Obama's Nobel Prize

Teaser: 

I think everyone was really shocked by this: the main contenders had been thought to be from the following short list:

Sima Samar: a doctor from Afghanistan, the first woman from there to become a doctor, and head of Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission;
Piedad Córdoba: a Columbian Humanitarian Exchange Negotiator, herself formerly kidnapped then exiled to Canada;
Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad: an outspoken Jordanian author trying to bring peace and understanding between the Christian and Muslim religions & societies;
Hu Jia: a Chinese activist and dissident who's been a leader of the Chinese democracy movement;
or Morgan Tsvangirai: the prime minister of Zimbabwe, who has spoken out against his government's massacres and has been (as well as Córdoba) the target of several assassination attempts.

Obama wasn't even on the short list, especially considering he's still fighting two wars by the largest military in the world with no exit strategy, hardly the example of a proponent of peace. Some analysts believe his nomination was meant as a slap in the face to Bush, while others that it was meant to spur on Obama's and America's efforts towards peace. Considering the continuing atrocities the United States has been guilty of throughout the decades, I'm surprised any American has ever achieved the award, but believe we need all the help we can get.

I personally am offended that Obama is the recipient, as he has done little towards peace that I'm aware of, and certainly not anything approaching that of the previously named contenders. However, I suspect my reasons are different than most white Americans, who probably simply don't like that it went to the first black American ever, and probably think it should go to the man who changed the definition, Dick 'War is Peace' Cheney.

Adventures in Europe and Southern Africa

Teaser: 

Check out the Eurafrique blog:

www.libby2007.blogspot.com 

Body: 

I haven't written for a while because I spent the summer traveling through Europe and Southern Africa. My partner and I created a blog to document our journeys. It includes stories, pictures, videos, poems and essays, some serious and others totally silly covering three and a half months abroad. Check it out:

www.libby2007.blogspot.com

More writing to come here soon... 

one time to try

Teaser: 
say you live for the highest ideals,

say love is above all else,

say you won't just settle.


Body: 
say you live for the highest ideals,

say love is above all else,

say you won't just settle.

not in this lifetime

this one time to try.

ok, i believe you;

ok, i'll tell you my dreams.

whether you say so or not

i'll believe we can live them out.


but, tell me,

how many tired eyes have you seen?

how many people do you know that are basically happy?

how much love have you lost to your own fear?

i think the most beautiful people

are children

and people that love like children.

adults know already

all the logical, practical reasons

why dreams will never work

why settling is always best

and anyway, it's always easier

to be right and miserable

than in love

and making the wrong choice.

old art

Teaser: 
here are a couple of pieces i did a few years ago. they're styled after tutorials in a book i read about creating digital art. can't remember the name of it right now. both created with a drawing tablet and gimp.
image: 

Drawing Tablet Resources

Teaser: 

Check out my Digital Tablet for Auction at E-Bay!!! (It ends on Saturday, March 10, 2007, at 1:30 PM PST.)

Back in the spring, I taught a class on how to create computer game art. We covered the basics of drawing and animation, using digital tablets and the Gimp, a free, professional grade drawing program, comparable to Adobe Photoshop or Corel Draw.

The class was successful, and I had purchased several tablets, but I still had a few unopened unused tablets left over. These are KB Studio Jam tablets, which work on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Read on if you want to see some useful resources for using your new tablet...

Body: 

The tablets will work on any Windows platform, although if you use Windows 2000 or XP, you'll need this driver. (The other drivers are on a disk that comes with the tablet.)

As of this writing, I still have some tablets left over, with one up for auction at E-Bay.

