Ayman

Ayman is a co-founder of Existence is Resistance, an organization that recently traveled to besieged Gaza and the West Bank and links progressive hip hop artist from the US with those in Palestine to raise awareness against the occupation. Growing up in both New York and war-torn Lebanon shaped his outlook on the world. Over the past ten years he has been an anti-war activist and a supporter of freeing political prisoners such as Mumia Abu-Jamal. He has also organized against police brutality and cuts to CUNY.

May 052015
 

Three Palestinian rappers whose families were displaced by the racist state of Israel send a thank you message to artist Lauryn Hill for canceling her show in Israel.

Ms. Lauryn Hill released a message saying she canceled her show, that she wanted to also perform for Palestinians in Ramallah but that was unable to be organized.

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Many Palestinians have hit social media to thank Lauryn Hill on her brave decision while Israelis have been cursing her out and attacking her. Below is a small sample of some of the nasty things being said to her:

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May 042015
 

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By Julie Lewis

I am a white woman who has been living in Baltimore for ten years. Previously, I lived in Upstate New York. The city I grew up in was predominately white and segregated. I didn’t even notice this segregation. It was just a matter of fact that all the black kids sat together, and the small group of first generation Asians sat together, and the white kids sat together. There were usually one or two kids who “crossed” these barriers, such as the handsome black basketball player, the white kid who grew up in the projects, or the Asian kid for whom English was a first language, but we mostly sat with those who looked like us. Even inside the classroom we were tracked like a caste system, with the “Regents” classes occupied by mostly white students. We learned about MLK in Social Studies and didn’t harass each other. We knew discrimination was bad and generally focused on issues that did not revolve around race, such as whose parents were going out of town so we could drink at their house. I did not become class and race conscious until I entered college. Even then it was more rhetorical than anything else. It wasn’t until I moved to a city that is almost 70% black, did I really consider my relationship to race in any practical terms.

When I moved to Baltimore in 2005, some visiting friends and family commented, “There are lots of black people here.” They don’t use the “N” word; they don’t promote discrimination; they voted for Obama! At the same time, too many black people walking around North Avenue made them uncomfortable. They considered rolling up their window. They didn’t want to stop anywhere that looked “shady.” I thought of my first days in Baltimore. I had a ground floor apartment in the “nice” neighborhood of Mt. Vernon. My door opened on to the street and from my bedroom I could hear people passing by. The first night in my apartment I dreamt that a black man walked into my door from the adjacent sidewalk and slit my throat.

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By the time I had children my conscious thoughts about race shifted from my own safety to the double standard of living that exists in Baltimore. Most Baltimore neighborhoods (outside of a few pockets of beautiful homes and shops) have been neglected. The schools are truly lacking. The city closes recreation centers and concentrates its money on the development of the Inner Harbor. The most attention they pay to the poor, mostly black, blighted neighborhoods is in the form of ramped up policing. Yet, if you are a part of the upper or middle class, Baltimore is fantastic. You have access to great art, restaurants and homes at a reasonable cost of living. You also have more of a choice when it comes to sending your child to school.

My son Beckett will be starting kindergarten in the Fall. What are the options for a middle class family with a car? There are numerous private schools that cost as much as a college tuition. You can try to get your child into a public charter school, or you can pick up and move to the county. I have discovered that liberal-minded parents like to see “diversity” at their child’s school. I mean, what good liberal wants to send their kids to an all-white school? But just how much “diversity” do white parents really want? See, the unspoken sentiment amongst white parents is that they want their children to go to school with non-whites, but not too many non-whites. Yet, only two of the public city schools and one or two public charter schools have a majority of white students. There are some excellent free public charters and my sons will be attending one of them. Yes – they will be a minority, but don’t they see enough white people at home? Maybe they will not grow up with a fear that too many black people in one place is unsettling.

We like our diversity “sprinkled lightly” over our existing predominately white lives. As good liberals, we don’t like to go to places where there are no people of color, but we also get really uncomfortable when there are too many people of color and we are outnumbered. Are they going to stare at me and wonder what I’m doing here? Is a fight going to break out? Are they going to make fun of the way I dance.

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Last Saturday we marched for a man who had his spine crushed by six Baltimore police officers. We marched against the decades of police brutality in this city aimed at blacks. See, in Baltimore, the police may not shoot you, but they will beat you within an inch of your life. The march for Freddie Gray began in West Baltimore and ended up at City Hall. It is not hyperbole to say it was the most peaceful march I had even attended. Up until that point, most of the protesters during the week had been black. Those, too, occurred without incident. What was unusual about Saturday’s march, though, was that there was truly a huge representation from the black and white communities. There were also healthy numbers of Latinos and Asians. Few marches fall along these demographic lines. One of the reasons why I think it was so calm was the presence of the “other”. Everyone was on their best behavior. Whites I had seen at previous protests were more subdued and respectful…not screaming and running around furiously. The black organizers and participants were on point – directing the crowd when to walk and when to stand still and asking for and receiving silence when listening to speakers. Seeing thousands of people go from marching and chanting, to stopping in silence within seconds of being asked, was astounding.

