ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


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Even if the actions of the politicians had called for this . . . There is time for analysis of what

happened and why, and time to show compassion. It is only a sadist who will want

to engage in an ill-digested analysis at a time when what is called for is compassion.



Books by Marvin X

Love and War: Poems  / In the Crazy House Called America / Woman: Man's Best Friend Beyond Religion Toward Spirituality

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Responses to  

London Bridges Falling Down  By Marvin X (El Muhajir) 


Jideofor of African Renaissance  Responds

I find Marvin X's article, prophetic or not, extremely in bad taste. To justify the recent London mayhem by a bunch of delusional psychopaths as retributive justice sits uncomfortably with my notion of justicefrom humanist, religious, political and intellectual perspectives. It is akin to some non-blacks somewhere celebrating as a comeuppance the setting the torching and killing of all congregations in a black church because some black men raped some non-black women somewhere.

Many of the people who lost their lives are ordinary individuals like you and me, who daily struggle to make ends meet. Some, I am sure, may have taken part in demonstrations against some of the decisions of the politicians, which the killers claim motivated their sick actions. There are single mothers who left their children at schools, hoping to be back before the end of the school that day to pick them up. With mum no more, the fate of such children could only be imagined. And yet, someone out there, in a delusional intellectual grand-standing, dared call it retribution.

Even if the actions of the politicians had called for this, there is time for everything under the heaven. There is time for analysis of what happened and why, and time to show compassion. It is only a sadist who will want to engage in an ill-digested analysis at a time when what is called for is compassion.

I am surprised that you chose to defend that ill-advised piece.Jideofor

Rudy Responds

I quite understand your position. And I respect your choice and your reaction. Those who committed the acts in London may be all you say. I do not know the facts of the situation. I know there is a lot of dying going on in the world, everywhere. Oceans of tears have fallen, and there are rotting corpses a plenty, everywhere. I'd love for it all to come to an end so that we can all live in peace and comfort.

I must however disagree with you in how you characterize Marvin X. I think he is neither a delusional nor a sadist. At least I cannot discern that from his writings and his public statements. What occurs in his private life is another matter; in that arena, I have little concern from a moral or ethical point of view.

From what I know of Marvin, he too loves humanity, and he loves the individual, regardless of color or nationality or gender or sexual persuasion. He is Love, and sacrifices everyday for the poor and the oppressed. I did not get the impression that he took cruel delight in the death of others. He is not monstrous. He was not operating on the ground level of sentimental feelings he may or may not possess.

I only know for certain what he wrote. That writing was done in the context in which there is a Great War or great wars between the operations of the Global North and the Global South. And there is a long, long history, of violence and oppression, which incorporates, from all sides, biblical history. Israel's very existence is built up on a biblical/mythic foundation, in which scripture and scriptural prophecy are invoked. Why should such structures not be available to Marvin X as an artist and a citizen of the world?

The millennialism notion incorporated in Marvin's prophetic sermon is a mode of interpretation that did not begin with Marvin. It is rooted in our national history here in America, used by Abe Lincoln to justify the slaughter of our Civil War, and it has been used by George Bush to justify his War on Iraq.

The issues of divine justice and divine retribution are as much an important aspect of Christian theology, as  Islamic theology.

Did he have a right to say what he wanted to say in the manner in which he said it, you damn right he does. And the only reason that I would not post it on ChickenBones: A Journal would be out of fear.

I will not silence Marvin X.

Response from Sheila

None of these so called killings is in the name of GOD, if there are individuals using such means to get the word or program across. Whatever the causes of such blood and death, it does not make it right.

Rudy Responds

Personally, I am against all war. I have been a pacifist since 1968, and have paid some dues on that score. There is no justification for murder, whether from the left or the right or from the North or South, from Palestinians or from Israelis, from Sunnis or from Shiites, from Americans or from British, from individuals or from the State. But we have a lot of that going on from the US Army and US Senators, without any embarrassment. Haven't you heard the announcement, "We gonna kill or capture" so and so. So there is a lot of stupid bravado and murdering going around on all sides.

Of course, in the ordinary actions of our world, we have a tradition of laws that deal with killing and murder that moves us beyond revenge killings, covering also self-defense and accidental killings. One French social critic and philosopher, who also does not justify murder, adds this caveat, violence can be understandable, and may be more understandable from the severely repressed than the violence instituted and made legitimate and respectable from the State and its leaders.

