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Friday, September 30, 2011


In praise of Winnie Mandela on 75th birthday


In praise of Winnie Mandela on 75th birthday

Sep 30, 2011 | Udo Froese

A woman of intelligence and charm

FREEDOM FIGHTER: Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has suffered for the liberation cause.


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Mandela, a beaming great-grandfather

Mandela is the world's No 1

Mandela foundation pays tribute to late Kenyan Nobel winner

ON SEPTEMBER 26 2011, Nomzamo Winifred Madikizela-Mandela celebrated her 75th birthday. A good vintage, blessed with unparalleled beauty, charisma, a great sense of humour and generally good health too.

U'Mama Wethu, translated, the "Mother of the Nation", is one of South Africa's as well as Africa's most popular heroines, who kept the Struggle fires burning while the now ruling African National Congress was exiled.

Among other things, she was a leading light of the 1976 Soweto uprisings, despite certain political interests and distorted media reports.

Madikizela-Mandela was banished from 1977 to 1986 when she unbanned herself from Brandfort in Free State. She was the longest banned woman during apartheid. Another Struggle icon, Helen Joseph, served the second-longest term.

Mama Winnie was arrested in 1969 under the apartheid regime's notorious Terrorism Act and she spent 18 months in solitary confinement at Pretoria Central Prison. She was severely tortured and lost a lot of weight.

She once described herself as "the most unmarried of married women", referring to the 27 years of her former husband Nelson Mandela's incarceration on Robben Island and Pollsmoor Prison. The former president was finally transferred to Victor Verster Prison near Paarl in Western Cape .

Among other things, Mama Winnie contributed towards the negotiated peace settlement thatushered the ANC into power in 1994.

It is said that in 1980 she was approached by the then minister of justice Kobie Coetzee during one of her visits to Robben Island. He is said to have asked her if Nelson Mandela would agree to talk to his government.

She told him to meet her husband. Coetzee did and the talks between the ANC and the National Party started.

Madikizela-Mandela was persecuted by the former security police and the Civil Cooperation Bureau (CCB), the notorious covert arm of the former SADF Military Intelligence , planting numerous agents and informers around her. Senior members of the then dismantled CCB, including Paul Erasmus, told the Truth and Reconciliation Commission chaired by Bishop Desmond Tutu that they had a series of projects to frame Winnie Mandela. She was framed to tarnish Mandela and undermine the moral high ground of the ANC.

Meanwhile, the international and local media had their field day. Madikizela-Mandela could do nothing right.

She was, for example, ostracised for her public address in Munsieville, where she publicly stated that the oppressed majority had no weapons and no means to bring the racist regime down.

In that context, she considered "necklacing" with tyres and matches as part of the struggle against colonial-apartheid.

A feisty Madikizela-Mandela addressed a large assembly of ANC supporters in KwaZulu-Natal during the troubled period between 1992 and 1994, calling on them to keep their arms and ammunition to fight the marauding Inkatha impis off.

Just before that, then ANC president Nelson Mandela had called on the same constituency to throw their weapons into the Indian Ocean.

The media, having coined the urban war as "black-on-black violence", and the colonial-apartheid regime hailed Nelson Mandela as "peace maker" and criticised Madikizela-Mandela as a "warmonger".

It was later revealed at the TRC hearings in Johannesburg that the popular media description of the racist "black-on-black violence" was in reality a covert operation strategy of urban warfare, orchestrated by the dismantled CCB, also referred to as a "covert third force".

The "Stompie Seipei case" came up and fortunately her husband Nelson stood by her. He was convinced that she was not guilty of the charges of kidnapping and an accessory to the assault of young Stompie. She received a fine of R15000 on appeal.

After 27 years apart, Winnie and Nelson Mandela eventually divorced in 1996.

On her visit to South Africa, US First Lady Michelle Obama attended a special service at the famous Soweto Regina Mundi Church on June 16. Mandela's wife Gra├ža Machel was guest of honour and she delivered the keynote address about the history of June 16.

Madikizela-Mandela was not invited. She was at home in Orlando West.

At the funeral service of the late ANC stalwart Albertina Sisulu at Orlando Stadium, former president Mandela's wife Machel from Mozambique was asked to read her husband's message.

While Machel read the message, Madikezela-Mandela's face was shown on the big television screen above the VIP stage.

The soldiers of the South African National Defence Force, the guard of honour and the women of the ANC Women's League burst into song and dance, praising Madikizela-Mandela and defied attempts to crown the late Sisulu as the "Mother of the Nation".

Those close to her know U'Mama is a good woman. She is intelligent, a woman still to be reckoned with and a woman loved and respected by her family, friends and Africans not only at home, but throughout the world.

ANC MP Madikizela-Mandela is the first woman in the ANC to receive the National Heritage Council's Ubuntu Award. She joins the prestigious list of awardees who include her former husband, former Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda and retired Cuban president Fidel Castro, as well as former UN secretary-general Boutros Boutros Ghali from Egypt.

Madikizela-Mandela is indeed a woman in her own league. We salute you, Nomzamo!

- Froese is an independent political and socio-economic analyst based in Johannesburg.

Sep 30, 2011


I will always respect, love and cherish Mama Winnie Mandela. Thank you for all the things you have done for me, and the things you have done for us.
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Sep 30, 2011


What happened to Stompie and why Mandela divorced Winnie? South Africa loves you, you are such an true inspiration to us the youth.
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Sep 30, 2011


u out of oder, its not yet 8 am, r u gonna make it today? keep ur comments to urself.
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Sep 30, 2011


Mama i will pass there by your place tomorrow to say hi, as i will be at sakhumzi.
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Sep 30, 2011


when we speak about bomme ba go swara thipa ka bogaleng re ra mother of the nation(mma winnie mandela).
youth of today,especialy girls must read about this old lady`s life in oder to become good mothers.
happy birthday to you old lady (mother of the nation)
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Sep 30, 2011


stop all the make-ups, you are a granny now.
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Sep 30, 2011


Magrizen o wa khinya. I don't know why people worship her so much.
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Sep 30, 2011


I'll always respect you MAMA
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you are a heroine, role model. Keep it up

Sep 30, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011


That the Yoruba language may not die
SIR: The article of Yeye Olade published in your issue of August 8, 2005, treads on familiar ground. Her suggestions are most welcome. It will surprise her to hear that as far back as 1926 (when I was born) letters and articles have appeared in the Yoruba weekly AKEDE EKO on the pollution of the Yoruba language through admixture with English words. Past copies of AKEDE EKO available in the African Section of the University of Lagos Library are my source of information on this.

