Click HERE to listen to our Breakdown FM interview w/ Immortal Technique at Rock the Bells 2010
During Rock the Bells in Mountainview we caught up with one of Hip Hop’s most profound and politically astute artists Immortal Technique. He swung through 10 deep with his famed Rebel Army and did not disappoint as they lit up the Paid Dues stage.
Later that night we talked to Immortal about some of the key issues of the day starting with his thoughts on Park 51, which is the Muslim Community center being protested by anti-Islamic mobs in New York City near Ground Zero. We wanted Immortal’s thought on this because he had caused a bit of a stir a few years ago when he released the song Bin Laden where Mos Def and Jadakiss were on the hook asserting that George Bush knocked down the Twin Towers. Later he did a remix where Chuck D and KRS were on the hook. He explained that it was hypocritical to demand that a group of people who did not fly planes into those buildings be asked to back down.. He said it was more than obvious the 9-11 hijackers did not represent Islam just like Christianity wasn’t represented when Timothy McVeigh blew up the Oklahoma Fed Building or when large groups of people were massacred during the Crusades.
The other big issue we broached was immigration and the debate around Arizona’s SB 1070. He said ‘illegal immigration’ is more than just a legal issue. He said it’s a human rights issue in which people are seeking out better lives for themselves. Our foreign policies have unduly impacted many of the places that people are fleeing. We’ve made no moves to correct that. Immortal noted that many supporters of SB 1070 want the economic advantages that come from ‘undocumented labor’. They’re not making moves to remove themselves from that equation.
Immortal also pointed out that there’s a lot of hypocrisy in those who say they support laws like SB1070. He noted that many say that we must follow the law. “Well slavery was once the law”. Immortal pointed out; “Would those same people have defended the institution of slavery if they was around back in those days”?
We concluded our interview by talking to Immortal about the orphanage he opened in Afghanistan and his recent trip to Haiti. He said the idea of opening up an orphanage came during his participation at last year’s Rock the Bells where he met organizers who inspired him. He went out to Afghanistan for several weeks and avoided being embedded with the US military and instead was taken in by long time residents who took him all over the country. he said the trip was life altering.
He noted that his stay Haiti was much shorter and not as impactful compared to Afghanistan. He was disheartened by the extreme poverty and noted that there’s no excuse for this when Haiti is in our backyard.
You can listen our Breakdown FM interview with Immortal Technique by clicking the link below
As you read this article, keep in mind whats been going on the past few days since i posted this..some right-wing radio stations are hosting polls asking if we should start registering practicing Muslims during time of war.. Keep this in mind as you read this and ask yourself is this really a mindless distraction or some real cause for alarm.. here’s the link to the story
The power of language and words should never be underestimated. They can inspire or inflame. They can move mountains or paralyze us. If broadcasted they can be maligning with serious physical and political consequences for those who are on the receiving end of a tirade and can’t speak back. It can embolden those who agree with the tirade and encourage them to act on anger and fear. Words from those who have access to far-reaching platforms can set a responsible or irresponsible tone. We’re seeing this play out with the big debate around the proposed Community Center/ Mosque near Ground Zero, the site of the 9-11 attacks in New York.
Yesterday I heard about a Mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee being burned to the ground. Last week in nearby Madera, California we heard about a Mosque being vandalized. Graffiti was left warning Muslims not to continue their plan to build a Mosque at Ground Zero. Instead of seeing our esteemed 4th estate (the media) go in and do investigative reports as to who was behind the attacks, we heard lots of justifications in the form of media pundits wanting to find out who might be behind the funding for project at Ground Zero. We didn’t hear about the trauma and angst worshippers of those vandalized places of worship may have felt. There hasn’t been too much conversation about suspicious activities leading up the vandalism. There weren’t a whole lot of questions about whether or not it was a paramilitary ‘Minute Man’ type group or some knucklehead kids behind the vandalism?
