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.

Free West Papua

Posted in Awareness, Humanity, Oceania with tags , , , on September 24, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

The indigenous people of West Papua are sending this message to the UN and the world:

“40 years ago, all UN members, including the UK, recognised our right to self-determination but until now we have never been allowed to exercise our right freely and legally. We did not want to become Indonesian in 1969and after so many years of Indonesian oppression we certainly do not want to be Indonesian now. We want to be free!”

Benny Wenda – West Papuan Independence Leader in the United Kingdom & Chair of the Koteka Tribal Assembly –  FREE WEST PAPUA CAMPAIGN


In 1957, Indonesia was involved in a dispute with the Netherlands for control over West New Guinea. After four unsuccessful resolution claims to the UN General Assembly, they then tried a threat of military force disguised as diplomacy. Backed by ties with the then Soviet Union, Indonesia was seen as a “real threat of war”. The US then persuaded the Netherlands to accept a compromise involving “self determination” for the indigenous people.

On August 2, 1969, the Indonesian dictator Suharto claimed that 100 percent of the Melanesian people of West Papuan chose to be annexed by Indonesia. This was called the Act of Free Choice. Since then when peaceful protesters try to voice their objection they are met with a military response of killing, torturing, and imprisonment.

Indonesian Crimes Against Humanity:

  • Arrest without trial
  • Police violence and torture
  • Bombed and machine gunned villages
  • Evictions with no prior warning
  • Homes burned to the ground

Many of the people that the police have forced from their homes include families with pregnant mothers, children, and the elderly.

Support the Papua National Consensus Collective Leaders in their petition to the UN General Assembly. In accordance with the International Standards of Human Rights, the principles of International Law, and the Charter of the United Nations, the people of West Papua have the right to self-determination. Show your support by signing the petition.

Special thanks to Andrew for sharing this petition!

South Africa’s Millennium Development Setbacks

Posted in Mother Africa, Our Health with tags , , on September 23, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Death toll of South African children under the age of five remains unchanged according to the 2010 report by an international group known as Countdown to 2015. Countdown 2015 tracks the progress of health coverage for maternal, newborn, and child mortality in reaching Millennium Development Goals, MDGs. The MDGs are internationally agreed on goals set by the Millennium Project and adopted by experts from the United Nations, IMF, OECD, and the World Bank.

South Africa is in danger of not meeting Goal 4 and 5. Goal 4 is to reduce child mortality of children under age five by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015. Goal 5 is to improve maternal health within the same time frame. AIDS related illnesses are the highest cause of all deaths in South Africa. Statistics South Africa, a government agency, estimate there will be 410,000 new HIV infections in 2010, with 10 percent being children.

Economic disparities also hinder the progress in achieving these goals. Mortality rates are four times higher for those living in poverty than for other children. Apartheid caused high poverty rates for 80 percent of the population. South Africa is still economically divided. Solutions are needed to end discrimination and inequality of healthcare for poor South Africans.

Reclaiming Our Names Reclaims Our Identify

Posted in Awareness, CULTURE, HISTORY, Spotlight with tags , , , on September 22, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Some ask, “What’s in a name?” The answer is, “Our identity.” Names signify one’s origin. Most African names have meaning and were traditionally given with that in mind. African names were a reflection of the child’s personality, heritage, or birth.

Colonial names have replaced traditional African names since the 1700’s. Countries, rivers, natural wonders, and kingdoms of Africa were routinely renamed by European colonizers. Even school children of Africa were renamed with ‘Christian’, English, German, or Spanish sir-names by colony, missionary teachers or baptisms. As a result of the slave trade, people of the African Diaspora were given the names of plantation owner’s as a sign of his ‘ownership’. After 300 years of slavery, the people of the African Diaspora no longer knew their forefathers’ names. Heritage records, family trees, and often even birth records were not kept on enslaved people. Records of heritage were maintained better on horses and dogs.

Since the 1960’s people of African descent have been returning to names of their forefathers. Of course for people of the African Diaspora, these are not actual family names, yet they serve as a link to lost family ties. Independence of African countries won:

  • Independence
  • Renaming of the country
  • Renaming of  her children
  • Renaming of  her landmarks

Many people understand the need to return to our natural names. Others do not. Some think it is a dishonor to our parents who named us. Consider it a gift of honor to our parents.  Honor for all those before us that had no real choice in the lost of family names. Consider it honoring our parents with names that reflect pride in our identity. Consider it a way of saying “thank you” to all those who came before us. This is my gift:

  • A bridge to our forefathers
  • Pride in our identity
  • Independence  of the effects of slavery

My identity is not reflected in Deborah Mazon. My identity is in Mijiza Zeyzey. I am part of the African Diaspora. I am reclaiming my identity. I am giving the gift of independence, pride, and gratitude to my family.

Life in the Slums of Kibera

Posted in Awareness, Humanity, Mother Africa, Our Health with tags , on September 19, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Imagine your baby falling to the floor onto a sheet of reused plastic as he enters the world. Imagine no one is there to catch him.  No doctors, or midwives, to assure his safe arrival, only well meaning neighbors. This is how babies born poor come into the Kenyan slum of Kibera.

Families in slums often consist of mothers with no husbands; no jobs; no money. Children of these slums exists with no food; no education; no future. Husbands wonder in and out. They have lost hope of being a providing husband and father. They are the product of growing up in slums without learning productive skills. They are the sons of fathers who like them had nothing to pass on. They are the husbands of women who out of necessity have had to be the backbone of the family.

Hopelessness is the biggest threat in slums. Without hope what is there? There is the lack of opportunity and the promise of death. Without hope, people are vulnerable to crime, imprisonment, and the spread of disease.

Child Brides of East and West Africa

Posted in Awareness, Humanity, Mother Africa, Our Health with tags , , on September 16, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Why would a man marry a child? In Africa girls as young as 7 are forced to marry men age 20 and over. At this age children’s minds and bodies are still developing. Forcing children to perform as adults is abusive. As a result girls suffer both mentally and physically. At age 7 girls should be in school and at play. These functions are important in development. Because their bodies are not developed enough for sex or giving birth tears between their bladder, vagina, and rectum occur. This condition is called obstetric fistula. Obstetric fistula robs thousands of girls of urine and bowel control. She is then rejected by both her husband and community. The problem does not stop there. Left untreated it could lead to infections, kidney failure, and death. Other problems that occur are:

  • Children of child brides are at higher risk of developmental diseases.
  • Child brides are at higher risks of sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Child brides are not educated.
  • Child brides often have at least 5 children.
  • Child brides often live in poverty.
  • Child brides often endure abuse from their husbands and in-laws.
  • Child brides suffer high mortality rates.

Marrying young girls is a violation of human rights. When sex is involved it is legalized rape of a child. Even in countries where it is not legal, it is accepted, and often expected. Parents are willing to sell their daughters into marriage because girls are not valued as much as boys. In many countries this is just the start of limited rights for women. The role of women is often reduced to:

  • Providing sex
  • Giving birth
  • Performing hard labor