Posted by: r.m. | February 10, 2017

farmers and farmworkers – and the market economy

A new brief from the excellent “Food First”

“The same market economy that compels the intensification and consolidation of agricultural land in the United States has also pushed farmers off their land, depressed local economies, and driven mass migration across Latin America. The new brief from Food First, Unbroken Connection to the Land, highlights the interlocking destinies of farmers and farmworkers and the ways we can resist the exploitation of migrant farmworkers while furthering a restorative land ethic.”

This is Food First’s 8th installment in their Dismantling Racism in the Food System series.

Check it out here ->Unbroken Connection to the Land


Posted by: r.m. | January 28, 2017

New course: Exploring environmental (in)justice

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Interested in the course? I’ll be uploading all the readings on a page on this website. Enjoy 🙂

The course is being offered this semester at AUB.

Posted by: r.m. | December 31, 2015

#TamirRice & #MazenAribe- we continue to resist

I include this open letter from Rev Sekou to #TamirRice  – as published in Ebony in full    Nothing can be excerpted from it — it deserves to be read in full and to be read slowly. I read it and thought of Palestine.
I read it and thought of the Trail of Tears and the genocide throughout the Americas. I read it and thought of the lives killed – and the lives to be killed tomorrow, from BlackLives to PalestinianLives to others. I read it and thought of hope and resistance and love.
Thank you Sekou!
I also include this open Facebook post by Noura Erakat, posted today, about another child murdered by another racist regime.
Read them both together.
In both statements, the bolds are my own.
America has failed you, yet again. This nation gorges on our flesh, and yet it is never satiated. Your mother’s wails could not wake democracy from its deep slumber.  And we cannot protect you, not from a brutal and lonely death, not from vilification, not from the exoneration of your murderers.  We are powerless, and we mourn.  It must seem the case that our people are insane.  We march and march and keep marching, getting the same results but forever expecting America to be different.
So we must change. Law and order—a whip and a gun— can be our only expectation and unreasonable the force that will be used on our flesh.  You were the burnt offering for America’s second sin.  What are we to believe of a nation that claims its right to exist on stolen land?
In your name, dear one, we shall take to the streets and register our lamentations before idols that have eyes that cannot see and ears that cannot hear.  Our cry is not for them but for our own ears lest we become dumb. Neither the maddening fact that we are never safe nor the insufferable truth of degradation can be your eulogy.
Your name sounds like Trayvon. It alone warranted democracy to let loose its vanity on your precious self. The mere sight of you caused men to bear arms against a baby.  Our cry will march—some may burn— others will pray.  A few will do all of above.  America will continue along her merry way not batting an eyelid or shedding a tear.
I am sure you were taught to always tell the truth. And yet your homeland was founded by liars; the whole lot of them.  The scared text of the democracy—the Constitution—is a bible of lies.  For none of these scriptures hold true for you, nor your mother, her mother, or her mother before her. Those who gunned you down are sworn to protect and serve on the basis of a two-fold lie—that we are not human and that democracy is real. America is as far from the truth as you are from your mother’s touch.  Yet we believe.
The United States continues to be a war zone for us.  If you had lived, you’d have heard the names Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland and Jamar Clark.  Your young mind would have wrestled with their lives lost, perhaps wondered if you were next.  You fell before them and we carry you all because we believe—not in the country or its constitution – but in you.
All we have left is our undying love for our future.  I bet you heard old folks talk about the good old days. How they wished your generation could be more like theirs. Nostalgia is a form of mourning, because the present is unbearable, and the future is unforeseeable.  You are all we can see.  Rest in peace knowing that we will resist.
Our resistance, like our expectations, must change.  It is clear the mainstream is a cesspool and the ever-so-cherished Dream is an [un]reality show. At times, our resistance is tainted by the intoxicating fantasy of America. Fallacious sentiments abound: “If they knew more” or “If we did better”… causing the speaker and hearer alike to believe the lie.  Cameras cannot save us. The world saw you murdered, and still they deny it. We contort our righteous rage to fit into a cell reserved for prisoners of hope. Thus we must become something else—ourselves.  Full and free—swinging on swings—living as though our lives depend upon.  Living into us until there is no lie.  For sure this has been our fore-parent’s aspiration since being forced to this godforsaken land.
Lives – America’s commodity – are bought and stolen every other day but we must live.  This is our hope. To keep doing the very thing that was denied to you.  There is nothing ironic about that choice. If we are alive then we might have a chance at joy. To be black and live in America is to resist, and to live a life of resistance demands a sense of joy.
We are crying now and filled with rage because we are what they say we are not – human. Though capricious death is our ever-present companion, we breathe in spite of it. In the midst of a death dealing civilization, the life of a black child taken too soon – as most are – takes our breath every time but for a moment. Demands for forgiveness are followed by the necessity to “keep on keeping on” and a mighty people keeps trying not to die.  We live with the expectation that they will continue to kill us. And for that I am sorry. But we will continue to resist. We will not cease to resist.
Yours in love and lament,
Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou
Mazen Aribe

