can make you sound ridiculous.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Niggers, Niggas, Negritude and Blackness

The concept of Négritude emerged as the expression of a revolt against the historical situation of French colonialism and racism.
Négritude is a literary and ideological movement, developed by francophone black intellectuals, writers, and politicians in France in the 1930s by a group that included the future Senegalese President Léopold Sédar Senghor, Martinican poet Aimé Césaire, and the Guianan Léon Damas. Damas in particular had a militant style of defending "black qualities".
The Harlem Renaissance, centred on Harlem in New York City in the 1920s and 1930s, had a significant influence on the Negritude movement. Towards the end of his life, Aimé Césaire has declared that the question he and his friend Léopold Sédar Senghor came to raise after they first met was: “Who am I? Who are we? What are we in this white world?”

The term négritude (which most closely means "blackness" in English) was first used in 1935 by Aimé Césaire, in the 3rd issue of L'Étudiant noir, a magazine which he had started in Paris with fellow students Léopold Senghor and Léon Damas. L'Étudiant noir also contains Césaire's first published work, "Negreries," which is notable not only for its disavowal of assimilation as a valid strategy for resistance but also for its reclamation of the word "nègre" as a positive term. "Nègre" previously had been almost exclusively used in a pejorative sense, much like the English word "nigger." Césaire deliberately and proudly incorporated this derogatory word into the name of his movement. The same sentiment we are currently seeing with the use of the term nigga and thug.

It appears that our current self affirmation of blackness as a feeling and sense of style comes out of this movement.

Senghor illustrates what he sees as the importance of rythm and its omnipresence in Black aesthetic products. In his first essay on Négritude, “What the Black Man Contributes”, he wrote:

This ordering force that constitutes Negro style is rhythm. It is the most sensible and the least material thing. It is the vital element par excellence. It is the primary condition for, and sign of, art, as respiration is of life – respiration that rushes or slows down, becomes regular or spasmodic, depending on the being's tension, the degree and quality of the emotion.
In the same 1939 essay in which he explored what he called the “rhythmic attitude” , Senghor wrote the statement which is probably the most controversial of all his formulations of the philosophy of Négritude: “Emotion is Negro, as reason is Hellenic” (“L'émotion est nègre, comme la raison héllène”). (Senghor 1964, 288).

The Negritude movement was initially influenced by Haitian anthropologist, Anténor Firmin. In 1885, he published an early work of négritude De l'Égalité des Races Humaines (English: On the Equality of Human Races), which was published as a rebuttal to French writer Count Arthur de Gobineau's work Essai sur l'inegalite des Races Humaines (English: Essay on the Inequality of Human Races). (Gobineau was the author of the unfounded myth of the Aryan race, see "Inner Civilization", p.5)

At this point we have to ask, what is the value of affirming the way we walk, move, look etc., as compared to focusing on re-building and redeveloping what was destroyed in our culture and in ourselves over the past 300 years. The former is obviously the easier road to take and it may be a necessary first step, but it is a small one.

The Nigerian dramatist, poet, and novelist Wole Soyinka opposed Négritude. He believed that by deliberately and outspokenly taking pride in their color, black people were automatically on the defensive. He delivered the quote: "Un tigre ne proclame pas sa tigritude, il saute sur sa proie" (Fr. A tiger doesn't proclaim its tigerness; it jumps on its prey).

Do we really want to only claim for ourselves a presence in the arena of dancing, movement, soul, style and rythm? Do we not reason? Are we not rational beings? Does it matter that we clap our hands for Jesus, God or the devil or does it only matter that we clap our hands a certain way?
Maybe the problem begins by reacting rather than establishing our own purpose and then re-inforcing the will and self determination to carry out that purpose.
We react to colonialism, name calling, racist books and try to find an identity there. After 70 years it is becomimg clear, that's simply not where our identity lies. Firmin mentioned equality, our leaders here in America push and push and push for equality ...
We are not living in a white world (despite what so many of them may feel)- the world belongs to the essence of life itself.

If one “race” has a long history of torture, exploitation , spewing hatred, degrading any people other than their own, and then lying about it all, would we want to claim equality with them? Should "equality" be our goal?

But let’s be honest, and here is the real problem - wouldn’t anyone want to be equal with the level of prosperity attained by the people who employed the tactics listed above?

But would the prosperity exist without the history of abuse? Can we ever realistically expect to comfortably enjoy the fruits of our own degradation?

