KKK Burns Black Woman Alive

kkk-member-wearing-hood.jpg

SHREVEPORT, Louisiana – The Western media often portrays terrorists and extremists as a unique manifestation of Islam and the cultural clash between modernity and religion that is occurring throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia.

However, less vigorously reported, but no less prevalent, is the increase of hate crimes in the United States.

Most recently, a group which was thought to have perished in ignominy has once again exhibited its extreme hatred of African-Americans, perhaps as a result of the United States’ 2012 Presidential election.

There are some in America who are virulently opposed to President Barack Obama not as a consequence of political, economic, or social differences, but simply because he is a man of color who had the ‘temerity’ to think that he could be President of the United States.

This type of xenophobia and hatred was regularly displayed post-9/11 when many Sikh men, who are not Muslim and wear turbans, were targeted and in some instances killed because their assailants thought they were Arab.

On Sunday, 21 October 2012, a young black woman by the name of Sharmeka Moffitt, 20, alleged that members of an American hate group called the Ku Klux Klan attacked her while taking a walk in a park in Winnsboro, Louisiana. According to her statement, she was attacked by three men wearing hoods who then doused her with a flammable liquid and ignited it. She is listed in critical condition.

Thanks to one of our readers, we have been informed that Ms. Moffitt now admits that she made up the story in an apparent attempt to obfuscate the circumstances surrounding her burning which was the result of a failed suicide attempt.

However, the reason this story resonated with so many people, including me, is the fact that the 2012 U.S. election cycle has provided ample opportunity for members of the 'far right' and 'white supremacist' like the man wearing the tee-shirt above, to espouse their views openly in various media outlets without fear of sanction or reprisal.

These bad deeds in no way justify Ms. Moffitt's actions, but the fact remains that racism, sexism, religious intolerance, and homophobia are on the rise in this country. Thus, even the spectre of the Ku Klux Klan evokes an immediate deep-seated visceral response in even the most reasonable people.

For Americans, the KKK is a dirty secret, a racist group that terrorized and killed thousands of African-Americans because members of this organization espoused white supremacy. In 2008, Americans hoped that this painful era of our history was successfully banished with the election of the first African-American President, in 2012 sentiment has proven otherwise.

"The Ku Klux Klan is the name of three distinct past and present far-right organizations in the United States, which have advocated extremist reactionary currents such as white supremacy, white nationalism, and anti-immigration, historically expressed through terrorism. Since the mid-20th century, the KKK has also been anti-communist.

The current manifestation is splintered into several chapters with no connections between each other; it is classified as a hate group by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center. It is estimated to have between 3,000 and 5,000 members as of 2012." (Source: Wikipedia)

Ms. Moffitt has become the unfortunate symbol of the ascendance of racism in America. At a time when America hoped to present itself and view itself as a nation of equality and 'post-racialism,' the rancor and hatred exhibited in the 2012 election serves as a stark reminder that racism and other areas of discrimination are resurgent.

American terrorist groups like the KKK should be added to the list of international extremist groups like Al-Qaeda or the Taliban, and as such, should be vigorously pursued, targeted, and eliminated for the good of all.

Follow Nahmias Cipher Report on Twitter   Twitter: @nahmias_report   Editor-in-Chief: @ayannanahmias

Frida Kahlo | The Thorned Princess

Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 01:43 AM EDT, 18 May 2011

"I paint myself because I am often alone and I am the subject I know best." - Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo, Self-PortraitMEXICO - Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo are two painters who lived extraordinary lives defying conventional standards of conduct and mores of their day.  Frida was born on July 6, 1907 and died on July 13, 1954 after a long and protracted illness.

Although Frida did not consider herself a surrealist painter, her paintings portray otherwise.  Within the universe of her canvases she depicts her emotional and physical pain with exquisite poignancy. Even someone with a cursory knowledge of surrealism can easily decipher the objects of her derision and disgust.

Her physical pain was the result of a trolley accident in which she suffered serious injuries, including a broken spinal column, a broken collarbone, broken ribs, a broken pelvis, eleven fractures in her right leg, a crushed and dislocated right foot, and a dislocated shoulder. Also, an iron handrail pierced her abdomen and her uterus, which seriously damaged her reproductive ability." (Source: Wikipedia)

As a result, by 1944 Frida's health had deteriorated to such an extent that she had to wear a steel corset Broken Column, 1944for several months.  The straps of the corset held her spine in place but its rigidity left her unable to move and only able to stand upright or lie supine.

