Showing posts with label MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. Show all posts

16 Jan 2012



As we celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr, it appears we are a far less prejudiced country than we once were. Individual expressions of racism are less tolerated than ever, we have an African-American President, and African-Americans are increasingly being accepted into executive suites. Yet when we look closer, we find that Greedy Bastards have rebranded racism and made it acceptable again, by calling it "the war on drugs."
These statistics compiled by New York Times columnist Charles Blow and author Michelle Alexander (author of The New Jim Crow) are mind-blowing.
  • Since 1971, there have been more than 40 million arrests for drug-related offenses. Even though blacks and whites have similar levels of drug use, blacks are ten times as likely to be incarcerated for drug crimes.
  • "There are more blacks under correctional control today -- in prison or jail, on probation or parole -- than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began."
  • "As of 2004, more African American men were disenfranchised (due to felon disenfranchisement laws) than in 1870, the year the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified prohibiting laws that explicitly deny the right to vote on the basis of race."
  • In 2005, 4 out of 5 drug arrests were for possession not trafficking, and 80% of the increase in drug arrests in the 1990s was for marijuana.
  • There are 50,000 arrests for low-level pot possession a year in New York City, representing one out of every seven cases that turn up in criminal courts. Most of these arrested are black and hispanic men.

Why is this happening, when personal prejudice is so much less common, medicinal marijuana initiatives routinely pass around the country, and illicit drug use is accepted enough that Steve Jobs could praise psychedelic drugs as key to his creative success at Apple Computer?
The modern drug war in politics can be traced back to political operative named Clifford White, an advisor to Barry Goldwater, who recognized that there were votes to be had in the backlash against the civil rights movement. From the 1970s to the 1990s, the war on drugs became convenient code for politicians who wanted to appeal to certain working class white voters with coded racist appeals. President Reagan used this political support to escalate the war on drugs.
Federal law passed in 1986 allowed law enforcement agencies to seize drug money, and use it to supplement their budgets. Grabbing cash connected to drugs meant that police departments could buy more tools and training. Like the fee-for-service model in medicine, that pays doctors for performing procedures, not for making people healthier, the "forfeiture laws" effectively pay the police departments for making busts - not for reducing the drug trade.
In fact, if the war on drugs was ever won, it would be a financial disaster for law enforcement. There's so much dirty money funding law enforcement agencies that now, according to NPR, some police departments have become "addicted to drug money".
The second significant institutional incentive is of more recent origin, though it too has its beginnings in the Reagan era - the development of for-profit prison companies and their vast lobbying and political apparatus.
  • Prisoners now manufacture and assemble products for Microsoft, Starbucks, Victoria's Secret, Boeing, as well as body armor for soldiers and handcuff cases for law enforcement officers.
  • In 2007, taxpayers spent 74 billion on prisons, with the largest percentage increase of prisoners going to for-profit prison companies.

The Justice Policy Institute noted that these companies make more money through longer prison sentences, but you don't need a report from a nonprofit group to know that. Just look at their own investor reports. The Corrections Corporation of America, the largest for-profit prison company in the country, lists as a business risk in its 10K to the SEC "any changes with respect to drugs and controlled substances or illegal immigration could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted, and sentenced, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them." CCA also told investors it would make less money if there were lower minimum sentences and more eligibility for inmates for early release for good behavior.
Putting people in jail and keeping them there is good for business. So that's what these companies lobby for. According to the Justice Policy Institute, these companies "have contributed $835,514 to federal candidates and over $6 million to state politicians. They have also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on direct lobbying efforts." They are large donors to state-based think tanks like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), who market harsh immigration, drug laws, and prison privatization laws to state level politicians around the country. While the rationale is no longer outright bigotry, the net effect, in terms of stripping millions of blacks of political and economic rights, is the same.
This is the face of racism today. It isn't the racist sheriff in Alabama turning hoses and dogs onto protesters, or the all-white development or country club, but the smooth lobbyist and campaign contributor discussing the efficiency of private prison initiatives or the politician too cowardly to act on decriminalizing marijuana for fear of antagonizing a powerful lobby. It's racism, Greedy-Bastards-style.
What's the alternative? David Kennedy, the director of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, has highlighted a very simple common sense approach known as hotspotting. He advocates for sitting down the gang members that perpetrate most of the violence, police, prosecutors, and community leaders to talk about their shared problems and the consequences of crime. Such an approach has dramatically reduced homicide rates in Boston and Chicago, and across the country. Yet these programs and programs like them with proven success in reducing crime are the first to go on the chopping block, because they don't provide the budgetary incentive that forfeiture laws do.
Today, the march for civil rights isn't about convincing Americans that racism is wrong. It is about getting money out of politics, so that the profit from institutional racism is eliminated. The Supreme Court's decision in Plessy vs. Ferguson saying "separate but equal" has been trumped by the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, eliminating all restrictions on corporate cash in politics. If we are to honor Dr. King, let us make this our generation's cause. It won't be an easy fight, but as he said, "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice."
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SOURCE: Huffington Post


