Archive for the North America Category

Poetic Politics?

Posted in Awareness, CULTURE, HISTORY, Mother Africa, North America with tags , , , , , , on October 7, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Lyndall Beddy, a South African columnist with News Time, recently wrote an article in what she calls Poetic Politics. I could not get through the whole article before knowing I needed to respond. She wrote,

“European Colonial Doctors, not Indigenous Healers, cured Africa’s diseases: leprosy, yellow fever, bilharzia [sic], malaria, sleeping sickness et al . . . in most of Africa the faith of the people was in cannibalism (body part medicine), witchcraft and spirits. And far from understanding animals, they were afraid of most of them. My own char is too afraid still of frogs or spiders to go near them and I have to evict them from the house.”

Well, that was her opinion, and this is mine . . .

Let’s start with  actual facts. These diseases are collectively known as tropical diseases. They were so named because they thrive in warm climates. They also thrive in communities that are victims of poverty and malnutrition. Malnutrition is a result of poverty. Malnutrition leads to medical disorders and leaves you vulnerable to more diseases. Before colonists came to Africa, communities (villages)  were not victim of poverty. Do not forget Africa was a rich continent and this is what drew the colonist.

Beddy also wrote,

“As I have explained, black American descendents of slaves made up a culture and history of an Africa that was perfect until the nasty whites went to Africa and captured blacks as slaves from this perfect world (which, by the way, was monogamous in the Kwanza Cult version)”.

Kwanza is not a cult. As you should know (since you call yourself an amateur historian), Kwanza is a celebration. It originated in Africa and was adopted in America by members of the African Diaspora in an effort to regain ties with our heritage. As an amateur historian did you not know that slavery robbed the American born members of the African Diaspora of knowledge of our ancestry?

Beddy also wrote,

“The truth is that whites had no resistance to malaria, and did not even enter the interior of Africa until a cure had been found for malaria . . . It was white doctors, during the European colonial period, who found the cures for the many illnesses of Africa, often at considerable risk to their own lives.”

Beddy, the truth is, the colonists were not forcibly taken to Africa in chains. They willfully entered Africa, at their own risk, for their own benefit. I am sure they could barely wait to enter Africa’s interior and “discover” more riches.

Beddy says she is an anti-racist activist, yet she said,

“. . .  in most of Africa the faith of the people was in cannibalism (body part medicine), witchcraft and spirits. And far from understanding animals, they were afraid of most of them. My own char is too afraid still of frogs or spiders to go near them . . .”

In fact, a good lesson to learn in being an activist against racism is not to make racist statements. Have you worshipped with people who practice their traditional or indigenous faith enough to “understand” their faith? Is it not the “spirit” of Jesus that is the cornerstone of the Christian faith? Do you understand “frogs and spiders?”

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U.S. Syphilis Experiments on People of Color / Crimes Against Humanity

Posted in HISTORY, Humanity, NEWS, North America, Our Health, South America with tags , , , , , , , on October 3, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

From 1932 to 1972 the U.S. Public Health Service in Tuskegee, Alabama conducted a “clinical study” using poor African American sharecroppers to research the progression of untreated syphilis. Approximately 400 poor men of African descent were enticed into the program with free meals, medical exams, and burial insurance. They were never told they had syphilis. They were told they were being treated for “bad blood”, a term used at the time in the African American community for illness with fatigue symptoms. Actually, they were never treated. This “study” became known as the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment or the Tuskegee Experiment.

According to a Reuters article on Oct. 1st, President Obama offered his personal apology for another syphilis experiment. This time researchers deliberately infected 696 Guatemalan women, mental patients, and prison inmates with the disease. This “study” was to learn the effectiveness of penicillin in treating syphilis. It was conducted from 1946 to 1948.

Guatemalan government released this statement:

“President Alvaro Colom considers these experiments crimes against humanity and Guatemala reserves the right to denounce them in an international court.”

Susan Reverby, a professor of women’s studies at Wellesley College in Massachusetts uncovered the “study” while investigating the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment and informed the U.S. government before she published her findings.

Geoffrey Canada has 650 Kids in College

Posted in Awareness, North America with tags , , , on October 3, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

While many dead-beat dads are stifling kids through their actions, one man is boosting kids one block at a time. In the 1990’s, Geoffrey Canada initiated an experiment to promote a future for children living in poverty. Canada’s experiment yielded a safe zone for the children in Harlem to learn and play. Canada’s experiment has come to be known as Harlem’s Children’s Zone.

Geoffrey Canada was featured by ABC News as Person of the Week. A newly released documentary suggests he’s Superman. Canada says, “One of the saddest days of my life was when my mother told me Superman did not exist. She thought I was crying because it’s like Santa Clause in not real. I was crying because no one was coming with enough power to save us.”

Canada was raised by a single mother in Harlem. He went on to earn a Masters from Harvard. When he and his wife were expecting their first child he started to research what child development. He discovered that positive parenting starts before your child is born. Canada reached out to expecting mothers to teach them how to raise their child from a positive view of the world.

Canada had learned that children of wealthy parents are given early positive encouragement; while poor parents extend negativity to their children. Canada has pioneered a program that follows babies growing up in poverty with positive encouragement throughout their development.

Canada said, “It is one of the great joys of my life, that when I look at my young people that I realize there is a bunch of us adults standing with these kids saying we’re going to guarantee you make it.”

Spies, Informants, and Lies . . . Oh My!