Last night, Israeli authorities delivered the body of Mazen Aribe, to his mama. It arrived frigid in her home with only a sliver of his face exposed to cover the bullet wounds in his head. Still enough so that she could pray on him and begin to fall apart at the unnatural condition of surviving her child. His body had been in a freezer for 3.5 weeks and it was one of the over 300 Palestinian bodies Israel has held hostage even after death. On December 3rd, Israeli officers shot him dead at Hizme checkpoint in broad daylight. They then wrapped him in a garbage bag and left him strewn on paved asphalt as they justified his extrajudicial assassination in rehearsed soundbites. Supposedly, Mazen drew a gun on an officer but we don’t know and will never know what actually happened because he will not get a trial. His murder was his indictment, and his life as a Palestinian sufficed as a presumption of guilt. What we do know is that now his home, the shelter for his widow and four children will be slated for demolition and that his mama who just removed a brain tumor can’t complete her chemotheraphy in Jerusalem because her son’s murder registered her as a “security threat.”

Mazen is my second cousin, born and raised in Abu Dis, and I’ve been repeatedly warned to pay his mama my condolences as secretly as possible because contact with the family would similarly register me as a threat. No matter that this is my family. No matter that we are all inextricably entwined in a Palestinian national fabric. Not a single one of us is more than a degree of separation removed from a “security threat” and, besides, according to the state, we are all sleeper cells- latent terrorist threats and, thus, guilty until we prove or survive otherwise.

That’s why it’s so easy to kill each of us- the machinery is in place to make sense of it to the “reasonable person” and to acquit the murderer even without a trial. This is more deeply resonant today as the Ohio grand jury finds that there is insufficient evidence to try Tamir Rice’s murderer- who pledged a duty to protect and serve, who shot him at arm’s length, who didn’t even ask the child to put the (toy) gun down, who was videotaped on camera. Tamir was presumed guilty. We, our public imagination, saw his black body before we registered his youthful joy. His murder was his indictment as affirmed by a grand jury who thought it reasonable for a veteran, armed officer to fear for his life at his image. It’s so easy to kill black children – the machinery is in place to make sense of it to the “reasonable person” and to acquit the murderer even without trial.

There isn’t a single thing reasonable about these atrocities. They are cruel, insidiously racist, and a systematic feature of our lives. What could be more absurd than this condition and more reasonable than a commitment to resist and to struggle, and to continue to resist, until we defeat it? We’re trying to do much more than survive. ‪#‎Thrive‬ ‪#‎Joy‬ ‪#‎Love‬ ‪#‎Life‬ ‪#‎Free‬

– Noura Erakat

Posted by: r.m. | November 26, 2015

interview – topic: #ISIS, #US, racism, and more

Jeff Blankfort interviewed me last night for his show ‘Takes on the World’ on

We discussed US foreign policy and domestic policy, Democrats and Republicans, ISIS and US governmental interests, and, of course, racism.