Dream

18 Jan 2011


Kilichonisukuma kuandika post hii ni habari niliyoiona kwenye runinga katika kipindi cha Anderson Cooper 360 (katika kituo cha CNN) kwamba mwanabodi wa taasisi moja ya elimu huko Marekani amekuwa akimshambulia mwanaharakati Dkt Martin Luther Jr,ambaye jana ilikuwa siku ya kumbukumbu yake (Martin Luther King Jr Day).

Mashambulizi hayo dhidi ya Dkt King yalijumuisha madai kama "mwanaharakati huyo hakuwa Dokta"-ikimaanisha si sahihi kuweka kitangulizi hicho kabla ya jina lake,na "alikuwa mkomunisti"- na kwa wahafidhina nchini Marekani,ukomunisti unachukuliwa kama Unazi.

Tukio hilo ni mwendelezo tu wa mashambulizi dhidi ya Dkt King hususan kutoka kwa wanaokumbatia hisia za ubaguzi wa rangi.Lakini kama kuna mtu aliyekuwa "obsessed" zaidi na jitihada za kumuumbua Dkt King basi si mwingine bali Mkrugunzi wa zamani wa Shirika la Upelelezi la Marekani (FBI) J.Edgar Hoover.Inaelezwa kuwa shushushu huyo alijitahidi kadri alivyoweza kufanikisha azma yake hiyo muflis,ikiwa ni pamoja na kurekodi (bugging) maongezi ya Dk King anayetambulika kama chachu ya mapambano (ya amani) na mafanikio ya Wamarekani Weusi kukubalika katika nchi hiyo (kwa kiasi kikubwa).Hata mafanikio ya  Barack Obama,Mweusi wa kwanza kushika nafasi ya urais wa Marekani yanahusishwa kwa kiasi kikubwa na harakati na changamoto zilizoanzishwa na Dkt King.

Tanzania yetu ya leo inaweza kabisa kulinganishwa na hali ilivyokuwa katika Marekani ya enzi za akina Dkt King ambapo ubaguzi wa rangi ulikuwa umeshamiri vilivyo.Huko nyumbani,na hasa baada ya kifo cha Baba wa Taifa-aliyekuwa muumini mkubwa wa usawa wa binadamu-wengi wa wanasiasa wetu wamekuwa bize kutengeneza mgawanyiko katika jamii kati ya wenye nacho na wasio nacho,vigogo na walalahoi,na katika zama hizi za Kikwete,tumeshuhudia mgawanyiko mkubwa zaidi katika jamii; mafisadi dhidi ya wananchi wa kawaida,na hivi karibuni CCM,Serikali yake na vyombo vyake vya dola dhidi ya wananchi na wapinzani (hususan Chadema) na haki zao.

Lakini pengine la kutisha zaidi ni vuguvugu linalochochewa na CCM ya Kikwete na mafisadi anaowalea la kuwagawanya Watanzania kwa misingi ya imani zao za kidini.Kila mwenye macho na masikio ameona na kusikia kauli mbalimbali za msigishano kati ya viongozi wa CCM na baadhi ya viongozi wa Kanisa kwa upande mmoja,na kwa upande mwingine ni msuguano (unaoelekea kukua) wa kimtizamo kati ya baadhi ya viongozi wa Kanisa na baadhi ya viongozi wa dini ya Kiislam.

