Tag Archive | "violence"

Attack the Block or Attack the Blacks?

Attack the Block or Attack the Blacks?

Attack the Block Movie

It’s number three in the UK box office, after Thor and Fast Furious. It features a majority Black British cast so how does this film portray black people and what impressions will the tens of thousands of mostly white viewers walk away with?

The main characters in the movies are a gang of 5 muggers. They are black or mixed race apart from one white boy. They all live on a council estate which conforms to the usual stereotypes; vast, shabby, dark and graffiti-strewn. The first time we see them, all five corner a single white woman on a lonely street. Their Leader, with hood up and mask on, blocks her passage, demands her phone then her bag, then her ring. At each demand he becomes more violent producing a flick knife before shoving her on the ground. She is laying there while the gang surround her when they are distracted by an explosion in a nearby car and she runs away in the confusion. One of the gang points out her escape but the Leader says ‘Allow it’ and proceeds to ransack the car. It does cross ones mind what else did they had in mind for the young woman bearing in mind they had taken all of her possessions.

Anyway that’s brushed aside as the explosion reveal s an intruder that they must kill as its ‘not from the block’ Once the gang has kicked it to death they decide It’s an alien and so the story begins. We later find out that this intruder was also female.

Meanwhile the young white woman is comforted by an older white woman who commiserates with her that the estate is full of ‘F ing monsters’. The gang later invades the woman’s home and force her to provide first aid. We also discover that there is a violent black drug dealer on the estate with a flat full of weed. He listens to a heavy bassline rap with lyrics like:

Get that Snitch,
Get that Strap (gun)
Don’t give a F***,
Brap ! Brap ! Brap ! Brap !

The drug dealer  promotes   the Leader  by giving him some class A drugs to run,  at which point the arrival of more aliens distract the gang yet again from further illegality and they get tooled up so they can go on a killing spree. The boys just happen to have  machetes  and samurai swords to hand.

And what about these aliens  ? How are they described  ? This is what the gang members say..

“It’s black !”
“Blacker than black!”
“So black you can’t see!”
“This thing is even blacker than my cousin Femi ! ”

The gang of 5 will become our ‘heroes’ in the film as, while watching, we see  that the only thing that can save us from the  savage, vicious, black, alien monsters is some savage, vicious, black, human monsters. It is as blatant as that.

The black females in the film  are portrayed in a much more  positive light. They give shelter to the boys when they  are in trouble and are shown to be sensible, caring, articulate and loyal. They disapprove of the crime and violence the boys are involved in and tell them so. They stick up for  themselves  and even manage to subdue an alien without being saved by the males. They  offer  pertinent observations about the Leader’s conduct which make him reflect on his behaviour.

While contemplating   the aliens’  presence the Leader states:

“I think I think the government sent them things. First they sent drugs.  Then they sent guns. Then these monsters.  Black boys are ‘nt killing each other fast enough so they thought they’d speed up the process  ”

This social commentary ,  is totally  undermined by  the joke which immediately follows .There is ample evidence that crime and violence have been sponsored by the state in inner city areas  however.

In 1998 a congressional inquiry led by Maxine Waters revealed that the CIA was importing drugs into black areas of Los Angeles  and giving crack cocaine dealers like Ricky Ross  preferential treatment. The drugs  and guns distributed by the US government led to catatastrophic social breakdown in the black community, which was then blamed on the black community.

Closer to home  Delroy Denton and Eaton Green  were violent drug dealers recruited by Scotland Yard to work as informers. While working for the Met Police they distributed drugs and committed violent offences in the black community. Delroy Denton went on to rape and murder Marcia Lawes in 1995. Denton had previously been linked to 7 murders in Jamaica. No police officer was prosecuted.

Operation Jackpot in  1993 revealed that police officers in Stoke Newington were supplying drugs and guns to the local community  while  beating up prisoners  and planting evidence on black people. This behaviour had already been exposed by the black run Hackney Community Defence Association. All the above were dismissed as conspiracy theories at the time.

The film ends with the Leader   being handcuffed and taken away in a police van suspected in the murder of two policemen . Meanwhile the estate dwellers are out in force demonstrating and shouting the Leaders name. The name of the leader ..? Moses

So by the end of the film we’ve seen that black boys are violent, predatory, anti-social, drug dealers who like to gang up on single white females but can be gainfully employed  using their aggression against monsters from another planet that  just happen to be ‘blacker than my cousin Femi’ . When they’re done fighting aliens they end up prison.

Many people will rush to see this movie and be influenced by it. Some people will watch it and see all their worst prejudices confirmed and reinforced. Others will watch it, laugh and applaud the negative portrayals of themselves as they have so few alternatives . Some will see it identify and emulate. It might not be so bad but for the fact that there is already a relentless procession of images and reports of black males being involved with crime and violence.

Here is a comparison which goes to the root of the black image on screen and how media portrayal affects social reality.

Joe Cornish,  who is white, made  Attack the Block after he was  mugged by a group of boys in Brixton. It is his first film.  It was given a budget of  £8 million. It’s on 352 screens across the country and is being heavily promoted via web, TV, buses , magazines etc

Menelik Shabbaz, award winning black director of several films including Burning an Illusion (1981) could not get any money from the establishment to fund The Story  of Lovers Rock. The film is a  history of 30 years of the Black British community,  its musical legacy with stories of achievement, police abuses and  the fight for equality. He had to fund it entirely himself. It will be released in September on a limited number of screens and has an advertising budget  of zero.


Editors Note:  This article was Submitted to the Site by Tony Warner in May.  There was a delay in publishing the article, for which we apologise.

Posted in Black Britain, Black History, Black People in EuropeComments (0)

Zuma South Africa's president

There was no surprise for what proved to be a resounding victory for Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma and the African National Congress (ANC). Zuma is the come back kid of all time; the man who against all odds came back from political abyss. In 2005 he was sacked as deputy leader of the ANC by then South African president Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki..

Zuma never forgot that sacking, aggrieved and fuming he publicly waged a bitter feud; fighting tooth and nail against his nemesis Mbeki. It was true to Zuma’s character and his Zulu fighting instincts, which resulted in Mbeki resignation following a loss in vote of no-confidence within the ANC party.

