Just A Point of Clarification

I haven’t been blogging for a while now, possibly going on two months. And I’m not sure that I will be getting much time in the near future to blog as I normally did. I appreciate all of those who continue to check back, and continue to read what I write. I also appreciate those who comment, regularly or semi-regularly and help keep the blog somewhat alive.

Although I haven’t posted much, I’ve been somewhat involved in the comment discussion in what seems to be the most active post on this blog. What’s most fascinating about the comments in that blog seem to be that the commentators simply want to distract the blog and shift the focus from the topic being discussed.

Although distracting, they occasionally raise interesting points regarding the Rwandan conflict. What I find most telling is not their sympathy for Kagame and the RPF, but instead, the lousy excuses they provide for why he is justified in the killings he committed. These people have the gall not only to affirm that he did commit various acts of murder, but they have the audacity to suggest that it was justified. And unfortunately, they meet little or no resistance or challenge from the world at large.

Their comments often suggest that the purpose of this blog is misunderstood. Unless, I am right, and they are actually more concerned with deflecting than actually learning and discussing. I of course recommend that anyone confused about this blog’s purpose read the about section, as well as the other pages including “Stop Denying Genocide”. Perhaps then a conversation can be had that doesn’t revolve around Kagame sympathizers arguing none sense like he dines with google and starbucks therefore he is innocent of war crimes.

For the sake of those reading, I will say this, the information currently available in mainstream media in the west is filled with propaganda and misinformation regarding the Rwandan conflict. And this blog is primarily dedicated to providing information and sources to help those interested in learning more about the injustice that’s been done to Rwandans, and Africans in general. It is an open blog, and discussion is welcome. There is a lot of information out there, and it takes time to go through it all, however, I welcome anyone with knowledge on the subject at hand, because I think it’s important that more people learn and become educated on this subject.

Also, I encourage people to send in links to interesting information they may have regarding the subject matter. I’ve received some (thanks to those who provided), but I haven’t unfortunately managed to review them adequately.

Anyway, I will be back with more topics that will hopefully inspire more discussion.

Since I’m Not Posting Much

This thread seems to be getting a lot of attention and discussion so everyone is encouraged to read it and respond if they feel like it.

A Letter to Certain White Women – Tim Wise

Here I go again, reposting other people’s work. But this article raises very interesting points regarding this election and certain white feminists’ plans to withhold their votes from Obama to punish both him and the Democratic party because he won the nomination. Written by Tim Wise, and can be found published also on his webisite, TIMWISE.ORG.

Your Whiteness is Showing:
An Open Letter to Certain White Women
Who are Threatening to Withhold Support From Barack Obama in November

By Tim Wise

June 5, 2008

This is an open letter to those white women who, despite their proclamations of progressivism, and supposedly because of their commitment to feminism, are threatening to withhold support from Barack Obama in November. You know who you are.

I know that it’s probably a bad time for this. Your disappointment at the electoral defeat of Senator Hillary Clinton is fresh, the sting is new, and the anger that animates many of you–who rightly point out that the media was often sexist in its treatment of the Senator–is raw, pure and justified.

That said, and despite the awkward timing, I need to ask you a few questions, and I hope you will take them in the spirit of solidarity with which they are genuinely intended. But before the questions, a statement if you don’t mind, or indeed, even if (as I suspect), you will mind it quite a bit.

First, for those of you threatening to actually vote for John McCain and to oppose Senator Obama, or to stay home in November and thereby increase the likelihood of McCain winning and Obama losing (despite the fact that the latter’s policy platform is virtually identical to Clinton’s while the former’s clearly is not), all the while claiming to be standing up for women…

For those threatening to vote for John McCain or to stay home and increase the odds of his winning (despite the fact that he once called his wife the c-word in public and is a staunch opponent of reproductive freedom and gender equity initiatives, such as comparable worth legislation), all the while claiming to be standing up for women…

For those threatening to vote for John McCain or to stay home and help ensure Barack Obama’s defeat, as a way to protest what you call Obama’s sexism (examples of which you seem to have difficulty coming up with), all the while claiming to be standing up for women…

Your whiteness is showing.

When I say your whiteness is showing this is what I mean: You claim that your opposition to Obama is an act of gender solidarity, in that women (and their male allies) need to stand up for women in the face of the sexist mistreatment of Clinton by the press. On this latter point–the one about the importance of standing up to the media for its often venal misogyny–you couldn’t be more correct. As the father of two young girls who will have to contend with the poison of patriarchy all their lives, or at least until such time as that system of oppression is eradicated, I will be the first to join the boycott of, or demonstration on, whatever media outlet you choose to make that point. But on the first part of the above equation–the part where you insist voting against Obama is about gender solidarity–you are, for lack of a better way to put it, completely full of crap. And what’s worse is that at some level I suspect you know it. Voting against Senator Obama is not about gender solidarity. It is an act of white racial bonding, and it is grotesque.

