RESPONSE TO “ENOUGH!”
There is a way to FIGHT THE POWER THROUGH FINANCE!
© PJ Hayward
New York, 2015
Since I do not have the brainpower to think of a way to cure the ills besetting our entire planet, I want to respond to our Editor in Chief’s previous post in terms of the country I live in right now – the country he has escaped from – America. Although this country is commonly known as the United States of America, as you know I prefer to call it the Divided States of America because that is how it has been in this fractured country ever since the first European ever set his divisive foot on its shores.
After knowing our Editor in Chief, Bernard Saunders, for well over 30 years, what he speaks on in “Enough” is probably the most important, crystal clear and honest critique of the situation going on with mankind today – and obviously long before today – that I personally have ever seen to come from his pen.
In my opinion the murderous rampage that is going on today on both sides of the law and in the halls of so-called “justice” can be severely lessened and probably eliminated through the even-ing out of economic distribution. When a person is hungry and even more so when a person sees their child in need, it can drive a person to do any act that might be unthinkable in other circumstances. I will not even address the issue of hatred because not only is that so blaringly obvious, but it seems to be a frame of mind that just does not go away – in spite of my own personal belief that change can come by one person at a time. No matter how many individual Human Beings try to shine their light before Swine, that light continues to be unseen by the great majority. The one pinpoint of hope is that even if it is only recognized by one other individual, it still brings the possibility of change by at least that one other individual.
So I will just address Bernard’s eloquent article as follows:
B, I know you have been a warrior for justice all your life. You constantly exhort all of us elders to keep on speaking Truth to Power in order to hopefully preserve the shreds that are left of our world for the young people coming behind us. But to my viewpoint, one of the greatest tragedies that has befallen not only our young people but maybe I’ll say all the people in this country as a whole, is that some of this strife could be avoided if only people were able to receive the training and education needed to learn the skills that would allow them to flourish (I will elaborate in a minute). In flourishing, some of the division that has been forced upon people of color in this country could be ameliorated – maybe even eliminated.
As we have discussed many times, our country has been systematically divided by our government in ways too numerous to count. We have discussed it at length on this website and in person. But my view remains that the key to healing – at least in our country – is Unification. A united people cannot be broken.
By unification I mean FIGHT THE POWER THROUGH UNITED FINANCE. Keep Money of Color in Communities of Color because the only way to defeat the Powers that Be in this country is to drain and eliminate the thing that makes them powerful: THEIR MONEY.
THERE IS POWER IN FINANCIAL UNIFICATION. Buy Black & Brown. Bank Black & Brown. Co-op Black & Brown. THINK Black & Brown.
Communities of color must buy from people of color, sell to people of color. People of color must own their own businesses and keep their business transactions, their financial transactions, their schools, churches and community activities within their own community. I am NOT saying to leave the country or create a Liberia here in America, or anything like that. I’m speaking strictly of finance. If you want your child to go to a private school then send them to a school run by someone from your own community. If you want to save money, have a checking account, have a financial advisor – keep those transactions within a financial institution run by people of color. Buy Black and Brown, bank Black and Brown, THINK Black and Brown. Form Co-ops of Color so that people can get great prices by buying in quantity. Eliminate the NEED to shop at Walmart because Coops of Color will be able to negotiate low prices simply on the basis of buying in huge quantities.
Unification: Unification of Mind. Unification of Purpose. FINANCIAL UNIFICATION.
But there is a trick to keeping money of color within the confines of communities of color. The trick is education and training. By that I mean in order to work for oneself and not contribute to the deep pockets of the 1% that currently control us, one must understand the principles and tricks of business. How does one learn those tricks?
By using the Government systems currently in place and using them to our own advantage.
One does not need thousands of dollars or even any dollars to become educated and knowledgeable. You do not need a college degree to become educated.