Kama ambavyo nimerejea kwenye posts na makala zangu kadhaa huko nyuma,suala hili tofauti za kidini kutumika kwa maslahi ya kisiasa linanigusa sana,kitaaluma kama mwanafunzi wa utafiti katika mahusiano ya siasa na dini,na kama raia wa Tanzania-nchi ambayo licha ya kuwa na viungo (recipes) vinavyoweza kupelekea mgogoro wa kijami kwa misingi ya kidini,angalau hali kwa ujumla imekuwa salama (kwa maana ya kutokuwepo vurugu za aina hiyo).

Inapofikia mahala vyombo vya habari vya umma,kama TBC1,Habari Leo na Daily News,vinatumika kusambaza ujumbe wa kuchochea mvurugano katika jamii badala ya kuhamasisha maelewano,ni dhahiri kuwa tunakoelekea si kwema.Vyombo hivi vya habari vinavyoendeshwa kwa fedha za walipakodi pasipo kujali itikadi zao za kisiasa vinaanza kuchukua mwelekeo wa gazeti la Kangura na vituo vya radio vya Radio Rwanda na Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM) ambavyo vilichangia sana kuhamaisha propaganda za chuki dhidi ya Watutsi zilizopelekea mauaji ya kimari nchini Rwanda kati ya mwaka 1994-95.

                                                                                    



Hivi kama blogu binafsi  ya Ze Utamu ilipigwa kufuli kwa vile tu ilionyesha picha isiyofaa ya Rais Kikwete,kwanini basi vyombo hivyo vya habari vya umma vinaruhusiwa kuchochea chuki miongoni mwa Watanzania ambapo madhara yake ni makubwa zaidi ya namna picha za Ze Utamu zingeweza kumdhalilisha Kikwete?Hapa sio kama naitetea blogu hiyo bali ninachojaribu kupigia mstari ni ukweli kuwa amani ya Watanzania inayowekwa rehani na TBC1,Habari Leo na Daily News ina umuhimu na thamani kubwa pengine zaidi hadhi ya Kikwete pekee.Ikumbukwe kuwa wakati jitihada za Serikali kuitia kufuli Ze Utamu zilipelekea picha hizo kutoonekana tena,sumu inayomwagwa na vyombo hivyo vya habari vya umma ikishasambaa hakutakuwa na namna ya kuizuwia.

Nirejee kwa Dkt King na funzo linaloweza kusaidia katika harakati za mapambano dhidi ya udhalimu wa Kikwete na CCM yake inayoendeshwa kishkaji.Pamoja na jitihada na nguvu kubwa iliyotumika kumdhibiti,na hatimaye kuuawa,mbegu alizopanda mwanaharakati huyo zimefanikiwa kuzalisha watu kama Obama,Oprah,Condoleeza Rice,Collin Powell,nk ambao kwa hakika wasingeweza kujichomoza katika mfumo wa kibaguzi uliowabagua Weusi katika kila nyanja ya maisha nchini Marekani.

Kama ambavyo Dk King aliandamwa na FBI na J.Edgar Hoover ndivyo wazalendo kama Dkt Wilbroad Slaa walivyojikuta wakiandamwa na taasisi za serikali katika kila wanalofanya,huku baadhi ya waendaji wa taasisi hizo wakidiriki hata kuvunja "miiko" waliyojiwekea ili waweze kumshamshambulia Dkt Slaa (rejea kauli ya Naibu Mkurugenzi wa Usalama wa Taifa, Jack Zoka).Na kama ambavyo wabaguzi wa rangi wanavyoendelea kubomoa misingi iliyowekwa na Dkt King,ndivyo Kikwete akisaidiwa na mafisadi anaowalea-plus vyombo vyao vya habari-wanavyofanya kila wawezalo kudhoofisha harakati za kuwakomboa Watanzania kutoka katika himaya ya ufisadi,ukiukwaji haki za binadamu na umasikini wa kupindukia.

