Book Reviews

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By Leila Diab
A quintessential mélange of thoughts and artistic phrasing, “This is Not a Border” is a publication sealed with the reality of historical truth.
“This Is Not a Border” shares the contributions of literary artists and their life experiences and struggles that were void of any possibilities of freedom, hope, and the dream of belonging.
Pal-Fest celebrated the tenth annual Palestine Festival of Literature with its publication, “This Is Not A Border,” a book of essays which went on sale July 18, 2017.
The book is edited by co-founders Adhaf Soueif and Omar Robert Hamilton and written by several of the world’s most distinguished literary artists.
They converged and shared their literary, artistic and theatrical talents with readers and writers in a harmonious realm of literature... Read our latest issue Here.

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By Leila Diab

The quintessential power of thoughts, commingled with common and artistic words whether in dramatic or friendly environmental settings, “This Is Not IS A Border” publication is sealed with the realty of historical truth, yet without the impossible-ness of freedom, hope and the dream of belonging.
Also known as Pal-Fest, it will be celebrating the tenth annual Palestine Festival of Literature with its publication of this book of essays, which goes on sale beginning July 18, 2017. It is edited by co-founders Adhaf Soueif and Omar Robert Hamilton and written by the world’s most distinguished literary artists, who came to gather to share their literary, artistic and theatrical talents with readers and writers in a harmonious realm of literature.
It is their powerful yet tense journey through time and space, in Occupied Palestine and witnessing confrontations with the unabated Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Albeit, PalFest endures with diverse writers from all over the world who are dedicated to building and promoting global joint relationships, solidarity and hope via the transparent power of literature.
The culture of literature and one’s cultural identify are the true enlightening forces of the conjoined human spirit. Truly shared by all these writers in “This is Not a Border.”
For example, Raja Shehadeh, a Palestinian writer and lawyer, shares his thoughts and concerns about Palestinian life and the desires of the Palestinian people. Sadly, he writes, “What is a world where you cannot go for a walk, cannot assemble to read and discuss literature in public, cannot be certain of visiting your grandmother in the neighboring city?”... Read Jun. 16, 2017's Issue Here.

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Malcolm X Book Cover

The recent death of Malcolm Shabazz, the grandson of El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X), during the same month as Malcolm X’s 88th birthday (on May 19th), has brought the 20th century radical leader’s contributions, death and legacy back into current Black public consciousness.

Unfortunately, Manning Marable’s controversial, and Pulitzer Prize-winning, biography of the elder Shabazz, “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention,” put Malcolm X into America’s public conversation two years ago in shallow ways. The book’s many, many flaws were ignored by supporters of Marable, who died days before the book was published in April 2011.

This essay—the Coda of the new book “A Lie of Reinvention: Correcting Manning Marable’s Malcolm X,” edited by Jared A. Ball and Todd Steven Burroughs and published by Black Classic Press—is a meditation on African-American historical memory in light of Marable’s monumental blunder.

By Todd Steven Burroughs

One day when I was lost, I discovered a Black writer by the name of Manning Marable. I was studying journalism, in a private, predominantly White Catholic university in the midst of the Reagan era, with the clear goal of one day writing for the New York Times. I had just turned eighteen, a second-semester freshman working as a freelancer for the New Jersey edition of the Afro-American weekly newspaper chain. It was just a newspaper to me. I was a reporter, and we both (the newspaper and I) just happened to be Black.

The New Jersey Afro carried the national Afro’s opinion page, and I found there a column called “From the Grass Roots” and its weekly entry titled “Challenge to Black Journalists.” The author of the piece was Manning Marable. “The white media generally refuses to admit that virtually all journalism is a form of ‘propaganda’ in the interests of certain political, economic and social class interests—and that Blacks’ interests never surface on that agenda,” Marable wrote, directly contradicting the so-called objectivity I had been taught to entrench in my reporting. I read on:

When we read Le Monde, does anyone doubt that we are encountering the interpretations of French journalists, with all the historical, cultural, and political baggage of that tradition? When we read Pravda and Izvestia, no one doubts that the perspectives of Soviet writers advance a particular view on society and politics. And when one reads the New York Times, everything from the selection of stories to the orientation of the editorials represents a type of bias towards the white corporate establishment…

Not surprisingly, I had a hard time absorbing Marable’s perspective. I did not see how his kind of thinking was going to get me a job in White corporate America. But something kept tugging at me, so I kept reading.

What is the social responsibility of Black journalism in the period of colorblind racial discrimination? Black writers must see themselves part of a rich historical tradition, as the latest generation in the heritage of free, democratic-oriented journalists….What is a Black journalist? As writers, as part of this tradition of Afro-American critical thought, we have a responsibility to comprehend that racism still exists, and that we should never apologize for taking an uncompromising attitude against racial inequality in our work.

Poverty and hunger still exist, and are becoming worse. Unemployment, educational underdevelopment, and political underrepresentation have not yet been overcome. And our task and challenge, as Black writers, is to raise questions revealing these problems, and to write with a critical vision of social justice and human equality, the basic values which were embodied by the lives of previous generations of Black writers.

I clipped out the column and put it in a notebook. It took me a few years to agree with Marable’s positions, but eventually I came to terms with it and him. I even cited his work in my doctoral dissertation fifteen years later. And that is the Manning Marable I will always remember.

But that day, almost thirty years ago, has nothing to do with this day, at least not consciously, but I’m getting a little bit ahead of myself. Let’s go back about a year…

********

So I’m getting out of a cab across the street from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem. I had decided to attend the 2011 Harlem Book Fair in general and the panel at the Schomburg on Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention in particular. The panelists were poet Sonia Sanchez, one of the legends of the Black Arts Movement; Zaheer Ali, the Columbia University graduate student who had made the talk-show rounds after Marable’s death and the almost-simultaneous release of that book, for which he served as Marable’s head researcher; Peniel E. Joseph, the Tufts University history professor whose work chronicles aspects of the Black Power Movement; and Herb Boyd, the venerable journalist, historian, and activist (and a great friend and mentor of mine). The moderator was Yohuru Williams, associate professor of African American history at Fairfield University.