One stellar advantage of living in this country is that we have at our disposal FREE libraries, countless billions of words to educate ourselves: books, videos, audio tapes, free classes, every type of edification one can think of, all FREE, to illuminate our minds, inspire us and give us the tools we need to prosper. In addition to the library there is the Internet. On the Internet (which also can be accessed for free at any public library in the Divided States of America) one has the option to search for any kind of information that one is inspired to look for. And even more, right here in New York City where I live there are many FREE programs and classes available through the City or State to train people in the skills and secrets that one needs to know in order to flourish as an entrepreneur or to start, keep and expand a business of one’s own. (***SEE LINKS BELOW TO ACCESS NYC WEB PAGE OF FREE BUSINESS INFO, CLASSES AND ASSISTANCE PLUS OTHER HELPFUL SITES) There are classes available in how to start a business, how to write a business plan, how to structure yourself as a business owner and how to incorporate yourself, do taxes, do Social security paperwork for employees, how to get certified as a Minority Business so that you can apply for Federal financial assistance, any number of classes ALL FREE that can help us pull ourselves up from out of the mire that has been left for us to sink in if we don’t try to lift ourselves up out from it.
Bernard that is my idea of the cure for what ails us, the cure for what you have written about here.
With FREE education and training, our young people would not have to enroll in the armed services in order to garner a paycheck or receive job training or a college degree: those same armed services that consider them to be expendable Robots of War.
With education and training our young people can either learn to be entrepreneurs and start their own businesses or they can develop the skills needed to get and hold down a job, thereby eliminating the need to try and earn a living by putting their life on the line for a country that does not love them, will not support them, and wants only to use them as expendable pawns in their financial game of chess.
Being in charge of one’s own life automatically fosters self-confidence, self-empowerment, a feeling of self-worth, a strong self-image, and the needed energy to become one of those Beacons of Light that can shine and maybe even be noticed by those around them as a possibility for a new way of living.
CLICK HERE TO ACCESS NYC WEB PAGE OF FREE BUSINESS CLASSES AND ASSISTANCE:
WEB PAGE FOR THE SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION – ALL KINDS OF INFO ON HOW TO APPLY FOR GRANTS AND LOANS AND OTHER WAYS TO HELP YOU GET STARTED:
THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ALSO HAS GRANTS AND LOANS AVAILABLE TO THOSE WHO QUALIFY. Go here to learn about that:
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SOUL ON FIRE
© PJ HAYWARD
NEW YORK, 2015
With all that is going on in the world right now, I thought I’d take us in a different direction today. Those of us who have been around for awhile may remember some of what I am talking about. . .but maybe the young people can take a listen too. . ..hopefully they might find something new in something so old….
I have been thinking about my life-long love affair with music.
Music is that thing that transcends all dimension of sight, space and time. No matter what is going on around you – the right sound will lift you from the bonds of earth and carry you to another world.
To me, throughout my lifetime whether I was feeling great or feeling low, music was like blood to me, I had to have it to survive. And there has been one constant in all music that moved me – it had to be that heavy beat… percussion, horns – and most especially some wild saxophones – yeah. Starting from the first song I can remember that just electrified me and had me dancing all around the room: probably starting with Doo Wop, to rhythm and blues to rock n roll and then later, those down home blues – that thumping, pounding delta blues; to gospel music that had me and everybody else jumping; to African music, Brazilian music, Latin music from all over; to Reggae….wow. What a blessing it is to have so many sounds to rescue us from the cares of the day and carry us away to another place and time!
So just for today, I want to share a few memories with you just to show you where I came from – musically – and share a few of my favorite old songs that will magnify any great mood or take away any care or pain – at least for me -maybe for you too.
I was probably about 7 years old or so the first time I realized I could go live in another world just from the sound of music on the radio. The song was “Rocket 88”, recorded by Jackie Brenston who was part of Ike Turner’s band at that time. I’m not sure if this is the same as another version he put out along with his Delta Cats, but this is the song I remember that had my little 7 year old legs spinning and jumping all over the room.
JACKIE BRENSTON, 1951: Rocket 88
The next side I want to share with you is the song that gave me my pen name and I just love it so here is:
LLOYD PRICE, 1952: Lawdy Miss Clawdy
There was another song around that time that I remember loving a lot called “Money Honey”..but I guess I can only put a few up in this post so I will just mention that one.