Personally, I wanna know if any of these groups opposed to a Mosque /Community Center being built near Ground Zero or any of these colorful, bombastic individuals spewing so much hate are being funded? Is it fair to ask if the Koch brothers who were recently exposed in an expose Covert Operations by New Yorker magazine as billionaire funders for the Tea Party, are funding Anti-Mosque/Anti-Muslim protests? Could you imagine how deep reporters would go in, if there was even a hint that some synagogue was vandalized by an angry group of Muslims?
Good Day NY Host and military man Greg Kelly broadcasted on Good Day NY that anti-Muslim sentiments were non-existent
Kelly told the women her story sounded like hogwash. He then accused her of being in the same vein those who accused the Tea Party of racism but couldn’t produce a video proving their point. Kelly went on to say he lived near the area of the protests and he had not seen any evidence the people would act so hatefully. His remarks were broadcast all around the country and because he’s a news anchor, many took his word at face value, especially knowing who his father was.. The thought is he above all would know best.
What was ironic was while Kelly was denying there was any anti-Muslim hysteria a video was making its way around the blogosphere showing a young Black man, accused of being a Muslim on the verge of being attacked by a frenzied mob at that weekend protest. People in crowd could be heard yelling ‘Mohammed is a Pig‘ while folks held up anti-muslim signs. You can peep the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwaNRWMN-F4
That morning I contacted Good Day NY and sent their news department a link to the video. Of course there was no retraction or acknowledgement. Now that we’ve had these other attacks, I’ve watched to see if Kelly would apologize or have the woman back on to state what she actually experienced that Sunday. But of course that’s not happening in 2010. I know we here at Hard Knock Radio are in the process of tracking down Elaine Brower at her organization NYC Coalition to Stop Islamaphobia in America to invite her on our show where she can finish her sentences and fully explain what she experienced.
Sadly people like Kelly are not alone in denying there’s been little anti-Muslim sentiment. If anything, many actually feel justified in the anger they have expressed. The other day I got a tweet from someone stating that they Italy denies religious status to Islam & so should the USA. Some one else hit me up stating that while this country has religious freedom the people behind the Mosque should show some class and move elsewhere. There was no sign or concern about the attacks. If anything folks felt that they deserved to be attacked for not moving. Such comments are indicative of both the sense of entitlement many feel as well their belief in nasty stereotypes and incidents hawked by media pundits that have nothing to do with Islam’s core beliefs. Many have gone all out by showing extreme intolerance and by equating Islam to terrorism. This has had dire consequences.
Ahmed Sharif was stabbed in the throat by a domestic terrorist named Michael Enright
The most serious and heavily publicized of these recent attacks on Muslims took place last week in New York when a cab driver named, Ahmed Sharif was viciously attacked by some lunatic Islamaphobic passenger named Michael Enright. According to the reports, Enrightasked if Sharif if he was a Muslim before stabbing him in the throat with a pocket knife. Sharif came inches to losing his life.
What was troubling to note was in the days after the attack many reporters described Enright as a 21-year-old ‘drunken’ film student. It seemed as if horrible behavior was being explained away by him being ‘boozed up’. My question was ‘Why not call him a ‘Domestic Terrorist’? That’s what he is.. So many people have been quick to call anyone who is Muslim a terrorist and Un-American, why not refer to Enright as someone who is treasonous? Why not describe him as someone who tramples on the Constitution? Lot’s of news outlets spent countless hours asking people if they would feel safe with a Mosque being built near Ground Zero, why won’t those same news outlets spend time asking cabbies who are or look like they are Middle Eastern or Muslim, if they feel safe picking up white passengers who may be holding extreme Islamaphobic views?
If we really wanna get deep, why not start unearthing questions and find out if Enright’s recently filming assignment of Marines on the front lines in Afghanistan led to him having so much hatred? Was that a key reason allowing him to dehumanizing Sharif?
Why not refer to Michael Enright as a domestic terrorist or is he just a poor lowly student film maker suffering from some sort of PST
It’s being reported that Enright ‘the film maker’ (notice how he’s constantly being humanized) has been transferred to a psych ward on Riker’s Island. This is in spite of the fact that the note books he was carrying was filled with ‘biased sentiments’. They are also running stories about his bizarre drunken behavior in the past.
Again, the question that should be answered; Was it the war that Enright experienced in Afghanistan and should we be concerned that there are others like him as more and more combat troops return home? Or was Enright spawned on by hearing all this unchecked vitriol on broadcast media where Muslims are routinely castigated? Was Enright’s actions the result of him hearing supposedly respectable politicians and pundits like Newt Gingrich who recently equated Muslims to Nazis or Sarah Palin who recently advocated profiling Muslims? Should Gingrich or Palin shoulder any responsibility for this attack? After all both have pointed in the past out how words used ‘irresponsibly’ have power.
Sarah Palin is always railing about the harmful effects of ‘biased media’, unfair coverage and how unchallenged punditry has caused distress to her and her family. Newt Gingrich over the years has made no bones about fearing certain types of speech along with his political colleagues who have made moves to squash it.
Newt Gingrich recently equated Islam with Nazism
We can look back over the years and see how Gingrich’s political cronies blamed rappers like Ice Cube and Ice T for instigating the riots that took place in 1992 in Los Angeles after the Rodney King verdict? Ice Cube caught heat for songs like Black Korea and Ice T came under fire for Cop Killer.
All the controversy resulted in special Senate hearings being held while then Vice President Dan Quayle went in on both rappers? A few years later in 1995, controversy erupted when 2Pac was sued by the estate of a Texas state trooper for the song Soulja’s Story where it wascontended that the lyrics led to the trooper being killed by a crazed assailant. It was just a two years ago Gingrich himself appeared on the Neil Cavuto show and blamed rap music for this disrespect Americans were showing one another. He stated…
We have tolerated the growth, whether it’s on MTV or it’s in a variety of other sources. We have tolerated a language. We have tolerated a kind of rap music. All of these things have been a coarsening, degrading process of saying to people, it is OK to ignore authority. It’s OK to be brutal. It’s OK to do really bad things. If we follow Gingrich’s line of thinking and conclude a steady diet of negative ‘music’ can have harmful effects can we make the case that steady diet of negative news punditry is also harmful? If so, then we have to look at what’s taking place around this debate about what should be built around Ground Zero with a larger lens.
We do know our country has taken great pains to limit and actually take out the broadcast mediums in places like Afghanistan and replace them with Voice of America. Our military has long complained about news outlets likeAl Jazzera suggesting that their reporting on the War in Iraq was fanning the flames of our enemies. We made moves to censor the newspaper, remove their credentials we were accused of bombing them. We eventually hired a high-caliber PR firm called the Rendon Group to counter and limit their influence in the region. Obviously our brightest military minds understand the power of words. They understand what sort of harm can take place when media outlets start whipping people into a frenzy. We saw this play out with Huto Power Radio in Rwanda which led to the horrific genocide. We saw this play out in Nazi Germany under Hitler where Germans were whipped into a frenzy and eventually started attacking Jews.
Did Bill O'Reilly's relentless anti-abortion campaign lead to Dr George Tiller being killed?
It was just two years ago we saw the public get whipped into a frenzy around the issue of late-term abortions. Fox News pundit Bill O’Reilly was at the helm as he spent months crusading against abortion doctor George Tiller In one of his infamous tirades O’Reilly stated;
“If we as a society allow an undefined mental health exception in late-term abortions, then babies can be killed for almost any reason… This is the kind of stuff that happened in Mao’s China and Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union… If we allow this, America will no longer be a noble nation… If we allow Dr. George Tiller and his acolytes to continue, we can no longer pass judgment on any behavior by anybody.”
Unfortunately some crazed individual named Scott Roeder believed the hype, took O’Reilly’s words to heart, went to a church in Wichita, Kansas and in cold blood, shot Dr George Tiller who was serving as an usher.
