Saturday, January 07, 2006

Alice Walker:From the Ending of The Way Forward is With A Broken Heart

"And Yet, Stranger who perhaps I am never to know, the past doesn't exist. It cannot be sanctuary. Skin color has always been a tricky solace, more so now that the ozone has changed. After Nature is destroyed, money will remain inedible. We have reached a place of deepest emptiness and sorrow. We look at the destruction around us and percieve our collective poverty. We see that everything is truly needed by the world is too large for individuals to give. We find we have only ourselves. Our experience. Our dreams. Our simple art. our memories of better ways. our knowledge that the world cannot be healed in the abstract. That healing begins where the wound was made.

Now it seems to me we might begin to understand something of the meaning of earnest speaking and fearless listening; something of the purpose of the most ancient form of beginning to remake the world: remembering what the world we once made together was like.

I send you my sorrow. And my art.

In the sure knowledge that our people, the American race, lovers who falter and sometimes fail, are good."

This From Hungry Blues

Torture Begins At Home (II)
This article should clarify further why to worry about the Patriot Act and other post-9/11 policies and practices. As I will elaborate soon, with another source, the FBI has always had as one of its root purposes the surveillance and suppression of Black radicalism.

Former Black Panthers considered terrorists under Patriot Act
Afro America News
Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Group wants torture used against American citizens to cease

Undaunted by what they call "unconstitutional" methods used under the guise of the Patriot Act, three former Black Panthers are touring the country to bring awareness to their recent interrogation by anti-terrorist law enforcement.

Former Black Panthers members John Bowman, Hank Jones and Ray Boudreaux held a forum, Dec. 8, at the Washington, D.C. office of Trans-Africa. They have in common the suffering they endured in 1971 under interrogation concerning a police shooting in San Francisco.

They were indicted by a grand jury, but the court rendered a decision stating the methods used to obtain information were unlawful and the Panthers members were freed from jail.

Thirty-four years later Bowman, Jones and Boudreaux along with many Black Panthers members once again faced their interrogators from the '70s who are now serving as agents with the Anti-Terrorist Task Force, a special division formed under the Homeland Security agency to apprehend suspected terrorists.

"I was quite surprised when I opened the door to see the same two detectives involved in beating me [34 years earlier] standing there. It brought back memories that I will never forget," said Bowman, the former Panther organizer. "This is very difficult for me to discuss in public."

According to Bowman, in 1973 he was stripped naked and beaten with blunt objects, wrapped with blankets soaked in boiling hot water, shocked with electric probes in his "anus and other private parts," punched, kicked and slammed into walls by investigators. The process lasted until investigators got the murder confessions they wanted....

The detectives, Frank McCoy and Edward Erdelatz, retired members of the San Francisco Police Department, now special agents with the Federal Prosecutor's Office, Anti-Terrorist Task Force have repeatedly interrupted the lives of many former Panthers to gain notoriety with the Bush administration by targeting individuals labeled as "terrorists" who were never convicted of wrongdoing.

"Once upon a time, they called me a terrorist, too," explained Boudreaux. "To expedite something in the system, they put a 'terror' tag on it and it gets done. Terror means money. These people [government] have a budget and they are working it."...

Trans Africa President Bill Fletcher expressed the forum's concerned about the erosion of civil rights. "It is ironic that instead of having a press conference in which apologies are being offered to the individuals who were tortured and the many other victims of COINTELPRO, instead we are to call attention to the prosecution of people who were freedom fighters and continue to be."...

"We condemn the persecution transpiring against these individuals. We wish to bring it to light when the word "terrorism" is in the air," said Ron Daniels, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights. ... Daniels adds that "Before former Attorney General Ashcroft left, he issued a broad ranging edict that all the cases that involved any incident where a police officer had been killed and the case had been closed be re-opened...And if these men and women can be indicted or harassed, it sends a chilling effect," said, Daniels.
Read the rest for more background and to learn more about the event, which was held to promote awareness of these dimensions of COINTELPRO the Patriot Act.

(Part I is here.)

UPDATE: The SF Bay View has an article about the grand jury investigation of Ray Boudreaux, Richard Brown, Hank Jones, and Harold Taylor and an article by John Bowman, "How the US destroyed the Black Panther Party and continues to persecute its veterans."

Friday, January 06, 2006

An Era Has Passed

And the great Lou Rawls is dead. He grew up in Chicago with my Father and my Uncles. I believe his father owned a funeral parlor or some sort of business. Anyway, what a beautiful voice and what a great loss.
I feel great energy.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Have you ever had a voodoo doll that you just kept sticking pins in it? Ive used some things like that...."Ow I stumped my toe, I stick my pin in the voodoo doll"....literally and figuratively....
I heard today that Bush was praising Sharon as a great man. Isnt that like Hitler sending praises to Moussolini?
I love progressive, supportive environments. The people in this new department that I am in at IT are great people.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