Starting from the age of ten I guess would be the place where I actually started collecting records and gathering many, many musical memories. The first record of my own that I ever got was one of those giant black glass ’78 records. It was a Christmas gift from my favorite Auntie who was the only family member that ever paid attention to my love of music. The record was “Speedoo” by The Cadillacs, and here it is:
THE CADILLACS: SPEEDOO
That next year or two there must have been a million great GREAT old tunes that are still today considered to be classical old time Doo Wop or maybe they call it Rock n Roll, I’m not sure. The ones I can tell you I loved the most were Fats Domino’s “Aint That a Shame” and “Blueberry Hill”, Chuck Berry’s “Maybelline” (I once had a car I named after that song because it was fickle and would only run sometimes), Tweedlee Dee by La Verne Baker and Ray Charles’ “Drown in my own Tears”. Then there was this hilarious song called “Stranded in the Jungle” by the Cadets that used to crack me up. Also the first time I can remember hearing the great Godfather of Soul sing any song, “Please, Please, Please”. But – no disrespect meant to James Brown – to me the BEST was when I discovered Little Richard. I just love me some Little Richard. He was so wild!! He would play the piano standing backwards, stand on top of the piano and play – just all kinds of carrying on – and he had this GREAT band! That year he came out with Long Tall Sally, Rip it Up, Slippin & Slidin and Tutti Frutti. Here he is with Long Tall Sally – and if you can catch it, about a minute and 9 seconds into this video you can spot Alan Freed and Bill Haley and some other guy I don’t recognize, sitting at a table in the audience. (This clip must be from some movie but the audio isn’t the greatest quality – still I had to show it to you because you can see this great pioneer of Rock n Roll along with his wild band just doing what they do.)
LITTLE RICHARD: Long Tall Sally
Now, just because it is such a beautiful song, I have to throw in one slow song. Many people have done this one over the years and Johnny Taylor is one that sticks out in my mind as having one of the great renditions. But anyone who has ever been in love has got to love this first version I ever remember ever hearing – Jerry Butler’s beautiful, soulful, heart rending version of – “For Your Precious Love”
JERRY BUTLER: For Your Precious Love
Wow.. so many memories. The Coasters started coming out with all their crazy tunes. The Platters were releasing all kinds of records that are still just as beautiful and soul wrenching today as they were then. And so many other memorable artists and groups came along – Jackie Wilson, Wilson Pickett, Lloyd Price, Sam Cook, Ray Charles, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles – all had so many spectacular hits that anyone my age would still know all the words to because we used to listen to those songs over and over and over again until our records were so scratchy we sometimes had to go and buy new records of the same songs just so we could hear the actual words anymore. Around that time I had a boyfriend that worked in a record shop so I got lucky that way – he brought me all the latest tunes as soon as they came out. But I think I will skip ahead a little bit now or I’ll keep you here all day listening to old timey Doo Wop and Rock n Roll.
I’ll just mention that I had planned to give you a few samples from every decade. The great, great Temptations, The O’Jays, The Spinners and the Four Tops, the Isley Brothers, Smokey Robinson with/without the Miracles, Marvin Gaye, David and Jimmy Ruffin – there are so many icons from the 60’s, 70’s and 80s. Also I thought I’d give you a few samples of some of my favorite Blues masters – Buddy Guy, Luther Allison, Albert King (in my opinion some of the greatest blues guitarists of all time) and of course Muddy Waters, Little Walter and a million other great great blues artists like Howlin Wolf, Bobby Bland, Big Mama Thornton, Taj Mahal, ZZ Hill, Denise LaSalle, John Lee Hooker, the great Etta James, Johnny Taylor, Jimmy Reed, Otis Rush and so so many other people Then I am a huge fan of Latin music – Celia Cruz, Tito Puente, The Fania All Stars, Oscar de Leon to name a few: African Music – Baaba Maal, King Sunny Ade, Angelique Kidjoe, Youssou N’dour…and then of course came Ska and Reggae. Obviously the iconic Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Black Uhuru, Burning Spear, Yellowman, Everton Blender- and then newer people like Shabba Ranks, Cutty Ranks, Buju Banton, Beenie Man, various Marley children…just SOOOO many reggae masters. I could go on and on for days…
But instead of sampling all those great old tunes, I actually think I will close with the song that unified millions of brothers young and old alike at a time, not so different from today, when there was so much division and dissension in our country. The awesome Godfather of Soul is saying it all right here in this song – “WE’D RATHER DIE STANDING ON OUR FEET THAN KEEP LIVING ON OUR KNEES”.. So here is this mighty mentor and cheerleader in the fight for Civil Rights; one of the greatest performers ever to slide and glide, wiggle and spin his way onto the stage like some kind of liquid human being:
JAMES BROWN: Say it Loud, I’m Black & I’m Proud
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FROM GHANA, FROM THE DESK OF OUR EDITOR IN CHIEF
© Bernard W. Saunders
Iture-Elmina, Ghana West Africa
December 28, 2014
“If you come to a fork in the road take it”: Yogi Berra
The Book of Awakening, Conari Press, © 2000 Mark Nepo
The United States of America again finds itself at a racial fork in the road. The choice it makes could well determine its existence as a republic. To me the choice is clear, does the United States continue its descent into the racial, ethnic, political, economic violence that is plaguing so much of humanity or does it finally fulfill its founding premise of liberty and justice for all?
