Today a military judge will decide the fate of whistle-blower Bradley Manning. He’s been locked up and tortured for the past 3 years..The ruling is predicted to have far-reaching impact on all sectors of society from journalists on down to folks who publish and post up information on-line.. All that needs to happen is some government official declaring what ever information you have as a threat to national security.
Now on the surface that may seem like common sense and in the age of us, the US being engaged in a long-lasting War on Terror, keeping things secret may be a price we all have to pay. The problem is that so much of our military and other institutions fighting these wars are privately owned companies who have a financial stake in the actions they take and not necessarily our collective freedom. This unprecedented partnership has led to severe abuses of power.
This shooting of Reuters news reporter Namir Noor-Elden and her driver Saeed Chmagh being shot at by the Apache a helicopter and a family with their kids is the type of info Manning brought to light..This is the type of atrocities being done in our name.. Not to mention we were in Iraq where this took place because of deliberate lies and misleading information, designed to make companies like Halliburton lots of money..
The information that Bradley gave to the public has been a catalyst for pro-democracy movements in the Arab world, exposed the unjust detainment of innocent people at Guantanamo Bay, shown us the true human cost of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and changed journalism forever.
There is no evidence that anyone died as a result of the leaked information, yet Bradley faces life in prison or possibly death. The greatest charge against him is that of “aiding the enemy,” a capital offense. As the public who benefited from this information, does that make us the enemy? What price will future whistleblowers pay?
The Artist Must Elect To Fight For Freedom or Slavery – Paul Robeson
A People’s Art Is The Genesis Of Their Freedom – Claudia Jones
Calling Our Artists to Action and Service
We are truly honored and privileged to absorb the people of Cuba as they proudly celebrate the 60th anniversary of the July 26th Movement led by Commandant Fidel Castro and Che Guevara storming the Moncada Barracks in 1953, thereby launching the guerilla campaign that led to the overthrow of the US-Spanish backed military dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista in 1959. All daughters and sons of Africa, both on the continent and the Diaspora are also carefully observing the Republic of Zimbabwe’s third Presidential election this century. While their citizens seek to emphatically make the statement on the world stage, they can resolve their political differences without external forces attempting to shape the destiny of the nation.
Because Malcolm X would have turned 88 years old on May 19th, African people in every corner of the world will be celebrating his life and work; this particular year, those reflections unfortunately coincide with the tragic and untimely death of his grandson and namesake Malcolm Shabazz who made his transition to the ancestors on May 9th, 2013. Our overwhelming desire to complete the work he left behind serves as the inspiration for reaching out to the artistic sector of the community at this crucial moment in history.
In what many consider Malcolm’s most heartfelt speech “Message to the Grassroots”, he eloquently stated, “Land is the basis of all independence”. That powerful statement on a practical level is the driving force behind the Land Reclamation Program (“LRP”) that was launched by the Government and people of Zimbabwe 13 years ago. The decision to reclaim 70% of their country’s most agriculturally resourceful land came with a price, the US-EU alliance imposed sanctions aimed at crippling Zimbabwe’s basic infrastructure and imploding their economy.
The same identical measure was used by the Kennedy administration over 50 years ago when he made the decision to ruthlessly impose a blockade on Cuba, which was intended to make the Government and people of Cuba regret embracing a Socialist path and since has cost the island nearly 100 billion dollars in revenue. This diplomatic maneuver by President Kennedy came on the heels of the failed CIA Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, in which the objective was to overthrow the Cuban Government led by Fidel Castro.
In the same aforementioned speech, Brother Malcolm called the Cuban Revolution a real revolution that overthrew the system. Because quality health care and education, women’s and youth empowerment and self determination are the staples of both Cuban and Zimbabwean Society, the blockade and sanctions have genocidal implications. It is on that basis we are calling on African musicians at home and abroad representing all genres of our music to make songs calling for the immediate lifting of the US-EU sanctions on Zimbabwe and the US blockade on Cuba.
We feel this action not only will serve as a working tribute to Brother Malcolm, but it sends a bold and uncompromising message to our former colonial and slave masters, that our art and culture remains an invaluable weapon which we will not hesitate to use to defend and consolidate any meaningful gains Africans have made anywhere on this planet. For those artists who are ready to make a contribution towards this effort, our goal is to put together a compilation album exposing the negative impact the sanctions and blockade have had on the people of Cuba and Zimbabwe and our goal is to have the music for this project completed by the first week of September. All interested artists can reach out by e-mail and contact us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org for more details pertaining to the project.
