Baba Omowale/Malcolm X Land is the basis of Uhuru Revolutions were for Land 1963

Originally posted on newafrikan77:

Message to Grassroots

Malcolm X November 10, 1963

We want to have just an off-the-cuff chat between you and me — us. We want to talk right down to earth in a language that everybody here can easily understand. We all agree tonight, all of the speakers have agreed, that America has a very serious problem. Not only does America have a very serious problem, but our people have a very serious problem. America’s problem is us. We’re her problem. The only reason she has a problem is she doesn’t want us here. And every time you look at yourself, be you black, brown, red, or yellow — a so-called Negro — you represent a person who poses such a serious problem for America because you’re not wanted. Once you face this as a fact, then you can start plotting a course that will make you appear intelligent, instead of…

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The material basis for Black Livez Matter movement

Originally posted on Moorbey'z Blog:

90 years after birth of Malcolm X

The rebellions in both Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore in response to state terror — more commonly called police brutality — are the most tremendous examples of rising social upheaval in the United States. The Black Lives Matter movement that has sprung up in the wake of many high-profile police killings of Black men, women and children is a continuation of the Black struggle for liberation.

Like any political movement, it is growing, changing and learning. The rebellions, while part of the burgeoning political climate that is leading in a more radical direction, are of a spontaneous nature. Despite the calls for peace from more mainstream activists and bourgeois politicians, the rebellions will most likely spread to other cities, as the conditions of oppression, repression and economic warfare continue in oppressed communities.
The political development of the Black Lives Matter movement, as…

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“Iola,” Princess of the Press: The Story of Feminist Anti-Lynching Crusader, Ida B. Welllz-Barnett, by Kiilu Nyasha

Originally posted on Moorbey'z Blog:

“I then began an investigation of every lynching I read about.  By 1893, over a thousand Black men, women and children had been hanged, shot and burned to death by white mobs in America.”

A tireless champion of her people, Ida B. Wells was the first of eight children born to Jim and Elizabeth Wells in Mississippi in 1862, six months before chattel slavery was ended with the Emancipation Proclamation. Her parents, who had been slaves, were able to support their children because Elizabeth was an excellent cook and Jim a skilled carpenter. But when Ida was only 16, her parents and youngest sibling died of Yellow Fever during an epidemic.  In keeping with the strength and fortitude she demonstrated throughout her remarkable life, Ida took responsibility for raising her six younger siblings with her grandmother’s help. Educated at nearby Rust College, a school run by white missionaries, Ida was…

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The Yoruba World

BY

HENRY JOHN DREWAL, JOHN PEMBERTON III, AND ROWLAND ABIODUN

The Yoruba World

The Yoruba speaking peoples of Nigeria and the Popular Republic of Benin, together with their countless descendants in other parts of Africa and the Americas, have made remarkable contributions to world civilization. Their urbanism is ancient and legendary, probably dating to A.D. 800-1000, according to the results of archaeological excavations at two ancient city sites, Oyo and Ife. These were only two numerous complex city-states headed by sacred rulers (both women and men) and councils of elders and chiefs. Many have flourished up to our time. The dynasty of kings at Ife, for example, regarded by the Yoruba as the place of origin of life itself and of human civilization, remains unbroken to the present day.

In the arts, the Yoruba are heirs to one of the oldest and finest artistic traditions in Africa that remains vital and influential today. By A.D. 1100 the artists at Ife had already developed an exquisitely refined and highly naturalistic sculptural tradition in terracotta and stone that was soon followed by works in copper, brass and bronze. Large figures portraying an array of social roles have been found in the region of Esie.

Of the series of remarkable Yoruba kingdoms over the last nine centuries, one of the earliest was Oyo, sited near the Niger River, the “Nile” of West Africa. Straddling this important trading corridor Oyo and its feared cavalry flourished between 1600 and 1830 and came to dominate a vast territory that extended northward to Borgu country, eastward to the Edo, westward to the Fon, and southward to the coast of Whydah, Ajase, and Allada. In Allada the presence of the Yoruba divination system known as Ifa was documented in an early divining tray.