For me the fork in the road is no less clear: Do I add my opinion to the cacophony of those in full voice on the subject or do I stand silent? If I do who am I writing for or to? Do I stand mute in the face of what amounts to State sponsored terrorism with the ongoing killing of young Black males at the hands of police across the country?
The spate of killings of African American males is only new in the names of those killed. From the inception of this nation it has defined the Black man as dangerous on one hand and expendable on the other. The recent killings of Black men by the police has to be viewed in their historical context.
The United States was and is a commercial enterprise first established on the destruction, the mass killing of the indigenous civilizations in existence when Europeans made contact with the Western Hemisphere.
The so called American revolution for all of the lofty words in its Declaration of Independence, and its Constitution about the equality of man, set aside the humanity of the indigenous population in the building of the nation.
This crime against humanity was paralleled by the systematic murder and enslavement of millions of human being on the continent of Africa in the process of transporting enslaved Africans to the Western Hemisphere during the European Trans Atlantic Slave Trade. The Civil War was about two competing economic systems in which the humanity of African people was a secondary issue.
The pillars of white supremacy were firmly established during those periods in religion, politics, and economics. The education system perpetuated the illusion of white supremacy, while class based white skin privilege was woven into the very fabric of society. Segregation was the white supremacist handmaiden, integration its spawn.
Paradoxically people of African Ascent have fought in those wars. Blacks fought on both sides of the American revolution and the Civil war. We have fought with honor in every war the System designated as enemies of the United States. We return home from those wars to be met with the same ignominy of racism. Ironically in the course of fighting those wars we have one of the best trained military forces in history living within our communities.
From the slave dungeons which dot the coast of west Africa, throughout the ensuing epochs people of African Ascent in the United States have fought and died to establish our humanity in a system founded and continues to thrive while dehumanizing us.
It is not politically correct to say so, but the fact is that validation of our humanity has only come through struggle and bloodshed. Some of us have died so that others of us would live.
African mothers threw their children over the rails of the slave ships and followed them into the deep.
To come of age in such a ruthless system one learned the survival skills of misdirection and subterfuge, to throw the blood hounds off the scent. But their 21st century trainers and handlers have unleashed them again. I can hear them baying in the mass media, in the political establishment, and labor leaders, as they seek to once again stand truth on its head for political purposes. White sheets and burning crosses have been replaced by suits, business cards, and uniforms; but the intent is the same: intimidate, terrorize and repress into silence and submission.
Fully aware that I risk turning the hounds in my direction, I am moved to ask as that system sets out to destroy in death the killer of two New York City police officers in what was clearly a political assassination, a political statement, and besmirch those who peacefully protest State sanctioned killing by placing the blood of those officers on the hands and heads of peaceful protesters:
Does anyone in that pack, that mob, fueled by blood lust and revenge give any thought to the depth of the hopelessness , anguish, despair, rage and anger that motivated that human being; the Shooter to target those two officers?
Having dealt with those emotions as a human being of African/Native American Ascent all of my conscious life I have.
Do those in powerful position think that we do not understand that placing the blood of those two officers on our heads and hands for political purposes think that we do not understand the significance of such an actions? That we too are being dehumanized in turn along with the Shooter. With the potential for more deaths.