Usihadaike na kauli za watu kama Lowassa wanajifanya kutahadharisha kuwa mjadala wa Katiba mpya usiwe chanzo cha kuhaarisha amani kwani yayumkinika kuamini kuwa wale wote wanaohusishwa na ufisadi wasingependelea kuona tunakuwa na Katiba mpya inayompa mamlaka mwananchi wa kawaida kuwa mwenye nchi halisi badala ya hali ilivyo sasa ambapo nchi yetu imekuwa kama kampuni binafsi ya mafisadi,wakiipelekesha watakavyo na sheria zikibaki sheria tu isipokuwa katika kukandamiza maandamano ya amani na kuminya haki za binadamu.


Licha ya kuuawa kwake,wengi wa Wamarekani Weusi sasa wanafaidi matunda ya harakati za Dkt Martin Luther King Jr.Vikwazo na upinzani wa kila hali dhidi ya harakati hizo hakukumvunja moyo Dkt King,na hata kifo chake hakiwazuia washirika na watangulizi wake kuendeleza harakati hizo za kudai usawa wa binadamu.Damu ya mashujaa iliyomwagika huko Arusha kutokana na unyama waliofanyiwa na polisi wa Kikwete na IGP Mwema isipotee bure bali iwe chemuchemu ya kudumu kuhakikisha kuwa hatimaye udhalimu na ufisadi wa CCM na serikali yake unakomeshwa completely.

Kama Dkt Martin Luther King Jr aliweza,na Nelson Mandela akaweza pia-bila kusahau kuwa nasi pia tuliweza kumwondoa mkoloni na kumfurumisha nduli Idi Amin-basi kwa hakika harakati hizi za sasa zinaweza pia kufanikisha ndoto na malengo yetu ya kuwa na Tanzania tunayostahili kuwa nayo,na sio hii ya sasa inayoendeshwa kwa remote control na mafisadi huku wakiwatuza majambazi wa Dowans kwa mabilioni na "kuwazawadia" waandamaji wa amani risasi za kuwaua na kuwajeruhi.


24 Apr 2009


19 Jan 2009

24 Jan 2008

Siku chache zilizopita Wamarekani waliadhimisha siku ya Dakta Martin Luther King Jr,mmoja wa wapigania haki za Waamerika Weusi.Historia inamkumbuka Dkt King (aliyezaliwa mwaka 1929 na kuuawa kwa risasi mwaka 1968)kama nguzo muhimu katika kupigania haki za Waamerika Weusi nchini humo.Pengine kilichomfanya wanaharakati huyo akubalike zaidi ni imani yake ya kudai haki kwa njia za amani.

Miaka mitano kabla ya kuuawa,mwaka 1963,Dkt King alitoa hotuba ambayo hadi leo imeendelea kuwa na mvuto mkubwa sio nchini Marekani pekee bali pia sehemu mbalimbali duniani katika mapambano ya kudai usawa.Katika hotuba hiyo iliyopewa jina “I Have a Dream” (“Nina Ndoto”,kwa tafsiri isiyo rasmi),Dkt King alieleza matamanio yake kuona Waamerika Weusi na Weupe wakiishi pamoja kwa amani na usawa.Hotuba hiyo iliyotolewa mbele ya watu zaidi ya laki mbili,inakubalika miongoni mwa wengi kama moja ya hotuba za muhimu kabisa katika historia ya Marekani.Mwaka 1999,hotuba hiyo ilichaguliwa na wasomi kuwa ni hotuba bora kabisa za karne ya 20.

