WHITE AMERICAN FLAGS

flag bridge

So you don’t believe we are living in the Divided States of America?

Watch this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZgZpuPl9XY&feature=youtube_gdata_player

What clearer message could White Supremacists be sending than to replace the traditional Red, White and Blue American flags of New York’s Brooklyn Bridge, one of the most heavily guarded city landmarks in the United States, with White Washed American flags?

Reporters and pundits can speculate all they want, but it seems pretty obvious to LawdyMissClawdy.

WAKE UP PEOPLE! YOU HAVE A VOICE AND YOU MUST USE IT to stop the senseless proliferation of hatred in this country!!!

Please note:   There is no Copyright notice on this post because this message needs to be reposted and disseminated as far and wide as possible.  When this type of hateful message can be broadcast so visibly, we are not far from seeing the return of white sheets, hoods and burning crosses – a bone chilling thought.

SCROLL ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE “COMMENTS” SECTION TO SHARE YOUR OPINION
Your comment will post even without your email address if you wish to remain anonymous

We will reply to all comments, and other readers often leave comments also, so check back every now and then for the latest!

 :  ) 

 

NEW YORK COPS MURDER UNARMED, UNRESISTING FATHER OF SIX – YOU BE THE WITNESS AND YOU BE THE JUDGE – Do You See This Man Resisting Arrest?

NEW YORK COPS MURDER UNARMED, UNRESISTING FATHER OF SIX
YOU BE THE WITNESS AND YOU BE THE JUDGE
Do You See This Man Resisting Arrest?

© PJ HAYWARD, 2014 New York

On Friday July 18, 2014 an UNARMED Eric Garner, a married father of six children, was murdered by Staten Island Police, who put the NON-RESISTING, asthmatic Mr. Garner in an illegal chokehold and suffocated him.

Mr. Garner’s crime? He broke up a fight between two friends who fled the scene before the officers arrived.

Eric Garner was unarmed, possessed no drugs, no alcohol and no stolen property. Because of previous arrests for the unlawful sale of CIGARETTES (not drugs, not stolen property – cigarettes) Staten Island police had been harassing him continually – the final time being caught on a friend’s cell phone video which I am posting below. You can clearly see that Mr. Garner has his hands in the air, he is not resisting the officers and in fact is begging them to please stop harassing him and leave him alone – until he is forced to start begging them for his life – he cannot breathe.  They continue to choke and brutalize him even as he lay dying before their sadistic eyes.

This is just one more case of innocent citizens being murdered by those very people who are sworn to “Protect and Serve”.

Previously posted on LawdyMissClawdy – Life Speaks is EXPLORING THE MINDSET BEHIND NEW YORK CITY’S STOP AND FRISK LAWS. Bill De Blasio, our recently elected Mayor has, unfortunately, done a total about face on his promise to suspend the prevailing racially motivated Stop and Frisk Laws. He has gone even further backward by re-appointing one of New York’s most reviled former Police Commissioners, Bill Bratton. We will see what stance they take now that another horrific, unnecessary tragedy has befallen an innocent black man, profiled because of the color of his skin.

You Be The Judge, what did Eric Garner do wrong? Was it a crime for him to beg for his life?

Following this video I am re-posting our article on the outrageous, unfair and often murderous New York City Stop and Frisk policies. Please read it and think it over carefully. Clearly the statistics do not bear out the need for the ruthless tactics employed by our Police Force.  WE MUST LOBBY OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS TO PUT A STOP TO THIS MINDLESS, SENSELESS AND ILLEGAL USE OF BRUTAL FORCE BY OUR POLICE OFFICERS!!

CLICK ON THE LINK DIRECTLY BELOW TO ACCESS THE VIDEO:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-5UY9I1EbU

And now, previously posted last year, our post EXLORING THE MIND SET BEHIND NEW YORK CITY’S STOP AND FRISK LAW
© PJ Hayward, New York 2013

In 1973 Huey Newton coined the phrase “Revolutionary Suicide” in his book of the same name.

Here I will not discuss the book, but I do want to talk about the term Revolutionary Suicide and what it stands for, because it’s still so valid today

What brother Huey referred to with the term Revolutionary Suicide is basically an attitude, a concept.  He was speaking about the consequences of conditions in this country – not just on people of color generally – but specifically the Black Man.

