Another deep and yet not deep enough day in the news. Keep reading for today’s Hip Hop based commentary on the New York Times headlines by Political Poet Naxal. That’s me. I flips the news like you never seen. Almost on the Daily. Enjoy.
June 5, 2007
i for iraq
front and center article in today’s new york times is “cheated of a future, iraqi graduates want to flee: visions of a country reborn give way to turmoil and fear.” seems like students at iraq’s 21 universities are finding it hard to imagine a life anymore in post-u.s. occupation iraq, with schools and peers, gutted. abed thiab al-ajili, iraq’s minister of higher education, said that over 200 professors have been killed since the occupation, and many more have fled. one student at mustansiriya university (where two car bombs and two suicide bombers have struck in the past 5 months) observed fearfully, “we even have a mass grave now in the university…imagine how bad our situation was.” the students interviewed for the article are described as “speaking English well and wearing T-shirts with western brand names like diesel and ecko,” using humor over text messages to get them through, and as wishing “the world would remember that not all young Iraqis wanted to kill one another.” or kill us. americans.
i’m surprised the times is running this article, humanizing iraqi’s for the american public. but its later on in the game, and safer now for the paper to take this important and subtle stand. people are people where so ever you go.
in this sunday’s week in review, edward wong (my current fav war reporter) wrote an article entitled: “iraq’s curse: a thirst for final, crushing victory.” a sinking heart i had, the ever present questions alert behind my eyes, i scanned the article for clues: has this embedded journalist folded? critical analysis buckled into sheer propoganda?
kinda, but not quite. i still love you mr. wong. shit, i’d be jacked up in the head too, if i’d been on tour in any capacity in iraq for that long.
okay, so the general aim of wong’s piece is to frame the sunni-shia civil war in its true, larger, historic context. in seventh century mesopotamia, the shia’s had a leader, his name was hussein, and he was murdered in the desert. ever since, they’ve been on a mission to avenge his death. musta been some kinda leader. shia’s, who make up 60% of the iraqi population, continue to uprise, upfight, updie in their quest for justice vis a vis americans and the sunnis.
wong’s premise is that the sunni arabs or kurds and the shiite arabs are “cursed” with a historical desire for brutal, deep, and final revenge. wong writes that these groups will not feel victory until they’re blood starved stomachs feel full to bursting with the corpses of their enemies. sound familiar? who else besides iraqi’s are waiting for a “final, crushing victory?” the united states. but that fact ain’t in the article.
the main problem with wong’s analysis is that he doesn’t include the united states in the scope of this wide angle moving picture of an article. maybe its too unfathomable for him, right there in the midst of it. but it’s true. the united states won’t leave well enough alone, won’t quit while it’s ahead, can’t take the heat and won’t get out the kitchen. in the united states we got a bunch of flashy cliches but can’t hardly make sense of no words, no more.
but here’s where wong gets good. check out this quote: “caught in the middle of the civil war are the americans. to iraq’s factions, they are the weakest of all the armed groups in one crucial respect: their will is ebbing and their time here is limited.” now i don’t believe its a fair assessment to say the american’s are caught in the middle of the civil war, but i appreciate wong’s clear vision of our troops and how our troops are viewed by iraq forces. wong seals the analysis with this quote from an iraqi leader: “everyone-the sunni, the shia-is playing the waiting game, they’re waiting out the americans. everyone is using time against you.”
there is no winning, am i right, or am i right? and for all sides, loss is unacceptable, has been for the ages. so in what song can we dive to stay soul alive today in battle imminent and isolation tactics prevelant america eats its young hey young world, the world is yours, whose world is this, its mine, its mine, its mine, whose world is this? the world is yours, the world is yours. [shot out to slick rick, to nas].
i for india
indian laborers grace the cover of sunday’s new york times in a daily rag rendition of Sebastiao Salgado’s coffee table huge and glossy books on slave and indentured dust covered workers of the world. the headline on the article is, “in a new india, an old industry buoys peasants.” somini sengupta is the journalist behind this and a slew of recent articles on india and class. i think sengupta is the shit because she’s a south asian woman consistently bringing indian’s and india to increased visibility in the west. but i also want to say that i think sengupta is reporting on indian’s for mainly rich, mainly white people in an othering, anthropological, non-questioning, non-contextualizing manner. that could just be me. i will keep looking out for her work, and give you the scoop on her when i get a better assessment (that’s the word of the day: assessment).
i for imagination
imagine you found a letter with a pen in it and you took that pen and you wrote with it and when you wrote letters like a, b, c, and d began crystalizing out of the air like fruits, and when you wrote letters in all languages bloomed out of concrete walls, and when you wrote people slowly brewed storms like beer in their front yards and sent them spinning your way asking have you had some water today, and when you wrote you dug up roots on the end of them were potatoes which you used to cook breakfast with today, when you wrote, you can only imagine.
Stay tuned for more of All the News That’s Fit to Flip by political poet, Naxal.