The portrait to the left depicts her damaged spine. The nails piercing her face and body represent the physical pain she has endured since her accident. The larger nail piercing her heart represents the emotional pain caused by Diego.

Her relationship with the famed Diego Rivera was renown for its volatility, dramatic arguments and public altercations. Diego had a larger than life personality and was of immense stature and girth.  He was also a philanderer.

Diego's infidelity caused Frida immense suffering.  In response Frida would often engage in extra-marital affairs during their many separations. One of her more famous relationship was with the famed dancer and performer  Josephine Baker.  Frida's inability to completely sever her relationship with Diego Rivera is in my observation symptomatic of an abused woman.

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Published: 18 May 2012 (Page 2 of 2)

Steven Stosny, a counselor and the founder of CompassionPower, an anger and violence management program which treats people convicted of abuse in the home call this cycle a "pendulum of pain."  Although Frida and Diego's relationship was emotionally abusive  and not physically, it none the less followed the same pattern.

Abuse victims will "leave out of either feThe Two Fridas Kahloar, anger or resentment," Stosny said. "But then, after the fear, anger or resentment begins to subside, they feel guilt, shame, anxiety, and that takes them back."

After a violent incident, there is often a "honeymoon period" during which the abuser may apologize profusely, give the victim gifts and persuade the victim to stay, experts say. But when that period is over, the abuser may once again reoffend. " (Source: CNN)

All of these complexities can serve as a distraction from her talent or can augment and flesh out the breadth of her humanity and her struggle to define herself in the patriarchal society into which she was born; and the male dominated field of painting which she chose as a career.  We shall never know but the 2002 biopic goes a long way toward illuminating her struggles.

The eponymous film Frida, directed by Julie Taymor, in which Salma Hayek portrayed the artist with Alfred Molina playing Diego is based on Hayden Herrera's book. The film grossed $58 million worldwide and worth seeing to get a full picture of the nuances of this complicated woman's extraordinary life.

Watch the official trailer of the film "Frida." (Click here to view)

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Combating Racism Against Africans

Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-Chief

Last Modified: 00:52 a.m. EDT, 27 September 2010

UNITED STATES - My son was 10 years old the first time I had to have the talk about "race" and "racism." This was when he began to feel different and although he couldn't articulate it, he had already embarked upon the nuanced journey of life as a person of color, albeit biracial.

Specifically, we have had several discussions about Africa and African people. He understood that I had grown up in Africa and that I was 'brown,' but he couldn't comprehend why he was fair and had straight hair. So he chose to identify as 'white' which was at odds with how his Caucasian classmates viewed him. At that time he attended a strict religious school with a homogeneous population. It was very difficult for him because of the isolation and ostracization he experienced.

One day my son came home in tears because the children teased him when he told them his mother had grown up in Africa. It was particularly disturbing to me when my son recounted what the children in his school said about Africans and the cuisine I cooked. I recognized in large part these children were only repeating what they heard at home since children are intrinsically innocent, and must be taught to hate, disparage, and disrespect. It is the responsibility of the parents to train them otherwise.

Sometimes we think our children don't listen to us, and if they do hear, that they won't act upon what we teach them.  However, in this instant, my son obviously heeded my admonition and forcefully told these children that they could not make fun of Africa or his mother.

I was and continue to be proud of him, and how he had the courage to follow my instructions to never let anyone put Africa or Africans down. I told him that though he is biracial German, his heritage is also African, and that all life on earth started in Africa. I emphasized that he needs to be proud of his African heritage, and that his grandfather, my father,  lives in Harare which is a major city in Zimbabwe, Africa.

At the time when my son told me what happened, I was angry that racism remained perniciously prevalent in America.  I was incensed that my son had to experience it at such a young age. That is when I decided that it was important for me to expose him to Africa, if not in person, then through the next best medium of video. I wanted to communicate to him the importance of becoming a global citizen because xenophobia is bred from fear and lack of exposure.  I searched a long time for something that I could show my son to communicate the modernity of Africa.  Luckily, someone who is a follower of the blog sent me a link to this video.

