When the Lyrical Muse Sings the Creative Pen Dances – Bright Skylark Literary Productions

If you’re a regular reader of my national African-American cultural arts column, you may have noticed that I have not been posting articles as frequently as I once did. The reason is simple enough. Having reached a certain point in the research for my current book-in-progress (at least one of them anyway) I had to reduce as many additional writing obligations as possible to fully concentrate on completion of the work.

For me, this is the part of authorship when the lyrical muse sings and the creative pen dances. The greater bulk of the more rigid tasks of verification and documentation have been satisfied, and imagination may be allowed to take over the processes of narrative construction. The resulting musical flow of image and language stamp the work with its own unique identity. And its own self-defined meanings destined to merge with different readers’ interpretations of the same.

The Writer and the Times

I started the national African-American cultural arts column on July 13, 2009, with a story about the debut of Johnny and Me, Savannah author Miriam K. Center’s play based on her friendship with the late 4-time Academy Award-winning composer Johnny Mercer. That was followed by a profile of acclaimed artist Jerome Meadows.

The next month, August, saw the launch of the controversial series on the trial (and eventual execution) of Troy Anthony Davis, convicted for the murder of Savannah policeman Mark Allen MacPhail.  Not writing about Davis’s trial, to my mind, would have been a case of gross negligence. Doing so was one early indication of what readers would discover over the next few years: basically, I found it impossible to restrict myself (as asked to do) to the subject of “the arts” as pertaining to African Americans.

Please check out the full post by clicking here: When the Lyrical Muse Sings the Creative Pen Dances – Bright Skylark Literary Productions


Notebook on Michael Brown, Kajieme Powell, and W.E.B. Du Bois (part 1 of 2)

“No one seems to think it significant that upon the policemen’s arrival Kajieme Powell possibly had reason to fear for his life and reacted in a manner consistent with his disability.” ––Article excerpt (Aberjhani)

“Democracy is not a gift of power, but a reservoir of knowledge.” –– from The Wisdom of W.E.B. Du Bois

The month of August happens to be one in which a number of notable events in African-American history, relatively recent in historical terms, have occurred. There are the birthdays of such celebrated individuals as author James Baldwin (Aug. 2), President Barack Obama (Aug. 4), and philanthropist and performing artist Michael Jackson (Aug. 29).

From this point forward, people shall also certainly recall August 9, 2014, as the day when 18-year-old’s Michael Brown’s death served to ignite a series of violent night-time protests eerily reminiscent of similar scenes from the 1960s. The chaos also functioned as yet one more reminder of how readily the lives of African-American men are deleted from this world by violence.

With the 2009 killing of 22-year-old Oscar Grant in Oakland, Calif., the 2011 execution of Savannah’s 42-year-old Troy Anthony Davis, the 2012 shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, and the currently-pending case of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson found dead in a rolled-up wrestling mat at his school in Lowndes County, Georgia, so fresh in recent memory, such a reminder was hardly necessary.

But there it painfully is. As Jaeah Lee reported in Mother Jones and others have written elsewhere, similar occurrences are far more frequent than many might imagine. This reality is nothing like advantageous diversity that many multiculturalists prefer to believe is possible for the United States. It also says much more about the cost of romanticizing faith in guns and violence than lawmakers and lobbyists seem willing to acknowledge.

To read the full special report article by Aberjhani please click here:
Notebook on Michael Brown, Kajieme Powell, and W.E.B. Du Bois part 1 of 2 – National African-American Art | Examiner.com.

Text and meaning in the life of Nelson Mandela (part 1 of 3)

Cover of Notes to the Future by Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

“Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfill themselves.” ––Nelson Mandela, Presidential Inauguration Address

When Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela stood before the people of South Africa on May 10, 1994, as its first black and democratic president, the moment represented much more than a personal victory. It embodied the kind of glimpse into humanity’s potential for harmonious coexistence that history rarely provides.

Neither the concept nor the practice of persecution were invented the day Mr. Mandela began as a middle-aged man serving his 27-year prison sentence on Robben Island in 1963.  There are nevertheless, in his case, the notable distinctions of excruciating sacrifice, phenomenal grace, and uncommon personal evolution which moved almost 100 world leaders to attend his memorial in Johannesburg on Human Rights Day, December 10, 2013.

