Archive for September, 2007

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September 29, 2007

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As soon as we can get someone to help us post this connection correctly you will have the BEST BLACK NEWSPAPER IN THE WHOLE WORLD,THE FINAL CALL HERE AT BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL!

A PRELIMINARY GLOBAL AFRICAN PRESENCEBOOK LIST*,COMPILED AND POSTED BY RUNOKO RASHIDI,SUBMITTED BY BROTHER DARRELL DAVIS TO ” BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL”

September 29, 2007

from Brother Darrell Davis

A PRELIMINARY GLOBAL AFRICAN PRESENCE BOOK LIST*

Compiled and posted by RUNOKO RASHIDI

DEDICATED TO DR. JOHN HENRIK CLARKE (1915-1998)

——————————————————————————–

Akbar, Na’im. Visions for Black Men. Nashville: Winston-Derek, 1991.

Ani, Marimba. Yurugu: An African-Centered Critique of European Cultural Thought and Behavior. Trenton: Africa World Press, 1994.

Armah, Ayi Kwei. Two Thousand Seasons. Poppenguine, Senegal: Per Ankh, 2000.

Begg, Ean. The Cult of the Black Virgin. London: Arkana, 1986.

Ben-Jochannan, Yosef A.A. Black Man of the Nile and His Family. Baltimore: Black Classic Press, 1989.

Ben-Jochannan, Yosef A.A. African Origins of the Major Western Religions. Baltimore: Black Classic Press, 1991.

Bennett, Lerone. Before the Mayflower: A History of Black America. Harmondsworth: 1962.

Browder, Anthony Y. Nile Valley Contributions to Civilizations: Exploding the Myths, Volume 1. Introduction by John Henrik Clarke: Washington, DC: Institute of Karmic Guidance, 1992.

Butweiku I, Nana Ekow. Afrikan Theology, Cosmogony & Philosophy: An Insight on Traditional Afrikan Religion. Introduction by Runoko Rashidi. Hampton: UB & US Communications Systems, 1999.

Bynum, Edward Bruce. The African Unconscious: Roots Ancient Mysticism and Modern Psychology. Foreword by Linda James Myers. New York: Teachers College,

Carruthers, Jacob H. The Irritated Genie: An Essay on the Haitian Revolution. Chicago: The Kemetic Institute, 1985.

Carruthers, Jacob H. Intellectual Warfare. Chicago: Third World Press, 1999.

Carruthers, Jacob H., and Leon Harris, eds. African World History Project: The Preliminary Project. Chicago: Kemetic Institute, 1996.

Chandler, Wayne B. Ancient Future: The Teachings and Prophetic Wisdom of the Seven Hermetic Laws of Ancient Egypt. Introduction by Ivan Van Sertima. Baltimore: Black Classic Press, 1999.

Chinweizu. The West and the Rest of Us. Lagos: Nok Publishers, 1978.

Clarke, John Henrik. Notes for an African World Revolution: Africans at the Crossroads. Trenton: Africa World Press, 1991.

DeGraft-Johnson, J.C. African Glory: The Story of Vanished Negro Civilizations. 1954; reprinted. Baltimore: Black Classic Press, 1985.

Diop, Cheikh Anta. African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality. Translated from the French by Mercer Cook. New York: Lawrence Hill, 1974,

Diop, Cheikh Anta. The Cultural Unity of Black Africa.: The Domains of Patriarchy and Matriarchy in Classical Antiquity. Introduction by John Henrik Clarke. Afterword by James G. Spady. Chicago: Third World Press, 1978.

Diop, Cheikh Anta. Civilization or Barbarism: An Authentic Anthropology. Translated from the French by Yaa-Lengi Meema Ngemi. Edited by Harold J. Salemson and Marjolijn de Jager. New York: Lawrence Hill, 1991.

Drake, St. Clair. Black Folk Here and There: An Essay in History and Anthropology, Volume 1. Los Angeles: Center for Afro-American Studies, UCLA, 1987,

Elder, Bruce. Blood on the Wattle: Massacres and Maltreatment of Aboriginal Australians Since 1988. Sydney: New Holland Publishers, 1998.

Fanon, Frantz. The Wretched of the Earth. New York: Grove Press, 1963.

Finch III, Charles S. Echoes of the Old Darkland: Themes from the African Eden. Decatur: Khenti, 1991.

Finch III, Charles S. The Star of Deep of Beginnings: The Genesis of African Science of Technology. Decatur: Khenti, 1998.

Fraser, Rosalie. Shadow Child: A Memoir of the Stolen Generation. Alexandria: Hale & Iremonger, 1998.

Gnammankou, Dieudonne. Pouchkine et le Monde Noir. Paris: Presence Africaine, 1999.

Guillon, Emmanuel. Cham Art: Treasures from the Da Nang Museum, Vietnam. Bangkok: River Books, 2001.

Harris, Joseph E.,ed. Africa and Africans as Seen by Classical Writers: The William Leo Hansberry Notebook, Volume 2. Washington, DC: Howard University Press, 1977.

Hilliard III, Asa G. The Maroon Within Us. Baltimore: Black Classic Press, 1994.

Hilliard III, Asa G. SBA: The Reawakening of the African Mind. Foreword by Wade W. Nobles. Gainesville: Makare, 1997

Houston, Drusilla Dunjee. Wonderful Ethiopians of the Ancient Cushite Empire. 1926; rpt. Introduction by W. Paul Coates. Afterword by Asa G. Hilliard III. Commentary by James G. Spady. Baltimore: Black Classic Press, 1985.

Jackson, John G. Introduction to African Civilizations. Foreword by Runoko Rashidi. Introduction by John Henrik Clarke. New York: Citadel, 2001.

James, George G.M. Stolen Legacy: The Greeks Were not the Authors of Greek Philosophy, but the People of North Africa Commonly Called the Egyptians. 1954; rpt. Introduction by Asa G. Hilliard III. San Francisco: Julian Richardson, 1988.

Katz, William Loren. Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage. New York: Atheneum, 1986.

Killens, John Oliver. Great Black Russian: A Novel on the Life and Times of Alexander Pushkin. Introduction by Addison Gayle. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1989.

Martin, Tony. Race First: The Ideological and Organizational Struggles of Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association. Dover: The Majority Press, 1976.

McCray, Walter Arthur. The Black Presence in the Bible: Discovering the Black and African Identity of Biblical Persons and Nations. Chicago: Black Light Fellowship, 1990.

Moore, Carlos, ed. African Presence in the Americas. Trenton: Africa World Press, 1995.

Obenga, Theophile. Ancient Egypt and Black Africa: A Student’s Handbook for the Study of Ancient Egypt in Philosophy, Linguistics and Gender Relations. London: Karnak House, 1992.

Rajshekar, V.T. Dalit: The Black Untouchables of India. Foreword by Y.N. Kly. Afterword by Runoko Rashidi. Atlanta: Clarity Press, 1995.

Rashidi, Runoko, and Ivan Van Sertima, eds. African Presence in Early Asia. New Brunswick: Transaction Press, 1995.

Raven, Susan. Rome in Africa. London: Routledge, 1993.

Rodney, Walter. How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Introduction by Vincent Harding. Postscript by A.M. Babu. Washington, DC: Howard University Press, 1982.

Rogers, Joel Augustus. Sex and Race. Rogers: New York 1942.

Rogers, Joel Augustus. World’s Great Men of Color, two volumes. New York: Macmillan, 1972.

Sabbioni, Jennifer, Kay Schaffer and Sidonie Smith, eds. Indigenous Australian Voices: A Reader. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1998.

Scobie, Edward. Global African Presence. Introduction by Ivan Van Sertima. Brooklyn: A & B Books, 1994.

Sharp, Saundra. Black Women for Beginners. New York: Writers and Readers, 1993.

Van Sertima, Ivan. They Came Before Columbus: The African Presence in Ancient America. New York: Random House, 1976.

Van Sertima, Ivan, ed. African Presence in Early Europe. New Brunswick: Transaction Press, 1985.

Van Sertima, Ivan, ed. Egypt Revisited. New Brunswick: Transaction Press, 1989.

Van Sertima, Ivan, ed. Golden Age of the Moor. New Brunswick: Transaction Press, 1992.

Van Sertima, Ivan, ed. Egypt: Child of Africa. New Brunswick: Transaction Press, 1994.

Van Sertima, Ivan, ed. Early America Revisited. New Brunswick: Transaction Press, 1998.

Van Sertima, Ivan, and Larry Obadele Williams, eds. Great African Thinkers, Volume 1: Cheikh Anta Diop. New Brunswick: Transaction Press, 1986.

Welsing, Frances Cress. The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors. Chicago: Third World Press, 1991.

Williams, Chancellor. The Destruction of Black Civilization: Great Issues of a Race from 4500 B.C. to 2000 A.D. Chicago: Third World Press, 1987.

Wilson, Amos N. Afrikan-Centered Consciousness Versus the New World Order: Garveyism in the Age of Globalism. New York: Afrikan World Infosystems, 1999.

Woodson, Carter G. The Mis-Education of the Negro. Washington, DC: Associated Publishers, 1933.

X, Malcolm. Malcolm X on Afro-American History. New York: Pathfinder, 1970.

“BLACK BLOGS HELPED JENA PROTEST AGAINST RACISM BY CHICAGO TRIBUNE SEPT.18,2007

September 28, 2007

from chicagotribune.com

Blogs help drive Jena protest
By Howard Witt | Tribune senior correspondent
5:14 PM CDT, September 18, 2007
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Digg Del.icio.us Facebook Furl Google Newsvine Reddit Spurl Yahoo Print Single page view Reprints Reader feedback Text size: JENA, La. – There is no single leader. There is no agreed schedule. Organizers aren’t even certain where everyone is supposed to gather, let alone use the restroom. The only thing that is known for sure is that thousands of protesters are boarding buses at churches, colleges and community centers across the country this week, headed for this tiny dot on the map of central Louisiana.

What could turn out to be one of the largest civil rights demonstrations in years is set to take place here Thursday, when Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton, Martin Luther King III, popular black radio talk show hosts and other celebrities converge in Jena to protest what they regard as unequal treatment of African-Americans in this racially fractured Deep South town.

Yet this will be a civil rights protest literally conjured out of the ether of cyberspace, of a type that has never happened before in America—a collective national mass action grown from a grassroots word-of-mouth movement spread via Internet blogs, e-mails, message boards and talk radio.

Related links
Trouble in Jena
Jackson, Sharpton and other big-name civil rights figures, far from leading this movement, have had to scramble to catch up. So, too, has the national media, which has only recently noticed a story that has been agitating many black Americans for months.

As formidable as it is amorphous, this new African-American blogosphere, which scarcely even existed a year ago, now comprises hundreds of interlinked blogs and tens of the thousands of followers who within a matter of a few weeks collected 220,000 petition signatures—and more than $130,000 in donations for legal fees—in support of six black Jena teenagers who are being prosecuted on felony battery charges for beating a white student.

“Ten years ago this couldn’t have happened,” said Sharpton, who said he first heard about the Jena case on the Internet. “You didn’t have the Internet and you didn’t have black blogs and you didn’t have national radio shows. Now we can talk to all of black America every day. We’ve been able to form our own underground railroad of information, and when everybody else looks up, it’s already done.”

Hotels are booked up for miles around Jena, the Louisiana State Police are drawing officers from across the state to help control the crowds and schools and many businesses in the town of 3,000 will close Thursday in anticipation of 10,000 or more demonstrators who are expected, organizers predicted.

The momentum for the protest did not slow even when the original reason for the event—the scheduled sentencing of Mychal Bell, 17, the first of the “Jena 6” defendants to be tried and convicted of aggravated second-degree battery—evaporated.

Last week, a state appellate court abruptly vacated Bell’s June 28 conviction, ruling that he had been improperly tried as an adult rather than a juvenile. The local district attorney, Reed Walters, has vowed to challenge that decision, and Bell remains jailed in lieu of $90,000 bond.

What’s animating the protesters is not merely Bell’s legal predicament but the larger perception that blacks in Jena, who make up 12 percent of the population, are still subjected to the kind of persistent racial inequality that once predominated across the Old South.

In a town where whites voted overwhelmingly for former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke when he ran for Louisiana governor in 1991, one local barber shop still refuses to cut black men’s hair.

And the trouble in Jena (pronounced Jee-na) started a year ago with a resonant symbol from the Jim Crow past: After black students asked administrators at the local high school for permission to sit beneath a shade tree traditionally used only by whites, white students hung three nooses from the tree. The incident outraged black students and their parents, but was dismissed by the school superintendent as a youthful prank; he punished the white students with three-day suspensions.

A series of fights between whites and blacks ensued, both on and off the campus. Whites implicated in the fights were charged with misdemeanors or not at all, while the blacks were charged with felonies.

In November, someone burned down the central wing of the high school—an arson for which no one has been arrested.

And then in early December, Bell and five other black students at the high school were charged after a white student was jumped and beaten while he lay unconscious.

Although the white student was treated and released at a local hospital, Walters initially charged the six black youths with attempted murder—charges that he later reduced to aggravated second-degree battery after black bloggers and civil rights leaders from across the country raised complaints that the charges were excessive.