Suicide in the broader term, or what Huey called “Reactionary Suicide”, is caused when conditions have become so excruciatingly unbearable for a person that they just give up all hope and feel death is the only way out.

Conversely, Revolutionary Suicide is actually an attitude of survival – because you have such a strong Will to live as a Human Being that to live any other way is impossible.  In his case, as was the case with many other young people in those days,  Huey Newton felt that he would rather risk death by fighting those forces at play that kept him chained and shackled by means of Control, than to live a life under the thumb and the restrictions being put upon non white people at that time and of course, he did ultimately give his life in his pursuit of equal rights.

That was his viewpoint when he, along with Bobby Seale, founded the Black Panther Party: that life without dignity was not life.  If dignity and equal treatment could not be the Right of people as fellow Human Beings, then fighting for that Dignity was worth dying for.  Revolutionary Suicide.

Today, those old time revolutionaries are looked upon as icons from the past.

I myself used to feel that the Revolution actually came – but not in the way we as young people envisioned it would be.  When I grew old I came to believe that the Revolution had snuck in the back door of the establishment and eased it self up into the ranks of the Corporate World, Society and other places where “certain people” were never before welcome.

By that I mean that people of color have proven over and over and over again their ability to take the tiniest grain of hope and turn it into multitudes of bushels of progress.  There is virtually no field of study, no occupation, no school of thinking where people of color have not excelled in every way.  Yet, they are still targets and suspects for any and every negativity imaginable.

But now that I have grown even more old, I believe that I was wrong.  I believe now that the Silent Revolution I once believed had snuck in through a crack in the door or a hole in the wall, is still only trying to find that place to sneak in.

One of the things that blatantly illustrates this is the subject of this post – the Stop and Frisk Law that is being tested and thrown around in New York right now, and the preponderance of people who actually seem to believe it has a place in society today as it is being used – or rather – abused.

The Stop and Frisk Law which goes hand in hand with rampant racial profiling, has been a staple in the New York City police arsenal of tools for decades.  Basically any police officer can stop any citizen – seemingly for no apparent reason other than the color of their skin – and frisk them for weapons.

Astonishingly, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended this practice by actually saying “black and Latino New Yorkers are not stopped and frisked enough, while whites are stopped too much, when compared to the racial breakdown of crime suspects.”

It seems to me that the key word there is “suspects”.  There is a big difference between being a suspect and being a convicted offender.

What no one talks about but I am convinced is one of the real underlying keys to this practice, is police Arrest Quotas.  I doubt that anyone will admit there is such a thing but that will have to be a subject for a future post.

Sticking to the subject of Stop and Frisk – what made this issue even more visible lately were the incidents that happened recently here in New York at the Barney’s store and Macy’s, where several young people of color went into those establishments and purchased very expensive items.  Either before they left the store or shortly thereafter they were stopped and questioned and in at least one case, one of these young people was told “you cant afford that”, although obviously he could because he paid for it.

This is not a one or even two person incident – but a number of people have recently come forward with tales of being profiled by these two particular stores.

For any of you who may not be aware of this, Jay-Z is planning to launch an upscale clothing line in Barney’s at Christmas.  He has taken the position that he wants to reserve judgment on this situation till all the information is available.  So I won’t comment on Jay-Z here.

But Rev. Al (Sharpton) has threatened to boycott Barney’s over these incidents.

The broader obvious question is, if we have only just heard about these particular stores because the purchases were high ticket items, how many thousands of cases are we never going to hear about when the average guy is just shopping at the corner store or walking down the street and is stopped and questioned?

How many of our young sons have come home and told us the harrowing tales of their frightening experiences out on the street, just because they happened to be there on the street?

In my own life I and all the other mothers I know have always cautioned our young people to be respectful to the Law, because no matter what – they have the Power and they have the Weapon.  And how many of those young people are no longer here?  Many.

Here in New York Judge Shira Shiendlin ruled that the Stop and Frisk law was unconstitutional.  Judge Schieindlin quoted the following known statistics:

Between January 2004 and June 2012, the NYPD conducted over 4.4 million stops.