I hold that the Inspectorate Divisions of Federal and State Ministries of Education are to blame for the non-implementation of the decreed government policy on the use of the mother tongue or local language as the medium of instruction at the very start of primary school education. We continue to give kudos to Prof. Babs Fafunwa for the research on mother tongue education done at the University of Ife in the 1960s. One thing those who turn up their noses upon this research fail to note is that the students taught other subjects in Yoruba were taught the English language in English by specialist teachers, in view of the importance of English language in the Nigerian political, social and economic system.
Yeye Olade's appeal to all Yoruba parents to speak undiluted Yoruba at home in bringing up the children as lovers of the mother tongue is well taken. For her information I go down memory lane and recall that in 1957, a society named Egbe Ijinle Yoruba was founded in London by Yoruba students studying and living in London. The motive force was their desire to keep their secret . All meetings of the society were conducted in Yoruba and a standing rule was that undiluted Yoruba should be spoken. Should any member admix his contribution with an English word or phrase, someone else present would supply the correct Yoruba equivalent in correction.
As the students successfully completed their studies and brought home to Nigeria the golden fleece, an Ibadan branch of the society was inaugurated. Dr. Esan and Dr. (now Prof. Emeritus) Akinjogbin were in the vanguard of the inauguration. My humble self and the late Chief Folahan Odunjo among others became members of the society. When I moved from the University of Ife at Ibadan to the University of Lagos, I spoke with the late Pa Sobande, Mr. Oladipupo Yemiitan and others with a view to starting the Lagos branch of the society which was launched in 1965.
Our desire is to see a branch or more than one branch of the society flourishing in every Yoruba town or village. However, this desire is yet to be achieved. We declared over and over again that Egbe Ijinle Yoruba is not a secret society. What 'Ijinle' refers to in its name is deep Yoruba, idiomatic Yoruba.
Prof. Olugboyega Alaba of the University of Lagos, in his article on the Yoruba language published in the March 1995 issue of the B.B.C. Focus on Africa magazine, merely regards the admixture of English words with the spoken Yoruba of many a Yoruba person as interesting. Says he: "Another interesting by-product of the contact between English and Yoruba is code-mixing. To show that they speak some English, which is the more prestigious language, many speakers of Yoruba often put English lexical terms into Yoruba phrases".
Yeye Olade calls for research on modernising Yoruba. Inadequate supply of funding for such research has been a bane, but in the 1980-1983 period, the Yoruba Studies Association of Nigeria spearheaded a research project funded by the Nigerian Educational and Research Council for the production of suitable terminology for legislative purposes in the three major Nigerian languages. An outcome is A Quadrilingual Glossary of Legislative Terms (English, Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba) published by the Council in 1991. The onus is on the National Assembly and the state Houses of Assembly to make use of this Glossary after the production of a core of trained, simultaneous interpretation experts for each language.
Prior to this research on legislative terms, the Yoruba Studies Association of Nigeria had succeeded in reaching consensus on appropriate meta language for teaching Yoruba language and literature in Yoruba at the tertiary level of education. The terms were published in two volumes to start with.
To round off this response of mine, I want to bring to Yeye Olade's attention the laudable enterprise commenced by Dr. & Mrs. Onayemi in Canada starting a Yoruba literacy (reading and writing) club with well-illustrated bilingual publications: Mo on ko, mo on ka primarily to acculturate their own children as Omo Oduduwa. I believe there is a web-site for the club on the Internet.
Adeboye Babalola, Lagos

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Oloogbon Adeboye Babalola's response to my article "The Death of Yoruba Language?" in Guardian,August 8th,was enlightening. It is the tiredless efforts of such Yoruba Scholars that has academically placed Yoruba on the World map. Now we have Google in Yoruba as a result of such hardworking scholars! We want to build on this solid foundation that Oloogbon Babalola,Akinwunmi Isola, Oladipupo Yemitan, Adebayo Faleti and so many others have laid. In an ammended version of the same article I have advanced that all State legislatures in Yorubaland must declare Yoruba as their lst language of discourse. Here the legislative terms already worked out in Yoruba,Ibo and Hausa will come into use! Also it should be noted that Yoruba on the World Wide Web is booming. Tiwantiwa,(uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/tiwantiwa), created by Sister Molara Wood in London is protecting the purity of the Yoruba Language and should be supported by clicking on and joining its growing membership.
The response to the article has been tremendous from all over the Yoruba World, so look forward to a soon to be announced Conference on "Saving Yoruba Language" to be held both in Nigeria and the USA. I have talked on the web and in workplaces where I go in Nigeria to many people as a result and have received many suggestions on how we will save Yoruba and other Nigerian languages. One female security guard, after reading the article prompltly declared that from that day forward all Yoruba speakers on the staff would be corrected and fined by her to make sure they stopped polluting Yoruba! The she proudly correct herself and addressed me as "Iya" instead of the "Mama" she had minutes before been calling me! One large Lagos company I visited and took time to pass copies of my articles around to read, had the Female receptionist orgtanizing staff there to a meeting where"ogas" of each section would be convinced to stop mixing and to issue fines for any mixture to be collected and used for charitable donations!
On the Net I was written to about the heavy assault of "born-again" churches on Yoruba speaking in the church and outside. I replied ,as a Christian myself that "righteous " members should organize "Yoruba Services" and evangelize so much in the community that these services would become the most attended, a feat which I am embarking on in my own church.
Keep the suggestions flowing and act on solutions that occur to you O Great Nigerians and Yoruba, Urohbo, Ogoja,Ibo,Gwari and all other endanged Nigerian languages will be saved!