Besides Sharpton, King and Jackson, the NAACP and the ACLU will have contingents here Thursday, as will the Millions More Movement led by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

But many black bloggers say the Jena demonstration is really more about a new generation of civil rights activists who learned about the Jena case not from Operation Push but from hip-hop music blogs that featured the story or popular black entertainers such as Mos Def who have turned it into a crusade.

“In traditional civil rights groups, there’s a pattern—you call a meeting, you see when everybody can get together, you have to decide where to meet,” said Shawn Williams, 33, a pharmaceutical salesman and former college NAACP leader who runs the popular Dallas South Blog.

“All that takes time,” Williams added. “When you look at how this civil rights movement is working, once something gets out there, the action is immediate—here’s what we’re going to write about, here’s the petition, here’s the protest. It takes place within minutes, hours and days, not weeks or months.”

This new, “viral” civil rights movement now taking shape still benefits from the participation of well-known leaders like Jackson or Sharpton—it just doesn’t depend on them, bloggers say.

It was black bloggers, for example, who first picked up the story of Shaquanda Cotton, a 14-year-old black girl from the east Texas town of Paris who was sentenced to up to 7 years in youth prison for shoving a hall monitor at her high school. The judge who heard her case had given probation to a 14-year-old white girl charged with the more serious crime of arson.

After the bloggers and their readers bombarded the Texas governor with protest letters and petitions, Texas authorities freed Cotton—days before Sharpton had scheduled a rally on her behalf.

“When Rev. Jackson or Rev. Sharpton or other recognized leaders get involved, that’s helpful, and it helps them—they can see where momentum is building around an issue,” said James Rucker, the 38-year-old founder of Color of Change, an Internet-based civil rights group that has more than 280,000 subscribers. “You can argue they came late to Jena, but they are here now, which is good.”

The blogs also serve as watchdogs over more traditional civil rights groups. When the NAACP first began featuring the Jena case on its Web site and claimed to be soliciting contributions for the teens’ legal defense, it was a black blogger who quickly pointed out that the donation link directed visitors to the generic NAACP fundraising page, with no way for donors to direct their funds to the Jena defendants.

Within days, the link was redirected to a bona fide Jena 6 fundraising site.

hwitt@tribune.com

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MARCH AGAINST RACISM IN JENA,LOUISIANA SEPT.20,2007 FROM CHICAGO TRIBUNE

September 25, 2007

from chicagotribune

Demonstrators descend on Jena
By Howard Witt | Tribune senior correspondent
9:11 PM CDT, September 20, 2007
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Digg Del.icio.us Facebook Furl Google Newsvine Reddit Spurl Yahoo Print Single page view Reprints Reader feedback Text size: JENA, La. – Drawn by the disturbing symbol of three lynching nooses dangling from a tree and greeted by Confederate flags displayed along their route, tens of thousands of African Americans poured into this racially tense Deep South town Thursday to stage the largest civil rights demonstration in years against what they regard as glaring racial injustices here.

Protesters from across the nation cheerfully defied obstacles placed in their way by town officials, such as a line of portable toilets put directly in front of the courthouse steps where the demonstration was held. They celebrated what Rev. Al Sharpton described as the birth of a “new civil rights movement for the 21st Century,” driven by black Internet blogs, e-mail and talk radio more than any traditional civil rights leader.

Many of the participants traveled 20 hours or more by bus from both coasts and even Alaska to arrive at dawn for the peaceful, six-hour rally, which featured Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Martin Luther King III, radio personality Michael Baisden and dozens of other black leaders and celebrities.

Related links
Jena 6 civil rights demonstration Video
Sharpton among marchers in Jena Video
Rights marchers greeted by glares in Jena Audio
Jena march Photos
Jena protest in Chicago Photos
On the way to Jena Photo
Chicagoans head to Jena Video
Jackson backpedals on Jena, Obama
Blogs help drive Jena protest
Rocker Donates to Jena 6 Defense Fund
Rev. Jackson questions Obama’s ethnicity Video
Grounds of discontent Photo
Trouble in Jena
“The civil rights movement is finally catching up with Jena,” declared Ella Bell King, 59, a resident of Alexandria, La., who slept overnight with other family members in front of the courthouse. “Something like this should have happened here 40 years ago.”

The protesters came to decry the prosecution of the Jena 6—six black high school students who were initially charged with attempted murder for beating a white student last December, even though the student was treated and released at a local hospital. The charges were later reduced to the lesser felony of aggravated second-degree battery.

The demonstrators came as well to criticize the decision of the local district attorney, Reed Walters, not to press similarly serious criminal charges against white youths who attacked blacks.

And they came to defy the symbolism of Jena’s “white tree”—a shade tree at the high school, traditionally reserved for whites, where, as the Tribune first reported last May, all of Jena’s troubles began.

One year ago, after a black student asked an administrator’s permission to sit under the tree—and was told he could sit wherever he liked—three white students hung nooses from the tree’s branches the following day. The local school superintendent dismissed the incident as a youthful prank and refused to expel the white students involved, outraging blacks who were offended by the potent lynching imagery. Months of racial unrest followed in the town, culminating in the December beating.

School officials cut down the infamous tree in July, hoping to eliminate it as a focus of protests. But the demonstrators were undeterred, chanting and marching 12 abreast in a mile-long procession through the streets from the courthouse to the high school courtyard, where they ringed the spot where the tree used to stand.

Louisiana state police estimated that the crowd numbered between 15,000 and 20,000 people, but organizers said they believed there were at least twice that many demonstrators filling this two-stoplight town of 3,000.

“Everybody should be able to sit under a tree if they want,” said 13-year-old Alonte Carpenter, who rode for 11 hours from Nashville with his parents and siblings in order to attend the march.

“I have growing boys,” said his father, Karl Carpenter, 43, an executive with a semiconductor company. “What happened to the Jena 6 could happen to my kids. . . This is an opportunity for our kids to see other people like themselves stand up for what is right.”

Similar sentiments were heard repeatedly Thursday as the demonstrators, nearly all of them African Americans wearing black T-shirts with slogans like “Enough is enough” and “Free the Jena 6,” marched past white Jena residents who glared at them from their front porches.

“They have the freedom to march and freedom of speech, but our town is not racist like this is being depicted,” said a white resident who would identify himself only as Jay. “The nooses were just a joke.”

No officials of the town, which is 85 percent white, offered any comments about Thursday’s march. In the past, they have angrily insisted that Jena suffers from no racial tensions.

But some of the demonstrators, eyeing the wall of portable toilets and the town’s failure to set out any trash receptacles to accommodate the crowds, sharply disagreed.

“They want to see a mess left so they can complain how we trashed the place,” said Earnestine Hodnett, 58, of Virginia Beach, Va., “They want this demonstration to fail.”

Yet even before the marchers began heading home Thursday evening, there were already signs that the demonstration was having real effects.

President Bush offered his first comment about the Jena case at a press conference, following three of the Democratic presidential contenders—Sen. Barack Obama, Sen. Hillary Clinton and former Sen. John Edwards—who last week all questioned the administration of justice in the town.

“The events in Louisiana have saddened me,” the president said. “And I understand the emotions. The Justice Department and the FBI are monitoring the situation down there. And all of us in America want there to be, you know, fairness when it comes to justice.”

Meanwhile, a Louisiana state appeals court ordered that a bond hearing must be held within 72 hours for Mychal Bell, 17, the only one of the six black students to have been tried so far and the only one still in jail, unable to post a $90,000 bond.

Last week, the same appeals court vacated Bell’s June conviction for aggravated second-degree battery, ruling that Walters had improperly prosecuted him as an adult rather a juvenile. Walters has vowed to appeal that ruling and has already initiated juvenile proceedings against Bell. The prosecutor also said Wednesday that he would vigorously pursue his cases against the rest of the teenage defendants, insisting that their white victim had been forgotten amid the controversy.

hwitt@tribune.com

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Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune
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WHY SOME BLACKS CHANGE TO ISLAM FROM RELIGION-ONLINE.ORG

September 25, 2007

from religion-online.org

return to religion-online

Turning to Islam — African-American Conversion Stories

by Rose-Marie Armstrong

Rose-Marie Armstrong, a freelance writer and development consultant, is also a fellow of the C. S. Lewis Institute In Annandale, Virginia. This article appeared in The Christian Century, July 12, 2003, p. 19-23. Copyright by The Christian Century Foundation; used by permission. Current articles and subscription information can be found at http://www.christiancentury.org This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted and Winnie Brock.

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I was searching for several years before I became a Muslim,” says Abdus Salaam, a marketing specialist from Birmingham, Alabama. “I was baptized during this time in the Church of Christ. But I had questions. What bothered me were the white pictures of Jesus and Mary. In Islam we have no pictures, not even of the Prophet Muhammad. As a child I wondered if black and white people had a separate God!”

Salaam’s story is familiar among African-American converts to Islam. While newfound faith is central to their stories, race and personal empowerment are also key parts of the narratives. The in-dignity of discrimination, unfortunately mirrored in Christian churches, haunts African-Americans.

The freedom that Khalid Abdul Kareem, a native of Washington, D.C., found in Islam feels right to him. “African-Americans have been disconnected and disenfranchised,” says Kareem. “At about the age of 17 I realized that Islam wasn’t racist. It established the nature of who I am, why I am here, and where I am going. I am the Creator’s vice-regent; I have no boundaries. I was created by a loving God who has a purpose for me. I can go wherever I choose to take my abilities.” Now 48, Kareem says, “Islam contains truth that is dependent only on God. It liberates us from man.”

African-Americans make up about a third of the estimated 4 to 8 million Muslims in the U.S. — conservatively, around 1.5 million, nearly 5 percent of all African-Americans. According to a poll conducted in 2001 by Muslims in the American Public Square (MAPS). 20 percent of African-American Muslims are converts while 80 percent were raised Muslim. More detailed information about Islam in the African-American community, however, is relatively scarce.

Robert Dannin has opened a new and fascinating perspective on the subject in his recently published book Black Pilgrimage to Islam. Using the methods of ethno-graphic research to collect his information, Dannin tells what he calls “conversion sagas” — rich, unvarnished stories about individual African-American’s journeys into Islam. He also traces the history of Islam among African-Americans by tying together such key developments as the formation of black fraternal lodges in the 18th and 19th centuries; Noble Drew Ali’s 1913 organization of the Moorish Science Temple in Newark, New Jersey; the growth of various Islamic missionary and revivalist movements beginning in the 19th and continuing throughout the 20th centuries; and the conversion to Islam of be-bop jazz musicians who helped raise the faith’s profile in the African-American community.

Dannin also introduces what he admits is a “taboo” subject: that a portion of “African-American society has always been unchurched,” that African-American lodges have traditionally been centers of unchurched religious practices and beliefs,” and that since the end of the civil rights era unchurched African-Americans “have been moving more rapidly toward Islam.” Dannin contends that the “voice of the unchurched” has been repressed by the black church’s command of African-American history.

The various movements, organizations and institutions of unchurched African-Americans, Dannin argues, constitute an alternative to and in some cases a subversion of the black church. Even in the post-Reconstruction era black fraternal lodges “clearly threatened the African-American church’s monopoly of social and civic life.” Similarly, Islam, in all of its forms within the black community has offered an option for those who “thirst for an alternative to the church.”

African-American Muslims I spoke with consistently explained Islam’s appeal in terms of four benefits: a new sense of personal empowerment; a rigorous call to discipline; an emphasis on family structure and values; and a clear standard of moral behavior. But negative comments about Christianity and its associations with slavery and discrimination regularly accompany their expressions of gratitude to Islam, suggesting that Dannin’s “alternative” hypothesis deserves consideration. Read between the lines and it’s hard not to conclude that for many African-Americans an added appeal of Islam is that it’s not Christianity.

“Humans serve their highest and best interest by serving God, which is characterized by building their own lives,” says Abdul Mallek Mohammad, a spokesman for the leader of the Muslim American Society, W. Deen Muhammad. Mohammad argues that slavery took away African-Americans’ ability to properly serve God, even though they lived in a Christian culture. God ordains “freedom, equality, justice and peace,” and so “provides a foundation for life and the stability of community,” he says. But blacks in this country have been deprived of this divinely authorized foundation. “African-Americans’ history bears out that their humanity was not valued. Even now, there are pockets of racism in America that question the humanity of black people.”

W. Deen Muhammad, one of the most eminent Muslim leaders in America, is the son of Elijah Muhammad, the longtime head of the Nation of Islam (NOI) who died in 1975. The elder Muhammad built a strong following that elevated both the emotional and material status of black men and women. Known as the Black Muslims, the members of this movement recruited from among the disadvantaged, welcoming ex-inmates as brothers wronged by a system of oppression. Malcolm X, who later converted to orthodox Islam, is the most notable example. Muhammad also established businesses and put men in black suits, white shirts and black bow ties. His organization, which began in the 1930s, was strongly antiwhite. It is now led by Louis Farrakhan — albeit with what Farrakhan says are major changes in philosophy.

W. Deen Muhammad broke completely with the NOI, forming his own orthodox Sunni Islamic movement. It is now the largest community of Muslim African-Americans, numbered at 200,000. The NOI doesn’t release statistics but is said to number anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000.