4.4 MILLION

Of those 4.4 MILLION stops the following percentages applied:

52% were black
31% were Hispanic
10% were white

In 2010, New York City’s resident population was roughly;

23% Black
29% Hispanic
33% White.

Weapons were seized in:

1.0% of the stops of Blacks
1.1% of the stops of Hispanics
1.4% of the stops of Whites.

Between 2004 and 2009, the percentage of stops where the officer failed to state a specific suspected crime ROSE FROM 1% to 36%.

Now On Appeal,  another judge has overturned Judge Shiendlin’s ruling, putting a freeze on it and ordering Judge Shiendlin removed from the case.

So Stop and Frisk will continue to be the norm in New York City where the above statistics prove its futility.

When is enough enough?

SCROLL ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE “COMMENTS” SECTION TO SHARE YOUR OPINION
Your comment will post even without your email address if you wish to remain anonymous

We will reply to all comments, and other readers often leave comments also, so check back every now and then for the latest!  :  ) 

OUR EDITOR-IN-CHIEF RESPONDS TO “A Message to the Divided States of America”

OUR EDITOR-IN-CHIEF RESPONDS TO “A Message to the Divided States of America”

© Bernard W. Saunders
July 18, 2014
Iture-Elmina Ghana
West Africa

I had to let this one steep overnight.  I could have answered it immediately upon reading it but decided to give it time.

The previously posted “THERE ARE NONE SO BLIND AS THOSE THAT WILL NOT SEE:  A Message to the Divided States of America” (*see link below) is a great take on racial relations in the USA.

The nation’s racism is reflected in its foreign policy, where the Israeli Palestinian conflict receives the most press due to the nation’s unqualified support of the Jewish state. But it can be seen in the wars the USA has fought since WW1, as “western values” that are steeped in white supremacy became the center of the treatment of nations of color outside of Europe.

That policy now has severe domestic consequences because the racism of the USA at home now has folks of color openly talking about a race war in the USA as the only solution to the continued rule of the white supremacists who flagrantly ignore the fact that the USA will soon be a “majority minority” nation. If that play on words is not proof positive of what you have written I don’t know what is.

I would only add that the race war in the USA has been waged in a one sided manner since the founding of the nation. The USA was founded on the genocide of Native Americans and grew rich and powerful on the enslavement of Africans.

An enlightening piece was published by TA-NEHISI COATES, in the June 2014 issue of the Atlantic.com, “The Case for Reparations”. It without question supports your thesis.

I am a product of the Black Nationalist, Pan Africanism, and African Centered thought. Knowing others like you has made me realize that skin color doesn’t matter as much as the color of one’s mind. Sadly you are a distinct minority among Caucasians. And unless that equation is reversed, the racial politics of the USA will succumb to the same mechanisms of ethnic, racial conflicts around the globe, not in the ballot box of a rigged electoral system but in the streets-as the Israeli and Palestinians conflict comes home to roost as Malcolm would say.

And when, not if that happens, we will all be losers.

Bernard W. Saunders
July 18, 2014
Iture-Elmina Ghana

* LINK TO PREVOUS POST 

http://lawdymissclawdy.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/there-are-none-so-blind-as-those-who-will-not-see/

TO LEAVE A COMMENT, SCROLL ALL THE WAY TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE TO “COMMENTS” AREA

THERE ARE NONE SO BLIND AS THOSE WHO WILL NOT SEE: A Message to The Divided States of America

THERE ARE NONE SO BLIND AS THOSE WHO WILL NOT SEE:
A Message to the Divided States of America
© 2014 PJ Hayward, New York

Being a Caucasian-born person who has now grown old and having lived since a young age among and surrounded by non-Caucasian cultures, I feel privileged, blessed ….and burdened ….to have had my vision expanded and my state of mind enhanced and enlightened by bearing witness to the daily life, joys, hardships, trials, suffering and mindset of both the World of Color and the Non-Colorized World.

Walking this middle road, I have learned to look beyond the outward smiles and handshakes of all people who cross my path. Sometimes it’s just the tiniest flutter of an eyelash or slightest turn of the lip that reveals the inner workings of a hidden self. Often it’s far more obvious. But rarely can the reality under the skin remain buried at all times….some telltale sign will eventually reveal it.

