Monday, November 10, 2014

'Never Again' is a Broken Promise, it's a Broken Glass

      Today November 9th Marks two important events on the world calendar, it marks both  high  and low points in the history of the world and was remembered by many from different parts of the world with mixed emotions.
   For Germans, it marks what is know as Kristallnacht  or the beginning of the Holocaust and  also the 25th anniversary of  the demolishing of  the Berlin wall.
   For Jews from around the world it is a day filled with dark memory, hatred, death  and ethnic cleansing, for the  rest of the world it's a day for us to look at the past and try to figure out how to make sure that 'Never Again' is not  just a slogan but an attainable promise in the future.  Below are some other historical Nov 9th events :

 November 9-10, 1938 - Kristallnacht (the night of broken glass) occurred in Germany as Nazi mobs burned synagogues and vandalized Jewish shops and homes.
November 9, 1872 - The Great Boston Fire started in a dry-goods warehouse then spread rapidly in windy weather, destroying nearly 800 buildings. Damage was estimated at more than $75 million. The fire's bright red glare could be seen in the sky for nearly 100 miles.

   November 9, 1918 - German Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated his throne in the closing days of World War I and fled to Holland. In Germany, Philip Scheidemann, a Socialist leader, then proclaimed a democratic Republic and became its first Chancellor.

   November 9, 1965 - At 5:16 p.m., the Great Blackout of the Northeast began as a tripped circuit breaker at a power plant on the Niagara River caused a chain reaction sending power surges knocking out interconnected power companies down the East Coast. The blackout affected over 30 million persons, one-sixth of the entire U.S. population. Electricity also failed in Ontario and Quebec.

   November 9, 1989
- The Berlin Wall was opened up after standing for 28 years as a symbol of the Cold War. The 27.9 mile wall had been constructed in 1961.

   May 'Never Again' be a promise delivered.............

Friday, October 24, 2014

Tenents of Friendship

'The mood is generally optimistic about what friendship is or can be in this environment of  constant shifting allegiance , that it can do much more than just help people get by and can fulfill or complete complex needs and expectations. All in all, I  believe, or perhaps hope, that friendship will come into its own: it is elastic enough to connect us across the web of complex lives and strong enough not to snap under 

 Quote of the day : ''
There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature. Jane Austen

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Our America !!!

                             America is a house for all people, 
its a safe haven for all who enters into its porch 
a safe and big House for all of us.
Its My America ! Its Your America !!
Its our America 

Photo (c) E'Nkul Kanaka

 America is a house for all people, 
its a safe haven for all who enters into its porch 
a safe and big House for all of us.
Its My America ! Its Your America !!
Its our America !!! ~  Pious ali 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Facing Our Fears

few weeks ago I spoke to a group of High school students about confronting your challenges and fears ,that speech encouraged me to say yes to a request from an organization that have done so much for many young people in Maine. I agree to participate in a fund raising event by  Rappelling  for Ripple Effect
The past few years Rippleffect had  offered me a lot of summer camp scholarships to be giving to young people  whose families cannot afford to send them to one. Most of them are minority or Immigrant families

   On Saturday May 17th   I joined hundreds of Mainer’s from all walks  of life to Rappel from a 14 storey (173 feet ) high building,  It wasn't easy but I did confronted one of my fears and also help in raising some money to bring kids to a camp.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

50,Years after Martin Luther King’s Dream, We are still Marching !!!

   How many more years before we stop marching? 
  Last night I caught my self playing that wonderful inspirational speech over and over and over again… something caught my attention… Martin Luther King Jr (MLK) was  about the future, and I asked my self ‘When is that future’ is it NOW , was it yesterday or the day before or is it tomorrow?
       Martin  and his posse marched and tried to merged the race, economic and social divide, they sacrificed a lot for that, unfortunately  the divide is widened and  many more divides have emerge and the fight for justice have many fronts locally and globally.
    Here in the United State of America, we tend to believe the march may have yield  a little progress, we ‘elected’ Barack Hussein Obama as President. His identity is a representation of what our nation is, a nation with many identities. The reality is , in some cases the situation is worse than it was 50 years ago. The economic disparity between the upper crust of our society and the ordinary people have widened so many folds.
    Access to health care , education and  opportunities is not same for everyone in America. The freedom to marry  may have changed for some, but for others it is  still Jim Crow days .  
  I wonder  what Dr king’s speech will have been if he  was at the rally to commemorate the ‘50th anniversary of the ‘March on Washington’  or if we can reach out to him and ask for his comments on how far we have come ?
King and his Posse (c) CNN
As we  commemorate the march, we should also remember that king didn't organize the March alone he did worked  with other civil rights activist with different agendas  to pull it off.  And we need to work with each other to continue the fight for equality .     , listed Dr King’s  collaborators as follows;  James Farmer, of the Congress of Racial Equality(CORE); Martin Luther King, Jr., of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC); John Lewis, of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC); A. Philip Randolph, of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters; Roy Wilkins, of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); and Whitney Young, Jr., of the National Urban League.

Friday, February 8, 2013

UNsung heroes: Facts You May NEVER hear during Black History Month

   In 1926 an African American historian Carter G woodson, toyed with the idea of having  a black history week in order to celebrate the history of African Americans amongst themselves and other Americans. It was an idea he thought will help save the  African American history from  being push out of the history books. That week was chosed because it is the birth day week of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas, Mr carter was hoping that his idea will be the curator of the African American history until schools and mainstream education institutions start teaching the African American history as part of the American History not just an African American  history.. Unfortunately his Idea was defeated because  a lot of cities across the Nation started celebrating the week , and eventually it was turn into a month long celebration and so every year we learn about African American or Black History only in February, which is exactly what he was trying to avoid, how can you only celebrate a history that is as old as our Nation in 28 or 29 days, What can we  possibly teach our kids about black people  in a month.
      We have segmented our nation’s history into months , we  have the Irish-American,Women’s,LGBT, Filipino -American,Puerto Rican,Jewish and so on and so forth Months, I am wondering why we celebrate  history months since  all we teach students about  is same  freedom fighting  historical figures every year, then press the re-set buttons the following year to start all over again, don't get me wrong I BELIEVE that is very important too, because we are still fighting  some of the rights they were fighting , so their stories will inspire many  but we need to expand the content of our teachings to beyond February and Freedom Fighting.
   In my quest to find more facts and   answers around black history in America I came across a lot of notable and amazing  Black Americans who excelled in their chosen carriers and think its worth sharing,
     If you or any one you know did benefitted a laser surgery to restore their vision thanks to  Patricia Era Bath , African American ophthalmologist and inventor of the ‘Laserphaco Probe’ a tool use in removing cataract from the eye. 
    Another person I though I need to share is  Kentucky Native , Fred  Mckinley Jones, a man who had no formal education what so ever  but went on to not only invent the ‘Thermo King ‘ a cooling device which transport fresh food from one point to another so that you and I can enjoy fresh  Califiornian oranges in winter, he  also patented another device which was used in transporting blood and plasma to our troops abroad . Have you heard of Andrew  Jackson Beard  from  Eastlake  Alabama who after working as a railman went on to invent the ‘Jenny Coupler’ a device which automatically joins train cars by simply allowing them to bump into each other. He received the patent on November 27th ,1897.
    Those of us who have the privilege of calling the attention of air hostesses when we need them during our flights should be  be grateful to Ms Miriam A Benjamin,a Washington D.C teacher who in 1888 received the patent for an invention she called ‘Gong chair for hotels’ The system worked by pressing a small button on the back of a chair which would relay a signal to a waiting attendant. At the same time a light would illuminate on the chair allowing the attendant to see which guest was in need of assistance. The system was adopted and installed within the United States House of Representatives and was the predecessor of the methods used today on airplanes to signal stewardesses.
   We all enjoy the conveniency of storing our money and valuable items in safe boxes away from  being stolen. People used to keeping their money and important documents in wooden boxes, banks used to provide safety against theft, but did not prevent bank employees from reading through customers’ personal papers that were supposed to be kept at the bank, until Henry Browne, saw the need to change that, he create a safer container and developed a forged-metal container which could be sealed with a lock and key. He patented his receptacle for storing and preserving papers  and money on November 2, 1886 and it developed into what is now known as a strongbox. 
   The last but not the least  on my roll- call is the man who  The documentary film maker Ken Burns, referred to as the ‘most famous and notorious African American on earth during hid days’ . I am talking about  ‘Jack’ John Arthur  Johnson, the exuberant Boxer who rose to fame during the height of the Jim Crowe era. Many of you may have known him as the first African American heavyweight champion, who was charged with the Mann Act  for dating and marrying white women. While in  Leavenworth Federal Prison in Kansas, Johnson found  the need for a tool which would help tighten of loosening fastening devices. He therefore crafted a tool and eventually patented it on April 18, 1922, calling it a wrench.
   Have a wonderful Black History Month…..

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ayoo, Dr King What will You Have Done?

  ‘                                                   Ayoo, Dr King What will you have done?

        Ayoo Dr  king,  recently I   have been brainstorming on a lot of issues and many questions have been running in my small brain on What will you do if you were alive, or to be straight forward how will you react if you were alive today? Before I go any further let me introduce my self to you , I am from Ghana in West Africa,  I first heard of your name when I was in the 7th grade and studying the history of the Black People, my then teacher  may God Bless her soul called you the Black Moses.. She referred to you as the moses of the African Americans who gave his last sermon at the mall of congress, yes she said you were there in  flesh, but couldn't make it in spirit.  How ironic..
   Dr King, as a child I had always been  how eloquent  and patient you were, how smart and  well spoken, I actually tried unsuccessfully to  memorized the ‘I have a dream speech’ without luck. I posted your  picture next to that of Dr Kwame Nkrumah the founder of my country (Ghana), on the walls of my room, Nkrumah  was an eloquent speaker too.  Dr king this weekend we are celebrating yet another holiday in honoring the day you were born, what a great day it always have been.  I wonder if you were contacted before this holiday was instituted, what will you have agree for the whole world to celebrate your day ?
  Not long ago I learnt that you gave a speech which many thought sounded like your own eulogy,  you said when you died, all you want  to be said was how you served others, you didn't want people to mentioned your degrees or your Nobel prize,  You wanted your life to be celebrated as a servant of Humanity, how honorable of you. Guess what Dr King, the whole world  goes into  service hysteria on your birth day, we kept the promise Doctor King!!! we kept the promise!!!!
    Oh did any one bothered to tell you that an African American was elected the president in 2008 and was re-elected again last year his name is Barack Hussein Obama,this year, your birthday was even greater, the president was inaugurated  for his second term and I heard that he used your bible for the swearing ceremony, how Sweet, ‘I know, right’,? 
   Your work and vision just started to manifest. We are still  not there yet though.
   Dr king, we are facing  some of  same issues you fought and died for,   so many years ago after your famous poor people campaign,there is still inequality in health care, education and many more. As a nation we are still divided on many issues from race  to sexual orientation.Women are being paid less than men for same job. You we tragically taken from us 40 years ago, we are still fighting over who can own a gun and how can we  make sure people will not use it for to  violently harm  others. I don't know the statistics of gun and human ration when you were around, but now I think averagely there is one gun per one person, I am sure you will be turning in your peaceful sleep after you read this part. But that is the reality we live in.
   There are also ,many good things that have change.. Do you remember  remember the March you led, that was awesome I wish there is a way  for me to travel back into time.. I will have joined the March just to experience being in the same sphere as you, marching takes different forms now , we have something call face book and twitter where you invite people to March with you , to join hands with you and fight for a common  good of all,  except that it is all virtual, you don't have to be with them in person. I bet you will have loved it. It will have triple the number of your followers.
   Dear King,   all this  while, I haven't ask you my question yet:  I am working with a lot of young people some of whom may walk the path you have paved, and continue to fight against the same forces you fought , the same issues you died for, my question is, if you were  alive today , will you have continue fighting or because there is an African American President , even though many things have not change , you will have retired and say .. Yes we are at the mountain top… Please feel free to email or text me what you may have done if you were alive. I have to meet with the  group of young people I work with so I can tell them what your thought would have been… 
  Your Ardent Admirer
         Pious Ali

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Its Okay to say Merry Christmas In Public....

  Christians across the globe are participated in the biggest annual religious observation  by all the different shades in the  Christendom, and the most beautiful part of this for me is, the re emphasizing the core value in the teachings of Jesus Christ ‘PEACE’. Here in  America it is the time for our  cities to be grace in the seasonal colors of  red and green, with beautiful lights adorning our  streets and wreaths hanging in front of homes and businesses.
     This is one of the exceptional times in America when it is okay talk to people you don't know , you walk past a complete stranger and they say Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas, depending on where their faith meter is… or if they are for or against the public display of faith. One thing I love about Christmas is the way we all get all hyped up to be nice to each other and reach out to the less fortunate amongst us and it is also what makes me wonder if there is way for us to be like that all year around.  Do we need some sort of religious  faith and community based celebratory reminder? For example the city of Portland pride itself of being one of the few places in this country where students speak more than Ten languages, and our beautiful country also happens to be the most religious diverse country in the recent history of the world, cant we take advantage of all this and make our country and city a better place where every month we ask members of our community from different  faith tradition to  have a short ceremony  in front of city hall and the hall ways of their Highs Schools and for the whole month we can wish each other happy that particular festival or  celebratory , for example in Dec, we can say happy Hanukkah ,Yuletide or  Happy Kwanzaa to every one you walk or pass by  in Portland , they can chose to ignore you or respond. We can be a model for other states and some countries who are fighting against each other.. Merry Christmas , Happy Holiday and Happy New Year!!!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Are we A Trigger Happy Nation?

   A  few days ago, those of us  watching cable news  were  beyond shock over the news item that disrupted our favorite news shows or day time TV , Whereas the disruption of our daily lives with news items about a gunman or gun-woman in a crowded community space is not surprise to some of us, when it happen to be a space occupied by children, its always twice painful. As a father I can only imagine the pain and hurt that parents whose kids were taking away from them by such acts feel, I don't have any way to measure their pain since my kids are here with me. As an educator, I can only imagine how it feels to  return to a space that have experienced such mayhem and to be able to engage the rest of the young people, I will be tattered to pieces by the time I finish engaging them. I don't even know if I will have the courage to enter that space. It will be a sacred space for me...
    Violence of many formats  have taking center stage of our national identity . Our children especially boys, are bombarded with gun violence as a form of entertainment or education. From their first toy through the video games they play , the music they  listen to, movies and reality shows they watch  on TV in their formative years , the use of gun as a tool that gives you advantage  against your opponent or enemy  have been embedded as a value our society cherished.
      Gun advocates and anti -gun activists always lock horns after terrible incidents happens, each  camp's surrogates make appearances  on our TV and radio political shows to jibe at each other whiles emphasizing their unwillingness to bark down and look at  what we can do to cut down on situations like this.     I don't think  we can totally eliminate incidents like this, but we can do much better preventing recurrence. Our children look up to us to protect them, we look up to the government to put laws in place that protect us and our families. The time to find a lasting solution is now.  We should be able to bring all stake holders( NRA, gun manufactures, sellers, reality show networks and holly wood) under one roof to see how to go about this, Lets do this America… my heart goes to anyone who have ever lost a loved one due  to gun violence.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Are we (America) ready toEmbrace Dark Shadows From Our Past & What is the way forward?

 Exactly one presidential term ago, America had a new tag line to accompany the celebration of a heroic decision by a fearless country, which for the first time   stepped outside its comfort zone  and elected a minority as its president.  It was our attempt to clean our conscious  and move into a  new era in the relationship between us as a nation and one  of the prominent groups in the founding of this country, its our attempt in trying to say to the world, Oh yes we have come a long way, we are grown ups and we are not afraid of our past, we are ready to embrace it and we are doing that the American way with glitter and lights , we even came up with a new  fancy political tag line , ‘Post racial ‘  the only problem is , the tag line is only glossy when printed in the pages of magazines and newspapers,  poetic only when its being used by the many radio and TV commentators, on our air waves……   in reality  there is nothing like post racial America and  the past four years have just proven that school of thought to be right.
    Every thing have a good and a bad side and I also agree that things can get worst before they get better and Obama’s election did just that , research have shown that racial intolerance have increase since then.  Discrimination against blacks have been higher in the past four years than in any recent past. 
Obama's effigy hanged,Goldsboro NC
      We know that presidential campaigns stimulates  people’s emotion, this year's presidential election did more than that, all you need to do is log into YouTube and see what people are saying about the president in terms of his race.  I want to believe in the principles of America again, I want to believe in our constitution again, I want my daughter to grow up in a country where ‘post racial’ really means something not a mere slogan…  Those of us that believe in that need to work and fight for it .
   May be  I am too much of an idealist to even notice that we are not ready yet, we have to find a way and have a nationwide open and honest conversation on how we treated the minorities amongst us and how to create a future of mutual respect for people who are different from us.  Just before I finished writing this entry , a friend of mine in North Carolina posted disturbing photograph of a hanged Obama effigy,  which  makes me feel  like I wanna puke, so much for ‘Post Racial’ politics, Wake Up America, lets vote and save the integrity of this great country…...

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A whisper to my Daughter

 Dear Rahmat
     Every family have a tradition that have been passed on from generation to generation, once in a while  a generation alters this tradition to suit ‘the moment’, to the displeasure of surviving members from  the generation before. The worst of all is if a generation have to lay  a long cherished  family tradition to rest because it is not in harmony with current trends or doesn't fit in with the present or will not make sense to the next  generation. Most repetitive  traditions have something in common, either they get misinterpreted or the story behind why and how or sometimes which predecessor kicked it off gets blurred as time goes on. I Know that by now you are wondering why, I , your Baba(dad)  is addressing  you in a public sphere rather than during  our weekly intimate chit -chat . Rahmat its because I am  finding it difficult to come up with how to share this long family  tradition of story telling, especially  my grand mom’s favorite, ‘the tale of the spider who flew on borrowed wings’ .  

      From the age of 3 all children in my grandmothers care sat in a circle to listen to fables, stories, allegories and what have you from the adults in the family and the night always wraps up with my grand mother’s moral tale of the ‘flying spider’. It is a tale that she use to tell us of the dangers of being greedy,ingratitude and lack of compassionate, that story have been in my family for generations to the extent that some people in my family ‘believed’ that it is a true story.. It goes like this

       Long long long time ago, there was an animal village in a far far far away land , and the citizenry of this village are  from many different animal kingdoms, they came together and created the most thriving  village in the middle of nowhere it was a well knitted and every one knows and like their neighbors. Tigers had coffee with the sheep and her family,Lion cubs play alongside deers , the birds and the spider are friends.. Until one day everything changed. A great famine swept around the world, lakes,rivers and even some believed the ocean dried up.  There was a lot of bush fire out breaks and many kingdoms perished, many animals migrated. In this kingdom where every one get along animals shared food , help each other, they even took in some animals from other kingdoms who were running away from the fires that was burning down their settlements.
        Mother bird and father Bird decided to take a risk and fly to see what was out there, they flew for ours until mother bird who was following her husband, spotted a something that look like a small village, she signal him and he circled and landed on on the tree in the middle of this village. Mother and father bird saw a lot of food all over the place , but there was no living being, so they ate and ate and took some home. They shared it with all their neighbors especially the spider and his family since they share walls with the bird family. This continue for several weeks.
   One day spider requested that the Bird family bring him to where the food is so that he will help them bring more to help the village folks, at first they hesitated  , but spider was persistent and convincing.. The bird family gave spider some feathers and took him to the food land.
    One spider told the bird family he was sick and cannot go to the food land with them. The bird couple went by themselves and to their amazement the village look like any other village, they though they may have lost their way so they kept flying for aways and still didn't come across anything. So they decided to go home and trying again the next day. For three days they will fly for several hours without luck. So they decided to ask Spider if he have any food left over from the past, spider said ‘I am sorry I don't have any food….. 
   The next day father bird woke up a the middle of the night and he saw spider flying out of the village towards the direction of the food village.Father bird went back into his house and woke mother bird and the eight kids, they went into hiding until the morning light started streaking in, then they saw spider flying into the village quietly with a bag full of food carried on his back. The bird family rushed out and asked spider where he get the food from. He confessed that he had been going to the food village by himself and asked for forgiveness, the bird family took their feather back and spider was banished from the village for being greedy and selfish.
        Rahmat, this story have been in my family for generations, I will not be able to share it with the same  bravado my grand mom shared it with my mom and myself,even if grand mom shared it with you , you may not have the same imagination when listening to it like me and my mom did.. You will be missing the wish of being able to fly because you are born in an era where flying is not about being on a borrowed wing like the spider, but being able to do things that you want, being able to be whoever you want to be and having the choice to fly with others in an airplane or a private jets or in an individual capsule as was done recently by Felix Baumgartner
Rahmat and her Baba
  On the contrary , unlike my grand mother and my mother whose only hope for me was to take the moral in that story and figure out how to live in a small complicated world, the world they know. I have a much bigger opportunity, to day dream, hope and believe for many opportunities  to come your way . I envisioned you being the first from my lineage to go to space, fly a real airplane (instead of borrowed wings) I  envision you being the first  female  of color  Governor of  the great State of Maine or even the first female of color to lead this great country.. But all of this will be on you just like  my grand mom and mom hope that I will take the moral message   from the repetitive  story to guide and live my life . I also hope you will take this story and widened your possibilities, get education, be involved with the community that you grow in, reach out to people near and far. Be compassionate, for it doesn't matter how bad your situation may be, there will still be others you can stretch and give . Rahmat, I am human and have my  deficiency, but I am sure by now, you know I am  compassionate and fair to others, please be better than me.
If you chose to be  a politician, use compassion in  dealing with your constituents . Don't make money the center of your policy. 

 If you happened to be  a chef,catering or butchering, please do not throw away your left over food, there is always going to be the next door neighbor who is hungry.
You can also be a teacher or  school administrator,  please make sure you listen to what your students have to say and know that all your students may not have the same abilities.
If being  a cleaner is your choice,  do know that, YOU, and no one else have the privilege to make wherever you clean a healthy environment for all.
I envisioned you being a medical doctor, please treat all with fair, irrespective of how they pay you or what insurance policy  they have.
The ability to misuse bestowed authority and  power is always tempting, if you decide to be a law enforcement  officer,  be the most honest and upright  officer you can be.  Be humane to those that break the law irrespective of  their sexual orientation, skin color, the car they drive or political status
   Being  judge is a blessing, if that is what you calling is, please be the most fair of them all.

  Rahmat I can go on endlessly,  counting all the possibilities that is out there for you just because, you were  born in one of the greatest countries in the world, so I  hope you grow up to be a useful and grateful global citizen irrespective of which path your life or Allah takes you .
Your  loving Baba

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bonded by History Detached by Diversity

   I am a news junkie so I listen to the radio a lot , most of the time you will catch  me with the  dial  in  my car radio  firmly locked on NPR or if I am in the mood and in need to being entertain,I may be listening to the Glenn Beck show on WMPG am radio... a couple of weeks ago two news items caught me by surprised, both of them were race related in one the victim died in the second one the victim lived to tell his story. They are both victims of aggressive behavior base on their race..
  The first and the most tragic of the two is the incident involving Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman, which as at now (time of writing) have the capability of setting our country on yet another race related debates or  riot, in a scale  not  seen  since the time of the OJ Simpson trial or the Rodney king riot..
     The other incident,  is a story I heard on Glenn Beck  and on his website 'The Blaze' involved a 13 year old boy who was set on fire by two  16 year old black teen boys. They doused him with gasoline and lit it and yelled 'this is what you deserved white boy'.   The kids family are traumatized, his 5 year old sister went and asked  her parent if she will be the next to be set on fire?  Violence of this nature is wrong  we need to speak against it. When are we going to treat each order with respect?
   I think its time for us to stop band aiding our race related issues, America needs to confront its race and class issues not during election campaign season, we can have something like what happened in South Africa or in Sierra Leon.. we need to heal our soul, the soul of America.........
     During the  2008  campaign season, I run into an engaging student from a local college volunteering as a foot soldier for the  Obama '08 campaign, I decided to  play  ' The devils advocate'.  the young man asked me if I was a registered voter when I answered in the affirmative, he went on to ask me if I was  ready to vote for then candidate Obama , I responded and said, first 'I am not a Democrat and why are you campaigning for  Obama any way?  The young man then shifted into his 'campaign  mood' without knowing that I was  role 'playing ', his respond,  ' When he (Obama) becomes the president, racism will end'  I asked him how voting Obama to the white house will  suddenly change something that is ingrained  into our psyche as a people , a country bonded together by history and yet detached from one another by diversity, Our country is the most diverse in the history of the world and yet we are not fully celebrating that diversity in the most positive way possible.How I wish these young man was right and that one of my heroes, the late Emperor  Haillie Selassie  of Ethiopia is wrong when in a speech at the UN, he beautifully painted the picture of what the problem of Race and Class, a speech that have more meaning today than ever, below are excepts from the Speech
Until the philosophy which hold one race
Superior and another inferior
Is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned
Everywhere is war, me say war

That until there are no longer first class
And second class citizens of any nation
Until the colour of a man's skin
Is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes
Me say war

That until the basic human rights are equally
Guaranteed to all, without regard to race
Dis a war

That until that day
The dream of lasting peace, world citizenship
Rule of international morality
Will remain in but a fleeting illusion
To be persued, but never attained
Now everywhere is war, war

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What Risk will you take to be the 'Drum-Major' of your time

  Iam always excited about January, not because of the resolution that I cant follow through with, or because its a brand new month, its simply because two of my most adore heroes  the Late  Dr Martin Luther King  a civil rights leader and Mohammed Ali,  a sportsman, activist and philanthropist,  both have their birthdays in this wonderful month. Every year i tried to be involved in something that the  two men  had in common. Since Dr King's Birthday comes is a national holiday I will share
Dr King
  This year I reflected on an audio, I stumbled upon a few days ago, it was a sermon Dr King delivered on February 4 1968 two months before his assassination titled, 'The Drum-Major Instinct' in which Dr King, compared our desire to be different and great,  to the role the  lead drummer (Drum-Major) plays in a marching band. Dr king went on to say that we can use that desire to lead and serve others instead of being selfish.   Dr King risked his life for a cause he believed will change the way things were done, he led and fueled the civil rights movement with powerful inspirational speeches quoted with biblical parodies, that led our country to make very significant changes.
Pious Ali, Judith Abdullah & Rev Kenneth Lewis
   Unfortunately the struggle for a change in health care, homelessness, workers right, education is still around  and dogging us , What are you ready to take a risk for,.  What legend do you want to leave behind after you were dead and gone? how many people are you going to inspire, support, lead or put before yourself? The time to act is now, tomorrow might be too late, get up do something in your community, reach out to some one across the globe, support a cause in your community, Town , City , Synagogue,  Church, Mosque, Temple or on the Internet.  There is a lot of marching bands all over the world waiting for you to be their  (  Drum ~Major)... Be, don't wait for the right time..  this is the right time.

Quote of the day:‎'
  "Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter." ~  Martin Luther King, Jr

“You lose nothing when fighting for a cause ... In my mind the losers are those who don't have a cause they care about.”  Mohammed Ali   

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Where is your faith; Boko Haram

 Dear Boko Haram
   I  know you may not see or read this letter, but I will write it any way.  I do respect the fact that you don't want to acquire western education or in some instances you  selectively accept some aspects of western education that agree with  your interpretation of Islam and junk the ones that you don accept, that is okay too, after all you are entitle to your God or Allah giving right to chose and decide what you wan to eat , drink worship, wear, etc. because you are human.
     I also don't know if you are aware that , all the  civilized countries of the world came together and have something call 'Universal Human Rights' which  derived most of its sources from what we believe is rights giving to us by Allah, like the right to make a choice of who or what we want to worship.  I hope you are with me and know what I am trying to bring to your attention.  You see I don't need to be a clergy to point out some basic flaws in your interpretation of Islam,  what about the Surat , in which the Holy Qur'an made it clear in( Surat Kaffirun)  or Holy Qur'an Chapter 109. on how to peacefully co-exist with the 'ahalun kittab' people of the book or Jews and Christian...
  I know that you claimed to be defending yourselves, come on now, the Christians are not the ones fighting you, if you have any bone to pick, it should be with the federal government..  I hope you will come across this and at least have compassion on the poor Christians you are unleashing your TERROR on, attacking a church on Christmas day and killing innocent people may be a message to your neighbors but it is UN~ISLAMIC may Allah Guide us all. Where is your Iman?  What will you say if your fellow Nigerians who are not Muslims storm a local mosque in Ramadan during Lailatul Qadar and start shooting Innocent women and children? Shame Unto you
   Merry Christmas
      Pious Ali

Monday, December 12, 2011

December blues and the fight over Public Square, Can we share both?

   The month of December means many things to different  people, to some its the end of the year and they have to take stock of the past year and make changes, personal and professional improvements, to others its the time of  annual resolution which  doesn't  go pass the first few weeks of the next month or year.To many faith traditions and cultures it is time to celebrate and worship and give thanks to  what ever they believe in... it's also one of the most controversial times of the year as  Jews, Christians, African Americans, Buddhist, Zoroastrians , pagans  and many others in between  celebrate different religious and holidays across the world, here in the USA where we pride our selves for being the most diverse country ( in the history of the world) culturally and religiously, we are locked in a brawl over who have the right to display their faiths symbols in public square as if that will change or alter the diverse nature of this great country of ours.
       Everyone  knows that some  Americans observe Christmas as a circular holiday, but we also have others who celebrate it as a religious holiday and want it to remain as such, and there are those that don't belong to any of the two groups and are protesting the public display of Christmas images, or the mentioning of Christmas in public school songs, they want to replace that with the words 'holidays' my question is is there a way we can agree to disagree on this issues? is it possible to celebrate the diversity we have in a very solemn way as we go through this controversial month? can we live and let others live, is it possible for our schools to have two versions of every Christmas/Holiday songs, one for those that celebrate and the other for those who don't? and can our city halls have the  traditional, Christmas trees/ wreath / the menorah (Hanukkah) and the candles that represent Kwanzaa, the atheist symbols that represents the celebration of 'Yule',  will that make us all happy? Can we live and let others live.......
Below are the Holidays in December:  2011

December 5    Ashura    (Islam) 

December 8    Bodhi Day (Buddhist)
December 8    Immaculate Conception    (Christian) 
December 21-28    Hannukah    (Jewish)
December 22    Yule    (Pagan/Wiccan)
December 25    Christmas    (Christian)
December 26  Kwanzaa (African Americans)
December 26    Zarothost Diso

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Where are the voices of Reason

   Some times I wonder if we( Humankind) were created to fight each other to destruction.  We are bugged in one too many wars , Iran and Israel are heating up the tension in the Middle East theater after the IAEA issued a news release bout the current situation on Iran's nuke program.
   President Obama met with about 19 Asian Pacific leaders  in Hawaii (minus China), they discuss how to revive the world economy which is good because a lot of families are falling apart as a result of the many economic melt downs across the globe. That was a very big 'strategic' step for the world economy. Then he went to Australia and sign an agreement package which includes  'expanding' our presence in that region by sending 2500 marines in the next few years ,  the Chines don't want that many US Marines Corps  in their neighborhood so they protested. I am wondering what they will do in the next few days.  I am scare of the direction our world is taking,  scare of the unknown,  scare of what will happen to many mothers and children, am angry because there are so many people losing their jobs, homes and cannot put food on their table cannot feed their children, most of them live in shelters, they are homeless. Some  world leaders are busy threatening each other or watching  whiles women and children are are being killed in Syria and other parts of the world. I wonder how and when we will slow down or stop killing each other in the name of Religion, Politics and what have you... I still hope that someday, peace  and Love  will come ...

 Quote of the day:
"The United States is a Pacific power, and we are here to stay."~ President Obama
'"the notion that we fear China is mistaken."~ President Obama

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Moving On,:

  Exactly one year ago, this week I was preparing to go on one   of the most important journeys in my life,  a venture  that brought me to ancient places that I have read in holy books and seen on TV and movies, to places whose stories I have heard over and over since I was a kid, this journey brought me to God's 'Front Doors' I travelled to Jerusalem.   Whiles there I did blogged and took pictures and asked questions, and experience many things, but suddenly I lost the drive to blog or share all the fun and the things I saw. But this morning I have reverse that decision, I am going to blog again. Please bear with me as some of my writings will not be perfect, .. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sunday Nov 14th
    We left Amman and took a cab to the Allenby Bridge crossing. We were praying that its not too busy at the border as it's the weekend to the Eid.(Muslim festival)  we went through immigration and the officer took our passports and asked us to go wait. We waited  and were caught having a very deep conversation around how CHANGE can happen in our world. I think both me and my friend Daniel are idealists, after  almost 45-50 minutes, we became a bit alarmed so we went to the immigration box and asked about our passports and the officer said  ' go and wait' and he went on with his work. It took us almost 15 minutes for someone to explain to us  that they are going to hold on our passports and will give it back to us after we  board the  bus that will bring us to the other side (Israel) of the boarder . Our bus was stopped again and everyone was asked to come down, the security guys did their checks did their work and we went back to continue our Journey.
   When we get to the Israel side of the boarder , there was a long line again due to the Eid festival many people were going to visit families. We join a line that was moving a bit faster than snail pace and eventually arrived at the security check point where we were asked to run our luggage's through a scanner and walk through  the body scanner. Then we handed our passports to the officers who check it out and pass it on. This time around my friend Daniel was questioned about his passport because its old and was issued outside the US. He also have been to many countries in the Middle and far East. so we were joking that the two of us should not be traveling together because we are an odd duo. ME with almost new passport , traveling the first time to the region and Daniel with an old passport issued outside the US and with visa stamps from almost all over the region and beyond. We were thinking that they my be  thinking  'hhmm may be we are 'spies'
   I went through a lot of questions and Daniel was also questioned, eventually we were giving back our passports and said good night. Our ride back home was smooth we were stopped once when were going through the West Bank . We arrived in East Jerusalem and walked back home as we continued with our  idealists agenda on how to save the world and who we were going to collaborate With. We were like  Peace Building 'supermen' in the making.....

Monday, November 22, 2010

PEACEFUL THOUGHTS: Journey to God's Compound: Jerusalem to Jordan(Amm...

PEACEFUL THOUGHTS: Journey to God's Compound: Jerusalem to Jordan(Amm...: " I woke up feeling refreshed and energized, 'whoa' I am supposed to be tired after that long flight. I am like an athlete who is about to co..."

Journey to God's Compound: Jerusalem to Jordan(Amman and Jaresh)

 I woke up feeling refreshed and energized, 'whoa' I am supposed to be tired after that long flight. I am like an athlete who is about to compete in a 100 meter sprint, energize and ready to go. I washed,  had breakfast and started getting ready for a long drive to Amman Jordan for a visit.  Just when  I finished having my breakfast our ride came and we have to leave I was following Daniel ( my friend and  host )as we run down the  stairs. Even though my adrenalin is high my brain seems to still be half asleep from the jet lag as we drive through the streets of Jerusalem and my two friends were showing me what is what  when we came to a rest place with many tourists taking pictures of the beautiful hills whiles others were taking pictures on a 'rented' camel which I also  took a couple.. click:
  We drove for two hours  stop at only one check  point and finally arrived at  the boarder where we have to get a visa and continue our journey to Amman.  We crossed the Israeli side took a bus to the Jordanian side of the border. We answered a couple of questions and since this was the first time crossing through this point , I was photographed and my right hand thumb print was taking, after a couple of standard questions they welcomed me to Jordan and asked me to go. One of the officers asked me if I know Michael Essien ( Ghanaian international soccer star) when he saw from my passport that I was born in Ghana.
a@ the  'Cantaloupe'
  We drove through beautiful mountains ,small towns and villages on these part of Jordan. The people were nice and the food awesome. We spent the evening driving round the city of Amman, whose night life is just like any American or western country's city night life. Rainbow  street is littered with many shops, cafes beautiful restaurants and cocktail bars we spent about 30 minutes in a cocktail bar name Cantaloupe over looking the beautiful Amman night skyline. ...
Sitting on the stars to the temple of Zeus
 We were hosted to a dinner by  Seeds of Peace DL'S and some others from  a couple of local peace and interfaith organizations,  It was a perfect networking diner for us and the locals as well. Still tired from my flight I slept like a baby at the end of the day.
  Our friend  picked us up to the Montessori School where another  friend teaches, we had breakfast and were giving a mini tour of the . School was half day because the next three days is one of Islam's holy-days. ( Eid -Al Adha) Our next stop  to visit in Amman is  Jerash :
   Jerash is an ancient Roman city 48 km. north of Amman.  At one point had 20-25,000 people living there it was inhabited for about 6500 years by the Romans.  I was amazed by the beauty of the ruined old city and the Zeus temple . I kept asking my self, if the Romans knew that someday, their pride will be history and people from all walk of life will come from near and far just to appreciate its beauty and wonder how it was built.. 
Quote of the Day: 
  'Our civilization is now in the transition stage between the age of warring empires and a new age of world unity and peace'.~~ John Boyd Orr

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

jerusalem Chronicles: My Journey and the complex Identity of God's compound

    Located between the dead  sead and the Meditarranean Sea, Jerusalem  is a 'holy City' to the three Abrahamic Faiths (Judaism, Christianity and Islam).. It is a tourist destination for many people of various faiths from all over the world:
           Thursday : Nov 11 20 10
    My flight from Boston's Logan airport  to JFK was about half an hour which was great.  I took the  shuttle to Newark airport. The boarding and departure was on time despite the many layers of securities  at the airport for those of us traveling to Israel.  I slept a couple of hours and  wake up to have dinner after which I watched the  movie Gandhi and went back to sleep again , when I woke up we were two hours away from Ben Gurion int  airport in  Tel Aviv and my heart  started beating faster, so I am finally getting to be here , to see all the holy sites I have been reading about since I was a child and many stories  my many  friends from the region have been telling me. I was excited.. We clapped and cheered as the plane made a safe landing.  My excitement was short lived as I walked out of the plane into the beautiful warm weather of God's Country..
                                                           'PRIVILEGE PASSENGER'
 Friday 11.20.10
 I was the only  passenger who is Black / African Descent or you can say ( person of color) as  officially referred to in America. Those of you that I have shared my airport experiences with, know that I am a 'privilege' passenger, and it didn't take long for the Israel security officials to figure that out, an officer pointed at  me  and asked me to  step  aside for security check whiles showing me his badge.
 ' I am use to this but at least they should have wait for me to streh my legs after  10 hours flight. The first officer asked me for my passport and asked me all sort of questions from my first, last and family names to my grand parents names and my job address. Then handed my passport to another officer who asked me the same questions and also asked me if I have another passport apart from the America one when I asked why should i have another passport?, his response: ' because you were born in Ghana and some people have two passports' and handed my passport to me.
Fastfoward to the passport control 'box'  : I handed my passport to an officer in one of the kiosks and she also drilled me with the same questions in a nice way, much nicer than the guys from the plane gates. She then gave my passport to another officer who asked me to followed him which I did thinking that he was just going to do a body check and let me go since I was having an American Passport, I was wrong...... it took me more than two hours to leave the airport and according to other people, I was lucky.... 
  I went through many interviews by about six different immigration officers asking me the same questions over and over and over again., they called my friends to verified if they were expecting me. The whole process was very intimidating and stressful. The last officer that interviewed me was  a sweet lady, she was very respectful as she asked two additional questions: Are you a  Muslim and  do have  any kids, what are their names? I answered and she made a last phone call to the friend who was picking me up and asked me to go  wait for her . She came out a couple of minutes later and handed me my passport as she welcomed me to Israel.  I was picked up by  my friend Daniel and his friend. We drove to an open outdoor  market  call  Mahne Yehuda in down town Jerusalem  the market was busy Shabbat. We visited a young family for me to have diner and also see how the Shabbat  is observed. .  The street of the neighborhood the (Bak' a ) was empty as people wish each other Shabbat Shalom, its the Jewish observing of the sabbath  I have already falling in love with the city of Prophets David, Solomon and Jesus.

 Quote of the Day:
 Holy Quran chapter 7:verse 1
'Glory to ((Allah)) Who did take His servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque (Mecca)to the farthest Mosque(Jerusalem), whose precincts We did bless,- in order that We might show him some of Our Signs: for He is the One Who heareth and seeth (all things).