This is a good starting point for Alice's works. She covers the themes that matter to her. Her essays on Zora Neale Hurston our essays on history, humanity and, yes, herself. Zora was a writer of great talent and imagination; however, she was largely forgotten or, when remembered, attacked via the words of others. It could have happened to Alice as well.
It still could, in fact. She's been repeatedly attacked by a small group of men -- African-American with Ishmael Reed being the most vocal. Had he his way, she would be disappeared as easily as Zora was.
Zora told truths, that's what attracted Alice to the writing. Alice tells truths as well.
After her essays on Zora, I probably enjoyed Part Four of the book the most. That said, all sections of the book are worth reading. In the re-reading of the book for this review, I especially enjoyed "Coretta King: Revisited." When Coretta Scott King passed away in 2006, you may remember that THE NEW YORK TIMES elected to run an editorial and columns on Wendy Wasserman but treated the death of Coretta as a non-moment, a non-event. This from the same paper that couldn't stop chattering about the death of Jaqueline Onasis. Here's Alice from the essay on Coretta:
We spend a few minutes discussing her role in life as she sees it. I am not surprised that what she would like to do is inspire other women to take a more active role in the peace movement, in the election of acceptable candidates, and in being involved in making the decisions that will affect their lives and the lives of their children. She says that she and Martin used to talk a lot about trying to organize women and she regrets that he never had time to get around to addressing women as women. "We have never used,'' she says, "the womanpower that we had."
Alice notes THE NEW YORK TIMES herself. How they commissioned her for an essay but explained, over a lunch, that they didn't care for her offering. It would be fine, they said, if she'd just remove love and joy from the column. They didn't want to hear about African-American love and joy, just suffering.
It's an important book. Again, it's also an excellent introduction to Alice Walker's writings -- as well as her approach which includes a lot of love for the world around her -- not a lot of writers reflect a love for the world in their writing.
"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Comparison with Iraq just doesn’t sound like a recipe for success
Pushing for bombing the hell out of Syria? Of course THE NEW YORK TIMES is there. Thank you to everyone -- Meryl Streep, the leading hacktress of our time, thank you! -- who has defended this paper repeatedly despite their part in lying the country into war on Iraq. They're at it again. Gregory Shupak (FAIR) notes:
If the War Criminals have their way, Syria will be another Libya. For those who forgot or never paid attention, the war on Libya had one real 'achievment' -- Black slavery. That's who the US put in charge, people who would enslave Black Libyans. From December 2017, here's Bruce A. Dixon (BLACK AGENDA REPORT):
If the news that black Libyans and black migrants from sub-Saharan Africa were being sold as slavesin Libya was a surprise to you, then you were not reading Black Agenda Report during the 2011-2012 NATO intervention in that country. We covered it. Almost everybody refused to question US foreign policy in Africa during the reign of our first black president. Many US news outlets, many otherwise reasonable people with access to foreign news, and countless others around the world averted their eyes and their ears to the anguish of hunted, lynched and massacred black Africans in Benghazi, in Tripoli, in Sirte and Bani Walid. But as the US Navy and US Air Force unleashed thousands of tons of bombs and missiles on innocent civilians and the military forces of the Libyan government, without which Uncle Sam’s and Barack Obama’s racist rebels could never have toppled Muammar Gadaffi, you heard and read about it each week in Black Agenda Report.
Despite multiple ongoing wars and no real 'win' in any of them, the US government -- and the US media -- want another war. It's the war Christiane Amanpour has been allowed to advocate for over the airwaves for years now. No one's been at all bothered by her public advocacy for war. That's how normalized and natural war has become. Ted Rall noted this week (at COUNTERPUNCH) that the media has moved the dialogue ever right and how, forty or fifty years ago, the media might mock pacifist voices but those voices were included but, surveying the coverage today, "Nowhere to be found was a pacifist: someone who opposes war, all war, no matter what. Nor were there any anti-interventionists: people who say Syria is not our business and should be left to sort out its own affairs."
this is a popular cute talking point that's designed to flatten the escalation of launching airstrikes on the regime. When people mean "bombing Syria" in the current context they clearly mean the state not the territory it nominally holds.
"we've already dropped 80,000 bombs on Syria what's a few hundred more" is really the point of this clever refrain. It's designed to downplay the meaningful escalation that's going on while bashing some undefined straw hypocrite.
That's Chris Hayes, MSNBC talking head, the man THE NATION had covering the Barack Obama White House -- despite the fact that his wife was an attorney there. Ethics, if they had any, they tossed them aside long ago in the midst of a pole dance.