The panelists collectively praised Marable for what he did do in his life and work and were polite, not harsh, in their criticism of what he did not do. It was a scene that we journalists objectively term a “marked contrast” to the torrent of often public, often private criticism that emanated from left-of-center Black scholarly and activist circles after A Life of Reinvention’s publication. I looked around in vain for what newspaper reporters would term “the veteran Black activists” to literally get in line to blast A Life of Reinvention. When they did not appear, I began to feel a sense of tension that I could only partially identify as nervousness and some dread because I knew what had to come next.

When Williams asked for questions—not comments—from the audience, I got up, knowingly breaking the rules, and started talking about the book (the one you are reading) Jared Ball and I were planning. I was only barely able to mention that the book would be coming out soon and thanking both Black Classic Press and Third World Press for committing to publish their respective essay collections critical of A Life of Reinvention before Williams abruptly thanked me for my comments and moved on to the next person. Prior to Williams lowering the boom, however, Sanchez interrupted my flow, exhorting my coeditor and me to include as many women as possible in the volume. (We tried very hard, Sister Sonia!)

Strangely, that moment at the Harlem Book Fair felt like incidents I had read about in some of the media theory and criticism books I’ve read and tried to understand. In those books, left-of-center media scholars write about how “objectivity” limits the intellectual range of information given to the public. They argue that those who own and control the media only want an “acceptable” range of criticism aired and printed, with “acceptable” being defined by the owners and controllers themselves. Were the Harlem Book Fair organizers and these panelists essential “operators” of a pre-determined, live, public, televised presentation of ideas? Were they doing to me, an openly harsh critic of Marable’s Malcolm X, what African American political and cultural activists claim Whites in power have done historically, and still do, to them? (And just where, by the way, were the veteran Black scholar-activists who were critical of Marable’s Malcolm X biography that day? The ones whose powerful, hard-hitting reviews of the book I had read online? The ones who would have pushed me out of the way both that day as well as twenty years ago to critique an equally controversial biography of Malcolm by Bruce Perry, a White man?) Or, I wondered, were the organizers of the panel, which was being blasted live around the world on C-SPAN 2 and which would be forever embedded in its online archives, trying to protect a fellow New York City activist/scholar/author, now unable to defend himself?

Frankly, I remember thinking: I’m not even close to being important enough to be “censored,” and I couldn’t discern my censor’s motives or intent for only taking questions, not comments. I could recognize, however, the results of this one public session: that no one on the panel represented “the harsh critical wing” of the reviewers of A Life of Reinvention. No harsh criticism was allowed of Marable or his controversial book on a public, televised panel at a national book fair held in Harlem, known historically as a place where Black writers, artists, activists and their audiences often speak publicly, harshly, and freely.

It all felt very (intra-racially) “objective” to me. So much for public “dialogue”!

The panel’s commentary was nuanced and, admittedly—at least to this rule-breaking, sour-grapes audience member—often penetrating. For her part, Sanchez asserted that Malcolm did not reinvent himself because that would suggest an ulterior motive such as the need to package oneself for a market. Instead, she claimed, Malcolm re-imagined himself. She questioned the rationale behind and effectiveness of Marable’s oft-cited and so-called “humanization” of Malcolm, as manifested in A Life of Reinvention by the often-scandalous information inserted throughout on Malcolm’s personal life. She also questioned how that type of insertion benefited either the scholarship on Malcolm or the book’s readers, and she chided writers and historians for being too preoccupied with voyeurism. What readers should take away from the book, Sanchez concluded, is that Marable demystified Malcolm and showed how Malcolm demystified White America by dissecting its police force, White liberal class, government, and so on. She further noted that Marable’s book offers important insights about the language of survival and resistance used by Malcolm and other leaders of his time, language she encouraged those of us in the audience to pass along to our children—and especially to President Barack Obama.

Zaheer Ali’s comments confirmed something that I had originally suspected: that Marable’s book started out as a political biography. Normally political biographies do not contain the extensive research and interviews of a full biography. Upon reading A Life of Reinvention, that point makes sense to me on many levels. It explains, for instance, why Marable only interviewed a handful of people and why he apparently did not seem to worry about why he did not interview more.

As Ali noted, Marable taught that history is “a contestation of interpretations over fact.” This is a point with which I can wholeheartedly agree, but only if one actually has all the facts and has done all the research. History, Ali added, is also corroborative, and Marable (whom Ali admitted was “a little flippant” in some parts of the book) did too little of that. Ali also contended that biographers engage in a “certainty-versus-probability” contest, and again, I agree. However, they are not supposed to sacrifice the consistency of verifiable truth for a good yarn.

Nonetheless, Ali defended his mentor’s sourcing and documentation, claiming that Marable took pains to label anything circumstantial—including Malcolm’s alleged homosexual relationship with a White man—as just that. (Huh? That statement made me think of how a great Black biographer, Arnold Rampersad, once wrote about how he got in hot water with the gay community because he found no evidence to confirm that his biographical subject of over a thousand or so pages, Langston Hughes, ever had a homosexual or any other kind of romantic relationship—so he simply concluded that Hughes was probably asexual.) At the Harlem Book Fair event, however, Ali dismissed those folks who were upset about Marable’s book reporting of Malcolm’s alleged homosexual relationship as being believers in “a ‘one-drop’ rule of gayness.” He also asserted that every controversial allegation in the book had at least three sources. I don’t know if that’s true, but he may be correct—that is, if you consider secondhand sources as legitimate ones!

Peniel Joseph, a very talented writer who has described the Black Power movement in “new” and “innovative” ways, was the next panelist to speak. He described Malcolm X as a “local organizer who transformed the Black freedom struggle” and who, along with other Black civil rights activists, kept up a “long-running dialogue” with the idea of America and changed American democracy. (Joseph has been rewarded and praised in elite White circles for his portrayal of the Black Power movement in this fashion, with glowing reviews in mainstream media and interviews on public television.) He repeated the claims I have heard from Zaheer Ali, Michael Eric Dyson, and other friends of Manning Marable since the Malcolm biography’s publication: that many critics of A Life of Reinvention had only read the parts that address Malcolm’s personal life and not those addressing his political one.

Herb Boyd was, as always, his very polite self, willing to take both sides in the debate. (Those of us who are cursed to be around journalists for any length of time have gotten used to this!) He agreed with Sanchez about squashing Marable’s use of the term reinvention to describe Malcolm’s development, and stated that he preferred instead the term political evolution. He also urged the members of the audience to read the book in its entirety and to come to their own conclusions about it with the words: “You have that responsibility.”

******

Normally, I would have given some of the comments I heard at the Harlem Book Fair panel—even the ones I strongly disagree with—a pass. I would have put on my (still-trying-to-be) objective journalist’s hat and said, “Well, that’s their view. Others will have different opinions, but all will have to read the whole book and make up their own minds.” I would have taken my notes, written them up, penned an “objective” article, and moved on. However, since reading Manning Marable’s Malcolm X book in its entirety, other perspectives—ones that reveal clearly the numerous problems I personally found with the book as well as many, many others I did not find—have demanded my serious attention.

Those additional views are best captured in the exchange of ideas and perspectives that I imagine might have taken place had several of the current volume’s contributors come together to form a critical panel of their own focusing on A Life of Reinvention.  This “invented” panel would serve as an apt and appropriate counterbalance to the “objectivity” of the Harlem Book Fair discussion. Given the comments excerpted below from their compiled essays, the exchange most likely would have gone as follows:

Mumia Abu-Jamal:            Marable seems to go for the sensational rather than for that which he can substantiate.

Kali Akuno:                         It is the contemporary weaknesses of the Black Liberation Movement as a whole, and of its Black Nationalist wings more specifically—buttressed by imperialism’s hegemonic cooptation of Afrocentrism and other liberal variants of multiculturalism into the “postracial” politics of American nationalism that define the so-called “Age of Obama”—that co-enabled the production of this work.

Kamau Franklin:                Marable’s work is the latest to attempt to remake or reinvent Malcolm X and turn him into a political football for political and moneyed interests….[Making Malcolm X] the embodiment of his own ideological viewpoints amounts to what I call an ivory tower assassination attempt on Malcolm X’s meaning as an ideological force for Black self-determination.

William Strickland:           The problems…are many and multiple. They range from historical gaffes and endless nonsequitors to key historical omissions. Manning thus becomes his own authority, quoting himself as his evidentiary source!

Raymond Winbush:            The arrogance of Marable oozes out in so many places throughout the book….Marable’s opinion mattered to him, just as the opinions of broadcast media journalists on Fox News and MSNBC matter to those individuals. Their listeners crave their opinions and speculations concerning contemporary political issues, and these commentators get paid, and paid well, to provide just that. Sadly, in the case of Manning Marable and his last work of speculative nonfiction on one of the great persons in the African world, opinion took precedence over originality and speculation superseded scholarship and a reliance on reliable sources and primary research.

Rosemari Mealy:                This omission of women’s voices amplifies the concerns of African American womanist scholars that Marable’s book widens the gap in the existing literature about Malcolm X written by men because it fails to acknowledge the extraordinary contributions that African American women historically have made to constructing the leadership styles of progressive and revolutionary African American male leaders.

Greg Thomas:                      The noncritical discourse published under the name of Manning Marable amounts to simple PR for Marable’s name brand, his specific academic signature, and thus for Viking Books and its parent company, Penguin Group—not to mention his institution of employment, Columbia University. Under these mantles, Malcolm X is absolutely questionable, in every way, while the brand of Manning Marable (i.e., his writings, motives, methods, dogmata, etc.) is absolutely unquestionable.

Sundiata Keita

Cha-Jua:                               On analytical grounds, the verdict on A Life of Reinvention is mixed. For the most part, its readers learn nothing new of significance; Marable merely provides greater detail of things already known.

Eugene Puryear:                 Putting aside Marable’s claims of having produced a definitive biography, A Life of Reinvention has raised more questions than answers. Some of these questions may be irresponsible and some may confuse matters that should be crystal clear, but Marable’s biography of Malcolm X has at least shown the need to study and debate Malcolm’s legacy and the movements from which he sprang.

Karl Evanzz:                        Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention is an abomination. It is a cavalcade of innuendo and logical fallacy, and is largely “reinvented” from previous works on the subject.

Amiri Baraka:                     Some of the characterizations in the book are simply incorrect and suffer from its author only knowing about the movement on paper.

Thus, this fictitious panel might have concurred with Peniel Joseph, who stated at the Schomburg that we (meaning Black folks, I presume) “cannot have sacred cows” and that “Malcolm had no sacred cows”; and with Zaheer Ali, who maintained that “Malcolm was not a sacred cow, and neither was Manning Marable.” Might then Joseph and Ali, in turn, also agree with the overriding reason for this volume?

**********

A year later, I have finally, fully identified the source of the tension I felt sitting in the Schomburg auditorium that summer afternoon. Part of it was the realization that, at every bit of age forty-four, I am now partly yet increasingly responsible for the present and future of Black history and for the propagation of commonsense and proper propaganda. When Herb Boyd asked the audience of about 150 people at the Harlem Book Fair panel, most of whom looked to be under forty years old, if they had read Marable’s book, less than a score of hands went up. Although the strength of this book’s contributors tells me that I am far from being ideologically stranded alone on an island somewhere, I recognized then how very different the second decade of the twenty-first century is going to be for many of us who were born in the later decades of the century past.

I keep thinking about how this book might not have been necessary if the media systems I grew up with in the New York tri-state area were still in play. If A Life of Reinvention had come out in, say, 1988, a Black news-talk radio station named WLIB-AM, 1190 on the New York City dial, would have featured numerous detailed discussions on the book. Other discussions would have aired on a late-night, national program called “Nighttalk with Bob Law” on WLIB’s rival, 1600 WWRL-AM, the flagship station of the National Black Network. Those programs would have been moderated by hosts who knew they would be speaking directly and almost exclusively to Black people, so they would not have bothered with “objectivity.”

I can imagine hearing John Henrik Clarke and many other Black scholars providing blistering on-air critiques of Marable’s Malcolm X biography, educating young listeners like me. I can also picture myself reading a bombastic Brooklyn weekly newspaper called The City Sun, which would have published a special section on this intellectual controversy. Those “unapologetically Black” media venues taught by example. They never had a problem criticizing Black public figures harshly and publicly if they failed Black people.

Back then there were also several local and national television shows in the New York area—Tony Brown’s Journal, Like It Is, Essence: The Television Program, Positively Black, and Black News/The McCreary Report, among others—that probably would have presented other balanced (read: critical) discussions and forums focusing on Manning Marable and his A Life of Reinvention, all for large audiences. They surely would have explored and explained the depth of Marable’s mistakes. All, however, are gone now, one way or another. (Ironically, that is why I think C-SPAN 2’s annual airing of the Harlem Book Fair on its “Book TV” program is so important. Like the fair itself, this broadcast event is one of the few mass forums left where Black perspectives can be heard and seen, live and unedited, by large numbers of people.)

In the 1980s, I would have depended on these forums and the activists who sponsored and participated in them, to do the work we, the editors and contributors to this volume, have done today. I would have remained pretty much silent, letting those elders, Black print journalists, and broadcasters take responsibility for finding and promoting my and our collective voice. I would not have even thought twice about breaking the “rules” much less about doing so in front of a national or international television audience on C-SPAN. But clearly too much time has passed. This century demands more of me. I now bear the responsibility for that collective voice.

The remaining source of my tension also became evident as I meditated about all that has occurred around Marable and A Life of Reinvention. Two diametrically opposed quotes, both previously scrolling along in a loop at the bottom of my mind’s television screen, began to assume prominence. The first was one stated quite plainly by a Presidential candidate in 2008. The candidate was making a great compromise address about some remarks made by his pastor. During the campaign, it was hailed as “The Race Speech” but now it is known as the “A More Perfect Union” address, presumably because it was crafted to allow the candidate to unify perfectly two audiences—the powerful and the powerless—at once. Here is the first quote:

The profound mistake of Reverend [Jeremiah] Wright's sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It’s that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made [emphasis mine]; as if this country—a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of White and Black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old—is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know—what we have seen—is that America can change. That is the true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope—the audacity to hope—for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

The second (and much shorter) quote, originating from the collective unconsciousness of struggle, contradicts the first more and more as that former candidate’s Presidency continues. It states simply the following: “All change is not progress, as all motion is not forward.” Upon reflection on that statement, how sadly appropriate it seems that Manning Marable’s creation of a presumably race-neutral Malcolm X shares the same space with the racially/culturally born-neutered, or self-neutered, Barack Obama.  There are times in which cultural history and cultural reality trumps objectivity, and this is one such time. Manning Marable’s biography of Malcolm X occupies the space between the heralding of a new era of Black “progress” versus the ideas and beliefs of Malcolm’s expanding ideas, including those “scary” Black Nationalist-Leftist-Pan-Africanist ones. In the new era, if the latter ideas are brought up today, they must be dismissed as intellectually stunted or as belonging to history itself.

The scholarship on Malcolm X has moved as a result of Marable’s book, but in what direction? A new generation of Black writers and scholars is finding new ways to interpret old ideas, some of which expand people and movements into new places. However, the cost of moving into these newly gentrified intellectual neighborhoods, for some, may be too high. There are Blacks who may not know what has been lost by this gentrification, and those who understand all too well what has happened will probably be politely silent and “objective,” choosing not to remember, at least not publicly.

The late Gil Scott-Heron—a great writer who lived in Harlem as did his hero, Langston Hughes—passed away about two months before the 2011 Harlem Book Fair, but Scott-Heron was crystal clear forty years ago on this problem’s consequence. In the lyrics to his song, “Winter in America,” a post-revolution lament that still resonates, he sang about how “ain’t nobody fighting/‘cause nobody knows what to save.” Intellectually and historically, that time may be coming sooner than we think.

***********

In many ways, this work’s contributors have chosen to argue about a book because it was a book, The Autobiography of Malcolm X as Told to Alex Haley, that intellectually birthed so many of us in the first place. The Autobiography was the book that allowed Malcolm to enter our minds, where he witnessed our rebirths. For many of us he is still there, advising ever since, like some sort of Race Man Sensei. It’s his legacy to us.

Manning Marable’s legacy is what it is, for good and ill, like every other human. He does not need our tribute; others will take care of that. History is more important than any biographer or biographical subject’s legacy, including El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X). The issue for us is the need to preserve accurate historical memory, and to do so in concrete words and strong deeds. As contributors to this volume, we agree that Marable made decisions that produced poor history—a history that is being absorbed by an anti-intellectual popular culture via snippets of articles, brief broadcast segments, and trending tweets—about a world-historical figure. Ultimately, the biography that Marable wrote can only be countered by another, more definitive one. For us, preserving memory is more important than preserving some sort of intellectual operational unity in deference to Manning Marable’s legacy or trying to figure out a way to use, or salvage, what he did with A Life of Reinvention for the larger Black liberation movement. The book you are reading is not that biography. Rather, we humbly offer this volume as a collection of notes for that future biography.

”A Lie of Reinvention” is harshly critical of Marable and his posthumously published work. Good! Harsh public criticism is the appropriate response to harsh public actions, harsh public cultural distortions, and harsh public accommodations to the first two. It is also necessary when there are too many voices, for whatever reason, that refuse to separate critique from tribute.

The undercurrent of what has been said, or not said, publicly about Manning Marable since his death and the publication of A Life of Reinvention has often times been predicated on the idea of not speaking ill of the dead. Bill Strickland reminds us of this in his essay in this collection, which contends that this idea was “a standard Manning did not adhere to himself.” Even if he did, however, that would be irrelevant. Still, and I have no empirical evidence to substantiate this, I believe that if Marable had been White, or if he had not been the esteemed Black pioneering scholar his Black defenders claim him to be, the public reaction of many of those defenders to our collective, harsh, public critique would be, to say the least, muted.