I argue that the officers were killed as symbols of the State. It was not the men, nor their race or ethnicity it was the uniform they were wearing. For that uniform is a symbol, of what many consider, an occupation force in our community. To many the police are not in our communities to serve and protect, but to repress, intimidate and control.
Heretofore, we would bury our dead, when afforded the opportunity and created a culture of self validation emulated around the world out of our despair and anguish: Spirituals, gospels, jazz, dance, literature, churches, education systems, movements, families and communities.
We would swallow our spit as old folks would say and keep on keeping on.
At different times rebellion would break out of our imprisoned souls and we would retaliate against the dehumanize-rs. Unfortunately for the officers and their family, the death of those three men were in that mode. Having worn a similar uniform for twenty years I mourn their deaths, even as I reason they are casualties in a struggle that has gone on for hundreds of years, with no end in sight.
There was a message in the deaths of those three men that the elites of the United States ignore to the peril of the nation.
From the depths of his anguish and despair and hopelessness the shooter was saying: Enough!
One would think that hundreds of years of struggle for recognition of our rightful place in the basic denominator of humanity that bounds us all would be enough. Clearly from the Supreme Court of the United States, to the officers on patrol in Black, Brown, Red and poor neighborhoods it is not enough. The Struggle Continues.
There is also a message in the deaths of those three men, and the deaths of all persons who have preceded them for Black America; for we too are at the same fork in the road.
From the divide between the enslaved field hands to the enslaved house servants; through sharecropping; from nationalism to integration the fork has always been there.
Malcolm X in his analysis of the System in his Ballot or Bullet speech (You Tube, Cleveland Ohio April 4, 1964) offered one option. Martin Luther King another (also on You Tube). The same can be said for Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Du Bois. Enough each was saying in their own way. When Malcolm and King were killed in acts of State sponsored terrorism they were closer in their thoughts then they were apart. Perhaps that is why the State decided they had to die. Du Bois spent the last years of his life in voluntary exile in Ghana- King has been turned into a dreamer, not a man of action saying: Enough.
They differed on tactics, but not the goal: Acceptance of our humanity as Blacks, African Americans in the United States that precludes assimilation. Assimilation for Blacks in a society grounded in white supremacy and white skin privilege is impossible for persons of color, especially Blacks. Integration and the ballot have largely been a bust. The USA is as segregated overall now as it was before the civil rights movement. The ballot has largely been discounted by money.
People of African Ascent living in the USA the Shooter was saying have to look inside ourselves as individuals and as a collective for answers. The answers will not come from government, for government as currently constituted serves at the behest of the elite. That elite, that social political structure to paraphrase James Smalls remains pillared on white supremacy and white skin privilege.
And as John Henrik Clarke has reminded us in reference to three thousand years of Africa being invaded and exploited by outsiders: Africa has never had any friends among the invaders.
I was born 77 years ago within walking distance of where the Shooter took his stand. I have engaged the white ethnics of the United States for most of my lifetime. We have fought each other as teenagers in some instances, and fought with each other as adults in others.
Some individuals in those same ethnic groups have supported and continue to support the Struggle for Human Rights for People of color and the poor in this nation. I have been privileged to have and still have some of those progressive and forward looking people in my life.
By their actions they have helped to move me from seeing the world in Black and white to gray, with the ever evolving understanding that it is not so much about race, color and ethnicity as it is about Spirit, Beliefs and Ideology. It really does not matter the color of the person denying your humanity. What matters is the denial of your Human Rights.
People of all persuasions in the Struggle for Human Rights and Justice in the United States, and around the world, must not forego those critical alliances. We must retain our belief in the Common denominator of our Humanity.
There have been others who have opposed and continue to be in opposition as we fight to establish our humanity. I have known some of them also. They have helped to harden my resolve.
For all of the truth of our common humanity, People of African Ascent in the United States have to address our role, that gives license to the State and its agents of enforcement to cite behavior among and between us-violence, killing, crime-as reasons to violate our Human Rights.
While we are aware of the historical external forces that are contributing factors to our anguish, despair, and sense of hopelessness we must address the internal factors – ignorance and self hatred – that we know are there.
