Monthly Archives: June 2007

6.5.07 headline: i for iraq, i for india, i for imagine

Dear Readers,

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.

war.

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.

Peace,

N

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June 1, 2007 Headline: Forced and Chosen Slavery, The Migration of Human Beings Circa 2007 And Praise All Gods May Is Finally Over

Dear Readers,

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 1, 2007

Well folks, its the first time I’ve seen Bush Jr. on the cover of the New York Times in a hot minute. To some extent the paper must still be vying for that customer dollar. Considering the way the war’s going, the Times probably surmised that a George cover wouldn’t exactly sell like hot cakes.

What is a hot cake? Sounds good, but so general…do you think the expression includes any cake that’s hot? It’s kinda dreary and cold outside…I wish I had me a hot cake right now.

Speaking of the news:

Forced And Chosen Slavery, The Migration Of Human Beings Circa 2007

I am the Co-Captain of my High School Step Team. It is 1995 and we are All The Way Live. Matching plaid flannel shorts, all of us with some fake Payless Tims. We were the stuff, won a San Diego city-wide talent show and everything. I was the only Indian in an all Black dance crew. Being the smart, dynamic, and opinionated young women we were, we used to talk about politics between stomping out beats and making musical sense with our bodies.

It’s the local Rec Center, in that little room next to the indoor courts and across from where the ping pong tables are. We take a water break, only we didn’t call it that, it was just time to take a break. My girl Tawnya and I are slumped in chairs against the wall. She had traded me a down ass zip-up dickies honey colored vest with blue flannel inside for my hunter green lacey off shoulder strapless dress that I had wore when I went with Keith to ASB Ball.  Keith was such a young gentleman that I used to go to VONS Grocery Store on purpose just to talk to him while he was bagging groceries. Anyway, Tawyna and I were both thick young women, and our trade was mutually satisfying. Tawyna was talking about how its different for Indians, because Black people were forced to come here (to the United States) and Indian’s choose to come here, and so that’s why it’s easier for Indian’s to come up in the game.

To a certain extent I could see where she was coming from. Especially given the way shit is right now, in this country, in this state (California). But it’s a dangerously simple distinction that still gets in our way now.

First off, it ignores the fact that all you gotta do is look past this nation’s borders to where my country is, and see that we are still very much a struggling people in terms of food, water, education, employment, health-though yes it’s true, we are so wealthy in so many ways.

Second off: No People Would Ever Willingly Leave Their Language, Food, Families, Music If They Weren’t Being Forced Some Kinda Way. And in the case of Indians from India, all we have to do is scratch a bit beneath the surface and we see that the Indian Diaspora parallels the African Diaspora through British Rule to Carribbean Plantations, not because we were vacationing in Trinidad or on Safari in Kenya, but because we were brought there by the colonizers to do the slave work. Except Indian’s were generally given different slaves or jobs to do. Divide and conquer at a location near you.

Damn man, immigration.

The U.S. Senate is currently embroiled in an overhaul of Immigration Policy that, amongst other provisions, would make it impossible for workers to ever settle down long enough to have a grounded family structure. Once again the global and U.S. public is being asked to believe that workers are not human beings, but instead one dimensional playing cards, dealt to the hands that barely feed them.

While the debate over this bill is not garnering front page attention to the degree it should, local media and occasional national media is grasping to report the surge of stories coming out from small town U.S.A. on the Dementor like raids being carried out by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) against men, women, and children. I can just hear the glee in the Washington D.C., non-descript, grey save the red white and blue and gold trim of a requisite flag in the corner, institutional smelling room where they were all sitting, hemming and hawing over what to call themselves, ICE, yeah! ICE! Beware our tough, cold, menacing acronym. And we will be aware too, but just because your guns are legal and your prisons currently are too. What get’s my eyes especially narrowed about the ICE raids I’ve been reading on, is the fact that one of their primary battlegrounds is in the public school, so that a kid can leave home all spic and span clean to go try and glean some education from out their school and just simply not come home. Disappeared. Mothers of the Disappeared.

For Bay Area and Non-Bay Area Cats, here’s some wisdom on the bill from Renee Saucedo, a woman Human Rights lawyer who I have mad respect for:

***From Renee (Start)

Dear friends and allies,

As you’ve probably heard, the US Senate is currently debating an immigration proposal that would be devastating to immigrant communities. Among other things, it would require families to separate in order to apply for residency, it would fail to provide legalization to the vast majority of undocumented folks, it further criminalizes immigrants, creates a new Bracer Program, and would further militarize the US/Mexico border. No bill is better than this bill!

PLEASE JOIN THE SF DAY LABOR PROGRAM / WOMEN’S COLLECTIVE, ALONG WITH BAY AREA IMMIGRANT RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS, TO DENOUNCE THIS IMMIGRATION BILL IN 2 DAYS OF ACTION!!

1) Friday, June 1, 11-1, Press Conference and Direct Action at Sen. Feinstein’s Office, 1 Post St. (At Montgomery BART)

2) Saturday, June 2, 7-10 am, Rally and vigil at Sen. Feinstein’s house, 30 Presidio Terrace (@ Lyon and Washington)

For more information, contact me Renee at (415) 553-3404 or renee@lrcl.org, or the Bay Area Immigrant Rights Coalition (BAIRC) at (510) 839-7598.

***From Renee (End)

Stay tuned for more of All The News That’s Fit To Flip, by Political Poet Naxal.

Peace,

N

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