U.S. African and Mideast Policies: War As Foreign Aid and Regime Change As Democratic Transition

Former political prisoner Dhoruba Bin Wahad recently penned an excellent essay breaking down whats going on in Mali, Congo and the Middle East.. he also challenged the type of stances many of us have taken with respect to these regions that are embroiled in conflict… To support his essay we interviewed him so he can expand upon his analysis. In true form Dhoruba pulled no punches.. Peep what he has to say..

Hard Knock Radio Interview w/ Dhoruba speaking on African and Middle East Policies

U.S. African and Mideast Policies: War As Foreign Aid and Regime Change As Democratic Transition

by Dhoruba Bin Wahad

Africans in the Diaspora are in a crisis of conscience searching for what it means
to be “African centered” or Pan-African, and citizens of Racist Nation-states
with histories of Imperial domination. We are confronted today with “New Age
Imperialism” where national elites collaborate to oppress the poor and hungry
of the planet rather than wage war with each other over the control of strategic
resources. This global convergence of interests has found its natural opposition in
the international character of the Muslim Ummah.

The US and Race based Democracy – “Democratic Fascism”.

In the U.S. where over 2.5 million American citizens are locked away in prison
and another 15 plus million owners of major “felony” convictions, the African-
American population and other national “minorities” of non-European background
are subjected to a contrived system of fascism masquerading as “democracy” –
a political and social system of police and corporate control, a police state with
unprecedented power (after 9/11 terrorist attacks) that employs a “National
Security” rationale to conceal its crimes of “rendition”, torture (enhanced
interrogation), indefinite detention, and targeted assassinations . Like most modern
“national-security” states, U.S. policies are most closely associated with its perceived
“national interests” primarily involving access to strategic resources and “trade”.
The West’s bogus advocacy of supporting individual freedom by supporting
“Democratic regime change” in its former colonial territories mask not only their
own internal inequalities based on race, religion and gender, but conceal the often
violent cooptation of legitimate revolutionary people’s movements that oppose
entrenched oligarchies, Autocrats, while marginalizing and demonizing Islamic
based anti-imperialist forces across Africa and Mid-East. Islam has replaced the
specter of “communist global domination” as the foremost threat to global Finance
Capitalism and Western global domination. That the West’s perceives opposition to
neo-imperialist diplomacy in secular dimensions, characterizing this opposition as
the “clash of civilizations) is not without historical basis.

Up until the overthrow of the western stooge Shah Reza Palhavi of Iran, a strictly
Islamic based mass movement had never overthrown a modern non-secular
Nation State backed by the Western Imperial powers. Needless to say the Iranian
“revolutions” sent shock waves throughout the region and shook regional Sunni
comprador classes (Oil Sheikdoms) across the region to their reactionary roots. But
to the masses of Muslims on the streets of Arab capitals the Iranian revolution was
a ray of hope – but its Shia dimension served the US and Europe’s historical fallback
tactic of divide and conquer . We now see how effective the West’s early divide and
conquer strategy of containment has been and how it has the region tittering on the

brink of war. Many Arab Sunni rulers, with US blessings, covertly intensified their
alignment with the European settler-state of Israel to contain Iranian geopolitical
influence even as Israel gears up for military strikes against the Islamic Republic. US
and NATO troops are stationed in Muslim lands, military bases across the Mid-
East are designed to project Western military power into the region. All this a
consequence of US divide and conquer fear tactics in the region.

With the support for US militarism abroad (war on terror) a fundamental principle
of both the Right wing and “moderates” in the US congress , it is little surprise
that white American politicians are also major supporters and instigators of anti-
Islamic fervor both inside and outside the US. Because the ramifications of “the
war on terror” has disproportionately affected the immigrant Muslim population
in the US (African-American Muslims have lived under religious, racial, and
political repression for decades) U.S. military and diplomatic actions in Arab
countries of North Africa, Iraq, Syria, as well as in Pakistan and India have all been
characterized as unique, untypical resistance or an “Arab Spring”. This definition of
uprisings across Muslim North Africa by the western media and westernized Arab
intellectuals are aimed at one thing. Dividing the Muslim Ummah along racial and
historical lines, while isolating African Muslims from the general process of Pan-
African unity and democratization.