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The death of Yoruba language?
By Yeye Akilimali Olade "Kilo happen? Ma worry. Mo understand. Kosi problem. Mo sorry gan. Ma expect me. Ke e nice day" - (a GSM conversation)
Surely this is not Yoruba that this man is speaking? Definitely not! Yet everyday Yoruba speaking people are killing Yoruba like this. Is this the new (English) pidgin for Yorubaland, joining other sections of the country, who have specialised in killing their own Nigerian language by using mainly "pidgin" in the name of "communicating" with other groups? Oyibo culture has brought Nigerian culture to its knees in so many ways - now a foreign language seeks to kill our own God-given languages, using Nigerians as the executioners! Eewo!
That English, the ready-made weapon of British-American cultural imperialism, is not just trying to destroy African languages, but is attacking all other languages worldwide, I agree. Ojoogbon Akinwunmi Isola, the newly-appointed Chair of Oyo State Arts and Culture Board, related to me during a discussion with Ojoogbon Babatunde Fafunwa, the problem the French are having with English. He stated that the French government had recently warned all French broadcasters to stop polluting French with English, as is now popular in general French conversation, or face dismissal. But I doubt whether the French would think of slaughtering their language to the extent that Yorubas daily have begun to do.
The greatest tragedy in Yorubaland today however regarding language is the dominating trend to speak only English to their children, making it their first language, then sending them to private nursery school, who only teach in English and causing Yoruba children to value English above all other languages! (After all their WAEC will not be in Yoruba, one highly-educated Yoruba man told me!) And see the result! These English-speaking children will rudely use English to disrespect all and sundry (after all English does not have pronouns of respect for anybody). Hear them saying "Shut up Daddy! - Give me back my candy!" in an authoritative way. And hear this one told by Oloogbon Ishola - an semi-literate (in English)) parent says to his child, "Say hello to Daddy". The child replies "Ye 'llo Daddy". Olodumare! Yoruba children now do not know proper Yoruba and even as a result of this mixture do not know the real Yoruba words for "ma worry", "check result" etc.. Ask them or some of their parents and they will tell you they don't know the original Yoruba for the popular phrases that many literate and non-literate leaders and followers commonly use throughout Yorubaland.
As a Black-American, who has come back to her Yoruba roots these past 26 years in Nigeria, I want to break down in tears over this "iyonu"! How can Yorubas kill their own language? What sort of curse is this? Obviously the curse of european-american imperialism/colonialism/slavery! As a result I have declared "War Against Destroying Our Nigerian Languages" from today. And it must start from Yorubaland. Are not the Yorubas the "wisest and the greatest"? As everything good seems to start from Yorubaland in Nigeria, "let it be so".
I am appealing to all full-blooded Yoruba, as of today to consciously seek not to mix English with their Yoruba. Yoruba leaders must slowly speak, watching their tongues, not to include any English words inside their Yoruba. It has gotten to a state where such leaders cannot avoid mixing English as they speak Yoruba and their every sentence includes whole English phrases! The late Yoruba leader, Oloye Bola Ige was a pure Yoruba language speaker and other Yoruba leaders should follow his example. This is a "War Against English words entering Yoruba"!
All clubs and organisations in Yorubaland should hold bi-annual and annual Yoruba Speaking Competitions for the "Best Yoruba Speaker", with heavy monetary prizes (N20,000 plus) to get Yorubas to consciously practice speaking Yoruba without any English mixture. Yoruba broadcasters are guilty of promoting this deadly trend. Yoruba stations must have quarterly courses in Correct Yoruba Speaking for they are one of the biggest offenders of mixing heavily English into Yoruba. In schools Yoruba teachers must stress the importance of not mixing Yoruba. All private schools in Yorubaland must be required to have classes in Yoruba language from nursery through secondary school levels. There is a "famous" private school in Lagos, owned by Lebanese (or is it Syrians), which does not teach Yoruba on the secondary school level, as required by law. Law enforcement is necessary with frequent unannounced inspections on this crucial issue. And any student who fails to pass Yoruba in Yorubaland must not be allowed to graduate!
The Yoruba Press must be commended for indeed holding the banner high and not polluting Yoruba with English, especially Alaroye, Alalaye, Ajoro, Iroyin Yoruba, Akede must also continue the struggle to save Yoruba language. More effort however must be made to eliminate "pasito", professor "dokita" words as most of them have genuine Yoruba words that can be enlisted and popularised among their readers. Aworen must be resurrected by Alaroye, for use in all schools in Yorubaland as it was in the '50s to inculcate love of Yoruba language among children. Yoruba departments in Nigerian and foreign universities must start churning out more research on modernising Yoruba for technical, scientific and other vocabulary and making it available through special courses for the media and the general Yoruba public.
Yoruba writers must begin to write and publish bilingual publications. For any publication they publish in English, its Yoruba equivalent must be done. In the same book (Yoruba-from the front, turn upside down, English from the back) is one way to do it or in a title simultaneously released. More books, magazines, other publications like club histories, year books must be published in Yoruba. (Do you know that Alaroye sells many more copies than English newspapers in Yorubaland?) For example why is a prominent Yoruba Club issuing their history in English? If they must have English, then it must be a bilingual edition, in Yoruba from the back. Who but Yoruba should promote publications in Yoruba? We must stop promoting a foreign language over our own God-given language.
Yoruba music too, has been assaulted by Yoruba artists, unknowingly killing Yoruba language. The mixture of English has reached a new high in Fuji, Yoruba Gospel has started mixing English inside Yoruba songs within Yoruba cassettes, adding along side complete English songs! Olodumare! Such artists must be warned - no more killing of the language in this manner. If it is English you want then put that on an English cassette. Do not replace our God-given Yoruba in a Yoruba music cassette!
Yoruba movie practitioners are perhaps the biggest offenders and must take up this challenge to save Yoruba language. English mixing should absolutely be banned in all Yoruba films. I have not researched the topic but I suspect that Hausa, is probably the most unpolluted language in Nigeria, and in all their films that I have seen no English there at all.
The beauty of the Yoruba language must be showcased by having more Yoruba Cultural Festivals to be held by all clubs and organisations in Yorubaland annually. Odua's People Congress and other enforcers of law and order in Yorubaland must be in the vanguard, not only by stressing among its members that Yoruba should not be polluted but by holding bi-Annual Yoruba Speaking competitions for the "Best Yoruba Speaker". They must lead the way in correct Yoruba speaking and have literacy classes for all their members to learn to read in Yoruba and encourage them to speak Yoruba in the home to their children: Yoruba must become again the first language of Yorubas at home and abroad.
Finally a private, Yoruba school system must be set up. These schools will teach all subjects in Yoruba from nursery up to the university eventually. If it must be like a "mushroom school", starting with nursery school first and adding class by class this must be done. This Yoruba Academy can be supported extensively by Yorubas abroad, eventually having board houses were Yoruba children from abroad can join their counterparts here, including all "classes of children, street children etc.) This Yoruba Academy will inculcate Yoruba culture into our children also. With the help of our Yoruba scholars we can build on Ojoogbon Babatunde Fafunwa's successful "Mother-tongue Education" at University of Ife in the 60s. Afterall, even UNESCO has proven that Mother-tongue Education is the best for all children.
Let Yoruba Language not die! God has given the Yoruba race a language to be proud of, anywhere in the world (there are at least 60 million or more Yoruba speakers throughout the world). Let's not destroy it with our own mouths! Let us pass it on in its richness to our children, daily in our home. Let us proudly speak it daily, read it daily, champion it daily. Yorubas cannot remain great without our language. And let us be in the vanguard of saving all Nigerian/African languages.
Biu, Ogoni, Urhorbo, Igele, Ogoja, Ebira, Idoma, Efik, Tiv, Langale, Tangale, Kagona, Kutep, Oron, Legdo, Bubiaro, Esan, Afima, Isekiri, Ijaw, Edo, Ikenne, Joba, Gwari, Ibo, Igala, Hausa, speakers are you listening?
*Mrs Olade is the Chief Librarian of African Heritage Research Library, Adeyipo Village via Ibadan.