African-Americans have to take control of our own destiny. As individuals, the first step in curing any malady, any addictive behavior is the recognition that it exist. And may I add to my brethren on the continent of Africa as well as its worldwide Diaspora. Take control of your destiny. The answer to Africa’s challenges are there internally-they will not come from the outside. (See John H. Clarke again).
Oh I hear my brothers and sisters who say to me, above the baying of the blood hounds we cannot wash our dirty laundry in public. We harken back to our survival skills of misdirection and subterfuge. But when dirty laundry is washed and hung on the line in the healing sunlight it is so much fresher.
And it doesn’t matter if the clothes line is strung, between two sections of an apartment house in segregated Bedford Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, or the line in my grandparents yard in segregated Virginia of my youth, or the line in my yard of my current home in Ghana. The sunlight cleanses and heals.
Yet I say again, the cure begins with the recognition that the malady is there.
From Africans who aided and abetted the European Atlantic trade in their enslaved brethren, not to forget the ongoing Arab slave trade that preceded it, to today’s destructive behaviors we have to accept our responsibility. Only then can we say to our adversaries- Enough- with integrity.
Then when we face off against those who continue to foster the climate where Blacks are killed by the agent of the State-read police-with impunity-we can go from protest to demand.
Frederic Douglass said: Power yields nothing without demand. It as true now as it was then.
But as we continue to engage the system in our eons long Struggle we must not succumb to feelings of powerlessness, hopelessness, anguish, rage and fear. There is hope, hope that is germinated internally. Here in Africa I see what I have dubbed the “new missionaries”,
(We know the role the old missionaries played and continue too. They were and are, the primary weapon in the destruction of indigenous cultures. They came with the military that planted the flags of the invaders, along with the factors of the funding commercial interest).
The new missionaries are secular, spiritual young people on the Continent and in the Diaspora, they are African Centered and Pan African: educated and immersed in the language of 21st century communications; linked by an understanding of the most advanced technology, coming together to reject the System and its cohorts across what were once barriers of race and ethnicity.
These new missionaries are diminishing the potency of divide and conquer.
Bearing in mind John Henrick Clarke’s teaching: We have to encourage, sustain, and maintain those alliances.
With that said I will close by saying: The right of human beings to defend ourselves is established in nature, inherent in our humanity and codified in common law. By extension the right of a community and a people to defend themselves, and their kith and kin is without question. This too without question is valid when those legally and morally responsible: read State and its enforcement agents by acts of commission or omission fail to do so.
In the United States of America the Right of the People to legally bear Arms has been sanctified by the Supreme Court.
As Yogi clearly stated we are at a fork in the road. Take one.
I have taken mine. I write from Ghana. That is one option. But the blood, sweat, and tears of my Native American, of my African Ancestors have enriched the earth of the United States, my umbilical cord is buried somewhere not to distant from where the Shooter took his stand. I have a stake in the United States so I must remain engaged.
As I tell the young people: I am history. But my children and grandchildren live in the USA. (A word about my children and grandchildren and my extended family. They have wreaked havoc on the racial classification system of the USA. In my time it was easy to fit people into the color modes of the USA. Now it is not so because the young people have produced a rainbow of humanity within our extended family.) So I write to them and for them. The idealist in me thinks, wouldn’t it be wonderful if humanity could learn to talk and listen to one another before conflagrations instead of after.
Although as I have said, I am history, my 77 years of evolving on this plain as a conscious human being, have convinced me through observation and experience that conflict, and friction are inherent in the nature. That tension can lead to growth. Birds are territorial and protect their nest and turf. The plates of the earth ground against one another generating heat. That heat sometimes erupts underwater creating mountains under the oceans. Sometimes the lava created as the result of the friction bursts through the crust of the earth destroying that which impedes its flow, creating anew in time. Pearls are created in shells as the result of friction. (Thanks to Mark Nepo for reminding me of that).
Humanity has those same processes within us, in addition gifted with intuitiveness, and the ability to think and reason we have the ability to use them for the best possible good for all. The realist in me understands the challenges and degree of difficulty.
Still I say for the future of my children and their children and their children – Enough!
Let there be Peace.