A Transformative Vision

Others have indeed been captured as official prisoners of official war and then later rose to a semblance of power as senators, representatives, presidents, kings, and even queens.  Others have faced violent scorn when sharing with the world a revelation of healing peace and many have been assassinated for doing so. Nelson Mandela, whom many in the world now embraces so affectionately as “Madiba,” experienced a transformative vision in total contrast to the apartheid reality embedded in his country at the time. He proclaimed it, battled for it, survived the numerous tolls it took on his flesh and spirit, and finally, as the world looked on in awe, saw it implemented through his own being.

In his inauguration address, Mr. Mandela identified his country as “the skunk of the world.” He did so because of the wrath of international shaming that occurred after the global community learned first of the particularly insidious nature of racial oppression practiced in his homeland; and then of his own imprisonment for daring to challenge that oppression. As stated in his inauguration address:

To read the full article by Aberjhani please click this link:
Text and meaning in the life of Nelson Mandela (part 1 of 3) – National African-American Art | Examiner.com.

Staging a Pre-Emptive Strike on the Mind of Terror

       Not far from the scene of the Boston Marathon bombing, a toddler kneels before a
memorial to the victims of the atrocity.
 (Photograph by Jim Bourg and Reuters)

For those so inclined, it was and is natural in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing to share prayers and thoughts for healing on behalf of victims and their families. Many have conditioned themselves to respond in such a manner partly because it is within their power to do so and partly because they hope others would feel moved in the same way toward them if they were the ones whose bodies and sanity had been shattered so brutally.

Victims, after all, within the context of terrorism––whether homegrown or imported––are much like newborn innocents simply because they have not signed up for a war. In this particular case, they had simply stepped out into the light of day intending to honor, preserve, and celebrate a long-standing tradition. Some might argue (and in fact some do) that America, like much of the rest of the world, should have become accustomed to such atrocities by now. But the greatest defeat of all would be to embrace mayhem as an acceptable norm.

Or is it possible denizens of the world have already done exactly that? The U.S. Senate’s choice to reject legislation requiring background checks and other gun control measures for those purchasing firearms would certainly imply that is the case. They are fully aware of what is likely to occur in the absence of such checks and yet they refuse, even as the memory of the Sandy Hook massacre remains fresh in so many minds, to apply them.

The Brothers Tsarnaev

As right and natural as it may be to turn one’s hearts toward the wounded and murdered, it is also necessary to pray and hope on behalf of those who have come to believe so fervently that violence is the only solution to their perceived grievances with the world. This is not to say that those such as the young brothers Tsarnaev, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar, as well as others responsible for heinous crimes should be “spared the full weight of justice,” as Barack Obama put it.

But it is to say that faith in destruction as a means of expressing dedication to life can only intensify a kind of insanity of which humanity is obligated to heal itself. The only remaining option is to live in a state of perpetual preparation––mentally, physically, and spiritually––as individuals and as nations for the next round of carnage induced by broken-souled human beings.

For the full article by Aberjhani please click this link:
Staging a pre-emptive strike on the mind of terror – National African-American Art | Examiner.com.

Catching up with Our Humanity – Guerrilla Decontextualization

“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity…”– Albert Einstein


Guerrilla Decontextualization is a study of trends in social media, mainstream media, and general human conduct that focus on the practice of intentionally distorting images or information for the purpose of gaining influence or popularity. Examples of it are easy to spot in some 2012 political campaign ads when a candidate for a particular office tries to dig up dirt on another candidate and uses certain phrases from interviews (as well as private conversations) or excerpts from a video, to make it look as if that one phrase or image tells the whole story.

It may be that the only true or accurate context for any given event––i.e., the birth of an idea, a conversational exchange, a clash or embrace between two or more entities–– is the moment in which it occurs. Everything else is a slanted interpretation, leaning either more toward or away from unadorned reality. The lean toward truth, though it can be excruciatingly painful, is one that ultimately helps individuals and societies further define and experience the voluptuous complexities of what we call our humanity. The lean toward falsehood reflects an aspect of that same humanity but corrupts our greatest potential for its higher expression. The pendulum of history as we are experiencing it in this second decade of the 21st century seems to swing with sharp suspense back and forth between these possibilities. 

Please feel free to continue reading the post by Aberjhani by clicking this link:

Catching up with Our Humanity – Guerrilla Decontextualization.

