Wednesday, December 17, 2008

TONIGHT ON THE TERRORDOME: Geoffrey Canada on Saving American Children through Education

FM 88.5 Edmonton worldwide
6 PM Mountain time

While it’s widely understood that without education, most young people cannot hope to enjoy a future of health, productivity and civic engagement, the United States continues to deny millions of its children the quality of education it lavishes on others.

Whatever the official reasons are for such disparity which effectively dooms millions to a shorter, more painful, and more economically deprived life, two things are clear. The students hurt by such policies are disproportionately poor, and disproportionately of Afrikan, indigenous and Latin-indigenous descent.

But while many are content to blame the elites for creating and maintaining this factory of inequality and despair, some have sworn to change that system.

Born in 1952, Geoffrey Canada is an educational crusader and founder of the Harlem Children’s Zone. Himself a child of the South Bronx, Canada learned early in life that doom awaited those who were unprepared for their futures. The Zone he and others established sought to provide for its constituents the opportunities widely available for middle class children, including services and activities after school ended for the day or for the week.

“In the late 1990s, HCZ ran a pilot project that brought a range of support services to a single block. The idea was to address all the problems that poor families were facing: from crumbling apartments to failing schools, from violent crime to chronic health problems.

“In 1997, the agency began a network of programs for a 24-block area: the Harlem Children's Zone Project. In 2007, the Zone Project grew to almost 100 blocks and served 7,400 children and over 4,100 adults.

“Over the years, the agency introduced several ground-breaking efforts: in 2000, The Baby College parenting workshops; in 2001, the Harlem Gems pre-school program; also in 2001, the HCZ Asthma Initiative, which teaches families to better manage the disease; in 2004, the Promise Academy, a high-quality public charter school; and in 2006, an anti-obesity program to help children stay healthy.”

The Zone school features a longer school day and a longer school year; beginning in 2004, entrance to the Zone’s Promise Academy kindergarten and grade 6 classes was selected by lottery.

Geoffrey Canada, one of the key builders of the Zone, has been widely honoured for his work, including through the $250,000 Heinz Award, a prize similar to the MacArthur “genius” fellowship. Numerous universities and colleges including Harvard have granted him honourary degrees, and he’s appeared widely on American news media. He’s the author of two books:

Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence in America (1995)
Reaching Up for Manhood: Transforming the Lives of Boys in America (1998)

Monday, December 15, 2008

I don't care if this one's a photo-op. This is what photo-ops SHOULD do... set a positive example.

Director Ernest Dickerson sent me the following pictures and text of the Obamas on American Thanksgiving.

Could these be considering shameless photo-opping?

Yeah, I guess. But then, so could any good deed if photographed. I'd argue that wealthy, powerful people have a duty to be photographed doing good deeds, in order to set an example (with great power there must...).

Yes, of course, food banks are not revolutionary (although the Black Panther Party had "Survival Programmes Pending the Revolution" including Free Breakfast for Children), and we must end the cause of hunger, rather than dealing exclusively with hunger as a effect. But hungry people can't survive on political theory. Hungry people need food today.

Of course we need to monitor in detail how the Obama White House will address the cause of poverty--namely, economic exploitation by the rich of everyone else, especially the poor. I'd expect his White House, backed as it was by the super-wealthy, has no intention of ending poverty, since poverty is the necessary feeding grounds of the wealthy, that is, the only way to create wealth is by creating poverty.

But for today--TODAY--I'm happy to see these pictures. This aint W holding a plastic turkey for his war-makers in the Occupied Territory called Iraq. This is a Kenyan-American, the Emperor of the world, handing out food to people who need it, with his family. And while this deed makes me overlook not one iota of his service of the Empire and its oligarchs, I nevertheless am heartened to see these images.

The text below comes from The Huffington Post.

"CHICAGO - President-elect Barrack Obama and his wife took their daughters to work at a food bank on the day before Thanksgiving, saying they wanted to show the girls the meaning of the holiday, especially when so many people are struggling.

"Ten-year-old Malia and 7-year-old Sasha joined their parents to shake hands and give holiday wishes to hundreds of people who had been lined up for hours at the food bank on Chicago 's south side.

"Sasha wore a pink stocking hat over her pigtails and Malia had on a purple striped hat as the family handed out wrapped chickens to the needy inthe chilly outdoor courtyard. Those seeking food on Wednesday at St. Columbanus also received boxes with potatoes, oranges, fresh bread, peanut butter, canned goods, oatmeal, spaghetti and coffee.

"The president-elect, dressed casually in a leather jacket, black scarf and khaki pants, was in a jovial mood, calling out 'happy thanksgiving' andtelling everyone 'you can call me Barack.'