The following are good resources for users of drawing tablets interested in digital art:

    Drawing Applications
  • The Gimp: GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed piece of software for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring.
  • Inkscape: Inkscape is an Open Source vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Illustrator, Freehand, CorelDraw, or Xara X
  • Blender: Blender is the open source software for 3D modeling, animation, rendering, post-production, interactive creation and playback.
    Miscellaneous
  • Open Clip Art: This project aims to create an archive of user contributed clip art that can be freely used.
  • Deviant Art: A great place to showcase your art and see what\'s cutting edge.
JamStudio Product Specifications
  • Drawing area: 7" x 5"
  • Stylus: Corded, pressure sensitive pen
  • Tracing Proximity: 0.4"
  • Pressure sensitivity: 256 levels
  • Platforms supported: Windows/USB Macs
  • Power source: 5vdc, Internal (no adapter needed)
  • Resolution: 1000 lines per inch
  • Other: Side clip to store pen
image: 

though maybe it should go without saying

Teaser: 
we must ask ourselves
to unearth the stories that comprise the intricate web of a lifetime
and bring them into the daylight.
Body: 
history demands of us only one thing:
we must tell what it is that we have done.
to do so
we must ask
those who came before us
those whom we intend to love
those whose lives are affected by our actions
and, hardest, but most important of all,
(though maybe it should go without saying)

we must ask ourselves
to unearth the stories that comprise the intricate web of a lifetime
and bring them into the daylight.

there is a tremendous weight
in not knowing,
or not being able to say
where and why you came from
who, what and how you have made of your time alive.
whatever it is that we have experienced
but cannot name
promises to hover,
promises to haunt us.

there is nothing so beautiful
as revealing what it is that you have lived and felt
and being fully heard.

the so-called free market will kill you for not complying.
the religions of the world will shame you and damn you for your regrets and imperfections.
the state will chastise, criminalize, and confine you for whatever it deems unacceptable.

but history only asks
that we tell the story.



anti-white clan

Teaser: 

people talk about "getting past" black and white, but we can't until there's neither. people talk about white privilege, but privilege is the entire substance of our whiteness, so why be redundant? people talk about being an "ally" to "people of color," but who will fight to be a helper, an assistant?

my clan will put things bluntly:

white folks are fucked; we can't be human if we've got to be white.

we've got to be white if folks got to keep being black.

we've got to do everything we can to help black people overthrow the system of american racial oppression.

 

(from new orleans, summer 2005)

Body: 
"as an everlasting possession, i will give you and your descendants the land in which you are now strangers."

- God to Abraham, the book of Genesis.

i have decided that i want to form an organization for white people that looks out for our interests.

the only other organization that has done this in any significant way is the ku klux klan. but i'm not talking about starting a second kkk.

me and the klan disagree on one fundamental point. put simply, it goes a little something like this:

kkk - what's in the interests of whites is in the interests of white folk.

vs.

me - our whiteness is in conflict with humanity, so we'll never be human until we stop being white.

i believe that - as a result of our history of instigating and maintaining slavery, colonization, genocide and apartheid - whites are no longer human beings. we have lost everything that makes a "people" people.

we made ourselves white when we made africans into property (and negroes/blacks/niggers). so the only way out of our despicable position as whites is to rectify our relationship with black people - the descendants of slaves - in this country. sinces whites were made by making slaves/blacks, our connection to blacks is our only possible hope of resititution amongst the human family.

as adamantly as the klan insists that the only possible course of action is the perpetuation of white power at every level of society, i insist that the only possible course of action is the destruction of white as an identity in every shape and form.

for now, i consider my anti-klan clan to be essentially a moral position. morally, we as whites are desparately lost, pitifully wandering away from any connection to other human beings and constantly digging a deeper trench in which to fortify ourselves against any possible reconciliation. and yet, this description is based on a solid (and well documented) body of historical evidence. in that, the clan represents a politics- an expression of historical analysis in contemporary action.

in practical terms, our work as a clan is to assist - in whatever way we can - black people in their struggle to establish themselves as human beings and full participants in the society that they live in.

this is not at all like charity.

we must insist on struggling in our own interests.

we must realize that our only hope to live again on this earth, as people amongst peoples, is utterly dependant on our capacity to bury forever the wicked system of racialism that american slavery created.

people talk about "getting past" black and white, but we can't until there's neither. people talk about white privilege, but privilege is the entire substance of our whiteness, so why be redundant? people talk about being an "ally" to "people of color," but who will fight to be a helper, an assistant?

my clan will put things bluntly:

white folks are fucked; we can't be human if we've got to be white.

we've got to be white if folks got to keep being black.

we've got to do everything we can to help black people overthrow the system of american racial oppression.

once we get to be human beings - which will be the exact moment of black liberation from racialism - we can begin a discussion of human equality.

until then, a one-point program:

make whites people, now!

