Analyzing Political Undertones in Pop Culture Through Art


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There is generally speaking a list of artistic works that, despite their aesthetic greatness, are either historically misrepresentative & inaccurate or merely biased in context and coverage.

Some do justice, some don’t. Perception all depends on which angle you look at the subject. I wish for justice for all, but we must recognize, expose & bring to justice those distinct forces which cause & instigate violent political crime.

Munich, Waltz with Bashir, & Exodus, viewed as biased & racist. Black & Arab culture, disenfranchised, used, exploited, hung & dried.

A more accurate depiction of reality in the Middle East in Palestinian film Paradise Now.

Another, more realistic representation of the ME in a scene from Syriana, which features George Clooney & Matt Damon.

How Hollywood & all of western media distorts reality through film & other mediums of mass mainstream expression.

This rather, light film depicts the similarities, and differences, between the Arab & Israeli people. But recognition of Israel implies two things: treachery to the Arab cause; abandoning the human rights of the Palestinian nation.

Is it unfair for the international community to suggest that the Jews are fine without a state called Israel? The difference between the need for an Armenian state, for example, versus a Jewish one, is that the former is completely ethnic-based while the latter is a hybrid of religion, culture and language. This makes it difficult to place importance on the need for a Jewish state while ignoring Palestinian self-determination.

Individuals like Helen Thomas get blacklisted for making comments such as those in the video below:

If there is a moral arc of the universe, it bends in favor of the Westerner & the lighter-skinned.

A Request for President Obama & the Democrats


Obama Says No Negotiations Until Debt Ceiling, Funding Settled

Recognize the Armenian Genocide. Grant amnesty to refugees. International repercussions, implications and issues of national boundary.

Recognize the Palestinian Genocide & end the occupation. Grant right of return. Allow Jews to remain. Encourage initiative to fight anti-semitism globally.

Relinquish ties with State of Israel.

Relinquish ties with Saudi Arabia.

Rehabilitate relationship with Iran. Establish fair oil agreement as alternative to Gulf oil. Weaken monarchism & fundamentalism in the region thereby ushering in necessary reform/change to status quo.

Expose the forces of the right-wing ideologues in all countries, as hypocritical exclusivists, war-mongers & fascists with ties to terrorism & corruption in religious institutions.

Issue significantly high tax on 1%; pump credit into lower and middle classes to create opportunities for self-investment. A limit, thereby granting opportunity and preventing abuse. The propaganda against mixed economics is extreme and irrational. I would argue that the conservative agenda, which is to horde resources, is actually politically communist, if measured along the lines of ‘control’ by the state.

Grant all American minorities, especially African-Americans, re-enfranchisement into the socio-economic scene through affirmative action. Stretch this form of amnesty to other minorities, including Latino-Americans, Armenian-Americans, etc — the voices that are disenfranchised from representation and accessibility to sustenance.

Grant amnesty and normalization of status for all immigrants in the US.

Review all criminal cases which have falsely incarcerated or have exaggerated sentences for criminals, especially minorities, which have been profiled, type-casted, and have been victims of racism, police brutality and government abuse.

Reform the justice and security enforcement systems of the US, beginning by addressing a lack of representation based on racial affiliation.

Pass laws which prohibit the broadcasting of overtly incorrect material which slanders various entities and incites violent hatred. This includes Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, etc, all who have profited off racism, hate and the encouragement of religious fascism.

Legalize marijuana. Completely. Government regulations are encouraged, as long as it does not disturb market and free-flow.

Reestablish the legitimacy of the United Nations by reaffirming its authority on global affairs. This requires rehabilitation of relationship with China, Russia, India, Iran, Brazil & South America.

Encourage mixed-economics in foreign countries that guarantee individual rights without compromising cultural values and traditions.

End apartheid globally.

Expose ties between Republican Party and foreign criminals; terrorists; dictators. End funneling of money to criminal entities.

All of these actions, manifested into legislation, would immensely improve America’s status domestically and internationally.

Democracy?


Marble statue of  the ancient greek philosopher Plato. Image shot 03/2009. Exact date unknown.