Bill O'reilly denies his vicious slander of Dr Tiller caused him to be a victim to violence, yet he feels Jennifer Aniston's remarks will harm 13 year old girls?
Many said O’Reilly had the blood of Tiller on his hands. He said he felt like he did nothing wrong while his supporters pointed to free speech and first amendment rights. O’Reilly fans felt it was an ‘illogical’ conclusion to see him as contributing to Tiller’s death because of his on air remarks which they saw as pointed but harmless. However, this is the same Bill O’Reilly who like Gingrich had taken a number of entertainers to task including rappers Ludicrous and Jay-Z and most recently actress Jennifer Aniston for ‘being irresponsible’ with their words.
In the recent case with Aniston, O’Reilly went to town on her, accusing her negatively influencing 12 and 13 year olds after she said women don’t need men to have a child. This came out during an interview in which Aniston was promoting her new movie ‘The Switch’ which is about artificial insemination.
One could make the case that if we’re supposed to be concerned about Aniston negatively influencing 12-13 year old girls about single motherhood, should we be concerned about how O’Reilly might be negatively influenceing 12- 13 year old boys when we look at how he handles his guests by screaming and shouting or how he handled the Loofa sponge scandal a few years back? What sort of negative influence does a man who preaches we should have high moral standing have when he was sued by his producer Andrea Macktris for sexual harrassment?
Many say cop killer Richard Poplawski was influenced by the anti-government rantings of media pundits Glenn Beck and Alex Jones
The bottom line is that words especially those that are broadcasted have influence. We can cite dozens of examples of individuals who have acted out violently after being whipped into a frenzy by fiery media pundits who get to speak unopposed on the airways They range from anti-government zealot Richard Poplawski who murdered 3 Pittsburgh, PA police officers in April of 2009 to Joseph Andrew Stackwhoflew his plane into an Austin, Texas, IRS building killing former Vietnam Vet and IRS manager Vernon Hunter this past February to Byron Christopher Williams a California man who last month while armed to the hilt and wearing body armor, shot it out with police on the 580 Freeway in Oakland. Williams was on his way to San Francisco to kill ACLU and Tide Foundation workers who he felt were ruining this country based upon the fear mongering of news pundits.
In many of these instances its been pointed out that these attackers were ginned up from listening to inciteful right-wing anti-government media pundits. Why do these announcers get a pass and are allowed to incite violence while others are reigned in, penalized and shut down for far less egregious remarks
Why is that TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey can go on TV and express criticism about eating meat and get sued by the cattle industry who accused her of causing prices to fall but those Muslims who now find themselves under attack are literally being told to keep quiet and move?
Kanye West came underfire from the powerful Diamond industry when he warned his fans about buying 'Confict' diamonds
Why is that rap star Kanye West speak out about the harmful impact of Blood diamonds and have the Diamond Industry upset with him and eventually step to him, but those who are marginalized and demaonzied by right-wing talk are told to grow a pair and only see this as entertainment?
Back in the days, how could we have NWA do a song like Fuck Tha Police and not only do they get a letter from the FBI condemning the song, but have police departments all over the country refuse to let the group perform the song at venues they patrolled. The one time they attempted to perform the song, in Detroit, 20 plain clothes officers rushed the stage and attacked the group. One might ask where’s that same heavy hand of the law to reign in those attacking Muslims on the air today?
Is it wrong to be concerned when powerful media outlets seem to be working overtime demonizing various groups of people? Today its Muslims and the issue of terrorism. Yesterday it was Brown folks and the fervor over immigration and ‘anchor babies’. The day before it was Black folks and the war on drugs. The constant fearmongering has led to politicians taking note on certain issues and crafting legislation around what was being tossed up as something to fear.
From3 Strikes to SB 1070, fear mongering in the media was an essential component in getting these laws on the books. With the current debate around Muslims in America who knows what crazy law will be thought up and pushed for passage. We already gave up lots of privacy and Civil Liberties after 9-11 under the guise ‘we need to keep the country safe’. Will we find ourselves returning to the days of internment camps where we locked up thousand of Japanese-American citizens during World War II while allowing our German-American citizens to be free even after some formed a Nazi Party here in the US?
