We'd like to recommend a book for those interested: Simon Schama's Rough Crossings: Britain, the Slaves, and the American Revolution. Here's a video - Schama discussing this huge, terribly obscured chapter of Black American & U.S. history, with staff of Google. This history is growing serious legs.
Enough already. As a Black woman whose U.S. family was enslaved in the USA, hearing solely people interviewed over and over, in every medium, talk about someone as though he were one of us, a slavery descendant -- as if he, who in honest, accurate reality, is the descendant of several white slaveowner families and not of enslaved Black people - as if he and his own family - not Michelle Robinson's family - ever lived through even a fraction of centuries'-long suffering, torture, exploitation and alienation endured by members of my family and our whole community; and even as if this person were God. In the faith in which I was raised this is blasphemous. All this feels like being raped, over and over, and then having people you know - even some family and longstanding friends - repeatedly come and ask why you keep protesting, why you refuse to lie back, be "grateful" and enjoy.
Some readers of Marian's Blog may be aware that I'm a former journalist (and press secretary, etc.) myself. And yet, being briefly outside the United States, I am experiencing culture shock. In this case the shock is good, due to once again being surrounded by so much news and so many free and readily available (televised & broadcast) news sources. Many of these are sources which, back in the States, most Americans and those living in the U.S. 1) are not offered via U.S. media & U.S. cable TV distribution systems, and 2) which, quite often, Americans will not discuss, quite often even when they may be aware of certain events going on in the world outside (or even within) the USA.
And so it was thanks to a long interview seen (more than once) on Al Jazeera's English-language TV that I learned of one experienced and rather outspoken British observer, Robert Fisk, and his columns in the British paper The Independent.
This entry is short, and yet for today perhaps it's enough.
With less than a month to go, I'd really like to know whether or not my former colleagues of the OSCE - Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe - have a plan in place (on invitation of the U.S. government, of course) to send a full-fledged mission to monitor next month's U.S. presidential election. I figure that, like me, most folks anywhere can honestly say they have never lived through a set of circumstances to match what is going on today in the United States and the rest of the world. As I see it, much of this contagious turmoil and heartache could have - would have - been averted had only someone cared, paid attention and taken effective regulatory and legal action in years past. That includes back in 2000 when professionals of conscience like Atlanta Legal Aid Society Home Defense attorney Bill Brennan and others made crystal clear the extent of U.S. financial institutions' merciless and ultimately self-destructive attempts to exploit and extort the U.S.'s most vulnerable populations: people of colour, women, the elderly; in short, the poor, near-poor and working poor. A related concern is that, come November 4, we very well could witness a third consecutive chapter of the political equivalent of what is now boiling over financially. That is to say we stand to witness the same, grave problems in the conduct of the 2008 U.S. presidential election as the whole world saw, first in 2000 and yet again in 2004. An excellent documentary American Blackout explains clearly what happened in both elections as well as the efforts and work of then-Democratic congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. (As I've blogged before, Cynthia is now the U.S. Green Party's presidential candidate and I plan to vote for her.)
"... I don't think we've invested well... in the last few years..."- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (daughter of late mayor of Baltimore, Maryland; multimillionaire; Democratic congresswoman, 8th Congressional district, California - San Francisco) on the current state of U.S. society, government and economy, in a Capitol Hill news conference, Thursday, 2 Oct 2008.
We're reading Sean O'Grady's article in today's Independent: "... no amount of taxpayer money, no vote in Congress or the Commons and no speech by a president or prime minister can now fully restore the confidence that has been drained from the system during a year of brutal capitalist "creative destruction." Confidence is the magical ingredient that makes our system work, the thing that allows Keynes' "animal spirits" to take off, and create businesses and wealth. And, as we have seen from the billions wiped from the stock markets yesterday, it is simply beyond price. Without it, there is merely fear."
I'm not convinced about needing to emulate "animal spirits" but our next post recalls the words of U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Thanks to my sister for sharing news of veteran U.S. legal aid attorney William Brennan and his testimony in Congresson 24 May 2000. So Congress had first-hand knowledge of what was going on from an attorney helping elderly, often female and Black persons (who quite often already owned their homes) from becoming statistics in very elaborate, far-reaching and high-pressure credit scams. In May 2000 Carlo and I were in Skopje, Macedonia. On 9 Aug 2007 we published an entry here at Marian's Blog entitled "The colour of sub-prime, & trans-Atlantic cash."Who knew that ever-larger financial chips would still be falling more than a year later? Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac... And that's only the U.S. list. In 2007 I blogged, "How about "trans-Atlanticism in the 'hood", as France's largest bank, BNP Paribas, temporarily shut down investor access to three BNP private-investor funds linked to U.S. so-called 'sub-prime' mortgage lending." Is anyone in the international human rights establishment paying the slightest attention?
All of Indian society, India's diaspora (particularly in the West), the national government and its diplomats in Washington and elsewhere, and anyone anywhere in the world who professes to admire or emulate India really must take action to stop the most barbaric butchery being carried out against religious and ethnic minority communities, particularly in Orissa State. There's the little girl, no more than ten, her face terribly scarred when local terrorists set her family home alight, and with them inside. We have no idea why U.S. media no longer are capable of or interested in doing the type of courageous and important international reporting evidenced in this moving FRANCE 24 report - "Where Bibles are burnt",filed, as it should be, from India, by Stephanie Lebrun, Arnaud Kehon and Navodita Pandey. You've done your work here; vous avez faites votre travail. No matter who or which group or religion would commit such acts, it would be irrevocably wrong. God have mercy on those men and women who murder, assist, and commit these crimes against humanity, and who go further in doing so "in God's name" - and certainly God's mercy on these poor victims.
Katrina Information Network has a list of 29 thingsyou can do right now to assist the displaced and victimised citizens of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region. They have some beautiful New Orleans local music on their site. More soon.