Free Peltier — This Time for Real

Six years ago, I joined with many around the world in appealing directly to Barack Obama, president of the United States, for executive clemency for Native American activist Leonard Peltier — the longest-serving political prisoner in the USA. Our appeal was for Obama to use his power of the presidency to set Peltier free. The legal case that the government of the USA constructed to put Peltier behind bars back in 1977 was marred through and through by incompetence and fraud, to put it mildly. It was time to let Peltier go and draw a close to that sad chapter of history.

Read more...
Comments

Accolades for the Archbishop

It is early morning somewhere in rural South Africa, the sun not yet rising over the horizon. In the dim morning light, through the slowly lifting fog — or is it smoke from the nearby shacks? — I am walking up some makeshift steps on the side of a steep ravine. I look over at the person walking up next to me and study the lines on his face: It is Desmond Tutu, the revered Anglican Church archbishop of South Africa. He is showing me around here, he explains, because he wants me to see how people in South Africa really live, the poverty they still have to face in the land of apartheid.

Read more...
Comments

Salute to a Soul Sister

Janice Mirikitani and a friend are walking down the sidewalk, as the friend’s recollection goes, in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco, California, USA — one of the city’s poorer and more merciless areas. Coming down the sidewalk toward them is a man of the streets who is making loud barking and growling noises like a dog; he is obviously in need of some help.

The friend instinctively grabs Mirikitani’s arm to pull her away and out of the path of a perceived danger looming ahead. Just as instinctively, Mikiritani pulls the friend back close to her and keeps walking straight ahead, her stride intact. Soon, the man and Janice are standing face to face on the sidewalk and the friend’s heart is racing, fearing what might come next.

Read more...
Comments

Disinfectant Don & the Magically Downsizing Democracy

A half-year after the greatest crime against the USA that the universe has never seen — to borrow a Trumpish superlative — it bears looking closely at what has been happening since the 6 January 2021 failed coup attempt sparked by the former president of the United States and the inauguration of the legitimately elected president, Joe Biden, not long afterward.

In short, a downsizing of democracy is now underway that does not bode well for the future.

Read more...
Comments

The Real American Carnage

The violent insurrection on the United States Congress a few days ago in Washington DC, urged on by no less than the Fake President himself, Donald Trump, intended to reverse by force a free and fair election. More than that, the insurrection intended to overturn the system of democratic government in a coup attempt. That attempt failed, though it could easily have succeeded under the circumstances.

It was nearly four years ago, on 20 January 2017, during Trump’s own inauguration at the very same location on Capitol Hill, that he spoke of a country devastated by inferior education, poverty, drug addiction, joblessness, violence and weak immigration borders after eight years of outgoing president Barack Obama. and fair election.

Read more...
Comments

Making America Snakes Again

Now that voters in the United States have politically buried their Fake President, Donald Trump, at the polls by a wide margin, we can all continue popping the corks off those celebratory bottles of champagne into the new year and finally close the book on that unfortunate reign of America’s self-appointed emperor…right?

Think again. As this blog post goes to press, the U.S. congressional runoff races in the state of Georgia are winding down, the U.S. Congress is preparing to officially certify the electoral votes by winning candidate Joe Biden, and Trump is cheerleading a mass demonstration of his right-wing extremist followers in Washington DC that promises to be violent. And if that weren’t enough, several former U.S. secretaries of defense, both Republicans and Democrats, have become concerned enough to issue a rare statement blasting Trump’s insistence on stealing an otherwise free and fair election.

Read more...
Comments

America on Fire — A Moral Reckoning Arrives

In the countryside, mountain wildfires rage out of control, destroying all life in their path for hundreds of miles at a time. The daytime skies are covered with layers of ash and smoke, and in the evening are lit up by a luminescent orange-yellow glow. Meanwhile, in the cities, mostly peaceful public protests boil over, igniting some local buildings in ferocious flames. The orange-yellow-tinted nighttime skies, punctuated by police helicopter searchlights, radiate with rage and the heat of history.

The United States of America, in the summer of 2020, has been a nation on fire, both in the country and in the city. At first glance, these rural and urban blazes across many different locations may seem to have little in common. But in fact, they do: centuries of officially sanctioned neglect, abuse and violence in the USA — against nature in the countryside and against human beings in the cities, especially Black lives. And as this year continues on, those two sets of blazes edge closer and closer toward each other, signaling an even worse fate to come that will not easily be extinguished.

Read more...
Comments

When in Washington, Do as the Romans Do

A damaging impeachment trial, a ravaging global pandemic, a crashing domestic economy and explosive uprisings in cities across the United States: Any one of these factors would be enough to seal the fate of an American president, Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, and consign a president’s legacy to the trash heap of history.

But then again, the Fake President of the United States, Donald Trump, is no ordinary president. He has managed to linger on, surviving one of these crises after another. Trump has done so by breaking all the norms of presidential tradition, fostering a culture of corruption and causing deep, lasting damage to the American republic.

Read more...
Comments

Hamba Kahle to a South African Son

Hamba kahle in the Xhosa and Zulu languages of South Africa is a commonly expressed heartfelt wish for a deceased person to “go well” on their spiritual journey in the Great Beyond. Another commonly heard English phrase at South African funerals is that someone “ran a good race” during his/her lifetime on Earth, having lived a life worthy of praise.

Such terms of endearment are among the many now being expressed throughout South Africa for renowned musician Johnny Clegg, who passed away at his home in Johannesburg a few days ago at the all-too-young age of 66. He had succumbed to pancreatic cancer.

Read more...
Comments

Thumbs Up at Falling Statues

Incidents of deadly racist violence in the United States — the neo-fascist demonstration in August in Charlottesville, Virginia and the Charleston, South Carolina church shooting of 2015, to name just a couple — have helped to raise public awareness and reignite public protests over the existence of Confederate statues, monuments and memorials throughout the American South that have long been despised symbols of the legacy of racism, slavery and the oppression of African-American citizens.

Read more...
Comments

Show more posts >>