New Years Eve Madness

I am not going to have time to write until Sunday night more than likely because I will be working like a maniac to get this money from the New Years drunks and insha’Allah I will come home with some good money over the weekend, with no one throwing up in my cab, and then I will take a few days off and go to New York. Like I said before; if you act crazy on New Years Eve you are a really like that all year round but put up a front otherwise and if you are gettin banged by half the team on New Years Eve do not balme it on the booz. Sat safe tonight everyone, the nuts will be out.

Ismail, Hammad and Jerusalem

In the mood of sharing photos (blame Abu Sinan, he has got me in the mood) I am sharing a group photo I took along with Ismail Royer (click here to read more on the plight of Ismail and what he is doing while serving a twenty-year prison sentence) back in 1993. Amongst those also included in the photo are youth worker Naji Lawrence Adams, cabbie Pi and the late Maurice “Abdul-Muqit” Herd.

The African-American brother, with his young child, is Hammad Abdur-Raheem, a DC area Muslim brother who is in jail as a part of the Virginia 11 paintball case. The photo was taken when I visited him while he was on house arrest before his trial. Click on the link to learn how to help this brother.

The photo of me was taken on a rooftop of the East Jerusalem Palestinian neighborhood of Anatta. You can see the beautiful Palestinian backdrop behind me. The rooftops of Palestine are a popular place for congregation and socializing amongst friends and family.

St. Louis Photos

I took some photos today of my favorite spot in St. Louis which is the Delmar Loop which extends from the inner suburb of University City into the City of St. Louis on Delmar. The area is kind of interesting and Delmar is the traditional dividing line of segregation in that part of St. Louis. The Loop itself is full of interesting shops, ethnic and eclectic eateries, an indie bookstore and music store as well as a theater that shows indie and foreign films. The two things I love most about the Loop are the facts that in pedestrian unfriendly St. Louis it is pedestrian friendly and that it is one of the few places in St. Louis where you can find people of different races socializing with one another. The Loop caters to everyone from the bourgeois liberal crowd to hip-hoppers and the reggae crowd. Part of the unique nature of U City and the Loop is due to its proximity to Washington University which has a diverse student population from all over the world (but a heavy concentration of New York, Boston and DC are students). Also within proximity to the Loop is the vibrant Orthodox Jewish enclave, upscale neighborhoods, African-American neighborhoods, apartments from low rent to high rent, and a growing Chinese population just a few blocks away off of Olive. A hidden gym of the Loop is the University City Library, which in my opinion, is one of the best neighborhood libraries in America. I have included a photo of myself to show all the suckas out there what I have for them if they keep messin with me…LOL

Conversations with My Grandparents

I encourage everyone to talk to the elders in their families as much as possible as I did last night. Not only do such talks give you a greater understanding of who you are as a person and your roots; but they can offer you a glimpse into a history that you may know little about and otherwise would have to rely on history books. Last night we were discussing movies and my grandmother began to complain that Hollywood movies today are all filthy and full of sex. I told her that is true; but that sex is a part of life and sometimes sex plays an important role in films and sometimes it is just cheap. Somehow that got us on the subject of war movies and of World War II.

My grandfather is a veteran of World War II and served in the First Marine Division which saw action in the Pacific theater fighting Japanese troops. I told my grandparents “ look at the WWII movies, they all showed American soldiers who looked like they had just stepped out of The Plaza they were so clean fighting battles against the enemy, always winning, coming home in one piece and getting the pretty girl. But, how many young men came home after the war with no legs, without an arm or blinded? How many didn’t come home to the pretty girl; but came home to mental hospitals or nursing homes where they stayed the rest of their lives?”

This prompted my grandmother to join in and say that a lot of men came back from the war with mental illnesses but back then they just threw people into a home. In Vietnam, where her son and my uncle fought, it was well publicized that a lot of soldiers came back and were shell-shocked; but what Americans do not realize is that many came back from WWII the same way and many are probably coming back from Iraq in the same condition.

