Monday, August 25, 2014

History, Culture, and Remembering Michael Brown

The Middle East from 1500 B.C. to 1000 B.C. experienced a lot of changes. From the beginning of this era, invaders like the Hyksos (or Semitic peoples) and others have attacked ancient Egypt, the Hittites, Assyria, and Babylon. New peoples started to develop. Also, in this period, the Iron Age started to flourish. Iron was used in a widespread fashion and it probably started in Asia Minor. Semitic peoples started to develop their own powerbase in Israel and the Phoenicians. Arabian Kingdoms developed in ancient Saudi Arabia too. In Iran, we see the rise of the Medes, the Persians, and the Parthians. Uratu is a culture near Mount Ararat. In Asia Minor, the Hittite empire fall and the Phrygians and the Lydians control many areas of Turkey. Assyria was a major Mesopotamian Semitic Kingdom. It is found in Northern Iraq. It came about from 2,500 B.C. to 605 B.C. Smaller states existed during its existence too. Its capital was the city of Ashur. The Assyrian Empire had chariots, temples, religious infrastructures, and other parts of a strong civilization. The Phoenicians traveled all over the Mediterranean Sea into North Africa, Spain, and they traded as far as the UK. The Phoenicians invented the alphabet system in the modern age. The camel has been domesticated in this period and new trade routes across the Arabian Desert came into existence. The Israelites formed their own Kingdom. The first record of the name Israel (as ysrỉꜣr) occurs in the Merneptah stele, erected for Egyptian Pharaoh Merneptah c. 1209 BCE, "Israel is laid waste and his seed is not." William Dever sees this "Israel" in the central highlands as a cultural and probably political entity, more an ethnic group rather than an organized state. The ancestors of the Israelites are different to the Canaanites. The ancestors of the Israelites were Semites. Villages in Israel have up to 300 or 400 people. They used farming, herding, and they were largely self-sufficient. The Tel Dan Stele and the Mesha Stele described the occurrences in Israel by name.

Many foods can improve the human eye. America alone spends almost 7 billion dollars to treat cataracts, which affect about 22 million Americans over the age of 40. Egg yolks can help with building up the human eye. AMD or age related macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss for people over 65 years old. Eating egg yolks can help slow this process. For many reasons, a degenerative process can affect the macula or a tiny area in the back of the eye which damages eye vision. Egg yolks contain lutein, a yellow-pigmented antioxidant belonging to a class of compounds called carotenoids. Lutein and a similar compound called zeaxanthin selectively accumulate in the macula of the retina, scavenging free radicals and acting as a blue-light filter. Some experts suggest that we need about 6 mg of these antioxidants a day. One egg yolk has about 0.25 mg of lutein, and even more if you don't cook it. Also, the body absorbs lutein found in egg yolks more easily than it does that found in fruits or vegetables. Consuming lutein with olive or coconut oil enhances absorption. Egg yolks can greatly help eye health. Spinach is a delicious green leafy vegetable. It has a lot of luetein. Therefore, it can assist the human eye. Consuming it raw is the best method as heating spinach is known to damage some of its antioxidants. In the macula, lutein and zeaxanthin are considered macular pigments. Macular pigments have been shown to decrease the risk of AMD, and might also play a role in age-related cataracts, according to the Egg Nutrition Center [PDF]. Among carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin are the only ones to be found in the eye's lens. Kale, broccoli, romaine lettuce, peas, Brussels sprouts, zucchini and other collard greens also contain high amounts of lutein. Blueberries have anthocyanins in their bright blue casing (anthocyanins are a group of powerful antioxidants that can aid the body with multiple protections). Eating blueberries helps protect the retina from unwarranted sunlight and oxygen damage. While consuming carrots won't necessarily reverse bad eyesight, they can help improve overall eye health. Carrots contain lutein and beta-carotene, a substance converted to vitamin A by the body, a beneficial nutrient for eye health. Vitamin A is a crucial nutrient; in fact, a lack of it is the leading cause of blindness in the developing world, according to Orange colored foods like mango, pumpkin, apricots, sweet potatoes and cantaloupe also contain beta-carotene. Almonds can slow macular degeneration, because it is rich in Vitamin E. Just one handful a day provides you about half of your daily dose, according to Almonds contain the anti-cancer nutrient amygdalin, also known as laetrile or vitamin B17. Almonds promote overall well-being. They contribute to weight loss, help lower cholesterol, prevent HEART DISEASE and improve your complexion, among many other benefits.