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America’s Strange Fruit: The Execution of Troy Davis
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Sep 24, 2011
By Eljeer Hawkins, Harlem, New York
In 1939, Billie Holiday sang of blacks hanging from trees in the protest classic “Strange Fruit.” Since then, the means of racist execution have changed from extra-legal lynching to cold and calculated state murder, but the inherent cruelty of execution and the aim of preserving ruling-class power remain.
The September 21, 2011 execution of Georgia state prisoner Troy Anthony Davis at 11: 08 p.m. by lethal injection sheds a powerful spotlight on the criminal “injustice” system and capital punishment practiced in the United States. The campaign to defend and save Troy Davis’ life became an international struggle with celebrities, civil rights organizations, public officials, students and grassroots activists demanding a stay of execution.

The Georgia State Board of Pardons and Parole denied Davis clemency even when he offered to take a polygraph test; even a last-minute effort to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court using the “Hail Mary” defense to stop the execution failed. Davis was accused and convicted without clear physical evidence of slaying Savannah, Georgia cop Mark MacPhail on August 19, 1989. Over the years, seven of the nine prosecution witnesses recanted their testimony that they saw Davis killing MacPhail. There were significant charges of police coercion and misconduct as Davis maintained his innocence from day one to the end.

Execution, U.S. Style

The United States joins Bangladesh, China, Iran, North Korea, the Palestinian Authority, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and the UAE as one of the states that maintains the death penalty. These countries account for a significant number of the world‘s executions. Interestingly, the U.S., a self-proclaimed pillar of “democracy” and “freedom” in the world, voted against a United Nations non-binding resolution calling for a worldwide moratorium on the death penalty in 2007.

Since the death penalty was reinstated in the U.S in 1976, 1,267 people have been executed. There are 34 states, including the military and the federal government, that practice this barbaric method of social control. In the U.S. this fundamentally brutal method is used to oppress the working class, the poor and especially people of color. A 2007 study of death sentences in Connecticut conducted by the Yale University School of Law revealed that “African-American defendants receive the death penalty at three times the rate of white defendants in cases where the victims are white. In addition, killers of white victims are treated more severely than people who kill minorities, when it comes to deciding what charges to bring,” (http://www.amnestyusa.org).

People of color account for 43% of total executions since 1976 and 55% of those currently awaiting execution. The vast majority of those executed were poor. About 90% could not afford a lawyer when they went to trial. They had to rely upon a court-appointed lawyer. This clearly shows the role class and racial oppression play in capitalist America.

The Parties of Law and Order

The right-wing Texas Governor and Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry boasted about his record on the death penalty at a Republican/Tea Party debate on September 7, 2011. Texas holds the record for the largest number of executions since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. Under Perry’s administration, 234 people have been executed. Perry is positioning himself to be “tough on crime” and as the “law and order” candidate. Big business and Republican and Democratic politicians are using this rhetoric as part of the overall offensive against the working class, poor, youth and, in particular, people of color.

Former President George W. Bush - then Texas governor - presided over the execution of Shaka Sankofa (formerly Gary Graham) despite serious questions regarding his case: he had a part-time defense lawyer who fell asleep during the trial, which depended on the testimony of a single witness. Former Democratic President Bill Clinton, while serving as governor of Arkansas during the 1992 presidential campaign, oversaw the execution of Ricky Ray Rector, a mentally disabled man who could not comprehend what was happening to him. Rector asked to have the dessert from his last meal saved for later.

A New Movement to Abolish the Death Penalty Needed!

“Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.” - Mother Jones

The execution of Troy Davis has sparked a new discussion on the need to abolish the death penalty. A decade ago there were demands from anti-death penalty activists, organizations and politicians like George Ryan, then Republican governor of Illinois, who, based on evidence proving the innocence of the death row inmates in the state‘s death row system, put a halt to executions. There were demands for a moratorium rather than the abolition of the death penalty.

