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But Baraka knows, as well as all who have any sense of Middle East geopolitics, that Israel and Saudi

Arabia are the umbrella under which the United States has placed its lawn chair of access to oil, security,

and political stability. The needs and comfort of Israel and Saudi Arabia are foremost in U.S. foreign policy.



Obama's Mojo Ain't Working Like It Used To

An Open Letter to E. Ethelbert Miller and Amiri Baraka

By Rudolph Lewis


My experience at the barbershop, however, indicates something else entirely might be stirring. It shows the extent to which the president—and those advising him—may be grossly overestimating his ability to charm Main Street into perceiving reality according to his wishes.— Javier E. David, “Would blacks back Bush if he bombed Africa?” TheGrio

This is so sad. The question is even outdated. Is Africa still Eden? Why do we compare Obama to previous presidents but then always factor race into our thinking? What's a black president? Is it different from a president? What are America's national interests? What oath did Obama take when he became president? To protect the NAACP? So if Obama decided to bomb England or Germany would we cheer? Would this be the Nat Turner thing to do after many years of slavery and oppression?  What would people say if Obama gave the green light to attack pirates off the coast of Somalia? I find it amazing that folks discuss world issues as if they were in a playground (or barbershop) and believe they have the answer(s). If things were so simple we would all be president. No wonder Sarah Palin writes on her hands . . .—Ethelbert

Oh, you are so right, my dear Ethelbert: it all depends on where one begins when  confronted with a racial question. That is, if one is one of those evolved individuals (like the Black French of yesteryear), the racial question indeed is outdated. But I suspect that most people within the realm of blackness are not so evolved, as a Charles Johnson, or a Barack Obama. We are not the Sarah Palin who writes on her hands because she's an ignorant opportunist. That’s not where most of us are in the realm of blackness. . . . But on this point we can agree: since the mid 1970s, the black vote has become irrelevant in its ability to change negro consciousness, though Pan Africanism remain the floor of black thinking.

Are you aware of Amiri Baraka's latest poem? It is excellent, representative of a certain insightful Pan Africanist perspective. It should be read several times before one addresses its content:

The New Invasion of Africa

                           By Amiri Baraka

So it wd be this way
That they wd get a negro
To bomb his own home
To join with the actual colonial
Powers, Britain, France, add Poison Hillary
With Israeli and Saudi to make certain
That revolution in Africa must have a stopper
So call in the white people who long tasted our blood
They would be the copper, overthrow Libya
With some bullshit humanitarian scam
With the negro yapping to make it seem right (far right)
But that's how Africa got enslaved by the white
A negro selling his own folk, delivering us to slavery
In the middle of the night. When will you learn poet
And remember it so you know it
Imperialism can look like anything
Can be quiet and intelligent and even have
A pretty wife. But in the end, it is insatiable
And if it needs to, it will take your life.

21 March 2011

Baraka begins, we should not be surprised by our present situation, “that they would get a negro” to do their dirty work (which is later given a more general political name). But the particular act of bombing Libya is placed in a Pan African realm, “To bomb his home.” Now every conscious negro poet (or scholar) would not take such a traditional political stance. You may recall the piece “Africa My Motherland (Not)” by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers that I published not so long ago. For Ms. Jeffers, and for Mr. Obama (it’s evident as well, America is strictly home. In confronting the “birthers” (a third of the white American public), many Obama sympathizers have taken up his cause with mockery and derision of the Tea Party and their Republican colleagues, by stating and restating that he is the American Dream in the flesh—a point he restated recently in Brazil (to great applause). 

The poem “The New Invasion of Africa” may suggest for some that the “gotten negro” is altogether without agency. For his is not a singular act by the command of the powerful, wealthy elite, like “John kill that nigger”—and then John kills the nigger. No, in this instance, there is some plotting and decision-making that goes on and goes on within a certain historical context, which is represented by the phrasing “the actual colonial / Powers”—Britain and France probably demarcated and eventually controlled 75% of the land mass of Africa, from the Mediterranean to the Cape of Good Hope, from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean.

Of course, Belgium in the Congo and Portugal in Angola and Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau as well played their roles in curtailing black progress in the modern era. They too are eager members of a new “UnHoly Eight.” The decades after 1960s brought forth the liberation of the majority of their colonial creations. The last forty years the new black led African nations have been struggling to get their feet under them. Their progress has met many setbacks by IMF, World Bank, and “gotten negroes” educated in Western corruption in London, Paris, and New York.