"He told reporters that he wants the girls 'to learn the importance of how fortunate they are, and to make sure they're giving back.'

"The soon-to-be first lady said the Obamas wanted to give their children 'an understanding of what giving and Thanksgiving is all about.'

"The Obama family's activities in the courtyard quickly drew the attention of schoolchildren whose windows overlooked the courtyard. They put up a sign against the glass that read: 'We love our prez' and screamed when the president-elect waved to them.

"Obama then turned to his wife and suggested they go visit the kids. Secret Service agents, looking surprised, disappeared inside the building to accommodate his request.

"Minutes later, hundreds of children were brought down to the school auditorium, and Obama loped onstage as they screamed and cheered.

"'I just wanted to come by and wish everybody a happy Thanksgiving,' he said. He then asked the children what they would be eating for Thanksgiving dinner."

(I don't know who wrote the following text.)

"So let's recap.He took his kids to work in the cold? Instead of getting someone to line up and dish the gifts? Instead of telling them 'You are kids of a VIP. Therefore there are things that you can't do.

"To show the kids that people are suffering? Yes, that people are suffering? They have to live understanding the importance of giving back to the community.Let us learn from this great family and for those who have children, this is a wonderful example of raising our kids.Peace out!"

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Dr. Runoko Rashidi on the National Geographic Deception

Dr. Rashidi writes the following:

"A milestone was seemingly achieved this February of 2008 when
National Geographic Magazine did a front cover story entitled 'The Black Pharaohs: Conquerors of Ancient Egypt'.

"It was a milestone in the sense that this was the first time ever that National Geographic Magazine had admitted that there were ever any Black Pharaohs in Egypt at all. I refer to it as 'seemingly' in that the article title is misleading and the context of the story is deceptive to say the least.

"1. The title says 'The Black Pharaohs' as if to imply that there were White Pharaohs or a Pharaoh other than an Egyptian. Egyptians, during the time of 'Pharaohs,' were Black people. Black not in the sense of all of them being the literal color, but of the many shades of people as experienced here in America amongst African-Americans or the many shades of people in Ethiopia.

"Now, there were diff
erent non-Egyptian conquerors who had temporarily taken over Egypt, but no one nationally accepted enough to be called the Egyptians native leader or 'Pharaoh'. They were simply a conqueror. The writer of the article himself states that Egypt was "ruled by Libyan chiefs who put on the trappings of pharaonic traditions"; they were not Pharaoh and they were not native.

"2. The subtitle goes on to say that these Black Pharaohs (who were Nubians) conquered Ancient Egypt. You don't conquer places--you conquer people! So the article implies that Nubians (Blacks), who had the same culture and form of dress, I might add, attacked and conquered these other Blacks (Egyptians).

"Now is that impossible, that Blacks attacked and conquered other Blacks? No, not at all. But, as you read further into the article you´ll find that the writer says that - after the Libyans (who were not Black) had taken over and toned down the devotion to Amun (Egyptian God), the Priests feared a godless end.

"'Who was in a po
sition to return Egypt to its former state of might and sanctity?' The Egyptian Priests 'looked south and found their answer'. Now wait a minute! The title said that the 'Black Pharaohs' (Nubians) were conquerors of Ancient Egypt. In truth the "Black Pharaohs" were invited to get rid of the real invader, the Libyans, and return Egypt to its former glory and ways.

"The above deals with just the misleading title of the article, but the story goes even further in error and or deception by implying that the 25th Dynasty is the only Dynasty that was Black or Nubian, when in fact the 1st through 6th Dynasties, the 12th and 18th and then the 25th Dynasty were Nubian (Black).

"I believe that by saying that only the 25th Dynasty is Black saves Eurocentric scholars and writers from admitting that one of the most significant birthplaces of writing, science, philosophy and the arts was originated by Black people! There is a timeline displayed in the article that doesn't even mention the 1st - 3rd Dynasties at all! Why not? This is when the Great Pyramid and possibly the Sphinx (maybe earlier) were created!

"The article im
plies that Nubians, after being subjected (or conquered) by Egyptians in the 18th Dynasty, became the first 'Egyptomanics'; meaning they fell head over heels in love with the culture of their Conquerors. Their Egyptian conquerors 'installed Nubian Chiefs as administrators' and schooled the children of favorite Nubians at Thebes.

"The article says that the 'elite Nu
bians' embraced the Egyptian culture which included worshiping Amun, building pyramids, and using the Egyptian language. So, when Egypt, in the 8th century, started to fall apart, their solution was in their subjects to the South, the Nubians.