Here is the interview –  (It can also be accessed here:

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Two points to discuss about the US and ISIS

—  Intention?

Someone close to the US Administration has finally  confirmed what we guessed all along to be the US strategy: split the region into smaller states according to their sectarian identity.John Bolton – former US ambassador to the UN – writes, “To Defeat ISIS, Create a Sunni State.” In typical imperialist fashion, absence from the discourse is the voice of the indigenous population — the Syrians and Iraqis. We have, rather, more voices of empire discussing how to divide and (further) rule other people’s lands, cities, and nation.

Too conspiratorial to claim this is/was the US intention?  Let’s remember this document, as discussed by Seamus Milne article in the Guardian here – under the title ‘Now the truth emerges: how the US fuelled the rise of Isis in Syria and Iraq’!

Excerpt: A recently declassified secret US intelligence report, written in August 2012, which uncannily predicts – and effectively welcomes – the prospect of a “Salafist principality” in eastern Syria and an al-Qaida-controlled Islamic state in Syria and Iraq. In stark contrast to western claims at the time, the Defense Intelligence Agency document identifies al-Qaida in Iraq (which became Isis) and fellow Salafists as the “major forces driving the insurgency in Syria” – and states that “western countries, the Gulf states and Turkey” were supporting the opposition’s efforts to take control of eastern Syria. …A year into the Syrian rebellion, the US and its allies weren’t only supporting and arming an opposition they knew to be dominated by extreme sectarian groups; they were prepared to support the creation of some sort of “Islamic state” – despite the “grave danger” to Iraq’s unity – to weaken Syria

— Discourse?

A former CIA intelligence officer turned blogger Michael Scheuer said the U.S. should bomb even hospitals and universities  Isn’t that the ethic of #ISIS? Remember – ISIS wanted to bomb a hospital in Beirut and then opted to bomb a marketplace instead (not because they don’t want to harm patients but because it was easier). Isn’t that the ethnic of Zionism?Another US pundit learning from the Israelis: Americans shouldn’t care about non-American civilians killed, he says

Of course this is the usual corporate-media. No surprise to discover that the US Media is Fueling War Fervor, Xenophobia In 24/7 Cycle

Reminder: – Who is bombing Syria?

From the Intercept: “A coalition made up of the United States, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates began striking ISIS targets in Syria in September 2014, with the U.S. military taking the overwhelming lead in the bombings. As of this month, U.S. warplanes had delivered roughly 94 percent of the nearly 3,000 coalition airstrikes in Syria, according to coalition figures. While the coalition has maintained that it operates the most precise weapons systems on the planet, evidence that its strikes have caused civilian casualties has steadily mounted — with some estimates indicating as many as 354 civilians allegedly killed in the coalition’s first year of operations. Still, despite launching thousands of airstrikes in Syria since its campaign began, the U.S. Central Command, as of September, had admitted to just one “likely” incident of a civilian casualty caused by a coalition strike. France announced it would join the coalition air campaign in Syria a year after the Americans did, in mid-September 2015. … The Russians have been bombing Raqqa as well”

And let’s not forget the role of Turkey

But wait – did the US actually claim “precise weapons systems”… like those drones?

Really? Drones precise?

“U.S. DRONE OPERATORS are inflicting heavy civilian casualties and have developed an institutional culture callous to the death of children and other innocents, four former operators said at a press briefing in New York”

  • Drone operators refer to children as “fun-size terrorists” and liken killing them to “cutting the grass before it grows too long,” said one of the operators, Michael Haas, a former senior airman in the Air Force. Haas also described widespread drug and alcohol abuse, further stating that some operators had flown missions while impaired.
  • The drone program killed people based on unreliable intelligence, the vast majority of people killed in a multi-year Afghanistan campaign were not the intended targets, and the military by default labeled non-targets killed in the campaign as enemies rather than civilians. Up to 90% of the people killed in drone strikes may be unintended, with the disparity glossed over by the recording of unknown victims as “enemies killed in action” Read more here:
  • The number of lethal airstrikes has ballooned under Obama’s watch. The Pentagon has plans further to increase the number of daily drone flights by 50% by 2019.- 41 men targeted – 1,147 people killed!  In Pakistan, in one attack, For the death of a man whom practically no American can name, the US killed 128 people, 13 of them children, none of whom it meant to harm. Some 24 men specifically targeted in Pakistan resulted in the death of 874 people.  In Yemen, 17 named men were targeted multiple times. Strikes on them killed 273 people, at least seven of them children. At least four of the targets are still alive.