Mbeki resigned in shame after he was accused and publicly criticised by a South African judge for interfering in a court case against Zuma. Zuma at the time was being tried for corruption, the basis of a multimillion dollar arms deal that went sour.

Zuma has never shielded from controversy, fighting corruption charges for nearly 7 years and was recently found not guilty. Showing that he can be focused, determined with a mentality of a warrior.

Zumas judgement has to be questioned following his involvement in a rape trial with a lady who was known to have HIV. Zumas candid and somehow ill judged comments during the court case, stating that he had a shower so as to washing away any infection of the disease. Hence such comments only served to fuel concerns across the world that he may not be the best candidate to be in charge of South Africa.

Despite facing a recession, South Africas economic development has been sound and good with average growth of 5% a years. Recent inclusion in the G20 elite club of nations only confirm that South Africa is a supper power on the African continent. South Africa providing a magnet for refugees from Zimbabwe and Africans from across Africa in search of jobs and a better life.

It is a fact that life for most South Africans is a struggle and a constant strive for jobs. It is not surprising, as was witnessed last year how frustrated South Africans unleashed xenophobic violence against other Africans, who were competing for same jobs in their country.

Despite the ANC’s electoral victory, they failed to achieve the magic 2/3rd majority that would have allowed the Zuma’s government to change the constitution unimpeded; allowing sweeping reforms to be implemented.

New advances by opposition party (DA) Democratic Alliance and that of (COPE) Congress of the People; is a clear indication that ANC’s dominance on the political scene may be coming to an end.

Young South Africans who are the next generation are finding it increasingly difficult to support an ANC that is unable to address the issues of poverty. Zuma’s ANC is now desperate to keep their hardened supporters whom have been part of their transition from a liberation movement to that of a political party. Zuma and his ANC must be mindful that they have been ridding the wave of liberation for a while, despite 15 years of widening poverty gap, disease and lack of housing and jobs for large numbers of South Africans.

If Zuma is to survive and thrive as president of South Africa he must provide confidence to 3 million tax paying white South Africans who make a significant contribution to the economy, whom more than likely have dual passport holders, poised to leave and move elsewhere if Zuma does not deliver.

The Enigmatic Zuma is a proud Zulu who will have to endure challenges and issues from all sides providing confidence and resolving problems as he goes along. His survival is now dependant on his ability to negotiate with the unions, despite their strong influence in South African politics; constantly campaigning for better working conditions, equal pay and job creation for all South Africans.

Source: http://ayojohnson.blogspot.com/

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A Tale of a Forgotten People (Congo) – Pt1

A Tale of a Forgotten People

By Vava Tampa

Outside public eyes in a remote corner of Africa and literally under the world’s radar screen, a country is sinking in a river of blood! Mothers crying! Fathers and sons trading hot metals! Neighbours, in alliance with local armed groups, seething through the thick dense forest to secure mining areas with unparalleled natural resources! Hospital beds filled with mothers and young girls raped and shot in the vagina.

This is the Congo is the richest country in Africa and the scene of the world’s nastiest, bloodiest and deadliest war since Adolf Hitler’ army marched across Europe. For the past fifteen years, she has been raided, hacked, raped and looted by her neighbours, friends, sons and international cooperation. At some points it involved nine foreign nations -Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Angola, Namibia, Chad, Sudan, Libya and Zimbabwe – as well as numerous indigenous armed militias

Congo is Wealthy

Congos wealth is being exploited with a human cost

As to the dead, figures are staggering: You could take all lives lost in Bosnia, Rwanda 1994 and Darfur then add the 2005 Asian tsunami, then add a 9-11 every single day for 356 days and then go through Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Put all of those together, multiply by 2 and you still don’t reach the number of lives that has been lost in the Congo since the war started.

Over 6 Million have been killed. War, disease and malnutrition are killing 45,000 Congolese every month. Around 2 Million have been uprooted; 100 000s of women and young girls have been brutally gang raped and around 40% of all adult women have been made widows.

The root cause of the killings: natural resources. The DRC is a home to vast expanses of pristine rain forest, rare animal species and a treasure trove of rare precious minerals, it houses all elements found on the periodic table; and just about every natural resource under the sun.

The most lucrative and wanted of all is Coltan also know as columbite-tantalite: a dull metallic ore used in the aerospace weaponry as well as electronics devices such as: laptops, cell phones, pagers, play station, game counsel, VCR, CD player, P.D.A. and TV, remote control and various other electronic devices.

The Congo possesses over 80 per cent of the world’s reserve of Coltan; and for the past fifteen years neighbouring countries, in alliance with certain Congolese armed groups, have raided, hacked, killed and raped to gain access to Coltan, gold and diamonds mines as well as coffee plantations.

Major world military and economic powers, consumed by a painful sense of guiltiness for not responding during the one hundreds days of genocide that claimed over 800 000 lives in Rwanda 15 years ago, dare not to question or lecture, let alone speak out loud against, the leadership of Rwanda for their role and actions in the Congo.

1994 is the year it all begun. 800 000 lives hacked to death in one hundreds days: neither Africa nor the UN Security Council showed interest. The world stood idly: Rwanda, ethnically targeted, was covered in blood. Soon, waves of violence unleashed by the Rwandan Genocide spilled over Eastern Congo, back then Zaire.

Vicious attacks committed on women by all sides.

Vicious attacks committed on women by all sides.

Some 1.7 million Rwandan, among them, Hutu militias responsible for the genocide and armed to teeth, fled from Rwanda to Eastern Zaire. Once in eastern Zaire, Hutus militias regrouped and launched border raids against Paul Kagame’s newly established government.

The Zairian state was in a grave: the end of the Cold War brought an end to Zaire’s long privileged relations with the West. Mobutu, once America’s closest ally in Africa against Communism and Africa’s one-man party because the US and former European colonial powers did not trust the people of Zaire to elect a leader who would let them control their country’s resources, was not longer needed.

The US Congress had cut off military and economic aid to Mubutu’s regime. France and Belgium, similarly, had cut off all development aid and downgraded diplomatic contacts to pressure Mobutu to relinquish power. In 1993 the Clinton administration refused to replace its outgoing ambassador to Zaire and barred Mobutu and his closest associates from visiting the U.S.