"What's wrong with this picture? Remember, in the minds of the Eurocentric, Egyptians are White Caucasian people, or at least Indo-European. So in their minds and the mind of the writer of this article, Whites created Egypt and all its grandeur, went down south and subjected the Blacks and taught them how to read and write.

"The 'elite Blacks' fell in love with the culture of the Whites and preserved it better than they did. Once it started to fall, they went back down south and got their Black subjects to come fight for them and return Egypt to what it once was. Then after all the rebuilding, these Blacks went back home.

"Now this might wash if it were not for facts established by Black and White archaeologists, Egyptologists, anthropologists, linguists and historians to the contrary of this racist spin. Egyptians called their home 'Kemit' - The Land of the Blacks. Eurocentric scholars translate the name as 'The Black Land' after the color of the soil.

"No other people anywhere named themselves after the color of the dirt in their land. The head of the Sphinx is of a Black person.

"The bust or carving of the head of the 1st Pharaoh Menes, is of a Black Man. The statues of people living in Egypt reflect the features of Black people. In art, the Egyptians displayed their skin color exactly the same as that of Nubians--Black--which they differentiated from other peoples such as the Libyans, Assyrians, etc.

"The birthright always passed through the woman or mother (matriarchal society) amongst Blacks vs. how it now passes through the father (patriarchal society) amongst Indo-Europeans. The Egyptian and Nubian culture were both matriarchal. Yes there were Pharaohs and they were Black. They were not conquerors of Egypt but of the people of the Nubian/Cushite/ Kemite/Ethiopian kingdom which included all of Egypt, Ethiopia, Arabia, Sudan and more.

"Last, there are a great many Eurocentric scholars who do not respect Black scholars and scientists. Not because the Black scho
lars are ill-trained, because many went to the same schools, but because the conclusions they draw on Black history are not in alignment with their own.

"The last insult or snub before the article closes is to display a picture of the head of Queen Tiye, the grandmother of King Tut. The caption by the image says that it 'is made of wood that has darkened with age" and because of that darkened wood, the writer claims that many have been inspired to think that she had Nubian Ancestry.

"In other words, that's the only reason that she is believed to be Black. Not that her facial features reflect that or that anthropological and archaeological evidence conclude that the ancient Egyptians were Black. Below are works by both Black and White scholars whose research speaks for itself:

  • The Destruction of Black Civilisation by Chancellor Williams
  • The African Origin of Civilisation by Cheikh A. Diop
  • Ruins of Empires by C. F.Volney
  • Egypt: Child of Africa edited by Ivan Van Sertima
  • Wonderful Ethiopians of the Ancient Cushite Empire by Drusilla D. Houston
  • Ancient Egypt: Light of the World by Gerald Massey
  • Black Man of the Nile and His Family by Yosef Ben Jochannon
  • Echoes of the Old Darkland by Charles S. Finch III
  • African Philosophy by Theophile Obenga
  • Maat: The Moral Idea in Ancient Egypt by Maulana Karenga."

TONIGHT: A tribute to Odetta

Join me on FM88.5 (Edmonton) and (worldwide) tonight at 8 until 10 pm Mountain time for a tribute to the late, great Odetta. How sad, as 2008 closes out, that we've lost two giants of folk and social justice music... Odetta and Zenzi Miriam Makeba.

We'll also hear from:

Ethiopia's Gigi
Morocco's Mariem Hassan
Cameroon's Manu Dibango
Nigeria's King Sunny Ade
Algeria's Nediha Gaouria, Mara + Jalal and Ahlam
Somali-Canada's K’Naan and Li-One
Democratic Republic of Congo's Zap Mama
Mali's Ali Farka Touré
Afrikamerica's Jeru the Damaja, Chuck D., DJ Spooky, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Common, Erykah Badu, Eddie Holman and Archie Shepp

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Venezuela Launches Sale of "Bolivarian" Computers

June 12th 2007, by Chris Carlson

The Bolivarian computer, model VIT C2660

"Mérida, June 12, 2007 (— The Venezuelan government of President Hugo Chavez announced the launch of their "Bolivarian Computers" last week, consisting of four different models produced in Venezuela with Chinese technology.

"The new computers will run the open-source Linux operating system and will first be used inside the government "missions" and state companies and institutions but eventually are expected to be sold across Venezuela and Latin America.

"Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez presented the new machines to the public last week at an event in the state of Falcon as he donated them to a school there. The new computers are produced by the joint venture VIT (Venezuela de Industria Tecnológica), which is owned by the Chinese company Lang Chao and the Venezuelan Ministry of Light Industry and Commerce...."

Yeah, it's an old story, but I just found it and I love it. And given how virtually all reporting about Chavez's government is deceitful and slanderous, it's nice to put out a good-news story about technology, open-source, and independent development.