Miongoni mwa nukuu muhimu katika hotuba hiyo ni pamoja na (kwa tafsiri yangu isiyo rasmi) “…nina ndoto kwamba siku moja taifa hili litasimama na kuishi kama inavyotamkwa kwenye imani yake….nina ndoto kwamba siku moja watoto wangu wanne wataishi katika taifa ambalo hawatahukumiwa kutokana na rangi ya ngozi zao bali tabia/utu wao….nina ndoto kwamba siku moja watoto wa waliokuwa watumwa na watoto wa waliokuwa wamiliki watumwa watakaa pamoja katika meza ya undugu…”

Msukumo uliotokana na uongozi wa harakati za Dkt King ulisaidia sana kubadili historia ya Marekani hususan usawa kwa (Wamarekani) Weusi, na kupelekea mabadiliko mbalimbali dhidi ya sheria za kibaguzi.Miongoni mwa sheria hizo ni pamoja na “Civil Rights Act” ya mwaka 1964 iliyoharamisha ubaguzi kwenye sehemu mbalimbali katika jamii.Mwaka uliofuata, “Voting Rights Act” ilipitishwa na kufuta kipengere kilicholazimisha wapiga kura watarajiwa kufanya testi za kupima uwezo wa kusoma na kuandika (wengi wa waathirika wa kipengere hicho walikuwa Wamarekani Weusi ambao walikuwa na maendeleo duni kielimu kutokana na kubaguliwa).

Maadhimisho ya siku ya Dkt King yamekuwa yakitoa changamoto nzuri kwa jamii ya Wamarekani kutafakari mahusiano kati ya Weupe na Weusi.Wengi hujiuliza iwapo ndoto za Dkt King zimetimia kweli,zinaelekea kutimia au hazina dalili ya kutimia kabisa.Ni maswali magumu ambayo yanahitaji uchambuzi wa kina kuyajibu,na pengine hata kwa uchambuzi wa kina bado inaweza kuwa vigumu kupata jawabu moja linalokubalika.Kingine kinacholeta ugumu wa kupata jawabu ni tofauti ya vizazi.Kwa walioishi nyakati za ubaguzi wa rangi na kushuhudia harakati za Dkt King wanaweza kuwa na mtizamo tofauti kuhusu kutimia kwa ndoto za mwanaharakati huyo ukilinganisha na kizazi cha hivi karibuni ambacho kinamwelewa Dkt King kupitia kumbukumbu za historia tu.

Hata hivyo ni rahisi kukubaliana kwamba harakati za Dkt King na wenzie zimesaidia kuleta mabadiliko makubwa ikiwa ni pamoja na hayo ya kisheria niliyotaja awali.Wapo wanaokwenda mbali zaidi na kutoa mifano ya mafanikio ya Waamerika Weusi maarufu kama Jenerali Colin Powell na Condoleeza Rice ambao wameshika nafasi nyeti katika uongozi wa taifa hilo.Lakini mfano mzuri zaidi ni Barack Obama,seneta Mweusi anayewania kuteuliwa kugombea urais wa nchi hiyo kupitia chama cha Democrats.Akiteuliwa kuwa mgombea,ataweka historia ya pekee nchini humo,na akifanikiwa kushinda urais basi hiyo itakuwa zaidi ya kuweka historia (tuite kuandika historia upya).Hata kama atashindwa,mafaniko aliyokwishafikia hadi sasa ni hatua muhimu katika kutimia kwa ndoto za Dkt King.

Afrika nayo imetoa akina Dkt King kadhaa,na kwetu Tanzania tunajivunia Baba wa Taifa marehemu Julius Nyerere ambaye (kama Dkt King) alikuwa na ndoto zake kadhaa ambazo kimsingi zilihusu kuwa jamii yenye usawa.Ndoto za Mwalimu zilivuka mipaka ya Tanzania kuhakikisha kuwa Afrika yote inakuwa huru.Mchango wa Mwalimu katika mapambano ya ukombozi kusini mwa Afrika utaendelea kukumbukwa milele.Na pengine hapo ndipo baadhi yetu tunagundua mabadiliko ya vizazi yanavyochangia kusahaulisha historia.

Mara nyingi napokutana na vijana Waafrika wenzangu (wanaoishi hapa Uingereza) kutoka nchi kama Zimbabwe,Zambia,Angola,Msumbiji,Afrika Kusini,Namibia na Uganda,nabaini kwamba wengi wao aidha wamesahau au wanapuuza mchango wetu katika ukombozi wa nchi zao (kwa Uganda ni kumng’oa Nduli Idi Amini).Angalau Wazimbabwe wanaweza kuwa na kisingizio kwamba kutokana na ubabe wa Mugabe,baadhi yao wanaweza kutoona faida ya kumkimbiza mkoloni na kujipatia uhuru.