“The Get On Up: The James Brown story” is filled with an interesting, strong story. I saw the movie in a theater. The story doesn’t sugarcoat the life of James Brown, but it does capture of the immense talent of James Brown in amazing detail. The movie showed the ambition and energy of the late American musical legend. The movie was directed by Tate Taylor and the screenplay was made by Jez and John-Henry Butterworth. James Brown lived from 1933 to 2006. He was one of the architects of soul music and he pioneered the passage from early rhythm and blues to funk. He played in over 300 shows a years that showed his many hits. His performance was energetic, dynamic, and powerful. He has been called “The Godfather of Soul,” “The Hardest Working Man in Show BUSINESS ” and “Mr. Dynamite.” Mick Jagger co-produced the film as well. The movie begins in 1988. This was when James Brown carried a shotgun in one of his buildings. He talks to a group of his insurance agents. Later, he goes into a high speed chase across Georgia and South Carolina. His life was filled with ups and down. His childhood was hard and tumultuous. James Brown was born in rural Barnwell, South Carolina during the Great Depression. He suffered extreme poverty. At an early age, Brown’s mother Susie (Viola Davis) is forced against her will to abandon her son. After that, his Aunt Honey (Octavia Spencer), who runs a brothel, raises him in Augusta, Georgia, where his abusive father Joe (Lennie James) had moved to work local turpentine camps. Joe is later drafted during World War II. The young James is expected to help raise money to keep Aunt Honey’s establishment going by working with soldiers. Later, he is influenced by evangelism and Pentecostal gospel music. Much of his style and influences come from gospel music. He is arrested at 16 for stealing a suit. He is sentenced to 3 to 15 years in prison. In a 2003 documentary film entitled Soul Survivor: The James Brown Story, Brown says, “I stole from the rich to give to the poor and me.” In prison, Brown meets Bobby Byrd, who is an R&B singer and pianist. They have a lifelong friendship and musical partnership. The movie has Little Richard (played by Brandon Smith) inspiring James Brown to make a demo record. He works in his band called the “Famous Flames.” He earns a contract with Federal Records. When “Please, Please, Please” is released as a single in 1956, the group’s name is changed from the “Famous Flames” to “James Brown and His Famous Flames,” which does not go down well with the other band members. He becomes a soloist by being told by the corporate executives to do so. His fame grew. He toured overseas. Also, there were conflicts with other musicians (in dealing with economic issues) and he did the wrong thing in committing domestic violence against women. In the 1960’s, he supported the civil rights movement. In the documentary, Brown states, “My music was keeping pace with the changes in society. We were demanding our RIGHTS now, civil rights and human rights.” He was famous for his performances in the Apollo and in Paris too. He had tons of hits in the 1960’s with records like “Papa's Got a Brand New Bag", "I Got You" and "It's a Man's Man's Man's World.” During the Vietnam War, he performed for the American troops. The movie showed him performing in the Boston Garden concert during the aftermath of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in April of 1968. His performance filled with police throwing people off stage and other tensions. The movie shows him meeting his mother after long years and finally reconciling. The movie showed his political side with his song, “Say it Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud.” His political views were eclectic. He supported Hubert Humphrey in 1968, but he supported Nixon in 1969 and in 1972, because he embraced the slogan of “black capitalism.” He always believed in education for the youth, so they can have a better future. James Brown believed in an intense individualism (or the philosophy of working hard to be successful with your own individual power). The movie ends with him performing in a crowd (and Bobby Byrd and his wife are in the audience). The movie is very honest, interesting, and exciting. James Brown was one of the greatest artists in history.