Gov david patterson has pushed for Ground Zero Mosque/ Community center Builder to find another location.
All of us should be concerned when we have sitting Governors like NY’s David Patterson and US Senators like Harry Reid telling a group of American citizens it would be a good idea and smart thing to move their community center/ Mosque because people’s feelings are raw.
One must move because people are feeling hurt? It wasn’t the builders of the ground Zero/Mosque/ Community center who flew those planes into the building. This setting a bad precedent? Where do we stop and draw the line?
Should we ban gas stations especially if we know the gas is coming from Muslim countries? Did any of the anti-Mosque protestors stop driving or using gas? Hell have they even picketed gas stations expressing their angst? Just how hurt are they?
If we allow the anti-Muslim crowd to get its way can we extend this to other victims? Can survivors of Hurricane Katrina demand that no new housing that further displaces them be built in the 9th Ward because they’re still in shock and traumatized? Can we go on the air waves and bash on developers and make them feel unsafe for rebuilding?
Can we ban the building of Catholic churches because children have been molested by clergy members? Should we take to the airwaves and shout down anyone who is Catholic? Can we start demonizing our Catholic neighbors? Perhaps we can tell the schools in our area to relocate because folks have been hurt by a few individuals who claim that faith.
Don’t get me wrong censorship is not being advocated. However what does one do when fairness and common sense are absent from those who have large and loud media platforms? What do we do as a society when media which is increasingly becoming consolidated even on the web is being used as a vicious weapon and propoganda tool against folks who are marginalized and dont have a voice? How this Mosque thing plays out will set things in motion for years to come. I’m not sure what all the answers should be but I hope all of us put our heads together and start with the premise we are all human and have right to be here.
It’s funny how many of us were kinda caught off guard when it was announced that we were pulling our ‘combat troops’ out of Iraq. We would no longer be engaged in day to day fighting, instead the 50 thousand troops left behind would be in an ‘advisory and consultant’ role. So in short, things are being framed as the War in Iraq has ended and everyone is happy but scratching their heads asking ‘How did we not know this’? “Why did we not see this coming?’
By now we all know that the mainstream media and those who have access to controlling or influencing its inner workings have perfected the art of distraction. Maybe it’s a Tiger Woods scandal to overshadow our increasing troops and funding for the War in Afghanistan. Maybe its Lebron James and his big decision to leave Cleveland overshadowing the beg decision made by an LA jury to hand down a light sentence to a murderous cop. (Oscar Grant/ Johannes Mehserle).
In any case most of us know by now that when corporate backed news outlets start over saturating us with an issue, then something else is going on. That something else is usually something we should be paying attention to.
So what have we been talking about over the past couple of weeks? The main topics that have gotten us heated center around race and religion. They include: Anchor babies, Terror babies, Changing the 14th Amendment, Dr Laura using the N word and the dust-up over building a Mosque/Community center near Ground Zero.
I’ll be the first to say discussions about race and politics are always important but only if we are 1-equal participants in framing the discussion and 2-If we have a desired goal we wish to reach. The above mentioned topics seem to have come out of left field with the end result being a lot of folks being put on the defensive and reacting to a script and a narrative already laid out. Many of us have spent hours debating these issues with groups of people who have decided that no matter what is said or how much logic is used they’re still gonna push the issue and stick to the main talking points.
Texas Rep Debbie Riddle believes we have Terror Babies to Fear
We’ve seen this play out around the issue of terror babies. We saw political figures like Texas Congressmen Lou Gohmert and Texas State Rep Debbie Riddle riding this issue hard only to find that once questioned they had absolutely no proof and had their stories were categorically refuted by the FBI’s terror experts. Nevertheless these advocates stuck to their guns and kept fanning the flames of a Non-Issue.