Even as a small child I became aware that we live in two Americas.

I was very fortunate to grow up in a home filled with books and lively discussion of every imaginable topic. It was also a home filled with frequent visits by family friends from many different cultures.

Very early on I observed what was impossible to ignore back in those days. When we would go and pay visits to family friends of color, whether from the Caribbean, Asia, India, Africa or the Middle East, here in America the homes of virtually all of them were far from our neighborhood. Wherever they lived, these family friends invariably lived in neighborhoods filled with people from their own respective cultures.

When I grew older and could really understand both the obvious and the deeper subtleties at play in the dynamics of life, I was appalled and disgusted by what I witnessed and learned from those around me – including the people I had known and loved all my life, even my most beloved ones, my own family.

What I learned was that people of my own race, whether poor or financially secure, almost universally fall into a certain mindset. A state of mind so entrenched and impermeable as to be unrecognized by conscious thought. Even more…if a person were to be confronted about this, it would be most vehemently denied.

The mindset is that of a fundamental sense of Entitlement and Privilege. Beyond that, an even deeper sense of superiority over all other races and cultures and sometimes even over other Caucasian cultures in countries other than America.

I am not talking here about those Americans who are clearly and blatantly racist – those people show themselves without effort.  I refer to those multitudes of both “average Joes” and leaders who consider themselves as fair and open minded.  What I am speaking of is so deeply implanted and so hidden from rational thought that often even those who see themselves as liberal intellectuals cannot escape it and as I just said, most would vehemently deny it.

Examples of this subliminal state of mind can be seen even in some of our own highly visible contemporary American leaders. After Hurricane Katrina for example, the First Lady of the land at the time, Laura Bush, actually went on National TV and proclaimed that many of the displaced black New Orleans families should be happy they lost their homes because now they will be so much better off, having the great fortune of soon living in nice, clean FEMA trailers and eventually moving to shiny new homes somewhere else (and not mentioned but nonetheless – in another state far away from everything and everyone they have ever known).

What Laura Bush was obviously and loudly showing of course, was her ludicrous and ridiculous auto-assumption that because these families were 1: black and 2: possibly of a lower income level, they all lived in some derelict shack someplace, one step above living in a cardboard box. It was clearly outside the realm of her imagination or her highly touted background as a so-called Educator, that those folks might have lived in spotlessly kept homes, adorned with family pictures lovingly placed on little white doilies, comfy chairs where Grandmas or other elders might sit and knit or read their bibles and every other thing a homey domicile would enclose. This is what I mean by a mindset – it just never even entered Laura Bush’s mind that a black family home might look exactly the same as any family home anywhere in America. Incredulously, it never occurred to her that those families would feel devastated exactly as she would have felt devastated had it been her own happy home that had been destroyed.

Now America is engaged in a great struggle to keep non-Americans from entering our borders. We are doing everything in our power to deny to newcomers the exact same things our own (free) ancestors sought when they came to this country, even though our own ancestors stole this land from people who initially welcomed them and helped keep them from starving. Our ancestors thanks for this lifesaving welcome and help was to have those native peoples tortured, forced from their lands, slaughtered and the remaining survivors eventually herded into reservations where they were then generally abandoned or kept controlled by government supplied liquor and drugs.

America, I implore you…. take a look deep inside yourselves. ALL of us today are in a quandary as to how to foment peace outside our borders in a world seemingly gone mad.

We are a nation that once upon a time was respected and esteemed the world over. Once upon a time we were considered the most powerful nation on earth. Those days seem long gone now.

Other great civilizations have fallen due to arrogance, willfulness and insular thinking. If we are ever to regain our standing of respect with the outside world and even within our own borders, we must begin at home by examining our own heads and hearts.

To those of you who do not inhabit the World of Color, I address you particularly.

Examine yourself honestly. Realize that there are tens of millions of people who do not receive a certain respect and attention from the world simply because they show up someplace. In fact often, if not usually, they experience the opposite. They show up and are immediately viewed with suspicion, contempt or worse.

YOU can change that. Evaluate yourself honestly. Look and see what you yourself can do to stop the cycle of hatred that is more and more permeating this once great land.

