Voices from Russia

Friday, 10 November 2017

The Civil War was About Slavery. Period. End of story. Deal With It.


Slavery caused the Civil War. A failure to compromise had nothing to do with it. Yes, I know a thousand people have made that point in the days since White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s nonsensical assertion on Fox “News” that “the lack of ability to compromise” is what tore America apart. Allow me to be the thousand and first. There are things that need saying here, and I need to say them. It isn’t just that there is no “compromise” between slavery and freedom. It’s also that Kelly’s use of that word is painfully ironic in a nation that’s always been all too ready to bargain with the humanity of African-American people.

In 1776, in his first draft of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson condemned slavery. Southern states baulked, so he compromised. In 1820, North and South argued whether the new state of Missouri would permit slavery. Congress intervened, so they compromised. In 1877, there was a disputed election. Someone suggested giving the presidency to Rutherford B Hayes if he agreed to withdraw federal troops that protected former slaves in the South. The two sides compromised. In 1961, the Freedom Riders pulled into Mississippi. The federal government made a deal with the state that if Mississippi guaranteed no violence, it could arrest the riders, though they’d done nothing illegal. They compromised. And so on. Historically, America always seems to find a way to sell black people out.

Kelly is just the latest in a long line of those who lack the guts to face this straight-on. They hide out in textbooks where slaves become “settlers”; they flee from Roots because it’s “depressing”. Moreover, they insist on moral equivalence between people sellers and the people they sold, lynchers and the people they lynched, traitors who fought to destroy America and patriots who fought to preserve it. Kelly added in the Fox interview:

Robert E Lee was an honourable man.

That’s an interesting take for a military man on an enemy general in a war that killed more Americans than Hitler, Hirohito, and Bin Laden combined. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in defending Kelly:

All of our leaders have flaws.

As if Lee’s ordering two men and a woman stripped to the waist and whipped (he did say, “Lay it on well”) for the crime of seeking freedom was in the same moral universe as Barack Obama’s cigarette jones. I can anticipate how all this would land among certain people. They’d call it “racist”. They’d call it “divisive”. They’d call it everything but untrue. You see, they deeply invested in the myth that their struggles with poverty, mass incarceration, joblessness, and miseducation arise from something African-Americans chose or did, while the rest of the country, innocent as the dawn, did nothing to cause or benefit from any of it. They’ll be angry at the reminder that this is ridiculous… as if this was about them. As if we should give a damn about their anger.

This country stole from black people. It stole their bodies, their children, their names, their land, and their lives. Now, some of them seek to steal the very memory of the crime. Well, let them tell a thousand lies. Let them treat truth like the money card in a game of three-card monte. Let them salve history with the balm of false equivalence. However, let them know that some of us find strength for our own trials in knowing the trials of our mothers and fathers. We won’t be fooled and we won’t be robbed. We will remember… and demand they do the same.

No compromise.

3 November 2017

Leonard Pitts Jr

Miami Herald



Monday, 2 October 2017

2 October 2017. Malcolm X on Peaceable Living… And When to Strike Back


Don’t go out looking for trouble… but if trouble comes to you, know how to deal with it.


Tuesday, 11 July 2017

The Absurdity of Saying “White Privilege”



If you have no confidence in yourself, you’re twice defeated in the race of life.

Marcus Garvey

I’ll admit that I was a part of the same crowd I’m now picking up a pen to speak against. I too once went around foolishly talking about “white privilege” this or “white people are evil” that. This was not too long ago… a time when I used to see justice through coloured binoculars and I was part of the very divisive culture I thought I was speaking against. It took two years of hardship for me to finally shed my blinders and see injustice as it is without putting an adjective in front of it. What I witnessed from South Carolina to Colorado (and countless regions in-between) as I sojourned from state to state and mission to mission is this. Poverty comes for all and it doesn’t discriminate based on the preposterous labels we append to ourselves. These designations of white and black are insidious, but they’ve worked perfectly. Black and white are constructs meant to ghettoise people behind prisons of contempt in order to fracture humanity. There isn’t one person in this world who’s black nor is anyone white; monstrous men who had everything to gain by dividing us imposed these words upon us.

