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7.28.2009

An Interview with Warren Ballentine "The People's Attorney"

The Truth About Black & White by Warren Ballentine

Ashahed M. Muhammad (AMM): The book. Why did you write it?

Attorney Warren Ballentine (WB): I wrote it because, honestly, we have not talked about race relations from an economic development standpoint, and the book is about how economics plays a huge role in race relations in this country. I’ll give you a perfect example: What I write in the book is that it’s just cheaper to be White in America than it is to be Black, because of educational advances, because of the police incidents, because of the poverty we grow up in as African-Americans. So, it’s just cheaper in this country if you’re born a Caucasian than being born a Black person.

AMM: Now, any outspoken individual who uses his considerable audience, popularity, or whatever faces retribution. Most of the time it starts with corporate retribution, it may extend to people in their personal life. How have you dealt with those challenges being outspoken and being someone who is not afraid to take what is considered the “politically incorrect” view, or position? How have you dealt with that? How do you maintain your integrity in a situation where a lot of things are judged by numbers, or how much revenue they generate?

WB: I pray everyday. And what I pray for is the spirit of humbleness, and, the spirit of me doing what God is asking me to do—not what I individually want to do. So, if I’m making a “politically incorrect” statement to the masses—this is what God put in me. I don’t worry about what anybody else thinks. As long as I’m doing His Will, then, you know, whatever anybody else thinks, I really don’t care, to be honest with you. I’m not afraid. And that’s the big thing: You can’t be afraid to speak the truth. If you’re speaking truthfully—no matter if you’re White, Black, Hispanic, Asian—if it’s the truth, it’s the truth! And if that’s what you’re telling, you have no reason to be fearful, or, worry about people trying to diffuse what you’re doing. Because, if you’re speaking the truth, they can’t beat the truth.

AMM: How is it going around to different campuses? You are old enough to be respected, but young enough to still relate. What are you finding in the response that you’ve heard in some of these Black colleges. What is their response? How do they feel when they see somebody that’s your age, using the same terminology; talking about the issues?

WB: They love it. I mean, you know, it’s a great response. And they love the fact that—you know, what I’m finding to be surprising is that, especially on a college level, a lot of people are excited about the fact that I’m a lawyer, and not a rapper or a ball player, and coming, and speaking to them. And I think that it’s a lost generation out here, because nobody’s trying to connect that generation to the previous generation. And we have to bridge that gap. I mean, even with our generation—you and me. You know, you look at our elders, it’s a big gap there. Nobody has bridged that gap. And that’s the key: We’ve got to bridge that gap, because, we’re only one generation removed. If we don’t teach the next generation, then they will never know. So, the key is for us to remember: We want to be teachers; but, we want them to feel comfortable enough to understand that we’re their friends too.

AMM: What's coming up for you? What do you have going on next?

WB: I’m leaving here; I’m on my way to Tampa for the NABJ [33rd Annual Convention and Career Fair]. I’m leaving here, and going to Rev. C.T. Vivian’s birthday in Atlanta. Then, I’m going to Tampa; then I’ll be leaving there to go to New York. I’m going to be doing a lot with Black Enterprise and Our World with Ed Gordon, so, I’ll be doing some stuff with him.

AMM: Any books coming up? Possible TV shows? Or, you can’t tell me yet?

WB: I can’t tell you with the TV show, but, the book is out right now: “The Truth About Black and White”—Amazon.com. You can pick it up.

AMM: Real good. Excellent…Thank you.

(Visit Warren Ballentine "The People's Attorney" at http://www.thetruthfighters.com)

7.27.2009

Michael Jackson: Crucified! - Latest Edition of The Final Call



WWW.FINALCALL.COM


"America is the modern Roman Empire...Ancient Rome is gone, and modern Rome is going. There is a conspiracy against the Black male and anyone who shows his head as a potential leader, the eyes of the enemy are on that one."

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan
Mosque Maryam, Chicago, Illinois
July 26, 2009

7.24.2009

The Final Call - 30 Years of Publishing - How has it impacted your life?


