That’s not a chip on my shoulder. That’s your foot on my neck.  – Malcolm X

"We must never, ever give up. We must be brave. We must be courageous." John Lewis, activist, congressman. 1940-2020 

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness. ~ Dalai Lama

"Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public."  Professor Cornel West.

"Only by learning to live in harmony with your contradictions can you keep it all afloat."  Audre Lorde

"The serious function of racism is distraction". 1995, Toni Morrison; Portland lecture, Playing in The Dark

“If I tell the story, I control the version. Because if I tell the story, I can make you laugh, and I would rather have you laugh at me than feel sorry for me.” Nora Ephron

"Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another." author Toni Morrison (1931- 2019)

“If I tell the story, I control the version. Because if I tell the story, I can make you laugh, and I would rather have you laugh at me than feel sorry for me”; Nora Ephron, author/comedian

"Make your story count". Michelle Obama

"Social pain is understood through the lens of racial animus". Researcher/author Sean McElwee writing in Salon, 2016

"We are citizens, not subjects. We have the right to criticize government without fear."  Chelsea Manning; activist/whisleblower

“My father was a slave and my people died to build this country, and I’m going to stay right here and have a part of it, just like you, And no fascist minded people, like you, will drive me from it. Is that clear?” Paul Robeson; activist/singer

“We have a system of justice in this country that treats you much better if you're rich and guilty than if you're poor and innocent”. from civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson

“This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak today?” Frederick Douglass, WHAT TO THE SLAVE IS 4TH JULY? 07.05.1852 (full text in blog)

Senator Elizabeth Warren "We're a country that is built on our differences; that is our strength, not our weakness"

"We are more alike than we are different" ~ Maya Angelou

As a Black writer, I was expected to accept the role of victim. That made it difficult in the beginning to be a writer.      James Baldwin

I often feel that there must have been something that I should’ve done that I didn’t do. But I can’t identify what it is that I didn’t do. That’s the first difficulty. And the second is, what makes you think you’re it?   

         Harry Belafonte, activist and singe


It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble; It's what you know for sure that just ainst so.

Mark Twain


You can't be brave if you've only had wonderful things happen to you.

Mary Tyler Moore


 You can’t defend Christianity by being against refugees and other religions

Pope Francis:


"I don't have to be what you want me to be". Muhammad Ali

"The Secret of Living Well and Longer: eat half, walk double, laugh triple, and love without measure"  attributed to Tibetan sources

Recent audio posts include interviews with Rumi interpreter Shahram Shiva, London-based author Aamer Hussein, South African Muslim scholar, professor Farid Esack, and Iraqi journalist Nermeen Al-Mufti's brief account of Kirkuk City history. Your comments on our blogs are always welcome.


Tahrir's Production Team wishes you Happy NewYear


by Barbara Nimri Aziz

This fall, Tahrir ran its annual three-month program for interns. We offer this course in radio journalism for young people from our community. What a delight it has been this year.

Lea came from France for a diploma in journalism at a city university but joined us for three months to learn what WBAI offers as an alternative media. Before returning to Paris last week she completed a powerful audio review of the book “Palestinian Walks”; it aired on Dec 15. Her previous journalistic work in France had limited her to short news pieces. Very short: 2 minutes! Here at WBAI we have the liberty of extended features and news stories that explore an issue in depth. Her piece for us was almost 9 minutes, and she learned how much one can do in this longer format. Lea intends to return to NY in the spring. Meanwhile in Paris, she plans to produce an interview for us with the preeminent expert in the field of Iraqi music, Scheherazade Hassan. This will compliment a recording of Iraqi music to offer as a gift to listeners on our next fund-drive.

Sally is using this year after her graduation and before she takes up graduate studies to work with us. She is interested in the marketing side of journalism, and is astonished by the way this free-speech listener sponsored WBAI works. Contrary to her and my own expectations, Sally’s been drawn towards audio production. With coaching on how to read for radio, Sally seemed transformed. And she took easily to audio editing on Adobe Audition, our basic tool in radio journalism today. Her interview with her sister, NJ college basketball star, showed us her interviewing skills. As any good journalist, Sally was impressed by her first interviewing assignment. “I learned much about my own sister I had not known before”. That aired on our Dec 29 broadcast.

Sarah Malaika is now a seasoned producer, having been with Tahrir three years. She has opened new doors to the wider artistic community through her wok as a museum curator and her interest in music. Listen to her enchanted interview (Nov 10) with Hafez Nazeri, the young Iranian musician who, with his father, gave an inspired concert in New York last month. I liked her interview with visual artist John Jauji after the Queen’s exhibition “Tarjama”.  Sarah takes charge of the program when she hosts and I can attend to other assignments. She has her own style, and doubtless her own listeners. That’s nice about having qualified team members, usually former interns, who continue with us. Each host brings their own style and therefore their own listeners.

Another intern is Ramatu. As a deeply involved activist in the NY community of African immigrants, Ramatu brings a wider network of community resources to Tahrir. She also writes for a community paper. Ramatu speaks Hawza language and prepared a Hawza promotional ID for WBAI. When Hawza speakers in our listening area hear this 30 second spot for the radio station, they are delighted. They are proud to hear their language, however briefly, on New York City airwaves. And so are we. Ramatu is now preparing a review of the edited volume of writing from Africa, “Gods and Soldiers”. It’s now a question of converting a written critique for radio, and that’s the new skill. Writing for radio is very different from writing for print media. But these interns catch on quickly.

Our fourth intern, Nehal, wasn’t with us for more than a month because of approaching exams. (She’s at the New Jersey Institute of Technology). Nehal took to sound production the first day however, and decided within an hour of placing her hands on the mixing board, that she preferred the engineering side of radio work. She also has a good voice.

A special quality of WBAI production is that we learn to do everything. First we identify the individual or issue for a story, then do the research to prepare sources, then undertake the interview with a quality recorder, then transfer that to the editing program, then edit, then prepare and read and edit-in the introduction and sign off, and finally select and mix in the music.

Last weekend at the film showing of “Islam on Capitol Hill” which Hassen Abdellah organized, I again met Adeeb. Adeeb joined us when he and Reem came on board two years ago. He was attracted to radio because of the scope it offers for music, and music is Adeeb’s primary interest. When we reached the point of our training in ‘reading for radio’ Adeeb found he had another talent. We all realized he is an excellent speaker. When I met him last week he told me about a new endeavor. He’s collaborated with a colleague to form the company He’s the artist development director. Congratulations Adeeb!

We miss Fatima and we know she misses us. She is a dynamic host in any gathering. But her new job in government doesn’t allow her to work in public media. We send out another congratulations, to Fatima and Ibrahim!

Reem has been with us for more than a year now. She is a second-year journalism student at a nearby university but there she has no opportunity to work in radio. It’s primarily print assignments; besides, the politics at the university is completely different. They actually assume that what they teach means journalists are totally objective. Of course at WBAI we know this is nonsense. Reem will spend the winter semester in Prague on an overseas course arranged by her university. She will specialize in radio journalism while there, so we’ll benefit from that when she returns.

Tamara originally an intern, rejoined us as a producer following a three year hiatus while she completed her degree in English literature and spend a year abroad as a Fulbright scholar. We went to the Nuyorican Café together with Saadia to see the play “Domestic Crusade” after which she interviewed the director. Tamara wants to produce book reviews when she has time; she helps us a lot by translating audio of interviews I completed not long ago in Syria

A lot of talent in our house, channeled into high quality journalism to serve our communities. Besides learning so much, we enjoy the work, and being together. Special thanks to ICLI for the intern training grant to Tahrir.

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Maya Angelou

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