But the present racial reality is more complex than the hubris of the old colonial powers. Mr. Obama (the “gotten negro” of Baraka’s poem) has a white middle class Cabinet and a few minority advisers. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, a Republican, warned Congress military intervention in a third country, even if it is just setting up a “no-fly” zone is not a small matter, however sophisticated one’s rhetoric is. War is always complicated and advanced technology does not simplify on-the-ground consequences. So far we have shot over 160 Tomakawk missiles and dropped an untold number of bombs from jets and high-flying bombers. To save the lives of a few we often have to take the lives of many.

Baraka refers to Mr. Obama’s Secretary of State as “Poison Hillary.” Image-wise one cannot fail to recall that playful scene in Hamlet in which one brother (the adviser) pours poison into the ear of his brother the King, the elder Hamlet, as a means to become king, the new head of Denmark. Hillary Clinton is indeed Mr. Obama’s adviser and from media reports she seems much more hawkish (and presidential) with regard to making war on Libya, and some on the left have suggested that she is much more in the pocket of the Israeli right than her boss. Hillary has many right-wing and autocratic friends since she was first lady herself—power corrupts, as well as a certain lifestyle.

In the Egyptian so-called revolution, we recall that Mrs. Clinton was much more reluctant than Mr. Obama to suggest President Mubarak step down from the Egyptian presidency, especially after the army decided to side with the hundreds of thousand of Egyptians. In his announcement, Obama believed he was speaking  on the right side of history and seemingly the president guessed right that Mr. Mubarak, he and his family wilting under charges of kleptocracy, could not withstand a palace coup. And the Mubarak family, Mrs. Clinton’s close friends, stepped off the stage of Egyptian political history to the chagrin of Mrs. Clinton and Israel, which felt safe under Mubarak’s political repression of the Muslim Brotherhood and the aspirations of Egyptian young people. Seemingly, the democratic left was on the march in the Arab world.

But Baraka knows, as well as all who have any sense of Middle East geopolitics, that Israel and Saudi Arabia are the umbrella under which the United States has placed its lawn chair of access to oil, security, and political stability. The needs and comfort of Israel and Saudi Arabia are foremost in U.S. foreign policy. From Saudi Arabia the U.S. receives 8.6% of its oils needs, third only to Mexico and Venezuela. And then there are the other related Arab League nations, such as Bahrain, Yemen, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates—the latter two with oil reserves that rival those of Saudi Arabia. But the Arab League is fractured and primarily controlled by monarchists. These kings, sheikhs, and emirs have always been suspect of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi who deposed King Idris of Libya over four decades ago.

In the Islamic Maghreb, the most populous Egypt with the largest military force, and  since the death of Nasser, orients itself exceedingly more toward Pan-Arabism than Pan Africanism. Libya and Muammar Qadaffi have been an exception; they have been highly critical of Pan Arabism and the Arab League in its dealings with Iraq and Palestine. Gaddafi has exceedingly engaged Black Africa and has probably boosted and sped up a movement toward African unity, much more so than the exceedingly wealthy states of Egypt and South Africa. As far as institutions Libya may be one of the weakest in the traditional sense of the Maghreb states militarily. Its leader, however, Mr. Gaddafi has been the most extravagant in his dress, in his views, and in his generosity to black African nations. And some Libyans, especially those of the monarchist Benghazi, have found his Pan Africanist sympathies troubling. These same anti-black Africans have also been associated with jihadist terrorism and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Egypt has been on the U.S. payroll since Anwar Sadat to the tune of $7 billion a year. With Sadat and Mubarak the safety and security of Israel was assured. Though its confidence in the Egyptian military is still intact, Israel is a good deal uneasy about the politics of the next Egyptian president, which remains uncertain. It’s almost certain the Muslim Brotherhood will play a greater role in the new Egypt. Coupled with the revolutionary Pan Africanist rhetoric of Gaddafi and the fuzzy politics of Tunisian and Egyptian youth the dynamics of Maghreb will never be as they were. For the Arab League, the destruction of the dynamic Libyan center became an optional trade off to counter both the liberalization of Arab politics and the advancing unification of African governments inspired by Mr. Gaddafi. 