Mobutu, a monarchical ruler who lived in grotesque splendour while his people starved, as the Nigerian playwright Wole Soyinka once described him, was sick: advanced prostate cancer proved too much for a guy who, for 32 years, ruthlessly ruled Zaire and the Great Lake region by fear and the rod.

Meanwhile, Paul Kagame, then Rwandan vice-president, and generally seen as the representative of the victims of the genocide hence, often, is received with the same moral weight as Jewish Holocaust survivors, heirs of the victims of the 1915 Armenian genocide and the Cambodian killing fields of the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s

In light of Hutus militias military raids against Paul Kagame’s newly established government, major world military and economic powers, ashamed of their inaction in 1994, granted Paul Kagame a blank cheque: do whatever you need to do to secure and re-build your country. Yoweri Museveni, President of Uganda and Paul Kagame’s closest ally in Africa, had an idea: Laurent Desire Kabila.

Laurent Desire Kabila, a disciple of Lumumba, had been a fierce opponent of Joseph Mobutu. He once lived with Che Guevara in the dense jungle of Congo plotting how to overthrow Joseph Mobutu; but this time: he was to lead a coalition known as the Alliance des Forces Democratiques pour la Liberation du Congo-Zaire (AFDL) made up Rwandan, Ugandan, Burundian, Chadian, Eritrea and Angolan troops as well as Congolese Tutsi and anti-Mobutu groups to overthrow Joseph Mobutu.

By May 1997, after only seven months of fighting, the coalition force reached Kinshasa, Zaire’s capital city. Laurent Kabila, from Lubumbashi, the second city in Congo, declared himself president; and gave the country it’s real name back By May 1997, after only seven months of fighting, the coalition force reached Kinshasa, Zaire’s capital city. Laurent Kabila, from Lubumbashi, the second city in Congo, declared himself president; and gave the country its real name back “The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)”. The honeymoon, however, did not last long. Laurent Desire Kabila’s relationship with West as well as his with Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni soon deteriorated. The US desired to see Kabila’s government include personalities from outside his own alliance, one of which was Etienne Tshisekedy, the only prominent opposition politician and leader of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS).

The U.S. State Department’s spokesman, Nicholas Burns, was quoted as saying that the U.S. ambassador to Kinshasa, Daniel Simpson, has started extensive talks with Kabila’s chief advisors Diofrasia Bovira and Paul Kayungo, urging them to pave the way and establish contact with Etienne Tshisekedi. Laurent Kabila, however, had a different plan: Etienne Thisekedy, he claimed, was an American agent. He refused to meet with him; and rushed into forming a presidential government akin to the American system, i.e. without a Prime Minister, thus snubbing Etienne Tshisekedi, in which key cabinet posts and the new Congo army and security forces were staffed at the highest levels by Paul Kagame’s closest friends and families and banned political activities and demonstrations in the country; and announced that elections, a key demand of many Western nations, will not be held for at least two years.

The moved angered the US, UN and Europe. In addition to this, the coalition forces, while on their way to Kinshasa, had wreaked terrible vengeance on the Rwandan Hutu exiles encamped since 1994 in eastern Zaire: hundreds of thousands of Hutu civilian, among them militia responsible for the 1994 genocide, and villagers had been massacred and raped. Laurent Desire Kabila, being the leader of the coalition, was called upon to answer allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity and violations of humanitarian laws by the UN and Human rights groups. Much of the atrocities were carried out by Paul Kagame’s Rwandan army; and fearing that investigation by the UN Human rights team and human rights groups would destroy Rwanda’s image as a country that recovered from genocide to become one of Central Africa’s most benign and stable regimes, Paul Kagame pressured Laurent Desire Kabila to stonewall all investigations. But after, relentless (Western) media attacks and growing calls from human rights groups that the massacred of Hutus refugee and villagers be fully investigated; and the perpetrators be identified, named, shamed and punished, Laurent Kabila cryptically responded: claiming that he had no blood in his hands; and hinted that the atrocities and violations were committed by troops beyond his control; and stated that countries and international groups, including groups in the name of sending humanitarian assistance, were responsible and to blame for the massacred and violations.

The move, in the international arena tarnished and severely discredited Laurent Kabila; in the regional level the claim had severely strained his relationship with Paul Kagame and Yowweri Museveni as the claim was seen as pointing fingers directly at them; at home, with the overbearing presence of Rwandan and Ugandan military and civilian advisors in Congo, made him look like a puppet to his own people: a feeling Etienne Tshisekedy had soon capitalized on as he lashed out at Laurent Kabila claiming that he was held hostage by foreigners. Kabila later fell out with Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni: accusing Rwandan and Ugandan troops in eastern Congo of stockpiling Congo,s diamond, gold, coltan and coffee; and ordered them out of Congo. Less than a week later, on August 2, 1998, the dismissed Ugandan and Rwandan troops, under the pretext of the enemy of my enemy is my friend, regrouped, and allied with President Mobutu’s military disciples and launched a bloody military offensive to overthrow Laurent Kabila, who, similarly under the same pretext of the enemy of my enemy is my friend, realigned with local anti-Kagame armed groups and other regional forces to fight what they perceived as Tutsis hegemony in the Great Lack region.

This turned the Congo into huge battlefields, which, at some points, involved nine foreign nations -Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Angola, Namibia, Chad, Sudan, Libya and Zimbabwe, as well as dozens of militia groups and private armies fighting spontaneous wars that goes on to this day despite of several UN Security Council Resolutions, Peace Treaties and amnesties; the largest UN Peace-keeping force in the world -17, 000; and shaky, much-violated, U.S., EU and UN-sponsored and backed cease-fire. The biggest single factor behind the continuing mass killings and human rights violation, according to the UN, is looting Congo’s rich abundant natural resources, particularly Coltan. And behind the fighting are two principle actors: Rwanda and Uganda government, in alliance with certain Congolese armed political groups. Together these alliances have actively continued to fuel inter-ethnic conflicts by using the treat of their own security to justify their military intervention and the control of Congo’s richly diverse mineral areas.

