People of Earth:
In the last few days, I’ve been getting a lot of sympathy calls, and I want to start by making it clear that no one should waste a second feeling sorry for me. For 17 years, I’ve been getting paid to do what I love most and, in a world with real problems, I’ve been absurdly lucky. That said, I’ve been suddenly put in a very public predicament and my bosses are demanding an immediate decision.
Six years ago, I signed a contract with NBC to take over The Tonight Show in June of 2009. Like a lot of us, I grew up watching Johnny Carson every night and the chance to one day sit in that chair has meant everything to me. I worked long and hard to get that opportunity, passed up far more lucrative offers, and since 2004 I have spent literally hundreds of hours thinking of ways to extend the franchise long into the future. It was my mistaken belief that, like my predecessor, I would have the benefit of some time and, just as important, some degree of ratings support from the prime-time schedule. Building a lasting audience at 11:30 is impossible without both.
But sadly, we were never given that chance. After only seven months, with my Tonight Show in its infancy, NBC has decided to react to their terrible difficulties in prime-time by making a change in their long-established late night schedule.
Last Thursday, NBC executives told me they intended to move the Tonight Show to 12:05 to accommodate the Jay Leno Show at 11:35. For 60 years the Tonight Show has aired immediately following the late local news. I sincerely believe that delaying the Tonight Show into the next day to accommodate another comedy program will seriously damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting. The Tonight Show at 12:05 simply isn’t the Tonight Show. Also, if I accept this move I will be knocking the Late Night show, which I inherited from David Letterman and passed on to Jimmy Fallon, out of its long-held time slot. That would hurt the other NBC franchise that I love, and it would be unfair to Jimmy.
So it has come to this: I cannot express in words how much I enjoy hosting this program and what an enormous personal disappointment it is for me to consider losing it. My staff and I have worked unbelievably hard and we are very proud of our contribution to the legacy of The Tonight Show. But I cannot participate in what I honestly believe is its destruction. Some people will make the argument that with DVRs and the Internet a time slot doesn’t matter. But with the Tonight Show, I believe nothing could matter more.
There has been speculation about my going to another network but, to set the record straight, I currently have no other offer and honestly have no idea what happens next. My hope is that NBC and I can resolve this quickly so that my staff, crew, and I can do a show we can be proud of, for a company that values our work.
Have a great day and, for the record, I am truly sorry about my hair; it’s always been that way.
This incident is a painful reminder of what seems to take place all over the world and throughout various times in our history. It wasn’t too long ago that we heard of African students in China being chased down and beaten by angry mobs who felt like China should only be for Chinese. We hear disturbing stories of Nazi skinheads terrorizing the subways and buses in Moscow looking for Immigrants who they call Black. If they actually find someone who is Black the beatdowns they administer are even worse. Here closer to home in LA we’ve heard of the ethnic cleansing campaign that was put in motion by Latino prison gangs who were pushing for Black folks to be eliminated. Places like Highland Park , Hawaiian Gardens Torrance and parts of Compton to name a few hot spots had become hostile for African-Americans. This drama makes the petty rap beefs seem even more childish..With respect to this article, the first thing that popped in my head was Bensonhurst brooklyn and all the scuffles that would take place if residence from the largely Italian neighborhood caught Black folks passing through. We remember Yuself Hawkins
Migrants leave Italian town amid violence
Abdul Rashid Muhammad Mahmoud Iddris got out.
He’s one of hundreds — perhaps thousands — of African migrants taken by bus out of the Italian town over the weekend after violent demonstrations shook southern Italy.
The unrest was among the worst of its kind in recent Italian history, said a spokesman for the International Organization for Migration.
“We have not witnessed such protests in a long time,” said Flavio Di Giacomo. “There were several thousand, but I don’t know exactly how many people were involved.”
Interior Minister Roberto Maroni got involved Friday, declaring an “immigration emergency” and forming a task force under the authority of regional police to guarantee public order.
It was the shooting of an African migrant that sparked two days of protests, Iddris told CNN by telephone from Italy. He said the shooting was unprovoked. Police said they were investigating the circumstances of the shooting.