We seen this play out with the Mosque/Community Center near Ground Zero debate . For the past two weeks our TV screens and radio dials were filled with whining voices of people who aren’t even from New York declaring folks as un-American for being insensitive to 9-11 victims. They claimed that the land around Ground Zero was sacred ground and we all need to show respect. All that was coupled with over the top pejorative remarks about the ‘Evils of Islam‘. Of course pointing that the initial proposals to make Ground Zero a building free memorial park were rejected by developers who wanted commercial buildings on this ‘sacred ground’ was done without one word from many of the people talking that hallowed ground stuff today, has fallen on deaf ears.
Ann Coulter said the widows of 9-11 were 'enjoying their husband's death
The ‘deaf ear’ treatment continued when pointing out that there was a huge silence when right-wing pundit Ann Coulter accused 9-11 widows of ‘enjoying their husbands deaths‘. We didn’t see all these pundits running around demanding she show sensitivity. She wasn’t banned nor were her books removed from bookstores near Ground Zero.
The main point here is while we been going in on these topics, we missed the run up to our troops leaving Iraq and in doing so, we never got to ask all the hard questions like:
1-Did Iraq’s oil reserves really pay for the War? This was one of the strong selling points or us going to Iraq. Are getting reimbursed by them?
2-Suicide rates are at all-time highs with many of our troops having served 4 and 5 tours of duty. Are we equipped to absorb them back into society? Are they gonna be able to cope? Did we provide enough money in our budget to take care of their needs?
3-Will they have jobs waiting or will the returning soldiers join the ranks of under employed and un-employed?
4-What is Iraq to us now? Is it a sovereign nation free to do as she sees fit? Is it a colony of the US?
5-People who have been against the Mosque have talked about how allowing it to be built will send a strong negative message of us ‘giving in’ if we allow it to be built. What signal (positive or negative) is being suggested when we pull out of Iraq? Are we seen as winners or a super power that couldn’t get the job done?
6-Does a pullout in Iraq mean we are gearing up for the war in Iran?
7-Us pulling out of Iraq today overshadows the premier of the Pat Tilman movie where its pointed that the military brass deliberately lied and deceived the American public not only about the circumstances around his death but lots of other issues related to drawing us into war. One of the more damning facets highlighted in this movie is the role of former general Stanley McChrystal played in all this? Why was he kept on to run operations? Was the Tilman coverup an isolated incident or widespread?
Forget a proposed Mosque being built on private property lets talk about the wars we been fighting and what’s behind them. Forget the Mosque, lets talk about the plight of those returning to college. last year we saw massive strikes from New York to Cali as students protested fee hikes that ranged from 30-38% percent. With the economy in shambles, what’s happened to all those who couldn’t afford high fee hikes?
We can go on and on with questions and pointing out issues we really need to be focusing on. We could be talking about the rise in private prisons like Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and how they are connected to the push for tougher immigration laws like SB 1070.
We have the situation with the Gulf and the BP Oil spill. In spite of all the assurances that everything is ok, there has been recent citings of an oil plume 22 miles long. How much damage has been really been done? How much is being covered up? Should we be discussing this or the Ground Zero Mosque/ Culture Center?
Karl Rove has quietly started a Shadow RNC and plans to toss unlimited amounts of money at specific mid-term contests
We can talk about the Jerrymandering and Redistricting efforts that will take place after the 2010 elections-Perhaps we should be talking about the secret Shadow RNC that has been formed by former Bush advisor Karl Rove and former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie. They have raised close to 130 million dollars and will be taking advantage of the new supreme court rulings that allow corporations to spend whatever they want during elections. What will that mean?
Many of us have been remarking about how Sarah Palin has been defending Dr Laura and her using the N word. We definitely should shut that down, but we should also be paying attention to her Mama Grizzly campaign. She’s been stomping for a number of women to get into office where they can carry out her policies. Who are we stomping for?
Remember a distracted population is a dumbed down population. A dumbed down population is a population that’s easily manipulated and pimped.