Dannin seeks to break the widespread sense that the NOI is the dominant form of Islam within the African-American community. It’s a mistake, Dannin says, portray “a single, notorious example as representative of the entire religious movement,” especially when the NOI under Elijah Muhammad “resembled Islam only to the extent of its taboo against alcohol and pork.” The practice of orthodox Islam has a long history among African-Americans, Dannin argues, and deserves to be understood on its own terms.

Eric Erfan Vickers, former executive director of the American Muslim Council in Washington, D.C., says that orthodox Islam today is “irresistible to African-Americans” because “they are a deeply spiritual people.” Yet “Islam has a strong call to social justice — Malcolm personified this.”

Vickers, who has been a Muslim for more than 20 years, says, “You have African-American men seeking liberation, and many see Christianity as a white man’s religion that continues to oppress. But God in his infinite wisdom created many religions.”

Significantly, all of the African-American Muslims who shared their stories with me turned out to be from Christian homes — a few even have family members who were or are clergy. Behija Abdus Salaam, a retired Department of Corrections chaplain and a member of the Interfaith Conference of Washington, D.C., states, “My grandfather started the first Baptist church in Manassas, Virginia, in the 1880s.” Her oldest brother was also a pastor. Now in her 60s, Behija became a Muslim many years ago. Her doubts about Christianity began when, as a child, she attended services with her uncle, who was so light-skinned he could pass for white. When she entered the church holding his hand an usher pushed himself between them and said she couldn’t sit up front with her uncle.

“Many of my family members are Muslims now,” says Behija. An older brother first joined the Moorish Science Temple, a small Islamic sect with Masonic roots. Later he affiliated with the Nation of Islam. Other family members soon followed, but eventually left the NOI to join the Muslim American Society.

Some students of Islam believe that many African-American’s ancestral Islamic heritage is one of the reasons why they turn from Christianity to Islam. Dannin writes that 15 percent of slaves shipped to North America came from Islamic regions of Africa and were themselves Muslims. The faith, which was suppressed principally to thwart rebellion, is resurfacing in complex ways, he believes.

While this may be true, Amiri YaSin Al-Hadid, co-author with Lewis V. Baldwin and Anthony P. Pinn of Between Cross and Crescent: Christian and Muslim Perspectives on Malcolm and Martin (University Press of Florida), says, “Historically, Islam in the United States is largely a 20th-century phenomenon, and is associated with the urban areas of the North, Midwest, and more recently the West Coast and the South.” Al-Hadid chronicled the life of Malcolm X while Baldwin documented the viewpoint of Martin Luther King Jr. They suggest that it was Malcolm’s militancy, not his Muslim beliefs, that made him a hero. But clearly part of Malcolm’s legacy is his identification of Islam as a pathway to power.

Young black men seeking empowerment and self-determination are drawn to Islam despite the negative Image projected by the extremists of 9/11. By living according to the precepts of Islam they counter white America’s stereotype of black men as on drugs, out of work or in jail. A commitment to discipline and industry structures their lives; family and community become rewarding responsibilities; moral behavior is required, charity is a duty Islam ordains, defines, clarifies and mandates. “It’s a complete way of life,” its followers like to point out — a way of life that bestows pride on a man and gives a woman security.

If Islam is a path not only to God but also to self-respect for young black men, what about black women? Do they feel complete in a religious institution that teaches deference to men and the priority of wifely duties, and that prescribes a dress code that may include a burka? A visit to Masjid Mohammad on Washington’s New Jersey Avenue helps answer these questions. A happy camaraderie unites the women there, as it does the men. Over 125 men and some 100 women attended the Friday lunch and prayer service I attended. Visitors are welcome. Several women cuddle babies in their arms in a small anteroom at the back of the main hall, chatting and laughing softly. Others come through the back door and sit on the floor or on chairs. The men enter from another door, moving well to the front, standing, bowing, kneeling and praying. Women pray or chat in an atmosphere of community and acceptance.

A speaker gives a short talk on stress, hypertension among blacks, and the benefits of fasting. Sherifah Alaimeen Rafiq, a Sunni Muslim who works for the Muslim American Society attends the mosque as often as possible, although women are excused to attend to family responsibilities. She arrives late, hugs babies and leaves without entering the main hall. The busy nursery and kids’ school classes normally found in churches are absent here. These sisters and their children draw quietly together, enjoying their shared Muslim Identity

For women, choosing Islam means gaining new power in their communities and in their lives, They are attracted to the movement because Islam gives them clearly defined rights, respect as women and the prospect of a family unit headed by a dependable male. Most of the women I talked to believe that these ideals are not stressed enough in Christianity.

For many Muslim women, the benefits of Islam overshadow what many American women would view as Islam’s privileging of males. According to the Qur’an, a man is entitled to four wives if he can treat them all equally, and he may in certain circumstances administer corporal punishment. Some of the women I spoke with acknowledged these practices, but one woman said they are mischaracterized. “In the Hadith, which tells us how Muhammad himself lived — and he is our example — we see that he treated his wives gently and respectfully. He may have corrected them, but he would not harm them.”

Harm may be suffered in other ways, however, as Dannin reports. Some of his conversion stories detail the emotional struggles faced by African-American Muslim women and broach the issue of polygamy which Dannin concedes is one of ‘the most controversial topics” among African-American Muslims. Dannin tells of Naima Saif’ullah, for example, who “found her experiment in Islamic plural marriage had become a nightmare.” A former drug addict who married five times as a Muslim — once into a polygamous arrangement — Naima blames her mosque’s religious leaders for not being more vigilant in overseeing her choice of a mate. Despite her “unsuccessful marriages and her failure at polygamy” Dannin observes, Naima Saif’ullah has not lost her faith in Islam “precisely because she sees herself not as a convert to some monolithic patriarchal Islam but as a serious professional woman who has chosen to accept Islam as a moral compass for her life.”

Dannin also writes of Aminah Ali, who converted to Islam in order to marry a Muslim. In her case, the marriage was called off because she learned that “being a Muslim wife implied a particular status that excluded her from camaraderie with her husband and his friends.” Aminah eventually left the faith. Dannin says that Aminah was adamantly opposed to “the popular assertion that polygamy is truly a viable solution for the dearth of marriageable men among African-Americans.”

Who would expect well-educated 25-year-old Sherifah, whom I met at the Masjid Mohammad and who speaks Mandarin Chinese and Arabic, to permit her husband to have another wife? Yet in a conversation with me she upheld plural marriage in principle. “In our community we say it’s best to marry one, but we don’t want to see another sister struggling [without resources],” she told me. “Some groups say you can put in the marriage contract that the husband cannot take a second wife. But, actually a lot of men marry a second wife.” Speaking of her own upcoming marriage, Sherifah confides that she thinks it will be monogamous, since her fiancé was not born Muslim and is not, therefore, culturally attached to polygamy.

Dannin offers a nuanced and revealing discussion of polygamy that underscores how perplexing the issue is for Muslims themselves. Most orthodox Muslims believe in interpreting scripture along very strict lines, and the Qur’an does indeed permit polygamy. To forbid what scripture teaches is considered blasphemous. Yet Dannin points out that most Muslim leaders who “are concerned with propagating their faith in 20th-century America have minimized the importance of polygamy to Islam. Historically, this strategy amounts to accommodation with the dominant form of monogamy in a society where polygamy itself transgresses the definition of marriage. The general view of polygamy is that it is an institution alien to American culture and generally incompatible with modern society. If Muslim men are reluctant to admit this publicly, it is also because they avoid this very controversial issue among themselves.”

Abdul Malek Muhammad, speaking for the Muslim American Society told me that the society strongly disapproves of plural marriages.

For Dannin, patriarchy, which in his view troubles all major world religions, is the deeper problem beneath polygamy. Fatima Mernissi, he observes, is one of the few scholars who has “waded boldly into the question of feminism and Islam” with books like Beyond the Veil.

None of the Muslim women I spoke with, however, were interested in feminist analysis. They enjoy the respect they receive from Muslim men, and many like the rules on modest dress and chastity. A younger crowd praised chaperoned and group dating.

Women also like the fact that no matter how much money they earn, they have no monetary responsibilities in the marriage. “That’s because, should the man divorce a wife, she needs her own money,” one member of the mosque told me. The clarity with which Islam defines the economic rights and responsibilities of women is appealing to African-American Muslim women, in contrast to what they see as the ambiguities of American society. How well it works in practice is another matter. Dannin sites numerous cases in which men failed to live up to their responsibilities. As in any community individual abuses cannot be blamed on the religion. The security and personal empowerment marriage promises Muslim women are only as dependable as the individual who makes the promise.

While Muslims are highly visible members of black communities, and non-Muslim African-Americans are growing more and more comfortable with their Muslim neighbors, the tensions that have historically characterized relations between Islam and the black church still exist. Some African-American pastors consider Islam a rival for the souls of black folks. But there are also plenty of mediating voices.

The possibility of strained relationships has moved Vance Ross, pastor of the First United Methodist Church of Hyattsville, Maryland, both to defend the inclusive and egalitarian nature of Christianity against charges that Christianity is a “white man’s religion” and to insist that the members of his congregation have an accurate understanding of Islam.

Ross cannot imagine what could be more egalitarian than “that sacrificial act of Jesus in giving his life for the salvation of humankind. Everyone is equal at the foot of the cross. Discrimination doesn’t live there. We need to be certain [that] people have a complete picture — that they know it was the influence of Christianity that made It possible to free the slaves,” he says. “They also need to know the entire history of Islam. Islam shouldn’t be equated just with the Nation of Islam, or Osama bin Laden or Muslims who are selling slaves today.”

Black Christian academics and pastors are well aware of the attraction of Islam for African-Americans, but many reject the idea that it represents a threat to Christianity. “The African-American Christian community does not need to be concerned about losing people to Islam,” says Calvin O. Butts III, senior pastor of Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church and president of the College of Old Westbury in Long Island. “It will not happen. Christianity is without question the strongest religion in our community. Remember, the first nation to be fully Christianized was Ethiopia.”

Eugene F. Rivers III, pastor of Azusa Christian Community Church in Boston, sees things differently. “We are losing young black men to Islam, and we need to research why this is happening.” Rivers lays the responsibility on black churches. He wants to see them do five things: “Initiate a focused approach to the claims of Islam; make a political and cultural analysis of the unique impact of the Islamic evangelization of black males; approach Islam on theological and evangelical levels; assess the geopolitical and strategic implications of Islam in Africa and South Asia, since the fortunes of black people in the U.S. are informed by what happens to blacks elsewhere In the world; and, mount a major effort to investigate the success of Islam in prisons.

In a telephone conversation Dannin acknowledged the strain between the faiths, but he considers it manageable. He points out that African-American Christians vastly outnumber their Muslim brothers and sisters. According to a survey conducted by the Barna Research Group, over 19 million African-Americans identify themselves as “born-again Christians,” a statistic that doesn’t include those who identify with Christianity in other terms. Compare that figure to the number of African-American Muslims — estimated at 1.5 million — and the demographic “threat” seems remote at best.

Nevertheless, Dannin criticizes the black church for not living up to its call to moral leadership within the black community. “There is in the Christian churches a tolerance for the status quo,” he states. “Christian groups fail to emphasize and defend what is right. People will follow whoever leads if [leaders] are doing what is right.”

Islam is doing something right. Muslims are accepted, visible members of black communities. The man or woman on the street is unlikely to blame these neighbors for 9/11, or to associate them with last summer’s sniper attacks in Maryland and Virginia. For their part, Muslims, at least publicly, shower compliments on Christianity acknowledging the importance of Jesus as a prophet but denying his deity. Still, Baldwin claims the calm is only on the surface. “Christians tolerate Muslims, but there is an underlying tension because of the theological differences.” There has always been dialogue between the two groups, Baldwin states. “Interfaith dialogue is one of the main themes of Between Cross and Crescent. Martin and Malcolm believed in building bridges of understanding instead of building barriers,” Yet the tension between leaders of the two religions remains.

Butts also emphasizes cooperation. He believes the African-American church should “embrace our Muslim brothers and sisters, first, because they are seeking God, and second, because we have problems in our community that we both have a major interest in solving. Remember what Malcolm said? ‘We don’t catch hell in America because we are Democrats or Republicans, or Christians or Muslims; we catch hell in America because we’re black.’ When we have concerns we must come together.”

Some black church leaders believe that the black church should not only cooperate with Muslims but learn from them as well, especially when it comes to reaching black men. “Black churches challenge you emotionally, and maybe intellectually” Rivers said, “but Islam challenges a man spiritually, physically and intellectually.” Like Islam, Rivers observes, the Church of God in Christ enjoys a large male membership because “it cultivates the image of manhood.” Rivers maintains that “black churches will have to take a page out of Islam’s playbook if they are going to engage young people.” A former gang member, Rivers confesses to studying the strategies used by the NOI in its heyday. “My entire outlook was influenced by the Muslims,” he admits. Rivers is now heavily involved in promoting church leadership in inner-city neighborhoods.

Robert Franklin, president emeritus of the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, thinks the church should pay close attention to what he sees as the three distinctive marks of Islam’s appeal to African-Americans. “The political theology of Islam appeals to African-American activism the well-ordered spiritual life provides specific guidelines for prayer and for relationships to others; and the promotion of family values emphasizes male leadership. African-Americans feel the family is fragmented, mainly because black men are not fulfilling their role. In Islam the man is the provider,” Franklin remarks. When Malcolm X presented Islam as an alternative, Franklin notes, black men responded because “Christianity failed to understand and satisfy what they were feeling but didn’t say.”