Over generations, we accepted these hateful labels and made them a source of pride. Why do I say the labels are hateful? Go ahead… look up the definition of the word “black” in Webster’s Dictionary. You’ll discover nothing but one slander after another as they use black to describe worthless and insignificant things. At the top of the definition, you’d see that vile label ascribed to “black people”, followed by words like dark, evil, wicked, and (most perniciously) black is those things that don’t have light. People don’t understand that they use the word “black” to dehumanise us and to imply that we don’t have God’s light in us. Now, go ahead, look up the word “white” in the same dictionary. You’d see white described in the most glowing ways. White is the full presence of light and it’s affixed to people who come from Europe. White is pure, clean, of good character, and free from blemish. As we are dehumanised, other groups are elevated, and in the process, the world is shattered into a battle between “black” and “white”. This is how the One Percent can conquer and subjugate the 99 Percent.

Don’t you see what these demonic men were up to in the past when they came up with the constructs of “black” and “white”? They were insulting us to the core and saying that we’re valueless as they elevated themselves to the status of heirlooms. Now, I know some people would try to say, “They don’t get to define what we are, we do”. This is absurdity of the highest magnitude; “they” gave us the word black to define us. Trust me when I tell you this, our ancestors in the continent we now imprudently call Africa didn’t call themselves “black” before foreigners invaded, colonised the continent of Ethiopia, and shipped off her children to live a chattel’s life in chains. By accepting the word “black”, we accept inferiority. Too many people overlook this fact and instead choose to lash out and bang on “white privilege”. However, calling people “white” is the privilege itself! No one is white, the minute you say someone is white, you might as well get on your knees and say “master” for that is the implication of the paradigm of the labels black and white. Black mires us in third-class citizen status and white confers upon people from European descendants the prominence of the preferred tribe. Do you know what the word “negro” means? It’s “black” in another dialect, so is a word less insulting when it’s in English than when you utter it in another language?

The source of our enslavement is within; this is why Bob Marley sang that song “free yourselves from mental slavery”. Accepting our identity through the identification others gave us is nothing more than accepting bondage. Words are super-powerful; nothing in this world matches the potency of the tongue and the words that flow from it. By saying that we’re black, we speak inferiority into existence; calling others white confers superiority unto those who call us black. Sadly, the loudest idiots get the microphones; thus, a herd of unoriginal thinkers lead us, who convince us to get on bended knees and beg for acceptance instead of lifting ourselves. After all, you can make money in race hustling, but actually teaching people to feed themselves takes away future customers. These things have real life consequences; we spend all our time protesting outward while turning to a rhetoric of hatefulness instead of fixing ourselves from within. Like I said, I’ve done this too… I’m not speaking from a point of piousness. Nevertheless, we’ve been following the same playbook for generations; banging our heads into walls won’t knock the walls down, it just leads to migraine headaches. Having pain doesn’t give us the right to pass on pain to others. Blaming the masses of our less-melanised brethren for the sins of a few is no different than when a “white” person says all black people are thugs. Bigotry is bigotry… we don’t get a pass just because we’ve felt a bigger injustice.

If you want to fight injustice, great! However, for God’s sake, stop putting adjectives in front of injustice. Don’t fight for black justice or brown justice, fight for justice on its own for doing anything less makes you part of the very injustice you fight against. This system of oppression that robs hope from the masses and bleeding people the world over thrives only through division. Its weakness is unity. Therefore, when people take to the podium to speak of “white privilege”, “Muslim terrorism”, or “Mexican illegals”, they feed into the divisiveness that fuels the fire of global injustice. In what world is it right to blame the whole for the excesses of a fraction who happen to be of that identity? If it’s wrong when they lump us all together and characterise us as such, it’s equally wrong to do that to anyone else. If you insist on saying “white privilege”, take a drive down to the Appalachians, or failing that, go down to your local homeless shelter. There, you’d find teeming masses of so-called “white” people mired in perpetual hopelessness and indigence that’d shock your conscience. I dare you to go up to a “white” homeless person and tell him he has “white privilege”. The same root of injustice that robs the inner cities of Chicago of hope and hobbles “black” folk into cyclical poverty is what cripples “white” folks into dependency and privation in states like Idaho, Alabama, and Texas.

