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.


An Arabic TV station worth your time, if you were not barred from watching.


by Barbara Nimri Aziz

Traveling in the Arab world I have easy access to an abundance of satellite channels-many but not all Arab. At least one of the Arab channel well worth watching is banned in ‘the free world’. That is, the channel is banned by the free world. Not censored. It’s legally forbidden, in that anyone caught receiving it in the USA for example can be charged with committing a very serious crime. So fierce is the taboo that I doubt if any hacker dares to bypass the US law to access it. The network is not only forbidden to the international public; several international satellite carriers are barred from carrying it.

Thankfully people living in most Arab countries can watch it daily. There is much to enjoy and learn here: regular discussions on health, religion, history and politics. The channel is not run by media amateurs; the quality of their productions is good and the subjects are varied. Along with children’s programs and game shows, we find history and family dramas.

As across the globe, men dominate programs where expert guests are called upon to offer opinions on health and international affairs. Yet women are highly visible here. They are frequent commentators on religious subjects; and they are program hosts, news presenters and guests.

The daily evening news is running as I write; today I hear little international news  except items that directly affecting this country. This is a nationalist but not a government station. So news highlights presidential and cabinet activities along with national events. No advertisements. But anti-smoking and other social consciousness promos are played in breaks. They are often in cartoon format.

Most mornings, I can find a 10 min cooking segment. Today the chef, in a fully equipped kitchen, demonstrates a German breakfast prepared with deep-fried eggs!

Regularly but not overly so we see lectures by the revered leader of the movement that sponsors this channel.

During the Eid Al-Adha I expected their religious programming would eclipse all the regular programs. But no. In contrast to several other channels which give  hours and hours of daily coverage of the Hajj events in Mecca, the Eid prayers and historical references to the meaning of the Hajj, this station has more community focused coverage. A 10 min special with reporter ‘in  the field’ talks to children at playground where families are gathered today: what’s the difference between Eid Al-Kebir (Adha) and Eid Al-Saeir (Al-Fitr). Following is short report at a graveyard where Muslims go the first day of Eid to remember their ancestors; families lay flowers, some pray, other sit quietly together at the gravestones. The reporter, a woman is end the segment with one family here recalling a young woman struck down and executed by a live wire fallen from a tower line near her home. In the interlude we view a promo for the weekly poetry performance on this channel. It’s a popular program in which 4-5 men recite in regional tradition a form of popular poetry which I think is called ‘zudgel’.

There is more of course—some excellent documentaries of the national resistance movement against former occupiers, and inspiring speeches by the resistance leader.  

Why should a satellite station with this range of content be banned in the US? And do you know which I am speaking about?

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

Malcolm Al Haj Shabazz

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