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On Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 12 and 13, Mbongui Square Festival will be celebrating art and community through dance with over two dozen dancers and choreographers showing off their moves. We caught up with choreographer Byb Bibene of the Kiandanda Dance Theater Company to fill us in on what will be going on at the Mbongui Square Festival, as well as his history with dance and more.
Fighting has continued in South Sudan’s oil rich Upper Nile State despite the peace agreement signed on Aug. 26. Since December 2013, South Sudan’s brutal civil war has cost more thousands of lives than anyone can accurately estimate and displaced 2.25 million people. I spoke to Syracuse University Professor Dr. Horace Campbell about what it would take to demilitarize South Sudan and give peace a chance after so many years of war.
Do they think that we are stupid? We were there. We have the pictures. We have the video. We heard what they said. We saw what they did. Yet, publications blatantly misrepresent the truth, posing serious harm to Black lives. These misrepresentations actively push forth a narrative that absolves law enforcement of the brutality and racism they inflict and, ultimately, blame victims for their own repression. We are not here for it.
If America hadn’t become a nation that excessively incarcerates Black men for minor, nonviolent offenses, Walter Scott’s funeral would not be happening because he’d likely still be alive. That’s the conclusion drawn by Ezekiel Edwards, director of the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project.
Over a 25 year period, 200 women in South LA went missing. Of these missing women, 100 were found dead. All of the women are Black and most were prostitutes. The refusal to let these women’s lives go unacknowledged is due to the work of Black Coalition Fighting Back Against Serial Murders. HBO will broadcast “Tales of the Grim Sleeper” on April 27.
Happy New Year! Happy Birthday to my granddaughter Brianna, niece Wilda and friend Fred T. I am still smiling about America’s new relationship with Cuba and the freed Cuban 5. If you are in New Orleans (NOLA), don’t miss “Prospect 3: Notes for Now,” the biennial there being celebrated throughout the city through Jan. 25.
Without Haiti’s help, there would not have been any independent country in Latin America. On January 1, 1816, when Simon Bolivar arrived in Haiti, downtrodden and desperate for help to fight the Spanish, the only two republics in the Western Hemisphere were the United States, where slave ownership was in force, and Haiti, which had fought for and earned its independence in what is still the only successful slave rebellion ever in the world.
Congratulations to William Rhodes on a successful trip to South Africa, where he took a quilt created by his students at Dr. Charles Drew Elementary School in San Francisco to honor the legacy of an international hero, President Nelson Mandela, and returned with art panels from workshops conducted with youth in various townships and regions from Cape Town to Johannesburg.
Of all the hundreds of police murders of young Black men in recent years, the two that sparked the strongest resistance and the largest rebellions were the BART police murder of Oscar Grant in Oakland on New Year’s Day, 2009, and now the Ferguson, Missouri, police murder of Michael Brown on Aug. 9, 2014. Today we’re going to Ferguson, Missouri, to check in with the uncle of Oscar Grant, Cephus “Uncle Bobby” Johnson. Uncle Bobby is live on the ground in Ferguson.
Slain 18-year-old Ferguson, Missouri, resident Michael Brown was laid to rest on Aug. 25. The funeral was a local and national event with thousands in attendance. Brown was killed by a white police officer, Darren Wilson, on Aug. 9 while he walked through the streets of his neighborhood. His brutal death from six gunshot wounds fired at close range sparked immediate mass demonstrations in Ferguson that have continued for over two weeks.
Gen. Paul Kagame ordered the shooting down of the plane in which President Habyarimana and President Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi, French citizens, and all others on board were killed on April 6, 1994. This assassination triggered the genocide. Since then President Kagame has imposed a reign of terror to keep himself and the ruling party in absolute power.
In the year 2014, as we recognize this as the centennial year of the Jamaican, Caribbean born Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey’s (born Aug. 17, 1887, died June 10, 1940) founding of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League in 1914, Pan Africanists need to hold conferences to discuss the conditions of over 1,200,000,000 Africans and people of African descent.
Perhaps it’s a false contradiction. But today there are many who stress the pacifist message with which South Africa’s Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) emerged from prison in 1990, while few put an emphasis on his rebellion against apartheid, including armed rebellion, which landed him in prison. Mandela was a political activist and a revolutionary at least since 1942.
Rwanda’s M23 has finally been defeated in DR Congo, but what are we to make of DR Congo negotiating with M23, not Rwanda’s Kagame and Uganda’s Museveni? M23 was commanded by Rwanda’s top military officers and officials, but its collaboration with Uganda is clear to anyone who gives the Great Lakes Region any attention, as is Rwanda and Uganda’s collaboration with the Western powers.
Every day is a blessing and every moment is an opportunity to learn, grow and be better than we were yesterday. This goes for fathers as well as their children, and the most important thing is to enjoy the journey. It doesn’t take much to find enjoyment in your children, only your patience and your time. Make your children the most important thing in your life, because they are.
Former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, who last week completed a peace mission to Syria along with former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark and others, delivered the following address to the IBON Conference on Democracy, Self-Determination and Liberation of Peoples. The conference was held Sept. 23 at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium.
The 30,000 prisoners who have launched a hunger strike in the prisons of California in the United States are our brothers and sisters. All these men and women who refuse to be silent, who are right to rebel, who defend their dignity by defying a powerful government to which the European governments have bowed down deserve the respect and admiration of the whole world.
From Palestine to California, prisoners are organizing to end torture in prison and prison as a form of repression of popular movements and poor communities of color. Members of IJAN have been following and supporting the organizing of California prisoners, who are prepared to go on indefinite hunger strike starting July 8 to demand an end to long-term solitary confinement and other abuses.
Friends of the Congo’s Executive Director Maurice Carney told KPFA that the U.N. Combat Intervention Brigade is really just the U.S., U.K., and other Western powers’ excuse for continuing to support African dictators – Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni and Congo’s Joseph Kabila. All three, he says, collaborate with foreign interests to drain Congo of its vast resource wealth.
Afrikan history is world history. World history is human history. And the Black Woman Is God. “The Black Woman Is God” exhibit is a continuation of great Afrikan thought, not solely an outstanding new work of collective and individual art. The closing reception is Thursday, May 30, 6 p.m., in the Sargent Johnson Gallery, African-American Arts and Culture Complex, 762 Fulton St., San Francisco