Another Yoruba kingdom in the southeast, Owo, maintained close ties to Ife and also experienced the powerful artistic and cultural influences of Benin between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries. Both were changed in the process – Owo artists supplying fine ivory work to the court at Benin, and Owo royalty adapting and transforming many Benin titles, institutions, and the regalia of leadership in the process.

The Ijebu Yoruba kingdoms (1400-1900) of the coastal plain were shaped by many of these same factors. These Yoruba became masters of trade along the lagoons, creeks, and rivers as well as masters of bronze casting and cloth weaving. They were the first Yoruba to establish trading ties with Europeans in the late fifteenth century. Over the next four centuries, the Yoruba kingdoms prospered and then declined as the devastating effects of the slave trade and internecine warfare of the nineteenth century took their toll. The stage was set for the ascendancy of the British and the advent of colonial rule at the end of the nineteenth century.

One of the effects of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century disruption was the dispersal of millions of Yoruba peoples over the globe, primarily to the Americas – Haiti, Cuba, Trinidad, and Brazil – where their late arrival and enormous numbers ensured a strong Yoruba character in the artistic, religious, and social lives of Africans in the New World. That imprint persists today in many arts and in a variety of African-American faiths that have arisen not only in the Caribbean and South America, but also in urban centers across the United States. Yoruba philosophical, religious, and artistic tenets, ideas, and icons have transformed and continue to transform religious beliefs and practices and the arts of persons far beyond Africa’s shores.

There are several fundamental concepts that are distinctive to a Yoruba world view. They provide a foundation for comprehending the dynamics of Yoruba art and culture through time and space. Furthermore, these concepts are expressed in words, images, and actions. All three modes of expression contribute to the shaping of Yoruba culture and our understanding of it. Here, we concentrate on concepts conveyed in words and images that seem to permeate a wide variety of forms, media, and contexts. In the Yoruba view, all arts are closely related and are often meant to be understood and seen as images in the mind’s eye. Such mental images (iran) are related to oju inu (literally “inner eye” or “insight”). Thus, both the words and the forms considered in this chapter embody concepts that are pervasive and enduring markers of Yoruba civilization.

The Yoruba Cosmos

The Yoruba conceive of the cosmos as consisting of two distinct yet inseparable realms – aye (the visible, tangible world of the living) and orun (the invisible, spiritual realm of the ancestors, gods, and spirits). Such a cosmic conception is often visualized as either a spherical gourd, whose upper and lower hemispheres fit tightly together, or as a divination tray with a raised figurated border enclosing a flat central surface. The images clustered around the perimeter of a tray refer to mythic events and persons as well as everyday concerns. They depict a universe populated by countless competing forces. The intersecting lines inscribed on the surface by a diviner at the outset of divination symbolize metaphoric crossroads, orita meta (the point of intersection between the cosmic realms). The manner in which they are drawn (vertical from bottom to top, center to right, center to left) shows them to be three paths – a symbolically significant number. These lines are always drawn by Yoruba priests at the outset of divination to “open” channels of communication before beginning to reveal the forces at work and to interpret their significance for a particular individual, family, group, or community. Thus the Yoruba world view is a circle with intersecting lines.

Such an image also has temporal implications since the Yoruba conceive of the past as accessible and essential as a model for the present. They believe that persons live, depart, and are reborn and that every individual comes from either the gods or one’s ancestors on the mother’s or the father’s side. In addition, rituals are efficacious only when they are preformed regularly according to tenets from the past and creatively re-presented to suit the present.

Orun: The Otherworld

Olodumare (also known as Odumare, Olorun, Eleda, Elemi) is conceived as the creator of existence, without sexual identity and generally distant, removed from the affairs of both divine and worldly beings. Olodumare is the source of ase, the life force possessed by everything that exists. Orun (the otherworld), the abode of the sacred, is populated by countless forces such as orisa (gods), ara orun (ancestors) and oro, iwin, ajogun, and egbe (various spirits), who are close to the living and frequently involved in human affairs.

