Dear Girls and Colored Kids,

You will probably have to go pretty far out of your way to find a book that recognizes that ‘your’ – everyone’s – history is just as important as the successive actions of various Great White ‘Western’ Men. Go as far out of your way as you have to in order to find these books. And then when someone tries to marginalize your history, YELL YOUR STORY LOUDLY AND CLEARLY AT THEM.

Then, when they call you angry and bitter, remind them that those are very legitimate feelings.

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The Obama Theory On Black America: The Greatest Enemy Is Not Institutional Racism?

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Aura Bogado’s recent article for The Nation, entitled “The First Couple’s Post-Racial Bootstraps Myth” does an excellent job of explaining the myopia in the Obamas’ treatment of the issues faced by black Americans based on their recent speeches given at two historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Ta-Nehisi Coates, writing for The Atlantic, wrote a similar article on the same topic, entitled “How The Obama Administration Talks to Black America”.

From Bogado’s article:

Graduation is often a time for inspiration, not attacks—although that may have been lost on the first couple. Still, neither Michelle Obama nor Barack Obama could possibly fail to grasp that their words echo beyond commencement services and to audiences far and wide. In that respect, the speeches they’ve shared were written for all of us, and perhaps for black youth in especially, who are at once being bombarded with insulting stereotypes, and being blamed for a reality they haven’t constructed or can easily benefit from. As the president is being rocked by a right-wing-manufactured scandal, he might consider searching for support from the imaginative movements that helped bring him to power—movements that recognize that it’s not black people who are failing to succeed, but that a long-entrenched power structure fails to fully recognize the value of its entire people.

Arguably, the central issue here is that there has never been a president of the United States as well versed on the effects of institutional racism in America, and how it affects black America, in particular, as Barack Obama (this was pointed out by Coates in his essay for The Atlantic). Yet, even though the US has moved on from the likes of George W. Bush, who, as Kanye rightly pointed out “doesn’t care about black people”, Obama seems to have forgotten, perhaps strategically or in the wake of his own privilege, how his own administration is complicit in the oppression of American’s black population.

Bogado and Coates comprehensively enumerate the Obama administration’s actions toward perpetuating black oppression, but I will add the following: Obama’s top choice for the US Secretary of Commerce was Penny Pritzker. Pritzker’s actions, up until this point, have been summed up by journalist Dennis Bernstein [emphasis (bold) added]:

 “Her pioneering sub-prime operations, out of Superior Bank in Chicago, specifically targeted poor and working class people of color across the country. She ended up crashing Superior for a billion-dollar cost to taxpayers, and creating a personal tragedy for the 1,400 people who lost their savings when the bank failed.”

In case Bernstein’s words aren’t clear, Pritzker actively engaged in activities that lead to the financial destruction of colored communities, which includes black Americans. And yet, Michelle Obama thinks black teens have problems because they’re simply more interested in video games and TV than not being oppressed by institutions that are backed by the government administration of which she is a member.

Bush [and co.] Convicted of War Crimes in Absentia

ImageYvonne Ridley, for foreignpolicyjournal.com, reported the war crime trial of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and others on May 12, 2012 (emphasis, bold, added):

Kuala Lumpur — It’s official; George W Bush is a war criminal.

In what is the first ever conviction of its kind anywhere in the world, the former US President and seven key members of his administration were yesterday (Fri) found guilty of war crimes.

Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their legal advisers Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, William Haynes, Jay Bybee and John Yoo were tried in absentia in Malaysia.

The trial held in Kuala Lumpur heard harrowing witness accounts from victims of torture who suffered at the hands of US soldiers and contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.

They included testimony from British man Moazzam Begg, an ex-Guantanamo detainee and Iraqi woman Jameelah Abbas Hameedi who was tortured in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison.

At the end of the week-long hearing, the five-panel tribunal unanimously delivered guilty verdicts against Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their key legal advisors who were all convicted as war criminals for torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.

Full transcripts of the charges, witness statements and other relevant material will now be sent to the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, as well as the United Nations and the Security Council.

The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission is also asking that the names of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gonzales, Yoo, Bybee, Addington and Haynes be entered and included in the Commission’s Register of War Criminals for public record.

The tribunal is the initiative of Malaysia’s retired Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who staunchly opposed the American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

He sat through the entire hearing as it took personal statements and testimonies of three witnesses namely Abbas Abid, Moazzam Begg and Jameelah Hameedi. The tribunal also heard two other Statutory Declarations of Iraqi citizen Ali Shalal and Rahul Ahmed, another British citizen.

After the guilty verdict reached by five senior judges was delivered, Mahathir Mohamad said: “Powerful countries are getting away with murder.”

War crimes expert and lawyer Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law in America, was part of the prosecution team.

After the case he said: “This is the first conviction of these people anywhere in the world.”

[…]

Throughout the week the tribunal was packed with legal experts and law students as witnesses gave testimony and then cross examination by the defence led by lawyer Jason Kay Kit Leon.

The court heard how

  • Abbas Abid, a 48-year-old engineer from Fallujah in Iraq had his fingernails removed by pliers.

Abbas Abid, testifying at the trial.


  • Ali Shalal was attached with bare electrical wires and electrocuted and hung from a wall.

Ali Shalal Qaissi in Amman, Jordan, recently with a picture of himself standing atop a box and attached to electrical wires in Abu Ghraib.

  • Moazzam Begg was beaten, hooded and put in solitary confinement.

Moazzam Begg, testifying at the trial.

  • Jameelah was stripped and humiliated, and was used as a human shield whilst being transported by helicopter.

Jameela Abbas, former prisoner in Iraq, testifying at the trial.

The witnesses also detailed how they have residual injuries till today.

Moazzam Begg, now working as a director for the London-based human rights group Cageprisoners said he was delighted with the verdict, but added: “When people talk about Nuremberg you have to remember those tried were all prosecuted after the war.

“Right now Guantanamo is still open, people are still being held there and are still being tortured there.”

In response to questions about the difference between the Bush and Obama Administrations, he added: “If President Bush was the President of extra-judicial torture then US President Barak Obama is the President of extra judicial killing through drone strikes. Our work has only just begun.”

Read the full article here to read more about the importance of holding such a trial, even if Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney and the others may never face consequences, and about the relevance of the Principles of the Nuremberg Charter.