But in reality the task remains to oppose capital punishment and to abolish it. We cannot be satisfied with reforming a system that is inherently racist and class-biased, hoping for a moratorium in this or that state. The fact that most nations of the world, including most capitalist democracies, have stopped using the death penalty shows that abolition can be accomplished. The death penalty is but one instrument in U.S. capitalism’s toolbox of oppression. U.S. capitalism does not rely exclusively on capital punishment for its survival, but wresting away this brutal means of social control remains necessary.

The outpouring of working-class support, protest and organizing to save Troy Davis’ life means that we must continue the struggle to abolish the death penalty and fight for prisoners’ rights. The Georgia state prisoners’ strike last December, the resumed Pelican Bay prisoners’ hunger strike, and the example of political prisoners like Mumia Abu-Jamal show of the fighting spirit of the most oppressed in our society. If they can fight behind barbed wire, gates and armed guards, we can organize and fight back against the dictatorship of Wall Street.

We urgently need mass demonstrations to demand jobs for all at a living wage and union benefits, free education from pre-K to college, and ending police violence. Wall Street has two corporate parties, we need one of our own: a mass party of working people that will organize, stand and speak in the interests of workers, youth, poor and people of color.
The crisis of capitalism is demanding a new vision of society based on human need, cooperation and solidarity. Working to abolish the death penalty is part of both the immediate fight against racism and class oppression as well as the struggle for democratic socialism.