The orisa are deified ancestors and/or personified natural forces. They are grouped broadly into two categories depending upon their personalities and modes of action – the “cool, temperate, symbolically white gods” (orisa funfun), and the “hot temperate gods” (orisa gbigbona). The former tend to be gentle, soothing, calm, and reflective and include: Obatala/Orisanla, the divine sculptor; Osoosi/Eyinle, hunter and water lord; Osanyin, lord of leaves and medicines; Oduduwa, first monarch at Ile-Ife; Yemoja, Osun, Yewa, and Oba, queens of their respective rivers; Olosa, ruler of the lagoon; and Olokun, goddess of the sea. Many of the “hot gods” are male, although some are female. They include: Ogun, god of Iron; Sango, former king of Oyo and lord of thunder; Obaluaye, lord of pestilence; and Oya, Sango’s wife and queen of the whirlwind. The latter tends to be harsh, demanding, aggressive and quick-tempered.

This characterization of the orisa has nothing to do with issues of good and evil. All gods, like humans, possess both positive and negative values – strengths as well as foibles. Only their modes of action differ, which is the actualization of their distinctive ase (life force), as expressed by their natures or personalities (iwa). Furthermore, the gods are not ranked in any hierarchy. Their relative importance in any given part of the Yoruba world reflects their relative local popularity, reputation, and influence, and the order in which they are invoked in ceremonies has to do with their roles in the ritual and their relationship to each other.

The gods regularly enter the world through their mediums – worshippers who have been trained and prepared to receive the spirit of their divinities during possession trances in the course of religious ceremonies. When the gods are made manifest in this way, they speak through their devotees, praying and giving guidance.

While all the gods periodically journey to the world, two sacred powers, Ifa and Esu/Elegba, stand at the threshold between the realms of orun and aye, assisting in communication between the divine and human realms. Ifa, actually a Yoruba system of divination, is presided over by Orunmila, its deified mythic founder, who is also sometimes called Ifa. Esu/Elegba is the divine messenger and activator.

Ifa offers human the possibility of knowing the forces at work in specific situations in their lives and of influencing the course of events through prayer and sacrifice. The diviner, or babalawo (“father of ancient wisdom”) uses the rituals and poetry of Ifa to identify cosmic forces: the gods, ancestors, and spirits, and the machinations of the enemies of humankind personified as Death, Disease, Infirmity, and Loss: certain troublesome entities such as egbe abiku (spirit children), who may cause newborn children to die and be reborn frequently thus plaguing their parents until rituals and offerings can set matters right; and the sometimes evil-intentioned persons known collectively as araye (“people-of-the-world) who include aje (witches), oso (wizards), and others.

While Ifa symbolizes the revealable, Esu/Elegba is the agent of effective action, who also reminds one of the unpredictable nature of human experience. Esu’s constant and often unsettling activity reminds humans of the need for guidance in lives of engaged action. Esu, who bears the sacrifices of human to the orisa and other spirits, is the guardian of the ritual process. A verse from Ifa warns that if Esu is not acknowledged, “life is the bailing of waters with a sieve.”

The ancestors (oku orun, osi, babanla, iyanla) constitute another major category of beings in orun. They are departed but not deceased. They can be contacted by their descendants for support and guidance and can return to the world either for short stays in the form of maskers called egungun, or as part of new persons in their lineages who are partially their reincarnation. A young female child revealed to be the incarnation of her grandmother, for example, will be named Yetunde (“Mother-has-returned”). The grandmother continues to exist in orun, but part of her spirit, or breath, emi, is a constituent element of the new child.

Aye: The World of the Living

Aye, the world, is the visible, tangible realm of the living, including those invisible otherworldly forces that visit frequently and strongly influence human affairs. The importance and omnipresence of the otherworld in this world is expressed in a Yoruba saying: “The world is a marketplace [ we visit], the otherworld is home” (Aye l’oja, orun n’ile). A variant of this phrase, Aiye l’oja, orun n’ile (“The world [life] is a journey, the otherworld [afterlife] is home”), contrasts the movement and unpredictability of life with the haven of the afterworld that promises spiritual existence for eternity. Individual goals and aspirations in the world include long life, peace, prosperity, progeny, and good reputation. Ideally, these can be achieved through the constant search for ogbon (wisdom), imo (knowledge), and oye (understanding).