Almost everyone has had a unique experience with The Final Call. It is an important institution. Tell us about the first time you read it, or the first time you shared it with someone else. How did it make you feel? How did it change your life then? How has it changed your life now? We are only national Black newspaper and we reach the world.What does The Final Call mean to you?

Let us know your thoughts.

ashahed.blogs.finalcall.com

7.22.2009

Farrakhan at Westgate Correctional Facility in Bermuda

Minister Farrakhan enters the yard to speak to prisoners in Bermuda.
(Photo: Ashahed M. Muhammad)

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan visited the Westgate Correctional Facility where he spoke to the entire prison population on the yard Tuesday, July 21.

What is easily observable is that the same problems existing among the poor in the U.S. are found among the poor in Bermuda; lack of jobs, lack of resources and poor educational choices. The prison population was 99.67 % Black. There was one Caucasian incarcerated at the facility we visited.

It was clear that Min. Farrakhan's 45-minute message to the prisoners impacted them positively.

After the Minister spoke, many of the inmates came forward to shake his hand and told him how much they loved him, respected him, and how much they appreciated his guidance.

I observed with my very own eyes the actions of a humble servant of humanity who cares for each and every individual, no matter what their condition, and loves them, no matter what type of bad judgement they have shown and despite the mistakes they have made. This is just one of the reasons why Min. Farrakhan's outreach and ministry is so effective, and whether you realize it or not, it is also an active demonstration of the unfolding of scriptural realities right before our very eyes.

This is just a small part of segment of the trip. Look for full coverage of in a future edition of The Final Call.

ashahed.blogs.finalcall.com

Farrakhan and the Bermudian Press


A light moment before Minister Farrakhan is interviewed by ZBM's Rich Darby.
(Photo: Ashahed M. Muhammad
)

Hamilton, BERMUDA-After delivering a message to the people of Bermuda on Monday night, The Honorable Minister Farrakhan continued the very next morning in his work to bring peace and unity to this island of approximately 68,000 people.

He began the morning with back to back interviews, first with Bryan Darby, correspondent for VSB Radio & TV News (NBC) then immediately following that, he was interviewed by Rich Lathan, of ZBM News (CBS).

As the Bermudian journalists exited, and as we prepared to leave for the next event on the schedule, Min. Farrakhan asked me if I had any question for him, and of course I did! It was a wonderful opportunity for me to ask Min. Farrakhan questions regarding current global realities.

All of this happened before 1030AM!

My next post will deal with our visit to those incarcerated at the Bermuda Department of Corrections.

ashahedm.blogs.finalcall.com

7.21.2009

Farrakhan Speaks to Thousands in Bermuda


Minister Farrakhan arrives to the cheers of the Bermudians for his message on July 20.
(Photo: Ashahed M. Muhammad)

Hamilton, BERMUDA- Despite intermittent rain showers, thousands of Bermudians came to hear the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan deliver a message to the residents of the island paradise concerned about a recent increase in violence among the youth.

Rather than leaving the National Stadium because of the rain, many of the over 3,000 in attendance popped open their umbrellas and put on their rain coats, remaining attentive during the 2-hour message in which Min. Farrakhan addressed the spiritual, economic, social and political ills plaguing not only Bermuda's residents, but society as a whole.

The Minister's message held guidance for all levels; the government, the educators, the businessmen, the common people, and the youth.

A press conference is scheduled to begin within the next 20 minutes, and The Final Call is right here to bring you the latest!

7.19.2009

Ashahed is blogging from Bermuda this week



I will be blogging from Bermuda over the next few days to bring you some of the sights and sounds of The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan's presence on the island to bring unity to the community.

7.16.2009

Hands off Assata Shakur! Her Anniversary of Birth is today! She is 62.


Hands off Assata Shakur! Her Anniversary of Birth is today!