As a result, Congo, specially the eastern and northern regions, has been transformed into hotbeds of barbaric atrocities. No rule of law seems to exist and life has lost its basic value. Eastern Congo has been left at the mercy of tyrannical administration of warlords; and transformed it into what can only be termed as concentration camps: nothing but terror, mass human rights abuses, extreme sexual atrocities, ethnically motivated persecution and systematic massacres of innocent civilians reign.

Unable to be protected by the Kinshasa government and abandoned by the international community, those still trapped in these concentration camps have no hope: they are all awaiting the final solution: If lucky he or she will be shot dead, if not, he or she will endure a slow painful death depending upon the mood of his or her killers, some are set ablaze or hacked and chopped off; whilst women and young girls are subjected to orchestrated campaign of mutilation and rapes that go beyond the mere meaning of rapes. This is the Congo: sinking in a river of blood without a whiff of complaint from the superpower. Only heaven knows if the value of life of Africans is the same as that of citizen of other nations.

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LOCK UP – Short story (Contains Adult Language)

Lock up



Im nineteen years of age. Im standing in the dock. There a Judge. A right snooty f***. Hes staring at
me. Got a twinkle in his eye. And for all I know, hes as bent as a nine Bob note, and wearing ladies knickers and push-up bra in the bargain. Or hes one of the old school. Fancies a tipple. Got a flask of Johnny Walker concealed under his gown.

So the Judge squints at me and says:

Have you anything to say before I pass sentence?

Yes your honour. Ive gone. Ive got plenty.

I snatch out my notes. I start to read. Im getting worked up. I cant find my place. I hear someone cough. I stand to attention. Clasp my hands behind my back. I raise my chin. I open my mouth…And out comes the old legal banter:

In conclusion, I say…Number one. It werent me. Number two. Ive never even met the feller. Number three. The police are all liars. And number four. Well, (I cough) nuff said your honour.

So the Judge looks me up and down and says in a voice that makes him sound like hes got a turd shoved up each nostril:

Murder is a very serious crime. You have destroyed a human life. For this you must be punished. The police have testified they saw you with a gun. We are all architects of our own destiny. The fact that you claim not to have fired the weapon does not preclude you from guilt. You are a known criminal, and a menace to society…20 years!

The first night I stuff my head in a pillow and cry myself to sleep. Im nineteen years old. I wont be going home until Im nearly forty. The walls are caving in on me. Theres barely room to swing a cat. Im getting claustrophobic. Every second in my cell is making me ill. I break out in hives. My skin feels all prickly. My face is hot, and my shoulders, and arms, and legs are drenched in sweat.

In the middle of the night I hear my cellmate moaning in his sleep:

“Barbra, my lovely Barbra”, he says.

The bunk above my own begins to shake. Were all alone. The doors are bolted shut and no one cares. Im innocent, completely innocent…I might have done a lot of things, but Id never harm another living soul. Suddenly it all gets too much for me. I get an awful feeling. I spring out of bed, and vomit everywhere.

I wipe up the mess and climb back into bed. I lie there and stare at the bunk above me. I look around the four dirty walls. I looked at the tattered pictures and the faded Playboy posters. I wriggle about, and try to stop my body shivering from the cold. Im a nineteen-year-old kid. Im doing a twenty-year stretch for a murder I didnt commit.

In jail Im mostly scared. I try and stay out of everyones way. Its not the first time Id been in trouble. But it is the first time Ive been in stir. Its the first time Ive been separated from my parents. And its the first time in my life Ive felt so utterly alone.

Theres fights erupting over nothing. Twenty-three hour lock up. Horrible shitty smells. Horrible cramped living conditions. Nosh you wouldnt torment a rabid dog with and the fear of being grabbed in the showers, by a nonce the size of an Olympic shot putter.

There are all sorts of nasty blokes on my wing. But out of the blue I get a nice surprise. Im sweeping up the floor, when who should I bump into but the terrible twosome. Ive known the pair of em for years. We grew up on a council estate in South East London. Moochie’s the tall one and Errols his light skin friend.

The first time I got nicked was with these boys. We were using stolen credit cards in a tailors shop in Savile Row. We were getting kitted up for Errols sisters wedding. Moochie and Errol did 6 months, and I got a suspended sentence. I was 8 days shy of my eighteenth birthday.

Its my second month inside and things are looking up. I get a pile of letters from my mum and dad. Im scared, but at least I have my mates around me. If anyone tries to strong it, as they sometimes do, a word to my spars and my problem is solved. Unfortunately for me this cushy number doesnt last. Moochie gets parole. And a shortly afterwards, Errol gets ghosted to an open nick. So all in all Im buggered. Im left on my own. And thats when my troubles begin.

What I remember…the two of them bearing down on me. The skinny white bloke, laughing, and spitting in my face. Then calling me a dirty queer bastard. Telling me hes gonna make my life a misery, now that my bodyguards have chipped. Give me such a god almighty kick-in, that Ill shit my pants, and bawl like a kid. Then his mucky little partner opening his fly, taking out this cock and telling me to hurry up and suck him good and proper. And when I refuse the smaller one getting me in a headlock, while his mate grabs my arm and tries to rip it off.

2 months later

So theyre standing on the wing. Paddy tells me where to find em. Its the tall skinny one with the tattoos I want the most. Hes the one that broke my arm. The little midgets just his stupid sidekick.

Im that scared I can barely stop myself from toppling over. I clench my fist again and a sharp stabbing pain shots up and down my arm. My bones still ache from where they did the damage. The skinny one twisted my elbow back like he was trying to literally dislodge it from the socket.

Its three weeks since by arms been out of plaster. Ive been calmly and patiently biding my time. Ive been lying on my bed trawling through the possibilities. Ive been planning how to get the dirty bastards back.

So Im running towards them. I smash my fist into the little ones face. I hear a crunch and his nose splits apart. His eyes go all droopy. He slips backwards and cracks his skull against the metal rails. Blood spurts everywhere. People are running to get out of the way. He curls up in a ball. He rolls about moaning. Hes paws at his face, and screams out in pain.

Three months ago, I could never have been that ferocious. But being locked up for twenty-three hours has focused my mind. Im obsessed with my own self-preservation. From now on its survival of the fittest. Its the law of the jungle, kill or be killed. Were in prison and theres no one to protect us. Theres no place to hide. And nowhere to run.