Yoruba society is traditionally open, but with long history of monarchical and hierarchical organization. Nevertheless, decision making is shared widely – consensual rather than autocratic or dictatorial – and an elaborate series of check and balances ensures an essentially egalitarian system. Just as all the gods are equal in relation to Olodumare, so too all lineages are structurally equal in the sacred king. At the same time, the possibility of mobility is fundamental, depending on how one marshals the forces in the environment. The situation is remarkably fluid and dynamic. Within this context, there is some recognition of rank, yet distribution of responsibilities and authority are given more importance than hierarchy. Seniority is based on the age of the person, the antiquity of the title, and the person’s tenure in office. Such an ideal for social interaction is rooted in the concept of ase, the life force possessed by all individuals and unique to each one. Thus ase must be acknowledge and used in all social matters and in dealings with divine forces as well.

Ase: Life Force

Ase is given by Olodumare to everything – gods, ancestors, spirits, humans, animals, plants, rocks, rivers, and voiced words such as songs, prayers, curses, or even everyday conversation. Existence, according to Yoruba thought, is dependent upon it; is the power to make things happen and change. In addition to its sacred characteristics, ase also has important social ramifications, reflected in its translation as “power, authority, command.” A person who, through training, experience, and initiation, learns how to use the essential life force of things is called an alaase. Theoretically, every individual possesses a unique blend of performative power and knowledge – the potential for certain achievement. Yet because no one can know with certainty the potential of others, eso (caution), ifarabale (composure), owo (respect), and suuru (patience) are highly valued in Yoruba society and shape all social interactions and organization.

Social processes encourage the participation of all and the contribution of the ase of every person. For example, members of the council of elder men and women, known as Osugbo among the Ijebu Yoruba and Ogboni in the Oyo area, have hereditary titles that rotate among many lineages, and there are other positions that are open to all in the society, as well as honorary titles bestowed on those who have made special contributions to the community. Members stress the equality of such positions in emphasizing their distinctive rights and responsibilities. All are seen as crucial to the successful functioning of the society as evident in Osugbo rituals. The members share kola nut, the drummers play the praises of titles, individuals take turns hosting a series celebrations, each person has the opportunity to state opinions during debates, and all decisions are consensual. Osugbo members stress the autonomy of their individual roles while at the same time asserting their equality in decision making. At various times some will dominate while others acquiesce, which is entirely in keeping with Yoruba notions of the distinctive ase of individuals and the fluid social reality of competing powers that continually shape society.

Rituals to invoke divine forces reflect this same concern for the autonomous ase of particular entities. Those invoked first are not more important or higher in rank, rather they called first in order to perform specific tasks – such as the divine mediator Esu/Elegba who “opens the way” for communication between humans and gods. The recognition of the uniqueness and autonomy of the ase of persons and gods is what structures society and its relationship the otherworld.

Eshu

Eshu

Eshu

When he is angry he hits a stone until it bleeds.

When he is angry he sits on the skin of an ant.

When he is angry he weeps tears of blood.

Eshu, confuser of men.

The owner of twenty slaves is sacrificing,

So that Eshu may not confuse him.

Eshu confused the newly married wife.

When she stole the cowries from the sacred shrine of Oya

She said she had not realized

That taking two hundred cowries was stealing.

Eshu confused the head of the queen –

And she started to go naked.

Then Eshu beat her to make her cry.

Eshu, do not confuse me!

Eshu, do not confuse the load on my head.

Eshu, lover of dogs.

If a goat get lost in Ogbe – don’t ask me.

Do you think I am a thief of goats?

If a huge sheep is missing from Ogbe – don’t ask me.

Do you think I am a thief of sheep?

If any fowl get lost in Ogbe – don’t ask me.

Do you think I am a thief of birds?

But if a black dog is missing from Ogbe – ask me!

You will find me eating Eshu’s sacrifice in a wooden bowl.

