Video: Benjamin Zephaniah, “Money”

more about “Benjamin Zephaniah, “Money”“, posted with vodpod

“Children are dying, spies and spying,
Refugees are fleeing, politicians are lying,
And deals are done and webs are spun,
Laws keep the third world on the run.”

Click here to download “Money” in MP3.

Benjamin Obadiah Iqbal Zephaniah, born and raised in Birmingham, England, is a poet. Rejecting the appointment as an officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2003, Zephaniah wrote:

Me? I thought, OBE me? Up yours, I thought. I get angry when I hear that word “empire”; it reminds me of slavery, it reminds of thousands of years of brutality, it reminds me of how my foremothers were raped and my forefathers brutalised. It is because of this concept of empire that my British education led me to believe that the history of black people started with slavery and that we were born slaves, and should therefore be grateful that we were given freedom by our caring white masters. It is because of this idea of empire that black people like myself don’t even know our true names or our true historical culture. I am not one of those who are obsessed with their roots, and I’m certainly not suffering from a crisis of identity; my obsession is about the future and the political rights of all people. Benjamin Zephaniah OBE — no way Mr Blair, no way Mrs Queen. I am profoundly anti-empire.

His poem “Money” is included in City Psalms (1992).

William Blum: Anti-Empire Report, Number 73

2 September, 2009 — Anti-Empire Report, Number 73

‘And on the most exalted throne in the world sits nothing but a man’s arse.’ — Montaigne

William BlumIf there’s anyone out there who is not already thoroughly cynical about those on the board of directors of the planet, the latest chapter in the saga of the bombing of PanAm 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland might just be enough to push them over the edge.

Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, the only person ever convicted for the December 21, 1988 bombing, was released from his Scottish imprisonment August 21 supposedly because of his terminal cancer and sent home to Libya, where he received a hero’s welcome. President Obama said that the jubilant welcome Megrahi received was ‘highly objectionable’. His White House spokesman Robert Gibbs added that the welcoming scenes in Libya were ‘outrageous and disgusting’. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he was ‘angry and repulsed’, while his foreign secretary, David Miliband, termed the celebratory images ‘deeply upsetting.’ Miliband warned: ‘How the Libyan government handles itself in the next few days will be very significant in the way the world views Libya’s reentry into the civilized community of nations.'[1]

Ah yes, ‘the civilized community of nations’, that place we so often hear about but so seldom get to actually see. American officials, British officials, and Scottish officials know that Megrahi is innocent. They know that Iran financed the PFLP-GC, a Palestinian group, to carry out the bombing with the cooperation of Syria, in retaliation for the American naval ship, the Vincennes, shooting down an Iranian passenger plane in July of the same year, which took the lives of more people than did the 103 bombing. And it should be pointed out that the Vincennes captain, plus the officer in command of air warfare, and the crew were all awarded medals or ribbons afterward.[2] No one in the US government or media found this objectionable or outrageous, or disgusting or repulsive. The United States has always insisted that the shooting down of the Iranian plane was an ‘accident’. Why then give awards to those responsible?

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The Other Israel Press Picks – 1 September, 2009

Can hubris end up destroying Israel? Yes, it can.

Here follow the September 1, 2009 press picks on Occupation Magazine

Today, TOI-staff posted new articles. OM is updated each day of the week by different editors. For earlier articles use the powerfull search function & view the sections.

Beachfront exhibit mimics West Bank barrier Maya Lecker – Ynet – “I deal with architectural violence (…) in this case –- the concrete has a military context.”

Bil`in night raid, one arrest 01.09.09 – two more not found home Iyad Burnat – Head of Popular Committee in Bilin – Continuous crackdown on the West Bank village Bilin with its exemplary non-violent struggle against landgrab. This night, the soldiers entering shorlty after 3am, encountered many international activists who stood in their way filming and challenging their action. The soldiers threw tear gas and sound bombs to clear the way. They also used a laser beam on some activists as a means of intimidation.

Female detainee informs lawyer of violence by soldiers, interrogators Saed Bannoura – IMEMC – On July 21, 2009, the army surrounded the Abdul-Ghani family home in the northern West Bank village of Saida, forcing the family out and conducting three hours of a destructive search. Najwa Abdul-Ghani and her brother Salah were taken (separately) to weeks of interrogation, intimidation and abuse and sleep deptrivation. Meeting a lawyer at the end of August and telling him of what she endured was her first contact with the outside world since her detention.

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Israeli organ harvesting? By Alison Weir

1 September, 2009 — Alison Weir

[See the petition calling for an investigation here.]

With all the heat engendered by the recent Swedish article, “Our sons plundered for their organs,” I feel that there is a need for some clarification and logical discussion.

First, I’d like to alert people to additional information that we’ve just discovered:

In June 2001 Dr. Nancy Scheper-Hughes of the University of California-Berkeley and Organs Watch testified before the House Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights. Scheper-Hughes testified that she had discovered a “multi-million dollar business” that the Israeli Ministry of Health refused “to intervene and crack down on.” She stated:

  • … hundreds of kidney patients from Israel … travel in privately brokered ‘transplant tourist’ junkets to Turkey, Moldova, Romania … to Russia … and to South Africa …
  • While in Israel for Organs Watch in the summer of [2000] and, again in March 2001, … I interviewed more than 50 transplants professionals, transplant patients, and organs buyers and sellers involved in commercialized transplants … none were willing to condemn a practice which they saw as ‘saving lives’…
  • Meanwhile, human rights groups in the West Bank complained to me of tissue and organs stealing of slain Palestinians [sic] by Israeli pathologists at the national Israeli legal medical institute in Tel Aviv. …
  • A more troubling phenomenon is the support and direct involvement of the Israeli Ministry of Defense in the illicit national ‘program’ of transplant tourism. Some patients who traveled with the outlaw Israeli transplant surgeon to other countries noted that in each of the organized transplant groups were members of the Ministry of Defense or those closely related to them.

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FAIR Media Advisory: Erasing Katrina

2 September, 2009 – FAIR

Four years on, media mostly neglect an ongoing disaster

August 29 marked the fourth anniversary of the day Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. The devastation wrought by both the hurricane itself and the government’s inept response prompted remarkably critical corporate media coverage that promised to fight for Katrina survivors and change the way we talk about poverty and race (FAIR Media Advisory, 9/9/05).

As NBC‘s Brian Williams told the St. Petersburg Times (3/1/06), “If this does not spark a national discussion on class, race, the environment, oil, Iraq, infrastructure and urban planning, I think we’ve failed.” But four years later, corporate media outlets seem to have largely forgotten about Katrina and its survivors, let alone the conversations about race and poverty that were supposed to accompany it.

The Institute for Southern Studies issued a report (8/9/09) in which more than 50 Gulf Coast community leaders graded officials on their response to the ongoing disaster; the Obama administration received a D+, while Congress received a D. (George W. Bush received a D- in an earlier survey.) One million people are still displaced, rebuilding continues at a glacial pace, and the levees being rebuilt have been judged insufficient to protect New Orleans from another Katrina-level flood.

But amazingly, according to a search of the Nexis news media database, neither the Washington Post nor the L.A. Times ran a single piece on Katrina in the past week. ABC and Fox News didn’t mention the hurricane or its aftermath once.

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