The following text is sourced from a statement found on the website http://handsoffassata.org/

On July 16, 2007 our mother, sister, comrade and revolutionary s/hero turned 60 with a million dollar bounty on her head issued by the U.S. Government. The “Happy Birthday Assata Campaign” kicked off a national tour featuring a traveling birthday card for Assata signed by thousands of activists, students, educators, journalists, artists, and freedom fighters nationwide. The tour featured Angela Davis, Mos Def, Sonia Sanchez and included a Detroit city council resolution honoring Assata.

The following is a statement from our mother, sister, comrade Assata Shakur:

First of all, let me say thank you, to the many people who have helped me to celebrate my 60th birthday. Thank you for your beautiful birthday cards and for your warm and eloquent messages. Thank you for your activism, your radiant energy and most of all for your love. I am sincerely grateful for your support and for your commitment to social justice, truth and freedom.

It is somehow surprising for me to realize that I have lived on this planet for 60 years. I never imagined that I would live this long. Some of those years were very hard years, other years were happier, but I have never forgotten who I am or where I came from. For as long as I can remember, I was acutely aware of my oppression and of the oppression of my people.
In some ways it was easier for my generation. Racism was blatant and obvious. The “Whites Only” signs let us know clearly, what we were up against. Not much has changed, but the system of lies and tricknology is much more sophisticated. Today young people have to be highly informed and acutely analytical, or they will be swept up into a whirlpool of lies and deception.

Freedom, justice and liberty are words that are thrown around a lot in the United States, but for most of us, it is empty rhetoric. With each and every passing day the country becomes more repressive, the police more viciously aggressive and the so-called constitutional guarantees obliterated by scare tactics. The so-called ‘Conservatives’ are only interested in conserving their privileges and power and helping their rich friends to become richer. Black ‘Conservatives’ serve their “masters” and are basically interested in grinning, shuffling and ‘Uncle Tomming’ all the way to the bank. This is the most corrupt administration that has ever existed. They have blatantly stolen not millions, but billions of dollars. They are actively seeking to preserve the old colonial order with a new face, where the oppressed people of Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East are expected to suffer happily, and sing praises to imperialism to the tune of the star spangled banner.

It is extreme arrogance to attack and occupy a country and expect its people to rejoice and lick your feet. Not even Roman Emperors were involved in such misguided conceit. The U.S. government has no right whatsoever, to force its undemocratic “democracy” on the rest of the world. I am 60 years old and I cannot remember a time when my people ever experienced true democracy. It is still the active policy of the U.S. government to use a wide variety of tactics to prevent poor people and people of color from voting. And when we do get to vote, our votes usually do not count. For the most part, there are no decent candidates to vote for, because the U.S, government is a “dollarocracy” where candidates have to beg and pander to the corporate rich in order to be elected.

I am 60 years old, and I have never in my life seen such widespread violence and cruelty. The U.S. government has more people in prison than any other country in the world, and it is now actively involved in creating prisons all over the world. Abu Gharib is only the tip of the iceberg. People all over the world are being imprisoned in secret prisons, with no formal charges being made against them. They are imprisoned under the most inhumane conditions, and detained for indeterminate periods of time, with no rights, no trials, and no justice whatsoever. In short, the leaders of this country are war criminals. All the U.S. government has to do is call them terrorists or extremists, enemy combatants or whatever and they can do anything they want to these people. I live in Cuba, and the Cuban people watch horrified, as the U.S. Army illegally occupies their land in Guantanamo and commits unspeakable acts of torture on their soil, in the name of “freedom.” The U.S. government not only destroys the lives of people around the world, many mothers have cried because many of our young people have had their lives destroyed as well. I believe that this earth was meant for tenderness and not terror. The imperialist countries not only implement terrorist policies in the Third World, their actions also provoke terrorist activities and internal disputes between people. I believe that when Western governments learn to respect the sovereignty of Third world governments, and to offer solidarity and support rather that imperialist policies and exploitation, most of the world’s problems will be close to being solved.