Manning Marable should be remembered—for all his contributions—and the quality of those contributions should be, and will continue to be, argued and debated. But it is important to note that many of the public defenders of Marable’s bad biography were in some way connected to him—personally, professionally, or both. Thus, it is important to note that the vast majority of the contributors to this volume“as writers, as part of this tradition of Afro-American critical thought”we did not go to high school or college with Marable, we were not taught by him, nor did we lecture under him at Columbia. So we do not owe him our silence or knee-jerk defense.

But we do owe history. We do owe Africana Studies. Our larger commitment to historical memory dwarfs any concerns about offending Manning Marable’s admirers, colleagues, friends, and students. History is our prime concern. Therefore, we actively and proudly choose to be intellectual squatters in the new historical neighborhoods, openly breaking the rules and happily accepting any consequences of being labeled trespassers.

From the book “A Lie of Reinvention: Correcting Manning Marable’s Malcolm X,” edited by Jared A. Ball and Todd Steven Burroughs. Copyright 2012, 2013 by Black Classic Press.

 

 

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Economic Ressurrection

Economic Resurrection is all about inspiration. It is designed to be a wake-up call that will take you on a journey of self-discovery by shifting your thinking process to inspire you to do all you can to create and live a more prosperous life.

The author hopes this book will help to create a movement of conscious entrepreneurs who want to earn a good living while making a meaningful contribution in their community, society and throughout the world.

The essence of economics is the science of motivation. Economics is the study of how people get what they need and want. Resurrection is the act of rising from the dead. There are many forms of death. The form of death addressed in this book is economic death.

As tough as times are, we are living in an era of great opportunities. As we navigate our way through these trying economic times, the fact remains that we are living in a world of unlimited resources and unlimited wealth.

The sad reality is that with so many opportunities around us, many people are economically dead and in need of a resurrection. The good news is that these challenging times can make us stronger.

Challenging times can stimulate growth. You can create your own economy by providing others with quality products and services. This book shows you how to develop a mindset that will help you to grow mentally, spiritually and financially.

Entrepreneurs are able to prosper in good and tough times because they believe in their ability to control their economic destiny by relying on creativity, innovation and passion. Entrepreneurs trust themselves to create for themselves.

What we can get from ourselves, and what we can give to others is limited only by our imagination. The time is now to release your greatness to create personal and community wealth!

About HALIM QUDDUS

Entrepreneur, business leader, world traveler and author Halim Quddus has over the last 30 years founded, and/or partnered in many successful business enterprises. Halim currently devotes his time and energy into helping others develop new revenue streams and realize higher potentials.

His motivational book “Economic Resurrection: How to Prosper in Good and Tough Times” is being well received by a local and national audience of enthused readers.

Quddus successfully leads local, regional, national and international investment and trade opportunities.  He, in 2011, formalized The Muslim American Chamber of Commerce.

With a mission of providing useful and practical information, training and substantive support in advocating, developing, and promoting Muslim owned businesses, M.A.C.C. has developed a devoted member base.

Halim is a strong advocate and planner for the increase of minority and small business entrepreneurship, by helping business entities speak with a common voice to make noticeable progress on matters important to immediate well-being and sustainable future.

Born and breed in Newark, N.J., Halim was educated in the Newark Public School System and received his higher education at Lincoln Technical Institute and the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

He has traveled expensively across the US and to foreign countries including the Caribbean Islands, Dubai, Turkey and Haiti on behalf of commercial and cultural exchange.

A former member of the Nation of Islam, Quddus was inspired by the Hon. Elijah Muhammad’s economic teachings of “Do for Self” which created the framework for conscious business owners and entrepreneurs.

Halim developed his financial savvy and business skills under the leadership of Imam W.D. Muhammad. Imam Muhammad taught collective thinking, purchasing and supporting entrepreneurship by capitalizing on industries that produce goods and services that we utilize in our day-to-day lives.

Halim is a servant of the community who strives to continue the mission of his two great leader’s key and clear approach to community security and self-sufficiency.

Each day he works to advise and inspire other Muslims to take control of their G-D given destiny and proactively plan personal and community –wide growth opportunity, both mentally and financially, in effort to soar to the highest potentials.

 

 

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Review by Leila Diab
As moral people of conscience around the world continue to band together to not only seek a mutual recognition for positive change, as well as to expose the truth in all things possible in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict of insurmountable human rights violations, and the mountains of injustices albeit on a daily basis, the recently released book, The General’s Son authored by Miko Peled, shows just that type of moral conscienceness.
Miko Peled’s unconventional, historically well written life story and experiences portray his desire for moral truths and unlimited possibilities. And one of those unlimited equal possibilities is for human beings, Palestinian and Israeli, to be born free.
The author Miko Peled is an Israeli who was born in Jerusalem and the son of a well known Israeli General Matti Peled, who later in life became an Arabist and a staunch peacemaker. Miko as a young boy always had a dream of becoming a karate, martial arts expert, and it appears that ambition adds to his riveting style of writing that takes the reader on a discovery journey of truthful relativity.
What Miko Peled describes in his book is a compelling and honest journey to unveil the many mythical yet abhorrent Israeli government “truths,” especially addressing the many myths about Palestinians both inside and outside of Palestine.
For example, there is the myth that “Arabs are filthy, unorganized and uneducated” or just plain “terrorists.” As Miko’s journey took him to meet Palestinians, just like his father did, and was driven by deep moral convictions and principles, still many Israeli government officials balked at this commonsense rhetoric to bring an end to the occupation and all its violence and killings.
When a mother loses a child due to violence, murder or terrorism, the whole family mourns and suffers. Miko can unfortunately attest to this as well. His sister’s daughter was killed in Jerusalem by Palestinian suicide bombers.
And in the sense of that painful reality, one can only imagine if the Israeli government would have listened to General Matti Peled’s initial recommendation that the Israeli government should sit and negotiate instead of fight with the Palestinian Liberation Movement, maybe all of the killings of innocent people on both sides could have been avoided.
Miko states in his book, “I am often asked how it was that he (my father) developed such clear and far-sighted opinions on this issue. And the only answer I can think of is that he was a principled man through and through. He did not accept the double standard that we, the Jewish people, deserve to live on the same land as the Palestinians and yet deprive them of their rights.”
Miko takes the reader on his long journey to meet Palestinians in America but also to make the connections with Palestinians inside the occupied territories and in Israel to understand the desired truth based on their non-violent struggle and basic human needs.
Like the journey of his father, General Matti Peled, they both had established many friendships and came to have honorable trust with their encounters with the Palestinian leadership and ordinary people, who to this day have the utmost respect and admiration for their principled efforts.
After I read Miko’s book, as I hope many will, I can envision those roots of one Israeli man’s undisputed fearless courage to cultivate a peaceful alliance of acceptance and change, as well as confront the IDF and the Israeli government to quell their desire to humiliate, disrespect and also kill innocent men, women and children.
Although I am sure there will be those who will challenge his honest and factual perspective and those who will continue to deny and deny the forsaken truth. Yet the truth of the matter is that Miko, an Israeli, and his Palestinian friends in America raised enough money to buy and send wheelchairs for both Israeli and Palestinian families.
Another truth of the matter is that Miko also takes us on his endless journey and into the Deheishe refugee camp in Bethlehem, where as an expert in martial arts, he taught children the benefits of learning the martial arts and karate, to better understand self-discipline and sharpen their focused behavior skills.
Also, Miko Peled isn’t just the son of the famous Israeli General Matti Peled, but he is a man with an historical past of Zionist heritage. As his mother’s son, he also was loved, guided and nurtured by a very understanding, intelligent and logical mother.
When the State of Israel was being created and many Palestinians had to flee their homes because of fear for their safety during the Arab/Israeli war, Miko again describes the stories his mother remembers.
“I knew the Palestinian families as a child growing up in Jerusalem. And as a result of the war, she recalled how the contents of these homes, which belonged to well to do Palestinian families, were taken by looters. As the wife of an Israeli General, she was offered a Palestinian family’s home.
She refused, saying to her son, Miko, “That I should take the home of a family that may be living in a refugee camp? The home of another mother? She felt ashamed.”
This story can best be described here: “One basic truth can be used as a foundation for a mountain of lies, and if we dig down deep enough in the mountain of lies and bring out that truth, to set it on top of the mountain of lies, the entire mountain of lies will crumble under the weight of that one truth.
“And there is nothing more devastating to a structure of lies than the revelation of the truth upon which the structure of lies was built. Because the shock waves of the revelation of the truth reverberate and continue to reverberate throughout the Earth for generations to follow, awakening even those people who had no desire to be awakened to the truth.” ~ Delamer Duverus
The General’s Son, written by Miko Peled, has indeed awakened the truth of all things possible, as the mountain of lies begins to crumble.

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By Ginny Grimsley
For a religion that many Americans still describe as “cultish” and “secretive,” the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) has gained a lot of mainstream clout in the past couple of years.
On Broadway, the irreverent musical satire “The Book of Mormon” was the hands-down favorite of 2011, winning nine Tony Awards.
On television, “Big Love,” a fictional HBO series about a Mormon polygamist, enjoyed a five-year run ending last March.
And on the GOP presidential campaign trail, front-runner Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman are both Mormons with deep roots in the 181-year-old church.
Los Angeles attorney Robert P. DesJardins studied the religion and its history for his newest novel, Land of the Saints (http://robertpdesjardins.authorsxpress.com/).
He found a history that provided him not only with plenty of mystery and intrigue for his fiction but also gave him insights into the religion’s role in contemporary America.
Did you know?
• Former Governors Romney and Huntsman share a common ancestor: Parley Pratt.
An original apostle of the church founded in 1830 by Joseph Smith, Pratt was Romney’s great-great grandfather and Huntsman’s great-great-great grandfather, DesJardins says.
Pratt was said to have had 12 wives in the years before polygamy was banned by the church in 1890. Current members practicing plural marriage are excommunicated. (Pratt was killed in 1857 by the estranged husband of a woman with whom he’d become involved.)
• Romney and Huntsman are not the first church members to run for president. Joseph Smith, who founded the church in 1830, began his run for president on Jan. 29, 1844. It ended with his assassination five months later on June 27.
• Contrary to popular belief, the church’s growth has slowed dramatically since 1999. From 1974 to 1994, it was said to be the fastest-growing American-made religion, but the numbers started dropping in 1999, DesJardins says.
There are now about 14 million Mormons worldwide, and they comprise just 2 percent of the U.S. population, which is interesting, DesJardins notes, since they comprise 28 percent of the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates.
• One issue that surfaces in heavily evangelical Christian states, such as Iowa and South Carolina, is whether Mormons are Christians. “Mormons believe in ‘G-d, the Father,’ Jesus the son and the Holy Ghost.
They believe in Jesus as our savior and Messiah,” DesJardins says.
“So why would anyone say they’re not Christians? The difference is that they do not believe the three gods are one. And they believe in human deification – that humans can become gods. Those are two fundamental reasons why some Christians say Mormons do not share their faith.”
• The Latter-day Saints is well-known as the keeper of the largest genealogical library in the world, with more than 2.4 million rolls of records on microfilm, and a database with names of 600 million dear departed.
Why all the data on non-church members? Mormons can assure ancestors are together for all eternity through baptism of the dead; living church members stand in as proxies.
The church has long been regarded with suspicion and even outright violence. Despite its growing prominence in American culture, those attitudes still prevail, DesJardins says.
“The church itself hired two ad agencies in 2009 to research public perception and was disappointed to find Americans still describe it as ‘cultish,’ ‘secretive’ and ‘sexist,’’’ DesJardins says. “It set about to change that with a multi-million-dollar TV, billboard and Internet campaign in 2010.”
The campaign expanded in 2011. Although DesJardins expects it will do little to help a religion that still idolizes its authoritarian founder, carefully guards secrets and ceremonies, and reserves positions of power within the church for men.
About the author, Robert P. DesJardins: A successful Los Angeles lawyer for more than 35 years, DesJardins is now a lecturer, private judge and judge pro tempore for the California Superior Court - in addition to being a novelist.
In Land of the Saints, his third book, his main character is an attorney who finds himself drawn into the mysterious and dangerous world of Mormon spirituality, after a friend is charged with murder.

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Malcolm-X

Review by Imam Yahya Shabazz

“To appreciate how Malcolm’s resurrection occurred, first among African Americans and later throughout America, we need to reconstruct the full contours of his remarkable life.” (Manning Marable’s book, page 14)

In my opinion, the way Manning Marable has written this book, the words he uses, the way he puts those words together to describe Malcolm, tells me that Marable either had very little respect for the man who was/is one of the most forceful and positive influences in modern day history, not only for the African American community, but indeed for the general society as well….

Or he was paid in some way, by someone to write a book that seems to tear down the stature of Malcolm in slow un-noticeable degrees, except to those of us who truly loved and respected the man for his commitment and love for uplifting a community to give them a fighting chance in society.

Why in the world would Marable refer to this man called Malcolm X, El - Hajj Malik Shabazz, as “an angry black militant”? (page 7)  And why would he couch the phrase in the middle of a sentence, like he’s camouflaging it? But at the same time, he’s trying to paint the picture of Malcolm as just another angry voice in the crowd, among the many.

Just another Black man who is mad at the “White man?” In reality, Malcolm X was a visible, deciding factor in the direction of not only the African American movement, but his influence had global effects in terms of how we as a people were viewed by others around the world.

I see in this book the attempt to crucify Malcolm in the minds of the public, the same way Jesus Christ was crucified in Biblical scripture, and no one is saying a mumbling word. Also present is Judas in the persons of those so called intellectuals who give praise to a work fit for nothing….

I personally think that many of them loved and respected Marable because he was one of their colleagues and friends, but even so, they should stand for truth and justice, regardless.

The harm this book does is far more of a serious concern then friendship, because those instructors on the various high school and college campuses, who may not have agreed with the struggles of the African American community, now will focus their attention on issues of no impotence, rather than the life’s work of the man, which they can’t tear down.

Those who do support will only now be sidetracked with these issues, and so the significance of Malcolm’s life becomes watered down.

Before I continue, please allow me to give fair warning to all, especially the African American community. We are a great people, with a great history. But if we continue to allow these kinds of books to be written about our heroes without saying anything, then our future generations will have nothing and no one to look to as a role model.

It is important that we come out of this faddish, trendy, un-intelligent stupor we find ourselves in and step up to the plate of responsibility to preserve our glorious history, so that we can have a standard for the future.

This warning is not only directed to those who we usually label as following the entertainment crowd, but more at those who call themselves scholars, leaders and intellectuals, weather they call themselves Muslim or not. We need to wake up and see the task in front of us and take the responsibility of correct leadership.

Malcolm is not the first, nor will he be the last, to have his stature torn down before us. In the movie Rush Hour 3, we see Christ Tucker using the language of Dr. King “I have a dream” in a very disrespectful way. On another occasion, on a game show, I saw another man use Dr. Kings words regarding “the content of a man’s character” in the context of a sexual relation.

Still further, I heard a hip hop song where the singer was using the “I have a dream“ language as well. I do not believe these are haphazard instances. I believe they are by design. There’s a play running presently on the life of Dr. King, where the claim is made that they only want to humanize him by highlighting his sexual inclinations.

They assume that we see Dr. King, and the rest of those who stood for good as gods, or idols, when the truth is that we see them as significant people who have made the world a better place in which to live, in spite of their human weaknesses, and that same goal can be had by us all.

On more than one occasion, I have witnessed the dialogue in many TV series used to denigrate famous African American artists, musicians and leaders. I think these are incidents we should take notice of. It is up to us to preserve our history, for if we don’t, it will surely be taken away from us.

In the above quote from Marable’s book, he refers to Malcolm’s life as remarkable, as if to give someone the impression that he admired Malcolm. But closer scrutiny reveals an attitude akin to, if not hatred of Malcolm, then at least some degree of disgust.

On page 9 in his book, Marable uses deceit to even try to discredit Alex Haley’s Autobiography of Malcolm X, by raising doubts in the minds of the readers that the two men were very different, with different concerns. Therefore, the authenticity is questionable.

His opinion about what was in the minds of Malcolm and Haley seems to be an attempt to trivialize not only the life of Malcolm, but the book that was/is an upliftment to so many of those who read it and went on to improve their own lives.

For Marable to refer to Alex Haley’s purpose for writing the book as a “cautionary tale about human waste and the tragedies brought on by racial segregation” is the epitome of injustice and insult to such a great work.

There’s no way that a profound writer, such as Alex Haley, the author of Roots, the book that not only produced a mini-series that was shown over the course of many years, that gave the entire world an in-depth look at the beginnings of the slave trade, but in effect awakened the curiosity in many others from across racial lines to begin the search for their ancestors.

There’s no way that he would be writing such a serious book about a man who was bigger than life, for such a shallow and trivial reason. It just boggles the mind to even try to imagine this was the purpose for Haley’s book on the Life of Malcolm X.

One of these so-called intellectuals, who appeared on a CSPAN panel discussion, exclaimed in a loud voice that that she was ready to give up Haley’s magnificent work, that has proven to be an encouragement to so many. That fact alone is more than reason enough to keep teaching it.

This book by Marable, at best, serves no other purpose than to cause doubt and controversy, by going into issues about which no one really cares about, because they are mere ordinary issues that we all deal with to some degree or another.

Marable tries to make these ordinary, everyday issues that Malcolm and we all deal with to rise to the level of such great importance, that they cast a shadow over the life and work of the man.

Marable makes the claim that Malcolm exaggerated his criminal record, as if that’s something unusual. Still trying to figure out the point?

The fact is that the sign of a true leader is that despite the everyday problems he or she has to deal with – family, etc. – they don’t lose focus on the larger goal, “the emancipation of the people.”

What has not been exaggerated is the fact that El-Hajj Malik Shabazz, with the help of Allah, lifted himself up and beckoned to us to follow.

Those of us who did are the better off for it.  Truly, this woman has to be a very short sighted person to want to trade profoundness exchange for shallowness.

I believe Manning Marable was paid by someone, or his project and research financed by someone with sinister motivations, for him to put together such an unjust book of insults that serves no other purpose but to cast doubts on a man who has done his due for the upliftment of a people.

I think this book is a total disgrace. To heap doubt and suspicion upon African American leadership is nothing new. The tragedy is when other African American intellectuals show support for such an effort.

I don’t know if they are afraid of losing tenure in their positions, or if they’ve been promised other rewards. But these are some of the same “uncle toms” that Malcolm condemned during his life of service to society.

Marable is trying his best to find some kind of fault with Haley’s work. He explains the fact that the OAAU had been left out of the Autobiography at Malcolm’s request. (Page 9) Yet he still chooses to open up the discussion in such a way that gives one the impression that some wrong had occurred.

Failing to establish wrong doing, he settles for the minute detail about Malcolm having no input on M.S. Handler’s contribution to the preface in the book. He uses terms like “Haley’s own ‘rambling’ conclusion, which frames his subject firmly within mainstream civil rights respectability at the end of his life.”

Again I say, the way Marable puts words and sentences together, and his keen focus on parts of Malcolm’s life that no one cares to know about, tells me that he’s being paid or promised something. Or he harbors a deep hate or disrespect for Malcolm.

On page 10, Marable goes deeper into the text of the Autobiography, as if he’s about to reveal something deep, hidden, or earth shattering about Malcolm.

He talks about a deeper reading of the text in search for facts, but instead of identifying what facts, he gets into dialogue where he tries to present Malcolm in the light of someone cunning. (Yet we all know he was born Malcolm Little.)

Marable says on page 12 of his book on Malcolm, that his primary purpose for the book is to “go beyond the legend: to recount what actually occurred in Malcolm’s life.” One would think from reading this statement that they are about to discover some meaningful detail about Malcolm’s life worth knowing about.

But all Marable does is tries to point out meaningless  events, by referring to a detail about sloppy hand writing, to a bad write up he received from the induction center.

Or he highlights Malcolm’s time in the Nation of Islam, when he was put in charge of a Mosque and he replaced some officials with the ones he could best work with – although this is a common practice.

But Marable describes it in words that would make the average person angry and turn them against Malcolm for no good reason. Usually, if a person was replaced, it’s for a good reason.

He uses the word “reinvent” many times over to describe the evolutionary process Malcolm went through, as he grew from a street hustler to a giant of a man, who became renowned and respected worldwide.

He seems to try to make a big deal of the fact that Malcolm had nicknames, and he tries to tie the nicknames to Malcolm’s mission, to give the impression that Malcolm was presenting himself to his various audiences somehow in a way that didn’t ring true.

Malcolm didn’t “reinvent” himself. On the contrary, he matured from a child to a man of deep passion for doing what was right for people. The Bible says: “When I was a child, I acted like a child. When I became a man, I put away childish things.”

There were no different layers of personalities in Malcolm. For Marable to even suggest the idea of different personalities sends a heinous message about the mind of Malcolm. We all know what that implies. I need not elaborate any further.

Simply put, Malcolm grew just like everyone else, through a normal childhood of his time. He made a lot of mistakes just as others did in his day, and like so many of us today. What sets him apart is the fact that he developed wisdom, vision, knowledge and added the courage he already possessed.

Malcolm went out and led people to freedom. Manning Marable should be ashamed, and held in contempt, along with those who praised this dreaded work. Their word should not be accepted ever again, unless and until they come forward and publicly condemn this work of treachery against a man who has dedicated his life to helping others.

I am loathed to even continue to try to get through the rest of this book, because I fear it is more of the same. Marable tries to raise every question he can about Malcolm’s character, including trying to associate him to homosexuality. I won’t even give that issue the elevation of trying to defend Malcolm’s character.

Marable’s strongest evidence presented for him to draw from was the word of an angry ex-friend of Malcolm’s. For a so-called scholar to use that kind of hearsay regarding Malcolm again is evidence that he had very little regard for Malcolm.

Malcolm was a serious, world renowned leader. To really write a complete exhaustive review that would give deserved justice would mean that the conclusion of such a writing would have as many pages as the book itself.  On virtually every page, at every turn of Malcolm’s life, Manning Marable is trying to weaken Malcolm in the eyes of the society.

I don’t believe that he would do this on his own volition, which is why I say someone else has to be behind this damning effort.

As we study the lives of the giants of men and women who have traveled this earth and stood for justice, we find they were faced with many struggles, both public and private. Those that are private must necessarily remain so, because regarding them, their account is with G-d and only with G-d.

Those that are public are done with the good of the public at heart, weather we agree with them or not. Yet they are done while these giants are still dealing with the struggles of their private lives, and this is what makes them the giants that they are.

Malcolm X is not to be seen in the context of just one person, for one single cause. Rather he is one link in a chain of leaders whose very reason for existence was the upliftment of humanity. To weaken even one link in that chain is to weaken the chain itself.

Yes, they all had their weaknesses, but they all were human, and this is the great victory, in spite of their human frailties, that their focus never left the needs of the people they were chosen by Allah to serve.

There is a Qur’anic verse that says: “Go ye forth to the battle, (whether equipped) lightly or heavily, and strive and struggle with your goods and your persons, in the Cause of G-d. The word “thaqala,” in this verse, means something heavy, oppressive, to load, or burden with something.

So these great leaders had not only to deal with their own personal baggage that in many ways was hard to bear, or oppressive, but also the task that lay in front of them was daunting as well.

What should be highlighted then, is their undying devotion to humankind. This, after all, is what gives the rest of us the motivation to go forward weather equipped heavily or lightly, and do G-d’s Will.

(Yahya Shabazz is the author of the book, New Leadership into the 21st Century, published by xlibris.com, about the different philosophies in leadership from some of our most influential African American leaders, beginning at the turn of the Century with W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington, to the Hon. Elijah Muhammed and Dr. Martin L. King Jr., with a foreword by Dr. Sulayman Nyang, Ph. D., Howard University.)

Politics

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By Nusayba Hammad, Communications Director, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (nusayba@uscpr.org) WASHINGTON, D.C. – In an act unprecedented in recent history, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand...
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