World Mental Health day - October 10th
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline -- 1-800-273-8255
Recently, I started anti-depressants for the 1st time in my life. I have struggled with depression throughout my life. In many ways, my art is the therapy that has kept my head above water - but as I get older I realize I can’t do this on my own any longer. My journey has become so complex and emotionally draining. The last few years with the state of this country and the troubling issues in my homeland has amplified my frustrations, disappointments and anger. "My Blue Jihad: A personal struggle" is a reminder that my struggle is not a lonely journey.
24”(h)x24”(w)x1.5”(d) canvas -- purchased by Jack Rosenberger (private collector)
In the years I have documented my physical change, it sparked a transition in my spiritual evolution and to a lesser degree my emotional maturity — to become more aware of the path I am traveling than any other time in my life. And the path leads to many places — some all at once — other moments one at a time. For I am realizing that life is not a linear plane.
With this realization I came to know the name of my painting — My Blue Jihad: A personal struggle. The key word is jihad for it stimulates various perceptions, conceptions and interpretations that are not always correct. Jihad is an Arabic word — the root of which is ja ha da, which means to strive/struggle (for a better way of life).
This is the key to my understanding of jihad for I believe like Sufis' (Muslim mystics) - jihad has two sides: spiritual struggle as the ‘greater’ jihad and the communal, external struggle as the ‘lesser’ jihad. Jihad empowers an individual to become proactive in the struggle to command the good in oneself and society and forbidding evil in the process.
“Blue Jihad” is my visualization of the personal spiritual struggle within me. It ebbs and flows like water against oil— a reminder that spiritual perfection is always yearned, but never achieved. And a reminder to hold sacred the moment for it is all I truly command in life.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline -- 1-800-273-8255
Before everyone jumps on the Beto bandwagon let’s make sure what he says and supports are REAL and VERIFIABLE. I am not giving any politician my vote until I know they are really on my side of the important issues. Obviously we can't even consider the other candidate because he is part of the misogynist, racist and entitled political culture led by an unenlightened President.
For me it’s these 4 issues that have to be addressed:
His friend and widow talk about his respect for Islam
– Originally published on December 9th, 1992 in The Battalion
By Anas Ben-Musa
The current interest in the life of the Malcolm X from various fads and films has created some misperceptions, declared his friend, Imam W. Deen Mohammed.
W.D. Mohammed is the son of Elijah Muhammad, the late leader of the Nation of Islam. W.D. Mohammed knew Malcolm from 1952 until his assassination. They became good friends when Malcolm worked for the Nation of Islam.
W.D. Mohammed stated most intellectuals interested in the life of Malcolm are trying to make it a “black thing.”
“Malcolm was a person drawn more to Islam than anything else,” W.D. explained. “He respected Islam more than anything else.”
Many African-Americans are not focused on Malcom, W.D. asserted. Rather, they are focused on Africa and the idea of African-Americans having their own Islam, he said.
“They are going into myths and creating their own stories of Islam,” W.D. Mohammed clarified. “This discredits the Islamic faith and discredits interest in Africa. A real intellectual accepts the truth.”
Malcolm traveled to Mecca, Saudi Arabia in 1964 with the help of two Egyptian friends to learn more about Islam, W.D. Mohammed said.
“He returned convinced that he should not be identified with that facet of Islam that was surrounded by misinformation,” W.D. Mohammed said.
“The pilgrimage helped clarify his views,” said Malcolm’s widow, Dr. Betty Shabazz.
W.D. said Malcolm realized the meaning of being a Muslim and the diversity and history of the Muslim world.
“Malcolm contributed to broadening American people’s minds to face the reality of the Muslim world,” W.D. reaffirmed. “There is a great, big Muslim world out there of over 1 billion people. Malcolm helped bring that out.”
“He has a great impact on all people, not just a particular organization or religious affiliation,” Dr. Shabazz said.
W.D. indicated many people try to follow Malcolm but fail because they are not truthful to themselves or what’s going on around them.
Malcolm was a man with a brilliant mind, W.D. revealed.
“He was a person with an independent mind, a person who was trying to get somewhere, W.D. stated.
“My husband did what he had to do,” Dr. Shabazz said. “He paid a debt to our ancestors and their efforts. He was a committed man.”
Malcolm’s deeply religious beliefs caused him to break away from the Nation of Islam in 1964.
“Malcolm was a man going through changes,” W.D revealed, “He changed from the old idea of the Nation of Islam to the universal understanding of real Islam.”
He said Malcolm even adopted the name to Malik Shabazz.
“He changed his name before he broke away from the Nation of Islam,” W.D. explained.
Malcolm had changed his surname from Little to X in 1952 as a form of protest.
“I’ll continue to use Malcom X as long as the situation that produced it exists . . . as long as there is a need to protest and struggle and fight against the injustices that our people are involved in this country,” Malcolm said in a 1964 speech.
Changing his name was one example of the evolving views of Malcolm, W.D. indicated.
“He saw moral contradictions in the man that fascinated him, that captured his mind and had also earned his respect, the honorable Elijah Muhammad,” W.D. described. Elijah, W.D.’s father, had relationships with two of his secretaries. W.D. confirmed his father secretly accepted them as his wives.
Malcolm had high moral standards and felt he needed to leave the Nation of Islam, W.D. said. “Malcolm couldn’t stop with the Nation of Islam, and he couldn’t stop with my father.”
#malcolmx #civilrights #bettyshabazz#nationofislam #wdmohammed #islam #throwbackthursday
A week after the elections, I am still numb. The results confirmed my fears and validated the worst aspects of this country. This nation has yet to grow up or become a true democracy. After civil wars, demonstrations and numerous lynching, on November 8th, the Electoral College decided the best path for this country was NOT CHANGE but a REGRESSION to the past.
So let’s start with the facts:
The country elected President Hillary Clinton into office. Clinton has 61,782,016 votes, while Trump has 60,834,437 votes. This is the vote count so far with over 80 million voters who decided not to participate.
FYI: This happened before in the last controversial election of 2000. Gore had 50,999,897 votes, while Bush had 50,456,002 votes.
Be aware this has only happened 5 times – 1824, 1876, 1888, 2000 and 2016!
All this proves is the “establishment” Trump vents about so often is the very same institution that presented him the Presidency. In fact, only the electors of 29 states’ (plus District of Columbia) are obliged to vote the same as their state’s popular vote. The rest can vote against their state’s popular vote.
Alexander Hamilton described the idea of the electors as, “A small number of persons, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated [tasks].” This notion that the “general mass” has no ability to understand the issues or have the information needed to make a decision is incredibly antiquated and shows a lack of faith by the Founding Fathers. Frankly, the framers of the Constitution would be lost by the amount of information every citizen is inundated with on a day to day basis. The Founding Fathers were just simple, flawed SLAVE OWNING men. Many ideas they were “concerned” with dealt with their own self interests. The Electoral College needs to be removed from the election process. It makes no sense that all of Congress is chosen by the popular vote yet the Presidency cannot be chosen by the people directly. And the idea that this Constitution is some sort of Holy Grail that can’t be changed shows another lacking of this country’s ability to progress.
As a voter that participated in every election, I observe more of the true nature and ugliness of this country with each election cycle. The lack of empathy towards the less fortunate, the racist views pointing in many directions; the result is the entitled and privileged minority flexing its political and financial influence to ensure their upper-class position. Now this privileged class has pushed for their own to be President-elect. Trump has consistently made this voter feel inadequate and unwelcome.
This is my deepest concern. Why as a citizen who holds dearly the traditions of Abraham (peace be upon him) want to live in a country that day after day says “YOU ARE NOT WELCOME!” Why would I pay my taxes to support a regime that denounces what I am?! Why would I fight and keep voting for change when the very foundation of this country only promotes and ensures the safety of elite?! Why do I need to prove myself AS A CITIZEN and justify who I am?!
I firmly believe part of why I struggle with socializing or just pursuing any career is due to over compensating, trying prove to everyone that I am a good guy. FOR THE LAST FREAKING TIME - I DIDN'T DO ANYTHING WRONG!!!
I have little faith or hope for change after these election results. In fact, I am beyond discouraged and disgusted. I am just someone who lives in a country called the United States of America because I am too embarrassed and frustrated to consider myself a citizen. And I have always considered myself a global citizen. This whole idea of chanting USA or being nationalistic is narrow minded and as obsolete as The Electoral College.
So for those who voted for this madman Trump, I don’t care to hear your opinion. To me your actions spoke loudly to the future of the world in general. The safety of service people and military personnel will now be in dire jeopardy because of the Electoral College’s choice. Too many of you decided that a Black man as President was too much to handle, so you alienated every woman and voted for the polar opposite – a misogynistic cry baby. So block me, unfriend me, I don’t give a damn! And when this country suffers by his actions and words, I will have little sympathy. Mark my words this country will suffer greatly in its safety, global influence and respect.
My mind still lingers on Dr. Maya Angelou's passing. With every tear, I glimpse into her past. The grief pushes me back into my youth. When I was trying to find my own voice, my own identity. Without her eloquence, my awareness would have been buried deep in the shadows of my fears.
Dr. Angelou taught me how brave James Baldwin fought for equality. She taught me how honest Malcolm X struggled for acceptance. These were her friends. They helped her find those precious words that still flow deeply in the pit of my soul. Her voice made me realize I was part of something far greater then this linear world. That it just takes one compassionate soul to change humanity’s perception and attitude.