I do not think Marvin justifies murder of individuals. His is a cosmic vision in which he sees good and evil in a cosmic struggle, and that evil has its minions in nations and high places, and that Divine Judgment requires an equalizing of cosmic events, that evil is given a certain time to reign and then the Lord comes in on his white horse of glory with a sword in his mouth and the beast is destroyed, driven from the land, and the kingdom of the Lord descends from heaven. Well, that's Revelation. 

Is it mythic? Does it refer to something, plus? I have no certainty of its Truth. But how is what is in the Bible any different from what Marvin X said in his piece, "London Bridges Falling Down"? How is it any different from what Nathaniel Turner preached and prophesied, in the face of outrageous injustice in Virginia and American slavery?

Marvin here only applies biblical scriptures (prophecy) to present the possible significance of contemporary daily events, that is, of violence. Is he right, I don't know. But that same kind of preaching and prophesying occurs every Sunday from every pulpit in America. This type of religious rhetoric is all over the internet and even on cable TV, put forth by Southern Baptists and other right wing evangelists. 

Well, Marvin does not speak for the privileged, he speaks from the ground up, from the perspective of those enslaved and colonized, who still suffer from that slavery and that colonization. These slavers and colonizers grew rich and they are growing richer still as they continue to plunder Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the Americas.

So you are quite right: It is not right. So what is our responsibility as a citizen of the world an inhabitant of the globe when we see these global disasters. Do we invoke God? Who isn't, doesn't? Surely the slavers and colonizers provide money to the Church for its silence on their violence against the poor and the powerless. At least the representatives of the poor and the powerless should be allowed to speak freely what thoughts and responses pass through their minds.

Marvin X Responds

Rudy, of course, I hate violence and suffering, partly because I was born into a world full of it, especially since WWII. I am horrified at what happened in Sebrenica with the slaughter of eight thousand Muslims while the UN stood nearby. Don't mention Rwanda or Iraq. Who in their right mind can rejoice in such slaughter? How could civilized governments allow such things to happen in the post Nazi genocide world, yet events continue. America spends 500 billion dollars per year on guns, yet cannot make or maintain peace in the world or at home. The hood is a bastion of terror from coast to coast, with killings and funerals the main rituals in the hood. What is the endgame, where is the justice? We see in Zimbabwe and South Africa how quickly revolutionaries become reactionaries, so we can only wonder when real peace and justice will come upon the earth. Lord, let us pray. Mx

Another Response

Are you feeling safe right now? Anon One

Anon Two Responds to Anon One

Safe?  What is safe?   A bunch of callous, idiotic brutes (terrorists) struck a soft target in London and botched the job, because they are as stupid as they are brutal.   They are too lacking in malicious imagination to see that there are lots of soft targets—all over the world.  I could get blown away any day in State College or Iowa City,  just going about my business if the terrorists had enough creativity to recognize the obvious available targets.   

But they are idiots and thus never really do the sort of diabolical damage that they could do, if they had any imagination.   One of these days, I am afraid they will find leaders who have true satanic capacity for evil.   Then watch out!  Deaths will be in the millions, not mere thousands, and when our rotting flesh falls from our bones, we shall discover that none of us was ever safe.   But of this you may be certain, the devil is biding his time.    

The following verse, by Du Bois, I am certain you recognize

Name of God's Name!
Red murder reigns;
All hell is loose;
On gold autumnal air
Walk grinning devils, barbed and hoofed;
While high on hills of hate,
Black-blossomed, crimson-sky'd,
Thou sittest, dumb.

This earth is mad!
Palsied, our cunning hands;
Rotten, our gold;
Our argosies reel and stagger
Over empty seas;
All the long aisles
Of Thy Great Temples, God,
Stink with the entrails
Of our souls.
And Thou art dumb.