One person at a time, peace and harmony can be achieved.

Be a Beacon – obvious to all who see you!

With hope, some will follow your lead.

SCROLL ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE “COMMENTS” SECTION TO SHARE YOUR OPINION
Your comment will post even without your email address if you wish to remain anonymous

We will reply to all comments, and other readers often leave comments also, so check back every now and then for the latest!  :  )

KNOWING INDEPENDENCE (FREEDOM): DO WE?

KNOWING INDEPENDENCE (FREEDOM): DO WE?
© PJ Hayward 2014, New York

INDEPENDENCE:
in·de·pend·ence
[in-di-pen-duhns]
noun

1. Freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others

synonyms:  See freedom

FREEDOM: 
free·dom
ˈfrēdəm/
noun

1.  the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.
2.  absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government.
3.  the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.

synonyms:  See liberty liberation, release, deliverance, delivery, discharge

July 4th!   The day of the Red White and Blue!  Flags flying everywhere, Stars & Stripes on every cake, balloon, storefront and shirt! 

All around us people are stocking up on bags of charcoal, stuffing their freezers with ribs, chicken, burgers and hot dogs.  Walmart is running low on ice chests and beach chairs.  Not to mention all the guys making runs to those states where they can stuff every nook and cranny of their cars with fireworks so they can compete against the guys on the next block who killed it last year.

But something is missing…..at least I feel something missing. 

In 1776 Americans were feeling oppressed by the British and we were tired of being forced to do their bidding.  We were strong Americans!  “FREEDOM!!” we cried!  “REVOLUTION!!”  And so a revolution was born and in 1776 America declared its independence from England. By most accounts, we won that hard fought war in 1783. 

Independence.  Freedom. 

But who was free? 

The newly formed United States of America would have an economy that depended hugely on the financial benefit afforded by the employment of the thousands of already enslaved peoples brought to this country against their will.  Men and women torn from their loved ones, children ripped from their mothers’ arms, all carried from their homeland in shackles and chains, stuffed into dark, filthy, stifling cargo holds like so many pieces of meat.  Many never survived this Middle Passage and were unceremoniously tossed overboard – just a snack for the hungry sharks waiting in the dark water below. 

Do we remember that on Independence Day? 

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, John Hancock, Patrick Henry and many more – all were slave owners.  And they remained so after America won her independence from England. 

Do we remember that on Independence Day?  

Do most of us even know about that?  I am quite sure every person of color in this country knows about those Founding Father slave holders but what about Non Colorized America?  Would they be shocked – or even surprised to know about that? 

Now, it is known that slaves had many secret ways to communicate among themselves.  All sorts of methods were used to pass information between each other or from one farm or plantation to the next. Codes were transmitted via song, dance, stories, quilts hung on fences for all to see, and so forth. 

Also, in spite of every oppressive, dark, hard and cruel thing the slave master visited upon his slaves, there were those slaves who managed to Rise.  Those who reached into that place of strength held deep within some dark and secret hiding hole of the heart.  They managed.  They learned to read and write.  They learned skills and trades.  They Rose – sometimes before Freedom and many, many of them after Freedom.  But they took the seed of knowledge and grew it to a forest of knowledge. 

April 9, 1865 is the date of the end of the Civil War, also the official date slavery became abolished in America – although “Juneteenth” – June 19, 1865 remains the last (known) date this freedom was announced to slaves (in Texas) who had until then remained enslaved in spite of the declaration of freedom. 

But who was really free?  

People of color remained virtually enslaved still, as sharecroppers, miners, sailors and other vocations where they were paid little or nothing for their labor.

And even those firebrands who had broken the mold and raised themselves up to become doctors, lawyers, scientists, educators – could they go and walk anywhere?  Could they talk anywhere and say anything to anyone?  Could they enroll in any school?  Apply for any job? 

Again..   who was really free?  

And..I am not even going into the issue of Non-Freedom of the the Native Peoples from whom we stole this so-called Free Land. That is a whole separate Freedom Issue on its own that is a subject for its own post.

And what about today?  