So, does the US really want to destroy ISIS? Does the US really want to defeat terrorism? 

Posted by: r.m. | November 25, 2015

#ISIS and #Turkey

“For well over a year the Turkish Government has been secretly supporting ISIS, but the US and NATO turn a blind eye to this because of Turkey’s geopolitical position. ISIS as an armed force – though not ISIS terrorists outside the Mid East region – would most likely have been defeated long ago had it not been for Turkey’s support.”


Read the article in full here: ISIS survives largely because Turkey allows it to: the evidence – and there is plenty of referenced evidence included there

From the article:

 1. Turkey Provides Military Equipment to ISIS

2. Turkey Provided Transport and Logistical Assistance to ISIS Fighters

3. Turkey Provided Training to ISIS Fighters

4. Turkey Offers Medical Care to ISIS Fighters

5. Turkey Supports ISIS Financially Through Purchase of Oil

6. Turkey Assists ISIS Recruitment

7. Turkish Forces Are Fighting Alongside ISIS

8. Turkey Helped ISIS in Battle for Kobani

9. Turkey and ISIS Share a Worldview

Posted by: r.m. | November 25, 2015

Countering Colonialism and Apartheid in Palestine

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Abu Kamel was the last survivor of al Safsaf Massacre; he passed away yesterday in Ein el Helweh camp in Lebanon after carrying his pain for 67 years. However, he kept telling his story to the last breath, but unfortunately it was limited to those who visited him in the camp.

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In 2003, Mahmoud Zeidan interviewed Abed Kasem Younis, Abu Kamel (born in Sufsaf in 1918) about al Sufsaf massacre. It was a unique interview because Abu Kamel was one of the two survivors who understood Hebrew and heard the Jewish gangs as they were killing the victims. His below detailed account amounts to filming. He was coming from the windmill unaware that the Zionists occupied his village:

“I was at the door when my mother, my wife and two children Monira and Kamel jumped to receive me. I’d brought them some candies. The Jewish soldiers began with me, so I gave the candies to my kids and said, “Take it; it’s the last donation from your father.”… my mother tried to hold my hand, but a Jewish fighter pulled me and pulled around 17 young men most of whom were less than 17 years old.

The Jewish fighters turned our faces back to a wall; we started to hide against each other. One young man hid his head under my arm. My brother in law, who was 35 years old started to beg the Jewish soldier, but the soldier said to him in Arabic: “ Turn your head you donkey”. Then they shot us. I swear the wall shook above our heads from the bullets.

When they shot, I was injured in my arm. Then it penetrated to the neck of the guy who was hiding under my arm. I saw his jaw spilling in my eyes. Then I got another bullet on my chest and one in the back that burnt my jacket, so I fell down; when I fell, the young guy who was hiding under my arm fell over my head, and all his blood started to pour on me. Add to this blood from son of Khaled Askoul and blood from someone called Kassem Hamad. I felt as if I had been in pool of blood. Suddenly an old woman appeared to check on us, and she stood over my head; so I told her that I was still alive; then I asked her to go and tell my mother that I was still alive, but I asked her not to come as I was worried that the Jewish soldiers might return; and unfortunately, two Jewish soldiers came fully equipped with arms and other needs.

One of them stood over my head and one was 2 meters far. He told him in Hebrew there’s someone who is still alive, kill him.