Iddris lived with other migrants in an abandoned factory outside Rosarno, he said.
On Thursday, a BMW pulled up outside the factory, a man got out, shot one of the Africans living there, 26-year-old Ayiva Saibou, and drove off.
A passing policeman told Iddris and his friends it was not his job to help the wounded man, so they called the Red Cross to take the man to a hospital for treatment, Iddris said. Press reports said Saibou — who is a native of Togo with regular working papers — was shot with a compressed air gun.
A few hours after the shooting, a group of about 300 immigrants poured into to the street where the incident took place earlier. “They put on an angry demonstration, hampering the free circulation in the streets, damaging garbage bins, hitting with sticks and rocks numerous passing cars,” according to a police report.
Iddris and his friends then decided to march to Rosarno’s town hall to protest.
“About 2,000 people came — all of us,” he said. “It started about 6 or 7 in the evening, a few hours after he was shot.”
But police forced the demonstrators to turn back, threatening them with tear gas, Iddris said. Six or seven people were arrested, he said.
Police attempted talking with the immigrants, but negotiations did not produce positive results, according to a police statement.
The next morning, Friday, the immigrants tried again, playing drums as they tried to march from the factory to Rosarno’s town hall, he said.
That’s when they heard the warning.
“People took a van, an information van with speakers, saying any black person who is hiding in Rosarno should get out, if they catch anyone they will kill him,” Iddris said.
Iddris — who is originally from Sudan and has been in Italy for about 18 months, first as an asylum seeker and then without legal documentation, and who picks oranges in season — said police arrested another 10 to 20 people at Friday’s demonstration.
Italian press reports said the demonstrators had burned cars.
Later on Friday, Iddris said, police arranged for buses to move the Africans away from Rosarno to another village.
But the new location was no safer, he said. Police had to keep locals and migrants physically separated Saturday.
“They said they would take us to another place. They said it’s dangerous now for blacks to stay there,” he said.
Hundreds of people were driven north to Bari on Italy’s east coast and Naples on its west coast, Iddris said. He was on one of six buses, each with 45 to 50 people, taken to Bari.
“Right now we don’t know what is next,” he said Monday.
Pope Benedict XVI spoke out against the violence in his weekly address on Sunday.
“An immigrant is a human being, different by background, culture and tradition, but a person to be respected,” he said.
“Violence must never be a way to resolve difficulties,” he said, urging people “to look at the face of the other and discover that he, too, has a soul, a story and a life. He is a person and God loves him just as He loves me.”
Di Giacomo, the International Organization for Migration spokesman, said Italy has many migrants, often from Africa, living in conditions bordering on slavery.
The migrants who demonstrated last week “were exploited. They were just paid 20 euros (about $29) per day and they lived in slums, the same as slavery conditions. A few months ago in (the southern Italian region of) Campagna we discovered a similar situation. It’s unfortunately a reality in many places, especially in southern Italy.”
Italy is one of the top European destinations for migrants, the migration organization’s figures show. More than 3.6 million legal migrants live in the country — 6.2 percent of the total population — and Italy has the European Union’s highest annual growth rate of migrants, along with Spain.
It’s hard to know exactly how many illegal immigrants there are in the country, Di Giacomo said.
“It is not controlled in any way. They change the area where they work because of the season of the year — oranges in the winter, tomatoes in the summer,” he said. “With economic migrants, many of them arrive with tourist visas and overstay seeking work. They can arrive in so many ways,” including paying traffickers thousands of dollars to smuggle them into the country.
Not all the workers involved in the demonstrations were undocumented, he said — but the line between legal and illegal can be porous.
“Some have lost their jobs, and in Italy if you lose your job you have six months to find work or you become illegal,” he said.
Italian media have speculated that the Mafia was behind the shooting that triggered the violence.
But Di Giacomo said it was not important whether they were or not.
“We don’t know if the Mafia is involved, but the point is not really the Mafia,” he said. “The point is that the conditions for these migrants are so inhuman that they can lead to some violent reactions.”