Socialist Alternative, P.O. Box 45343, Seattle WA 98145
Phone: (206)526-7185

Tuesday, September 06, 2011



By Yeye Akilimali Funua Olade
The Washington Times Online Edition

The President deserves credit for taking out bin Laden, Gadhafi, and al-Rahman, al Qaeda’s number two leader.Photo: The White House (Flickr)
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
EASTON, Md, August 31, 2011 — President Obama has been taking it on the chin from both Right and the Left this past year.
The Right, of course, gives him credit for nothing, and the Left has been none too happy with his domestic agenda, from watered down health care reform to a weak stimulus package to his timid negotiations with GOP leaders.
However, there is one area where he deserves high praise, and that’s his foreign policy. While many Americans don’t always understand his strategy and have been irritated by the slow withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, we’ve generally underestimated his ability to be strong and decisive in the Middle East, resulting in a safer America.
It all began in June 2009 with his famous Cairo speech where he laid the groundwork for what has become known as The Arab Spring:
“I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn’t steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. Those are not just American ideas, they are human rights, and that is why we will support them everywhere.”
Today in Egypt, those very words have become the seeds for the revolution that ultimately toppled Hosni Mubarek and then rode the winds of change to Syria and Libya. The Arab Summer is now in full flower.
Arab Summer in the Desert
Of course, his team of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates deserve a big chunk of the credit and our thanks. Fortunately, Obama kept Gates on. Originally appointed by George W. Bush, Gates has been one of the truly outstanding cabinet officers in both administrations. And again fortunately, Hillary Clinton didn’t go off in a snit after she lost the primary to Obama but agreed to be his Secretary of State.
We won’t know the full story behind this triumvirate’s successes until years from now when they sit down and write their memoirs, but it is obvious that Obama heeded President Teddy Roosevelt’s admonition that America’s leaders “need to speak softly, but carry a big stick and you will go far.”
Osama bin Laden
Now comes the results of that soft diplomacy on another level, the use of that “big stick” to put an end to three major terrorists: Osama bin Laden, Moammar Gadhafi and Atiyah Abd al-Rahman. What? You never heard of the last guy? A lot of people haven’t, but more on him later.
Bin Laden: When the world learned that President Obama had ordered the Navy Seals to take out Osama bin Laden on May 2, we were both shocked and joyous. Shocked that all along, the President had been zeroing in on bin Laden like a laser. “No Drama Obama” was patient, just biding his time.
And we were joyous, of course, that the mastermind behind the destruction of the Twin Towers and the deaths of thousands of Americans was no more. It is supposed to be heartless and wrong to celebrate the death of someone, even an enemy, but I suspect in this case, not even Jesus would have turned the other cheek.
Gadhafi: When the President first decided to help the Libyan rebels by lending air support to NATO’s efforts to pry Gadhafi out of Tripoli and then Libya, I was angry. He was acting unilaterally, only letting Congress and the American people know after the fact. It’s true that for 42 years Gadhafi was more than a thorn in America’s side. He was also a major exporter of terrorism, bringing down Pan Am 103 in 1988. But President Obama’s actions, even if he were “leading from behind” smacked of Cheney-style foreign policy.
However, if we and NATO had not stepped in, there is little doubt that Gadhafi would have mowed down the rebels like so much winter wheat. Our intervention – from air power to intelligence – gave the rebels the edge they needed and they soon put this cruel despot in a desperate situation.
His wife, two sons, and a daughter have escaped to Algeria. Where he is at this writing is not known. However, Gadhafi can run, but he can’t hide. Even now, he may be holed up as was Saddam Hussein in some “spider’s hole” in the desert. But he will be found and, if captured alive, he will be tried as a war criminal.
So President Obama’s plan, one of biding his time and patience, again paid off, with Libya being free within six months of our intervention and without a single American death or even one boot on the ground.
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi (Photo: Associated Press)
Yes, I still wish the President had adhered to the War Powers Act of 1973, but to watch another terrorist bite the dust is oh, so sweet.
Is It A Trifecta?
Al-Rahman: Last week, a drone strike in Pakistan took out Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, a Libyan and the No. 2 man who, as Al Qaeda’s top operations planner, was much more dangerous to us than some of the other No. 2’s who have been killed or captured in the past.
He had been bin Laden’s right hand man.
“Atiyah was at the top of Al Qaeda’s trusted core,” an unnamed American official has explained. “His combination of background, experience and abilities are unique in Al Qaeda — without question, they will not be easily replaced.”
Before bin Laden’s death, al-Rahman had not only been disseminating the leader’s messages to the terrorist network, but had ensured bin Laden’s words reached the world as well.
More importantly, the two men plotted strategy, from how to make a deal with Pakistan to be their safe haven to how to strengthen al Qaeda affiliates in Yemen and North Africa, including better use of the radical American Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in the Arabian Peninsula.
Losing someone as essential to al Qaeda operations as al-Rahman has severely undermined the core organization and further weakened the ability of its current leader Ayman al-Zawahri (who succeeded bin Laden) to keep control of the already fracturing group.
al-Rahman National Counter Terrorism Center
It is also true that during the seven years following 9/11, we had no attacks on our soil from terrorists outside of our country, and we thwarted a great many others here and abroad. And for this President Bush deserves credit and our thanks.
But the death of bin Laden and al-Rahman, and now the liberation of Libya are three events that have made us even safer. Not entirely safe, since our enemies are still out there, but we are safer than we were last year at this time.
So I must give credit where credit is due and say thanks to the President and his team for making the Arab Spring and now the Arab Summer possible.
Now if only President Obama would take that same steely resolve to facing down the implacable Republican Congress. I don’t know, but maybe fighting terrorism is easier.
To contact Catherine Poe, see above. Her work appears in Ad Lib in the Communities at the Washington Times. She can also be heard on the Democrats for America’s Future.
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  1. Kalana Says:
    I cannot believe that you can thank B.O. and NATO for attacking Gaddafi, for massacres against the people of Libya. I hope you know your history. That is how Slavery began……..taking people by force……..I learned that in Africa. There was no trade otherwise African slave traders would have been rich, not helpless hunter gatherers. I know, because I grew up there. I no live in N.America….I have a B.A and M.A. in International Affairs. Gadaffi wanted to shake off global domination of Africa by establishing an African monetary system based on gold….which Africa has in plenty…..An African Monetary Fund that excluded EU and N.American countries, and an African Investment Bank to replace the exploitaitive World Bank which perpetuates poverty in Africa.
    Learn your facts. The zionists coveted Libyan oil and water reserves and used NATO to get it. What if they covet Nigerian land and oil? Or Angola’s oil, minerals and fertile land? Or what if they covet the many minerals of Tanzania? Will you cheer them as thy massacre Africans to get their resources???
    Get your facts about Libya……they are all on Youtube.
    Strong ProudAfrican Woman.