Month: June 2005

Long Live Amiri Baraka!

Why is only a penny brown and got Lincoln on it?Is that why they leave it on the ground. -Amiri Baraka The update about Baraka, the poet of the oppressed, is that he is not much talked about anymore. The sudden silence around him is a tragedy of our times. But it should come as no surprise. Going by a trend of how the system engulfs the same talents who once adorn its progressive horizons as cultural icons (albeit, countercultural icons, but icons nevertheless) it should come as no surprise that Baraka, the once emulated and idolized hero of the revolutionary times is not even reduced to a legend any longer. LeRoi Jones, as he was known during the Beat period of early 1960’s, Baraka was companion to Allen Ginsberg, Frank O’Hara, and Gilbert Sorrentino. After the death of Malcolm X, Baraka became the Black cultural nationalist founding the Black Arts Repertory Theater School in Harlem. Till 1975, Baraka was well adored as the forerunner of black nationalism and culture. Pause. Lets get back to …

Wealth is Health

Let’s talk about healthcare today. Logically, the most neglected sector in an individualistic society. Needless to say, healthcare is not a state responsibility anywhere in the world. Even as the unwell are left to fend for themselves, they always have been needed to take care of financial needs of the medical professionals. As is with the doctors, representing a class of elites, they most certainly tend to their class interests. Hence the rich in the society get the best treatment and the poor are left in the lurch. The irony however is that the poor, owing to health habits and sanitation practices are more likely to get affected and owing to their economic conditions, they are less likely to get treated. Statistics convene the direct correlation between wealth and health. This is nothing surprising here, since it’s merely logical. What however is shocking, are the ways in which the ruling powers boast of their healthcare sectors to normalize the contrary claims to be unfounded. It works when one asks if there is a class system …

We suspect, therefore we are – Part II

Well, do minorities in the US think they have a shared history? Logically no, if they intend to continue remaining minorities. Else they would be the majority of people (just by the sheer volume of their class structure and solidarity with their White working class counterparts). But the amazing thing is there is a dearth of education regarding a subconscious that there could be anything shared among them. It grows out of a feeling of selfish endeavor of human being to stay inhumanely competitive. A society such as American (by which I mean an individualistic society where education, healthcare, social security—are all based on individualistic formulae of secret numbers that the State asks folks not to share, than social commitments to welfare where people could organize themselves on basis of their shared knowledge of mutual discontents) teaches people to first take care of their own selves, than anyone else. In some crude form of defining family, the roles are assigned individually among spouses, the children are encouraged to stay separate as different units, and when …

We suspect, therefore we are – Part I

The long history of conflicts between the marginal groups to vie for each others’ blood is a well known one. One of the major reasons behind the conquerors’ successes in sustained oppression has been not just to divide and rule, but also to create a sense of suspicion among the ruled groups. Let’s go one step at a time. When Amrita and I came to live by the Kreeger Drive in Adelphi, Maryland since two years now, I was advised by my fellow Indian relatives and friends that it was not a good place to go to. And if we had no other choice, at least we had to be very careful so as not to venture out in evenings. Not to walk around in the market, rather to drive only (and even while driving, looking out for those people who cross the roads insanely). Without paying any heed of course, we never drove here. Always walked, even in the evenings, asked the people drinking in front of our apartment to at least reduce the …

Sunday clash of ideas

Malik, Jared, Todd and I, the four usual suspects held our Sunday meeting. It went well, except that it turned out to be even more gleefully unmethodical than we had thought it would. Crash had a sequel coming, called Trash. It was not Jackson who was being vied for, rather the magnitude of black innocent brothers who were being irresponsibly imprisoned that the issue found a channel through the MJ trial. Was Adorno alright about culture industry? And McLuhan more than the messages? It was quite a journey. There are obviously gaps we need to bridge, journeys we have to pave a common path for, and ideas we have to look at their merits. But the struggle at understanding and getting educated over is one far from over.