I look up and see the tall skinny one looking back at me. Before I can move hes up on his toes. Hes moving fast along the landing. Somebody shouts that one of the screws is coming our way. Meanwhile this 18 stone con called Big Nigel steps outside his door and inadvertently blocks the landing. Big Nigels got one of his famous jigsaw puzzles spread out on a plastic tray. So the skinny one has to stop. Hes forced to turn round and face me.

“Piss off you c**t”, he says. “You aint got the bottle”.

Hes standing with his fist bunched up, and I can see by the haunted look in his eyes that hes buzzing on gear.

My knees start to wobble, and in my heart I know hes right; I aint got the bottle. Im a small time crook. Ive never been one for senseless violence. Id rather blag my way out of trouble, than stick a prison shiv in anybodies back. But as usual people are watching. If I dont do him, Im done for. Soon or later every c**t in the nick ll be having a pop.

So I clench my fist again. A shooting pain runs all along my elbow. Im standing there. I actually feel physically sick. Im terrified but theres no way out of it. Its him or me. I run towards him and as he swings at my face, I duck and throw the hardest punch Ive ever thrown in my life. Its the punch Ive been practising in my cell for the past three weeks. And even before he reacts I know Ive broken his jaw.

Big Nigels starts squealing, and one of the other prisoners, a black guy name Foxy, guides him back to his cell.

The skinny geezers head rolls to one side. He lets out a wail that rises up from the back of his throat. He drops to floor and one of his teeth slides along the landing. Hes lying with blood and saliva trickling out of his mouth.

For a second I wonder if hes dead. Then I hear one of the older cons shout, do the bastard. So I smash him in the face with my shaking fist. And now my hands are covered in blood, my hearts pounding and Im going berserk. Im venting my anger against all the Judges, and all the lawyers, all the police and all the screws and all the cunts that locked me away for 20 years. I stomp on his face and watch his body twists and his legs fly up into the air. People are shouting that the screws are coming. Theyre yelling that Ill kill the poor bastard.

So what if I do? I scream back. After all, isnt that what everyone wants?

I stand there looking down at him and let the chunk of iron fall out of my hand. The second it hits the ground its whisked away from sight. Theres blood everywhere and the skinny geezers face is battered to a pulp. And then I hear the trample of heavy feet. Loads and loads of bodies and heavy feet. And the first screw in the mob fly kicks me to the ground. Then somebody else grabs, my arms, legs and my ankles. Somebody calls me a nasty evil bastard, and they lift me high and carrying me away.

I come back from the block a changed man. In the block Im alone and afraid. The air is stale. I can hardly breath. At times I feel alarmingly close to suffocation. The mattress I sleep on is smeared with come stains, dry shit and blood. The four walls are carved with inmates names. Im driven to despair and the guards play on my unstable emotions. They look through the spy-hole to see if Im awake. Only twenty-eight more days, they hiss. They flip up the cover and laugh out loud.

There are times when I revert to being a child. I scream and groan and beg to be let out. I scrap my nails along the wall and plead for mercy. There are times when I feel giddy with exhaustion. There are times when every muscle cramps inside my body, like hundreds of little bundles of stone. There are times when I dont feel quite human. There are times when I wonder if Im already dead.

I loose track of time, and for hours I focus on tiny spot on the wall above my head. For hours I attempt to run away to the land of dreams. For hours the only sounds I hear are jingle of the screws keys and the squeak of their rubber soles. Sometimes Im aware there are others around and I bang my bed against the floor. I call out, shout and scream and at last ,I am triumphant. I hear the desperate moans. I hear the rush of thuds. I hear the sound of muted screeching. And thank God, I know Im not alone.

Im miserable and desperate for any human contact. I dream that someone dropped the bomb and outside a dying world is slowly grinding to a halt. Im the last man alive. The final testimonyIm a pathetic wretched animal, in a damp barbaric cell.

Sometimes I think I was forgotten long ago. I anxiously wait for the familiar squeak of the rubber soles with bated breath. There are times when I wonder if I ever existed at all. There are fears I am afraid to contemplate crawling around like millions of ants inside my skull.

I remind myself that I have a family. I remember running through fields, climbing trees, and splashing through puddles as a kid. But for all I know thats just something I invented. For all I know Ive spent the last nineteen years dreaming my life, and now all of a sudden, I am awake.

Im afraid that I will die alone in my underground dudgeon. I sink my teeth into my arm and bit my flesh. I stab my thumb against my eye to remind myself that Im alive. I scratch the plastic knife across my arms because at least the pain tells me I can feel.

I find a spider in the corner of my cell. I watch its eight legs slowly crawl across the floor. I spend an hour talking to the spider. I tell the spider that Ill call him Jim. I hear the spider saying, “Call me anything you like mate”. I jump to my feet and pull out my hair. I let out a scream and gouge my eyeballs. I wring my hands and crack my head against the wall. I slide to the floor and hide my face. I lay their sobbing terrified. Ive finally reached the moment of reckoning. Ive actually gone out of my mind…But I survive, and now Im back on the wing, and there are lots of people glad to see me.

Im not a hardened druggie, but I have my vices like every one else. Like a lot of the guys, I smoke cannabis to pass the time. I lie on my bed for hours and travel to a world of my mind. I reach into the vaults of my memory. I think of girls I have known. I think of my family and my friends. I pray that God will help me. I spend beautiful hours dreaming I am free. I dream I go to college and get myself a proper job. I close my eyes and clenched my teeth, and suddenly the anger and frustration bubbles up inside me.

I smoke because sometimes I get so angry and so depressed I want to hurt someone. I smoke because at least it makes me happy for a while. There are days when I imagine I hear voices. I become convinced that people are out to get me. I make secret plans to murder them one by one. I walk about the wing, muttering to myself, ready to pounce and unleash my fury. Then association is over, I curse and I shuffle back to my cell.

Almost three years into my sentence and I meet a prisoner called Mr K. Mr Ks a right character and we wind up being cellmates. After 4 years and nine months my old cellmate Clive is given Parole. All and all, Clive turns out to be a stand up geezer. We fall about laughing talking about the old days. And afterwards, he sits there almost crying. He clutches hold of his bible, and swears and he wont be coming back.