The colonizer's execution

Teaser: 

if the best a desperate people have to hope for is murder, how do we - as inheritors of settler colonialism - show "solidarity" with murder of our settler-brethren?

the israelis share a profound psychic bond with white america (and afrikaaners and ulster protestants) that makes us brethren in perhaps the sickest concoction humanity has ever devised.

so how genuine is our support for palestine?

 

(from new orleans, spring 2005)

Body: 

i wore my "tear down the israeli apartheid wall" shirt today. it's a nice shirt; i get compliments. and yet, the shirt led me into a rather sinister conversation with myself.

i thought to myself, "we are against the wall. we are ok with seeing it torn down. we might even help tear it down. but then, what do the palestinians think of the wall?" thinking back to my time in palestine (summer 2002) - when there was no wall being built - i remembered that, wall or no wall, the palestinian people are fighting a war for *survival*. at the end of the day, they must devise a plan to kill israelis.

this is a simple realization. a people being invaded by an occupying army of momentous proportions and vicious determination *must* find a way to murder their occupiers. how else to get the bastards to leave?

but then, can we white folks in the US really grasp this simple little thought? i mean honestly, that i am able to live on this continent has a great deal to do with the fact that indigenous people's resistance on this continent was not sufficient to drive us into the sea. european settlers gained footholds here and then expanded those footholds until they could shove their whole fucking boot down the throats of native peoples. but what if the natives had poisoned our drinking water? slit the throats of our babies? buried us to the neck in anthills? in short, what if indigenous people had the tenacity and viciousness that has characterized european civilization in every incarnation? plainly speaking, there would be no "united states."

and so now the palestinian people face the latest and most vicious onslought of european colonialism. what else can they do but fight to kill and pray to god (allah ackba! god is great!) that their warfare will lead to victory over the colonizers?

and if the best a desperate people have to hope for is murder, how do we - as inheritors of settler colonialism - show "solidarity" with murder of our settler-brethren?

the israelis share a profound psychic bond with white america (and afrikaaners and ulster protestants) that makes us brethren in perhaps the sickest concoction humanity has ever devised.

so how genuine is our support for palestine? how deeply do we value self-determination? can we - in our hearts and minds - go beyond calling for the destruction of a wall? can we allow ourselves to cheer on the tearing down of the very fabric of israeli (and thus our own) civilization?

allah ackba!

This class-breaking business

Teaser: 

Given the history of this country, (and the European imperial project worldwide) anger is both justifiable and unavoidable. And while pacifists may hope to redeem humanity without a tremendous bloodletting, there is and will continue to be a great deal of bloodshed as a result of white people and the systems they have created.

(from new orleans, spring 2005)

Body: 
"I understand that language breeds stereotype, but what's the explanation for the malice, for the spite? DON'T CALL ME WHITE."

- NOFX

Of course, what NOFX and most other white people don't acknowledge is history. History explains perfectly the malice and the spite that is directed towards white people. As soon as we try and sit with the conditions that produced racialism and white supremacy - and then, of course, to enforce white power for so long - resentment towards white people will no longer be a mystery.

Given the history of this country, (and the European imperial project worldwide) anger is both justifiable and unavoidable. And while pacifists may hope to redeem humanity without a tremendous bloodletting, there is and will continue to be a great deal of bloodshed as a result of white people and the systems they have created. Disgustingly enough, a great deal of this bloodshed will be oppressed people killing themselves and one another, rather than striking back at powerful whites (witness rwanda, witness the 9th ward of new orleans, etc.). But white folks have never been and can never be totally immune to paying a mortal cost for the choices they have made (witness hamas, witness 9/11, etc.).

For those of us white people who have made a conscious decision to try and break up the club of privilege, wealth and dehumanization that is white society, it is slightly easier to sit with the grim truth of hostility spiraling back towards white people. That is, it's easier for us (as opposed to the "average" white guy or gal) to accept distrust, bitterness and other wounded emotions as inevitable responses to "racism." And yet. it doesn't stop being hard for us to accept such emotions directed at us.