How do you respond to racism?
As time goes on, a stronger and stronger argument is being made that, you simply -don't.
Find your divinely given purpose and principles and live them out - until you expire. What else is there?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Freedom Pt. 3

I wonder if this is the final part of a series designed to more precisely define the meaning of the word freedom concerning our people and to retire the meaningless, ambiguous use of the word.

It occurred to me that "freedom" is an abstract word and useless if not attached to a particular state, condition or object. Freedom makes sense if we are talking about freedom from a specific thing, i.e. the freedom from slavery, freedom from oppression, freedom from interference etc. But to say we want freedom - without a corresponding object, means nothing. Of course no mature adult can expect to be free of everything - that would include freedom from responsibility. We can wish for it, but we can't expect it.
To make this new viewpoint complete, we can say that we don't always require freedom from something we can include freedom to do something, i.e., freedom to run, freedom to think, freedom to love, etc. Maybe this will help clarify our outlook. Yes?
"Whoever is winning at the moment will always seem to be invincible."
~George Orwell

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Good Words

“The earth is our mother. She should not be disturbed by hoe or plough. We want only to subsist on what she freely gives us. Our fathers gave us many laws, which they had learned from their fathers. These laws were good. We were contented to let things remain as the Great Spirit Chief made them. They were not, and would change the rivers and mountains if they did not suit them.

Our fathers gave us many laws, which they had learned from their fathers. These laws were good. They told us to treat all people as they treated us; that we should never be the first to break a bargain; that is was a disgrace to tell a lie; that we should speak only the truth; that it was a shame for one man to take another his wife or his property without paying for it.

We were contented to let things remain as the Great Spirit made them.

I am not a child, I think for myself. No man can think for me.

The earth and myself are of one mind.

We were taught to believe that the Great Spirit sees and hears everything, and that he never forgets, that hereafter he will give every man a spirit home according to his deserts; If he has been a good man, he will have a good home; if he has been a bad man, he will have a bad home.

This I believe, and all my people believe the same.

Good words do not last long unless they amount to something. Words do not pay for my dead people. They do not pay for my country, now overrun by white men. They do not protect my father’s grave. They do not pay for all my horses and cattle.

Good words cannot give me back my children. Good words will not give my people good health and stop them from dying. Good words will not get my people a home where they can live in peace and take care of themselves.

I am tired of talk that comes to nothing It makes my heart sick when I remember all the good words and all the broken promises. There has been too much talking by men who had no right to talk.

It does not require many words to speak the truth.

We do not want churches because they will teach us to quarrel about God, as the Catholics and Protestants do. We do not want that. We may quarrel with men about things on earth, but we never quarrel about the Great Spirit.

The white man has more words to tell you how they look to him, but is does not require many words to seek the truth.

Too many misinterpretations have been made... too many misunderstandings...

If the white man wants to live in peace with the Indian...we can live in peace. There need be no trouble. Treat all men alike.... give them all the same law. Give them all an even chance to live and grow. You might as well expect the rivers to run backward as that any man who is born a free man should be contented when penned up and denied liberty to go where he pleases. We only ask an even chance to live as other men live. We ask to be recognized as men. Let me be a free man...free to travel... free to stop...free to work...free to choose my own teachers...free to follow the religion of my Fathers...free to think and talk and act for myself."

- Chief Joseph , Nez Pierce

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Who Burns Books?

Who Burns Books?

Pastor Terry Jones and The Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, are planning to burn several copies of the Quran on the 9th anniversary of the September 11th Attacks. We have to wonder where did this book burning practice come from? Who would try to burn books? What kind of company would the Dove World Church be joining?

If ultimate truth is seen as a concept that would include and explain everything, what’s left to burn?

Alexandria, Egpyt
The Royal Library of Alexandria, or Ancient Library of Alexandria, in Alexandria, Egypt, was the largest and most significant great library of the ancient world.
The first known library of its kind to gather a serious collection of books from beyond its country's borders, the Library at Alexandria was charged with collecting all the world's knowledge. The library of the Serapeum in Alexandria was trashed, burned and looted, 392, at the decree of Theophilus of Alexandria, who was ordered so by Theodosius I. It was here where Theodosius proudly proclaimed that all of the world’s ancient knowledge has been destroyed.

Nicea, Constantinople
Arius taught that Jesus Christ was divine and was sent to earth for the salvation of mankind but that Jesus Christ was not equal to the Father (infinite, primordial origin) and to the Holy Spirit (giver of life). In 321, Arius was denounced by a council at Alexandria for teaching a different view of the relationship of Jesus to God the Father. Because Arius and his followers had great influence in the schools of Alexandria—counterparts to modern universities or seminaries—their theological views spread, especially in the eastern Mediterranean. By 325, the controversy had become significant enough that the Emperor Constantine called an assembly of bishops, the First Council of Nicaea, which condemned Arius' doctrine and formulated the original Nicene Creed of 325.
Constantine is believed to have exiled those who refused to accept the Nicean creed. The Emperor also ordered all copies of the Thalia, the book in which Arius had expressed his teachings, to be burned.

