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In these harsh times of conflicting state and federal laws regarding medical marijuana, which is currently legal in many states but still illegal under federal law, across the nation public housing and Section 8 tenants are facing discrimination, eviction and homelessness for medical marijuana use. The crazy federal marijuana laws need to be overturned and eliminated because of the harm being done to seniors and others who may or may not be residing in subsidized housing.
On Nov. 18, 1978, the world as we knew it was changed forever: 918 victims, of whom 305 were children – including 40 infants – lost their lives along with U.S. Congressman Leo Ryan and a United Press International film crew. The place was Peoples Temple in Jonestown, Guyana – that Paradise of Pain – founded and led by James Warren “Jim” Jones, forever rendered infamous by its name “Jonestown.”
Oct. 14 marked the sixth anniversary of Rwandan political prisoner Victoire Ingabire’s arrest, and Oct. 24 will mark the 20th anniversary of Rwanda and Uganda’s invasion and occupation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. KPFA’s Ann Garrison filed this report on these intertwined anniversaries.
I answered some heartbreaking calls from Dr. Léopold Munyakazi phoning from an Alabama jail this week. Dr. Munyakazi is a gentle Rwandan born scholar, with a PhD in linguistics and further advanced degrees in French and African linguistics. He has lost his immigration case in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals and will all but certainly be deported to Rwanda to face prison or worse.
An estimated half dozen or more prisoners locked away in solitary confinement at Wisconsin’s maximum security facility in Waupun, announced last week they would begin a hunger strike in opposition to what one inmate has described as a “living hell” in the institution’s “hole.” Waupun is located 55 miles northeast of Madison. It is notoriously known as “the Prison City,” with three state prisons inside the city limits.
During the Rwandan Genocide in 1994, President Bill Clinton and members of his administration pushed for the reduction of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Rwanda from over 2,500 troops to 270, with the remaining troops’ mandate being reduced to a mere observer’s role. The U.S. government evacuated foreign – read: White – personnel from Rwanda and pretty much ensured the total success of the 100-day slaughter that occurred when peacekeepers were also pulled.
Are we ready, finally, to have the conversation on race that President Bill Clinton suggested the United States needed? The Saint Andrew’s Cross, which is the Battle Flag of the Confederacy, now known as the Confederate Flag, symbolizes a fact of history that most White Southerners choose to deny: enslavement of Africans forcibly trafficked to this country and their systematic dehumanization while here – sentiments and aspects of which continue to this day.
I am a 38-year-old Black male from the city of Richmond, Virginia, who has been incarcerated for over 20 consecutive years. I am serving a 93-year prison sentence without the possibility of parole for my participation in a robbery that resulted in the shooting deaths of two innocent people. Having exhausted all available post-conviction remedies in the courts, prisoners like me have few avenues to regain our freedom here in the commonwealth of Virginia.
An international argument between French and Rwandan officials broke out this week after Rwandan President Gen. Paul Kagame accused the French of playing a direct role in the political preparation of genocide in an interview with Jeune Afrique. Justice Minister Christiane Taubira canceled her plan to attend the genocide commemoration in Kigali, but then the Rwandan government announced that they had canceled her invitation anyway.
Update Sept. 30, 2012: For the past two weeks, massive demonstrations have rocked Haiti, protesting constitutional changes and the corruption of the Martelly government. The democratic and participatory spirit of the 1987 Constitution has been subverted by the illegitimate President Michel Martelly, who announced new amendments, which concentrate executive power and herald the return of death squad Duvalierism to Haiti.
The Black community is in a world of trouble. And President Obama alone cannot fix it. This is where real leadership is needed: real, un-bought, unbiased leadership. Black America’s biggest challenge, truth be told, is itself. And Black pastors are at the center of the issue. If we can get our leaders to the table – political, business, academic and community – we could create our own salvation.
Haiti’s brutal army was disbanded in 1995, yet armed and uniformed paramilitaries, with no government affiliation, occupy former army bases today. Join Haiti Action Committee for a discussion on the roots of paramilitarism in Haiti at La Pena Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, featuring Jeb Sprague, author of ‘Paramilitarism and the Assault on Democracy in Haiti.’
In 2012, the Maafa is a penal colony in U.S.-occupied Haiti – the national penitentiary. This image expresses a reality reminiscent of chained Africans in the hull of a slave ship bound for the Carolinas. In Haiti, prisoners without human rights are guarded by the world arbiters on human rights, the United Nations. This is how prisoners are treated. Forgotten and abandoned.
Professor Michelle Alexander’s new book “The New Jim Crow” is a monumental, well researched piece of work that presents documented facts in down to earth English about the mass incarceration of Black people within the United States’ national concentration camp system. At one point in “The New Jim Crow,” Professor Alexander presents evidence that more Black people are enslaved behind bars today than were enslaved on the plantations in 1850, before the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.
Among many startling findings by legal scholar Michelle Alexander, former director of the ACLU's Racial Justice Project here in the Bay Area, is this: There are more African Americans under correctional control today – in prison or jail, on probation or parole – than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began.
If Rwanda's three viable opposition parties are allowed to register and participate in free and fair elections, they have a good chance, in coalition, of defeating Rwandan President Paul Kagame and his ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) Party. Those three parties condemned the Feb. 19 deadly grenade attacks in Kigali, calling them “an attempt to instill fear in the population” prior to Rwanda’s August presidential election.
Pierre Labossierre, cofounder of the Haiti Action Committee, alerts us to oppose "relief" funds and protest U.S. military occupation that threaten Haitian independence and sovereignty and to demand the return of President Aristide and the inclusion of Lavalas in Haitian democracy. Following the interview, listen and watch audio and video files featuring Pierre, Cynthia McKinney, Kiilu Nyasha, Nia Imara, Minister of Information JR, Joy Moore and more - all calling on everyone to “stand in solidarity with Haiti.”
Despite objections by local Garifuna communities, Honduras’ de facto government is moving to take over the first and only Garifuna-managed hospital in the country, ousting its current staff. The facility – built by Dr. Luther Castillo, other Garifuna doctors, local architects and the communities themselves – is located in the remote coastal municipality of Iriona. [The Garifuna, descended from Africans who intermarried with native Arawak and Carib people, number about 600,000 on the Caribbean coast of Central America.]
The racist assault on United States President Barak Obama by the Honduran military coup government, installed on June 28, 2009, was greeted by the U.S. media with what John Pilger called “contrived silence, a censorship by omission.” (Amy Goodman, Democracy Now, 7/6/09) The poisonous racist attack on the first Black U.S. president was based on racist preconceptions and was carried out by interim Honduran Foreign Minister Enrique Ortez Colindres on June 29, the day after the democratically elected president Manuel Zelaya was arrested and sent into exile in his pajamas.
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