I thought either I or Khaled Askoul would be killed. However, I could see what they were doing under the Kofiyeh that was smeared with blood and covered my face. The sight was dark and blurred because of the kofiyeh and the blood. The jewish soldier called his friend and told him, “come and kill him; he posted his stin (machine gun) on his knee and shot two bullets that penetrated the young man’s waist and hit me in my chest. The young man didn’t bleed as he had lost all his blood. He bit his lip and died. The Salvation Army bombed the area; then the jewish soldiers ran away, so I held my arm and walked where women and children were hiding.”

This is how Abu Kamel Younis survived the Safsaf massacre in which 80 victims were killed on 29 October 1948. Abu Kamel kept on tediously telling his story alone to uncover the terrorist face of Zionists. He died today.

  • interviewed and transcribed by Mahmoud Zeidan
Posted by: r.m. | November 18, 2015

Another interview on terrorism

Here is an interview that KBOO – Oregan community radio – did with me late last night, edited it, and released it this morning. 




I discussed the Western media’s response to the terrorist attacks in Lebanon and France, and the absence of coverage of the attacks in Iraq.  I talked about US foreign policy, US domestic policy, and Black Lives Matter, Howard Zinn, building an alternative media, and the need for a real democracy in the US.


Posted by: r.m. | November 16, 2015

Critical articles on terrorism in Paris and Beirut

Where are we going now? French President Hollande‬ has called for “a pitiless war.” How many more thousands and thousands of people will be killed and killed invisibly? Their lives and deaths will not reach the western press, no condemnations will be issued when they are killed.

Vijay Prashad writes: “Macho language about “pitiless war” defines the contours of leadership these days. Little else is on offer. It is red meat to our emotions.”

Is there another way? Yes. there is.

Read Vijay’s excellent article: We are in pitiless times.  Read it once and then twice. Then share it.  It is that necessary.

What about the seen and unseen bodies?

“In ‪#‎Paris‬ there are detailed descriptions of the music venue and sports stadium where the violence took place. In ‪#‎Beirut‬ there is little or no mention of the marketplace, mosque or school that bore the brunt of the explosions.
…Not only do these narratives feed into rightist, xenophobic or Islamophobic political views, they also colour the perceptions of readers and editors at mainstream publications. Take an analysis piece that appeared in the The Huffington Post less than 24 hours after the Beirut attacks which flatly suggested that the tragedy was to be expected. “It was a matter of time before residents of Dahiyeh, the Hezbollah-controlled suburb of Beirut Lebanon, were bombed again,” a fellow at a Washington think-tank wrote. Can one imagine an article a day after the Paris bombings claiming it was just “a matter of time” before Europeans were massacred?”

Read Habib Battah’s article for more: Analysis: Just as innocent – comparing Beirut and Paris

Whose lives are unseen? In the midst of these terrorist attacks, there are other terrorist attacks that have gone (almost) unseen…

And, ISIS – where did it come from?

“The sectarian terror group won’t be defeated by the western states that incubated it in the first place. … A year into the Syrian rebellion, the US and its allies weren’t only supporting and arming an opposition they knew to be dominated by extreme sectarian groups; they were prepared to countenance the creation of some sort of “Islamic state” – despite the “grave danger” to Iraq’s unity – as a Sunni buffer to weaken Syria.That doesn’t mean the US created Isis, of course, though some of its Gulf allies certainly played a role in it – as the US vice-president, Joe Biden, acknowledged last year. But there was no al-Qaida in Iraq until the US and Britain invaded. And the US has certainly exploited the existence of Isis against other forces in the region as part of a wider drive to maintain western control.”

Read the article in full:  Now the truth emerges: how the US fuelled the rise of Isis in Syria and Iraq

All the while, all the while … Palestine

Among the sympathies pouring into Paris from all over the world are messages from the Palestinians of Gaza, for whom such terror has been a regular occurrence for decades—particularly for the past six years, during which they have suffered through three major assaults by Israel. Despite their own pain, which is frequently forgotten in the press of other crises, they are uniquely positioned to sympathize with the trauma of others.-

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See more at:

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