The House of Wisdom
The House of Wisdom was a library and translation institute in Baghdad, Iraq. It was a key institution in the Translation Movement and considered to have been a major intellectual center of the Islamic Golden Age. The House of Wisdom acted as a society founded by Abbasid caliphs Harun al-Rashid and culminating with his son al-Ma'mun, who reigned from 813–833 CE . Mamun is credited with bringing most of the well known scholars from around the globe to share information ideas and culture in the House of Wisdom. Based in Baghdad from the 9th to 13th centuries, many of the most learned Muslim scholars were part of this excellent research and educational institute.
As time passed The House of Wisdom took on new functions related to mathematics and astrology, advancing those fields far beyond their former state.
The House of Wisdom was destroyed during the Mongol invasion of Baghdad in 1258, along with all other libraries in Baghdad. It was said that the waters of the Tigris ran black for six months with ink from the enormous quantities of books flung into the river.

Paris, France
In 1242, The French crown burned all Talmud copies in Paris, about 12,000, after the book was "charged" and "found guilty" in the Paris trial sometimes called "the Paris debate". Since the Church and Christian states viewed the Talmud as a book hateful and insulting toward Christ and gentiles, subsequent popes were also known to organize public burnings of Jewish books. The most well known of them were Innocent IV (1243–1254), Clement IV (1256–1268), John XXII (1316–1334), Paul IV (1555–1559), Pius V(1566–1572) and Clement VIII (1592–1605).
Once the printing press was invented, the Church found it impossible to destroy entire printed editions of the Talmud and other sacred books. Johann Gutenberg, the German who invented the printing press around 1450, certainly helped stamp out the effectiveness of further book burnings.

Andalusia (Spain)

Andalusia served as the catalyst to the revival of Europe. Over decades thousands of Arabic manuscripts were translated into Latin.

"The debt of our science to that of the Arabs does not consist in startling discoveries or revolutionary theories; science owes a great deal more to Arab culture, it owes its existence.”

Yet under the influence of the Church a steady campaign to take Spain away from Islamic influence persisted. To exert social and religious control, in 1480, Isabella and Ferdinand agreed to allow the Inquisition in Spain. On January 2, 1492, the leader of the last Muslim stronghold in Granada surrendered to armies of a recently united Christian Spain. They forced the remaining Muslims and Jews to leave Spain, convert to Roman Catholic Christianity or be killed for not doing so. In 1499 about 5000 Arabic manuscripts were consumed by flames in the public square at Granada on the orders of Ximénez de Cisneros, Archbishop of Toledo. The German poet Heinrich Heine wrote about this, stating "Dort, wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen" (Where they burn books, they will also, in the end, burn humans), a quote written on the monument for the Nazi Book Burnings today.

The Spaniards struck again in the Americas in 1652.

The infamous Maya “book burning” of July 12, 1652 marks a very sad date in the history of the Yucatan Maya under Spanish rule. The Catholic Friar Diego de Landa
ordered the burning of some reported 27 hieroglyphic scrolls, (Maya codices) stating that they contained the work of the devil and prevented them from learning/accepting Christianity. As narrated by de Landa himself, he had gained access to the sacred books, transcribed on deerskin, by previously gaining the natives' trust and showing a considerable interest in their culture and language).

Nazi Germany
Nazis burned works of Jewish authors, and other works considered "un-German", at the library of the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft in Berlin. The works of some Jewish authors and other so-called "degenerate" books were burnt by the Nazis throuhgout the 1930s and 1940s. Richard Euringer, director of the libraries in Essen, identified 18,000 works deemed not to correspond with Nazi ideology, which were publicly burned.

“Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave, even unto China”

Monday, August 23, 2010

Abbey Left Us ...Much

Story of My Father

~Abbey Lincoln *

Do we kill ourselves on purpose?
Is destruction all our own?
Are we dying for a reason?
Is our misery all our own?
Are the people suicidal?
Did we come this far to die?
Of ourselves are we to perish?
For this useless, worthless lie?

My father had a kingdom
My father wore a crown
They said he was an awful man
He tried to live it down
My father built us houses
And he kept his folks inside
His images were stolen
And his beauty was denied.