Even today…when a scholar such as Henry Louis Gates, Jr. – a famous and respected author, cinematographer, television star and Harvard Professor – is arrested on his own front porch for Breaking and Entering his own home – what freedom does he have?  One only has to turn on any news station on any given day at any time of the day to find any number of stories where someone has been racially profiled and either beaten, incarcerated or worse. 

And now I am only speaking about American treatment of fellow Americans. 

Here we live in the so-called Land of the Free, where we constantly tout our freedoms – but are we willing to share those freedoms with others not as fortunate as we are? 

Right now, at THIS VERY MOMENT, we are trying to find ways to stem the tide of thousands of unaccompanied children from flowing into this country – sent here in desperation by their anxious parents who pray and hope that they will survive the trip and find a better life here in the U.S.  We are pouring hundreds of armed soldiers to our borders to guard against the influx of poverty stricken human beings who make the frightening, sweltering run from Mexico to what they hope will be the Promised Land. 

Do we welcome them?  No.  In fact sometimes, we shoot them.  

Sometimes we even kill them.  

Why?  Because they had the nerve to seek Freedom. 

We call ourselves Human Beings? 

We need to take a good, hard look within ourselves.  

Take off the Prada shoes.  Put on a pair of sandals made from old tire treads.  Try to walk in those for a lifetime and see how you feel about Freedom then. 

Will you change your view?

 

SCROLL ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE “COMMENTS” SECTION TO SHARE YOUR OPINION
Your comment will post even without your email address if you wish to remain anonymous

We will reply to all comments, and other readers often leave comments also, so check back every now and then for the latest!  :  ) 

TOUCH

TOUCH
© 2014 PJ Hayward, New York

 

I still feel you

In the night,

when darkness has me in its fold

 
I feel you reaching over….

your long fingers gliding softly

around my waist.

 
Your warm touch

gentle now,

because you love me….

 
You pull me to you…your touch no longer gentle

but yet…..

still loving in its urgency.

 
My love for you lives…

Even here in this dark room.

 

TO LEAVE A COMMENT, SCROLL ALL THE WAY TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE TO “COMMENTS” AREA

SEDER 2014

FROM GHANA, FROM THE DESK OF OUR EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, BERNARD SAUNDERS

AN INTROSPECTIVE, VIEWED FROM THE VANTAGE POINT OF THE WORLD DIASPORA AS IT RELATES TO A TRADITIONAL JEWISH CELEBRATION OF FREEDOM

SEDER 2014

© Bernard W. Saunders
June 19, 2014
Iture-Elmina Ghana,
West Africa

“Seder 2014” is probably one of the more sensitive pieces of writing I’ve done in some time. That is due to the subjects it touches on if not directly, then at a minimum alludes to indirectly: race and religion. Since it involves people I feel are friends, this adds to the degree of difficulty and the need for sensitivity. But I have been trained that it is the job, the mission, of the writer especially one who is the ascendant of a people who live in a repressive society, to speak to the sensitive issues in society. For what it is worth, here is Seder 2014.

This 2014 Passover found me in the Central Region of Ghana, West Africa. I was privileged to celebrate Passover/Pasach from the 14th to the 21st of April, led by Rabbi Kohain Nathanyah Halevi formerly of Mt. Vernon, New York. It was a diverse group. The diverse nature of this group was in its makeup of the Rabbi’s family (he was ably assisted by his Ghanian wife Mabel and their son and daughter), Ghanian friends, and Expatriates from across the diaspora ascended from the European/American Atlantic trade in enslaved Africans.

During my time in Sarasota Florida, I was also privileged to participate for several years in passover Seder at the home of Sue and Bill Spielberg. Led by Sue, these former Connecticut educators every year I participated had ecumenical Seders by augmenting the family gathering with a selection of persons to attend from the broad spectrum of people they know. We would come together for several delightful hours then return to our lives. (I wrote of one at ARTXES: 2009***)

Being neither Jewish, or an African Hebrew/Israelite, but as an ever evolving Spirit I found each experience to be a learning one, to be up lifting and rewarding. Further proof to me, though at this juncture for me none is needed, that Spirit doesn’t recognize the boundaries that humanity creates to limit, restrict, confine, suppress, repress and control one another often at the alleged mandate of a Greater Super Natural Power, by whatever it is called.

The fundamentals for the Seders including the prophets quoted, Moses and Abraham, are two cited; the Scriptures read, and the meals were similar on Florida’s west coast and the West Coast of Africa: Unleavened bread, bitter herb, lamb (shank in Florida, meal(s) in Ghana), egg, parsley, wine. The main course in each instance was differentiated by culture and location. In each case I found the food to be excellent.

Whatever one’s theological, political, religious, or ideological suasion excellent food is an excellent reason to attend a Seder or like event. It is hard to remain mad at someone or something following a good meal and a nice glass of wine while enjoying good company in a relaxed environment.

Lest we forget, Seders (as are other religion based commemorations) are celebrated according to one’s cultural, theological, political, religious, or ideological persuasion. The differences between the west coast of Florida and West Africa though marked by the similarities written above are nonetheless stark in their interpretation of the narrative.

That should come as no surprise, once it is understood that the Florida congregants were largely made up of persons of European descent; while the West African congregant’s as noted above consisted of the Rabbi’s Ghanian’s family, their Ghanian friends, and expatriates who are largely ascendants of the European/American trade in enslaved Africans.

Thus it makes it all the clearer when I write, the interpretation of any event or occurrence is all in the eye of the viewer, and that viewers’ historical experience, or what they know or believe it to be.

In the case of these two groups of congregants it begins with the interpretation of the Hebrew sojourn in Egypt, the subsequent Exodus, and extends to the seven day celebration of Passover in West Africa with the full complement of food, drink and merriment, not distracting from the reverence devoted to the occasion.

I will leave it to the historians and theologians to sort through the differences as they have for thousands of years. It is beyond the scope of my knowledge, although being an African Centered Traditionalist of Native American and African/Caribbean heritage I have formed my own opinions after years of study following my birth into Christianity (Wesleyan Methodist).

The way I see it is that the world’s major religions are not inclusive or tolerant of other beliefs; in fact demonstrate a large degree of intolerance to those outside their creeds. Religiosity regrettably fuels intro-religious and inter-religious turmoil. Most of the conflicts in the world today have religious overtones although on closer examination money, power, land, water, resources, and outright greed are currents running through religious conflicts with politics using religion to attain goals and objectives or religion using politics for the same reason.

As I wrote to earlier: I believe God/Spirit/Energy or whatever YOU (the reader) knows it to be –IS – exist at the center of each individual-as well as Creation. We each in our uniqueness are reflections of that Creative force/energy/spirit.

There are as many paths as there are people radiating from the center to the infinite ever expanding circumference of creation. All of those billions of paths are individuals like you and me attempting to come to some understanding of it all. Choose your path or don’t.What is important is that You choose, define Your own way.

In order to do so we at times have to work through years of indoctrination, propaganda, or as a friend of mine Theo Lassiter aptly terms it, engineering, that begins at birth, and sometimes before then. And that given the totality of the acculturation (home, school, religious affiliation, civil/political society) it is by design no easy task.

Beyond the obvious differences is where the two Seders meet for me at the outer and inner rings of the circumference. That is where Our Beings; Our common Humanity co-exist in Spirit. The differences as I have come to understand them to be are about how we got where we are (History). The importance of that history ((Ideology); and how do we get where we want to be as individuals and a collective (politics. religion, spirituality).

So having moved into the realm of history, politics and ideology-the question arises are they more appropriate to the current discussion of Seders, than theology, or religion; and further to the point, do they actually exist in separate compartments?

The ancient Egyptians did not think so; their Mystery Schools/Systems taught philosophy history, politics, theology as one subject-before the Greeks dismantled and misappropriated that System into some semblance of the university which exist in the West today.

Ideology and politics being inherent in them all – I have a tendency to agree with the Ancient Ones. Fundamentally the congregants of the Seders I attended, apparently do also because all of the above elements were evident at the tables no matter the setting or location. The differences lie in interpretation. With understanding that one’s freedom ends where another begins, prayerfully, differences which seem insurmountable can be bridged.

***see: http://artxes.com/Expressions/SaundersBernard-08.htm

TO LEAVE A COMMENT, SCROLL ALL THE WAY TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE TO “COMMENTS” AREA