As a deist who recognizes the existence of an eternal Supreme deity, I take issue with the reality that much spirituality and religion is held hostage to the dogmas of compulsion, strict adherence & fanaticism. While not all religions espouse this, as an Arab-Armenian, I am forced to witness the consequences of religious fanaticism everyday.

The so-called ‘Arab Spring’ which was apparently intended to usher in democracy into the Middle East proved to produce negative results. In Egypt the fanaticism of the Muslim Brotherhood took hold. The majority in this case was not tolerant of social liberalism and therein caused a religious mess. A military coup followed resulting in the restoration of the non-democratic tradition of Middle Eastern political culture.

But to suggest that democracy is a perfect concept is not only irrational — it is by definition, un-American. In today’s world, the so-called global police of all democracies, isn’t even, by definition, a democracy. America is a federal republic. The founding fathers often held democracy in disdain because it allowed for the possibility of instability.

The idea that democracy is an end would suggest that it is universal, absolute & self-sufficient. But just as China’s shift from robust communism to mixed economics proved the inefficiency & inhumane nature of adherence to absolute communism, so to has the US, since FDR really, drifted further away from robust democratic-capitalism to leftist-inspired mixed economics. Never has the US, or any major western hegemony for that matter, exhibited a state of pure democracy, precisely because of the power and influence of religious fundamentalism on the political process and on society altogether.

Is Democracy just?

It is rationalism which manifested the philosophy of democracy, the idea that the majority should rule and that order would ensue. But choice is an enigma, as is human nature, and reducing humanity to statistics results in collective totalitarianism. Who is to say that the majority of human beings would choose what is right or moral? The assumption that numbers do the talking may work for basic creatures of animalistic instinct but the complexity of human nature requires that we consider the possibility that individual rights, self-reliance, experience & self-determination are often compromised by democracy and ensuing collective ideological movements.

Are there limits to how much democracy should be exhibited?

If the majority of a country consistently elects leaders who legislate unjust policies, doesn’t this suggest a flaw in relying strictly on majoritarian politics? Is majoritarian democracy the problem? Switzerland exhibits what is called proportional-representation; that way minority groups aren’t disenfranchised from the conversation of representation. In the US however it seems democracy has been a tool in rallying support for non-democratic policies, from tax breaks for the 1% to full-fledged arbitrary invasions of foreign countries.

What is holding America hostage is the elitist mentality of the 1%. But does democracy encourage this? The free market exists, but is it stifled by elitism & industrial monopoly?

There is an association between free markets and democracy, what we call here in the West, democratic-capitalism. How much do these values really ensure individual & collective rights?

Realistically I would argue that every nation will realize its need for mixed economics in order for survival. Empires which have relied on dogmatic-ideologies have eventually run themselves dry, from ancient pagan empires to modern twentieth-century totalitarianism.

So perhaps the problem in the international community is not the absence of democracy or republicanism but rather an absence of ‘moderate’ forces which do not threaten national sovereignty and do not enable colonialism.

The Democratic Index of 2012 compiled by the Economic Intelligence Unit lists the US 21st on the list. Israel, supposedly the Middle East’s only democracy, is not included. This isn’t to suggest that these countries are not democracies, but rather, that the level of democratic rights which are instituted are relatively low compared to the ideal of democratic representation.

Poverty and ego are the main causes of ideological fundamentalism. The solution to the Middle East is not democracy. It is the opposite. It is the end of foreign dogma in the region. Neither democracy, capitalism, communism or Islam are going to solve the socio-economic crises of the Middle East; and in reality, the push for democracy by the West during the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ had neither democratic values nor the interests of the Middle Eastern people in mind, but rather, another pseudo-revolution aimed at distracting the world from the behind-the-scenes oil-for-weapons trades going on.

Measuring a country’s morality or integrity based on its level of democracy is one thing; but to suggest that a country IS NOT A DEMOCRACY, is foolish — because no country ever has or currently exhibits pure democracy. The idea that the majority is infallible is foolish and arrogant. Furthermore, the idea that West understands more than the East what constitutes an acceptable level of democracy is self-righteous and hypocritical, given statistical data from the Economic Intelligence Unit which suggests that democratic values are not upheld completely by any western hegemony.

That brings me to Israel. It was, on the contrary, included on the list of flawed democracies, with India, Brazil, Russia & Argentina beside it.

