Monday, May 19, 2014

Honoring Brother Malcolm X

Malcolm X was born on May 19, 1925.  No other black leader has had a greater impact on my life than brother Malcolm X. My road to black consciousness, activism and Islam began with a documentary about the life of Malcolm X. I began reading and listening to his bold, courageous and uncompromising speeches.  I read the Autobiography of Malcolm X and other books about him.  His speeches were not watered down for mass consumption and pacification.  They were raw and uncut.  The brother was independent and strong. 

His opinions were not for sell.  He did not have to answer to corporate funders.  He only answered to Allah.  He did not cow tow to anyone. Unlike many of today's so-called black leaders, he was not about self promotion and opportunism. He was not seeking to peddle books.  He was not seeking to have a television program or a radio show.  He was focused on the struggle for the black liberation. He was a brave soldier for the people. We need more soldiers like Malcolm X.

In pursuit of freedom, the brother paid the ultimate price, death. The oppressor may have killed the brother's body, but his spirit and message live on through us.  Malcolm X inspired generations of African Americans to stand up for freedom, justice and equality.  His example of progress, evolution and righteousness continues to motivate many to improve their lives. 

Rest in peace, dear beloved brother.  We will pick up your baton and continue the race towards self-determination and empowerment.  

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Affirmative Action, Color Blindness and Tyranny

Last month, the Supreme Court decided a major civil rights case, Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action. Throughout the opinion, the justices stated that the case was not about merits of affirmative action. According to justices, the case was simply about the political process doctrine. However, in fact, that case was all about the future of affirmative action. The case served as a proxy battlefield in the fight over affirmative action.

For now, the conservative justices prevailed.  The majority essentially gave states the blueprint to effectively dismantle affirmative action. As this Nation approached the 60th anniversary of Brown v. The Board of Education, the U.S. Supreme Court basically said that the white majority can change the rules of the game in the middle of the game and make it more difficult for African Americans to enact and/or pursue policies, like affirmative action, that benefit us.

In Michigan, others may simply lobby university board members if they seek to changes university admission policies regarding legacies, geography and athleticism. On the other hand, African Americans and other minorities seeking to create race sensitive admission policies must obtain the vote of two thirds of both Houses of the Michigan legislature. Alternatively, we must 10 percent of the voters sign a petition in order to get the matter on a ballot. After getting the matter on the ballot, the majority of the voters must vote to lift the ban on affirmative action. In light of the current political climate in Michigan, such obstacles are virtually insurmountable. Unfortunately, as a result of Court's decision, the tyranny of the white majority will prevail over the minority.

In the name of promoting a so-called color blind society, the Supreme Court is gradually reversing the gains of the civil rights movement. As Justice Sotomayor points out in her powerful dissenting opinion, race neutral alternatives are not an effective substitute for affirmative action. After Michigan amended its constitution to ban affirmative action, there has been a 25% decline in black admissions to the University of Michigan.

Sadly, this is just the beginning. It may be an omen of the end of affirmative action nationwide. The doors of opportunity will slam in the faces of our youth and their precious dreams will be snuffed out like the flame on the tip of a cigarette.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Nigeria and the White Man's Burden

I support the #BringBackOurGirls campaign. It is an indigenous campaign created by Ibrahim M Abdullahi, a Nigerian attorney. I hope that each girl is safety returned to their families. Clearly,  the Nigerian government has a moral and legal duty to rescue and protect those precious girls. The world community must continue to pressure the Nigerian government to take immediate, decisive and effective action against Boko Haram. Moreover, the world community should aid the Nigerians by providing training, equipment and intelligence assistance.

However, I strongly oppose U.S. military intervention in Nigeria. Ultimately, Nigeria and the African Union must be the ones to fight those despicable terrorists. U.S. military action will endanger American and Nigerian lives. It will only fuel Nigeria's civil war.

Who knows how long the U.S. would remain in Nigeria? After all of these years, American troops remain in Afghanistan. The military action may begin with the narrow mission of rescuing the girls and then morph into the much broader mission of nation building.

We cannot allow the West to exploit this crisis and come into Nigerian like a Trojan horse under the guise of generosity. Like a thief in the night, they may utilize this tragic and sad situation to further plunder Nigeria's oil and other natural resources. Nigeria's sovereignty should not be trampled upon in order to fulfill the white man's so-called burden. Africa does not need Western paternalism and militarism. We do not need another Somalia or Libya.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Ras Baraka is Elected Mayor of Newark

The New York Times reports that:
Councilman Ras Baraka, the fiery scion of a militant poet, was elected mayor of Newark on Tuesday, signaling a likely shift in the direction that New Jersey’s largest city had embarked upon for most of the last decade.

