I don't want to see stores looted or buildings burned; but African- Americans have been living in burning buildings for years, choking on smoke as flames burn closer and closer.  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

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.


Haiti and Gaza


by Barbara Nimri Aziz

I can’t help thinking of Gaza and its people as I hear and see the suffering of Haitians. More so as we witness the overwhelming response of the world rushing to Haiti’s aid.

I wonder: how many others remember Gaza as the Haitian tragedy unfolds, as reporters explore each family agony, as ships and planes of relief are mobilized, as money flows to countless relief organizations. Even as a few historians recall how Haiti has been plundered, its democratic attempts derailed, its people left in poverty, Haiti earns such unanimous sympathy. From around the world vows of support are launched. Heart warming? For some.

Exactly one long,painful year ago, we saw the massive onslaught against the people of Gaza. That was man-made: Israeli made. It was an earthquake that spread over the entire area and it lasted for 22 horrifying days. It persists.

Some photos escaped from the site of carnage forcing a few who cared to view the corpses, the weeping families, the homeless, and the aimless. In Gaza too, United Nations buildings were bombed, schools and places of worship, hospitals and police centers crushed, surrounded by corpses. Like an earthquake it was indiscriminate.

What contrasts so much with today’s Haitian experience is complete absence of international aid for Gaza. Not only was there no assistance for the dying, wounded and homeless during the assault. Throughout the 13 months since then and today, assistance to Gaza's people was barred.

In recent weeks we have witnessed this injustice, with the arrival at Gaza’s borders by a symbolic handful of supporters from “Viva Palestina” and Gaza Freedom March. One saw  how obstacles were place in the way of even their symbolic assistance. That is: the few of us who scoured through ‘alternative media’ saw. Otherwise there was no media attention.

Significantly, Muslim organization are also kept out of Gaza. (We note that several have announced aid to Haiti, a result of having surplus funds undelivered to Gaza!)

The ongoing siege against Gaza is clearly part of Israel’s larger genocidal policy against Palestinians.

Never was the politicization of humanitarian aid more obvious than it is in these events.

Of course we feel sympathy for the losses of our Haitian brothers and sisters. Doubtless, so do the many authors who have been pointing out how the US military is using the tragedy to essentially secure control of Haiti, following their history of interventions in Haiti over the past century. This history is important to bear in mind at this time. One article I recommend is “The Militarization of Emergency Aid to Haiti: Is it a Humanitarian Operation or an Invasion?” by Michel Chossudovsky whose link is:

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