We all want justice. Eric Garner never deserved to be choked to death at all. His death has been ruled a homicide and people are tired of injustice after injustice. People want changes in the system and changes in society in general. Marching and protesting about these evils is fine. It is not the only things that we can do though. We should organize our political and economic power to make a difference, build institutions, boycott, and to defend our communities. At the end of the day, we have every right to IMPROVE the conditions of our communities via our own power. Crooked police officers by definition will follow no rules, so the police should real rules. I hope that the cops responsible for Eric Garner’s death are punished including the EMS folks who have done a lax, terrible job in responding to the needs of Eric Garner. Many of the protesters have shown red, black, and green flags and the RBG image is symbol of our struggle & our humanity. We all remember the Birmingham Bus Boycott. PEOPLE organized (funds to help with the boycott came about from people nationwide), sacrificed, and fought against an unjust law. Economies from the local bus services failed, because of that specific boycott. A boycott is very non-violent, but it's strong, effective, and it shows the power of the community in action. People have no choice but to be part of the solution if they want real change. Brilliant people have followed through on it for generations. A boycott is noncooperation with oppression. It is about resisting injustice in a manner that is not only peaceful, but effective. In our day, we can boycott companies or entities that oppress our people. Some folks who act condescending toward people are cruel and immature obviously. We're on the right track, because we love justice and we want people in general to experience true freedom. A lot of brave HUMAN beings of many backgrounds are in NYC defending the human dignity of Eric Garner. He was a family man, a great father, and just a strong man. It is a shame that his life was ended by police brutality. That is why embracing the concept of family is so important. It is RIGHT to call for boycott and it is right to organize in independent economic and political power so our communities can witness a real change. The events in Ferguson taught us that enough is enough. Those types always use the Democratic card while they ignore how the racist Republican Southern Strategy spread bigotry in America and the cruel actions of Ronald Reagan (when he funded reactionary regimes harming citizens in Latin America, etc.). The truth is that both parties have a history of racism, bad POLICIES, and exploitation. You have the right to your views. No one rational is ignoring the need of a trial. Real people believe in the promotion of facts in this case as well. PEOPLE want accountability from a lax local police force. People want respect when the local police forces of Ferguson used tear gas and futuristic LRAD devices on innocent protesters. I saw a man on television, who experienced tear gas and he was peaceful. He was on national TV crying about the whole incident since it was a traumatic experience for him and others. So, we know what we are up against. We are up against extremists.

We are in a struggle for liberation. I will forever believe in Black Love and black solidarity. Black Unity was crucial during the civil rights movement and other movements of social change. Our black families should be protected and strengthen as a means for our communities to grow. The ruling class use class divides as a means to distract from the real issue. The real issue is that we need revolutionary solutions to solve problems. We have to confront real issues in our community too. There are attacks on our civil rights like the Supreme Court’s gutting of parts of the Voting Rights Act. Too many of our children grow up in poverty. The New Jim Crow is just as evil as the old Jim Crow. The New Crow is about the expansion of the prison industrial complex and the evil War on Drugs causing pain and suffering among our people. There are still instances of police brutality and police state tactics (which have been utilized not only in Ferguson, but nationwide). We have to concern ourselves with real issues. There must be a radical redistribution of political and economic power as a means for us to achieve justice. We are fighting for democratic human rights. The heroic actions of Patrice Lumumba, Harriet Tubman, Steve Biko, Ella Baker, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Kwame Nkrumah, Fannie Lou Hamer, Septima Clark, and so many other Brothers & Sisters will always be remembered by all of us. I will always reject reactionary doctrines. The human dignity of all human life ought to be respected. Social action is needed in society to promote the common good, because we embrace the common humanity of all. Another great point is to be reminded of the truth that all labor has dignity. The rights of workers and the rights of the poor in general should be honored, respected, and protected. There can never be a revolutionary movement of social change without the input of workers, the oppressed, the youth, and the poor. We know about the evils of war and how imperialism has murdered millions of lives for the ages and how injustice is morally wrong. We must support the sincere, authentic anti-colonial, liberation movements of the world. We love the Motherland and I love Africa a great deal as my ancestral homeland. Therefore, we will continue in this journey for justice.

By Timothy


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