My brothers are unhappy
And my sisters they are too
And my mother cries for glory
And my father stands accused.

My father, yes my father
Was a brave and skillful man
And he led and served his people
With the magic of his hand.

My father, yes my father
His soul was sorely tried
‘Cause his images were stolen
And his beauty was denied.

Sometimes the river’s calling
And sometimes the shadows fall
That’s when he’s like a mountain
That is in master over all.

This story of my father
Is the one I tell and give
It’s the power and the glory
Of the life I make and live

My father has a kingdom
My father wears a crown
And he lives within the people
And the lives he handed down
My father has a kingdom
My father wears a crown
And through the spirit of my mother, Lord
The crown was handed down.
(musical interlude)

Well sometimes the rivers callin’
And sometimes the shadows fall
That’s when he’s like a mountain
That’s a master over all.

My father has a kingdom
My father wears a crown
And he lives within the people
And the lives he handed down
My father has a kingdom
My father wears a crown
Through the spirit of my mother, Lord
The crown was handed down
Through the spirit of my mother
The crown was handed down
Through the spirit of my mother, Lord
The crown was handed down!

* Abbey Lincoln passed this Aug. 14, 2010.

Monday, August 16, 2010

What Race Was Moses?

Of course before even considering this question we have to ask ourselves, why does Moses’ race even matter? Well, then we can ask, does Barack Obama’s race matter? We know it doesn’t. But we also know it does. Now imagine if 200 years from now it was said that Obama was Jewish. Determining his race would really matter then, because he’s not Jewish; neither was Moses. (Left and below: Frescoes from Dura Europos, Syria - oldest known representations of Moses, 244C.E.)

Let’s start by sorting out some distinct terms that for years have been used interchangeably thereby adding to the confusion. These terms are Jew, Judaism, Hebrew, Israelite and Israeli. Jew is a term that was used during the period of the Roman occupation of Palestine. It referred to the majority of the people the Romans encountered living in Judea (Palestine) at that time. The word Jew doesn’t show up at all in any of the Five books of Moses. Moses didn’t refer to himself or any of his people as Jews. Judaism – the religion or cultural identity formed ca. 100B.C. – 70A.D distinct from the Hellenic culture prevalent in the Mediterranean region of the time.
Israelites- direct descendants of the twelve sons of Isaac’s son Jacob whose name was later changed to Israel. Hebrew (ibri)– first appears in Genesis 14:13 referring to Abram (Abraham) and means one who crossed over. In this case referring to the fact that Abram came from the other side of the Jordan river into Canaan. Abraham’s descendants were later referred to as Hebrews. And finally, an Israeli refers to a citizen or inhabitant of the modern state of Israel.

Last week Congressman Alan Grayson benignly made the following statement on CNN referring to Dr. Laura Schlesinger’s inference that a black woman should not have married a white man. “I married outside of my race. So by the way did Moses. Moses married an Ethiopian woman.”
Why does Moses’ race matter? It matters in the same sense history matters; because we would like to paint an accurate picture of the past. To say he was Jewish is inaccurate. It (we’ll leave motive out of it for now) leaves us with a misleading image that he resembled contemporary European Ashkenazi Jews who currently comprise close to 90% of the Jewish population. (See: https://www.livescience.com/40247-ashkenazi-jews-have-european-genes.html) We can assume for now that was the image Grayson had in his head.

Let’s look at what we do know. Abraham came out of the Ur of Chaldees region in ancient times. His relatives the Elamites from that area were depicted on the wall in Susa (above). Abraham’s descendants had a tradition of marrying from within their own tribe, beginning here at Genesis 24:3

“And I will make thee swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell: But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.”
This tradition is continued here at 28:1

“And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan.
Arise, go to Padan-aram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother's father; and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother's brother."

We also know that when Jacob’s (or Israel’s) son Joseph was made governor of Egypt his brothers couldn’t distinguish him from the other Egyptians (who we know were brown).

Genesis 42:8 And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him.
Years later, Moses, who was born and raised in Kemet (Modern day Africa), in the house of the Pharoah, was asked to perform a miracle that wasn’t included in Charlton Heston’s cinematic portrayal of Moses. Exodus 4: 6 – “And the LORD said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow.
[7] And he said, Put thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again; and plucked it out of his bosom, and, behold, it was turned again as his other flesh.”

So we know from this quote that Moses couldn’t have been white because it says his hand turned white or leprous as snow. Then it says his hand later turned again as his other flesh – which of course couldn’t have been white.