Eshu slept in the house –

But the house was too small for him.

Eshu slept on the veranda –

But the veranda was too small for him.

Eshu slept in a nut –

At last he could stretch himself.

Eshu walked through the groundnut farm.

The tuft of his air was just visible.

If it had not been for his huge size,

He would not have been visible at all.

Having thrown a stone yesterday – he kills a bird today.

Lying down, his head hits the roof.

Standing up he cannot look into the cooking pot.

Eshu turns right into wrong, wrong into right.

This is excerpt taken from

“Voices From Twentieth-Century Griots and Towncriers”

Book of the Month: Fateful Triangle

Fateful Triangle
FATEFUL TRIANGLE
The United States, Israel and the Palestinians
By Noam Chomsky
Foreword
Fateful Triangle may be the most ambitious book ever attempted on the conflict between Zionism and the Palestinians viewed as centrally involving the United States. It is a dogged exposé of human corruption, greed, and intellectual dishonesty. It is also a great and important book, which must be read by anyone concerned with public affairs.
The facts are there to be recognized for Chomsky, although no one else has ever recognized them so systematically. His mainly Israeli and U.S. sources are staggeringly complete, and he is capable of registering contradictions, distinctions, and lapses which occur between them.
There is something profoundly moving about a mind of such noble ideals repeatedly stirred on behalf of human suffering and injustice. One thinks here of Voltaire, of Benda, or Russell, although more than any
one of them, Chomsky commands what he calls “reality”—facts—over a breathtaking range.
Fateful Triangle can be read as a protracted war between fact and a series of myths—Israeli democracy, Israeli purity of arms, the benign occupation, no racism against Arabs in Israel, Palestinian terrorism, peace for Galilee. Having rehearsed the “official” narrative, he then blows it away with vast amounts of counter-evidence.
Chomsky’s major claim is that Israel and the United States—espe-cially the latter—are rejectionists opposed to peace, whereas the Arabs, including the PLO, have for years been trying to accommodate
themselves to the reality of Israel. Chomsky supports his case by comparing the history of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict—so profoundly inhuman, cynical, and deliberately cruel to the Palestinian people—with its systematically rewritten record as kept by those whom Chomsky calls “the supporters of Israel.” It is Chomsky’s contention that the liberalintelligentsia (Irving Howe, Arthur Goldberg, AlanDershowitz, MichaelWalzer, Amos Oz, Jane Fonda, Tom Hayden, ShlomoAvineri, Martin

Peretz) and even segments of the organized Left are more culpable, more given to lying, than conservatives are.
Nor is Chomsky especially gentle to the PLO, whose “self-destruc-tiveness” and “suicidal character” he criticizes. The Arab regimes, he says, are not “decent,” and, he might have added, not popular either.
In the new edition, Chomsky includes invaluable material on the Oslo and Wye accords—an unnecessary line of Arab capitulation by which Is-rael has achieved all of its tactical and strategic objectives at the expense of every proclaimed principle of Arab and Palestinian nationalism and struggle. For the first time in the twentieth century, an anti-colonial liberation movement has not only discarded its own considerable achievements but has made an agreement to cooperate with a military occupation before that occupation has ended.
Witnessing such a sorry state of affairs is by no means a monotonous, monochromatic activity. It involves what Foucault once called “a relentless erudition,” scouring alternative sources, exhuming
buried documents, reviving forgotten (or abandoned) histories. It involves a sense of the dramatic and of the insurgent, making a great deal of one’s rare opportunities to speak. There is something profoundly unsettling about an intellectual such as Chomsky who has neither an office to protect nor territory to consolidate and guard. There is no dodging the inescapable reality that such representations by intellectuals will neither make them friends in high places nor win them official honors. It is a lonely condition, yes, but it is always a better one than a gregarious tolerance for the way things are.
Edward W. Said
New York, New York
January 1999
(Click the link below to download the full pdf version)

Engaging The Sterile and Vicious Politics of Ethnicity in Nigeria (Africa)

 

Engaging The Sterile and Vicious Politics of Ethnicity in Nigeria (Africa).

One of the greatest challenges Nigeria and indeed Africa has ever grappled with since independence is the problem of ethnic solidarity among the various ethnic groups constituting the diverse ethnic makeup within the territorial boundaries of African countries. Prior to Africa’s era of independence ethnic loyalty rather than national loyalty became a sort of inclination African politicians often subscribed to. Unfortunately African politics tread this trajectory well into post-independence era, hence ethnicity becomes a very sensitive issue in African politics up to 21 century, because African politicians who ought to ensure unity and oneness among various ethnic groups making up the heterogeneous fabric of African countries usually exploit ruthlessly this difference of the same identity to guarantee and secure their own upward mobility in the political system. This emotional ethnic sentiment of the susceptible masses is usually awakened by the politicians when they feel the need for it to satisfy their own self-centered agenda. Which is why it not so uncommon to see politicians who are not articulate much less  competent hold public offices at the expense of those who could engender growth and development politically and economically through policies sensitive to the need of the people.

This sad state of affairs without doubt is one of the many legacies of colonialism, it grows out of the manner in which the colonist lumped together people of different kingdoms, empires, etc into one entity to perpetually vie for power among themselves and ultimately this crystallized into modern politics of ethnicity i.e a country segmented along ethnic lines and seldom act together since the segments perceived themselves as competitors rather than members of the same cause who shares the same identity. An illustration to understand better will suffice, in 1960 after independence Nigeria was divided into three (3) regions for administrative and political convenience putting into cognizance the size of the country instead of solving problems it ended up creating ghastly one. Soon the division took ethnic connotations Northern region Hausa/Fulani, Western region Yoruba and Eastern region Igbo. The full impact of this schism was not seen until 1966 when coup by the military headed by Igbo officer was considered an attack on the Hausa/Fulani dominated government by the northerners. Although the objectives of the first coup was to address the ills of the society it proved abortive as the effort was taken over by another military officer also Igbo. What follows next was counter-coup led by Hausa officer and pogrom against the Igbos in the northern region, attempt to solve this issue was also abortive and this led to war in the country 1967-70.

Ever since the country has remain divided along ethnic line despite numerous efforts to address or solve this problem. This vestige of sterile politics do manage one way or the other to rear its ugly head in the country’s political arena most especially in sensitive times among the populace. As prove, in the just concluded international lauded 2015 presidential election in Nigeria, the votes of the two major candidates did not really reflect national consent but rather ethnic consent and strategic alliance with the southwest which was the decisive factor. One of the major themes of the election was voting for candidate of one’s ethnic affiliation rather than voting for the right candidate, which was the reason why some people were subjected to ridicule, vitriol and slander because they voted candidate of their choice and apparently this candidate is not of their ethnic origin. Suffice to ask what does being a proper Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa/Fulani, Ijaw, etc mean? Does it mean subservience in the face of untold and unwarranted hardship because an inept leader at the helm of affairs of the state is of one’s ethnic affiliation? Or is it acquiescent to the diabolic misery of poverty? Does is it not defies logic to think the bitter pills of poverty are best digested when administer by mischievous doctors of one’s ethnic identity? In a country where ethnic sentiment has injured severely the political common sense of the electorate do we need not to consider our stand when it comes to deciding who get our votes and for what reasons?

What Nigerians (and Africans) must come to terms with is that a bad leader is a bad leader irrespective of his/her ethnic origin. What we must realize is that over fifty (50) years of independence we have had leaders from across the country that has served in various capacity yet we have struggle at every step to achieve meaningful development. Whilst majority of Nigerians struggle to meet ends need and aspired to break through the iron forged barricade of poverty the Nigerian politicians swims and flaunt their ill-gotten wealth they acquire through looting of the country’s treasury. To remain divided is to remain prey of the politicians who will forever continue to deftly exploit our differences.

Africans must act against these divisive tendencies if it must achieve unity on a continental scale. African unity has remained elusive and difficult because the component units are internally disunited. For Africa to achieve unity on a continental scale the first big step is to deal decisively with the impediment of disunity among the components making up the whole.