Butts acknowledges the empowerment, stability and privileges Islam brings to African-Americans and their communities. “I see men who are redeemed from prison and drugs, who are off the streets and running their own businesses, who are neat and clean. They even have a new name!” he exclaims.

Hafis Mahbub, a Pakistani Muslim missionary to “new” black Muslims in Brooklyn during the 1960s, offered an even more radical account of Islam’s appeal to black Americans. In Dannin’s words, Mahbub taught that in Islam “the struggle to achieve personal transformation was synonymous with the struggle for total social reform.”

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“BLACKS ATTACKED IN COLUMBIA:RACISM IN LATIN AMERICA”BY PIANKE NUBIYANG ON RACEANDHISTORY.COM

September 19, 2007

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BLACKS ATTACKED IN COLOMBIA: RACISM IN LATIN AMERICA

Posted By: Pianke Nubiyang
Date: 11, May 02, at 12:44 p.m.

BLACKS IN CHOCO REGION OF COLOMBIA HIDING IN CHURCH BOMBED: RACISM, GENOCIDE AND NEGLECT IN LATIN AMERICA AGAINST BLACKS.

One of the first regions settled by ancient Africans for thosands of years before Columbus is the Choco Region of Colombia. In fact, in certain areas, such as San Agustin, one will see monuments with Negroid featured sculpture holding African shamanistic objects identical to those used by the ancient Oni or Priest-Kings of Nigeria (see the Essay, “African Civilizations of America.”

Choco was one of the primary areas of Portugese and Spanish slave-raiding before Columbus’ official trip to the Americas. The slaves were Africans who had been living on the coast of Colombia for hundreds of years before the arrival of the Europeans to the New World. In fact, some of the very first African slaves to reach North America were Africans captured on the Coast of South America by the Spaniards and Dutch, then sold to North America (the U.S.) (See the writings of Peter Matyr, Balboa, Ivan Van Sertima); see also the world-famous book, “A History of the African-Olmecs, pub. by 1stbooks Library, 2595 Vernal Pike, Bloomington, Indiana 47404 U.S.A
or the work, “Susu Economics: The History of Pan-African Trade, Commerce, Money and Wealth,” by 1stBooks Library.)

SLAVERY, RACISM, EXPLOITATION AND GENOCIDE AGAINST LATIN-AMERICAN BLACKS

Slavery was abolished in Brazil in the late 1800’s. That was one of the last places to abandon slavery, just after some of the Spanish-speaking nations. Yet, today in many Latin American nations, the conditions are no different from the days of slavery. Blacks are stil being oppressed at a level that is beyond anything in existence except the oppression of Black Untouchables (Dalits) in India.

MISCEGENATION AS A TOOL OF GENOCIDE

Oppression against Blacks in Latin America follows a very different pattern from that which existed in the U.S. during the Jim Crow and Civil Rights era or even the slavery era. In the history of people of Spanish and Portugese origins, the African/Blacks are not some strange, unknown race. Blacks ruled Iberia for 800 years and contributed to the technological and cultural development of Spain and Europe. These Blacks who came from an area stretching from Nigeria to Morocco were Africans who had converted to Islam and created an African version of Islamic culture in parts of West Africa and the Maghreb. That culture used Islamic religion but the African customs, family values, structure, architecture, military system and languages remained intact. In Egypt, that was not the case, Arabic customs and culture replaced the old Khemitic (Felahim and Black Egyptian/Nubian traditions).

Thus, the Blacks who entered Spain in 711 A.D. were Islamized Africans and we know them as Black Moors. The Arabs invaded in abot 1000 A.D. and with them came in Jews and others. When Queen Isabella and Ferdinand defeated the Moors, millions dispersed throughout Europe, including the one million who went to Southern France. Many returned to Africa, others were enslaved and shipped to the Americas. Many were eliminated.

So, people of Spanish, Italian, Portugese, French and other southern European origins have been interacting with Africans even before there was a large European (Caucasian) population in Southern Europe.

Hence, the application of racial integration and miscegenation with the objective of blending out the Black is part of the system of Latin American/Spanish genocidal racism called “The Spanish Experiment.” It was applied in Spain to destroy the cultural and racial identify of the Blacks, Arabs and Jews in Spain after the takeover by the Spanish crown. This racist system is today applied in Brazil and Latin America, where the great mythology of “racial harmony” and “integration,” is being promoted. Yet, Blacks in Latin America, who know better, do not accept this genocidal “utopia” that is being pushed by the Latins in these nations.

The reality for Blacks in Latin America is what occurred in Choco, Colombia, where Blacks are not even counted. With about 30 percent or more of Colombia’s population being African descent, it is a matter of time that Blacks in that nation and the rest of Latin America, where the Black population is about 200 million, rise up in a struggle that is unlike any that the Americas has known.

BLACK UNIFICATION IN THE AMERICAS IS VERY IMPORTANT

The Organization of Africans in the Americas (O.A.A.), held a meeting in Venezeula about a year ago. That organization includes representatives of all Blacks living in the Americas, from Argentina to Canada. The objective of the OAA is to improve the lives of Blacks throughout the Americas whose suffering in some Latin American nations and elsewhere is becoming unbearable.

The newspaper “The Final Call,” carried an article about the various forms of racism, neglect and genocide being carried out against Blacks in Latin America. This reality was crucial in pushing for the establishment of the Organization of Africans in the Americas. The aim of that organization is the protection and the development of Blacks throughout the Americas. With the attacks on Blacks in Latin America, including the elimination of Black children on the streets of nations like Brazil and others, the organization has a task on its hands that will one day extend beyond mere poitical solutions.

The attack on the Blacks of Choco, Colombia, a region with remnants of people of African slave origins as well as Africans who lived in the region for thousands of years before European colonialism in the area, is really an attack on Black people all around the world. What do Blacks world-wide do, when racism and genocide worse than anything that happened in South Africa is allowed to fester in Latin America. What does the Black world, particularly powerful Black neighbors like Black America and the Black Caribbean do when Black people in Latin America are being treated worse than animals? We unite and formulate a policy of Black Liberation and upliftment throughout the Americas. We form alliances with Black nations and other nations around the world and work to improve the lives of Blacks on a worldwide scale. That is what the Organization for Africans in the Americas is doing and it is an organization that should build its strengh among the Black nations and communities in every nation of the Americas. It is only through unity and strength that Blacks will not be treated worse than animals in Latin America. It is through close cultural, economic, military and physical unity, contact and unification of African religion, culture and values that Blacks in the Americas will move forward. Languages like Spanish, Portugese, English, French and Dutch were the languages the slave-owning elite of Europe imposed on Blacks in the Americas, but who are we as African people. We are Niger-Congo. Our linguistic pattern, which is still thriving in the accents as well as actual languages of some in Cuba, Brazil and elsewhere is the Niger-Congo pattern. We are Africans of the Negro race and the fact that we are Black people is the reason why we are not respected and ran over by others. We who live throughout the Americas should reject all colonial and slave ties and work to unify our people. Perhaps we should return to making Yoruba a common language among the three hundred million people of African descent of the Americas. We should return the religions of Shango, Mbanda, Vadu, Lucumi and the African metephysical and spiritualist religions as a tool of spiritual and cultural unity. Perhaps publishing companies like Ebony, Essence and others should work to create versions in Spanish and Portugese. BET (Black Entertainment Television) and other Black owned media should expand in Black Latin America, where the vast majority of Americas-Africans reside. After all, WHERE WAS THE INFORMATION ABOUT THE MASSACRE OF BLACK PEOPLE IN COLUMBIA ON WHITE LATIN TELEVISION???? Where is anything about Black culture on white Latin television and media, which is even more racist and exclusive than American television and media, when it comes to Blacks.

It is time for a change and that change will come when Blacks who speak Spanish, French, Dutch, Portugese, Yoruba and Arabic (in Sudan) realize that we are Black Africans first and foremost and no matter which colonial language we speak, RACE IS THE ISSUE, and in Latin America as well as Arabic-speaking North Africa, or even West Papua, its our Blackness and African being that pushes people to attack us. Furthermore, it is the use of religion as an excuse to commit genocide, along with racist ideas that adds to the attack on Blacks. It is time to come up with a religious, political, economic and military ideology and strategy based on Black World Nationalism that counters and defeats racist oppression of Blacks in Latin America, the Americas and around the world.

Pianke Nubiyang

SEE THE “AFRO-LATIN, AFRICAN-AMERICAN, AFRO-BRITISH, AFRICAN,” page on the website below: Read more about Black Latin American, Black Brazilian, Black British, Black world issues, news, views, culture, music.

http://community.webtv.net/paulnubiaempire

Messages In This Thread

BLACKS ATTACKED IN COLOMBIA: RACISM IN LATIN AMERI
Pianke Nubiyang — 11, May 02, at 12:44 p.m.
Re: BLACKS ATTACKED IN COLOMBIA: RACISM IN LATIN A
Elvin Childs — 25, February 06, at 6:03 p.m.
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BLACKS IN COLUMBIA ARE ENDANGERED!

September 19, 2007

from cidcm.umd.edu

About MAR(Minorites at Risk program at the Center for International Development and Conflict Management,Univ. of Maryland,College Park,U.S.A)

Assessment for Blacks in Colombia
View Group Chronology

Colombia Facts
Area: 1,138,910 sq. km.
Capital: Bogota
Total Population: 38,581,000 (source: unknown, est.)

Risk Assessment | Analytic Summary | References

Risk Assessment
Two factors increase the likelihood of future black protest in Colombia: (1) territorial concentration and (2) reaction to government culpability in war crimes committed against black Colombians. Two factors favor the containment of rebellion: (1) a recent history of democratic government and elections, (2) lack of serious armed conflicts in neighboring countries.

Despite a strong regional identity and significant grievances, particularly with respect to the government’s failure to prevent the civil war’s victimization of innocent people, black Colombians, lacking a history of significant mobilization and beleaguered by the ongoing civil

Assessment for Blacks in Colombia
View Group Chronology

Colombia Facts
Area: 1,138,910 sq. km.
Capital: Bogota
Total Population: 38,581,000 (source: unknown, est.)

Risk Assessment | Analytic Summary | References

Risk Assessment
Two factors increase the likelihood of future black protest in Colombia: (1) territorial concentration and (2) reaction to government culpability in war crimes committed against black Colombians. Two factors favor the containment of rebellion: (1) a recent history of democratic government and elections, (2) lack of serious armed conflicts in neighboring countries.

Despite a strong regional identity and significant grievances, particularly with respect to the government’s failure to prevent the civil war’s victimization of innocent people, black Colombians, lacking a history of significant mobilization and beleaguered by the ongoing civil war, are unlikely to engage in future protest at levels higher than verbal protest.

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Analytic Summary
Colombia’s black population is concentrated in the Choco region along the Pacific Coast where they represent 95% of the population (GROUPCON = 3). Colombian blacks also inhabit urban centers and the Caribbean coastal region. They are distinguished by ethnocultural traits (ETHNOG = 1), religious traditions combining Catholicism with African customs (RELIG = 1), and polygamous family structures (CUSTOM = 1).

Black Colombians are the descendants of African slaves brought to Colombia in the 1700s to serve Spanish colonists, primarily as laborers (TRADITN = 1). The abolition of slavery in the years after 1850 coincided with the displacement of black laborers by an influx of non-blacks seeking employment in the mining, commerce, and timber industries then developing in black areas. Consequently, many blacks were forced to look for labor in urban centers such as Medellin and Bogota, where they work today primarily in domestic service and various low-skilled labor positions. Black labor continues to drive Colombia’s labor-intensive industries, notably the coffee plantations of Antioquia and the mines and trade services of the Choco. The long-held practice in Colombian society of blanqueamiento, or the dis-identification with blackness as expressed through the encouragement of race-mixing and the societal privileging of lighter skin, carries the legacy of discrimination and disadvantage Colombian blacks have endured since slavery (ATRISK1 = 1, ATRISK2 = 1).

Colombian blacks experience demographic stress in the form of deteriorating public health, migration to urban centers and abroad, and the dispossession of land by militant groups engaged in Colombia’s civil war (DEMSTR00 = 6) Discrimination and social exclusion limits access to the civil service and high office as well as general economic opportunity (ECDIS03 = 3, POLDIS03 = 3).

Black Colombians’ principal demands include: greater political rights in their own communities, greater participation in decision making at the central state level, equal civil rights and status, greater economic opportunities, and protection of land and jobs used for the advantage of other groups.

Colombian blacks are represented primarily by umbrella organizations (GOJPA03 = 1). The National Movement for the Human Rights of Black Communities in Colombia (Cimarron), which is modeled after the U.S. Black Panther and Nation of Islam movements, uses pamphlets and bulletins to mobilize smaller groups and organizations throughout the country. The Center for the Investigation and Development of Black Culture (CID), once funded by UNESCO, models its platform on the ideals of the U.S. civil rights movement. Annual seminars for black teachers and the publication of black literature are the organization’s primary activities. Among the smaller, more transient black Colombian organizations reported to be recently active are: Asociacion de Campesinos, Integral del Atrato, Asociacion Juvenil Nortecaucana, Equipo Misionero Medio, Fundacion Civica, Fundacion de Vida, Grupo de Mujeres, Hermanas Compania de Maria, Moviiento Investigativo Sinesio Mena, Organizacion de Barrios Populares, and Organizacion Regional Embera Wawnana. Though the concentration of blacks in the Choco region gives Colombian blacks a strong regional identity and there has been no reported intragroup conflict, the practice of blanqueamiento may have limited the extent to which black Colombians identify as a group. Black Colombians receive no direct support of significance from transnational actors.

Black mobilization since 1990 has included: Cimarron’s 1990 campaign to include reforms in the new constitution (PROT90 = 1), a 1992 petition to lobby for the implementation of property rights and cultural protections provisionally granted by the new constitution (PROT92 = 1), a 1994 protest outside the Colombian Institute of Anthropology calling for the fulfillment of legally-mandated studies of the black population (PROT94 = 3), a 1995 demonstration, organized by the Regional Indigenous Organization Embera Wounaan (OREWA), against the development of land on which black Colombians live and to include blacks in land demarcations in the Choco (PROT95 = 3). More recently black Colombians have voiced opposition to under-representation in the national census and to anti-narcotic fumigation of black regions (PROT00 = 1). The greatest adversary of the black population continues to be the bloody civil war waged by military, guerrilla, and paramilitary forces—all of which share responsibility for killings, disappearances, and land displacements in black communities (INTERCON00 = 1). More recently, in May 2002, during a fight for control of the Afro-Colombian fishing village of Bellavista (located on the Middle Atrato River in the municipality of Bojayá) FARC launched a bomb at AUC, which had holed up around the catholic church of St. Paul the Apostle. The bomb, made from a propane gas canister packed with explosives and shrapnel, hit the church instead, killing 119 (45 of whom were children) and injuring 108 of the 500 people who had taken refuge inside. The attack wiped out 10 percent of the village. Due to continued fighting in the area, more than 5,000 people fled the Bojayá region, the town of Bellavista, and the town across the Atrato River, Vigía del Fuerte. It took the Colombian army six days to reach the village, after fighting eight battles with the FARC or the ACCU in the jungle environment to regain control of the River.

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References
Cordoba, Amir Smith. Vision Sociocultural del Negro en Colombia. Bogota. Centor para la Investigacion de la Cultura Negra en Colombia. 1986.

Espinosa, Manuel Jose Cepeda. Ethnic Minorities and Constitutional Reform in Colombia. Presented at the Woodrow Wilson Center Latin American Program. November 15, 1994.

Lexis-Nexis news reports. 2001-2003.

Solaun, Mauricio and Sidney Kronus. Discrimination Without Violence. New York. John Wiley and Sons. 1973.

U.S. Department of State. Colombia Human Rights Practices. March 1995. 2001-2003.

Wade, Peter. The Cultural Politics of Blackness in Colombia. XVIII LASA International Congress. March 1994.

Wade, Peter. Blackness and Race Mixture. Baltimore. Johns Hopkins University Press. 1993.

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© 2004 • Minorities At Risk Project

Center for International
Development and
Conflict Management

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University of Maryland
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Last Updated December 31, 2003

Chronology for Blacks in Colombia
View Group Assessment

View Additional Chronology Information

Date(s) Item
1989 OREWA (the Regional Organization of Emberas and Waunanas) organized the First Meeting for the Unity and Defence of Indigenous and Black Communities. This meeting formed the joint organization, ACADESAN, the Peasant Association of San Juan River, for the purpose of protesting the development of the Pacific region.
Jul 1990 The First Meeting of Black Communities was held to organize and mobilize blacks to lobby for reforms in the new constitution. Black candidates also ran for election for the Constituent Assembly. One candidate was from the Liberal Party, one represented Cimarron, and one represented the guerrilla group, FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia). None of these delegates were elected.
Dec 1990 The black group Cimarron lobbied the National Constituent Assembly for reforms in the new constitution for blacks.
Jul 1991 The organization and mobilization of blacks increased due to the Transitory Law, which had to be passed by 1993. Cimarron and church groups formed the Organization of Black Communities. This organization facilitated the coordination of local groups and programs to publicize the Article.
Jul 5, 1991 The new constitution was ratified by the Constituent Assembly. Transitory Article 55 was passed, but had to be implemented through the passage of a law which was subject to study by a government commission. This law would recognize the “collective property rights for black communities which have been occupying tierras baldias (public or state lands) in the rural riverine zones of the rivers of the Pacific Basin.” The law also established “mechanisms for the protection of the cultural identity and rights of these communities, and for the promotion of their economic and social development.” The law could also apply to other black regions of the country that met similar requirements.
Apr 1, 1992 The government formed a special commission to review Article 55.
Oct 18, 1992 500 people were left homeless and 20 injured due to an earthquake which hit one of the poorest regions of Colombia in the northwest, near Antioquia – inhabited by indigenous and black populations.
Nov 1992 Black organization delegates signed a petition to refuse to assist in the commission until the government fulfills its obligations to the black members. Negotiations were held between the government and black members to resume the study of the Article.
Aug 27, 1993 The President ratified Law 70. This law recognizes black communities as an ethnic group and defines the titling of collective land rights to whole black communities on the rivers of the Pacific region. The law gives land rights to communities, but excludes community control over natural resources, subsoils, National Park areas, zones of military importance, and urban areas. It also contains articles to improve education, training, and access to credit for blacks. Black representatives were appointed to the National Planning Council, regional planning boards, and a Consultative Commission to inform the government of the implementation of the law. Discrimination was outlawed against blacks and education must include cultural diversity. Two representative were also appointed positions in the National Constituent Assembly.
Dec 1993 The government initiated policies to employ black police officers in black community areas, such as the Choco, through scholarship and training programs.
Jan 1994 In the western town of Las Chinitas (inhabited by indigenous and black people) guerrilla groups attacked and killed 38 people in the streets.
1994 One black congresswoman and one congressman were elected to the National Constituent Assembly.
Apr 10, 1994 Blacks protested outside the Colombian Institute of Anthropology to develop research programs for the study of black populations in addition to indigenous populations. The new Law 70 states that research on black populations must be conducted.
Aug 1994 A government sponsored policy, called BioPacific, was formulated to improve the land rights and living situations of Afro-Colombians. The policy is aimed at preserving areas of land for black communities and for environmental protection.
May 13, 1995 OREWA lobbied the government and held a demonstration against the development of forest lands upon which black-Colombians live. OREWA, which represents blacks and indigenous people, has also lobbied to include blacks in the demarcation of lands in the forest area of the Choco.
May 15, 1995 Senator Piedad Corboda de Castro, a black female senator from Colombia, visited the U.S. to build ties between the black communities of both countries. She told the human rights conference members that black-Colombians were still marginalized in society. Aside from the human rights conference which she attended, she met with diplomats, international financial institutions, and African-American organizations.

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© 2004 • Minorities At Risk Project

Center for International
Development and
Conflict Management

0145 Tydings Hall
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742

Last Updated January 10, 2007

Chronology for Blacks in Colombia
View Group Assessment

View Additional Chronology Information

Date(s) Item
1989 OREWA (the Regional Organization of Emberas and Waunanas) organized the First Meeting for the Unity and Defence of Indigenous and Black Communities. This meeting formed the joint organization, ACADESAN, the Peasant Association of San Juan River, for the purpose of protesting the development of the Pacific region.
Jul 1990 The First Meeting of Black Communities was held to organize and mobilize blacks to lobby for reforms in the new constitution. Black candidates also ran for election for the Constituent Assembly. One candidate was from the Liberal Party, one represented Cimarron, and one represented the guerrilla group, FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia). None of these delegates were elected.
Dec 1990 The black group Cimarron lobbied the National Constituent Assembly for reforms in the new constitution for blacks.
Jul 1991 The organization and mobilization of blacks increased due to the Transitory Law, which had to be passed by 1993. Cimarron and church groups formed the Organization of Black Communities. This organization facilitated the coordination of local groups and programs to publicize the Article.
Jul 5, 1991 The new constitution was ratified by the Constituent Assembly. Transitory Article 55 was passed, but had to be implemented through the passage of a law which was subject to study by a government commission. This law would recognize the “collective property rights for black communities which have been occupying tierras baldias (public or state lands) in the rural riverine zones of the rivers of the Pacific Basin.” The law also established “mechanisms for the protection of the cultural identity and rights of these communities, and for the promotion of their economic and social development.” The law could also apply to other black regions of the country that met similar requirements.
Apr 1, 1992 The government formed a special commission to review Article 55.
Oct 18, 1992 500 people were left homeless and 20 injured due to an earthquake which hit one of the poorest regions of Colombia in the northwest, near Antioquia – inhabited by indigenous and black populations.
Nov 1992 Black organization delegates signed a petition to refuse to assist in the commission until the government fulfills its obligations to the black members. Negotiations were held between the government and black members to resume the study of the Article.
Aug 27, 1993 The President ratified Law 70. This law recognizes black communities as an ethnic group and defines the titling of collective land rights to whole black communities on the rivers of the Pacific region. The law gives land rights to communities, but excludes community control over natural resources, subsoils, National Park areas, zones of military importance, and urban areas. It also contains articles to improve education, training, and access to credit for blacks. Black representatives were appointed to the National Planning Council, regional planning boards, and a Consultative Commission to inform the government of the implementation of the law. Discrimination was outlawed against blacks and education must include cultural diversity. Two representative were also appointed positions in the National Constituent Assembly.
Dec 1993 The government initiated policies to employ black police officers in black community areas, such as the Choco, through scholarship and training programs.
Jan 1994 In the western town of Las Chinitas (inhabited by indigenous and black people) guerrilla groups attacked and killed 38 people in the streets.
1994 One black congresswoman and one congressman were elected to the National Constituent Assembly.
Apr 10, 1994 Blacks protested outside the Colombian Institute of Anthropology to develop research programs for the study of black populations in addition to indigenous populations. The new Law 70 states that research on black populations must be conducted.
Aug 1994 A government sponsored policy, called BioPacific, was formulated to improve the land rights and living situations of Afro-Colombians. The policy is aimed at preserving areas of land for black communities and for environmental protection.
May 13, 1995 OREWA lobbied the government and held a demonstration against the development of forest lands upon which black-Colombians live. OREWA, which represents blacks and indigenous people, has also lobbied to include blacks in the demarcation of lands in the forest area of the Choco.
May 15, 1995 Senator Piedad Corboda de Castro, a black female senator from Colombia, visited the U.S. to build ties between the black communities of both countries. She told the human rights conference members that black-Colombians were still marginalized in society. Aside from the human rights conference which she attended, she met with diplomats, international financial institutions, and African-American organizations.

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© 2004 • Minorities At Risk Project

Center for International
Development and
Conflict Management

0145 Tydings Hall
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742

Last Updated January 10, 2007

“POLYGAMY AND CIVIL RIGHTS” IN AMERIKKKA!

September 19, 2007

from intentionalfamily.org

POLYGAMY AND CIVIL RIGHTS

ISSUE:

The right to practice polygamy is considered to be the next civil rights battle and many individuals and groups are working to have anti-polygamy laws struck down as unconstitutional.

CURRENT STATUS:

In the U.S., pro-polygamy forces have many supporters — legally, academically and culturally:

Polygamy is supported in principle by the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Libertarian Party.

In a 2004 commentary in USA Today, George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley said anti-polygamy laws are hypocritical and that Green’s 2001 bigamy conviction was “simply a matter of unequal treatment under the law.”

Georgia State University professor Patricia Dixon interviewed numerous polygamous families who live in three black (U.S.) communities: African Hebrew Israelite, Ausar Auset Society and African American Muslim. In her book, We Want for Our Sisters What We Want for Ourselves (2002), Ms. Dixon concluded that polygyny, in which one man co-partners with many women, can be quite advantageous for women when it’s practiced openly and with consent, The women in these communities would “really appreciate” having polygamy rights, “Not having a legal license [as a second or third wife] causes a lot of anxiety.”

“Polygamy rights is the next civil rights battle” has become the motto of a Christian group that believes in “freely consenting, adult, non-abusive, marriage-committed polygamy”. Mark Henkel, founder of http://www.TruthBearer.org website, has said: “There’s no doubt about it, we are next. Liberals and feminists have to be pro-polygamy because of their tolerance doctrine and belief in a woman’s right to choose, which certainly includes ‘the right to choose polygamy’. The goal… is to convince conservatives, especially Christians, that ‘consenting adult’ polygamy is biblical and valuable, both to society and to individual men and women. Opposition to polygamy will come crashing down … like a house of cards.”

“We’ve got some judicial activists all over the country, especially on the 9th Circuit [Court of Appeals], who would probably be ready, willing and able to include polygamy as a constitutional right,” says Jan LaRue, legal specialist at Concerned Women for America.

An estimated 30,000 to 80,000 families are living polygamously in the United States, including hundreds of Laotian Hmongs in Minnesota and thousands of fundamentalist Mormons in Arizona and Utah.