Dancing to the Paradigm Rhythms of Change in Action (part 1 of 2) | Aberjhani | Blog Post | Red Room

                  Ethiopian journalist and publisher Eskinder Nega. (photo courtesy of World News)

I am Eskinder Nega. Like my hero Nelson Mandela, my soul is unconquered, my spirit unbroken, my head unbowed, and my heart unafraid.”—Eskinder Nega from I Am Eskinder Nega

Change is one of the scariest things in the world and yet it is also one of those variables of human existence that no one can avoid. One may literally find the lessons of that simple observation all over the map at this halfway point in the year 2012–– and only a few months before Americans take their collective political fate into their own hands during one of the most intense
presidential elections on historical record. 

From such a perspective, it matters less whether you look at the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decisions to skillfully dissect Arizona’s (and by extension similar states’) Illegal Immigration Law, and then largely uphold President Barack Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as victories for  one group over another. What is clear in either case is that the paradigm rhythms of change are very much in progress in this second decade of the 21st century.

Freedom of Expression and Eskinder Nega

Stepping outside the United States into the larger global village, the nature of change has caused government officials in Ethiopia to place themselves in a precarious position where the court of public opinion is concerned. Specifically, officials there recently convicted some half a dozen journalists (plus 18 other individuals) of terrorism based primarily­­­­––so far as observers have been able to tell––on blogs and editorials.

The main offenses committed through these writings was that the authors: addressed the events of the Arab Spring, questioned the accuracy of election outcomes, and examined governmental criteria for classifying individuals as terrorists. Among those convicted on June 27 was publisher and journalist Eskinder Nega, recipient of the 2012 PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award. 

To read more of the full article by Aberjhani please click either of the links below:

Dancing to the Paradigm Rhythms of Change in Action (part 1 of 2) | Aberjhani | Blog Post | Red Room.
Dancing to the Paradigm Rhythms of Change in Action Part 1 on Examiner 

What Death of Osama Bin Laden Indicates about Barack Obama’s Leadership

President Barack Obama (AP photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Barack Obama (AP photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Until late Sunday evening on May 1, 2011, the big news in discussions focused on President Barack Obama throughout the weekend was that he and First Lady Michelle Obama were scheduled to appear on the Oprah Winfrey show on May 2. Then TV journalists interrupted regular television broadcasts at approximately 10:45 p.m. with the news that al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden had been killed and President Obama himself came on the air about an hour later to confirm the news and provide details on the end of a quest for justice that has taken nearly a full decade to achieve since September 11, 2001.

Delivering an address that evoked the unhealed “gaping hole” left in the heart of Americans following 9/11 along with the heightened sense of patriotic unity that followed, Obama made his purpose for being on television at such an odd hour clear from the beginning:

“Tonight I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama Bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda , and a terrorist who was responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.”

Those words in and of themselves spoke volumes for all that they mean and imply about the bitter languishing nightmare with which Americans have lived since 9/11. Yet they also served as an important prelude to other statements made by Obama. The president properly gave credit for the success of the operation to work done by the intelligence community, to the Pakistani government’s cooperation, and to the “small team of Americans” who managed to accomplish it without losing any of their own. Yet it is also clear that the victory came as a direct result of President Obama’s leadership. Although he is not likely to make such a blunt assertion on his own, he could not avoid stating these simple and now historic facts:

“I met repeatedly with my National Security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located Bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside Pakistan. And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action and authorized an operation to get Osama Bin Laden and bring him to justice. Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan… After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body… The death of Bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al Qaeda.”

Mainstream media thus far seems to prefer to tip around Obama’s very active role as leader in this operation. It instead has proclaimed this a great day for the American people–which it unquestionably is– and a great victory for American intelligence operatives–which it also unquestionably is. It has also been careful to acknowledge that former President George W. Bush was just as eager to capture Bin Laden as current President Obama.

But this day is also a great one for a man whose leadership skills have been severely and repeatedly criticized and mocked within the media, a man who has endured outlandish public accusations questioning his citizenship, and one who has seen fellow government servants distribute images of himself and his family lineage as primates. All of this has come despite such triumphs as national health care reform, the appointment of an historic number of women to the U.S. Supreme Court, the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” securing billions of dollars for victims of the BP oil spill, and other undeniable milestones.

To read the final “Truth, Freedom, and Democracy” section  of this article please click this link: http://www.examiner.com/african-american-art-in-national/what-death-of-osama-bin-laden-indicates-about-barack-obama-s-leadership

by Aberjhani

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