Israel claims to be “A” democracy. It couldn’t be further from the truth on two notes: firstly, that no country has ever exhibited absolute democracy; and secondly, in that it is a ethno-religious entity…by nature it cannot be egalitarian. Furthermore, Israel represents a minority in the Middle East. Still, it maintains close ties with dictatorial regimes in order to ensure its control over the media, because facts are on the side of the Arabs, which show that the Arab & Muslim world are completely disenfranchised from the conversation of justice and values of democracy. Israel is not infallible; it is not secular; it is not egalitarian; and it is essentially a product of classic gerrymandering. Israel, like the Republican Party in the US, is perpetually in a race against time, desperate for occupation, constantly propagating dogma & hypocrisy.

The self-righteous attitudes of Republicans, pro-Israelis & neo-conservatives only exposes their hypocrisy. They rely on forces of religious fundamentalism, usury & imperialism in order to protect themselves from criticism and being brought to justice.

Whether democracy is the moral or best form of government, I cannot say for sure. I will say however, that if by democracy we mean the assurance of human rights, I am not exactly sure how well the US fares in that regard; neither the US, nor any of its supposedly democratic allies.

I recently came across a comment by a pro-Israeli which read that Palestine was a roman creation. So too, was Israel. The idea that the Roman Empire & the Jewish Kingdom were never in agreement is at odds with history. Furthermore, was it not the pagan emperor Darius & the following Persian emperors who helped rebuild the Second Temple? The ties between Israel, imperialism & global empires goes back quite far. Today, instead of Rome we’ve got the UK & the US. Quite appropriate, given the greco-roman cultural foundations of both societies. Perhaps this is what Nietzsche was referring to when he mentioned the political order of the Judeo-Christian monopolization of monotheism & socio-economics. Before we deem critics of western society as atheists or fanatics, let us apply the same criticalness to ourselves. How moral are we, really, America?

Communism, fascism, democracy, republicanism, ultra-nationalism, theocracy all serve the agenda of Imperialism and work coercively against national sovereignty and human rights. An article recently published by Business Insider received insight on Middle East politics through the eyes of an Arab billionaire who requested that his identity remain anonymous to protect his name and family from danger. In the article, he made many interesting points, one of which caught my eye the most. The following is a quote from the article:

Israel doesn’t want peace because Russian immigrants have taken over its political system and moved it rightward.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/an-interview-with-an-arab-billionaire-2015-2#ixzz3RxpZsE00

This shows the close association between the state of Israel and imperialism. The vast immigration of Russian jews to the Middle East largely makes up the majority of Israel’s population. Imperialism & elitism have a longstanding tradition in Russian history. It was the Bolshevik communist revolution which brought the tradition to a sudden halt, thereby pinning Russia and the USSR against the West in a global conflict for the balance of power in a bi-polar stand-off called the Cold War, which lasted nearly half a century. Israel was largely the product of an agreement between various imperial forces. The Bolshevik revolution, like the Nazi movement, appeared to have been anti-semitic and violently hostile to Judaism on the surface; but in reality, both of these forces served as catalysts for the creation of Israel in 1948.

The point here is that Israel’s history and its policies are reflective of its practically absent democratic attributes. In the 21st century it is looking more and more like the apartheid regime which ruled South Africa from 1948 (the irony) till the end of the millennium.

The engine of industrialization and capitalism is often understood as freedom and individual innovation, but never as a product of government nepotism and imperial exploitation versus genuine free trade. Israel & Saudi Arabia are products of this reality. It is not the free-market culture but rather the culture of American Exceptionalism which has contributed to the successes of Zionism & global imperialism.

I would argue that free-markets and capitalism are completely different and in fact mutually antithetical. Capitalism is an attitude of supremacy, where as free markets are a philosophy of openness, self-reliance and innovation. Capitalism requires forced labor, slavery, ownership of natural resources, and enables oligarchy. Imperialism is an extension of capitalism, both of which are rooted deeply in white supremacy, orientalism and colonial exploitation.