Posted in HISTORY, NEWS, North America with tags , , , , , on October 2, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

During the Civil Rights Movement, the FBI employed spies to infiltrate major organizations whose mission was to accomplish equality for all citizens. These spies would become active members of the organization and maintain an presence in the Civil Rights Movement. Informants were paid by the FBI to befriend leaders such as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and more. Recently, an article in Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper used FBI records to reveal one such spy. He was known as a civil rights photojournalist. He is remembered as one of the men in room 306 (Dr. King’s room) at the Lorraine Hotel when Rev. King was assassinated.

According to the New York Times, civil rights photojournalist, Ernest C. Withers collaborated with two FBI agents on the activities of several civil rights leaders. The Memphis’ Commercial Appeal newspaper published the result of a two year investigation and used open FBI records as evidence. Ernest Withers died in 2007 at age 85.

Historian Athan Theoharis expressed his shock and called Withers’ actions an “amazing betrayal”. Withers, a former police officer, had been nicknamed the ‘original civil rights photographer”. Withers captured the heart of the movement in well known images. He was the photographer behind the “I Am a Man” photo of the sanitation strike. He was the only photographer to cover the Emmitt Till trial. He was also known for the photo of Rev. King, riding in one the first desegregated buses in Montgomery, Alabama.

Former Atlanta Mayor, then a civil right organizer, Andrew Young said, “It’s not surprising . . . we knew that everything we did was bugged, although, we didn’t suspect Withers individually.

Other reactions included “sadness, dismay, and disbelief”. Civil rights rally organizer of the time, Rev. James Lawson Jr., said, “If it is true, then Ernie abused our friendship.”

Acid Attack Falsely Reported / Imaginary Black Man is off the Hook

Posted in Awareness, NEWS, North America on September 30, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Oregon woman claim of an acid attack proves to be a hoax. This time the imaginary black man is off the hook. She blamed it on an imaginary black woman. Bethany Storro doused her face with acid and used money donated by the sympathetic public to go on a shopping spree. One month after having a chemical peel in a doctor’s office, she claims she doused her face because she wanted a new face. She also claims she had a feeling she would need sunglass; the sunglasses saved her vision. Discrepancies such as these cause the people to question her story. The incident happened at night. Hoax crimes committed by men and women who blame it on an imaginary black man (this time an imaginary black women) is not unusual.

1.    In 1989, Charles Stuart shot himself and his pregnant wife and blamed it on the imaginary black man.

2.    In 1994, Susan Smith rolled her car into a lake with her young children strapped in it; she blamed it on the imaginary black man.

3.    In 2008, Ashley Todd carved a mirror-imaged,  letter ‘B’ into her face and yes; she blamed the imaginary black man who was supposed to have been a Barack Obama supporter.

4.    In 2003, Brian Wells walked into a bank with a bomb around his neck and claim a group of imaginary black men made his do it.

Blaming the imaginary black man, men, or woman is evidence of an ideology that reflects racism. The ideology maybe that people of African descent are most believable to have committed these crimes; beware of men (and now women too) of African descent; or all people of African descent look alike thus this occupy authorities’ time. In many cases blaming the imaginary black man has caused a disruption in the black community with law enforcement.

Bethany Storro faces charges for faking the attack. She is also facing possible infections while healing as well as permanent scars from the acid burns.

Dr. Danley makes empowerment for girls her life’s work

Posted in North America, Spotlight with tags , on September 10, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Austin Weekly News -Contributing writer: FINISHA O’QUINN

A double threat. A troublemaker. A black female. Dr. Lynette Danley proudly and unapologetically claims all three and encourages her sisters of color to do the same. Growing up in a middle-class family in the Austin neighborhood, she attended Howe Elementary and Currie High school. Her neighborhood was surrounded by drugs, prostitutes and gangs. While in grade school Danley’s father started using drugs and with his drug use came abuse.

“There were times when I would come home and there would be bullet holes in the ceiling from him trying to kill my mom,” she recalls. Her father would eventually be diagnosed with depression and mental illness and never again be declared sane.

Danley graduated second in her class from elementary school. Choosing Currie, because it was a performing arts school, she danced and sang, was in plays and cheerleading. She was doing it all to escape . . .

Dr. Danley makes empowerment for girls her life’s work.

A Tribute to the Displaced of New Orleans – Five Years Later

Posted in Awareness, Humanity, North America, Spotlight with tags , , , on August 22, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

On August 29, 2005, 18 to 25feet waves caused by Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans. Before that day, New Orleans was a city with an unique culture. Like her native dish of gumbo, New Orleans developed her flavor from a blend of African, French, Spanish, Native American, Caribbean, and Acadian ancestry.

Known as ‘The Birthplace of Jazz’, a name she earned for her festivals, music, and swag. The rhythm of New Orleans was celebrated by local residents and tourist during:

  • Funerals
  • Mardi Gras
  • Satchmo Summer Fest
  • French Quarter Festival
  • Voodoo Music Experience
  • Live Music Clubs and Halls

Katrina was a category 5 hurricane. New Orleans was under a mandatory evacuation. About 1.3 million people lived in New Orleans, with 62.9% of African descent. Those with the means to transportation left the city; an estimated 150,000 remained. Those who remained lined up to weather the storm in the Louisiana Superdome. Stranded tourists went to the highest floors of their hotels. There was no federal or state aid to evacuate those who remained. For years before the hurricane, local officials had requested state aid to update the levies (similar to dams).

Five years after the massive evacuation over 100,000 people remain displaced. Hurricane Katrina destroyed more than 180,000 homes and much of the city’s infrastructure was destroyed. Up to 80% of New Orleans was underwater. Rebuilding has not created affordable homes for the displaced.

The lack of response to request to updated levies and the lack of evacuation aid for the poor, allowed a natural disaster to become a genocide attempt to the city. Much of New Orleans’ flavor has been ‘watered’ down. It has been a lost to the city.