It is a generally accepted fact that genetically human beings are 99.9% identical. "When researchers completed the final analysis of the Human Genome Project in April 2003, they confirmed that the 3 billion base pairs of genetic letters in humans were 99.9% identical in every person. It also meant that individuals, are on average, 0.1 percent different genetically from every other person on the planet." (Source: National Human Genome Research Institute, NIH)

My son, a science buff, understood this much more easily than my telling him that we are all the same. What he couldn't understand was much more personal.  He wanted to know why the food I prepared for him was vastly different than what the other children in his class ate.  I explained to him that we eat organic foods, but also that some Europeans preferred diets rich in dairy, sugar, very little spice. By contrast, I cooked the food that I grew up eating which is very spicy foods made from fresh, organic vegetables and legumes.

I will address the moniker of organic vs non-organic and GMO in another post, but for the purposes of explaining the type of foods I prepare for my son, I take great pride and care in cooking fresh food for him everyday. So, when he came home with his Sambusas (which in other parts of the world are called Samosas) in the bottom of his backpack I was concerned. Then when his teacher told me that my son was hungry at school because he had no food, I was understandably chagrined.

I asked him why he wasn't eating his food, and he told me "because the other children say that my food stinks like Africans." That conversation then apparently segued into a discussion about how Africans live, and more stereotypes were presented about Africans as fact.

I remember when I came back from Tanzania, East Africa in 1979, I vividly recalled some of the ignorant assumptions that children had then about Africa.  If one more child asked me about "lions running down the middle of the street, naked women with their breasts exposed, cannibalism, or what it was like to live in the jungle", I might have screamed.  But to hear my son repeat such comments nearly 30 years later, was unfathomable.

I never thought I would see a person of color elected to the highest office in America in my lifetime. Yet, in 2008, a biracial African-American, the son of an African Kenyan father and a Caucasian American mother, was elected as the President of the United States.

There are any number of characteristics and reasons why President Barak Obama is one of the most famous persons alive today; but most transformative for me is his African heritage, and the fact that his election at this time in history, changed the paradigm for all children. Especially, for my son who views President Obama as a hero and someone who looks like him.

Though at seven, my son was more interested in competing in the Olympics as an equestrian, or playing Polo, or growing up to be scientist who builds space ships, robots, and rockets, for him the question of ever being President of the United States is but one more option in a panoply of choices.

President Obama, through his life, his family, and his leadership, is demonstrating that we do not have to dwell in the realm of pigmentation, but should elevate ourselves to the heights of our intelligence. I am not naive nor idealistic enough to think that his election would eradicate racism in this country, but I did hope that it would die with my generation and those who came before me.  Sadly, this is not the case, and so, I fight the fight, one interface and interfaith dialogue at a time.

Recently, I was speaking with my mother about the difficulties of raising a biracial child of African/European descent in a largely European environment. We are privileged to have access to my mother's wisdom and insight. She is a world-traveler, former Peace Corp Desk Officer responsible for all of the countries in the Horn of Africa, a former educator, and a phenomenal human being..

As we discussed the challenges associated with communicating to my son the value of his heritage, and how I might demonstrate in a tangential manner short of traveling to Africa, that the Continent is more than what is portrayed in the Western media. My mother suggested that I go to the library or bookstore and get some large picture books with photos of Africa and its cities.

Nothing takes the place of actual experience, but until we have the opportunity to return to Africa, this was going to have to serve as a satisfactory alternative. As expected, my son responded much more to the video than the books that I provided to him because the music is superb, the images clear and powerful, and it is so evocative.

Like me, it pulled him in and provided him with a visual reference for him to embrace and share. The continent of Africa has many countries, each with major cities and sprawling metropolitan areas that rival, if not outstrip many in the West.

It is my hope that others will view this video and share it with friends, family and acquaintances. The producer of this video has done a great service to humanity in promoting greater understanding and knowledge of Africa. We can't all be "rock stars" like President Barak Obama, but each of us can contribute to making the world a better place for our children's today and tomorrow.

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Editor: @ayannanahmias

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