Mr. Baraka rebuffed a spirited late surge from a political newcomer, Shavar Jeffries, a law professor with an improbable Horatio Alger-like life story, in a bitter contest marred by incendiary rhetoric, arrests and charges of vandalism. With 96 percent of the precincts reporting, Mr. Baraka was leading with about 54 percent of the vote, compared with 46 percent for Mr. Jeffries, according to unofficial results.

“We are the mayor!” Mr. Baraka shouted at his victory party, as a six-piece funk band played an original song with the refrain, “Who did we vote for? Raaaaas Baraka.” Mr. Baraka added, “The people of Newark are not for sale.”

The race between the two Democrats was expected to be Newark’s most expensive election ever. Mr. Jeffries enjoyed a sizable financial advantage thanks to outside groups, while Mr. Baraka relied on his family’s name and fervent union support, and he tapped into misgivings about the previous mayor.

That mayor, of course, was Cory A. Booker, who won the first of two terms in 2006 as a fresh reformer. Yet while Mr. Booker unquestionably raised the profile of his adopted city, attracting hundreds of millions of dollars, he never could erase lingering suspicions among some of Newark’s power brokers that he was an outsider.

Mr. Booker left office last year after winning election to the United States Senate. When an interim mayor, Luis A. Quintana, indicated that he was not running for office, the dynamics were set for what some viewed as a referendum on Mr. Booker, as well as a watershed moment for the future.

“Baraka’s win suggests that the Booker years didn’t vanquish the old guard,” said Andra Gillespie, a professor at Emory University and author of “The New Black Politician: Cory Booker, Newark and Post-Racial America.”
When the masses are united and organized, we can and will prevail over the power elite. Baraka's election is a reminder that the progressives can fight the power and seize power. Elections matter, people. Congratulations, Mayor Elect Ras Baraka!

Monday, May 12, 2014

#BringBackOurGirls: Terror Group Video Shows Kidnapped Girls

CNN reports that:
A Boko Haram video emerged Monday purportedly showing some of the kidnapped Nigerian girls in Muslim headdresses and the terror group's leader declaring they have converted to Islam.

The video, released by French news agency Agence France-Presse, was shot in a nondescript bush area and showed about 100 girls.

In the 27-minute footage, the terror group's leader, Abubakar Shekau, says he is willing to exchange the schoolgirls for Boko Haram prisoners.

It shows girls dressed in black and gray hijabs, and reciting the Quran as they make Islamic declarations of faith. Shekau appears in a separate part of the video, but never with the girls.

"Praise be to Allah, the lord of the world," the girls in the video chant.

It's the first purported sighting of the girls abducted last month in the northern town of Chibok. A convoy of Islamist militants drove to a school, seized nearly 300 girls and fled into the night.

At least 276 girls remain missing since the terror group abducted them on April 14. Though some of the girls escaped shortly after their abduction, none of the others have been found.
Read more here.

Holy Qur'an 2:256 states that "there is no compulsion in religion." Clearly, those terrorists violated the Qur'an and basic international human rights by kidnapping over 200 innocent girls and forcing them to convert Islam. Obviously, faith must based on free will. No one should be forced at gunpoint to convert to any religion.

Instead of spreading the Islam, Boko Haram's cruelty and cowardice only fuel the blazing flames of hatred against Islam. Only cowards and chumps would kidnap defenseless girls and threaten to sell them like slaves. Boko Haram is evil incarnate.

The Holy Quran demands that believers stand up for justice. Holy Qur'an 4:135 states:
O ye who believe! stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest ye swerve, and if ye distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do.
Muslims, Christians, Jews and other people of good will must demand that Boko Haram be brought to justice for their heinous crimes. I hope and pray that each one of those girls are safely returned to their families. Bring back our girls now!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day 2014

Good morning. Happy Mother's Day. One love. Mom, I love you with all my heart.

#BringBackOurGirls: My Thoughts About the Crisis in Nigeria

The Washington Post reports that:
LAGOS, Nigeria — The international effort to rescue the 276 schoolgirls being held captive by Islamic extremists in northeastern Nigeria was boosted Friday when British security experts joined the Nigerian and American forces trying to rescue the missing students.

As the worldwide effort got underway the weakness of the Nigerian military was exposed in a report issued by Amnesty International.

Britain said its aim was not only to help with the current crisis but to defeat Boko Haram.

“The team will be considering not just the recent incidents but also longer-term counter-terrorism solutions to prevent such attacks in the future and defeat Boko Haram,” the Foreign & Commonwealth Office said in a statement Friday.

The American team was joined by six additional military officers and more are expected soon, said Pentagon spokesman Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby. The U.S. officers will do a “gap analysis,” an assessment to identify what the Nigerian military needs that the U.S. could provide in the search for the girls, he said...