So if Moses wasn’t white, why would his sister Miriam be upset that he married an Ethiopian woman? What other race is there? At one time, we were told there were only three categories of races; Caucasian, Negroid and Mongolian. But progressive scholars, scientists and historians no longer think in those terms, which is more accurate because it is more in line with the way most of the world during ancient times thought - not in terms of race but in terms of tribe, family, language and region.

Numbers 12:1 “And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman.”

So why was Miriam upset with Moses for marrying an Ethiopian woman? Not because she felt he married outside of his race but because he married outside of his tribe, those who shared his beliefs – as referred to in Gen. 24:3.

Now with regard to motive. We have to wonder why when we begin any inquiry into the race or heritage of our ancsetors the prophets, philosophical questions arise (often in our own minds) as to why race is important. Is it important that Einstein is Jewish? Of course not, when considering the importance of the theories of the relativity of time and space, energy and light. But would anyone think it were proper if we scoldingly asked Jews why it was important whether he was Jewish? Is there something wrong with their right to be proud of their own?

So why do things become philosophical when we bring up the race of a Jesus or a Moses, people who so profoundly shaped human history? If we are intimidated from investigating and popularizing the history and background of our own ancestors, we are left with the silent status quo of implied lies, deliberate distortions, privilege, and white supremacy, all of which, we know, are very dangerous.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"Best of All Months"

Mark 2:18-20 - And they asked.."why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not?"
And Jesus said unto them, "Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days..."

Quran 2:185 "The month of Ramadan is that in which the Quran was revealed, a guidance to men and clear proofs of the guidance and the distinction; therefore whoever of you is present in the month, shall fast therein..."


"O People! The month of Allah has approached you with His mercy and blessings. This is the month that is the best of all months in the estimation of Allah. Its days are the best among the days; its nights are the best among the nights. Its hours are the best among the hours.

This is a month in which he has invited you. You have been, in this month, selected as the recipients of the honors of Allah, the Merciful. In this holy month, when you breathe, it has the thawab (heavenly reward) of 'tasbeeh' (devotion) , and your sleep has the thawab of worship.

Your good deeds are accepted in this month. So are your prayers. Therefore, you must invoke your Lord, in right earnest, with hearts that are free from sins and evils, that Allah may bless you, observe fast, in this month, and recite the Holy Quran.

Verily! The person who may not receive the mercy and benevolence of Allah in this month must be very unfortunate having an end as bad (in the hereafter). While fasting, remember the hunger and thirst of tomorrow in Qiyamat (judgment). Give alms to the poor and the needy. Pay respects to your elders.

Have pity on those younger than you and be kind towards your relatives and kinsmen. Guard your tongues against unworthy words, and your eyes from such scenes that are not worth seeing and your ears from such sounds that should not be heard by you.

Be kind to orphans so that when your children become orphans they also may be treated with kindness. Do invoke that Allah may forgive your sins. Do raise your hands at the time of Salat (worship), as it is the best time for asking His mercy. When we invoke at such times, we are answered by Him, when we call Him, He responds, and when we ask for anything, it is accepted by Him.

O People! You have made your conscience the slave of your desires; make it free by invoking Him for Istighfar (repentance/forgiveness). Your back is breaking under the heavy load of your sins, so prostrate before Him for long intervals and make it lighter.

Do understand fully well that Allah has promised in the name of His Majesty and Honor that He will not take to task such people who fast and offer Salat in this month and perform 'sajda' (prostration), and will guard their bodies against the Fire of Hell on the Day of Judgment.

Anybody who does not tease others in this month, Allah will keep him safe from His wrath in Qiyamat. Anybody, who respects and treats an orphan with kindness in this month, Allah shall look at him with dignity in Qiyamat. Anybody who treats well his kinsmen, in this month, Allah will bestow His mercy on him in Qiyamat, while anybody who maltreats his kinsmen in this month, Allah will keep him away from His mercy, in Qiyamat.

Whoever offers prayers in this month, Allah will give him a certificate of freedom from Hell. Whosoever offers one 'wajib' Salat in this month, for him the Angels will write the rewards of 70 such prayers, which were offered by him in any other months.

Whosoever recites in this month only one 'Ayat' (verse of the Holy Quran), he will be rewarded in a manner as if he had recited the full Holy Quran in the other months.

O People! The Gates of Paradise remain opened in this month. Do invoke that the gates may not be closed on you, while the Gates of Hell are closed. Do invoke that these gates may never be opened. During this month Shaytan is imprisoned so ask your Lord not to let him have power over you."

- Muhammad Ibn Abdullah (pbuh)

Matthew 6:16
Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
[17] But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;
[18] That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.

- Jesus