Lakini pengine si busara sana kuwalaumu wanaopuuza mchango wa Mwalimu na Tanzania kwa ujumla katika ukombozi wa nchi zao kwani inawezekana kabisa wanafuatilia kinachoendelea nchini mwetu na kugundua kwamba baadhi yetu tumetupilia mbali kabisa jitihada za Baba wa Taifa kuhakikisha tunajenga jamii yenye usawa.Kwa vile dunia ni kama kijiji,katika zama hizi za utandawazi,majirani zetu hao watakuwa wanasoma na kusikia habari kuhusu ufisadi nchi mwetu,na pengine kubaki wanajiuliza “hivi hawa si ndio waliokuwa wanapigania usawa barani Afrika?Mbona wenyewe wako sasa wanafanyiana hivi?”.

Mwalimu alifariki huku baadhi ya ndoto zake zikiwa hazijatimia.Wachambuzi wazuri wa siasa wanadai kwamba baadhi ya ndoto hizo zilishindikana hata kabla hajang’atuka (kwa mfano upinzani wake wa awali dhidi ya ushirikiano na mashirika ya fedha ya kimataifa).Lakini nadhani Mwalimu aliumia zaidi kuona Azimio la Arusha likizikwa hai na Azimio “la kimyakimya” la Zanzibar (naliita hivyo kwani sijawahi kuona “document” yoyote rasmi inayoelezea kilichomo kwenye Azimio hilo).

Wakati Dkt King anaweza kufarijika huko aliko iwapo angeweza kufahamu baadhi ya mambo yanayoendelea sasa nchini Marekani (hususan kuhusu Obama) nashindwa kuhisi ni lipi litakalokuwa linampa furaha Mwalimu huko aliko tukiweka pembeni suala la amani na utulivu.Na hata katika hilo (la amani na utulivu) wapo wanaodai kuwa ni ya kufikirika zaidi kwani ni ukweli usiopingika kwamba masikini ni wengi zaidi kuliko matajiri,na yayumkinika kusema kwamba matumbo ya masikini hao hayana amani wala utulivu.

Kadhalika,kuna wanaodai kwamba kigezo cha amani na utulivu kimekuwa kikitumiwa vizuri zaidi na mafisadi wanaoamini kwamba Watanzania ni wapole sana na hawako tayari kuchezea lulu ya amani na utulivu kwa vile tu flani kakwiba mabilioni ya umma.Pengine mafisadi hao wako sahihi kwani tumekuwa tukishuhudia baadhi ya watu wakiua,wakapewa dhamana za chapchap na kuendela na maisha yao kama kawaida huku hatima ya kesi zao ikisubiri isahaulike akilini mwa watu.Wakati hayo yakitokea,magereza yetu yamejaa wamachinga wanaotafuta ridhiki mitaani na wafungwa wengine ambao inawezekana kabisa walijiingiza kwenye wizi wa nyanya au kuku kwa vile tu hawakuwa na njia nyingine ya kujipatia kipato.Uhalifu ni uhalifu,na kila mhalifu anastahili adhabu lakini inatatiza kuona wahalifu wengine wakiendelea kula raha kana kwamba waliyofanya si kinyume cha sheria.

Tofauti kubwa kati ya ndoto ya Dkt King na Mwalimu ni kwamba wakati Wamarekani Weusi wanafanya kila jitihada kuenzi jitihada za Dkt King kwa kuendeleza mapambano dhidi ya ubaguzi na kupigania usawa,sie tuko kwenye mgawanyiko mkubwa kati ya wachache walionacho wasiosubiri kuongezewa bali wanapora, na wengi wasio nacho ambao hata kile kidogo walicho nacho kinaporwa.Hili ndio tishio kubwa,sio tu kwa ndoto za Mwalimu,bali hata kwa hiyo lulu yetu ya amani na utulivu.

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