Writer Marcus ‘Zahir’ Blevins joyfully shares his personal, seminal, transformative and enlightening journey into the 25th Annual Virtual Maafa Commemoration, an experience expressed as moving beyond any perceived boundaries.
I’m writing to you on behalf of myself and ALL of the other brothers who are sharing my same struggle as a captive of the Georgia Department of Oppression. Georgia is a “hate state,” so we have no “progressive” media outlets here in the state and we need to bring attention to our plight with hopes that the publicity will garner us some help in one fashion or another.
Beneath the banner “Justice or Else,” this march appeared different from the Oct. 20, 1995, event. Minister Louis Farrakhan called for an end to police violence against African Americans and demanded a halt to Black-on-Black crime, which kills more inner-city men than all other causes combined. The Nation of Islam leader used the occasion of the 20th anniversary commemoration of the Million Man March at the steps of the U.S. Capitol to condemn the loss of life of Blacks.
It’s International Women’s History Month and in director Abderrahmane Sissako’s film “Timbuktu” (2014) we meet fierce African women who stand their ground when faced with lashings, stonings and bullets. The setting is Timbuktu, Africa’s Mecca, a sacred historic seat of knowledge and wisdom, which has been ravaged recently by warfare and plunder. Peoples’ lives, antiquities, books, Quranic texts, landmarks and buildings have been destroyed.
Sunday, Oct. 12, marks our 19th Annual Maafa Commemoration. This is a time when we gather to remember our African ancestors, especially those who endured the transatlantic slave trade or the Middle Passage, the Black Holocaust. It is a time for Pan Africans to gather and celebrate life and recommit ourselves to the work of liberation: spiritual, psychological, economic and political.
We were labeled as a security threat group in 1995 in state prison, despite the fact that our God-Centered Culture was established in the free world in 1964 by our educator, Allah. Our God-Centered Culture also has 501(c)(3) tax exempt status like any religion under the First Amendment, but because we teach that the Black man is God and the Black woman is Earth and the white man is devil, as a collective we were deemed a threat.
Sept. 9, 2013, marks the 42th anniversary of the prison uprising at the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York. Forty-two men, mostly inmates, were killed in the armed retaking of the prison under the orders of Gov. Nelson Rockefeller. I was there, as one of the “observers” specifically requested by the inmates. We tried to negotiate a peaceful, non-violent settlement of the dispute.
Imam Jamil Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown) is one of the most revered Black revolutionary leaders from the ‘60s who is alive today. He was a legendary organizer with SNCC and briefly with the Black Panther Party, then later in an Islamic community in the West End of Atlanta, Georgia. This is one of the true fathers of rap music. Atlanta will rally Monday, March 19, 3-5 p.m., at the Georgia Capitol, 206 Washington St., to bring Imam Jamil back to Georgia from federal prison in Florence, Colo.
Sobonfu Somé, West African healer, says that when people die and become ancestors, they get smarter and often try to repair any damage they may have made while in this physical form. Ancestors want to be busy making our lives better. She said we can call on them to intercede on our behalf when we are troubled.
There is no possibility of understanding what is happening in Libya within a Eurocentric framework. Libya’s system and the battle now taking place on its soil stands completely outside of the Western imagination. The battle that is being waged in Libya is fundamentally a battle between pan-African forces on the one hand, who are dedicated to the realization of Qaddafi’s vision of a united Africa, and Libyan Arab forces who look toward Europe and the Arab world for Libya’s future.
This month Muslims around the world are observing Ramadan, which is compared in the Black revolutionary tradition to how Black August is celebrated in the prisons, where people fast during the day, exercise more, study more and recommit themselves to their belief system. Under this section I am submitting two stories that look at the faith of young Black Orthodox Muslims in the Bay Area, one from a male perspective and one from a female perspective.