Rudy Responds to Anon Two

yes, I think that things can indeed be made more thoroughly worst, more severely diabolical and evil. It seems as if the most rational of men, Du Bois, eventually and almost always, makes a biblical and religious appeal, even though he probably does not believe in the Deity in which he calls. This God who is silent ("dumb"), seemingly, in the midst of human devastation. Murderers and victims call on him, and the murdering and the victimizing continues.  Isn't Du Bois a strange little German fellow? 

posted 13 July 2005 

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"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich." Napoleon Bonaparte

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 Eldridge Cleaver: My Friend the Devil

A Memoir by Marvin X

Marvin X on YouTube   Marvin X Table  Marvin X and His Parables

Books by Marvin X

Love and War: Poems  / In the Crazy House Called America

 Woman: Man's Best Friend Beyond Religion Toward Spirituality

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Pray the Devil Back to Hell

A film directed by Gini Reticker

Pray the Devil Back to Hell is a captivating new film by director Gini Reticker. It exposes a different story angle for the largely forgotten recent events of the women of Liberia uniting to bring the end to their nation's civil war. This film is amazing in the way it captivates your attention from the earliest frames. It doesn't shy away from showing footage of the violent events that took place during the Liberian civil war. But the main story of the film is that of Leymah Gbowee and the other women uniting, despite their religious differences, to force action on the stalled peace talks in their country. Using entirely nonviolent methods, not only are the peace talks successful, but Charles Taylor, the president of Liberia, is forced into exile leading to the first election of a female head of state in Africa. The women of this film are truly an inspiration and no one can fail to be moved by the message of hope that comes through clearly in this film. These are heroes that deserve to be remembered and with Pray the Devil we are able to do that, gaining both a knowledge of the history we are ignorant of through archival footage and an understanding of the leaders of this movement through close-up interviews with the many women who lead it. The film also offers a great soundtrack & inspirational song- "Djoyigbe" by Angelique Kidjo & Blake Leyh.Amazon Reviewer

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Mighty Be Our Powers

How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War

By Leymah Gbowee

As a young woman, Leymah Gbowee was broken by the Liberian civil war, a brutal conflict that tore apart her life and claimed the lives of countless relatives and friends. Years of fighting destroyed her country—and shattered Gbowee’s girlhood hopes and dreams. As a young mother trapped in a nightmare of domestic abuse, she found the courage to turn her bitterness into action, propelled by her realization that it is women who suffer most during conflicts—and that the power of women working together can create an unstoppable force. In 2003, the passionate and charismatic Gbowee helped organize and then led the Liberian Mass Action for Peace, a coalition of Christian and Muslim women who sat in public protest, confronting Liberia’s ruthless president and rebel warlords, and even held a sex strike. With an army of women, Gbowee helped lead her nation to peace—in the process emerging as an international leader who changed history. Mighty Be Our Powers is the gripping chronicle of a journey from hopelessness to empowerment that will touch all who dream of a better world.—Beast Books  / Pray the Devil Back to Hell

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Book of Sins

By Nidaa Khoury

Khoury's poetry is fired by belief in the human and the spiritual at a time when many of us feel unreal and often spiritually hollow.—Yair Huri, Ben-Gurion University 

Written in water and ink, in between the shed blood. Nidaa Khoury's poems take us to the bosom of an ancient woman  . . . an archetype revived. The secret she whispers is 'smaller than words.'—Karin Karakasli, author, Turkey

Nidaa Khoury was born in Fassouta, Upper Galilee, in 1959. Khoury is the author of seven books published in Arabic and several other languages, including The Barefoot River, which appeared in Arabic and Hebrew and The Bitter Crown, censored in Jordan. The Palestinian poet is studied in Israeli universities and widely reviewed by the Arab press. The founder of the Association of Survival, an NGO for minorities in Israel, Khoury has participated in over 30 international literary and human rights conferences and festivals. Khoury is the subject of the award-winning film, Nidaa Through Silence. Currently a senior lecturer at Ben-Gurion University, Khoury's poem Portal to the Orient is being produced by Sarab for Dance for performance in Palestine. Book of Sins introduces this important Middle Eastern poet to the Caribbean and the Americas.

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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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Negro Digest / Black World

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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 5 March 2012




Home  Marvin X Table  Marvin X Bio Another look at Israel Table

Related files:  The Complexity of Iraq     Islam Needs a Martin Luther  London Bridges Falling Down  (Responses)   Open Letter to Dr. Hussein Shahristani  My Son The Fanatic (film)