I show Mr K the ropes and in return for watching his back he agrees to get his lawyer to look into my case. Since the fight with the skinny geezer, no one gives me grief. Ive now got friends. But Ive also got 20 yrs inside a tiny stone and metal box. If I ever get out of the nick, I promise myself a life worth living.

At night Mr K and me share a joint together. Mr K tells me he hasnt smoked a joint in 20 years. Instead he confesses slyly,

“I drinks Champagne and do a little coke from time to time.”

Without meaning to he has reminded me of my twenty-year sentence. Fortunately Im now a hardened man. Still, as tough as I am, Im only human. I stare at the picture on the wall of my family and chuckle sweetly to mask the pain.

Mr K and me are sitting on our respective beds giggling like schoolboys. Im on the top bunk and Mr K is on the bottom. It is around eight oclock at night. Mr K opens his wallet, holds it out and shows me a picture.

“What dyou reckon”? he says.

“Very nice…bit young for you aint she”? I say.

“Cheeky fucker. Id do anything in the world for that girl”, he says holding the picture up to the light.

There is a moment of silence, during which time I suspect that Mr K is reminiscing. I think about myself, and I realise that I have no one waiting for me at home. The last girlfriend I had was almost three years ago. Though I dream of girls nightly, they exist as only fantasies to filled the sexual void. My ex-girlfriend gave up on me long ago. Thats not to say I blame herI sometimes feel sad because, I cannot say that I have a special person. Someone that I could love. Someone that would love me back.

Sometimes I daydream about porno stars. I focus on perfect steamy bodies. Im a red hot blood male so of course its only natural. But Im always amazed when I see a gorgeous pair of tits. They are such a visual part of a womans anatomy. I try to see each girl as an individual, though in truth, there is little to distinguish one of my phantom girl friends from the next. But the girls play an important part in making me feel manly. But like all the good things inside my head they dont last.

Long you got left? I say.

I sometimes ask this question and imagine that Im the person giving the answer.

“Four monthsYou”? says Mr K.

“Seventeen years, four months”, I say.

“Im Sorry”.

“Salright…Fuck it”. I shrug my shoulders the way I always do.

“Whens youre next appeal date”? says Mr K.

“Not for another couple of years”.

“From what youre told me it dont take a genius to see youre innocent.”

“Yeah, well”…Fuckem.

“So Linvall, whats the first thing youre gonna do if when you get out”?

“Sit in my own kharzie and take a shit without being watched. Then visit that big gaff youve got in Kensington, and rob the place”.

Mr K likes my humour and we both crack up. Mr K stops laughing before I do. His tone becomes deadly serious, which catches me off guard.

“No seriously, what you gonna do”? he says.

“I am being serious”, I say lowering my head over the side of my bunk.

For a long time now I have taught myself not to get too hung up on my future. I feel cheated by life and cheated by the law. But fortunately Im no longer that kid I was three years ago. Im no longer nineteen and wet behind the ears. Im older and wiser. I wont weep or crawl for anyone. I dont want pity. All I want is to be treated like a human being. I want dignity and respect like any normal man.

“Really”? says Mr K. His voice goes quiet. I can tell that he is unsure whether Im joking or not. He wants to believe that Im just being flippant. Its hard, because despite what he knows of my particular circumstances, Im still a prisoner serving twenty-years for murder.

“Nah”…I say still trying to stay on the up and up. “Get married have a coupla kids, stay out of trouble”, I add.

“You gonna go straight”? says Mr K. He sounds relieved.

Im looking up at the ceiling and I dont know what to say. Its a very odd question…What exactly does he mean by going straight? To be perfectly honest, Im not sure myself. Ive been in prison for almost 3 years and in order to survive Ive had to play dirty. Ive seen more drugs and violence in here than I ever saw on the outside. Im constantly looking over my shoulder. Arguments are frequently settled in the most brutal and primitive fashion. Im surrounded by: murderers, rapists, robbers and other colourful sorts. I have spent so many years in the company of criminals that violence and extortion are practically the norm.

I dont expect the world to welcome me back with open arms. Ive spoken to enough cons to know that wont happen. Im lucky in the respect that Im reasonable educated. Unlike some other cons I am able to read and write. I went to school with great ambitions, but somehow for reasons I cant explain, I ended up a thief. The only thing I will know with certainty after my release is how to rob and beat a man to death with out letting it affect my conscious. In some respects Im more of a criminal than I ever was. At least in my thinking. And as my cellmate Clive once told me. “One mans crime is another mans necessity”. So to me, the idea of going straight seems slightly ludicrous.

“Yeah give it a go…why not”? I say grinning, because I wonder if Im conning myself.

“Listen, the day you get out, come see me Ill give you a job”, says Mr K.

“Thanks Mr K”, I say. “But by the time I get out of here Ill be ready to retire”.

We smoke the rest of the joint and I spend the night dreaming about a school trip to the Arc DTriumph. In my dream I speak French though the only words I recall on my awakening are Bonjour and Garcon.

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Parallel Lives of Africans and African-Americans By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo

African in America - Photo: William Darhy

Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo (Nigerian) is a New York based freelance writer.  Originally Posted by Iesha

When Kim Lewis of the Voice of Americas Africa World Tonight program contacted me and requested for an interview regarding my comments in Cosby Disses my Homies, I was at a lost as to what caught her interest. In the course of the interview, I discovered that her interest amongst other things was the parallel lives of Africans and African – Americans that I inferred in the article. It was something I have not really thought about in that light.

A look at the position of the average African and average African-American revealed some surprising parallels. For the purpose of simplifying this piece, I will generalize even when I know there are exceptions. I also know Alexander Dumas warned that all generalizations are dangerous, so dont snap as you read. Treat this as an honest start of an authentic dialogue which all Africans in the Diaspora must have.

To begin with, Africans believe that the white man through colonization caused the problems that are ravaging Africa. African-Americans on their part believe that the white man through slavery sowed the seed of the problems ravaging the Black community in America.

Africans are seeking reparations for colonization. African-Americans are wailing for reparations for slavery.