Individual citizens, who are starting to wonder why polygamy is a crime, ask the following kinds of questions?

o If consenting adults who prefer polygamy can do everything else a husband and wife can do—have sex, live together, buy property, and bring up children jointly — why should they be prohibited from legally committing themselves to the solemn duties that attach to marriage? How is society worse off if these informal relationships are formalized and pushed toward permanence?

o Why is it a crime for an upstanding, tax-paying legal U.S. citizen who chooses to legally marry one wife and they solemnize, in a religious ceremony only, a relationship with another consenting adult? All parties are adults capable of making this decision and willing to live with each other in this scenario freely. I thought the protection of religious choices and the privacy of intimate, personal relationships between consenting adults were upheld by the U.S. Constitution?

o Isn’t it funny that a married man can legally have a mistress, children out of wedlock and that, without the knowledge or consent of his legal wife, sleep with other women – or men for that matter – and the legal system looks the other way? Yet, a spiritual man who believes it’s wrong to have marital relations outside the sanctity of God’s holy ordinance, and without the permission or knowledge of his legal wife, is a criminal if he lives a polygamous lifestyle.

BACKGROUND:

Polygamy was outlawed in the U.S. during Colonial days, when Mormon pioneers in Utah wished for Utah to become a state. When Mormon pioneers moved to areas of western Canada, the Government of Canada also created anti-polygamy legislation.

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected polygamy in its 1879 decision in Reynolds v. United States, which said government can enforce anti-polygamy laws even if they run counter to people’s religious beliefs.

Utah’s Constitution outlaws polygamy “forever” and, in 2001, the state’s anti-polygamy laws were upheld when Thomas Green, a fundamentalist Mormon man with five wives, was sent to prison for bigamy and related crimes.

In recent years, the U.S. federal government and 40 states have passed Defense of Marriage Acts and/or constitutional amendments that define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Source documents:

“Why is this a crime?” by Janie Miller The Salt Lake Tribune May 23, 2006
http://www.polygamy.com/articles/templates/?a=182&z=2

“The Marriage of Many” by Cheryl Wetzstein The Washington Times December 11, 2005
http://www.washingtontimes.com/specialreport/20051211-121113-7195r.htm

“Polygamy Is ‘Next Civil Rights Battle,’ Activists Say” by Randy Hall Staff Writer/Editor, CNSNews.com, March 16, 2006 http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewCulture.asp?Page=%5CCulture%5Carchive%5C200603%5CCUL20060316a.html

THE GREEKS STOLE GREEK PHILOSOPHY FROM BLACK EGYPT!:A REVIEW OF “STOLEN LEGACY” BY BROTHER GEORGE G.M. JAMES BY BROTHER FEMI AKOMOLAFE AT HARTFORD-HWP.COM

September 17, 2007

from hartford-hwp,com

Review of George G. M. James, Stolen Legacy
By Femi Akomolafe

In this age of technological in-humanity, scientific atrocities, atomic mis-philosophy, nuclear mis-energy, we’re the survivals.
– Bob Marley

Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
– Ancient Egyptian saying, wrongly credited to the Christian bible.

Fellow Africans,

Question: To what country do we owe our Civilization, Philosophy, the Arts and the Sciences?
Answer:Greece
Question: Who is the wisest man the world has ever seen?
Answer: Aristotle
Question: Name the world three greatest thinkers of all times?
Answer: Socrates, Plato and Aristotle?
Question: Who is the world greatest mathematician of all times, the [person] who invented the theorem of the Square of the Hypotenuse?
Answer: Pythagoras.

——————————————————————————–

Socrates: “(b. c. 470 BC, Athens -d. 399, Athens, ancient Athenian philosopher who directed philosophical thought toward analyses of the character and conduct of human life and who is remembered for his admonition to ‘know thyself.’

Socrates wrote nothing. Information about his personality and doctrine is found chiefly in the Dialogues of Plato and the Memorabilia of Xenophon.” The New Encyclopedia Britannica, vol. 10, Micropaedia, 15th edition, p.929.

Plato: “(b. 428/427 BC, Athens, or Aegina, Greece-d. 348/347, Athens), ancient Greek philosopher, the second of the great trio of ancient Greeks – Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. He developed a wide-ranging system of philosophy that was strongly ethical, resting on, resting on a foundation of eternal Ideas or Forms that represented universals or absolutes. Platonism influenced currents of philosophy up to the 20th century.” The New Encyclopedia Britannica, vol. 9, Micropaedia, 15th edition, p.509

Aristotle: “Greek ARISTOTELES (b. 384 BC, Stagira, [or Stagirus, or Stageirus], Chalcidice, near Macedonia-d, 322, Chalcis, Euboea, Greece), ancient Greek philosopher, scientist and organizer of research, one of the two greatest intellectual figures produced by the Greeks (the other been Plato). He surveyed the whole field of human knowledge as it was known in the Mediterranean world in his day; and his writings long influenced Western and Muslim thought.” The New Encyclopedia Britannica, vol. 1, Micropaedia, 15th edition, p. 555

I have quoted from an encyclopedia, which is often defined as ‘volumes containing collections of human knowledge.’ You don’t argue with an encyclopedia, do you?

I answer that, as Africans, we have no choice but to argue and to contest, vigorously, many of the distorted information contain in these encyclopedia and other books. We should hold no sacred any book which is based on historical falsification and racial prejudice, however hallowed, praised and expensive – Encyclopedia Britannica is certainly is.

You will be adjudged CORRECT and RIGHT if you give the above answers in an examination. But actually, none of the answers are TRUE. Based on what we know of history, they are FALSE.

The greatest crime Europe committed against the world is the intellectual theft of Africa’s heritage. Empires could be stolen, whole countries snatched and named after pirates rapists and swindlers. Palaces and monumental edifices destroyed could be rebuild. But when you steal a people’s cultural patrimony, and used it to enslaved and insult them, you have committed unforgivable acts that border on the sacrilege.

That Greece invented philosophy, the Arts and the Sciences is the only basis on which the arrogance of Europe stands. It is those things credited to the Greek that made every European believed himself superior to other peoples\races. Conversely, it is the awe with which the other races view these grand ancient achievements, which made them cringe at the altar of supposed European superiority.

What course would the history of the world had taken if the European scholars[?] had not FALSELY claim for the Greeks what is certainly not theirs? Would the arrogance of Europeans not have been diminished if the truth about the contribution of Africa to human civilization have been correctly stated and interpreted? Would Africans have held themselves in such self-contempt if they have tried sooner to uncover the truth about their past? Would Africans be cringing at the altar of westernism if they know that almost every idea Europeans are using today was brazenly stolen from us? Would we be supplicating to a supposed son of an imaginary god if we knew that we gave RELIGION to the world?

Every European hold ‘Greek Civilization’ as an inspiration. They go around the world with volumes upon volumes celebrating Greek this, Greek that. From their original abode in Europe to the real estate they stole from other people, they shouted on top-voice about how they single-handedly invented and sustained human civilization! Sororities are created at institutions of higher learning. ‘Great thinkers’ waxed lyrical and sentimental about ‘Greek Civilization.’ In the same vein, Africans are lamenting their singular historic ‘un-achievement.’ Some even believe that theirs is a ‘cursed-race.’

“The term Greek philosophy, to begin with is a misnomer, for there is no such philosophy in existence. The ancient Egyptians had developed a very complex religious system, called the Mysteries, which was also the first system of salvation.” That was the opening statement from Stolen Legacy: Greek Philosophy is Stolen Egyptian Philosophy, by George G.M. James.

George James began his book by informing us that the Egyptian Mystery System was the oldest in the world and was ‘also a Secret Order, and membership was gained by initiation and a pledge to secrecy. The teaching was graded and delivered orally to the Neophyte; and under these circumstances of secrecy, the Egyptians developed secret systems of writing and teaching, and forbade their Initiates from writing what they had learn.’ – p.1

The Egyptians have developed their systems and taught same to Initiates around the world long before the Greeks were allowed into the temples. It was only after the invasion of Alexander the Destructor (called the Great by western mythorians) when the temples and the libraries were plundered, that the Greek gained access to all the ancient books, on which Aristotle built his own school and his reputation as the wisest man that ever lived!

In the first chapter of his book, James masterfully destroyed the myth of a Greek philosophy. Pythagoras, the oldest of the so-called Greek-thinkers was a student in Egypt for several years. He was exiled when he started to teach what he had learned. Socrates was executed for teaching ‘foreign ideas.’ Plato was sold into slavery. Aristotle was also exiled. What we are asked to believed by western scholars was that these ancient Greeks were persecuted in a society that is sufficiently advanced in philosophy.

On what basis do western scholars claim philosophy for Greece? Because the literature were written in Greece. As is still in existence unto today, most Orders prohibit their members from writing down what they learn. This explains why Socrates, as even the Encyclopedia Britannica admitted, did not commit anything to writing! The Babylonians and the Chaldeans, who also studied under the Egyptian Masters, also refused to publish those teachings. It is usurpers like Plato and Aristotle that brought into book forms all the secret teachings of Egyptian and claim authorship!

George James pointed out the absurdity of this stance. The Hebrew scriptures, called the Septuagint, the Gospels and the Epistles were also written in Greek, why are the Greek not claiming authorship of them? ‘It is only the unwritten philosophy of the Egyptians translated into Greek that has met such an unhappy fate: a legacy stolen by the Greeks.’

This is not the only absurdities James pointed out in the book. Another instance: The number of books whose authorship is credited to Aristotle is simply impossible to be the work of one single man, even in our age when word-processing software makes writing a lot easier. We also have to keep in mind that Aristotle was purported to have been taught by Plato. Plato, as the books, show was a philosopher. Aristotle is still regarded as the greatest scientist of antiquity. The question thus beggared is how could Plato taught Aristotle what he didn’t know himself?

The truth of the matter was that Aristotle, aided by Alexander the Destroyer (some called him the Great), secured the books from the Egyptian Royal Libraries and Temples. ‘In spite however of such great intellectual treasure, the death of Aristotle marked the death of philosophy among the Greeks, who did not seem to possess the natural abilities to advance these sciences.’ p. 3

‘The aim of this book is to establish better race relations in the world, by revealing a fundamental truth concerning the contribution of the African Continent to civilization. It must be borne in mind that the first lesson in the Humanities is to make a people aware of their contribution to civilization; and the second lesson is to teach them about other civilizations. By this dissemination of the truth about the civilization of individual peoples, a better understanding among them, and a proper appraisal of each other should follow. This notion is based upon the notion of the Great Master Mind: Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’ Consequently, the book is an attempt to show that the true authors of Greek philosophy were not the Greeks; but the people of North Africa, commonly called the Egyptians; and the praise and honor falsely given to the Greeks for centuries belong to the people of North Africa, and therefore to the African Continent. Consequently this theft of the African legacy by the Greeks led to the erroneous world opinion that the African Continent has made no contribution to civilization, and that its people are naturally backward. This is the misrepresentation that has become the basis of race prejudice, which has affected all people of color.

For centuries the world has been misled about the original source of the Arts and Sciences; for centuries Socrates, Plato and Aristotle have been falsely idolized as models of intellectual greatness; and for centuries the African continent has been called the Dark Continent, because Europe coveted the honor of transmitting to the world, the Arts and Sciences.’ p.7

To leave no one in doubt about the cogency of his impressive arguments, chapter one (Greek Philosophy is Stolen Egyptian Philosophy) opens with an examination of the stories of the so- called ‘Greek Philosophers. Pythagoras, after receiving his training in Egypt, went back to his native Samos and established an Order as was the custom in those days. Anaximander and Anaximenes, native, Parmenides, Zeno and Melissus were all native of Ionia and they taught nothing but Egyptian mysteries. Ditto, Heraclitus, Empedocles, Anaxagoras and Democritus. What we have to remember here is that Ionia was a colony of Egypt (readers are directed to Martin Bernal’s, Black Athena, published by Vintage, especially vol. I, ISBN 0 09 988780 0). At the apex of its glory, Egypt held sway over much of the known world. The Ionians would later become Persian subjects after the fall of Egypt, before they even became Greek citizens.

All of these Ionians did not claim for themselves the glory of philosophy or the sciences. The Persians and the Chaldeans were also introduced to the Ancient Mystery Systems, yet they did not claim authorship. It was the Athenians – Socrates, Plato and Aristotle who usurped this African legacy and thereby distorted the reality of human history. What is quite clear was that it was Athens that those who taught the mysteries were persecuted the most until Alexander’s time. We know with certainty that these philosophers were roundly persecuted by the Athenian Government for teaching foreign doctrines.

What is incredible about these ‘Great Philosopher’ is the total lack of any knowledge about their early lives. The world is asked to believe that these men who possessed all the super-natural abilities attributed to them had no education, no training, philosophy, mathematics and the sciences just came to them! The only evidence adduced for this fraud was that the books were written by the Orders founded by the Athenian impostors. But as James repeatedly reminded us, the ancient Egyptians forbade their pupils from writing, and this injunction was obeyed by all but the Athenians. We have to excuse Socrates, whom James believed to be the only properly trained Initiate. Instead of divulging the secrets he had learned, he drank a poison. Both Plato and Aristotle fled. Yet they came back and claim the credits!

