Showing posts from June, 2005

American school teachers are getting screwed

The Alberta government hypocritically claims to value education while demanding more and more of teachers while overcrowding classrooms, underfunding schools and derailing the ability of the Alberta Teachers' Association to fight for better teaching and working conditions (forcing teachers into the position of being able to bargain only for salary--a self-fulfilling prophecy that "teachers only care about money"). But as bad as it is here, it's nothing compared to what American governments at local, state and federal level are doing to teachers.

The New York Times says "In your community, you might spot your son's Advanced Placement biology teacher working in the summer as a travel agent. Or perhaps your daughter's English teacher is painting the house down the street. Not counting those who teach summer school, about 20 percent of the country's teachers have second jobs (often during the school year, too), and the majority of those jobs could not be …

Robert Fisk says West is deluded about "progress" in Iraq

Robert Fisk writes: "How many suicide bombers have now immolated themselves against the Americans and their mercenaries and the new Iraqi army and the new Iraqi police force and their recruits? The figure appears to stand at around 420. Back in the days of Hizbollah’s war against Israeli occupation in Lebanon, a suicide bomber a month was regarded as phenomenal. In the Palestinian 'intifada', one a week was amazing. But in Iraq, we reach seven a day; Wal-Mart suicide bombing that raises the darkest questions about our ability to crush the uprising." Read the rest here.

Sudanese Rebels Say Civilians Being Bombed in the East

"Sudanese rebels who recently clashed with government forces in the east have accused Khartoum of using planes to bomb civilians near the Eritrean border." Read the full UN/IRIN story here.

Italian Judge Orders Arrest of 13 CIA Agents For Kidnapping

Today's Democracy Now!reports that "An Italian judge has ordered the arrest of 13 CIA agents for kidnapping a Muslim cleric off the streets of Milan in 2003 and then transferring him to Egypt where he was reportedly tortured." Read, watch or listen to the full story here.

All praise is due to Rã

The BRO-LOG may be less active than usual until August 6 because I’m getting married to a better woman than I have any right to, one possessed of tremendous beauty and honour and (fortunately for me) poor judgement of character. Then off to Egypt and Lebanon for five weeks. What a life. Hotep, everyone. All praise is due to Rã.

Meeting nice folks at all these crazy readings and signings

Been meeting plenty of nice folks at my recent Edmonton readings and signings.

Today at the Whyte Ave Chapters I met some very nice folks including one of my former high school students, an excellent young writerfrom the creative writing course I taught at the U of A's faculty of extension, a couple of other aspiring writers, some nice young progressives and an old high school acquaintance who’s all groweded up with her own kids and evrathang. Time, she does fly, eh?

Last night I was at Audrey’s Books and had fun chatting with fine and accomplished novelists Wayne Arthurson and Deanna Kent-McDonald, as well as local poetical terrorist and neat cat Mingus Tourette, whose poetry you have got to check out. The event was organised by NeWest Press which is putting out a book on Edmonton in September featuring a memoir by me about the then-working class neighbourhood of old Strathcona and my near-fatal adventures in tobogganing.

Had great fun last Tuesday with the folks at the southside Ch…

My new super-hero novel

Thanks to all the folks who've given me congrats and whuddups on finishing the new manuscript. This is the fifth book I've written, and if God is willing, it will be the second one published--next summer from Del Rey. It's a mixture of farcical and deadly serious, superheroes and politics, so think JLA meets Bamboozled... or Mystery Men meets Fahrenheit 911.

Why is Alan Moore giving away potentially millions of dollars and being jerked around?

For a rather disappointing discovery that Alan Moore, the most important English-language comic book writer since Stan Lee, is apparently being jerked around, and badly, read this discussion.

For a remarkably long set of KRS-One speech and interview clips, check this.

For more news on the Sister Sophia Stewart and The Matrix + Terminatorcontroversy(did she create the source material for both?), read this.

For an extended discussion by Dr. Michael Eric Dyson on Bill Cosby's controversial statements last year and whether the American "Black middle class" has lost its mind, check out this audio.

New Novel is Complete!

Huzzahs and glories. I'm finally done the first draft of my newest book. No, it's not a sequel to The Coyote Kings of the Space-Age Bachelor Pad. It's a bizarre new tale about... superheroes. Look for it next summer. Man, am I spaced out.