If it were gender solidarity you sought, you would by definition join with your black and brown sisters come November, and do what you know good and well they are going to do, in overwhelming numbers, which is vote for Barack Obama. But no. You are threatening to vote not like other women–you know, the ones who aren’t white like you and most of your friends–but rather, like white men! Needless to say it is high irony, bordering on the outright farcical, to believe that electorally bonding with white men, so as to elect McCain, is a rational strategy for promoting feminism and challenging patriarchy. You are not thinking and acting as women, but as white people. So here’s the first question: What the hell is that about?

And you wonder why women of color have, for so long, thought (by and large) that white so-called feminists were phony as hell? Sister please…

Your threats are not about standing up for women. They are only about standing up for the feelings of white women, and more to the point, the aspirations of one white woman. So don’t kid yourself. If you wanted to make a statement about the importance of supporting a woman, you wouldn’t need to vote for John McCain, or stay home, thereby producing the same likely result–a defeat for Obama. You could always have said you were going to go out and vote for Cynthia McKinney. After all, she is a woman, running with the Green Party, and she’s progressive, and she’s a feminist. But that isn’t your threat is it? No. You’re not threatening to vote for the woman, or even the feminist woman. Rather, you are threatening to vote for the white man, and to reject not only the black man who you feel stole Clinton’s birthright, but even the black woman in the race. And I wonder why? Could it be…?

See, I told you your whiteness was showing.

And now for a third question, and this is the biggie, so please take your time with it: How is it that you have managed to hold your nose all these years, just like a lot of us on the left, and vote for Democrats who we knew were horribly inadequate–Kerry, Gore, Clinton, Dukakis, right on down the uninspiring line–and yet, apparently can’t bring yourself to vote for Barack Obama? A man who, for all of his shortcomings (and there are several, as with all candidates put up by either of the two major corporate parties) is surely more progressive than any of those just mentioned. And how are we to understand that refusal–this sudden line in the proverbial sand–other than as a racist slap at a black man? You will vote for white men year after year after year–and are threatening to vote for another one just to make a point–but can’t bring yourself to vote for a black man, whose political views come much closer to your own, in all likelihood, than do the views of any of the white men you’ve supported before. How, other than as an act of racism, or perhaps as evidence of political insanity, is one to interpret such a thing?

See, black folks would have sucked it up, like they’ve had to do forever, and voted for Clinton had it come down to that. Indeed, they were on board the Hillary train early on, convinced that Obama had no chance to win and hoping for change, any change, from the reactionary agenda that has been so prevalent for so long in this culture. They would have supported the white woman–hell, for many black folks, before Obama showed his mettle they were downright excited to do so–but you won’t support the black man. And yet you have the audacity to insist that it is you who are the most loyal constituency of the Democratic Party, and the one before whom Party leaders should bow down, and whose feet must be kissed?

Your whiteness is showing.

Look, I couldn’t care less about the Party personally. I left the Democrats twenty years ago when they told me that my activism in the Central America solidarity and South African anti-apartheid movements made me a security risk, and that I wouldn’t be able to get clearance to be in some parade with Governor Dukakis. Yeah, seriously. But for you to act as though you are the indispensible voters, the most important, the ones whose views should be pandered to, whose every whim should be the basis for Party policy, is not only absurd, it is also racist in that it, a) ignores and treats as irrelevant the much more loyal constituency of black folks, without whom no Democrat would have won anything in the past twenty years (and indeed the racial gap favoring the Democrats among blacks is about six times larger than the gender gap favoring them among white women, relative to white men); and b) demonstrates the mentality of entitlement and superiority that has been long ingrained in us as white folks–so that we believe we have the right to dictate the terms of political engagement, and to determine the outcome, and to get our way, simply because for so long we have done just that.

But that day is done, whether you like it or not, and you are now left with two, and only two choices, so consider them carefully: the first is to stand now in solidarity with your black brothers and sisters and welcome the new day, and help to push it in a truly progressive and feminist and antiracist direction, while the second is to team up with white men to try and block the new day from dawning. Feel free to choose the latter. But if you do, please don’t insult your own intelligence, or ours, by insisting that you’ve done so as a radical political act.

Good read!

Congratulations Are In Order

As most people in the world probably already know, BARACK OBAMA has secured the Democratic Party nomination for presidency making him the first person of African descent to lead a major political party in the United States. What was once thought of as a fairy tale has now become a reality, a task accomplished seemingly against all odds.

Congratulations Mr. Obama!!!

We know it wasn’t easy, and it most likely will not get any easier from now on. But at least now we know it’s possible. Unlike in 2006 when Democratic State Congressman Harold Ford Jr. ran for a senatorial seat in Tennessee and lost, who would have thought that Barack Obama would, in 2008 secure the presidential nomination for the DEMOCRATIC PARTY? It does have a surreal feel to it, and I’m kind of lost for words. It’s been one hell of a journey, but it’s not over yet.