The reveals the culpability of Israel and western neo-cons in the occupation of palestine and the propagation of nazi-esque white supremacy. It is this culture of racism which is responsible for the trans-atlantic slave system which practically built the United States. It is this culture of racism which enslaved South Africa, and continues to oppress Palestinians. It is this racism which ethnically cleansed the Armenians in a still unrecognized genocide by the Turkish government in the early twentieth century, paving the way for future genocides to be unheard of.

Guess Who?


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They rushed him. Threw a black bag over his head. His cigarette was left burning on the brick plaza floor.

Hours later his eyes open. The abducted gentleman has regained consciousness.

He can barely make out what he sees.

It looks like three men, all dressed in black garb.

One of them men was clearly saying something. Loud. He was shouting in a foreign language. It wasn’t something he could recognize.

The man continued shouting, as if making demands.

“He will not understand you better if you raise your voice,” one the others suddenly said in english, while chuckling.

At that moment the three men exited the room. There were no windows. The steel door slammed shut. The abducted gentleman was left alone. The bruises on his face and his fatigue knocked him back into a trance.

It wasn’t long after until one of the men returned. This time he was dressed normally. Formally, actually, in suit and tie. The abducted man was awake, and quickly realized the man before him looked nothing as he did before.

“Where am I?” shouted the abducted man?

“Speak when you are spoken to,” ordered the captive’s watcher. “Now tell me. It seems you are an avid writer and journalist on the internet.”

At this point, the abducted man, chained to his chair, began to realize what exactly might be going on. Still, he had no idea in whose hands he was in, why and where.

“Now you see. You can walk out of here and healthy man. As if nothing ever happened, under one condition.”

“Who are you?”

“SILENCE!”

A few moments passed as the two men gazed at each other in the cold steel vault without a blink.

“We want you to stop writing about specific issues related to our interests, specifically about politics in the Middle East.”

“Are you a terrorist? This is against my rights. Are you an American?”

“We would like for you to end your activism regarding the rights of the Palestinians as it is threatening American & British interests in the region. If you do not comply, we will do everything in our efforts to completely disenfranchise you from society; deem you an maniac; broadcast your image across all US media as a terrorist & dangerous criminal. All of course, if you do not abide by our simple request.”

“What of the Arabs? What of the rights of the Palestinians? The world can be at peace without its occupation.”

“Sir, we have endured trials for centuries. We were persecuted, disenfranchised and murdered by the millions. We have no home. We are hated everywhere. We have America & Russia by the balls. We have the muslim world by the neck. Stop your propaganda.”

The End.

Remembering Anthony Shadid (1968-2012)


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On September 1st, 2011, late journalist & NYT foreign correspondent Anthony Shadid came to speak to UCF students about his recent escapades in the Middle East, namely his most recent experiences in Libya, where Shadid recalled being taken hostage with two other associates for three days.

I am grateful to say I had the opportunity to sit in on his speech. I was even able to meet with Shadid shortly after his speech during which I introduced myself. He was quick to smile with news that I am Syrian. I purchased his most recent book, Night Draws Near, in which he left me a little note, perhaps a little naive in hindsight, or just rashly hopeful as all Arabs tend to be. “See you in Damascus,” he uttered.

Anthony Shadid reminded me what it means to be an Arab, aside from the ordinary customs, our cuisine, language music and traditions. Anthony Shadid reminded me that at the heart of being Arab is the nature of resilience; our ability to laugh and chuckle even amidst the darkest of chaos. I vaguely remember a story told to me by close friend of mine, a Palestinian political activist from Ramallah, Tami Rafidi. Rafidi, whose husband was taken captive by Israeli forces never to be returned, embodied this resilience. Despite her frustrations; anger & suffering, Rafidi recalled memories of running wildly along the rugged Palestinian terrain dodging Israel fire while laughing, telling jokes & drinking the famous Arab liquor – ‘arak’.

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In 2006, when Israel began bombing Hezbollah sites in Lebanon, the Lebanese people were seeking refuge by day; clubbing relentlessly by night. Despite all the misery and control, the Arabs found a way; an outlet.

It is Tami’s resilience, the resilience of the Lebanese people, which echoed the sentiments of Anthony Shadid, who did not stop short of asserting during his speech: “At the heart of the Arab struggle is Palestine, a very dear subject for the Arab & Muslim world. This cannot be understated.”

I admire this man for his courage and resolve.

