Saturday, March 15, 2008


The Targetting of Professor Thomas Abowd

Below, via Behind the Lines: Poetry, War, & Peacemaking, are the first two paragraphs of an unsigned appeal on behalf of Professor Thomas Abowd at Wayne State University
Dear colleagues,

I need to write to you about a set of very serious racist and discriminatory attacks against Professor Thomas Abowd in his dispute with the Wayne State University administration and right-wing Zionist elements on campus. These circumstances are but a few of several offensive, anti-Arab and anti-Muslim happenings on this campus over the last few years, coming both before and after the attacks against Law Professor Wadie Said who applied for a job at WSU. The specific attacks against Professor Abowd are particularly troubling because, in this case, a WSU official has used racist and offensive language against Professor Abowd in the course of an official university investigation.

Included below is a short description of the line of questioning engaged in by officials of Wayne State University, particularly one Ms. Amy Stirling during her December 2007 investigation of Professor Thomas Abowd for several baseless and fabricated charges of "anti-semitism." (charges eventually all dropped for lack of evidence). A Union representative was present during this meeting with Ms. Stirling, and witnessed the racist language directed at Abowd. The Union representative took notes during the more than 2 hour conversation. It is clear to many that Stirling's line of questioning (as well as her generally hostile demeanor) was extremely inappropriate and had anti-Arab implications.
Read the entire appeal here.

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Friday, March 14, 2008


Amerykahn Promise

"Amerykahn Promise" on Erykah Badu's new album, New Amerykah, Pt. 1: 4th World War, is my current favorite song. I like it even better than "Honey" on the same album, which I like a lot. The lyrics to "Amerykahn Promise" are rich with ancient Egyptian religious references and sophisticated criticism of modern America and I don't pretend understand even half of them. Every time I listen the song yields a new gem from the surface and depths of it's funky rhythm. For example, at the end a little girl (Ma'at?; pictured at right) asks "Has anyone seen my 42 laws"? This a reference to the 42 laws (or negative confessions) of Ma'at and, obviously, Amerykah hasn't heard of them and doesn't follow them--"Oh, I'm sorry. We're not responsible for lost articles and thangs." Any way, take a listen for yourself.

Erykah Badu - Amerykahn Promise on

Addendum: Click the link at right to read the "Negative Confession" as translated by E. A. Wallis Budge in The Egyptian Book of the Dead (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., Ltd., 1898).

Last revised: 14 June 2014 – Replaced image file to image with Ma'at holding papyrus staff; add source link to image file; fixed broken links to Hooker's article on the 42 laws; add link to Budge's book; correct spelling errors; replaced previous video with one that has the full track.

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Monday, March 10, 2008


Open Letter to Erykah Badu--Please Don't Play Tel Aviv

Dear Erykah Badu,

I salute you for your courageous and well-intentioned remarks in Tel Aviv last January. But please know that the Palestinian people, with whom you identify, have a called for an international boycott of the Jewish apartheid state of Israel. I hope you will not only honor that call but do your part to promote it. In the 1980s, the artists listed below wouldn't "play Sun City" in White apartheid South Africa and I hope you won't play Tel Aviv again until Israeli apartheid is smashed and gone. For your information, at the bottom of this post is the text of the Call for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.

Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)

Whereas Israel’s colonial oppression of the Palestinian people, which is based on Zionist ideology, comprises the following:

· Denial of its responsibility for the Nakba -- in particular the waves of ethnic cleansing and dispossession that created the Palestinian refugee problem -- and therefore refusal to accept the inalienable rights of the refugees and displaced stipulated in and protected by international law;
· Military occupation and colonization of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza since 1967, in violation of international law and UN resolutions;
· The entrenched system of racial discrimination and segregation against the Palestinian citizens of Israel, which resembles the defunct apartheid system in South Africa;

Since Israeli academic institutions (mostly state controlled) and the vast majority of Israeli intellectuals and academics have either contributed directly to maintaining, defending or otherwise justifying the above forms of oppression, or have been complicit in them through their silence,