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SIOUX NATION DECLARES XL PIPELINE AN ACT OF WAR
© PJ HAYWARD
NEW YORK, 2015
Cyril Scott, President of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe of South Dakota
The Keystone Pipeline is slated to cut directly through some of the most highly sacred of a number of Native American tribal Lands. With Congress back in session, and a preponderance of legislators in favor of the pipeline, this issue is going to be opened once again to a firestorm of vitriolic hate speech from big moneyed mouthpieces with profit margins on the line.
Again and again since the first settler set foot on this continent, we have disrespected, robbed, lied to, defrauded and of course MURDERED the Native peoples of this land.
The fact that these SACRED lands are now being robbed from their rightful owners is a recent issue of extremely high visibility compared to the widely unreported desecration of millions of acres of tribal lands that has gone before it. But to take these particular areas of sacred land can be compared to a mining company buying up Jesus’ tomb to mine for gold, or bulldozing Mecca and then just cavalierly stating “well we are giving you another big pile of rocks to replace this one, and we guarantee they will be of the exact same quality of the rocks in this tomb” or “the land we just bulldozed.”
The perpetuation of the view of inferiority of tribal nations in America will never stop for one very simple, elementary reason: we have murdered the greatest percentage of native peoples and continue to this very day to herd the remainder of them into ghettos (reservations) where we still pour in gallons of liquor and kilos of drugs in attempts to keep that remainder incapacitated in order to keep them in poverty and to control them.
The tribal economic achievements in casinos etc. are only tolerated by our government in order to give the illusion that we mean only good and positive things for Native Americans. Of course if that were really the case we would cease and desist from these illegal thefts and sales of sacred tribal lands and other fraudulent and heinous acts being perpetrated on native peoples throughout the Divided States of America.
Even the miniscule reparations payments recently approved for distribution to Native Americans is insulting, too little and too late.
Last November, Cyril Scott, President of the Rosebud Sioux, proclaimed this to U.S Legislators: “The Rosebud Sioux Tribe will not allow this pipeline through our lands. We are outraged at the lack of intergovernmental cooperation. We are a sovereign nation and we are not being treated as such. We will close our reservation borders to Keystone XL. Authorizing Keystone XL is an act of war against our people.”
Go here to read the excellent MSNBC article on this issue:
It is with the utmost and deepest sorrow that LawdyMissClawdy – Life Speaks announces the sudden and unexpected passing from this life of our Senior Contributing Writer, beloved and trusted friend of over 40 years and a true Human Being, Sherman “Q” Montgomery.
Q was a gifted artist, seeing beauty in an unusual way and able to transfer that vision to paint and canvas with great sensitivity.
Q was also a realist who keenly observed Truth in Life and reported on his observations honestly and expertly both on this website and through social media as well as through cherished mentoring relationships with young people.
Although Q frequently travelled throughout the Divided States of America, Memphis, TN remained his life long home base. There in his home town, as a very young man he marched with Dr. King in support of the striking garbage workers – his first battle in his continual fight in speaking Truth to Power. He remained a lifelong soldier in the struggle for Civil Rights and a tireless champion of uplifting the image and self confidence of the Strong and Intelligent Black Male.
On a professional level, the loss to LawdyMissClawdy – Life Speaks is unmeasurable. Q’s keen eyes, ears and voice can never be duplicated.
On a personal level, I am devastated by this loss. Friend from my youth; friend, confidant and fellow student of Life in our older age, it will be a very long time before I am able to come to terms with the unexpected disappearance of this great and beloved friend from my life.
THE FRUITS OF WAR
© PJ HAYWARD
NEW YORK, 2014
Recently I was watching a documentary about the Roosevelt family. In amongst tales of the exploits of Bully Teddy Roosevelt, the “Dragon Lady” mother of Franklin Roosevelt and the general regaling of the Holy Roosevelt Dynasty, a small newsreel piece was tucked into a corner of one of the segments about Eleanor Roosevelt.
Conquering her fears, Eleanor Roosevelt went to a mental asylum to visit soldiers traumatized by World War I. What she saw there not only horrified her but also helped cement the foundation of her life-long quest to ensure human equality in every segment of society, starting with those injured and broken young men she saw that day.