Inside the belly of the beast, conditions are also disastrous. Most of the victims of Katrina are still waiting for decent housing and public services. Schools and hospitals around the country are either deteriorating or closing down. Around the country social programs to help poor and working people are mostly a thing of the past. Our young people are being marginalized, criminalized and brutalized. It is often an act of courage to go to school, or simply drive down the street. The U.S. government’s occupation of Afghanistan has produced a record increase of heroin production, and the “war on drugs” continues to be a war on poor people and people of color. The police brutality in our communitiesis not a simple matter of randomly “bad” cops. This government is more repressive than ever and more and more of a police state. When you have a trigger happy president, a trigger happy vice-president, a trigger happy office of homeland security, you are bound to have an increase of trigger happy police and many of our young people are bound to end up dead or imprisoned. The social policies of the United States have deteriorated from so-called benign neglect to malignant hostility or indifference.

The role the press and the media have played in all this has been increasingly malignant. There is no such thing as a free press in the United States. Journalists receive big salaries for telling “official” lies. The media both knowingly and naively became the vehicle for misinforming the people of the United States and convincing the people that it was “necessary” to go to war. Their “reporting” was based on outright lies. Now they “embedded” in the military, continuing to misinform the people, and distort the truth.

I am 60 years old and I am proud to be one of those people who stood up against the ruthless, evil, imperialist policies of the U.S. government. In my lifetime I have opposed the war against the Vietnamese people, the illegal contras – war in Nicaragua, the illegal coup in Chile, the invasion of Haiti and of Grenada, and every other illegal, immoral and genocidal war the U.S. government has ever waged. I have never been a criminal and I never will be one. I am 60 years old and in spite of government repression, in spite of the media’s lies and distortions, in spite of the U.S, government’s COINTELPRO Program to criminalize and demonize political opponents, I feel proud to count myself as someone who believes in peace and believes in freedom. I am proud to have been a member of the Black Panther Party although the U.S. government continues try to distort history and continues to persecute ex-members of the Black Panther Party. Just recently, the U.S. government has indicted and arrested 8 ex-Black Panthers in a case that was dismissed 30 years ago. The case was dismissed some 30 years ago when it became obvious that the most vicious forms of extreme torture were used to extract false confessions from some of the so-called defendants.

I am 60 years and it is doubtful that I will ever live to see my people free of oppression and repression. But I am totally convinced that our collective dream of freedom will some day be realized. I sincerely implore young people to develop their minds, to develop their skills, to expand their states of consciousness, and sharpen their abilities to analyze reality. Those Africans who conspired with the European slave trade to sell us into slavery were seduced by trinkets. I hope and pray that our young people will not continue to fall into the same traps. I have always loved my people and always loved our culture. The culture of my people has always been rich and always been filled with the seeds of resistance. I hope that young people hold fast to that tradition. I sincerely hope that all young people will have the courage and the wisdom to hold on tight to their humanity and their historical mission. Most people in the Americas, were either indigenous people whose ancestors were victims of genocide, or brought to this hemisphere as slaves, or came to this continent seeking freedom. I believe that it is our collective duty to make freedom a reality. I truly believe that it is possible to end oppression and repression on this planet. If we all see ourselves as citizens of this planet, and citizens of the world, it will be easier for us to save this planet and recognize the human rights of human beings around the world.

Much love, Much Solidarity,
May we all make freedom a reality,
Assata Shakur

July 2007
------------------

7.14.2009

Barack H. Obama's trip to Africa: What are your thoughts?


President Barack H. Obama recently returned from a trip to West Africa. There were many questions and concerns not only from those in the Diaspora, but also those on the continent. Why not Kenya? Why not Nigeria? What are your thoughts. Leave comments below, or email me directly at ashahedm@finalcallnews.com.

Highlights from the current issue include two exclusive interviews I conducted. One with Rev. Jesse Jackson, and another with British Member of Parliament George Galloway who is leading the Viva Palestina relief aid convoy to help the people of Gaza.
How is that for diversity?

Additionally, there is exclusive coverage from The Final Call's Editor-in-Chief Richard B. Muhammad who was in Ghana, covering his visit. The Final Call is the only news organ that brings you relevant news, without taint or slant.