Zapatistas Put on Red Alert

According to Democracy Now!, Mexico's Zapatista rebel armyhas put its forces on red alert but it is unclear what has prompted the action. The leader of the Zapatistas, Subcommandante Marcos said in a statement on Monday they were grouping their fighters together, temporarily closing down their radio station and pulling out of villages they govern. Read/watch/listen here.

Upcoming readings and signings

It's a busy month for me, with lots of great chances to meet folks. Please come on out and say howdy.

June 18, Saturday, 4 PM
Chapters, Southside, Calgary Trail, Edmonton

June 18, Saturday, 2:00 - 3:30 PM
Chapters, Sherwood Park

June 21, Tuesday, 7 pm
Chapters, Southside, Calgary Trail, Edmonton
Book Club Discussion ofThe Coyote Kings of the Space-Age Bachelor Pad
June 24, Friday, 7:30 PM
Audrey’s Books, 10702 Jasper Ave
Reading with Wayne Arthurson, author ofFinal Seasonand Deanna Kent-McDonald, author of West Wind, North ChatterJune 25, Saturday, 1-3 PM
Chapters, 105th Street + Whyte Avenue, Edmonton
SigningJune 26, Sunday, 2-4 PM
Chapters, West End, Edmonton (North of WEM)

US corporate media willing propagandists for White House in illegal war

Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! and her brother David wrote recently: "Recent revelations that the Bush administration has been fabricating news stories, secretly hiring journalists to write puff pieces and credentialing fake reporters at White House news conferences has infuriated the news media."Editorials profess to being shocked - shocked! - by the government's covert propaganda campaign in which, as The New York Times revealed March 13, at least 20 federal agencies have spent $250 million creating and sending fake news segments to local TV stations."But the media have only themselves to blame for most people - including TV news managers - not being able to distinguish journalism from propaganda. The line between news and propaganda was trampled not only by the public relations agencies hired by the government but also by reporters in the deserts of Iraq. The Pentagon deployed a weapon more powerful than any bomb: the U.S. media."

BBC: Afrikan boys are being smuggled into UK for "human sacrifice"

From today's BBC Africa Report: "Children are being trafficked into the UK from Africa and used for human sacrifices, a confidential report for the Metropolitan Police suggests. Children are being beaten and even murdered after being labelled as witches by pastors, the report leaked to BBC Radio 4's Today programme said."Is that not a horrifying enough hook? Well here's a worse one for you--guess who's doing it?Culture and faith must be the servants of justice and the Divine, never the other way round. And if people are locked in mortal combat with culture or faith, you damn well know which side I think should win.

What if Bill Cosby were White?

Jonathan Scott asks the question, writing in part: "When was the last time you heard a big white celebrity with moral authority raining down critical bombs on white people’s heads?

"How about the Reverend Billy Graham? I don’t recall him ever blasting white Christians for making a disgrace of Jesus’ name by continuing to support racist leaders and reactionary social policies such as war, capital punishment, the Crime Bill, de-funding public education and U.S. cities in general, de-unionizing the workforce, repealing welfare, the aggressive assault on Affirmative Action, the upward redistribution of wealth in the form of tax cuts for multi-millionaires – each a different cause of racial segregation, widening socioeconomic inequalities, and the moral debasement of our society....

"In this spirit, I have written the sermon that Reverend Billy Graham would have delivered on to the heads of white America had he forgotten, for just a day or two, his own whiteness – if he had be…

The Rise + Fall of an Albertan Hate Group

Tonight at 7 PM on Edmonton's University of Alberta Campus, anti-fascist human rights lawyer Richard Warman speaks on why he went to war against against hate group Western Canada for Us (WCFU)."When you see people claiming that all people who are mentally disabled and all people who are homosexual should be killed, I think that that makes it imperative on anyone in the community to act and to bring that to a halt," said Warman.The lecture is co-sponsored by the Northern Alberta Alliance on Race Relations (NAARR) and U of A's Department of Political Science. (And I designed theposter.) The event is in Room 158 of the Education South building on 87th Avenue.

Why do North Americans buy so much crap?

Why do North Americans buy so much crap? Why are we so decadent?Ask a "Chinese factory worker."

FBI whistleblower says Neo-Nazis greatest terrorist threat in US

Democracy Now! carries audio + video interview with ex-FBI agent Mike German who resigned to protest continuing failures of the FBI's counter terrorism program to stop neo-nazis and anti-government militias.