The crucial question of how Aristotle got all the books that bore his credit is easily answered by the simple historical fact that he went with his friend, Alexander, in the latter campaign and conquest. After Egypt was conquered and destroyed, the Royal Library and the Temples were looted by Aristotle. It was with these books that he established his own school and, aided by his pupils, Theophrastus, Andronicus of Rhodes and Eudemus, started to copy the books. These men were also credited with the authorship of several books, and it was them who formed the organization of ‘The Learned study of Aristotle Writings.’ ‘It would certainly appear that the object of the Learned Association was to beat Aristotle’s own drum and dance. It was Aristotle’s idea to compile a history of philosophy, and it was Aristotle’s school and its alumni that carried out the idea, we are told.” (p.19)

Chapter II, ‘So-Called Greek Philosophy was Alien to the Greeks And their Conditions of Life.’ Here James drew for us the conditions under which the Greeks were living at this period in history. According to the western mythorians, the period of ‘Greek Philosophy’ was located 640-322 BC. ‘The period of Greek philosophy (640-322 BC was a period of internal and external wars, and was therefore unsuitable for producing philosophers. History supports the fact that from the time of Thales to the time of Aristotle, The Greeks were victims of internal disunion, on the one hand, while on the other, they lived in constant fear of invasion from the Persians who were a common enemy to the city states.

. . . The obstacles against the origin and development of Greek philosophy, were not only the frequency of wars; and the constant defense against Persian aggression; but also the threat of extermination from the Athenian government, its worst enemy.’ pp. 21-26

Chapter three shows that the so-called ‘greek Philosophy’ was just an offspring of the Egyptian Mystery System. All the arts, philosophy and religion, credited to the Greeks have been in existence in Egypt thousands of years before the Greeks were permitted to learn them. ‘The earliest theory of salvation is the Egyptian theory. The Egyptian Mystery System has as its most important object, the deification of man, and taught that the soul of man if liberated from its bodily fetters, could enable him to become godlike and see the Gods in this life and attain the beatific vision and hold communion with the immortals.’ (Ancient Mysteries, C.H. Vail. P.32)

Close attention should be paid to the foregoing paragraph. What that simply means is that a system of beliefs that Africans evolved thousands of years ago, has been distorted and use to abuse the Africans today!

When Western mythorians roll out Aristotle, Plato and Socrates, they fail to tell their audience how these guys were persecuted by their own government. These ‘philosophers’ were persecuted for the exactly the same reason – ‘introducing strange divinities.’ Socrates charge sheet read, in part, ‘Socrates commit a crime by not believing in the Gods of the city, and by introducing other new divinities. He also commit a crime by corrupting the youth.’ He was further accused of ‘busying himself with investigating things beneath the earth and in the sky,a nd who makes the worse appear the better reason, and who teaches others the same thing.’ Whereas astronomy was part of the required study in the Egyptian schools, the Athenian government was persecuting its citizens for pursuing such studies. Who, now, is the father of what?

Chapter three further dealt with the Egyptian mystery systems and show its close correlation with what has been wrongly attributed to the Greeks. Even the structures of the Lodges are built to Egyptian standards.

The conquest of Alexander and the destruction of the Lodges and the libraries plus the edicts of Theodosius and Justinian suppressed the Egyptian mystery systems and the Greek philosophy schools alike, paving the way for christianity which is nothing but a badly mis-understood Egyptian religion.

In chapter four, we learn how the Greeks were allowed into Egypt where they have been banned for several years. ‘Owing to the practice of piracy, in which the Ionians, and Garians were active, the Egyptians were forced to make immigration laws restricting the immigration of the Greeks and punishing their infringement by capital punishment, i.e, the sacrifice of the victim.’ – p.41. It was Egyptian king Amasis who lifted the restriction and allowed the Greeks to enter Egypt as mercenaries – they were not permitted to study until the persian invasion. And it was not until the Alexandrian conquest that they gained access to the libraries, most especially the Royal Library at Alexandria, which was converted into a Greek city.

Plato himself attested to the fact (in his Timaeus) that Greek aspirant to wisdom visited Egypt for initiation, and that the Egyptian priests refer to them as children in the mysteries.

It was Herodotus who informed us that Pythagoras was allowed into Egypt only after Polycrates (king of his native Samos and a friend of Amasis) gave him a letter of introduction. Even after that, he had to undergo several trials including circumcision which was compulsory – “Apud Aegyptios nullus aut geometrica studebat, aut astonomiae secreta remabatur, nisi circumcisione suscepta,’ (No one among the Egyptians, either studied geometry, or investigated the secrets of Astronomy, unless circumcision had been undertaken.)” – p.44. It was to Pythagoras that the world is giving credit for a theorem that the Egyptians most certainly used in building their pyramids!

Herodotus, Diogenes, Laertuis informed us that Democritus travelled to Egypt to receive instructions from the priests. Plato was also shown to have undergone similar pilgrimage.

In Chapter five through chapter seven, George James analyzed the doctrines of the so-called Greek philosophers and convincingly show their Egyptian origin. From pre-Socratic ‘Philosophers’ like Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes and Pythagoras to Eleatic ‘philosophers’ like Xenophanes, Parmenides, Zeno and Melissus, to the Ionian school of Heraclitus, Anaxagoras and Democritus, he showed that what history has attributed to these impostors were nothing but what they copied from the Egyptians.

In these, the most important chapters, James concluded that the Greeks were guilty of plagiarism of the highest order.

Chapter eight dealt with the Memphite Theology which ‘is an inscription on a stone, now kept in the British Museum. It contains the theological, cosmological and philosophical views of the Egyptians. It has already been referred to in my treatment of Plato’s doctrines; but it must be repeated here to show its full importance as the basis of the entire field of Greek philosophy.’ p. 139. Here James show how portions of the philosophy of the Memphite Theology were assigned to the Greeks. This is a very important chapter as it throws enough light, not only on the whole argument of where the Greek got the ideas credited to them, but also about the true source of modern scientific knowledge.’

If the modern Nebular hypothesis credited to Laplace which holds that our present solar system was once a molten gaseous nebula is ever proven right, credit should go to the ancient Egyptians. Their cosmology is strikingly similar. They knew that the universe was created from fire. The Egyptian God Atum (Atom) together with his eight Created Gods that composed the Ennead or Godhead of nine, this correspond with our nine major planets. Atom, the sun God, was the Unmoved Mover, a doctrine which has been falsely attributed to Aristotle. Likewise, the injunction, ‘Know Thyself,’ was wrongly attributed to Socrates. As James pointed out, it was an inscription found on every Egyptian Temple. The Cardinal virtues, justice, wisdom, temperance and courage which was falsely credited to Plato owed their origin to the Egyptian Masters.

We also learn the attributes of the Egyptian God Atum which is shared by modern ATOM: The similarity of names; the Egyptian God means self-created, everything and nothing, a combination of positive and negative principles:- all-inclusiveness and emptiness. Even beginner science students will recognized these as the properties of atoms.

In the concluding chapter nine, ‘Social Reformation through the New Philosophy of African Redemption,’ James wrote: ‘Now that it has been shown that philosophy, and the arts and sciences were bequeathed to civilization by the people of North Africa and not by the people of Greece; the pendulum of praise and honor is due to shift from the people of Greece to the people of the African continent who are the rightful heirs of such praise and honor.

This is going to mean a tremendous change in world opinion, and attitude, for all people and races who accept the new philosophy of African redemption, ie the truth that the Greeks were not the authors of Greek philosophy; but the people of North Africa; would change their opinion from one of disrespect to one of respect for the Black people throughout the world and treat them accordingly.

It is going to mean a most important change in the mentality of the Black people: a change from an inferiority complex, to the realization and consciousness of their equality with all the other great peoples of the world, who have built great civilizations. With this change in mentality of the Black and White people, great changes are also expected in their respective attitudes towards each other, and in society as a whole.’ p. 153.

James sketched for us a simple New Philosophy of Redemption which consists of the following proposition: ‘The Greeks were not the authors of Greek Philosophy, but the Black people of North Africa, The Egyptians.’

He exhorted us to live up to this philosophy. ‘Being liberated from inferiority complex by their New Philosophy of Redemption, which is destined to destroy the chain of false tradition which has incarcerated them, the Black people must face and interpret the world according to their new vision and philosophy. Throughout the centuries up to our modern times, world conditions have been influenced by two phenomena which has affected human relations:

– The giving of false praise to the Greeks: a conduct which appears to be an educational policy conducted by education institutions…
– The second phenomena is Missionary enterprise whereby Black people’s culture has been caricatured in literature and exhibitions, in such specimens as provoke disrespect and laughter. Let us not forget that the Roman Emperors Theodosius and Justinian were responsible for the abolition of the Egyptian Mysteries that is the culture system of the Black people, and also for the establishment of Christianity for its perpetual suppression.’ pp. 159-160.

The appendix presented a brief analysis and summary of the main arguments.

I have always stated in my writings that it is the ignorant African who is awed or inspired by things European. I have also pointed out that our history has been largely reconstructed. George James is among those who rescued humankind from the intellectual crimes perpetrated by European ideologists masquerading as scholars. The only justice we could do to George G.M. James and other valiant warriors of our race is not only to read\study their works, but also to spread them. A wit once put it that, ‘No one can humiliate you without your consent.’

This is very true for us as the most unjustly ridiculed people on earth. Throughout the face of the earth, we continue to be lampooned by those who were babies when we were grown-ups – building empires and inventing things. We continue to be derided by those who borrowed, stole and plagiarized ideas from us. All those we invited, out of good nature, into our homes are mocking us!

As Africans, we are humiliated and ridiculed because our history was stolen; our patrimony wrongly attributed to other people. Why do we continue to participate in our own humiliation? Is it because we are too impressed with titles and other appurtenances with which our oppressors continue to dazzle us? If Ph.D means a Doctor of Philosophy, isn’t it time Africans start to ask, ‘Whose philosophy?’ Why are we filling our heads and minds with plagiarized doctrines that our fathers developed eons ago only to be rewarded with diplomas? Why are we selling ourselves short – our rich heritage for certificates? How many of our Ph.Ds know the Egyptian origin of most of what is credited to Greece? How many of them have read Stolen legacy? How many of those purporting to teach ‘African history,’ have read this very important book?

If we continue to be ridiculed, it is just because we allowed ourselves to be ridiculed. Any African who studied his history will find an indescribable inner satisfaction. S\he walks tall, with confidence that s\he could hold her\his own against ANYONE in the world. No scholar, black or white or brown or yellow argues with the basic facts of history. It is only the psychedelic- intellectuals, those who reads nothing more serious than their television guides, who come to take cheap-shots on SCA.

Stolen Legacy is not a book anyone could argue with. Almost every single sentence, every single paragraph is duly attributed to verifiable sources. George James must have been fully aware of the burden he was carrying when he wrote his monumental work. His is a book that is easily read and understood even by LAYMEN, unlike the hogwash western mythorians are dishing out, suffused with brain- twisting grammatical pyrotechnics to hide their in-coherencies.

I know that some among us will find ANY excuse not to read books like ‘Stolen Legacy,’ since it challenges them to seek further truth. Those who will not think twice before lapping anything with SHAKESPEARE on it, will find it too long – it certainly is not! This, however should not stop those who want to to go ahead and to seek further knowledge about their past. There is no reason for anyone to believe Femi or even James, everyone should find its own way to his own salvation. I ask not for believe, but the urge to STUDY. A people without a past, the saying goes, is like tree without roots.

No one, IMO, should be allowed to teach African history who has not read Stolen Legacy. No one should call himself educated who has not read Stolen Legacy. The next time anyone brandishes a Ph.D in your face, your question should be, ‘Have you read Stolen Legacy?’

Massive greetings,

Femi Akomolafe.

One bright morning when my work is over, I’ll fly away home.
– Bob Marley

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Title: Stolen Legacy
Author: George G.M. James
Publisher: Africa World Press

PO Box 1892
Trenton, New Jersey 08607
ISBN: 0-86543-361-5 [cloth]
ISBN: 0-86543-362-3 [paper]

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“THE AFRICAN HEBREW ISRAELITES:NEW BLACK CIVILISATION IN THE PROMISED LAND”BY LESTER HOLLOWAY AT BLINK.ORG.UK

September 12, 2007

http://www.blink.org.uk/mainsearch3.asp

Author: Lester Holloway
Report Date: Monday, January 19, 2004

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The African Hebrew Israelites: New black civilisation in the promised land
by Lester Holloway
19/1/2004

People of the Hebrew Israelite ‘kingdom’ believe now is the time for African-Americans and black British to make their Exodus to Israel

Dr Avimelech Ben Israel
Preaching a return to the spiritual homeland of black people in the Holy Land of Israel, the African Hebrew Israelites have developed a thriving community in what they call Northeast Africa.

And returning to reclaim the land once home to black people before white Christian crusaders invaded Palestine in 70AD, people of the Hebrew Israelite ‘kingdom’ believe now is the time for African-Americans and black British to make their Exodus to Israel.

A highly-publicised visit of troubled soul songstress Whitney Houston and husband ‘Bad Boy’ Bobby Brown, in May last year raised the profile of the community which has also been visited by Stevie Wonder.

The Hebrew Israelites, led by their spiritual leader Ben Ammi Ben Israel, have built their own society and economy centred on their Village of Peace’ situated in Dimona, in the southern Negev desert.

African royalty

To his followers Ben Ammi is ‘the Messiah’ a saviour who has come to deliver black people from oppression and ill-health and lead them to a new dawn of revival in Eden, their term for Africa.

