Police violence against African American women

This video from the USA says about itself:

Say Her Name: Families Seek Justice in Overlooked Police Killings of African-American Women

20 May 2015

As the Black Lives Matter movement grows across the country, the names of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and Freddie Gray have become well known. All died at the hands of local police, sparking waves of protest.

During this time, far less attention has been paid to women who have been killed by law enforcement. Today, a vigil under the banner of Say Her Name is being organized in New York to remember them. We are joined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, professor of law at UCLA and Columbia University, founder of the African American Policy Forum and co-author of the new report, “Police Brutality Against Black Women.”

From the Daily Tar Heel, student newspaper of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the USA:

#SayHerName highlights police violence against black women

Sofia Edelman

25 August 2015

Stories of rape, murder and discrimination against black women were told at the #SayHerName vigil in front of Wilson Library Monday night. The vigil sought to remember transgender and cisgender black women who were killed by police or died in police custody in recent years. “If anyone asks why we are here, we are here to heal so later we can act,” senior June Beshea, who organized the event, said at the beginning of the vigil. “We are here to say her name because so many have not.”

This vigil comes less than a week after the Silent Sam monument was spray-painted with the words “Who is Sandra Bland?” Bland was a black woman who was found dead in her Texas jail cell in July after being arrested during a traffic stop. Her death was ruled a suicide by officials in Waller County, Texas. During the vigil, the stories of the deaths of 10 black women from around the country were told, highlighting whether or not the police officers involved in the event were indicted. Poets and speakers also took the microphone to tell their personal struggles of feeling unsafe because of their skin color.

“I wasn’t trying to educate as much in this event as more give a space to heal,” Beshea said. “But I guess people will come away from it knowing just the scope of black women that are killed by police in this country.” Beyond holding vigils and offering spaces to grieve, Beshea said she plans to use this semester to showcase plays, display art and hold Pit takeovers under the umbrella of “Black Heals” to celebrate blackness. Reverend Robert Campbell, president of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro National Association for the Advancement of Colored People which co-sponsored the vigil with on-campus groups, said he was happy to see college students taking up social justice issues. “All this feeds into why we should focus on what is the value of a life,” Campbell said. “What is the value of a female’s life? What is her worth? Not just as a mother, not just as a sister, but as a human being that should have the same rights as a male.”

Destinee Grove, president of the UNC chapter of the NAACP, which also co-sponsored the vigil, said she hoped the vigil created allies and informed attendees on what they can do as students to become involved in events like the #SayHerName vigil. “I think (Say Her Name) means ‘don’t forget, don’t move on, don’t be undone by the initial murdering of a person and then forget them. Remember these people,’” Grove said. “It’s a catalyst to keep the movement going. If you just take away anything, I think that’s a positive.” Junior Charity Lackey, who spoke at the vigil, said it’s important that individuals inside and outside the black community learn more about violence against women of color. “I get emotionally drained just trying to see all of the women’s lives that are lost,” she said. “You just have to keep your eyes open and your ears open, and listen more than you speak sometimes.”

English Lost Colony in North Carolina, new research

This video from the USA says about itself:

4 October 2014

Roanoke: The Lost Colony

Josh Bernstein investigates America’s oldest missing person’s case– the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island. In 1587, over 100 settlers landed in the New World to build England’s first permanent colony in North America. But, three years later, they had vanished. Did they starve to death? Were they killed by natives? Were there any survivors? Josh travels across two continents to examine the archaeological evidence. He flies high above Roanoke Island in a powered paraglide to scan the terrain; climbs and cores a cypress tree to find out what the climate was like when the colonists disappeared; and conducts a new DNA study that reveals groundbreaking evidence about the fate of the lost settlers.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Rupert Cornwell

Sunday 16 August 2015

Carolina’s Lost Colony: The fate of the first British settlers in America was a mystery… until now

Out of America: They arrived two decades before the Mayflower landed in Massachusetts, but the 115 colonists then vanished

There are places, on America’s mid-Atlantic seaboard, where you can still imagine the coastline as the first English settlers must have seen it, more than 400 years ago. No boat marinas, no highways, no beachfront houses for rent: just reeds, marshes and shimmering expanses of water where the sea meets the sky, and the hazy outline of pristine forests.

So it must have been when John White returned to Roanoke Island for the last time. He was well acquainted with the area – part of what is now North Carolina, guarded by the barrier islands today known as the Outer Banks. White had made a first reconnaissance mission there in 1585. Two years later, he was back, as governor of a new permanent colony sponsored by Sir Walter Raleigh. But the going was hard, and soon White sailed back to England to organise further supplies.

Unfortunately, there was the small matter of the Spanish Armada to contend with. No ships were available and the fate of a few score intrepid settlers at the rim of the known world was of little import compared with the survival of the Queen’s realm. Only in 1590 could White return to Roanoke. But when he got there – nothing. The 115 colonists had vanished, among them his own daughter and son-in-law, and their infant daughter Virginia Dare, the very first child born to English settlers in the New World, on 18 August 1587.

But what had happened? The departure seemed orderly. The buildings had been carefully dismantled; the only clues left were the letters C-R-O-A-T-O-A-N carved on a post, seemingly a reference to Croatoan, the old name for Cape Hatteras, the extreme southeastern point of the Outer Banks, 50 miles to the south, or to the Croatoan Indians who inhabited coastal North Carolina.

Thus was born the saga of the “Lost Colony”, a mystery for the ages that still provides welcome distraction to American children plodding through their country’s history. Theories abound: that the colonists were slaughtered by hostile Indians; that they died of famine or disease; that they were assimilated, voluntarily or involuntarily, by tribes; even (this being America) that they were abducted by aliens.

But in the most basic historical terms, Roanoke matters. The settlement, whatever its fate, was the first established by the English in North America, predating Jamestown by 20 years, and the arrival of the Mayflower on the hard shores of Massachusetts by more than three decades. Like Jamestown, the colony was a commercial venture, designed to exploit the vast imagined riches of the New World. Instead, it disappeared from the face of the earth. Until now, that is.

For many years, archaeological digs around Hatteras have yielded some tantalising clues: coins, gun parts, a signet ring and various other artefacts from the 16th and 17th centuries. But the real breakthrough came in 2012, as the British Museum scrutinised a watercolour map in its collection called Virginea Pars, on which John White apparently started work in 1585, during his first visit to the area.

The map itself is both beautifully executed and remarkably accurate. What followed, however, might have been lifted from Treasure Island. In the middle of the map, some 50 miles west of Roanoke, is a patch. Using imaging technology, museum experts found that beneath the patch was a blue and red star, possibly denoting a fort.

The location, on the edge of the mainland on the other side of Albemarle Sound, more or less fitted in with a reference that White himself made later to an intended and more permanent destination, about which the new settlers were talking as early as 1587. Why the spot had been covered by a patch is a mystery in itself. Perhaps it was to keep such a plan, of obvious military significance, secret from Spain, then the leading colonial power in the Western Hemisphere.

So, the researchers focused attention on an impoverished corner of North Carolina called Merry Hill, notable mainly for an Arnold Palmer-designed golf course. The area, called Site X, had been looked at before, but this time the digs yielded some particularly telling finds. Last week, the First Colony Foundation, the group which has been sponsoring the excavation, provided the first details.

No evidence of a fort has come to light, nor of the “Cittie of Raleigh” that the Elizabethan courtier-adventurer-poet intended as centre of his project. But the location makes sense, strategically placed at the confluence of two rivers. And the items unearthed by the archaeologists fit in with the period, including bits of guns, a nail and an aglet (a small metal sheath protecting the end of shoelaces) – and, above all, fragments of a type of English pottery known as Surrey-Hampshire Border ware, of which shipments to America stopped in 1624 when the Virginia Company of London was wound up.

None of this amounts to conclusive proof. The discoveries, however, are the most credible suggestion yet that the “Lost Colony”, or part of it, survived after 1587 and after Roanoke, for a while at least. Scholarly opinion is now shifting from the view that the settlers were simply exterminated towards the theory that they were assimilated by neighbouring tribes – this would bear out local lore, about the odd native who was strangely pale-skinned and blue-eyed – and that perhaps the settlers split up, with some heading south to Hatteras, and others moving west to Site X.

There, for now, matters rest. But as so often in attempts to unravel remote history, one discovery leads only to new hypotheses. What, for instance, happened to the settlers once they got to Site X? As Phillip Evans, president of the First Colony Foundation, almost reassuringly puts it: “The mystery of the Lost Colony is still alive and well.” And on both sides of the Atlantic, for in St Bride’s Church, off Fleet Street in London, you’ll find an enigmatic bronze of the child Virginia Dare, in the very place her parents married, before the voyage to the New World from which neither she nor they would return.

Martin Luther King’s first ‘I Have a Dream’ speech recording discovered

This video, recorded in Washington, D.C. in the USA, is called Martin Luther King – I Have A Dream Speech – August 28, 1963 (Full Speech).

From Associated Press today:

Recording of MLK‘s 1st ‘I Have a Dream’ speech discovered


35 minutes ago

RALEIGH, N.C. — An English professor has unveiled a recording of what he says is the first time Martin Luther King Jr. said “I Have a Dream” in a public speech.

Months before the civil rights leader gave his famous address at the March on Washington in 1963, he was fine-tuning his message in other venues.

North Carolina State English professor Jason Miller says he discovered the recording of the speech King gave on Nov. 27, 1962, in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. He found it in a library while researching how King drew inspiration from the poetry of Langston Hughes.

Three people in the audience that day in 1962 listened to the recording being played in public for the first time on Tuesday. Dr. Tolokum Omokunde says King’s words flowed like liquid.

Copenhagen murderer terrorist, North Carolina murderer not terrorist?

This video from the USA says about itself:

#MuslimLivesMatter: Loved Ones Honor NC Shooting Victims & Reject Police Dismissal of a Hate Crime

12 February 2015

Thousands gathered on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill last night to remember the three Muslim students shot dead by a gunman who had posted anti-religious messages online. The victims were two sisters — 19-year-old Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha and 21-year-old Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha — and Yusor’s husband, 23-year-old Deah Barakat. Suspected gunman Craig Stephen Hicks has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder.

… On Wednesday, police said the killings resulted from a dispute over a parking space. But Mohammad Abu-Salha, the father of Razan and Yusor, described the shootings as a hate crime. The killings in Chapel Hill have sparked an international outcry, with the hashtag #MuslimLivesMatter spreading across social media. A community Facebook page was set up Wednesday in memory of the three victims, called “Our Three Winners.” We are joined by two guests: Amira Ata, a longtime friend of Yusor, and Omid Safi, director of Duke University’s Islamic Studies Center.

When recently a gunman murdered three human beings in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA, many people wondered why establishment politicians and corporate media did not call this crime terrorism.

Was it because the victims were Muslims, and the perpetrator hated Muslims? People asked that about media in, eg, the USA, in Britain, and in the Netherlands.

Shortly after North Carolina, another gunman murdered human beings. Two human beings in Copenhagen, Denmark.

This video from Denmark says about itself:

People laid flowers outside the Copenhagen synagogue on Sunday (February 15) where a shooting killed one person and wounded two police officers.

Suddenly, politicians and corporate media re-discovered the word ‘terrorism’. Already before anything was known about who perpetrated this crime, and why (like in the mass murders by Norwegian Islamophobe Breivik, when the Murdoch media and others claimed these massacres were by Muslims, while they did not know anything about Breivik yet). The Prime Minister of Denmark does use the word terrorism now. The New York Times in the USA does. Eg, Dutch daily paper Metro of 16 February 2015 had the word Terror in chocolate letter size in the headline of its main front page story.

Why this rediscovery of the t-word? Because, unlike in North Carolina, the victims were not Muslims, and the perpetrator (probably) was Muslim, or at least had an ‘Islamic sounding name’?

On page two of that Metro issue, columnist Jan Dijkgraaf leaves the distinct impression that this is the case, in a column called What’s next? He claims there is a pattern in ‘Islamic terror’; basing himself on only two murder cases: in Paris, and in Copenhagen. He writes (translated):

So, there is a pattern.

One arranges to get a weapon.

One goes to a capital of a European country.

Dijkgraaf’s second and third sentences clearly fail to prove a ‘pattern of Islamic terrorism’. As both the perpetrators in France and in Denmark did not need to get weapons especially for ‘Islam’ (‘Islam’ as both fanatics like ISIS and Islamophobes see it; not the Islam of most Muslims all over the world). They already had histories of violent crime. Completely a-political, a-religious violent crime.

The New York Times writes about this:

The gunman, identified in Danish news reports as Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein, appears to have shared some traits with at least two of the militants responsible for the Paris violence — notably a criminal record and an abrupt transition from street crime to Islamic militancy.

The Copenhagen police have not publicly identified the gunman, saying only that he was 22 years old, was born and raised in Denmark, and was known to law enforcement officers because of gang-related activity and several criminal offenses linked to weapons violations and violence.

So, now Dijkgraaf’s third sentence: ‘One goes to a capital of a European country.’

This gives an impression of evil barbarian outsiders traveling from far away lands to European capitals. But Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein did not need to travel to Copenhagen. He was born there. He was raised there. He lived there. He had Danish nationality.

DR2 Deadline (Danish TV) said that Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein was not known as a radical Muslim by his friends.

Why this sudden transition from a-political a-religious crime to (probably; not proven 100%) ‘religious’ crime?

We may never know. Danish police say they don’t know. Danish police shot Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein dead. He did not leave behind any message outlining his motives for his murders, as far as I know.

We may guess a bit more about another transition in Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein’s life: from non-criminal to non-religious criminal.

From Danish radio (translated):

By Emma Toft

Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein was born in Denmark in September 1992.

He grew up in the metropolitan area.

He is the child of Palestinian parents. They are now divorced. He has a younger brother. …

He has also completed the Higher Preparatory Examination [which, in theory, means he can be admitted by universities] – the last part of it while in prison with fine results.

According to his own statements, he has tried to be admitted to an IT course in college – without success.

Multiple convictions

He has repeatedly been convicted and held in prison for, among other things violence and violation of the Arms Act.

A probation psychological consultant said during the trial that he did not suffer from a serious mental illness. He was only suspected of drug use. But Omar El-Hussein himself said he was suffering from anxiety and felt paranoid.

The entire case was appealed to the High Court. Therefore, Omar El-Hussein was released January 30, 2015 – two weeks before the shooting attacks in Copenhagen.

More details have emerged regarding Hussein’s biography, confirming how well-known the gunman was to police. The head of Denmark’s secret service, PET, Jens Madsen, said that El-Hussein may have been “inspired by Islamist propaganda issued by Islamic State and other terror organisations.” Madsen did not offer evidence substantiating this allegation, however: here.

It now appears El-Hussein never received training from ISIS or Al Qaeda forces in the Middle East. His turn to terrorist activity was produced by conditions in Denmark and the depraved militarism of the major powers in the Middle East and Africa, in which the government in Copenhagen has taken full part: here.

Dijkgraaf uses the last paragraph of his column in Metro for claiming that the supposed ‘pattern of Muslim terror’ will show itself next in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He blames liberal opposition politician Alexander Pechtold, party leader of D66, for future murders in Amsterdam as Pechtold rejects Islamophobia. Dijkgraaf depicts Muslims in general as inherently ‘evil’, in order to avoid real causes of terrorism; like racism and ‘austerity’ economic policies. Pechtold is one of few politicians in the Dutch parliament with the courage to denounce the racism of politicians like Geert Wilders. Unfortunately, Pechtold, like Dijkgraaf and Wilders, supports ‘austerity’ economics which aggravate racism.

OVER 30,000 MOURN VICTIMS OF COPENHAGEN TERRORIST ATTACKS Authorities believe Omar Abdel Hamid el-Hussein acted alone when he killed two in separate shooting attacks in Denmark Saturday. Hussein was in turn killed by police fire. [WaPo]

From the New York Times in the USA:

COPENHAGEN — The attack on Copenhagen’s synagogue earlier this month that left a volunteer Jewish watchman dead is a tragedy for a society that, for more than two centuries, has insisted that there is no tension between being Jewish and being Danish. It was precisely this sense of national solidarity across religious lines that helped save Denmark’s Jews from the Nazis during World War II.

And that’s why it rubbed many Danes the wrong way when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invited Danish Jews to “come home” to Israel after the attack. Even if Denmark’s Jews clearly face a new threat, this time from a small group of extremist Muslim Danes, Mr. Netanyahu seemed to be belittling the social unity that is so treasured by most Danes and denying both Denmark’s proven ability to protect its Jewish population — something that Danes are very proud of — and Danish Jews’ affinity for their country.

Oslo Muslims to form ‘peace ring’ around synagogue during Shabbat services: here.

Contrary to the gunman in Copenhagen, police did not kill the North Carolina murderer, but arrested him. So, we may know, and yet get to know, more about him than about his Danish colleague.

The New Yorker magazine in the USA writes about the Chapel Hill murderer:

Far more Americans are killed each year by the shooters in our midst like Craig Stephen Hicks than have ever been killed by all the jihadist terrorist outfits that have ever stalked this earth. That’s the price, or so the rhetoric goes, of our wild freedom. But maybe to understand the Chapel Hill murders better we need to imagine how it would be playing out if it were the other way around—if some gun-toting Muslim, with a habit of posting hate messages about secular humanists, took it upon himself to execute a defenseless family of them in their home.

Oh, why does a vigilante man,
Why does a vigilante man
Carry that sawed-off shotgun in his hand?
Would he shoot his brother and sister down?

The last four lines of this quote are a quote from a song by Woody Guthrie.

This is a music video of that song Vigilante Man – Woody Guthrie. The lyrics are here.

Craig Stephen Hicks calls himself a “patriotic American”. He said he is a member of the National Rifle Association, the right-wing lobby organisation which says there are not enough firearms yet in the USA. He is a ‘gun nut’: police found thirteen firearms at Craig Stephen Hicks’ place.

Craig Stephen Hicks and his NRA strongly support the second amendment of the United States constitution. As they see it; not as politicians in 1789 saw it when they passed it. The second amendment links bearing arms to popularly controlled organized ‘well regulated militias’ to prevent in an organized way a tyrannical government in the USA, or an invasion by the British empire, then recently enemies in the American revolutionary war.

So, no ‘right to bear arms’, as interpreted by Hicks and other ‘vigilante men’ for shooting one’s brother or sister, as Woody Guthrie sang. No ‘right to bear arms’ for killing someone for being African American. No ‘right to bear arms’ for killing someone for being Muslim (or Sikh, or Hindu, but ‘looking like a Muslim’ to Islamophobes). No ‘right to bear arms’ for killing someone for being Jewish. No ‘right to bear arms’ for killing someone for being from Latin America. No ‘right to bear arms’ for killing someone for being LGBTQ. No ‘right to bear arms’ for killing someone for being atheist. No ‘right to bear arms’ for killing someone for being communist. No ‘right to bear arms’ for killing someone for being anarchist. No ‘right to bear arms’ for killing someone for having red hair.

In practice, in the USA today, there is not only the violence of Hicks and similar ‘vigilante men’. There is also, contrary to the wishes of the eighteenth century American revolutionaries, a standing army. The biggest standing army in the world. But that is another long story.