The weakness of the Nigerian armed forces was highlighted Friday in a report which said the military did not respond to warnings that Boko Haram rebels were about to attack Chibok, the town where the young women were abducted from their school.

Nigerian security forces had four hours of notice about the April 15 attack by the rebels but did not react because of their fear of engaging the extremists, said Amnesty International, in a report citing multiple interviews with credible sources.

“This abduction could have been prevented,” Amnesty spokeswoman Susanna Flood said of the Nigerian military’s inaction...

Boko Haram has staged many attacks in northeastern Nigeria over the years, a campaign of bombings and massacres that has intensified in recent times despite a strong military presence there. Since May 2013 there has been a state of emergency in three northeastern Nigerian states wracked by Boko Haram violence.

Boko Haram has killed more than 1,500 people this year. The militants, who want to impose Islamic Shariah law on Nigeria, abducted more than 300 girls from a boarding school in the northeastern town of Chibok. Fifty-three escaped but 276 remain captive. In a video seen by The Associated Press, Boko Haram’s leader threatens to sell the girls into slavery.
Instead of living in the modern world, groups like Boko Haram glorify and romanticize the Middle Ages. They view intolerance, ignorance and misogyny as virtues. According to their distorted and twisted interpretation of religion, women are sex objects to be suppressed, oppressed, used, abused, raped and sold. Such views do not belong in the 21st century. A nation cannot rise or globally compete when half of the population is deprived education and opportunity.
For more information about that terrorist group, click this link.

Boko Haram is a scourge. They massacre, rape, pillage, steal and enslave in the name of Islam. By doing so, they blaspheme against their professed religion. No just, merciful, beneficent god would condone such barbarism and savagery. Instead of following the righteous path, they have been deceived and lead astray. They have done more to defame Islam than the non-believers ever could. Their way is not Islam. It cannot be Islam. As reported on the AP and the Huffington Post, Muslim leaders have rightfully condemned Boko Haram.

The Nigerian government's failure to act must be condemned as well. It is an absolute disgrace that the Nigerian government essentially allowed Boko Haram to kidnap 276 innocent girls from their school dormitory. Approximately 25 days later, the girls are still missing. Instead of Nigerians and Africans uniting to address the problem, they have turned to their former slave masters and colonial oppressors for assistance. Decades after the end of colonialism, Nigeria and many other African nations lack true self-determination and independence. Boko Haram is an African problem that must ultimately be solved by African people.

Boko Haram must be brought to justice for their heinous crimes. They are a cancer in Nigeria and the world. They must be uprooted and eradicated by the people of Nigeria and the Africans. I pray that each and ever girl is rescued from the clutches of those monsters. I support all efforts designed to achieve that limited goal.

I salute First Lady Michelle Obama for speaking out and supporting the #BringOurGirlsBack movement. Her address to the nation and the world was powerful and compelling. President Obama's efforts to assist the Nigerians is truly commendable.

Hopefully, Western involvement in Nigeria is truly about rescuing the girls and not about controlling Nigeria's oil. In light of the West's long history of exploiting African people and their natural resources, one must view U.S. and European military intervention in Africa with great skepticism. Rarely do the United States and Europe act altruistically. As noted on Wikipedia, "Nigeria is the 12th largest producer of petroleum in the world and the 8th largest exporter, and has the 10th largest proven reserves." Suspicions are further raised by the fact that the United States prepared for the possibility of such a crisis. As reported on,
In May 2008, the United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, hosted "Unified Quest 2008," the army's annual war games to test the American military's ability to deal with the kind of crises that it might face in the near future. "Unified Quest 2008" was especially noteworthy because it was the first time the war games included African scenarios as part of the Pentagon's plan to create a new military command for the continent: the Africa Command or Africom. No representatives of Africom were at the war games, but Africom officers were in close communication throughout the event.

One of the four scenarios that were war-gamed was a test of how Africom could respond to a crisis in Somalia — set in 2025 — caused by escalating insurgency and piracy. Unfortunately, no information on the details of the scenario is available.

Far more information is available on the other scenario — set in 2013 — which was a test of how Africom could respond to a crisis in Nigeria in which the Nigerian government is near collapse, and rival factions and rebels are fighting for control of the oil fields of the Niger Delta and vying for power in the country which is the sixth largest supplier of America's oil imports...

Among scenarios examined during the game were the possibility of direct American military intervention involving some 20,000 U.S. troops in order to "secure the oil," and the question of how to handle possible splits between factions within the Nigerian government. The game ended without military intervention because one of the rival factions executed a successful coup and formed a new government that sought stability.

Read the full article here.