In 2012, during a trip to Syria where he was capturing stories about the ensuing conflict in the region, Shadid suffered what appeared to be a asthma attack. Shortly after Shadid passed. I was shocked by the news. Without any history of medical complications except for minor sensitivities to allergens, Shadid was not on course for any type of health issues.

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I remember having met his daughter at the time of his speech. She was quite young, very polite & beautiful. My prayers and thanks are with her, wherever she may be, for having had such an amazing man as a father. My dream is to honor his legacy and the struggle of the Arab people all over the world, which he represented so well.

I did not want to go into any details or elaborate on the possibility of foul-play regarding Shadid’s death, out of respect for him & his family. I will add, however that with regards to the Middle East, there is without a doubt an unrelenting fear among journalists, dissidents or activists of any sort, of persecution for propagating legitimate news, especially if it poses a threat to the interests of particular political actors. His bodies of work, including the aforementioned book, shows no restraint in exposing the consequences of the US government’s disastrous policies which would usher in violent instability & chaos that has yet to conclude, even a decade after the US initiated the invasion.

I pray that in the case of Shadid, his passing was a matter of fate and nature. Nonetheless, his legacy remains & the struggle for Arab dignity continues.

RIP Anthony Shadid. Thank you. May the children of Iraq see justice one day. Long live the Arab struggle for freedom & may Palestine one day be free!

Faux-News: Balancing News Coverage in the US Media-Mainstream


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The reason why most immigrants to the US are less inclined to believe lies on US media channels is because they have more experience in the outer world.

That is why when US media outlets inflame the crimes of violent groups like al Qaeda and ISIS, it almost makes us laugh because in our eyes, we know that none of these groups are Islamic and that the real perpetrators are in fact some of America’s closest allies, like Saudi Arabia & Israel. The problem is the US has much at stake, economically and in its reputation. American politicians & corporate execs are involved.

That is why when the Daily Beast posts headlines about the crucifixion of babies by ISIS, it upsets me because this in fact serves ISIS’ goal of garnering attention and slandering Islam.

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Article link here: http://thebea.st/1CZQRv8

Why don’t CNN, Fox, MSNBC, CBS, Daily Beast, or even Al Jazeera America broadcast the international crimes committed by the apartheid state of Israel on a daily basis? Where are the journalists and the news broadcasts and the full fledged reports about the causes of income-inequality inside and outside America? Instead all we hear about is the dangers of “Islamic terror”, the urgency of blind, self-righteous American patriotism and unquestionable support for indiscriminate international security measures. Instead, we get stories about Iggy Azalea and Suge Knight. Instead we get headlines titled Je Suis Charlie.

Well Je Suis Ahmed Merabet. Je Suis Mike Brown. Je Suis Shaimaa el-Sabbagh. Je Suis Eric Garner. Je Suis Rachel Corrie. Je Suis Mohammed Abu Khdeir.

The forces of imperialism currently being incited right now to destabilize universal concepts of national sovereignty, international peace and cooperation are the following: Zionism, Wahhabism, Communism, Anarcho-Capitalism, Libertarianism, Turkish Fascism & Ottoman Expansionism, White Supremacy.

We need fair coverage of world events in the US. Europe isn’t as bad as I’ve heard from peers, friends and family. But considering the US is the most influential country on the planet, for better and/or worse, it is urgent that we get a fair display of what is going on in the world here on American soil. It is hard enough for us political scientists who aren’t willing to compromise truth for the sake of riches to maintain our sanity let alone survive because the American economy isn’t very friendly to critics of its own politics. There isn’t anything un-American about it; though those in power might have you believe it does. In reality its just a group of Americans who benefit off media-bias, unfair coverage & imbalanced lobbying. It is of no coincidence that this group is likely white. Just afraid of a little competition…

The twentieth century allotted much of the global policing responsibility of the world to America. But just as England, Spain, Rome, and nearly all of history’s global empires overreached, so to has America; and the 21st century is finally time for the US to turn it down a notch. Protecting the world from extremism has turned into an impetus for exploitation.

While communism and extreme statist policies were viewed as the enemy of global stability; the 21st century has ushered in a new force of evil; anarchical capitalism. The King of Morocco once said, “capitalism and communism are two sides of the same coin.” I agree. Being a mixed economist myself, I have relinquished any desire to associate myself objectively with any particular ideology. This highlights the dynamic of the Vietnam War per se during which the US viewed Communism as a global threat therein being blinded by its own imperial ambitions. The same is true for Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion; the product of that debacle was the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, the Taliban and al Qaeda led by Osama bin Laden himself with close ties to the Saudi monarchy.

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The problem is there is large disconnect between the US government, Big Banks, and the American people, exacerbated by a culture and tradition of self-righteous Republicanism. Why Americans Hate Welfare, by Martin Gilens, shows how failure on behalf of the media to accurately and fairly portray the socio-economic realities within the US not only leaves the issue of economic inequality unaddressed but largely perpetuates the misery of the impoverished classes by distorting their image and the root causes of their suffering to begin with. This same principle ought to be applied to US coverage of foreign affairs which leaves various groups and communities like Arabs, Armenians, Africans, Palestinians and Native-Americans disenfranchised altogether; without a voice.

I believe only through democratic collective initiatives and progressive movements can we put pressure on politicians and the media to address public concerns. Let us honor the legacies of our predecessors like Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr. who strove to balance the rights of all men in this world by fighting and protesting peacefully until our voices are heard.

Re-Mixed Economics


To understand America’s race problem, it’s foreign policy problem — TO MAKE SENSE OF ANY of America’s imperfections, one mustn’t overlook perhaps the crux of the entire system’s mishaps altogether: Socio-economics.

When Iggy Azalea recently sounded off on twitter fellow Hip-Hoppers Azealia Banks & Lupe Fiasco got involved. But what caught my attention was Q-Tip’s response, riddled with Marcus Garvey-esque jargon that simply could not escape my attention.

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The irony is that anarcho-capitalists, in the words of political philosopher Noam Chomsky, libertarians & conservatives alike love to tout capitalism & free market values…but the irony is most of these lobbies & parties are run by individuals who inherited oil-conglomerates, natural gas-conglomerates, & other exploitative & unbalanced business assets.

What kind of self-respect, self-reliance and sense of free market is exhibited here? The capitalist is essentially an insecure business man hungry for power; instead of looking inward at his own merits, he seeks to reap the wealth of the merits of others…even the merits of God by taking ownership of raw materials….

In essence, when practiced, capitalism is exactly the same as communism; focusing all natural wealth at the top, enslaving the majority, & using propaganda to mislead, brainwash & control the masses; suppressing them from even ‘thinking’ they have a chance as socio-economic & political salvation.

Perhaps this is why the United States has never exhibited theoretical capitalism & also why it has drifted closer towards the philosophy of Mixed Economics over the past decade; realizing the inherent flaws behind ‘free-market’ fundamentalism. Perhaps it is also why China drifted further from the extreme left of communism and closer to the center; relinquishing itself from the dogma of all-state-controlled business & political apparatuses. Neither has made a full transition yet; it is difficult to shed the skin of their dogmatic histories. The same is true forRussia.

What is democratic-socialism? How does it differ from capitalism & communism?

In essence democratic-socialism is another name for mixed economics. It is not a pseudo-individualist philosophy, like libertarianism, but rather, places emphasis on individual innovation & places ownership & maintenance of natural-resource-based businesses such as oil, gas, food, water under the auspices of a DEMOCRATICALLY-ELECTED government. While I do think nationalization is an option in some cases, kind of like what Obama did when AIG tanked; I believe we need an unprecedently high tax on the 1% so as to rebalance the economy. This way, all individuals are guaranteed basic human rights & amenities while focusing their time & resources on individual innovation & economic empowerment.

So as Q-Tip explained in his fair warning to Iggy regarding the white community’s place in hip-hop, it is important to understand that this culture emerged as a socio-economic struggle; a response to American negligence & suppression. Before we can overcome issues like race, we must tackle the source of the problem, which is as much caused by hate-filled ideology as it is perpetuated by socio-economic disenfranchisement.

The greatest obstacles to these types of reforms remain largely in the hands of people like the Koch Brothers, AIPAC & every oil, gas & big bank lobbyist. The people must know who they are up against. Our democracy is threatened by a global sense of entitlement & power. Let us fight till the end!