The way to find the liberation that’s eluded us for centuries, the only way to heal the wounds of generational injustice, is to find love within. The élites loved Malcolm X as long as he preached the divisive language of “white devils” and “white privilege”. Once Malcolm travelled to Mecca and saw the sea of humanity praying together, he realised that we should pursue the quest to end iniquity without exclusion, he stopped speaking of “white devils”, and instead embraced universal justice. That’s when the powerful eliminated Malcolm. So discount every “black” leader and author and every “white” firebrand who preaches from the pulpit of “us versus them” as frauds and see them as only demagogues who work and get paid by the same system they speak against. If you want to know how Donald Trump won the election, look no further than the “us versus them” paradigm that we elected the fraud Obama to eradicate, only he breathed butane into the fire. “White” folk got tired of being made guilty for the endless ways the system of oppression hobbles the masses in America and throughout the world. A culture of endless grievances made them feel aggrieved too. The same way “black folk” turned out in mass to vote for an empty-suit Obama because he spoke our pains, “white folks” did the same as the pugnacious pig that is Donald Trump spoke to their pains too. This is what happens when we let our emotions lead us; dark souls will keep coming around to lead us by the nose. We end up getting the government we deserve.

Enough of the nonsense, stop acting the victim and complaining about what the “white man” did to you and realise that they suffer too. I know some will cite examples of how “white people” stuck in poverty don’t have it as bad as “black folk” stuck in indigence… this is such folly. Poverty is poverty; those stuck in it have minimal chances to escape the clutches of destitution. Once someone is mired in homelessness and is sentenced to a life of concrete mattresses and newspaper blankets, they have little hope to go from that level of despair to finding renewal. Instead of judging who has it worse and turning the suffering of people into abstract philosophical debating points, how about we stop seeing through colour and just help people who suffer as we’re best able? However, first, heal thyself… for you can’t help others before you mend within. Stop tearing others down from without, let’s take a pause, and find a way to fill our hearts with love rather than letting anger be our guiding flame. Loosen from our souls such hateful pejorative words like “black”, “nigger”, and “habehsa” given to our ancestors to dehumanise them and make them the lesser. Lastly, if you really do care about ending injustice and want to fight for equality, here’s a radical proposal. How about we see both humanity and injustice without appending an adjective of colour, class, or ideology in front of it? Be about love for everyone or else count yourself as part of the injustice that takes from all.

14 May 2017

Teodrose Fikre

Ghion Journal


Friday, 23 September 2016


00 Defend Equality Love Unites. 18.09.13


As a leftist, I know that ALL LIVES MATTER EQUALLY. The fact that they don’t is a scandal. Remember, there’s a War on the Poor… race doesn’t matter. The Affluent Effluent demonises the poor… uninformed working-class zhlubs eat it up. Here’s the sad part… a minority of cops commit most of the police violence, but crooked pols and their fatcat oligarch bosses protect the abusers. As a good cop told me, “If we tell the truth, we lose our jobs; they send us to the joint”. This can’t last forever. It started under the Clintons, interestingly enough…

Black Lives Matter isn’t an answer… do think on it. Too often, it does things to hurt the Cause… that’s why I’m convinced that provocateurs are within it. Have a care, there IS a War on the Poor; the Affluent Effluent doesn’t scruple at using movements such as BLM to hurt us. JUSTICE FOR ALL… until then, let’s not form divisions in our ranks, whether they’re racial, national, creedal, or partisan (the end in view does call for that). SOLIDARITY FOREVER… we should never forget that. Let’s stop doing demented things such as stepping on flags… that only gives fodder to our foes. Not standing for the Anthem is fine… publicising bad cops’ violence and demanding justice for it is fine… but wiping one’s feet on the American flag isn’t a good thing. There’s a right and a wrong way of “being right”… let’s not help the oligarchs and their Upper Middle running-dogs…

We have a chance to do something about it… let’s not ruin it by buying into divisiveness and faction. Remember, we face a clever foe that doesn’t want to give up its ill-gotten gains. Keep it focused, kids…


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