With the entire world unequivocally opposed to both the US-EU sanctions on Zimbabwe and the US blockade on Cuba, the songs produced for this project will be sweet music, not only to the ears of the Daughters and Sons of Africa in 125 countries worldwide, but to all freedom loving people hoping and fighting for a world free of Racism, Exploitation and War for profit and theft. For those artists who respond to this call for action, a pool of research that consists of historical data and current events concerning developments in both Cuba and Zimbabwe will be made available to you.
Cuba Si Bloqueo No
Zimbabwe Forever US-EU Sanctions Never
Mutulu Olugbala AKA M1 of
Obi Egbuna Jr.
US Correspondent To The Herald (Zimbabwe’s National Newspaper)
US based member of ZIMCUFA (Zimbabwe-Cuban Friendship Association)
About this Jay Z / Harry Belafonte thing..One of the ways people look at this scenario is by noting that if the community supports a celebratory/ entertainer, that celebratory/ entertainer should ideally support the community… Hence when Jay Z remarked that his presence is charity feel like it’s a lopsided equation because in reality our collective presence in the form of concert tickets, albums sales and clothing purchases is what puts Jigga on the social and financial map.
The other thing we should not forget, that the Black community is still for the most part a trendsetter and validator of trends.. Meaning that sales of Roc-A-Wear or the sale of Jay-Z the artist would’ve gone no where in the world of cross over if Black folks didn’t co-sign Jay Z when nobody was checking for him..
This applies to a whole lot of businesses and so in looking at this from a wider lens we should ideally understand our true value from top to bottom in the marketplace. In short lots of institutions are eating off what we as Black people create, make popular, remix & rework etc..
So while its important that an artist like Jay-Z give back to the community, we should also note that the institutions that he was on Def Jam/ Universal ..Live Nation etc should also be supporting the community as well. Whatever Jay Z makes pales in comparison to the money some of these outlets made off a Jay and by default us..
Now of course we know that corporations are not about the business of helping folks they exploit get free of their grips..But one should push, demand, kick up dust anyway while always keeping in the forefront of our minds the worth we bring to the table..
The name of the game for corporations is to make it seem like they did us a favor..Long before Jigga uttered those words about his presence being charity, major corporations have not only made that same claim, but took it a step further by insisting you pay them for the honor, which many of us have gladly done..If you don’t believe me look at all the labels we flaunt .. Look at all the brands we highlight..From Cristal to Nike to Tom Ford whose name and brand was made into an anthem on Jay Z’s latest album..
Ideally we should return to the days where we stop name checking institutions and companies who bank off us for billions and never give back..I yearn for the days when we made our own labels and brands that we stuck on clothes and big upped in songs..
Also while we ask Jay-Z to do more, let that burden not be his alone, lets find ways for us all to do more.. Maybe its money, maybe its time that we give.. maybe its us opening doors and supporting those who do the hard work.. There is no one way and there should be no limit.. What we should be striving for is investing back into ourselves and the community with the goal of establishing long-term wealth and long-lasting institutions.
So is Jay Z’s presence charity? I’m not sure.. But if he wants to look at things from that lens, then we can be sure of this: over the past 17 years, my presence has meant a few dollars in Jay-Z’s pocket.. The air play I gave him was a few more dollars. The joints I played at nightclubs padded him up a little more.. The articles he was mentioned in good and bad was still some more dollars.. The Roc-A-Wear gear we purchased over the years was money still and I paid for a couple of concerts.. Multiply that by several million folks who have done the same or similar things and you get the picture..
I’m clear I made an investment in the ‘business’ called Jay-Z.. I made the investment in the dope dealer trying to go good..I showed up time and time again..Was the songs I got and the clothing I wore a good return on the investment?? Maybe.. Maybe not.. My point being is this is not a one way street.. I wasn’t ‘blessed by Hov..if anything, I along with millions of fans and the community at large, blessed him.. I sincerely hope him and Harry Belafonte have a sit down..Jay Z can do so much better.
Some food for thought..
Below is a historic panel discussion on the Civil Rights Movement.. This is the level of discourse, political awareness and involvement that today’s artists should ideally have…