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They blew three doors opened / smashed the house windows / trashed the furniture

 

 

 

Which Way Freedom

                 —for Ali Fadhil

 

By Rudolph Lewis  

 

 

Yesterday they blasted their way

into the home of a journalist

 

firing bullets into the bedroom

where he, his wife, and child

were sleeping.

Two months ago

he won a press award

applauded by his U.S. colleagues.

 

Today, the public is silent: American

soldiers hooded him for questioning.

Satisfied they released him hours later.

He was investigating claims

tens of millions of dollars of funds

held by Americans and British agents

were misused or misappropriated.

The troops said they were looking

for insurgents and seized video tapes

he had shot for TV Channel 4.


Before this raid a few days ago

he informed the authorities

of his journal project and asked

for an interview about his findings.

When the troops forced their way in
they fired into the bedroom

where Zina and Sarah were sleeping.

 

Three soldiers came in rolled

him on to the floor, tied his hands.

He asked them what they looking for.

 

The captain with the blue eyes said,

“Shut up!” They blew three doors

opened, smashed the house windows

trashed the furniture,

damaged  the car. After a long

journey, they say with a smile, “It’s

a mistake in address. We apologize.”

What fool would ask terrorists for more?

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The night the Americans came—By Ali Fadhil—10 January 2006—Last weekend an American special task force unit raided my house. It was precisely the kind of terrifying experience I have had described to me over and over again by Iraqis I have interviewed in the past two-and-a-half years. My wife, Zina, described it as like something out of a Hollywood action movie.—Guardian

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Responses

Hi Rudy, this incident needs to be reviewed by the justice department and the FBI. Under our laws, No law enforcement personnel can justify using firearms or force except if their life is threatened. To blast into bedrooms, not identify who they are while firing weapons violates a number of approved procedures. But anything that occurs under the current presidential administration can only be illegally authorized under the "patriot act."—CHA

I ain't no alarmist. But things are getting funky and funkier. Mercenaries everywhere.—Rudy

posted  11 January 2006  

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1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

By Charles C. Mann

I’m a big fan of Charles Mann’s previous book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, in which he provides a sweeping and provocative examination of North and South America prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus. It’s exhaustively researched but so wonderfully written that it’s anything but exhausting to read. With his follow-up, 1493, Mann has taken it to a new, truly global level. Building on the groundbreaking work of Alfred Crosby (author of The Columbian Exchange and, I’m proud to say, a fellow Nantucketer), Mann has written nothing less than the story of our world: how a planet of what were once several autonomous continents is quickly becoming a single, “globalized” entity.

Mann not only talked to countless scientists and researchers; he visited the places he writes about, and as a consequence, the book has a marvelously wide-ranging yet personal feel as we follow Mann from one far-flung corner of the world to the next. And always, the prose is masterful. In telling the improbable story of how Spanish and Chinese cultures collided in the Philippines in the sixteenth century, he takes us to the island of Mindoro whose “southern coast consists of a number of small bays, one next to another like tooth marks in an apple.”

We learn how the spread of malaria, the potato, tobacco, guano, rubber plants, and sugar cane have disrupted and convulsed the planet and will continue to do so until we are finally living on one integrated or at least close-to-integrated Earth. Whether or not the human instigators of all this remarkable change will survive the process they helped to initiate more than five hundred years ago remains, Mann suggests in this monumental and revelatory book, an open question.

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Ratification

The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788

By Pauline Maier

A notable historian of the early republic, Maier devoted a decade to studying the immense documentation of the ratification of the Constitution. Scholars might approach her book’s footnotes first, but history fans who delve into her narrative will meet delegates to the state conventions whom most history books, absorbed with the Founders, have relegated to obscurity. Yet, prominent in their local counties and towns, they influenced a convention’s decision to accept or reject the Constitution. Their biographies and democratic credentials emerge in Maier’s accounts of their elections to a convention, the political attitudes they carried to the conclave, and their declamations from the floor. The latter expressed opponents’ objections to provisions of the Constitution, some of which seem anachronistic (election regulation raised hackles) and some of which are thoroughly contemporary (the power to tax individuals directly).

Ripostes from proponents, the Federalists, animate the great detail Maier provides, as does her recounting how one state convention’s verdict affected another’s. Displaying the grudging grassroots blessing the Constitution originally received, Maier eruditely yet accessibly revives a neglected but critical passage in American history.Booklist

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Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change

By John Lewis

The Civil Rights Movement gave rise to the protest culture we know today, and the experiences of leaders like Congressman Lewis have never been more relevant. Now, more than ever, this nation needs a strong and moral voice to guide an engaged population through visionary change. Congressman John Lewis was a leader in the American Civil Rights Movement. He was chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and played a key role in the struggle to end segregation. Despite more than forty arrests, physical attacks, and serious injuries, John Lewis remained a devoted advocate of the philosophy of nonviolence. He is the author of his autobiography, Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of a Movement, and is the recipient of numerous awards from national and international institutions, including the Lincoln Medal; the John F. Kennedy “Profile in Courage” Lifetime Achievement Award (the only one of its kind ever awarded); the NAACP Spingarn Medal; and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, among many others.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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