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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I became free again

"There was a long time when I went through depression because I told myself I didn't have a choice. That I joined the military and I had only one duty and that was to obey what I was told, regardless of how I felt inside. It really hurt me for a long time because I imprisoned myself by telling myself I didn't have a choice. It didn't matter that I might be sent to prison. I was already in prison, my freedom was already gone."

"When I told myself that I do have a choice, I have a choice to do what is morally right, what is in my conscience, and what I can live with for the rest of my life-even though that comes with consequences, I do have that choice. When I realized that, and when I chose what was right for me, I became free again."

Lieutenant Ehren Watada, first commissioned US Officer to refuse deployment in Iraq

Last Friday, the judge presiding over Watada's court martial, which could have sent him to jail for 6 years, abruptly declared a mistrial. Essentially, he couldn't risk an open trial on the legality of America's war on Iraq.

I have so much admiration and respect for soldiers who are standing up, speaking out, against the war. They are the single most powerful force against the ongoing carnage. Because empires cannot operate with human minions to implement their plans. When soldiers realize they have a choice, they bring the whole monstrous killing machine to a grinding halt.

More Italy performances confirmed

on April 2nd, 3rd and 4th. Click on "Calendar" above to see details.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Sauti za Busara photograph

of me performing at the opening ceremony.

Someone forwarded it to me today. I hadn't seen it before. The first thought I had when I looked at it was how I spent hours scouring Gizenga Street, the main shopping alley of Zanzibar's Stone Town, for something to wear on stage that would cover me neck to wrist to ankle. In deference to Zanzibari Islamic culture. The irony is that a fully-covered poet, saying the word "clitoris" on stage, in the serious political context of female genital mutilation, was labelled offensive. Singled out for silencing.

Not the half-naked gyrating dancers from the mainland, in Saturday night's lineup.

Not Tanzanian bongo flava act, TKS Mwanaume, who opened their set by yelling: "All the niggaz in the house, put your hands up! All the bitches in the house, put your hands up!"

Why was a woman naming a part of her own body, a part of every woman's body, so much more threatening than racist hate speech? So much more disturbing to the powerful men of Zanzibar than women blatantly packaged as sexual commodities?
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