As much as I hate to reproduce people’s full works on my blog, I am sharing this one from TheRoot.com. I encourage anyone reading to take a look at that website for more great commentary. But here is what Jack White had to say:

Obama Wins, Pigs Fly

June 4, 2008 — Lawd have mercy!

They said pigs would fly, fish would whistle and lost souls would be shivering in hell before a major political party anointed a presidential standard bearer who is not only black but actually dances like one.

Well, those wonders may not have occurred, but I’ve been sweeping up shards from the glass ceiling that Barack Obama broke through last night. As the Illinois Senator proclaimed to a huge throng of supporters in St. Paul, Minnesota, “Tonight, we mark the end of one historic journey with the beginning of another — a journey that will bring a new and better day to America. Because of you, tonight, I can stand before you and say that I will be the Democratic nominee.”

Can I get a hallelujah? Can I get an amen? Can I get a splash of cold water thrown in my face?

Now that I’ve got that out of my system, let’s put Obama’s triumph into perspective. For one thing, he must still reach an accommodation with Hillary Clinton, who may be trying to pressure him into choosing her as his running mate. Beyond that, he faces a tough battle against a formidable Republican foe in John McCain.

But this is a day for reflection and wallowing in history, not mundane political prognostication. And, if we look back far enough, we can see that this day has been coming. For all its glass-ceiling-busting, stereotype-shattering, expectation-exceeding glory, Obama’s nomination is the culmination of a series of black political breakthroughs that have occurred with almost metronomic regularity every 20 years since the 1960s. Without those earlier building blocks, Obama’s astonishing achievement would be as unimaginable as those proverbial flying pigs.

Start with what I call conception: the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, which made it possible for massive numbers of African Americans, especially in the South, to become full citizens. The result was a political revolution as thousands of blacks won elected offices everywhere from backwaters in Alabama and Mississippi to the city halls in almost every big city in the nation and the halls of Congress.

Those pioneering forays were followed a generation later by what might be called the quickening: Jesse Jackson’s two runs for the presidency in 1984 and 1988. Jackson’s campaigns awakened an urgent, new sense of political possibility among African Americans by registering hordes of new voters, encouraging a new generation of black candidates, and concretizing blacks’ demand for a share of the leadership of the Democratic Party, which had often seemed to take their unwavering support for granted. The system of proportional delegates that Obama so skillfully exploited this year was shaped by Jackson’s demands.

Now, after a 40-year-gestation period, we’re on the brink of delivery. If Obama goes on to win the White House, America will have come a step closer to what an earlier politician from Illinois described as a “new birth of Freedom,” as a man who claims kinship with the descendents of both slaves and slave owners becomes the leader of all the people.

This day has been coming, with an irresistible historical logic, since some long forgotten bondsman first noticed the contradiction between his or her own condition and the stirring words of the Declaration of Independence. Since then, it has been our task to perfect our nation’s democracy by holding up a mirror to America and contrasting what the country promised to what it delivered.

That, in part, was what Obama was alluding to last night when he asserted that , “beyond all the petty bickering and point-scoring in Washington, Americans are a decent, generous, compassionate people, united by common challenges and common hopes. And every so often, there are moments which call on that fundamental goodness to make this country great again.’

It is not a racial appeal, but it is rooted in the knowledge that blacks, whether they knew it or not, have been leading whites, who certainly never realized they were being led, in the direction of a more perfect union since long before the nation was founded. White women (including those who helped to propel Clinton’s own precedent-setting campaign), other racial minorities, gays—every group that threw off discrimination and second-class citizenship has followed the pathway to freedom blazed by our struggle.

And what a remarkable vessel Obama is for the dreams we’ve poured into him. There is no need to dwell on his gifts as an orator, who sometimes seems to be channeling both JFK and MLK. His shrewdness is equally impressive. He, with his strategist David Axelrod and campaign manager David Plouffe, assembled a campaign apparatus powerful enough to defeat the former presumptive standard-bearer, Clinton, one of the most tenacious and talented candidates in history. Through mastery of the Internet, he has raised spectacular amounts largely from small contributors. He out-organized Clinton in caucus states and built up enough of a lead in delegates to outlast her victories in several states at the close of the primary season. He taps into a hunger for change that has aroused the political fervor of the young.

Running an effective campaign is not a complete test of whether a candidate would be a good President, but it reveals a great deal about the aspirants’ leadership and organizational abilities, and they way they respond to pressure and unpredictable events.

So far, Obama has passed every test with extraordinary aplomb. The challenge that remains is, on a way, more for the rest of us than it is for him. Is America ready to entrust its future to a President who is not only black but can dance like one? Or do we have to wait for the day when pigs actually take to the sky and fish can actually whistle?

Way to go Barack!