At the end of colonization, Africans are blaming the elite, who have constituted themselves into a new colonial power, for using religion, ethnicity, and class differences to continue to divide and rule. On their part, African Americans are pointing at racial discrimination as the new tools that whites are using to subjugate African – Americans.

Africans believe that efforts by progressives to revamp Africa are being thwarted by some elements of the western society that want Africa on its knees. African Americans believe that efforts to resurrect African-American communities are being impeded by a segment of the white community that desires the dependence of African Americans.

Africans believe that it takes a village to raise a kid. African Americans believe that the society has an obligation to the people who constitute it.

Africans run to God for solutions to their man-made problems. African-Americans run to God for solutions to their man-made problems.

If Africans in America were home, they would not have stooped low to clean toilets and be nursing aides. They would have been making phone calls and sending letters and emails to their brothers and sisters abroad asking for handouts. African Americans who have an exaggerated sense of entitlement would rather stay home and wait for a handout than to go out there and clean toilets and be nursing aides.

Africans are outraged at High School drop out rates amongst African Americans. The figures on the percentage of kids who enter High School in Africa are abysmal and beyond embarrassing. Yet, it does not conjure up the same sense of outrage.

Africans would easily dismiss as mere excuse any attempt to establish the impact of American society on the conditions of African-Americans. Meanwhile, the divorce rate amongst Africans in America is easily attributed to the impact of American society on the conditions of Africans living in it.

In the privacy of their homes, Africans acknowledge difficulties at work place and most of which they attribute to discrimination. When possible, Africans quit the corporate world and start a business for themselves in response. In public, Africans frown at any attempt by African-Americans to mention discrimination as an impediment to their success in America.

Africans do not know a thing about the truth and the sojourn of African-Americans. The concept of internalized self-hate, scramble for a lost heritage, endless years of struggle for ones dignity are things Africans are luck not to have been exposed to in a larger scale. African-Americans do not know a thing about the truth and sojourn of Africans. The idea that the establishment favors Africans who come to America ignores the rugged determination and drive that push the Africans.

Africans think that African-Americans make them look bad. African-Americans think that Africans make them look bad. In the eyes of whom, one may ask. In the eyes of those who do not wish to see any side appreciating, strengthening and emulating what is good in each other. Beyond the myth, the rise of African-Americans will mean the demise of Africa’s stereotype as failed society, such as the rise of Africans will also mean the demise of African-American stereotype.

Africans are horrified by the black-on-black violence in African American communities. African Americans are disgusted by the ethnic/religious wars in Africa.

The poverty in Africa, often, in the midst of riches, is as troubling as the poverty in the inner cities of the richest, greatest and most powerful country in the world.

African-Americans who are searching for their heritage, their home and their history are looking toward Africa. Africans who are worried about the transformation of their home, their heritage and their history are trying to preserve it in America.

African- Americans invented Kwanzaa, Nation of Islam, soul food, all in an attempt to reconnect with Africa and separate themselves from white America. Africans on their part try to invent a new boat, even when the reality is that they are all in the same boat now.

AIDS kill more Africans than any other people in the world. AIDS kill more African-Americans than any other group in America.

If you want to save a people you don’t just scold them. You have to understand them. Even when you scold, you have to scold from the position of understanding. You do not show that by condemning. You show it by serving. To effectively lead a people, you have to love them – not from a distance, but from an intimate and compassionate porch.

Can you imagine how much the cause of Black Renaissance would be advanced if these two parallel lines meet? Can you image the force of nature that would emerge?

Posted in African American History, African History, Black WomenComments (0)

The Rwandan Genocide: Why it happened

Rwandan Victims of Genocide

Rwandan Victims of Genocide

Rwandan Genocide: Why it happened and Why it shouldn’t have happen The year 2004 marked the 10th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide in which 1,000,000 Rwandans were slaughtered over the course of 100 days, although some officials reported a span of 8 weeks. The memorial was shortly followed by quaint revelations from European and American governments who freely admitted to having being able to prevent the slaughter, but for their own obtuse reasons, which they never directly answer to anyway-did not act.

Official estimate now is that it would have taken as few as 5,000 ground troops-presumably from the UN-to prevent the bloodbath. An issue that is even more provoking, but lacks public dialogue, is how the events that lead to the genocide was a direct product of European capitalism, colonialism, slavery, exploitation and the racist ideology that was deliberately developed to justify it.

The ‘age-old tribal and ethnic hostilities’ lie was perpetuated to deflect blame from where it belongs, when infact prior to 1959, there are no records of systematic violence against one group or the other. The colonial created national myth of Rwanda is that the Tutsis and the Hutu are two groups who came from elsewhere on the African continent. This myth has it that the Twa (pygmy) people are the original inhabitants, and that the Hutus came from the Bantu people of the South and the West, while the Tutsis are Nilotic people from the North. Although both groups are African in any sense, in racial terms, this means that the Hutus are “Black Africans” and the Tutsis are of Ethiopian stock, with lighter skin, narrower noses and ‘better’ hair (undoubtedly meaning it was less kinky/coarse). Be that as it may, before the European Colonials arrived, this petty difference did not matter much for the two groups lived together, spoke the same language, shared the same religion, shared power and married each other-meaning that before colonialism and the ushering of racial categories for Africans, the Hutu and the Tutsis were already mixed with each other-indeed by the time the first European arrived in Rwanda in the end of the 19th century, it would have been easy to assume a person who was Hutu to be Tutsis, and a Tutsis to be Hutu. The Tutsis were the herders while the Hutus were the cultivators, because cattle are highly valued, the Tutsis had become economic and political elites.

The title ‘Hutu’ then took on social-economic connotations, becoming a trans-ethnic identity associated with subjugation, not ethnicity. Infact, one could Kwihutura, or shed hutuness by accumulating wealth and rising through the social hierarchy. (Wikipedia.com) This petty difference went through an intense social stratification in the mid-1800’s as the European superpowers scrambled for Africa, converting the continent into the energy source which would be used to power that enormous machine called European Capitalism (and it’s Euro-America(n) relative).

