Archive for August, 2009

The voice of the voiceless.


The Voice for the voiceless

“My brother was the first President of the United States to state publicly that segregation was morally wrong. His heart and his soul are in this bill. If his life and death had a meaning, it was that we should not hate but love one another; we should use our powers not to create conditions of oppression that lead to violence, but conditions of freedom that lead to peace.” (T.K. U.S Senate, 1964)

I am always amazed when I see someone who comes from an economically well to do family championing the cause of the less fortunate in society. While it is fashionable to avoid talking about poor people, even by those who actually come from needy backgrounds, it is most admirable that Senator Ted Kennedy was a true hero for the cause of justice and equality.

Senator Ted Kennedy who has authored thousands of bills during his long and illustrious public service, had constantly focused on issues that affected women, African-Americans, people with disabilities, higher education opportunity for all, civil rights for Gays and Lesbians, etc. What these groups have in common is the fact that they are the most vulnerable in the U.S. Of course, the most reliable defender these groups had was Ted Kennedy.

In the mid 80s when the Reagan administration was doing everything in its power to prolong racism and exploitation in South Africa, Ted Kennedy was fighting against apartheid and pushed for sanctions against South Africa. People who believe in justice and equality should never forget Ted Kennedy’s protest in front of the prison where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned.

Ted Kennedy’s impact on the body politic of the U.S is enormous.  It is a sad day for all. Without a doubt America has lost a giant of a man.

Mekonen Haddis

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Media frauds, poem, etc.

As you see, I have not been writing lately. That is because, no topic has tickled my fancy. Be that as it may, on Wednesday, August 12, 2009, my former colleague, a good friend, the brilliant Dr. Abdul Karim Bangura (Professor of Political Science at Howard University ) was a guest on Voice of America Straight Talk Africa program.

The topic of discussion was United States-African Relations and the Push for a United States of Africa (based on a new book, Assessing George W. Bush’s Africa Policy and Suggestions for Barack Obama and African Leaders, published by the African Studies and Research Forum, an affiliate of the Association of Third World Studies, and the recent United States of Africa Symposium convened in Dakar, Senegal, July 27-30).

Of course, my brother was very informative, as usual. I only thought the time allotted was not enough for a topic and guests of such importance.

On Friday afternoon, I am driving on the Beltway on my way to my usual, weekly discussion. The heat was very oppressive and humid. The weather and the Friday afternoon rush hour traffic was getting on my nerves. So, I turn on my Ipod.

“ open your eyes, and look within, are you satisfied with the life you’re livin?” That was Bob Marley. That definitely was not a song I should listen to at that particular moment. I was on the edge as it was. Even my favorite, the great Carlos Santana would not calm me. I had to turn to dear Sade. Smooth Operator.

My philosopher friend was the first to show at our usual spot. He was in a very jovial mood. He was coming from a successful court appearance. Our businessman friend was running late, as he was coming from a meeting at the U.S. Department of Commerce. The agenda for our discussion was mainly the health care issue.

The main reason for my depression this week has been the President’s continuous pursuing of his so-called bi-partisan support for his policies. While he is running after the support of those that will never wish him success, he is loosing the support of his base.( Those progressive forces that actually put him in the White House.) I can never fathom the reason why the Democrats are spineless. If the president is unable to pass his core legislations now, while he has majorities in both Houses, then, when? Can we find another LBJ?

At least now, the president is trying to make the record straight on the issues surrounding health care. I hope it is not too late. Too much damage has been done by the opposition. The focus of the debate is now about Obama the “Nazi”, the “Socialist”, and the”non-American”. Who are this dim-wits?

What a sad state of affairs, to have the most  irresponsible media in the leading power of the world.

Democracy needs educated, and informed citizens,

But today, what passes for information and news,

If you call it that, is nothing but sacrilegious.

Full of cheats, pretenders and frauds,

Move over former propaganda chiefs,

To dictators and fascist states,

Roll over in your graves,

Drool in your dreams,

The new mega-media conglomerates,

Have taken over the whole world,

The dissemination of news, in the hands,

Of the chosen few, who tell us,

What to think, eat, see and read,

An absolute totalitarian creed.

And what is propaganda?  I was asked.

Well, propaganda is a tool of the mighty,

That has nothing to do with reality.

A sophisticated way of lying,

A means of mind controlling.

A force that makes the undecided believers,

And the believers, fanatics.

A demi-god that creates,

And destroys when it wishes.

So mightily, equating questioning

With condemning,

Independent thinking with dissenting,

In the hope of creating,

Citizens that are not demanding.

So, at least for a moment,

Let’s realize and admit,

For those who control the media,

Control the arsenal of propaganda.

Professor Mekonen Haddis

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