I love that song that Herr Maddox had us learn our German prepositions to. An Auf Hinter in neben uber unter vor zwischen.
Regina King really did a magnificent job in Ray. I am still contemplating reviewing the film.
I just finished reading Alice Walker's account of her life with Mel Leventhal and the birth of her daughter, Rebecca, in southern, segregated mississippi, where miscegenation was illegal. What she wrote struck something with me and got me to thinking about what she said, that it is something, especially looking at the historical aspect of it, to see a biracial child born in a hospital--particularly of Black and White parentage, especially in the south. Most definitely odd for 1966. These children, who have always been around, were usually born in grandmother's bed, in the back wood's out of sight, in secret quarters--attended to not by nurses and doctors, but midwives...or sometimes grandmothers, sisters, aunts, daughters....It is interesting to think of such things and the realities of them....
I am remembering when I used to stay with Aunt Earnestine out in the country and she would wake me every morning at the crack of dawn to get ready to catch the bus so I could go to Autaugaville. I would sleep in her huge straight-backed bed, usually under ten million pounds of quilts and I would rise and get my clothes on while she went in the kitchen and cooked my breakfast--usually vienna sausage, rice or grits, and aunt was a practical cook. And later, after all of the practice of routine was over...Calvin Hunter would pull the bus up into Aunt Earnestine's lawn so that I could catch the bus and not have to walk out into the road(God didn't I feel so special sometimes LOL!) So I would grab my bookbag and be out of the door and off to my adventures of education at Autaugaville. That was my mystical half a year spent there. It was an interesting time. That perhaps, is an understatement.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

I want to be in contstant and dynamic struggle towards the discovery and recognition of my truths.


"Politicians are not interested in truth but in power and in the maintenance of that power" by Harold Pinter
This is Harold Pinter's magnificent acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize for Literature in which he calls for Bush and Blair to be prosecuted under international law.
I am so not even amused by this one.

Check This Out

Check out the Purdue Homeland Security Website
Someone told me I was a radical. Me a radical? I'm Anne of Green Gables...;-)

Josephine Baker

By Al Stewart & Peter White

I was watching TV late last night
And a scene transported me
Long gone figures came back to life
In a documentary
Though I saw them dance for joy
I was sad I missed that show
If I had a time machine
I know just where I'd go

I was born too late to see Josephine Baker
Dancing in a Paris cabaret
Born too late to see Josephine Baker
She must have been great in her heyday

Now some they stand out from a crowd
Even at an early age
I suppose that her call was loud
'Cause she just lit up the stage
You can put on all that gloss
And still not have to feel
What's inside will come across
And only real is real

I was born too late to see Josephine Baker
Dancing in a Paris cabaret
Born too late to see Josephine Baker
She must have been great in her heyday

I'm sometimes trapped by the close confines
Of the age I'm born into
Though there were others worse than mine
Well, I miss what I can't do
Join the feast of Ancient Greece
See Alexander's Library
Maybe clink a champagne toast
With a jazz age dancing queen

I was born too late to see Josephine Baker
Dancing in a Paris cabaret
Born too late to see Josephine Baker
She must have been great in her heyday
In black and white film you can't mistake her
She must have been great in her heyday

Monday, January 02, 2006

I want to write about my Aunt Bertie. My aunt bertie was a pleasant ray of sunshine for me. A beautiful presence who helped to mold that clay which became me. I feel her hands upon me all of the time. My Aunt Bertie was a stout,regally statured woman with the dignified bearing of any manner of nobility. Always suavely dressed, impeccably presented to the world--she carried out the roles she bore. She was the dignified principal's wife, the school teacher,and my aunt. Aunt Bertie made straight A's throughout grade school and college and did her graduate work at Columbia and at Governor's State. Cancer took her much too soon for her dear life to end in 1985. She handled her cancer as she did everything else in her life--with dignity and grace. I remember going in her room and sitting and watching her as she would change her wigs on the days that I would stay at home with her. I remember her retirement tea. When Fess died, he left her quite well put away and she was very comfortable. She died worrying about Freda abusing her money.... Aunt Bertie told me she was going to die and when she did, I believe I was prepared. I didn't cry and I was full of questions. I think she prepared me for dealing with death..and in handling her own taught me a lot. Her face is imprinted on my mind....She is one of my protecting angels.

This Post is For

My dear, sweet cousin Kim, who used to whip my behind at Aunt Bertie's house when I wouldn't do my homework right away. Whose soft,milk complexioned face and mild and meekly audible voice so bring delight to my mind and all of my memories. I remember when we lived in Chicago and Kim was going to Whitney Young and was staying with Aunt Bertie and Aunt Johnnie(right across the street from us) and she and Nikki would go in Aunt Johnnie's(Bertie's) basement and practice dance steps in the smaller room down there and I would sit on the other side of the bed and watch. I remember Kim in knee high snow boots and little chic, fashionable sweaters...with her boyfriends tagging along. I remember Kim bringing Christian home to Aunt Bertie's house and he in his baby bed and I made like he was mine all mine.... I remember Kim who would come regularly at different intervals to my grandmother's, with Christian in tow, because it was her obligation to do so and come see her relatives....I remember Kim who blossomed into a mother...who grew from the petite young woman that used to frolic in the snow with my sister to the buxom strong black woman with children in tow, her lion cubs who finally rested at her knee. Boy how time does bring about changes....many tiny little miracles that simply happen before your eyes.
Interesting things happened over break.