Rwanda was porous and ethnicity was not the only factor that designated ones social status and social power, until the Germans then later the Belgians. The end of the 19th century marked the arrival of Europeans explorers and would-be colonialist in Rwanda, who rationalized what they saw as best as they could-forming a picture of a stately race of warrior kings surrounded by herds of cattle and what could only be described through their lenses of ‘scientific racism’ as a subordinate people-thus they saw exactly what they wanted to see. Of course, as it was/is rationalized everywhere Europeans encountered mulit-hued populations of various physical phenotypes, the Africans resembling themselves were considered superior while the ones with visible and discernable physical differences (typically the darkest of skinned peoples) would be relegated to the bottom of the evolutionary ladder in every colonized African country. Accordingly, the Tutsis fell in place to be cultivated and nurtured as the ‘pet Africans’ serving as the bureaucratic and security ranks of the colonial government, a successful divide and conquer strategy for the colonial rulers. Rwanda was first a German colony. Tutsis leaders were enlisted as collaborators and rewarded with patronage from the then colonist.

The Colonial powers made the Hutu the slaves, and put the Tutsis in leadership positions to be the ‘over-seers’. Rwanda was well polarized by the time the Belgians took over after World War l, who sent armies of missionaries to Christianize the country, with scientists who would weight the brains and noses of the Hutus and Tutsis, and put the results through comparative analysis further polarizing the Hutu’s and the Tutsis, and just as they surmised, the Tutsis were more ‘noble’ and ‘aristocratic’ than the Hutus who were considered ‘coarse’ and bestial’. It was with the collaboration of the Catholic Church that the Belgians would reconstruct Rwanda along racial lines, and by the 1930’s after conducting a census the best they could, they then issued ethnic identity cards. Catholic schools in turn educated Tutsis exclusively indoctrinating every school child with the notion of racial superiority.

After the holocaust and pressure from the UN for independence, a new European rhetoric of ‘equality’ came ushering in with a wave of Belgian priest preaching Hutu ‘empowerment’ as a preparation for Rwandan independence. Of course, it was never about ‘equality’, it was and always was about power and ultimately retribution. By the time independence was granted to Rwanda by the Belgians, the damage was done, and sores were freshly open as the Hutu majority was given sole political power after the ‘Rwandan Revolution’. There were countless programs against the Tutsis put in place from then on leading up to the Genocide. And from then on, the condition of the Tutsis was constantly up and down depending on the particular Hutu leader in power. After the Cold War, all bets were off and done for, and the West no more had an ‘interest’ in Africa. All the ‘pet’ leaders were left to their own devices as the plug was pulled, and various leaders inherited (from their colonial rulers no doubt) the social, economic and political fallout resulting from 500 years of European colonialism, and slavery.

The end result unfolded in April of 1994 when the political will of the West to intervene-send a mere 5000 troops-to prevent a monstrous genocide from happening. They didn’t care, and they didn’t need too since their national ‘interest’ had left Africa. The Rwandan Genocide stands out as significant, not only because of the sheer number of people massacred in such a short period of time, but also because of United Nations’s (UN) inadequate response. Despite intelligence provided before the killing began, and international news media coverage of the true scale of violence as the genocide unfolded, most first-world countries including France, Belgium (which held Rwanda as a colony after World War I), and the United States declined to intervene or speak out against the planned massacres. Race and History.com It is time the world woke up to the truth about the war in central Africa and the events of April through July of 1994. These events parallel the attacks on Yugoslavia and the accusations of genocide against the Serbs and other Slavs.

Moreover, these events had the same objectives, used the same strategies and tactics and were planned and controlled by the same Great Powers. Their lust for control of the world knows no bounds. They are willing to murder millions so they can make billions. In the West we are told that this tragedy involved genocide by Hutus against Tutsis and that the U.S. and other Western powers sinned by failing to intervene. Many people, including some on the Left, denounced the supposed Western failure to intervene, arguing that it demonstrates indifference to the suffering of Black Africans.

The lies and propaganda against the Hutus, condemned as “genocidaires,” whose only crime was to defend their small country against a foreign invasion by Tutsis from outside Rwanda with the backing of the United States, Britain, Belgium, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the United Nations itself.

This invasion had the objective of restoring the tyranny of minority Tutsi rule while reducing the majority Hutu people to serfdom and a life of terror and that was supported by the great powers in order to take control of all of central Africa and its vast and incalculable resources. The propaganda against the Hutus is racist to the core and is generated by the Tutsi claim to be a superior race, more white than the “primitive” Hutus, a Bantu people, and it fits nicely with the racist attitudes of the Americans, British and Belgians who took part in the invasion and helped murder the Presidents of both Rwanda and Burundi on April 6, 1994 The Truth Turned Upside Down The violence started with a series of raids against Hutus in Rwanda, conducted by the so-called Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), a U.S.-sponsored, Tutsi paramilitary organization. These raids occurred during the period 1990-1993. The raids were repelled; even so, they gave the RPF valuable information about the government’s capacity to defend Rwanda. Based on this information, the U.S.-backed forces successfully invaded northern Rwanda in 1993, driving a million people from their homes. This massive campaign of terror, directed against civilians, is never mentioned in the Western media.

The second stage of violence was launched on April 6, 1994. At that time, the invading Tutsi RPF shot down the airplane carrying the Presidents of Rwanda and Burundi, both Hutus. The main victims of the widespread fighting that followed were Hutus and moderate Tutsis. The western-backed Tutsi invaders of Rwanda murdered between one and a half and two million Hutus in the four months between April 6 and July 4, 1994 and have murdered more than two million more since then by attacking Hutu refugees in the Congo.

It is a tragedy made more macabre by the Tutsi claim that their Hutu victims were really Tutsis, a claim they use to justify their dictatorial stranglehold on the people of that beautiful country by portraying themselves as the victims. This macabre reversal of the truth is supported by various intellectuals, NGOs and western governments who easily fall into the racist trap of believing the lies of the Tutsi regime in Rwanda, and the lies of the Americans who, while actively involved in the murder of millions, claim to have had no involvement and to add insult to injury, ‘admit’ the lie that they were negligent in not taking steps to stop the war and the killing when in fact they were the sponsors.

The Rwandan genocide of 1994 was one of the defining events of the twentieth century. It ended the illusion that the evil of genocide had been eradicated and spurred renewed commitment to halting genocides in the future-hopefully.

Posted in African HistoryComments (3)