In 1945, between April and June, my grandfather was a part of the American invasion of Okinawa, the last major Pacific battle of the war, and this battle proved to be the bloodiest battle of the war for the Americans. In one battle America lost more than 12,000 men, Japan and its Okinawan transcripts lost 107,000 and according to reports there may have been 100,000 civilians perish. The battle utilized all branches of the American armed forces and the Japanese responded by air, land and sea. My grandfather told me as he told me before, of seeing the beaches, for as far as you can see, full of dead young men piling up. He told me of friends of his who left the battle blinded and crippled and then he posed the question “what did they ever do about those dumps?” I didn’t know what he was referring to; but apparently the bodies of American and Japanese soldiers where just bulldozed into holes and left in Okinawa. There were too many dead too quickly to do anything else. From an American perspective let’s look at it like this; in three months four more times the America troops died in Okinawa then have dies in three years in Iraq. In my grandfathers opinion; the generals and the politicians had a disregard for the value of the lives of the enlisted men and often would use them as cannon-fodder and he told me of seeing row after row of young American being gunned down on pointless missions.

The difference today, as he tells it, is that the American public will stand up to the government and expect accountability. If Americans believe that soldiers are dying in the pursuit of an unwise cause or that the welfare of the soldier is not respected then they will stand-up and make their voices heard and in WWII there was no such concept amongst the public at-large. It wasn’t just WWII I might add; for thousands of years kings, sultans, and rulers sent young men to die by the thousands with no regard for the humanity of the soldiers. Why is this? Well, for one it can be attributed to the goals of the ruler and the people, secondly to the inability for current warfare technologies to adequately protect soldiers and thirdly due to the fact that the bulk of the dead would normally come from the ranks of the poor in most societies and the noblemen who did die became legends.

When I asked my grandmother about Hitler she said “we knew he was bad but we didn’t know he was extemiating people; we just thought he was out to take over the world.”

Today Americans look back at WWII with some kind of nostalgia, as if it was a fairy tale and everyone did the right thing, and not the brutal and bloody conflict that it was. Like almost all Americans, I do believe that my grandfather fought in a just and essential war, but that does not mean one cannot analyze the history and learn lessons from it. Any comparison between WWII and Iraq is laughable; the world was at danger then due to imperial powers that had the desires, and the capability, of world domination, and they were the aggressors; no such equivalent exists today. It must also be noted that the homefront was then actively involved in the war with air raids drills, neighborhood and school drills, rations, factory conversions and the like. Today no one is being asked to sacrifice, as a matter of fact taxes are being cut, and the public follows the war like a bad soap opera.

Which brings me the greatest president tin the history of the United States Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In my grandparents narrative; they were surrounded by poverty, misery and near starvation in the 1930’s during the devilish presidency of Herbert Hoover (a Republican) and it was FDR and his New Deal that saved the masses of the people from lives of ruin and despair. So, until today, the are FDR populist Democrats, who have supported the Democratic Party because of issues of class (support of unions, raises in the minimum wage, workers rights, health care issues, social security, etc.) and like a lot of FDR Democrats, including myself, they don’t care for the cultural elitist issues the Democratic Party has now chose to make the top priority while shunning labor and the poor.

What is Going On in Pakistan With Crazy Men Killing Their Daughters?

It seems as if a Pakistani man, from the same Pakistan as Mukhtar Mai, murdered his eldest daughter for marrying against his will and slit the throats of her three younger sisters because in the future they might do the same. Can someone tell me why this keeps happening in Pakistan? Can someone tell me why is it that Pakistan is supposed to a modern state then why are tribal leaders allowed to give out their own version of corrupt justice? Can someone tell me why the ulama of Pakistan are not more involved in combating this sort of savage treatment against women? It seems as if many fathers in Pakistan do not love their daughters, or if they do that love plays a lesser role to other impulses such as fear, possessiveness, jealousy and group-think.

What will be done? President Musharraf will make a statement condemning the act, the man will be sentenced, and Pakistan will try to ignore the issue. Some mullah may condemn it in a speech; but that will be about it. Amongst Progressive Muslims and the West papers will be written and speeches will be given by people no one in Pakistan has ever heard of that will have about as much effect as shouting on top of a mountain. To combat these types of acts you need education; but you also need the stick. This guy needs to die, in public, and to shame him and his tiny brain he should be forced to walk nude to the center of town with everyone watching before his throat is slit by a female police officer or official.