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That evening things got ramped up, and images of angry “mobs” of black protesters went viral. Since then America has watched footage of unruly blacks throwing rocks and looting. It’s as if their fear of too many black people congregating in one place was coming true. Yet images of armed vehicles and police in gear from head to toe do not bother them. These are what make Baltimore look like it’s in the middle of a war, not people throwing a few rocks. Last night we brought our kids to another march, but this one was accompanied by hundreds of cops and military persons. There were at least four helicopters above us at all times, reigning down orders from the sky to clear out. The “us” and “them” was not about race, it was about those who were standing against a brutal system of oppression and those who were protecting that system.

Since Tuesday the National Guard and curfews assure us that it’s all under control, and that the “mobs” of blacks have been pacified. Ultimately it reminds me that white America prefers its diversity in small, orderly doses and its uprisings non-existent. But I don’t think this uprising is going away anytime soon.

All pictures taken by Devin Allen, check out more of his work on instagram @bydvnlln

 

Apr 232015
 

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In an article in the New Republic, Professor Michael Eric Dyson attacks his former friend and mentor Professor Cornel West.

The piece titled “The Ghost of Cornel West” goes into how Mr. West is hypocritical in Dyson’s opinion, how he criticizes others especially those trying to gain inside access to the White House and the Obama administration. How Mr. West has not published a new book and supposedly thinks of himself as a prophet and other attacks, most of which seem personal then political or academic.

He goes on to defend President Obama, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and TV Host Melissa Harris Perry all of whom have been criticized by Professor West.

On a new Facebook post, Cornel West seems to respond to Michael Eric Dyson’s article:

“The escalating deaths and sufferings in Black and poor America and the marvelous new militancy in our Ferguson moment should compel us to focus on what really matters: The life and death issues of police murders, poverty, mass incarceration, drones, TPP (unjust trade policies), vast surveillance, decrepit schools, unemployment, Wall Street power, Israeli occupation of Palestinians, Dalit resistance in India, and ecological catastrophe.

Character assassination is the refuge of those who hide and conceal these issues in order to rationalize their own allegiance to the status quo. I am neither a saint nor prophet, but I am a Jesus-loving free Black man in a Great Tradition who intends to be faithful unto death in telling the truth and bearing witness to justice. I am not beholden to any administration, political party, TV channel or financial sponsor because loving suffering and struggling peoples is my point of reference. Deep integrity must trump cheap popularity. Nothing will stop or distract my work and witness, even as I learn from others and try not to hurt others.

But to pursue truth and justice is to live dangerously. In the spirit of John Coltrane’s LOVE SUPREME, let us focus on what really matters: the issues, policies, and realities that affect precious everyday people catching hell and how we can resist the lies and crimes of the status quo!”

 Posted by at 12:34 pm
Apr 072015
 

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By Ayman El-Sayed

Mystery has always surrounded the killing of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. First the body that was found and believed to be that of Jeffrey Dahmer was bludgeoned beyond recognition, second of all DNA testing was not as readily available at that time. DNA testing was not done on the body, it was just assumed to be that of Jeffrey Dahmer because his life was under constant threat.

Many theories have circulated since Dahmers supposed killing, some claiming he escaped, saying he was working in cahoots with the prison guards, others saying some of the inmates who sympathized with him killed someone else and claimed that they killed Jeffrey Dahmer but new evidence has emerged confirming that in fact Jeffrey Dahmer is still alive and is actually comedian Bill Maher.

DNA samples preserved from Dahmer’s original imprisonment were compared with DNA samples taken from a glass of wine Bill Maher was drinking out of. It was an exact match to the surprise of the analyst.

Police now believe that Dahmer did in fact escape and must have had some plastic surgery done on his face and has been living as comedian Bill Maher all along.

Many books will be written on how he escaped and got away with pretending to be a famous comedian right under our noses but those who knew Jeffrey Dahmer now say they are not surprised at all because not only was he a serial killer but a serial liar and chameleon.

This also explains Bill Maher’s racist and crude humor which thankfully due to this historical discovery we will no longer be subjected to.

Feb 262015
 

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World famous British artist Banksy visited the besieged Gaza Strip in Palestine and left his mark with several pieces of his politically driven artwork.

One of the paintings is that of a kitten which was drawn on the remains of a Palestinian home destroyed by Israel during it’s savage bombing campaign last summer which killed over 2,000 people.

On his website, Bansky says why he drew the kitten, “A local man came up and said ‘Please – what does this mean?’ I explained I wanted to highlight the destruction in Gaza by posting photos on my website – but on the internet people only look at pictures of kittens.”

Banksy also released a short video which you can view below: