Harry Belafonte Kicks Up Dust/ French Youth Step to the Police

Posted: November 30, 2007 by bigced in Articles/Stories I ‘Stole’ From Other Sites, Editorials/Opinions


Listen to Speech and Keynote Address by Clicking Link Below:

Harry Belafonte Ain’t Nothin’ to F&%k With
(Just Ask Colin Powell)

by Davey D

Long time entertainer/activist/ freedom fighter Harry Belafonte came to Oakland the other week for an event he puts on called the Gathering for Justice. It drew more than a thousand people from all over the world including a number of former gang members who are concerned about the high incarceration rates and the increasing challenges besetting our society.

At 82 Belafonte still yields more fire power and courage then people a fraction of his age. If you don’t believe me just ask former Secretary of State Colin Powell who got publicly called out and chastized by Mr Belafonte for compromising his principles for the corrupt Bush administration he worked for. People may recall when Belafonte made these widely heard remarks back around 2002.

“There is an old saying, in the days of slavery. There were those slaves who lived on the plantation, and there were those slaves who lived in the house. You got the privilege of living in the house if you served the master, do exactly the way the master intended to have you serve him. That gave you privilege. Colin Powell is committed to come into the house of the master, as long as he would serve the master, according to the master’s purpose. And when Colin Powell dares to suggest something other than what the master wants to hear, he will be turned back out to pasture. And you don’t hear much from those who live in the pasture.”

Belafonte seemed to know ahead of time what his fellow Carribean brother (Powell)would soon experience. Belafonte tried to warn Mr Powell to get out and save himself and his reputation and not be the fall guy for Bush lies and their failed policies. Powell didn’t listen until it was too late. The rest they say is history…

What we have today in this Breakdown FM podcast is an incredible speech where Mr. Belafonte kicked some serious science and let folks know the urgency of the day. He let us know in no uncertain terms that here’s no time for us to sit back and not speak truth to power.

During this keynote speech, Belafonte brought alot of people’s feet to the fire including the Congressional Black Caucus who he accused of allowing a long litiney of injustices to take place on their watch. He questioned why it was that one or two Republicans are always able to Filibuster but the CBC with their 40 members rarely follow suit in the wake of harsh, crippling legislation being proposed.

Belafonte talked about the Black church selling out the people for 30 pieces of silver. He called them ‘Kidnappers of truth’. who had abandoned their important role of freedom fighting within the Black community only to align themselves with George Bush and his evangelical zealots.

He then talked about the role of artists and how they had long been ‘Keepers of the Truth’ and how that got compromised with today’s click bowing down to their corporate masters..

After Belafonte laid all this out, he then talked about ways in which the gathering could start to repair things. This is an incredible must hear speech..

Included in this podcast is my one on one interview with Belafonte about leadership and the next steps we should be taking. Below is the excellent story written by author Marvin X about the Gathering and Mr B as we like to call Harry Belafonte.

Why was Belafonte’s Oakland star-studded gathering whited out by mainstream media?

by Marvin X

Billed as Harry Belafonte’s Gathering for Justice, the world renowned humanitarian called a national conference of youth to gather in Oakland Saturday to address their pressing issues and spark their consciousness to continue the work of his generation and those before him on the train of justice. Youth flooded into the Oakland Marriot from Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Washington, D.C., Brooklyn, Boston, Chicago and Detroit, as well as California.

Youth from Oakland and the Bay Area, however, did not seem to be well represented, for some strange reason. [Little publicity appeared before the gathering, and the Bay View has been able to find no mainstream media coverage of the event. – ed.]

Nevertheless, the multi-cultural crowd was treated to the likes of Belafonte, Danny Glover, Barbara Lee, Ron Dellums, Walter Mosley, Sean Penn, Santana, Davey D and yes, Marvin X, who was vending his books when the Hot 8 Brass Band called him to the stage to join them in electrifying the crowd.

We cannot praise and honor Harry Belafonte enough for his years in our liberation struggle. Yes, he is in the tradition of our great ancestor Paul Robeson, who defined himself as the artistic freedom fighter. At 81 years old, Harry is showing us that there is no retirement in the battle for justice in America or the world.

Just as the forces of white supremacy are relentless, we must be also and never give up until the last breath. In his keynote address delivered at 9 a.m. on Saturday morning, he talked about the suffering his mentor Paul Robeson experienced as the artistic freedom fighter, but Harry said he is inspired to see Robeson’s spirit alive in actor Danny Glover.

Even though he supported and marched with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Harry was hypercritical of the black church today, calling it the kidnappers of justice, along with a few more choice words. DJ Davey D urged me to write a poem using Harry’s metaphor. Harry criticized the reactionary rappers as well, calling them sellouts to cultural imperialism.

But his main message is that we can overcome the forces of white supremacy by organizing and non-violently opposing evil. A mass movement of conscious youth can be a critical factor in moving the Movement forward out of the lethargy and passivity of the last few years.

Because of its revolutionary tradition, Oakland was chosen for the first in a series of national meetings of the Gathering for Justice movement. Youth and adults in attendance included Native Americans, Latinos, Whites, Pacific Islanders, Asians and African Americans.

We don’t quite understand why more Oakland people were not present, especially with such high profile personalities on the agenda. Did organizers do outreach locally, or did they purposely limit information on the event since Oakland is currently suffering so much violence? Of course violence is nationwide. Someone, maybe Harry, mentioned 16,000 persons were murdered in America last year – yes, far more than have died in Iraq. Maybe conference organizers feared Oaklanders mixing with youth from outside the city.

The Gathering for Justice must present a long-term strategy to confront the myriad problems facing youth, including violence, mis-education, lack of jobs – in lieu of jobs we suggest entrepreneurship and micro credit.

Since there are few Black teachers, we offer peer teaching and independent study. And the prison population should be reduced with a general amnesty.

The problem of the church or faith community can be addressed by noting the liberation theology of Jesus and Muhammad, and perhaps moving beyond religion toward spirituality as the Native Americans spoke about so eloquently and at great length.

If Harry Belafonte, at 81, can involve himself with the Gathering for Justice, surely I can do the same at 63, and so I call upon my generation to become a part of this movement to save our children. Remember that James Brown tune, “Get Involved”?

The highlight for me at Harry’s Gathering for Justice was seeing the new generation of youth embracing each other and us elders. The Creator is telling me every little thing is going to be all ite. It was a blessing hearing and performing with that great group of young people from New Orleans, the Hot 8 Brass Band. “Get Involved!”

The latest book by Dr. M/ Marvin X is “How to Recover From the Addiction to White Supremacy: A Pan African 12 Step Model for a Mental Health Peer Group,” foreword by Dr. Nathan Hare, afterword by Ptah Allah El, Black Bird Press, P.O. Box 1317, Paradise CA 95967, $19.95. http://www.marvinxwrites.blogspot.com, mrvnx@yahoo.com.


Over the pass year there has been a substantial rise in police brutality and police related shootings here in the US. Almost everyday we hear horrific stories about the police smashing on someone Black or Brown. We seen the police handcuff 5 year olds in Florida, break the arm of a young girl after she dropped a piece of cake in California or point a gun at a 7 year old and threaten to blow her brains out in Pittsburgh.

Two weeks ago three Black men were shot and killed in a 2 days by police nationwide. In Miami 4 people have been shot by police in 19 days. All of us have heard about the Sean Bell killing where NYPD pumped 50 bullets into his body. The list of atrocities is along one. People have definitely been feeling frustrated, but are they frustrated enough to take action? Will there ever be a day where people pay close attention to the NWA song ‘Real N’s Don’t Die‘ where MC Ren suggest that people start picking up the AK9 to rebel back and put people in line. Apparently rebelling back is what’s taking place in France where 77 officers have been injured by angry immigrant youth who said ‘enough is enough. According to mainstream news reports, the riots going on are worse than the 3 weeks worth of rioting that ravaged the country a couple of years ago.

If you recall when they had these widespread riots, 200 members of the French Parliament blamed the unrest on popular Hip Hop groups most notably Ministère AMER, NTM and of course Monsieur R who was looking at 3 years jail time for his hard hitting politicized songs. One has to wonder with all the new terrorist laws in place including the new bill proposed by the sell-out punk ass Democrats called the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007, if rappers suggesting violence against brutal police in a song could land them in jail or worse. That’s definitely something to ponder….

Below is the controversial video by Monsieur R for the song FranSSe that angered French authorities. He was accused of inciting racial hatred because he depicted two naked white French women rubbing the French flag on their crotch while also depicting the government as Nazis…Monsieur R was reflecting the sentiment felt by many immigrants especially those from North Africa who felt that the government was mistreating them.


Davey D

French Youths Clash With Police


VILLIERS-LE-BEL, France, Nov. 26 — Fast-moving bands of young people clashed with the police for a second night in this troubled suburb north of Paris today, setting gas tanks on fire and throwing rocks at large numbers of police officers, who responded with tear gas.

The tense scene erupted soon after dark, with many parked cars and trash cans set on fire in the road; other gas tanks were hidden next to trees and set ablaze. Many cars were burned and one police officer was injured.

One witness told Reuters that about 100 riot police officers were deployed and that in addition to tear gas, they used stun grenades and paint guns, which can help to identify troublemakers.

The confrontation began Sunday night when two youths on a motorbike were killed in a collision with a police car in Villiers-le-Bel, a mixed suburb with Arab, black and white residents 12 miles north of Paris. Within an hour of the accident, youths began throwing stones at the police and firemen, and set four buildings ablaze — including a police station and a McDonald’s restaurant. More than 28 cars were torched, many at a garage, officials said.

Twenty-five police officers were injured, including one with a punctured lung, and nine people were arrested, mainly in Villiers-le-Bel, said Patrick Trotignon, who is in charge of the Paris area for the Synergie Officiers police union.

The violence spread to nearby Sarcelles, and some damage was reported in other towns.

The violence, especially with its continuation Monday, raised fears of a return of the conflict that plagued France after the accidental deaths of two teenagers in October 2005 in another suburb. That incident sparked a three-week wave of unrest across France.

The police were apprehensive going into Monday night. “’We’ve talked to our colleagues from the domestic intelligence services, who themselves talked to their contacts, in particular in schools, and what they are hearing are the little brothers saying, ‘My big brother told me to stay home tonight because they are going to destroy everything,’ ” Mr. Trotignon said.

The two teenagers who died Sunday were identified in the French media only as Moushin, 15, and Larami, 16. They were riding on a small motorbike, or ‘dirt-bike,’ in Villiers-le-Bel in the Val d’Oise department, north of Paris.

Police described the accident as probably an ordinary crash at an intersection. “What is almost entirely sure is that it wasn’t a chase with the youths, but that they crashed into each other at the intersection,” said a police spokeswoman for the Val d’Oise region. “There is a theory that the youths ignored the right of way.” Mr. Trotignon said the kind of motorbike that was involved was not approved for road use.

The two teenagers who died in October 2005 were electrocuted in a power station in another suburb, Clichy-sous-Bois, while fleeing police.

An investigation concluded that officers had chased the two youths on foot, though not as far as the power station. In the ensuing troubles, which spread to many urban areas in France, thousands of cars were burned and dozens of public buildings were set on fire.

Since the 2005 riots, authorities have increased funding to help the suburban areas which often suffer from poverty and high unemployment rates; in some of the largely immigrant areas, youth unemployment is close to 50 percent.

Earlier this month, police found three gas cylinders loaded with screws and bolts in the troubled suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois, north of Paris. One had been placed in a trash container which was later set ablaze, in what was considered to have been a trap for the police.

“There’s an escalation,” said Mr. Trotignon, speaking about the discovery of the gas cylinders in Aulnay in light of the events in Villiers-le-Bel.

“It wasn’t just to scare us off, it was to kill. And now we’ve got an officer who’s got a perforated lung.”

Mr. Trotignon said he expected “that tonight we’re going in for more,” with the chance that violence will spread to nearby towns. “We’ve been saying for eons that we’re sitting on a powder keg,” he said.


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