The use of the contextual term “Arab Spring” to characterize the mass uprising of
NORTH AFRICANS against the rule of despotic Arab elites is purposely and artfully
crafted to discourage sub-Saharan Black Africa and its Muslim populations from
emulating their North African counterparts while appealing to the “Anti-Arab”
sentiments among many Pan-Africans and within the Black Diaspora. ECOWAS
and the African Union’s recent support of French military intervention in Mali and
as US surrogate in Somalia, and else where on the African continent are testimony
to how eagerly Africa’s political elite are utilizing the “West’s war terror” to secure
their positions and prop up their power while ignoring persecuted and marginalized
Muslim minority populations.

In countries like Nigeria the US is on the ground
supporting the Christian dominated government’s “anti-terrorist actions” in the
North of the country against an Islamic insurgency. In Somalia, the US drone war has
spilled over into neighboring countries, like Eritrea, Al-Yemen and has led to tribal
unrest in Northern Kenya. While the US and its European Allies seemed appalled
by the Muslim insurgencies in the North of Mali (consistently failing to mentioned
that this crisis was long in the making and connected to the Western European’s
deposing of Libya’s Ghadaffi and the silent collusion of Black Africa’s leaders) both
the US and Europe are neither horrified or outraged by events in the Eastern Congo.

Africa, A War Zone Without End

Nearly 3 million people have died in Congo in a four-year war over Coltan, a heat-
resistant mineral ore widely used in cellphones, laptops and playstations and
other strategic minerals. Eighty percent of the world’s coltan reserves are in the
Democratic Republic of Congo. Often dismissed as an ethnic war, the conflict in the
Congo is really over natural resources sought by foreign corporations —
diamonds,tin, copper, gold, but mostly coltan”

In an article titled “Why the U.S. Won’t Help”, a Nairobi newspaper explained, ‘Right
from the days of the Cold War, Western governments have been comfortable
with a situation in which African regimes squandered meager resources on the
instruments of war, borrowing from the West to finance domestic consumption. The
war in the Congo and the countries involved in it are a case in point’… In 1998, the
State Department licensed commercial weapons sales by U.S. manufacturers to sub-
Saharan Africa worth up to $64 million, on top of the $12 million in government-to-
government deliveries that year. These figures have quadrupled since 1998 and the
region is no closer to stability than it was when Patrice Lumumba was assassinated
by the US, French and Belgians in 1960s.

The hypocrisy of the US and Europe asking Africa’s political elite to develop and
democratize while cutting levels of non-military international aid and increasing
weapons and military training to the continent’s Armies does not seem to have
registered with African-Americans, neither those (Pan-Africans) who claim
solidarity with the current crop of African leaders, or those elected to public office.
This lack of outspoken opposition to US militarization of Africa, especially under
the Obama administration is inexcusable and attributable to the uncritical and
unprincipled support of the Obama regime by African-Americans. Moreover,
Obama’s policy of destabilization and “democratic regime change” of governments
it is at odds with suggest that there is little real commitment to developing human
resources and a new “partnership” with Africa, the U.S. needs to redirect the focus
away from strengthening military capacity, coopting ethnic and national elites and
more toward promoting human development in Africa.

END

Our HKR Roundtable on Gaza & the Importance of Freeing Palestine from Colonial Control By Israel

Yesterday we hosted an incredible round table with front line activists and journalist who have held it down for Palestine. We discussed everything from history in the region to mainstream media framing to the importance of connecting dots with struggles to end oppression and colonial rule world-wide.  Our guest included; Dr Hatem Bazian a popular professor who teaches Islamic Law and Society at UC Berkeley and also teaches Religious studies at St Mary’s College. He gave some keen historical insight about Gaza and the rest of the region as well as a history in way certain narratives have been shaped by corporate backed interests to describe what is taking place. We talked at length about living in what some call an Information Age where an end goal for imperial powers is to keep a narrative aflota that renders oppressors as victims and victims as oppressors. Batem spoke at length about why we should never forget that Palestine is a colonized state, with Israel and the US dominating and controlling all aspects of her existence.  He explained why many have come to overlook this dynamic.  You can peep our one on one w/ Dr Bazian by clicking the link below..