First, these young men were being housed in the most squalid of living conditions. Eleanor immediately committed herself to improving the living conditions for the patients in that hospital. But there was more. It’s the “more” that prompted me to write this piece today.
Documentary newsreel footage showed a number of young soldiers. None of them looked to be any older than their late teens or very early twenties. All of them had obviously suffered mental breakdowns – what today we would call “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder”. Back then it was called “Shell Shock”. They were shaking uncontrollably or else their entire body was just a series of uncontrollable continual tics and twitches – their payment for giving their all – body, soul and mind – in service to their country. They were still wearing their dog tags. They and all the young people like them I will call the Fruits of War.
They are a very bitter Fruit.
Watching this newsreel not once, but twice because the documentary was re-aired last night, I was thrown back into the late sixties and early seventies when I was young and the Viet Nam War was destroying our young men (women could enlist but were only allowed to hold support positions – secretaries, nurses etc.)
Back in those days the United States had a mandatory system in effect known as The Draft. Its purpose was to ensure that America would have plenty of bodies to fill the uniforms of its armed services whether War Time or Peace Time. Every young man had to register with his local Draft Board as soon as he turned 18. Unless you were a Conscientious Objector, a Defector or had some physical or mental limitation, everyone had to go into “The Service”.
Registering for The Draft back in the days of the Viet Nam War, pretty much meant a death sentence, because you stood a pretty good chance of being sent to Viet Nam where if you didn’t die physically – you were most likely going to be destroyed psychologically.
Everyone of my age group (baby boomers) had friends who got sent to Viet Nam. I can only guess about other peoples’ experiences but I can speak fact about my own experiences. My own experience was that, of the boys I knew that went to Viet Nam, only some of them returned. Then, virtually 100% of those that returned brought something dark back with them: either a drug habit or a trauma-induced psychological disability or both. Many of them refused to even talk about their experiences, but not all. The stories I did hear from those who would share them, were so horrendous that had I not heard similar stories from one or two other returning soldiers, I wouldn’t have even believed them. One boyfriend I had at that time, would wake up screaming sometimes at night, shaking and sweating. But he would never reveal the dream that caused that effect. He also had a terrific drug habit and some head issues (psychological issues.) Years later I heard that his family eventually had had him committed to the County Mental Hospital. As far as I know he is still there.
My reason for writing this today is that, being reminded of all those horrors, one has to look at those memories in the light of what is happening in the world today. America as I write this, is embroiled in yet another quandary of how deeply to get involved with the most recent terrorist threat, ISIS. When I first saw on the news that we had begun air strikes against them, my heart just sank and I could only sit in my chair and shake my head. Not because I agreed or disagreed…but because I could only think…”Oh no…not again….”
Because I am old now, I have seen this over and over and over again in my lifetime. I remember when George Bush started his “Shock and Awe” campaign. I will reprint now what I have previously published about that on this site:
“Late one evening I watch a breaking news bulletin on TV. Cameras pan a scene of lush palm trees swaying silently in the dark night, with a twinkling city in the background. Suddenly the cracking thunder of fireworks burst through the silence. A reporter announces not fireworks, but the beginning of President George Bush’s “Shock and Awe” campaign.
In disbelief and resignation I call my sister. Though many miles apart we cry together softly, knowing what this means; the annihilation of thousands more innocent “expendable” people in order to steal Iraqi oil.”
Is there never an end to all this? Can’t we EVER learn from our past history? All those countries we have fought against in the past – we are all great buddies now! We party and dance together now. Our respective countries’ leaders all go out and play golf together now and slap each other on the backs now and sneak off to drink and play with expensive call girls together now like every day is just a big holiday.
Would any of them allow their loved ones to enlist in our Armed Services? I think they would go to great lengths to prevent that from ever happening.
What about the young people – including young women now – who DO enter into the Armed Services today? They go in with their young hopes of success and dreams of getting an education – but so many of them will come home on a stretcher or worse – in a pine box. Are they only modern day versions of the twitching, shuddering young men that horrified Eleanor Roosevelt but yet were the spark that fired her resolve to spend her life working for Change?
If that is the case, does that only prove that nothing at all has changed throughout all these years but the names and faces of the Fruits of War?