Last week on FAIR's COUNTERSPIN, Janine Jackson and Jeff Cohen discussed MSNBC. Excerpt:
Again, Chris playing footsie with the War Hawks. That's what you do to be on MSNBC.
Syria; also known as Iraq 2.0
When Americans died on 9-11, it was a horror. But somehow when children die in these wars the US starts, it's just what-has-to-be-done. Life matters or it doesn't. A life is not more important because the person lives in Iowa and not Iraq.
More war will mean more deaths. Chris Hayes can go full on Rachel Maddow all he wants but that doesn't change the reality that people will die as a result of what he's doing right now.
War on Iraq did not bring peace, nor was it intended to. War on Syria won't bring peace either, nor is it intended to. Bully Boy Bush began the current war on Syria with much drama and the withdrawal of an ambassador. It's been a push to war ever since.
And this despite the fact that the US is already involved in so many wars. Isn't that a dying empire, by the way? When it's one war after another just to struggle to keep afloat?
At any rate, the Iraq War continues.
Baxtiyar Goran (KURDISTAN 24) observes, "In December, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared a 'final victory' over the extremist group, but the militants continue to carry out assassinations, ambushes, and bombings across the country."
That is the reality. Hayder al-Abadi has not destroyed ISIS. It was his claim to fame, what he planned to run for re-election on. What, in fact, he's still running for re-election on because he has nothing else.
This week, he held a meeting about anti-corruption.
رئيس مجلس الوزراء الدكتور حيدر العبادي يترأس اجتماع المجلس الاعلى لمكافحة الفساد PM Al-Abadi chairs a meeting of the Higher Council for Combating Corruption facebook.com/IraqPMMediaOff…
He's been promising to take on corruption since he was installed in 2014. Few are buying his act when no results have been produced.
Too bad for Hayder because elections are weeks away. May 12th is when Iraq is scheduled to hold elections.
Barbara Nimri Aziz (COUNTERPUNCH) surveys the post-war effects on Iraqis and finds no improvements in the basics:
When we turn to fresh produce, fruits and vegetables, the situation is even more alarming. Here too most produce is imported. Even oranges (in this land of orange trees). Beets and cabbage are marked ‘Iraqi’, but pomegranate, okra, eggplant, bananas, cucumber and other greens are from Jordan, Turkey and beyond. The nicest looking tomatoes (a staple in Iraqi dishes) are foreign produced.
Why these imports when Iraq is still largely rural? Foreign produce is less expensive than that produced by Iraq’s farmers, I’m told. Why? Because they are priced to undercut Iraqi production. Why? Because import licenses are awarded to foreign suppliers. And why is this? Because ministry personnel who negotiate these contracts receive handsome kickbacks. This, at the same time, when: a) electricity supply in Iraqi is so weak and unreliable that local production is impossible, and b) ministries responsible for agriculture and manufacturing don’t function in the interests of Iraqi producers. Iraq’s once thriving agricultural base is woefully neglected and derelict.
These conditions are a direct result of government policy and a heavily corrupt bureaucracy. In the case of the bankrupt Palestinian economy, declining production and joblessness are to a large degree imposed by the occupier, Israel, implemented through a compliant Palestinian bureaucracy, oversupplied with wage earners whose disposable income supports a consumption economy and reliance on imports.
In Iraq, the US government still wields enormous influence on Iraq’s administration. From the start of its occupation of Iraq, the U.S. has thwarted attempts to rebuild the nation’s electricity grid and build and install machinery essential to a functioning manufacturing base.
(Significantly, some energy is available to ensure communications function, so that Iraqis can access television and their phone apps. Most homes and small businesses augment a patchy, inadequate government electrical supply with batteries and generators, imported of course.)
These conditions, in both Palestine and Iraq, are bald ‘disaster capitalism’. They exhibit what Naomi Klein identifies in The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. Her influential 2007 study was followed in 2015 by Disaster Capitalism, offering irrefutable evidence of these insidious foreign-directed processes which enrich outside powers while directing responsibility onto incompetent corrupt local governments.
At every level, from reliance on underwear for its soldiers to pharmaceuticals to tangy beverages, Iraq’s decline into a consumer nation is unarguably the policy of outside powers. It works with a compliant merchant class of suppliers, happy to take a narrow slice while its foreign partners enjoy the prime cuts. It’s a process well know to every Iraqi.
BLACK AGENDA REPORT's Margaret Kimberley notes an action taking place this weekend in the US.
The following community sites -- plus PACIFICA EVENING NEWS -- updated: