When this man first came on the scene, I was very skeptical. It became mortal combat to even mention that he may not be the “Savior” Messiah that folks had been waiting for. So, I quietly took my place among the dissenters and waited. It has become clear that I was waiting for the masses to wake up, not for him to change. Clearly, he has been what he has been all along. Clear indicators were his assessment that 911 was caused by Arabs with box cutters, no indictment for Bush/Chaney war crimes, and let’s get out of Iraq and go into Afghanistan. Those positions alone should have alerted the entire world community, that under that handsome face and dancing swagger was a war monger, the likes we have seen from the days of blatant Roman & Ottoman Empire builders to name a few.
Now, look at his eyes. Even this picture with his hands up in the manner that a marionette would be held, display invisible strings. He is a puppet of the first degree, a mind-controlled marionette who does and most like has to do the will of his controllers.
He has lost any semblance of autonomy, sovereignty or self-determination. He does not think, he does not question, he does not rebel. He cannot. The part of his brain that once housed free thinking, free will, has been entirely lobotomized. Here we see, a clear picture of a man who is lost, completely lost from reality, troops on the ground, in the air, or anywhere.
“God bless our troops” is a misnomer….. until he verifies which “God” he is speaking of, and even then, it is highly unlikely that the “God” of which he speaks is at all concerned with blessing the troops. Unless, of course, we realize that there are many “Gods” and to whom he is bequeathing his troops, is a question that requires serious scrutiny. That “God” is a blood thirsty hater of truth, justice and peace. That “God” seeks vengeance and lusts off the souls, and bodies of brutally murdered and assassinated innocent men, women and children. That “God” feeds off despair and agony and like a vicious swarm of locusts, that “God” sends its minions to devour the grotesquely disembodied. That “God” waits in the war theaters created around the world and drinks with luscious delight the carnage and spillage of blood sprouting from the open head, leg and neck wounds of those who barely knew what hit them. That “God” hysterically laughs at the ignorance of those who are led to it. That “God” is the absolute epitome of Psycho-pathic-sado-masochistic Psychosis that makes the most horrid of beings look beautiful. That “God” has promised a nice warm seat in the heart of hell for its puppet and all the minions who follow.
Unfortunately, it may be too late to ring the alarm bell, and wake this ONE up! Whatever he had, has been lost. And it is very sad. A golden opportunity to move the entire world into a new directions, based on the influence that the US has, and yet, the entire world is now much worse off than it was before he came into office. I wonder what happened to all those New Age Channellers who were lauding the praises of this “man” and what he represented. Even the astrologers caused one to wonder if they were authentic or just sock puppets like the rest. It appears as though the entire world was hijacked into believing that “CHANGE HAD REALLY COME”!
Things have definitely changed. The access to alternative media has made it virtually impossible for the “false flag” scenarios to hold the attention of the masses for too long. I firmly believe as I have stated before, that the election of Barack Hussein Obama into the position of the 44th President of the United states was the biggest hoax, psyops, media ramping up of the “Big Lie”, etc, more than any other situation in human history since the invention of Jesus Christ! His election has served so many purposes on so many levels it is mind boggling to watch all the pieces fall right into place. The Grand Chess board and design for a new American Century took its last major leap be making sure that BHO got elected!! He ushered in the NWO in a way that no other world event or crisis or natural disaster could. He represents ALL OF these and much more by his position and presence in the White House.
Whether he goes down in history as the worst president of the United states or the most misguided president of the United States, one thing is certain, he will leave a legacy behind to be topped by none, short of a complete take over and colonization of the entire Planet via an Alien Invasion.
Obama Charged With ‘Imperial Hubris’ Unmatched Even By Bush
Following his announcement to bomb Syria without congressional approval, president slammed for total disregard for constitutional safeguards regarding war-making.
A day after President Obama told the American public he was preparing to bomb targets inside the sovereign state of Syria and that he did not need congressional approval to do so, critics are lashing out against what Bruce Ackerman, a professor of law and political science at Yale University, described as “imperial hubris” on Friday.
In his scathing op-ed in the New York Times, Ackerman writes:
Mr. Bush gained explicit congressional consent for his invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. In contrast, the Obama administration has not even published a legal opinion attempting to justify the president’s assertion of unilateral war-making authority. This is because no serious opinion can be written.
This became clear when White House officials briefed reporters before Mr. Obama’s speech to the nation on Wednesday evening. They said a war against ISIS was justified by Congress’s authorization of force against Al Qaeda after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and that no new approval was needed.
But the 2001 authorization for the use of military force does not apply here. That resolution — scaled back from what Mr. Bush initially wanted — extended only to nations and organizations that “planned, authorized, committed or aided” the 9/11 attacks.
And Ackerman’s not alone.
Robert Chesney, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law, told theDaily Beast this week that Obama’s claim of authority to bomb ISIS targets in Syria was “on its face” an “implausible argument.”
“The 2001 AUMF requires a nexus to al Qaeda or associated forces of al Qaeda fighting the United States,” explained Chesney, but “since ISIS broke up with al Qaeda it’s hard to make” the case that authority granted by the AUMF still applies. Continue reading here: Obama Charged With ‘Imperial Hubris’ Unmatched Even By Bush
It’s been over a year since I saw Venus Noire (Black Venus) at the New York Film Festival in the fall of 2010, and it never received a stateside release; actually I’m not sure it got much of a release outside of the international film festival circuit and a few European territories.
So I’m betting most of you have never seen French/Tunisian filmmaker Abdel Kechiche’s problematic though worth-watching Saartjie “Sarah” Baartman, otherwise derogatorily known as the Hottentot Venus film, which starred newcomer Yahima Torres in the title role.
The subject matter certain isn’t one that will attract audiences to the theater en masse; and the fact that the film is almost 3 hours long, with subtitles, likely didn’t exactly make potentially interested American distributors salivate at the film’s box office potential.
But if you’re in Los Angeles during the month of February, and you’re at all interested in seeing the film, here’s your shot! It’s either now, or you wait for a stateside home video release (though it’s on DVD in parts of Europe and Canada; just not in the USA).
But I’d recommend a theatrical viewing.
It’s a challenging work, and one that I’m sure will piss a lot of people off, not only because of its content, but also the manner in which it’s handled by the director. It’s just something you should see for yourselves.
I wrote a lengthy review of it last year, after I saw it; and, as I said in that write-up, I was left with conflicting thoughts on the film. Unfortunately, I never got to see it again, even though I wanted to. I’ll be at the PAFF this year, so I just might see it again on the big screen, if my schedule allows for it
In the meantime, below you’ll find my initial review, as well as a trailer for the film, a clip from it, and an interview with star Yahima Torress…
And finally here’s my 2010 review:
So there I was waiting for the subway train after my screening of Venus Noire (Black Venus), and what did I see plastered almost all over one of those ubiquitous tunnel newsstands? Covers for various magazines, many unabashedly featuring the barely covered-up plump bottoms of predominantly black women in seductive poses – 2 dimensional images of voiceless bodies, objectified, exotified, envied, denigrated, and more; depending on the viewer.
And with that picture, Obvious Guy asks, so, really, has much changed in the 200 years since Saartjie “Sarah” Baartman found herself victim of the same kind of mixed gaze? Of course, there’s the perceived independence, and even false sense of power and control some might claim those in the present-day wield over their spectators (an illusory brand of feminism as I’ve heard others suggest), and they aren’t introduced in cages by a man carrying a whip (well, actually, some are), and Saartjie’s experiences were more direct and literal; but, frankly, the similarities can’t be ignored. I even considered that Saartjie’s torment was strictly race-based, and a result of its time; but I was able to dismiss that notion in realizing that there still certainly exists a racial “otherness” that precedes and influences the various gazes I mentioned above. For example, I still (unfortunately) hear stories about enthralled white women asking black women if they can touch their hair, ignorant of the sensation the request itself provokes.
The film opens in 1815, France, some time after Saartjie’s death, as a French academic, addressing what look like his peers, with a physical mold of Saartjie’s body on display, makes his scientific and historic case for why her “species” is inferior to theirs. The lengthy opening lecture is met with applause from his audience of all white men. The matter-of-fact nature of the entire sequence is revelatory in that it shows just how ignorant, yet assured of themselves these leaders of the world were, and helps explain their callous treatment of their perceived inferiors – a trend that continued long after they themselves perished.
Following that opening sequence, we travel back in time, 5 years, to 1810, London, some time after Baartman had been taken from Cape Town, with promises of wealth, via exhibition, in Europe. And so the tragic tale of the “freak show attraction” known as the Hottentot Venus began…
Like those women on the magazine covers, Saartjie is mostly mute throughout the film, her body language representative of her thoughts, and clearly, she isn’t exactly cherishing the spectacle that’s being made of her physical self – much of it some will find difficult to watch, as it should be. Writer/director Abdellatif Kechichemakes sure of that, with numerous scenes running quite lengthy – possibly 10 minutes or more in some cases.
Given the style in which the film is made, it felt almost like a documentary. Kechiche does little to distract from the narrative; the performances from the entire cast are realistic (you believe them), including Yahima Torres(as Baartman), Andre Jacobs, Olivier Gourmet, Elina Lowensohn, Francois Marthouret, Michel Gionti, andJean-Christophe Bouvet; there’s virtually no soundtrack (any music heard occurs naturally within the scene); the mostly hand-held camera moves but, oddly, you forget that it’s there – partly due to the stark nature of the physical settings, and also of the subject matter itself; you may feel guilty enough to look away, but you can’t.
In reading some early reviews of the film before I saw it, I expected to be turned off by what some seemed to suggest would be gratuitous on the part of the director. But I didn’t feel what they felt, and I do wonder if the reactions to Venus Noire will be similar to a film like Precious (a story about a character whose physical self was also arguably a character in its own right), in that they will be separated along color lines. I could certainly make sense of a white film critic being made uncomfortable by the inhumane treatment Saartjie endured; her captors are white. And as I’ve already suggested, one can’t help but see connections to the present-day race- and sex-based prejudices that still exist. There’s a reason (amongst many) that films that center on whites-as-saviors-of-“others” continue to be produced. They like to see themselves in that light. Rarely do we see stories told that detail the inhumanities whites have dished out intently and indiscriminately on the darker-skinned “others” across the world, without retribution. In a way, it’s like a revision of history.
But no one comes to save Saartjie here; she lives a brutal life, and dies just as punishingly, with the film not necessarily making it clear who we are supposed to point our fingers to, for blame.
Although, I felt numb to it all, and I wonder if my reaction would mirror those of other people of African descent. By most accounts, I should have been appalled, disgusted, and completely turned off by Kechiche’s lengthy scenes showing all the horror that Saartjie endured before her early death. But, little of it actually disturbed me.
In thinking about it further, I realized that it wasn’t necessarily because the filmmaker had failed in creating moments within the film that would elicit specific reactions out of me (although, who am I to say what the filmmaker intended); I felt numb because, again, as I eluded to above, we have and still are so bombarded with similar parades of images of women’s bodies (specifically black women’s bodies), accentuating specific attributes, whether still or moving, that what I saw on screen, as revolting as it was, seemed almost, dare I say, “ordinary” to me.
From music videos, to magazines… however, less obvious and even deceptive are those studies, surveys, investigations into the so-called black experience that suggest an “otherness;” different, and thus must be observed and studied like monkeys in a cage. Whether it’s CNN’s redundant, surface “Black In America” series, the recent article about how black people use Twitter, or more direct, scientist claims that people of African descent are less intelligent than whites, and so on.
I’ve rallied against most of these ideas and occurrences on this blog and elsewhere, and will continue to do so. However, the point here is that this long-standing, continuous assault on our senses, all suggesting an inferiority as the basis for marginalization of a group of people, have had an effect on how I react to similar instances (real or fictional). Numb – which can be a dangerous place to be, because it could lead to a lessened desire to act against like injustices.
Saartjie doesn’t speak very much in the film, as I already stated; usually only when spoken to; we don’t really get a sense for how she feels. Certainly, as I said above, her body language leaves little doubt that this isn’t the kind of life she thought she would be leading, or that was promised to her by the man who brought her to Europe (he lied, telling her and her slave owner that she’d essentially be a song and dance act, not the circus freak show he would eventually convince her to be); but I would have liked to hear her wrestle with her predicament; here she is, seemingly a willing (coerced) participant in an act, sharing in the benefits afforded by the booty (no pun intended), though unequally, with her captors; but struggling to come to terms with the truth of who (or rather what) she is to the ignorant, yet curious and enchanted audience that pays to watch her perform. To contemporize it, think of the strippers who are “trapped” by the money they earn used to feed, house and clothe themselves, but who struggle with the impact the work they do has on their lives, and the perception others have of them. Not exactly the same thing as what Saatjie endured, but I’m trying to make sense of what I felt was one of the film’s notable deficiencies. We see Saartjie through the eyes of her captors and the audiences that pay to see her – as a lottery ticket, and a spectacle respectively – but we get few glimpses into the mind of the woman that the body belongs to.
From the film, we know she despised her treatment, she’s outright defiant in moments, and the filmmaker does attempt to humanize her, giving her some 3-dimensionality; and I never once felt like he was being exploitative; but, as is, it’s still questionable just how much control she really had over her predicament (although we know that she was a slave). In the film, she remains something of a mystery, and I can’t say whether that was all intentional on the filmmaker’s part, as, I’d guess, he tried to piece together a personality based on limited availability of information, written by others about her.
There’s also that saying about the the presence of mental shackles even in the absence of tangible ones.
Director Kechiche’s film isn’t a lecture on the matters it documents. Each scene is presented “as is,” without any obvious commentary, you could say. It’s neither what I’d describe as a call to action. You are simply witness to an ugly injustice, an accomplice even, and your reaction to it is just that… your reaction, based on your own life experiences, which will also determine what you choose to do about whatever it is you felt, assuming you’re inspired to act in any way.
Don’t go into this looking for a biopic of Baartman, as you will be disappointed. It’s more a document of a very specific part of her life, that which she’s most known for. And despite the title of the film, she instead feels like one of several equal players in this tragedy, instead of its star center. There’s also what I’d call a disconnect between the filmmaker and the material. Like I said, he doesn’t necessarily take sides. In fact, the film played out more like a series of filmed news reports.
It does take a few creative liberties, however, the script remains fairly close to the true story of Saartjie Baartman. At almost 3 hours in length, some editing could have been done to trim it a bit, without losing its substance; and that running time makes it a tough sell for audiences outside of the expected art-house crowd – especially here in the USA.
Although, I certainly hope it does receive a wide enough release. I’m curious about global reactions to the film. I suspect most aren’t at all familiar with Saartjie Baartman’s story, or are even aware of the derogatory “Hottentot Venus.” In a way, I actually envy those who’ll be seeing the film ignorant of the real-life story it’s based on. Most importantly, it means that one is less likely to spend time comparing the film’s details to what they know of the historic figure the characterization is inspired by. I can only imagine what their reactions would be, but I expect sharply contrasting sets of opinions.
I’m left with conflicting thoughts on the film, and I wasn’t even sure how I would review the film. I feel like I could write volumes on the experience I had watching it. But maybe that’s all a good thing. I think a second viewing might be helpful in clarifying my thoughts. If anything, it’s not a film one walks out of the theater and immediately forgets. Other reviews I’ve read thus far have expressed concern about the film being hard to watch – not because it’s a bad film, but due to the contemptible scenarios Baartman lived through as explicitly documented in the film. As I’ve said before, the subject matter is already controversial enough, that any film made about Baartman will find it impossible to escape controversy. Kechiche’s handling of it is obviously crucial, and I’d say he handles it better than I expected. It certainly should inspire further discussion, especially with regards to contemporary correlations.
The first-term mayor was an attorney with a long record of black radical activism
Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba has died at the age of 66.AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis
Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, a prominent attorney and human rights advocate who persuaded local voters into accepting a sales tax to fix crumbling roads and infrastructure in Mississippi’s capital city, died Tuesday, authorities said. He was 66.
City officials said Lumumba died at St. Dominic Hospital. A cause of death was not immediately clear, though City Council president Charles Tillman, who was sworn in as acting mayor, said he had met Monday with Lumumba, who had a cold.
“He kind of joked around about it,” Tillman said.
Lumumba served one term on the City Council and was sworn in as mayor last July. He was one of two candidates who defeated then-Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. in the Democratic primary in early June. Lumumba then defeated businessman Jonathan Lee in the general election.
As mayor, Lumumba persuaded Jackson voters to pass a referendum in January to add a 1-cent local sales tax to help pay for improvements to crumbling roads and an aging water and sewer system. He said then that the city needed an estimated $1.2 billion to completely fix its infrastructure, and raising sales tax by 1 percent would bring in at least $15 million a year until the tax expires in 20 years. Lumumba said the local tax will improve infrastructure, create jobs and increase public safety. “It is with a heavy heart that we inform you that our beloved brother, human rights activist and mayor of this great city, Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, passed away this afternoon,” Safiya Omari, Lumumba’s chief of staff, said Tuesday night.
Security guards escorted her away in tears. Omari made the announcement under Lumumba’s portrait inside Jackson’s antebellum city hall and surrounded by the seven members of the City Council. The building was crowded with city employees, politicians, ministers and other residents of Mississippi’s largest city.
State law says the council will set a special election for voters to choose a new mayor. The council has up to 10 days to meet about taking that action, then the election must be 30 to 45 days later After the City Council adjourned its brief meeting, Bishop Ronnie Crudup, one of Jackson’s most prominent ministers, led the crowd in prayer.
“Lord, he was a good man, a man who had vision, vision for the city,” Crudup prayed. City Council member Melvin Priester Jr. credited Lumumba for bringing a spirit of openness to city government. “He has done a great deal in the last couple of months to change the culture of government in Jackson,” said Priester, who was elected earlier this year to Lumumba’s former seat on the City Council.
In 2011, Lumumba persuaded then-Gov. Haley Barbour, a Republican, to release sisters Jamie Scott and Gladys Scott from a Mississippi prison after they had served 16 years for an armed robbery they said they didn’t commit. Barbour suspended their life sentences and released them. The sisters did not receive a pardon from Barbour when he left office in early 2012, although he granted pardons and other reprieves to more than 200 people during his final days as governor. Barbour released the women on the condition that Gladys give a kidney to Jamie.
Mississippi Democratic Party Chairman Rickey Cole issued a statement Tuesday saying Democrats are “deeply saddened by the loss of the promising new Mayor of our Capital City, the Honorable Chokwe Lumumba.”
“His young administration has been a great beacon of hope for so many of us,” Cole said. “He was just beginning to make an effective start tackling the long-neglected challenges faced by our capital city.”
Republican Gov. Phil Bryant issued a statement Tuesday saying he and his wife, Deborah, “are shocked and saddened by the news of Mayor Lumumba’s passing and are praying for his loved ones.” “Just a short time ago, I had the opportunity to join the mayor in a church pew as we welcomed a new development to the city,” Bryant said. “His enthusiasm for Jackson will be deeply missed.”
Lumumba was born in Detroit as Edwin Taliaferro, and changed his name in 1969, when he was in his early 20s. He said he took his new first name from an African tribe that resisted slavery centuries ago and his last name from African independence leader Patrice Lumumba.
He moved to Jackson in 1971 as a human rights activist. He went to law school in Michigan in the mid-1970s and returned to Jackson in 1988.
Lumumba was involved with the Republic of New Afrika in the 1970s and ’80s. He said in 2013 that the group had advocated “an independent predominantly black government” in the southeastern U.S. Lumumba was vice president of the group during part of his stint. The group also advocated reparations for slavery, and was watched by an FBI counterintelligence operation.
“The provisional government of Republic of New Afrika was always a group that believed in human rights for human beings,” Lumumba told The Associated Press in a 2013 interview. “I think it has been miscast in many ways. It has never been any kind of racist group or ‘hate white’ group in any way. … It was a group which was fighting for human rights for black people in this country and at the same time supporting the human rights around the globe.”
Lumumba said during the 2013 mayoral campaign that he has shown he can lead across racial lines. In 1990, when the Ku Klux Klan planned to march through Jackson, he said he organized counterdemonstrators, including a predominantly white group of Millsaps College students. He also said he wants to empower people who have been left out of the economic system.
“We have to talk about equitable development,” Lumumba said. “Each portion of the population should be able to develop, and no portion of the population should be given any preferential treatment.”