One more thing, and I can guarantee this, when I go to the Masjid and discuss this with some of my Pakistani friends, they will be in denial. They will say it did not happen, that the Jews in the media are exaggerating it, and they will say this is very rare. The praises of Pakistan will be sung and they will then say, “well this guy went overboard, but most of the time they are killing the zanni.”

On Another Note
Shia political parties are holding rallies in Iraq supporting the election results, the results that anyone who can do math knows are fraudulent, and counter-rallies are occurring in which Sunnis, secular Iraqis, Kurds and others are joining together in calling for an investigation and recount of the elections.

In the Land of Milk and Honey

(From 2002)

In this land of milk and honey I was released from prison with ten bucks, a bus ticket and a redneck telling me not to come back.

In this land of milk and honey I had no roof over my head making my home the stars at night, Prospect Park, and subway cars.

In this land of milk and honey I experienced hunger sleeping in a dark room with five other men surrounding a space heater in the dead of winter. No utilities on and only cold water to throw over ourselves in buckets.

In this land of milk and honey you can be a CEO and take home fifty million and be a hard worker and not have a place to sleep.

In this land of milk and honey the rich pimp the poor everyday.

In this land of milk and honey black people still are riding at the back of the bus, except now the driver is listening to Hip Hop.

In this land of milk and honey Republicans with names like Van Brooklyn fuck their Mexican maids and then vote to throw the illegals out.

In this land of milk and honey you can work full time your entire life and die of a disease that every Canadian and European would have been treated for.

In this land of milk and honey we cannot afford to care for our old and sick but we can afford useless instruments of mass murder.

In this land of milk and honey we consume nature like an addict consumes their drug of choice.

In this land of milk and honey I am tired of the bullshit.

In this land of milk and honey my blood is boiling.

In this land of milk and honey I really don’t give a fuck anymore.

In this land of milk and honey I’m thinking about taking what’s mine.

In this land of milk and honey I am having revolutionary thoughts.

In this land of milk and honey I am headed for the suburbs.

In this land of milk and honey I see red.

In this land of milk and honey I have revenge on my mind and I walk with the spirit of the native, the mind of the Panther and the body of an avenger.

Umar ben-Ivan Lee

Aussie Skinheads, Tookie and Narnia

If you want to know what neo-Nazis are saying about the riots in Australia I will direct you to this forum. This has given them hope that they are capable of doing more than jerking off to posters of the Fuehrer. They see this as a show of force by white Aussies and a sign that whites are capable of uniting against people of color once again and driving them out of their lands.

I will say that I have always liked Australia and found Aussies to be pleasant people for the most part and I know that these racist incidents don’t represent the hearts and minds of all Aussies. What they do is give a graphic picture of the serious problems of race that exist in that society which the government doesn’t want to recognize.

It is unfortunate that some Muslims (see the comments section and Umm Zaids eloquent rebuttal), of the progressive mode, have joined in with some in the Australian media and provided some kind of justification to the rioters because the Lebanese immigrants “don’t want to integrate into society” or Lebanese men are “raping white women” and these same apologist would have been attacked and beaten and their families if they would have been on the scene. Does that sound familiar to anyone in America? Study the history of the Tulsa Riots and the Zoot Suit Riots.

Tookie Williams

I opposed the execution of Tookie Williams because I thought he could do more good to society alive than dead. He was not the co-founder of the Crips and he was no angel so I’m not really sad that he is dead, I just think that the execution was ill-advised. Why not let him live and work towards gang-truces and steering the kids away from gangs? What would that have hurt?

Narnia Film

As a child there are no books that I enjoyed more than the Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis. I am excited about the film adaptation of the first of these books and am looking forward to seeing it while knowing that the film can’t possibly match the excitement that I had as a kid in reading them and imagining for myself what the characters looked like. Because a lot of the book has a Christian undercurrent, a lot of Christian groups in America are supporting the film; and because of this, and the fact that it is a book with a moral fiber and pits good versus evil, much of the secular-elite are railing against Lewis, the books and the film while trying in vain to disguise their hatred for religion.