Predator countries reduce predation on eighteen sickliest sheep

Cancelling debt.I'm glad, honest. But maybe we should now start to proceed from a more realistic perspective... after all, who owes whom? What empire grew rich by conquering the entire planet, installing a crushing hegemony of racial supremacy, liquidating tens of millions and enslaving scores of other millions?

Who owes what to whom?

Should the Original World even consider forgiving the debt of the Empire?

Say the word, say it slowly, say it proudly: rep-a-ra-tions....

Some of the most inspiring advocates of Palestinian freedom are Jewish

Proving once again that some of the most inspiring advocates of Palestinian freedom are Jewish, a "Jewish group in Montreal is accusing city authorities of censorship over its decision to remove a library exhibit of the work of murdered photojournalist Zahra Kazemi. On Friday, members of the Canada Jewish Alliance Against the Occupation held a mock book-banishing ceremony in front of the Côte-St-Luc library where Kazemi's photos had been on display." Rock on, my friends. You made my Sunday.

And may we all take the lesson--sticking up for your own group (however you define that group) is a good thing, and that means making sure your group is doing the right thing by everybody. So, all you rich & famous American-Afrikan athletes, actors and hip hoppers, time to drop the kot-tam Nike endorsements and stop wearing all the other Timberland, Adidas and other products of sweatshop criminality. Didn't like slavery? Didn't like apartheid? Then you must oppose a global …

Brother Aaron Douglas: "Building More Stately Mansions"

Br. Aaron Douglas, one of my favourite artists, painted this brilliant piece in 1944. To the best of my knowledge, there are no books which collect Douglas' work. What a shame. His use of radiant, interlocking geometries of light and colour is electrifying, amplifying the purpose of his body of work--to dramatise the experience of Afrikans from ancient Kemet (Egypt) to Imentet(the West). I call his style Afriluminism; his paintings are a major source of inspiration for my take on science fiction~fantasy, which I call Imhotep-Hop.
You can read up on Br. Douglas through the website of Harlem's historic Schomburg Centre.

The highest international crime is aggression, and Bush is guilty

The Bush cabal began its invasion of Iraq not in 2003, but in 2002. To read, watch or listen, check out the story with by The Nation'sJeremy Scahill on Democracy Now!

Censored: Exhibit of Canadian photographer murdered by Iran's security forces yanked from Montreal library

Zahra Kazemi should be regarded as a Canadian hero, a woman who ultimately lost her life trying to get the world to see repression in Iran through her photographs. Iran's state "security" goons tortured and murdered her for her defense of freedom.

Unfortunately, some people in Canada would like to keep her work out of public view. A Montreal library hosting an exhibit of Kazemi's photographs decided to remove photographs deemed too sympathetic to occupied Palestinians; Kazemi's son gave the library an ultimatum--the whole exhibit or nothing. The museum chose nothing. Check out CBC's take on the story.

It's an odd conflict, since defenders of Israel tend to be critics of Iran. Surely drawing attention to the threat to democracy posed by Iran's repressive theocracy is useful to defenders of Israel. But attention paid to Israel's own repression, apparently, is too high a price.

Double-standards abound in discussion of Middle Eastern issues. For the reco…

Zimbabwean Brother writes Canada's top doctoral thesis in Education

A Zimbabwean Brother at the University of Alberta has "won a national award for the best doctoral thesis in international education," writes Iris Tse in the U of A Express News.

Tse continues: "Education student Edward Shizha, whose doctoral thesis is entitled Indigenous Knowledge and Languages in the Teaching and Learning of Science: a Focus on a Rural Primary School in Zimbabwe, beat out competitors from McGill University, the University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia, the University of Calgary, and the University of Western Ontario to capture the Michel Laferriere Award from the Comparative and International Education Society of Canada."

Read the rest of the story here.

Afri-Can Lit pioneer Br. George Elliot Clarke reads at U of A today at 3:30

Dr. George Elliot Clarke received an honorary doctorate (to be added to his real one) from the University of Alberta today, and if you'd like to hear him perform some of his poetry (he's the celebrated talent behind Whylah Fallsand Beatrice Chancy), he'll be at the U of A Humanities Centre in Room 4-29 at 3:30. You can watch a clip of him here, and below you can read part of what I wrote about him for See Magazine in 1999:

"The man is George. You could call him the whole bit: Dr. George Elliot Clarke, internationally renowned writer, academic and literary historian. But I can only think of him as Brother George, the Black man from a little strip of cold, wet land called Nova Scotia, Canada’s Alabama, home to centuries-old Black communities and the racist response against them.