On the second part of our show we had a round table discussion with seasoned journalist Nora Barrows Friedman of the Electronic Intifada who talked about the work she’s done over the years both here in the states an in the Middle East in terms of covering this decades old struggle. She talked about how many mainstream journalist are embedded  with Israel and its army when covering conflicts which results in a lopsided perspective as to whats happening. She gave us some important insight about issues not being addressed in the media.

Nora also talked about the climate of fear being pushed by pro-Israel lobbyists groups who have attempted to equate criticism of Israel as being anti-semitic. She also talked about how many professors of college campuses have found themselves under the gun for speaking out against Israel or upholding a Palestinian point of view.

Ziad Abbas

Our other guest was Ziad Abbas, who is the  Associate Director, of Middle East Children’s Alliance. He is a Palestinian refugee from Dheisheh Refugee Camp in the West Bank. He is the co-founder of the Ibdaa Cultural Center in Dheisheh. Ziad is also a journalist who has worked with Palestinian and international media and has participated in the production of several documentary films.  During our discussion he built upon much of what Hatem had spoken about earlier.

He also gave his own personal accounts into some of the challenges facing Palestinians. He talked about the history of attacks on journalist and talked at length how he and his colleagues have found themselves locked up in Israeli prisons for being bold journalists.  Abbas gave us some rich history about shared struggled and connections made with the Palestinian push to end the occupation and other freedom struggles around the world.

Lara Kiswani

Our last guest was Lara Kiswani of the Arab Cultural and Organizing Center. She talked about whether or not there was a generation gap in terms of of those desiring peace and those holding on to tradition and age old grudges. She spoke at length explaining that she didn’t see a generation gap in terms of those who uphold oppressive ideals. She did speak about how many in her generation were very good at building coalitions and linking up with folks from other struggles.

She talked about how globalization has led to many all over the planet seeing themselves in the cross hairs of power elites who have formed their own cliques. She also talked about how urban police forces including our own embattled police force here in Oakland, Ca have actually gone to Israel to get trained. This has not been a good thing as the end result has been increased domestic spying, unfair racial profiling and a heightened perception that sees Muslims and Middle Easterners as enemies who need to be contained.

Click the link below to listen to the pt2 of our Middle East roundtable..

M-1 of dead prez-Report Back from Gaza -Why we should be concerned w/Palestine and International Struggles …

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M-1 of dead prez reports back from his trip to Gaza

M-1 of dead prez reports back from his trip to Gaza

We caught up with M-1 of the group dead prez to find about his recent trip to Gaza. For folks who don’t recall, last week M-1 made headlines along with former Green Party Presidential candidate and Cynthia McKinney, New York City Councilman Charles Barron and UK Parliament member George Galloway.. They along with over 200 people defied a blockade and warnings from the Israeli government and went to Gaza to bring humanitarian aid.

We spoke with M-1 about how he hooked up with Viva Palestina which was the organization that made the trip. M-1 explained that he has been involved with Palestinian causes for a number of years. He broke down the history of his involvement  and spoke about how the organizations and people he has rolled with have been equally involved in struggles African Americans are dealing with here. We will be posting that up later this afternoon

In the meantime we are posting up two portions of our long interview. The first is M-1 addressing a nagging question that frequently pops up:

Why should Black people in America be concerned about political happenings in far off places like Iran or Palestine when we have problems here at home? M-1 gave us a history lesson and reminded us that the Black struggle has always been international from the days of Paul Robeson to Malcolm X wanting to take our case before the United Nations to Martin Luther King dealing with Vietnam on up to the foreign aid that came to help us when we went through Katrina. M-1 goes into detail about why Black folks had better be concerned about international struggles. He lets us know that our struggle at home would’ve been seriously hindered if we weren’t internationally connected. He also encouraged us to see our selves as part of a larger movement without borders.

In this next video clip we speak to M-1 about what he experienced while visiting Gaza. He talks about the conditions there and how the people are and the role his fellow rappers in Palestine are fairing … We also spoke to M-1 about why he felt he was a hostage in Egypt. The government kept people in the country from 5-10 days and then made them jump through all types of hoops to get out of the country.  He also talked about the totalitarian state of Egypt and how it was ironic that Obama spoke at a country that does not allow free speech.  If dead prez was living in Egypt espousing the political views that they do here they would be in jail.. below is the interview segment from that..

