SpeakOut is Truthout's treasure chest for bloggy, quirky, personally reflective, or especially activism-focused pieces. SpeakOut articles represent the perspectives of their authors, and not those of Truthout.
Haneen Zoabi is an Arab Israeli member of Israel's parliament, the Knesset. She was elected in 2009 as a member from the Balad Party. Balad is an Arab party that was formed in 1995 with the aim of "struggling to transform the state of Israel into a democracy for all its citizens." In the West, this is a perfectly normal goal. But Israel's Zionist ideology disqualifies it as a "Western" nation. Thus Balad's aim is in direct opposition to the Zionist idea of Israel as a "Jewish state," a concept that Ms Zoabi labels "inherently racist."
Apparently, Haneen Zoabi is fearless. She actually lives her principles.
"Good teaching is living your life honestly in front of students."
I don't recall exactly when Jim Koplin first told me that, but I know that he had to say it several times before I began to understand what he meant. Koplin was that kind of teacher—always honing in on simple, but profound, truths; fond of nudging through aphorisms that required time to understand their full depth; always aware of the connection between epistemology and ethics; and patient with slow learners.
In April 2012, music industry magazine The Music Network asked Australian hip-hop pioneer Urthboy to write about the state of hip-hop in Australia. Instead Urthboy, the boss of respected hip-hop label Elefant Traks, wrote this: "I was asked to write about the state of hip-hop in Australia. I'd prefer to shine a light on what may be the future of it: Indigenous Hip-Hop. Indigenous artists carry a profoundly engrossing and intriguing story for international audiences, yet it's barely understood by many Australians."
Real Talk: Aboriginal Rappers Talk About Their Music And Country is a free ebook that aims to be an introduction to some of the Aboriginal hip-hop artists out there. All have stories that demand to be heard, from the better-known players like The Last Kinection and Sky'high, to those who have huge online audiences but get no media coverage, such as Sesk, and those who are probably too radical for the establishment to handle, such as Darah.
In 1925, T.S. Eliot saw the writing on the wall. The world would end, he thought, "not with a bang but a whimper." In our own time, 2012 was destined to become the year of the Great Mayan Apocalypse - a centuries-old declaration of calendrical oblivion, finally come to collect. Some, determined to secure front-row seats to the greatest show on earth, stormed the Yucatan like the vile offspring of Duane Hanson and Burning Man. Time to go out with a bang, they exclaimed. But as the sun broke the horizon on December 22, it became clear that the world, in its obstinacy, would trundle on. No apocalypse this year, Yucatan reveler. Better luck next time.
A cataclysmic letdown, one might say. Then again, maybe this is what the end looks like. Maybe this unendurable persistence is the whimper that Eliot foretold.
The oft-maligned Chicago Public Schools (CPS) policy of subjecting neighborhood schools to "turnaround" discriminates against African-American teachers and staff according to a federal lawsuit filed this week by the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and three public school educators. More than half of the 347 tenured teachers who were terminated by CPS as a result of the most recent turnarounds are African-American. This is the second major legal action on this matter taken by the union.
The Dec. 26 lawsuit alleges that the process for selecting schools for turnaround results in schools being selected that have a high percentage of African-American teachers, compared to schools that performed similarly but are not selected for any school action. More than 50 percent of the tenured teachers terminated as a result of the most recent turnarounds were African American...
You've probably caught some "year in review" segments. This one has it all - including a lot of stories the mainstream media wants you to forget about.
In recent years Senate Republicans have used the filibuster to block over 380 bills and nominations. There has been a terrible cost to the country as Republicans blocked bill after bill, solution after solution, nomination after nomination.
For too long now, this tactic has been misused and abused. Congress has stopped legislating effectively, with Senators using ridiculous dodge tactics to block real progress. They have used filibusters to block jobs, judges, disaster relief, the Dream Act, health care, and almost everything else. They have even filibustered their own bills!
Prevailing thought is like prevailing wind; it requires less effort to allow oneself to be carried along than to set a course that goes against it. Also like wind, thought is often presumed to be invisible. But one can quite easily learn to observe the effects of both on tangible objects, and thereby gain the ability to harness the power of either.
The first lesson in sailing usually occurs on the shoreline. Students are invited to determine from which direction the wind is blowing by looking for clues: flags, trees, boats at anchor, the feel of the breeze on one's own skin, and through careful observation of subtle variations in the texture of wavelets on the surface of the water itself.
Just saw "Django Unchained."
Actually, I'm surprised I liked it. I liked it very much.
I'm sure I had Spike's concerns, if I understand what those concerns actually are. But I think they have something to do with a white filmmaker not being able to handle such a serious topic like black slavery—you know, his maybe undermining the cruelty of the institution by having a slave seemingly pleased with his status. I'm sure Spike, for whom I have great respect, can reel off a list of happy darkie stereotypes (or their variants) given birth in Hollywood.
Amid controversy surrounding a status referendum that several former Governors admitted was "confusing" and designed to "bring more of the same" uncertainty regarding Puerto Rico's future relationship to the U.S., a major conference bringing together prominent human rights activists and legal scholars called sternly for adherence to international principles and norms. The Encuentro Derechos Humanos 2012, held at San Juan's University of the Sacred Heart from December 7-10, saw a reunion of the key organizers who had led the successful campaigns for the release of eleven political prisoners (granted clemency by President Clinton in 1999) and for the closure of the U.S. Navy bombing range on Vieques (which took place in 2003-2004). Coordinated by noted sociologist, educator, and attorney Luis Nieves Falcon, theEncuentro ("Encounter") called for a renewal of activism against continuing forms of colonialism.