Of course, the politics of “The New Invasion of Africa” has little to do with revolutionary Arabism (terrorism) or Zionism (Gaza repression) and all that Western history that has been raised to classify Gaddafi, in Reagan’s term, a “mad dog.” For Baraka’s poem Gaddafi is only a shadow or a shadowy symbol of Pan Africanism, as an African head of state, or “That [ongoing] revolution in Africa.” The colonialists—Britain and France—are the “white people who long tasted our blood.” They will be the “copper”—the vaunted continental policeman who desire to go beyond IMF and the World Bank—who will oversee the “no fly” zone—now and hereafter the self-proclaimed determiners of the “legitimate” leaders of African peoples. Those Western decision-making nations who will determine the future of Africa, we may conclude easily, do not love African people more than African people love themselves. African nations will insist they declared their independence long ago from such foreign interventions, however many Western Africoms are created

From just our American experience, the Negro masses are somewhat suspect of the good hearts of the Tea Party and their sympathizers or in general the white middle classes when it comes to the welfare and progress of black people. Much of that white angst is symbolized in the rhetoric of the “birthers” and the insistence on making Mr. Obama a Muslin, i.e., the Other or the “half sign,” as O.R. Dathorne might say. We have seen too many instances when American whites think they know what is best for us. Baraka calls them out in this phrase, “some bullshit humanitarian scam” and they have some “negro yapping to make it seem right (far right).” The Negro is accustomed to this game, which began Day One of the Maafa, “that's how Africa got enslaved by the white / A negro selling his own folk, delivering us to slavery / In the middle of the night.”

Memory or knowledge of African-American history is a defense against enslavement and brutal exploitation. The Negro has to look around himself carefully with great scrutiny, “Imperialism can look like anything / Can be quiet and intelligent and even have / A pretty wife.” Baraka has written a tough poem, one that almost any Negro on the street can recognize its truth and its warnings of a prescient danger. “Imperialism,” or from the visions of Nkrumah, “neocolonialism,” “is insatiable / And if it needs to, it will take your life.” Right now, liberal white middle class Americans and their media heads are speaking of “regime change” and “taking Gaddafi out,” as if he is a pig to be led to slaughter or a nigger to the hanging tree. Go tell Dr. Ken Warren, Amiri Baraka is not dead, and neither is African American literature.

No, E, I did not expect Mr. Obama to do “the Nat Turner thing,” though there may be some Turners in the making. If “world issues” cannot be discussed on the “playground (or barbershop),” are they worthy of the black masses still longing to be free. These are issues, my dear brother, in which white policymakers speak as our red brothers used to say with forked tongues. You know the fabled snake in the Garden. Or to use Malcolm’s bestiary, the masked wolf and fox in our bedrooms and pockets. They will be talking about victories when there are no victories. They are filled with tactics for duping and bamboozling. That is where we have arrived with Mr. Obama. No, I did not expect him to be my Nat Turner, though we have those willing to make that sacrifice. I did expect a greater truth telling. I did not expect him to take us into another war, especially a war on Africa. Regrettably, Obama’s American Dream seems very reminiscent of Ronald Reagan’s “white heaven.” This down-coming—this turn-around—is indeed sad.

posted 25 March 2011

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Amiri BarakaOde to Obama

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The Great Pax Whitie

                   By Nikki Giovanni


In the beginning was the word

And the word was


And the word was nigger

And the word was death to all niggers   

And the word was death to all life   

And the word was death to all

   peace be still


The genesis was life   

The genesis was death   

In the genesis of death   

Was the genesis of war

   be still peace be still


In the name of peace   

They waged the wars   

   ain’t they got no shame


In the name of peace

Lot’s wife is now a product of the Morton company   

   nah, they ain’t got no shame


Noah packing his wife and kiddies up for a holiday   

row row row your boat

But why’d you leave the unicorns, noah

Huh? why’d you leave them

While our Black Madonna stood there

Eighteen feet high holding Him in her arms   

Listening to the rumblings of peace

    be still be still



He wanted to know

And peter only asked who is that dude?

Who is that Black dude?

Looks like a troublemaker to me

And the foundations of the mighty mighty         

Ro Man Cat holic church were laid


   hallelujah Jesus

   nah, they ain’t got no shame


Cause they killed the Carthaginians   

in the great appian way

And they killed the Moors

“to civilize a nation”

And they just killed the earth

And blew out the sun

In the name of a god

Whose genesis was white

And war wooed god

And america was born

Where war became peace

And genocide patriotism

And honor is a happy slave

cause all god’s chillun need rhythm

And glory hallelujah why can’t peace

   be still


The great emancipator was a bigot   

   ain’t they got no shame

And making the world safe for democracy

Were twenty millon slaves

   nah, they ain’t got no shame


And they barbecued six million

To raise the price of beef

And crossed the 38th parallel

To control the price of rice

   ain’t we never gonna see the light


And champagne was shipped out of the East   

While kosher pork was introduced

To Africa

   Only the torch can show the way


In the beginning was the deed   

And the deed was death


And the honkies are getting confused   

   peace be still


So the great white prince

Was shot like a nigger in texas

And our Black shining prince was murdered   

like that thug in his cathedral

While our nigger in memphis

was shot like their prince in dallas

And my lord

ain’t we never gonna see the light

The rumblings of this peace must be stilled   

   be stilled be still


ahh Black people   

ain’t we got no pride?

Nikki Giovanni, “The Great Pax Whitie” from Black Feeling, Black Talk/Black Judgment. Copyright © 1968, 1970 by Nikki Giovanni. Used with the permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Source: The Collected Poetry of Nikki Giovanni: 1968-1998

PEACE BE STILL/ Great Pax Whitey 9video)

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Africans Beware the Saviors of Libya  / US Senate discusses sending troops to Libya

Bob Marley

War  / Get Up, Stand Up

*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



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Black Americans in Congress, 1870-2007

By Matthew Wasniewski

Black Americans in Congress, 1870–2007 beautifully prepared volume—is a comprehensive history of the more than 120 African Americans who have served in the United States Congress. Written for a general audience, this book contains a profile of each African-American Member, including notables such as Hiram Revels, Joseph Rainey, Oscar De Priest, Adam Clayton Powell, Shirley Chisholm, Gus Hawkins, and Barbara Jordan. Individual profiles are introduced by contextual essays that explain major events in congressional and U.S. history. Part I provides four chronologically organized chapters under the heading "Former Black Members of Congress." Each chapter provides a lengthy biographical sketch of the members who served during the period addressed, along with a narrative historical account of the era and tables of information about the Congress during that time. Part II provides similar information about current African-American members. There are 10 appendixes providing tabular information of a variety of sorts about the service of Black members, including such things as a summary list, service on committees and in party leadership posts, familial connections, and so forth. The entire volume is 803 large folio pages in length and there are many illustrations. The book should be part of every library and research collection, and congressional scholars may well wish to obtain it for their personal libraries.Pictures—including rarely seen historical images—of each African American who has served in Congress—Bibliographies and references to manuscript collections for each Member—Statistical graphs and charts

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Faces At The Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism

By Derrick Bell

In nine grim metaphorical sketches, Bell, the black former Harvard law professor who made headlines recently for his one-man protest against the school's hiring policies, hammers home his controversial theme that white racism is a permanent, indestructible component of our society. Bell's fantasies are often dire and apocalyptic: a new Atlantis rises from the ocean depths, sparking a mass emigration of blacks; white resistance to affirmative action softens following an explosion that kills Harvard's president and all of the school's black professors; intergalactic space invaders promise the U.S. President that they will clean up the environment and deliver tons of gold, but in exchange, the bartering aliens take all African Americans back to their planet. Other pieces deal with black-white romance, a taxi ride through Harlem and job discrimination. Civil rights lawyer Geneva Crenshaw, the heroine of Bell's And We Are Not Saved (1987), is back in some of these ominous allegories, which speak from the depths of anger and despair. Bell now teaches at New York University Law School.Publishers Weekly /  Derrick Bell Law Rights Advocate  Dies at 80

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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update 7 April 2012




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Related files:   Oedipus and Ordinariness  Tea Party Nationalism   Speech on Libya Situation   Gaddafi: A System of His Own   Libya Getting it Right: Pan-African  Obama, Political Cynicism, and the Tea Party  

Libya Geopolitics   Qaddafi Apologizes for Arab Slave Trade    Libya Needs Dialogue: Yoweri Museveni  White Cloud Storms Africa  Obama Bombs Africa: Targets African Unity  The Wealth of the West

Remarks at Martin Luther King Observance Day