The movement has welded together a health-conscious lifestyle with Black Nationalism to create a spiritually and physically healthy community without guns, drugs, domestic violence and robbery. Where their leaders dress like African royalty and preach pride in the black race.

Front doors are left unlocked and children bow and say ‘Shalom’ (meaning peace) to every adult, and every adult takes responsibility to look out for and if necessary chastise the children. If it takes a village to raise a child, then this is the village.

Although American-dominated there are around 20 black British families in Dimona, and the relatively-new London branch, based in Brixton in south London meeting in the recreation centre, is attracting ever-greater interest.

Yahkhi Ben Israel, a 43 year old Rastafarian from Streatham in south London, has lived as a Black Israelite for the last six months with his wife. He said: ” I don’t lock my door when I go out. The only thing dividing us from others outside of here is fresh air.

“We as African people are people of God and there is a spiritual essence wherever we are. But the black man is always at the bottom of the pile. We’ve got to turn things around because we’ve tried everything else.”

Self-organisation

The Hebrew Israelites have two ‘extensions’ in Britain, one meeting in Brixton in south London, the other in Birmingham. The community is in many ways fulfilling the dream of Marcus Garvey, of black self-organisation, separatism and community harmony.

Dr Martin Luther King, shortly before his assassination, talked of having “been to the mountain top and seen the promised land”. Looking out from a mountain top over the Sea of Galilee, a place Ben Ammi regularly visits and prays from, it felt like this might have been that vision.

When Dr King made that famous speech in 1968, Ben Ammi had already taken a band of 400 followers to Liberia, a country that was previously used to be a settling-point for freed American slaves, to ‘cleanse’ themselves of ingrained Western habits.

A year later with his followers ready for a return to the promised land but with Dr King dead, Ben Ammi arrived in Israel to claim the rightful inhabitants of the land had returned after almost 2,000 years.

Horizons

Today, even though the Kingdom has only been in Israel for 36 years, and it is hard to imagine how such a sophisticated and apparently perfect community can have developed from scratch in such a short period of time.

It is community where every need has been thought about and many dozen mini-industries toil to produce as much as possible ‘in-house’.

A whole process, from farming to the manufacture of Soya and tofu products provides their vegan ultra-health conscious diet.

Several men previously trapped in American ghettos or British inner city estates have gone on to explore their horizons and potentials, becoming doctors and engineers. Machinery has been built and buildings constructed by people who were unskilled or unemployed in the West.

Work has started on a new ‘City of Hope’ in Dimona, which allows for expansion. The leaders are thinking big. Work has also started on a new Village of Peace in Benin and they have a farm and factory in Ghana.

One leader, Dr Avimelech Ben Israel said: “This is how civilisations were born. We’re at the birth if a new nation because the old Western civilisation is dying. This is only the beginning. People, our own people sometimes, will tell you that black people can’t run anything – but here we are.

“This is my home”

It is a message that gripped 70-year-old Atura Gioolatiyah. She arrived in Dimona from Detroit in 1976 to attend her sister’s wedding, parked her car at the airport and flew out. Her husband was expecting her back but she never returned.

Gioolatiyah said: “I was just planning to stay for ten days, but I never went back. I’ve never been back to America. When I got here I was just taken by the way of life. I didn’t know nothing about the philosophy, but I just had to stay. This is my home.”

The Hebrew Israelites have been wrongly labelled a ‘cult’ – including by another black British newspaper – but there was no evidence of this. Nobody was forced to be there, or forced to think in a certain way.

The movement is underpinned by a strong and unique mixture of religious spirituality and black consciousness but people had willingly self-selected into this, especially after seeing the benefits.

Continued, go to: Page Two:Diet of the cursed

The African Hebrew Israelites (page two): Diet of the cursed
by Lester Holloway
19/1/2004

“Spirituality needed to be matched with action, otherwise it led to death”

Continued from page one

Mount Massiyahu
The ‘Holy Father’ Ben Ammi, formerly Ben Carter, is an enigmatic man, both calming and unsettling. With a kindly smile and inquisitive hazel eyes, this fit 65 year-old said spirituality needed to be matched with action, otherwise it led to death.

He said: “In another ten years, looking at the predicament of the planet they [the next generation] won’t have a decision to make. We can’t afford to make the wrong decision. If we do not turn things around then your generations’ children will not have a chance. If things are not turned around in this generation, forget it.

“We are fooled into believing that the diet of the cursed is the diet of the blessed. When we grew up we could not wait until we could get a steak. Our people must go back to consuming of the soil in order to experience the blessings, because if not they will remain under the diet of the curse.”

Asked whether he was the Messiah, in good Biblical tradition he told a parable, ending it by adding: “Pray that I am and leave the rest to history.” The belief that Ben Ammi is the Messiah may well cause a problem for Christians. However some of those in Dimona have been raised in the Christians faith, but who see some of its’ ideals in action.

When Chicago metal worker Ben Carter claimed he had a 45 second vision from the Archangel Gabriel in 1966, many would have written him off as crazy. One close ally recalled how he opened up a map of Africa and, pointing at the West coast, said: “By 1967 we’re going to be here. I don’t know exactly where but somewhere around here, and we’ll be in Israel by 1970.”

As predictions go, this proved surprisingly accurate. Now called Ben Ammi Ben Israel, this unassuming man was not the obvious leader, but was nevertheless crowned spiritual leader.37 years after his vision, Ben Ammi now wants to become the spiritual leader of Israel, and is idolised by his 3,000 followers in Dimona.

Invasions

The actual connection between African-Americans, black British and the land of Israel is quite a complicated one, but it is crucial to their whole philosophy. It hinges on where the original black people of Israel were dispersed to when the land suffered a series of invasions from the Crusaders to the Turkish Ottomans.

Research undertaken by the Hebrew Israelites points to black Jews travelling across Africa to the West, where as relative newcomers they were then sold into slavery by the more established tribes living in what is now Ghana and Nigeria.

It is a journey which Ben Ammi and the Hebrew Israelites have now made in reverse, and believe they have now paved the way for black people in Britain and America to join them.

They are also reaching out to the pockets of historically established black communities in Israel, who are on the margins of Israeli society but whose claim to the Holy Land is as strong as anybodys.

The poor run-down village of Segev Shalom, halfway between Dimona and the ancient city of Be’er Sheva, does not look unusual until you see the people.The Ishmaelites, descending from one of Abraham’s twelve sons, seem as old as the land itself but physically their features are indistinguishable from many in Sub Saharan Africa – living proof to the newly-settled Hebrew Israelites that that black people’s home is in Israel.

Unrecognised

Yet the Ishmaelite community are a world apart from the well-organised and well-dressed Hebrew Israelites. The Ishmaelites appear to be the victims of ‘benign neglect’ by the Israeli government and are on the margins of society.

And even though they lived in what is now Israel long before many of the European Jews moved there, the jet-black people who inhabit villages like Segev Shalom are rarely, if ever, recognised internationally as part of the face of Israel.

There is also a historic black community of Ethiopians living in places like Jerusalem. But many are concentrated in an over-populated, poor, grubby, district called ‘Prison Gate’.The name could not be more apt as they live in a converted prison where their ancestors were under lock and key after being thrown in jail by the Ottoman Turks.

Today they live in poverty — just a stone throw from the Wailing Wall, where Orthodox Jews pray every day. There are also other black communities in Israel, with around 10,000 living in dire poverty on the outskirts of Jericho and work as farm labourers. Many Yemenite Jews live in villages outside Tel Aviv.

Television pictures may concentrate on the conflict between the ruling white Jews and the Arab Palestinians, but the history and colour of the land is far more diverse than much of the media would have us believe.

Great Hardship

The Hebrew Israelites certainly seem to recognise other faiths, believing that Jesus, or Yeshua, was a prophet for his times in the same way that Elijah Muhammad, the founder of the Nation of Islam, was. And the Israelites quote and preach regularly from the Old Testament Bible.

The story of the Hebrew Israelites hasn’t always been a success. When they first arrived in Liberia they suffered great hardship, of burying six people and not having enough money to buy food. Ben Ammi had difficulty persuading his supporters to give up smoking marijuana and adhere to a strict vegan diet.

Once in Israel the state made them to feel very unwelcome in the early years, even inflicted germ warfare against them by dropping clouds of dust from helicopters which resulted in serious outbreaks of illness. Some of their leaders, such as Prince Nasik Asiel, were deported only to return using false names and Ben Ammi had a machine gun pointed at his head by a soldier threatening to pull the trigger.

Today, relations between the Hebrew Israelites and the Israeli state are somewhat better, and received permanent status in 2002.

Continued: go to The African Hebrew Israelites (Page Three)

yadah@netvision.net.il
http://www.kingdomofyah.com

yadah@netvision.net.il

The African Hebrew Israelites (page three): Black conciousness and health
“These are the future rulers not only of our community but also of the world”

continued from page 2

Sista Samakiyah
One of the daughters of the community, born in Dimona, is Samakiyah Baht Israel. A large black woman with a huge elaborate orange headwrap and matching outfit she looks dressed in her Sunday-best to attend an African church.

She teaches in their impressive Akvah school (meaning brotherhood). Watching her in action is an education in itself – the sort of teacher every parents wants – inspirational, uplifting and fearsome.

A positive bundle of fizzling energy, and as she talks of her passion for the children she teaches, her arms wave about as if in the throws of praising God as her class of 6-year-olds listen.

“These are the future rulers not only of our community but also of the world”, she says. “My job is dedicated to these children. We don’t call it education, we call it dedication! Dedication in respect to one another. The things that exalts the nation are consciousness and righteousness. We serve a living God.”

Then Sista Samakiyah asks a young boy to stand up and recite the line ‘know the truth and the truth will set you free.’ “Louder!” she booms, and the child turns up the volume. “Louder!” she repeats, and the boy is straining at the top of his voice.

Sista Samakiyah turns to me and said: “He didn’t say ‘know the computer and the computer will set you free’! But that’s what we’re taught today.”But there is no trace of fear on the boy’s face. He’s either so used to this he feels comfortable or he just believes what he’s saying. But you can’t help feeling that these children have self-respect and self-assurance in abundance.

The experience is partly a throw-back to Victorian values, partly an energetic faith-driven education system. A quite funky music tape is played and the class of six-year-olds sing at the top of their voices a song mainly revolving around the words ‘please’, ‘thank you’, and ‘excuse me’.

Sisterhood

Some might consider this a bit cheesy but you can see where they are coming from, and what they are appealing to. Many of the families here come from cities like Chicago, Washington and London, taking the chance to break free from cycle of violence, fear and hopelessness.

Walking around Dimona you see evidence of communal working, of brotherhood and especially sisterhood. Whether it is cleaning the guest-houses or working in the clothes factory producing regal African garments made from natural products, you do not sense an air of typical work, but one of emotional support and fellowship.

They believe in polygamy, but not every man has a wife. Men are allowed up to seven, but generally have two or three. Women born in the west may sometimes find polygamy difficult however it is apparent the new generation born in Dimona are a lot more accepting. And polygamy, traditional in some African tribes, may actually keep the Hebrew Israelite community functioning because of the work done by women.

However another striking feature of their community is the observance of virginity until marriage. And with such a tight-knit community there are many elders to keep an eye on the youth to make sure temptation is resisted.

There was plenty of evidence of women also expressing themselves, including laying down tracks in their recording studio, which produces a wide variety of professional and Yah-inspired music.

Healthy community

Residents of all ages are expected to exercise three times a week, but many to so everyday. Early mornings in Dimona are notable for black Hebrews jogging or walking on the surrounding sandy hills.

The whole community seems fit and healthy, especially the older generation. Although black men and women sometimes appear younger-looking than their white counterparts, the difference amongst the African Hebrews was astonishing.

Men in their 50’s frequently boasted of holding their own against the younger generation in sports such as basketball. They claim not to have had a single case of diabetes, usually more common amongst people of African heritage, cancer or asthma, and just five strokes in 36 years.

Evidence of the community’s health appears not just in physical appearance. An average community of this size would normally have a full doctors surgery. Their medical centre, called Beit Kiem meaning House of Life, was completely empty.

The whole purpose of the Hebrew Israelite way of living was summed up by Elasah Ben Nasic Asiel, who used to be known as Coy Pugh when he was a Democratic legislator in the House of Representatives in Illinois from 1991 to 2000.

Separation

He said the movement gave many black people the chance to fulfil their potential in a way that was seemingly not possible in the inner cities due to racism, which ‘subordinates and dehumanises’ black people.

He said: “The formula that the Honourable Ben Ammi has afforded black men in our community is the opportunity to realise who we are, and as a result reach that latent potential which is suppressed by other so-called societies.

“Here we have created our own government that is ruled by men that are ruled by God. We have individuals who have had a very rudimentary education becoming doctors or a man of some kind of stature.”

Black separation movements are nothing new, from the Black Panthers to the Nation of Islam, but what seems to set the African Hebrew Israelites apart is that rather than just talk about the idea, they are actually busy constructing a sophisticated black society from scratch. And it is attracting increasing numbers of black families in Britain and America to Dimona.

Already marking themselves out an being of importance in black history, if the Hebrew Israelites continue to grow at the present rate we may be hearing a lot more of them in the future.

End

You can contact the African Hebrew Israelites by email: yadah@netvision.net.il

and check out their website http://www.kingdomofyah.com

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