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

Straight Outta Beirut-Hip Hop in Full Effect w/ Clotaire K

Listen to our Interview w/ Clotaire K on Breakdown FM:

Breakdown FM-ClotaireK-05

Clotaire K

For most of us the city of Beirut has an interesting connection to Hip Hop in the sense that it often mentioned in rap songs as a way to describe toughness or indicate how violent prone a particular neighborhood is..¦What’€™s so crazy is that hardly any of the rappers in the US who raise up the name of Beirut have ever traveled there and have very little knowledge of the people or its Hip Hop scene. Sadly, most don’€™t even know what country Beirut is in-which is Lebanon for those who don’€™t know.

Recently I got a chance to visit Lebanon and get the 4-11 on the politics that have come to shape this country and its music scene. First, let me say this, Beirut is an incredibly beautiful city. Before I came there I thought it was gonna be nothing but bombed out buildings and folks running around in fatigues ready to bring the drama. There are definitely those areas. And yes, you do see soldiers in the streets carrying machine guns, but other then that, the place is on fire. It’s not what you think.

At the height of Beirut’€™s infamous wars less then 5% of the city was impacted. Since those dark days, everything has been pretty much rebuilt. The nightlife is off the hook with clubs getting packed around 3am and closing at 7 the next morning. Everybody is dressed with all the latest styles and are amazingly beautiful especially the women. And as I was told prior to arriving, that once I set foot in Beirut, I would not want to leave. That prediction was right. Beirut is easily the Miami Beach or Los Angles of the Middle East-Nuff said.

We sat down with well known local rapper Clotaire K who gave us the breakdown of Beirut’s burgeoning Hip Hop scene. Clotaire K has made major inroads with a slamming album called ‘Lebanese’€™ which has a lot politically charged lyrics rapped over boomin’€™ beats.

He noted that he a long with many other middle east rappers have a love for old school Hip Hop from the US, but Southern France is where he spent most of his days. It is also Hip Hop’€™s epicenter in that part of the world. Clotaire who spits many of his rhymes in French felt it was vitally important to also include music and references reflecting his native Lebanon. The mixture is music that will not only make your head bob, but also let anyone who thinks Hip Hop begins and ends in New York or in the US, that it’€™s a new day and time.

Clotaire K explained that most people in Lebanon are influenced by mainstream US culture which is imported via TV and videos. Hence rappers like Eminem have huge following amongst the general public. During our interview Clotaire pointed out the irony of Eminem mentioning Beirut in his raps followed by gun shots, yet for all his tough talk has not set foot in the country. Clotaire K noted that if he showed up he would get lots of love from the people.

Clotaire K also spoke about touring and how he’€™s focused a lot of his efforts in countries throughout South America, Africa and the Middle East. When I last spoke to Clotaire K he had just embarked on a two week tour throughout Egypt. He noted that it was a shame that more US artists have not blessed these places with their presence and while he understand it’s not always easy to touch down in far off lands, US rap artists have left an impression of being paranoid.

Clotaire also noted that for many, Hip Hop is seen as truthful expression that is easily accessible and has allowed people to make important political statements in an overtly politicized region. With regards to him, he says that he was influenced by Public Enemy and has great love for Bay Area rapper Paris who he feels has never been given his full props.

During our interview Clotaire K gives a full rundown about the very tricky and volatile political situation that involves Syria, Palestine and of course Israel. He notes that since the city has been rebuilt, there has been huge separation between rich and poor and that while Lebanon has evolved to this trendy destination spot for the rich and famous, the stark reality is that 95% of the population is poor. Gentrification out of the downtown area seems to be the order of the day and that these are the types of conditions that lead to conflict as well as anger being reflected in the music.

You can holler at Clotaire K by visiting his website http://www.clotairek.com/ or drop him an email at clotairek@clotairek.com

Below are links to our Breakdown FM intv on YouTube

Lastly.. when I met Clotaire K I was apart of the Freemuse Music conference on censorship.. in october 2005… Below is a link to the report they issued on their findings from that year..

http://www.freemuse.org/sw11193.asp