I think often of a story i read about greensboro, nc in 1968. After the national guard was sent in to crush black power organizing at A&T, residents in the black community stood along roadways and hurled stones at any passing car with white folks inside. The image is striking to me because it forces me to remember that i won't always have time to explain my good intentions or all the things i've done to stand against the tide of history.

I carry around with me - sometimes bouyantly, sometimes like a boulder chained to my ankle - the notion that honestly sharing myself with others will allow them to empathize with me and thus accept me as decent. The problem with this, of course, is that i will not always be asked. And furthermore, even if i insist on speaking the truth of my own experience, the other person may not be willing to listen. White people have insisted for generations that their "race" is more important than their commonalities, their humanity. We've done this often enough that some people believe us, and spit it right back in our faces. Why take the time to listen to the subtleties of our alienation or our spiritual impoverishment when whiteness is shrieking in all directions?

Still, someone needs to speak to the great loss we have experienced as a result of living as white people for generations - and who else could do it but us? Who else but us can make the demand to restore white people to the human family? Who else but us can release us from the straightjacket of lies that we have forced ourselves to wear for so long?

And, when we speak to these concerns, do we have a "right" to be heard by those who have been oppressed, enslaved and degraded by our actions? What "credit" do we get for finally coming to terms with the horrific mess we've made?

George Orwell writes,

"Perhaps this class-breaking business isn't so simple as it looked! On the contrary, it is a wild ride into the darkness, and it may be that at the end of it the smile will be on the face of the tiger. With loving though slightly patronising smiles we set out to greet our proletarian brothers, and behold! our proletarian brothers... are not asking for our greetings, they are asking us to commit suicide."

i can't make the plan

Teaser: 

tonight in conversation it came across to me clearly that i can't be the one who writes the plan. just like that. just so simple. "but that's what i know best!" i protest. i can think about things. i can offer ideas. why doesn't that count?

 

(from new orleans, summer 2005)

Body: 
i feel as if i've been banging my head against the wall with this project over the last six or seven months. i force curtis to repeat himself again and again; what he says makes sense, but i can't make sense of it. somehow, i need to be told repeatedly what to do and i still don't really understand it - i can't translate words into action. but i feel like i'm getting closer...

tonight in conversation it came across to me clearly that i can't be the one who writes the plan. just like that. just so simple. "but that's what i know best!" i protest. i can think about things. i can offer ideas. why doesn't that count? the point is, it does count, but not towards dismantling white supremacy. i need to learn how to follow black leadership. how to follow - period. the planner leads, inspires, encourages, coalesces, etc. no more of that for me.

i had heard it said before that the underground railroad and SNCC freedom summer were the only times when white people have been able to do this. tonight i had it repeated a half dozen times. and, some clarifying details were added:

* SNCC (a group of less than 100 blacks) was only able to effectively lead a group of roughly 1,000 white volunteers because goodman, schwerner and cheney were killed at the beginning of the summer and so SNCC could say without exaggeration that failure to follow black leadership could get you killed.

* white folks were able to effectively do the underground railroad because they were not slaves and so could not run away themselves.

john brown - on the other hand - wrote himself a plan for how to liberate the slaves and set out to do it. he didn't go to a group of rebel slaves or even rebel free blacks and ask how he could help end slavery. sounds like a simple critique, right? damn is that powerful and slippery the way it slides out of my focus all the time. how did i miss that in all the studying of john brown i've done?

well, in fact it's quite simple. all the projects i've been involved in to try and end racialism have been my own initiative. people would tell me, "you need to listen to this and that group and find out what their grievances are, etc." and i would just respond glibly and flatly, "no, i don't. i already know what i want to accomplish and the people who want to work with me on that, will." so my desire to carry out my own plans has blinded me from seeing the inherently white supremacist nature of that tendency, that desire, that "need" of mine.

ok, so now i have at least a computer screen as a witness: i'm throwing in the towel. from here forward, i don't write the plans, i implement them. let's see how well i can do with this.

if you see me slippin,' call me out...

and let's both remember:

"the rich are only defeated when running for their lives.
sad as this is, that is the way that humanity progresses.
the anniversary orators and the historians supply
the prose poetry and the flowers..."

- c.l.r. james

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