Given that all forms of international intervention have until now failed to force Israel to comply with international law or to end its repression of the Palestinians, which has manifested itself in many forms, including siege, indiscriminate killing, wanton destruction and the racist colonial wall,

In view of the fact that people of conscience in the international community of scholars and intellectuals have historically shouldered the moral responsibility to fight injustice, as exemplified in their struggle to abolish apartheid in South Africa through diverse forms of boycott,

Recognizing that the growing international boycott movement against Israel has expressed the need for a Palestinian frame of reference outlining guiding principles,

In the spirit of international solidarity, moral consistency and resistance to injustice and oppression,

We, Palestinian academics and intellectuals, call upon our colleagues in the international community to comprehensively and consistently boycott all Israeli academic and cultural institutions as a contribution to the struggle to end Israel’s occupation, colonization and system of apartheid, by applying the following:

Refrain from participation in any form of academic and cultural cooperation, collaboration or joint projects with Israeli institutions;
Advocate a comprehensive boycott of Israeli institutions at the national and international levels, including suspension of all forms of funding and subsidies to these institutions;
Promote divestment and disinvestment from Israel by international academic institutions;
Work toward the condemnation of Israeli policies by pressing for resolutions to be adopted by academic, professional and cultural associations and organizations;

Support Palestinian academic and cultural institutions directly without requiring them to partner with Israeli counterparts as an explicit or implicit condition for such support.
Endorsed by:
Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees; Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions; Palestinian NGO Network, West Bank; Teachers’ Federation; Palestinian Writers’ Federation; Palestinian League of Artists; Palestinian Journalists’ Federation; General Union of Palestinian Women; Palestinian Lawyers’ Association; and tens of other Palestinian federations, associations, and civil society organizations.
PACBI, P.O. Box 1701, Ramallah, Palestine;;
See also: "Freedom Songs: Erykah Badu's New AmErykah Part One" by Alexander Billet here or here.

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Sunday, March 02, 2008


Free the Angola 3

The National Coalition to Free the Angola 3

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Saturday, March 01, 2008


Trafficking of Korean Women in US

Below are the first few paragraphs from a new article by Kari Lydersen on Infoshop News.
Korean massage parlors are a common presence in most major U.S. cities – so much that those in the know refer to them with the acronym of KMPs. It is also widely known that these venues offer more than a massage – they function essentially as brothels, where South Korean women work as prostitutes controlled by a wide-reaching, shadowy and highly profitable network of traffickers and pimps.

Anti-trafficking, women's rights and immigrants rights advocates are increasingly focusing on this segment of trafficking and sexual exploitation in the United States. The Polaris Project has focused extensively on Korean massage parlors and trafficking of Korean women in California. In Chicago, a coalition of immigrants' rights, anti-domestic violence and ethnic groups are in the early stages of developing an outreach and advocacy structure for Korean women caught up in these situations.

Trafficking for sex work, domestic work and other types of labor is a poisonous manifestation of the increasingly global economy, where people in impoverished countries – especially women – fall prey to traffickers' false promises of a better life in another country or are even literally sold into slavery by family members or kidnappers. The U.S. government estimates that about 17,500 foreigners are trafficked into the U.S. annually, though some NGOs put the number much higher. Sex trafficking is considered to make up about 80 percent of cases, with trafficking for domestic, agricultural, food service and other types of labor making up the rest.

In general the pipeline of trafficked people flows from the most impoverished countries to wealthier ones within a region; for example from El Salvador to Mexico; or Romania to the Czech Republic; or Nepal to India. Then, either after going through those pipelines or directly from their points of origin, people are trafficked across continents to the wealthiest destinations: the U.S., Israel and parts of Western Europe.

South Korea ranks third as the point of origin for trafficking cases in the U.S., according to the National Immigrant Justice Center, behind Mexico and China and ahead of the Philippines and Thailand. Though exact numbers are impossible to come by, it is estimated at least 10,000 Korean women are doing sex work in the U.S.
Read the rest of the article here.
See also:

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Terrorist Wear Suits

Another poster by SF Bay Area graphic artist Doug Minkler. Click on the image to enlarge it.

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