"Brother George has made it his life’s work to map the literary history of those African-Canadians and their kinfolk across the country, to weave a luxurious verbal tapestry about Black folk …

Conscious Hip Hop

Check out the new side links section called "Righteous Rhymes" for E-Townian, Albertan, Canadian and other conscious hip hop with great music. And can anyone get me information about Majid, who's described as a Palestinian hip hop star?The Queer Arabsays his video, "My Struggle," is excellent. I'd like to see his video or listen to his music. If you have information, email me.

And there are plenty of other news links on THE BRO-LOG, everyone, from links on Afrikan History to links on countering racial supremacy. So check 'em out.

US Ballistic Missile "Defense" fulfills goal of nuclear first-strike capacity with impunity

Br. Sean Gonsalves tells it like it is after attending a meeting with world-renowned peace activist Dr. Helen Caldicott. BMD, "Star Wars," "missile shield"--call it what you like, but it aint gonna work. And whether or not it works, pickpocketting American and Canadian taxpayers and putting the money into the pockets of hyper-rich industrial death-dealers (just you wait, Canadians--what Paul Martin says and what he does are two different things) inevitably provokes a vast new arms race.

Why? Because US rivals China and Russia know that the ultimate goal of US ballistic missile "defense" is first-strike capacity with impunity, i.e., a policy of mass-murdering nuclear aggression against civilians not practiced by anyone since the US president ordered the immolation of all women, children and old people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Historian Gar Alperovitz has demonstrated that the atomic vengeance was not only entirely unnecessary, but that the US president kne…

Ralph Nader: Time to Impeach Bush

Ralph Nader, who's done more as an individual and an organiser to improve safety, governmental accountability and material quality of life for Americans than any living human being, argues alongside Kevin Zeese that the grounds upon which to impeach George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are expansive. Read their discussion, and then watch Nader's interview on Washington Journal.

Dyson vs. Cosby: Br. Lawrence Hill's take

Brother Lawrence Hill, author of such novels asAny KnownBlood and such social texts as Black Berry, Sweet Juice: On Being Black and White in Canada, has a few angry words to share about both Bill Cosby and Dr. Michael Eric Dyson in his review of Is Bill Cosby Right? Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost its Mind?

Br. Hill's a fine cat. I met him in E-Town a couple of times; during the first, he was reading from Any Known Blood and was a fine story teller--very funny. Recently I read his article in The Walrus, which introduced to history-lite Canadians the subject of North American Afrikan self-determination, among other things. Check the Brother out.

The Matrix: Did a Sister get script-jacked?

Another fascinating piece on the controversy--did Sister Sophia Stewart write the source material for both The Terminator and The Matrix film series? See what Sabrina Ford has to say, and thencheck out the source material yourself, including visuals.

TIME Magazine's Top 100 Films List: THE FLY is there... but how come aint no Brothers up on the wall?

Morris O'Kelly, producer of The Tavis Smiley Show, writes at length about the significance of TIME's white-out in their Top 100 Films list, and in particular that the presence of The Fly and Finding Nemo combined with the absence of Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X and Antwone Fisher is an insult.I agree with Br. Morris.What films--either by or about Blackfolks, or hell, at least starring a Brother or Sister, do you think should be on the list?Email me and let me know.

McQuaig: US Occupiers Kill 100 Prisoners in Iraq, Guantanamo; Torture Countless Others

Linda McQuaig writes: "A 22-year-old prisoner at a US detention centre in Afghanistan died in December 2002 after being chained by his wrists to the top of his cell for four days and beaten until, according to the coroner, he resembled someone run over by a bus. During his interrogations, the prisoner cried 'Allah' whenever he was struck, which apparently amused his US interrogators and encouraged them to strike more. One later explained: 'Everybody heard him cry out and thought it was funny'....

"Accusing Washington of having become 'a leading purveyor and practitioner' of torture, Amnesty [International] called on Congress last week to appoint an independent commission.... But the death of this young Afghan taxi driver — who, it turns out, his interrogators believed to have been innocent — as well as more than 100 other detainee deaths and countless torture allegations at the Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay prisons have failed to provoke any official i…