We petition the Obama administration to:Declare the Chapel Hill shooting of 3 innocent Muslim-American students a Terrorist Attack: here.

North Carolina killings reveal double standards when victims are Muslims: here.

Shoot up a crowd while white, you’re a “murderous misfit.” Do it with a “cultural motive,” you’re a terrorist: here.

The Chapel Hill executions were a hate crime committed by a white terrorist of the Fox News generation, writes RAMZY BAROUD: here.

Islamophobic network fuelling hate sentiments in US: Report – See more here.

THE DANGER OF RIGHT-WING SOVEREIGN CITIZEN EXTREMISTS “They’re carrying out sporadic terror attacks on police, have threatened attacks on government buildings and reject government authority. A new intelligence assessment, circulated by the Department of Homeland Security earlier this month and reviewed by CNN, focuses on the domestic terror threat from right-wing sovereign citizen extremists, and comes as the Obama administration holds a White House conference to focus efforts to fight violent extremism.” [CNN]

Murdered United States Muslims commemorated in Amsterdam

Commemoration for murdered Muslims in Amsterdam

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Vigil on Dam square because of murder of three young Muslims in the USA

Today, 21:15

Three young Muslims killed in the USA this week have been commemorated on the Dam in Amsterdam. Around 19:00 between 100 and 200 people gathered. They carried posters with photographs of the three victims. They also had banners with texts like: stop the smear campaign against Muslims.

The participants of the memorial are angry about the lack of attention in the Dutch media for the murders. They are amazed that the 46-year-old man who shot and killed the Muslims is not called a terrorist.

US President Barack Obama has condemned the murder of the three Muslim students in the state of North Carolina. He called the murder cruel and atrocious. “Nobody in the US should be the target for what they are, how they look, or what religion they profess”, Obama said in a statement.

Last Wednesday, the two women of 19 and 23 years old and a 21-year-old man were shot dead in an apartment at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Chapel Hill shooting suspect Craig Hicks had at least a dozen guns at his home, police say: here.

Hundreds in Qatar protest North Carolina ‘terrorist act’: here.

The killing of three Muslim-American college students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina has sparked an outpouring of anger and sympathy across the US and around the world, as police continue to investigate whether religious or ethnic hatred was a motive in the shootings. A crowd of more than 5,000 people gathered in Raleigh, North Carolina on Thursday for the funerals of the three youths: here.

Chapel Hill victim’s sister: American Sniper ‘dehumanizes’ Muslims: here.

Texas, USA: Fire destroys Islamic centre building in Houston in suspected arson attack and hate crime: here.

Muslims murdered in the USA, BBC silent

This video from London, England issays about itself:

#MuslimLivesMatter: BBC and Sky slammed for ‘bias coverage’ at London rally

12 February 2015

Protesters gathered in central London Thursday to decry the lack of media coverage over the purportedly religiously-motivated murder of three Muslims in North Carolina on Wednesday.

The demonstrators carried banners bearing messages including ‘BBC, shame on you’ and ‘My faith does not incriminate me.’

The group singled out the government run broadcasting company, as well as Sky News, for what they consider to be the demonisation of Islam and the playing down of hate crimes against Muslims.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

BBC faces demo over shootings coverage

Friday 13th February 2015

ANTI-RACISM campaigners joined members of Muslim communities last night to stage a protest outside the BBC in London against what they claim is the corporation’s silence over the shootings of three Muslim students in the US.

Deah Shaddy Barakat, his wife Yusor Mohammad and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha were shot dead near the university campus in North Carolina on Wednesday.

Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder over the killings.

Initial reports appeared to suggest the triple shooting was the result of a dispute over parking spaces but the victims’ families and local Muslim community leaders are calling for the murders to be recognised as a hate crime.

The protesters argue that in stark contrast to the recent Paris shootings there was no immediate coverage of the killings, which were not headline news or covered in the BBC’s main news bulletins.

North Carolina murders and Dutch media: here.