Well. If the day comes, when you realize, and don’t want to realize it, that you cannot make yourself heard. That … the people who you are addressing a plea. For them and for you. On the plea is a very simple one. It say: Look at it! Forget all the mountains of non-sense that has been written, and everything that has been said! Forget the negro-problem! Don’t write any voting acts! We had that, it’s called the 15th amendment. Learn the civil rights bill in 1964.
What you had to look at is what is happening in this country. And what is really happening is that brother has murdered brother knowing it was his brother! White men have lynched negroes knowing them to be their sons, white women have had negroes burned knowing them to be their lovers! It is not a racial problem! It is a problem of whether or not you’re willing to look at your life and be responsible for it - and then begin to change it!
That great western house I come from is one house. And I am one of the children of that house. Simply I’m the most despised child of that house. And it is because the American people are unable to face the fact that I’m flesh of their flesh, bone of their bone. Created by them! My blood, my father’s blood is in that soil!
They can’t face that.
And that is why the city of Detroit went up in flames! And that is why the city of Saigon was under martial law!
I know that in 400 years in that house, they did not know who I am, and I cannot marry their daughters or go to their churches. I would had to be a much more stupid man than I am, to believe they know anything at all about those people in the Asian jungles. According to me, they liberated me, before got around in Asia. And it was a liberation difficult to bear. Many didn’t survive it."
- James Baldwin in Baldwin’s Nigger
James Baldwin: On Malcolm X
Clark: What do you see? Are you essentially optimistic or pessimistic, and I really don’t want to put words in your mouth, because what I really want to find out is what you really believe.
Baldwin: I’m both glad and sorry you asked me that question, but I’ll do my best to answer it. I can’t be a pessimist because I’m alive. To be a pessimist means that you have agreed that human life is an academic matter, so I’m forced to be an optimist. I’m forced to believe that we can survive whatever we must survive. But the future of the Negro in this country is precisely as bright or as dark as the future of the country. It is entirely up to the American people and our representatives — it is entirely up to the American people whether or not they are going to face, and deal with, and embrace this stranger whom they maligned so long.
What white people have to do, is try and find out in their own hearts why it was necessary to have a nigger in the first place, because I’m not a nigger, I’m a man, but if you think I’m a nigger, it means you need it.
The question you have got to ask yourself — the white population of this country has got to ask itself — North and South, because it’s one country, and for a Negro, there’s no difference between the North and South. There’s just a difference in the way they castrate you. But the fact of the castration is the American fact. If I’m not a nigger here and you invented him, you, the white people, invented him, then you’ve got to find out why. And the future of the country depends on that. Whether or not it’s able to ask that question.
Clark: As a Negro and as an American, I can only hope that America has the strength and the capacity —
Baldwin: And the moral strength.
Clark: — to ask and answer that question —
Baldwin: Simply to face that question. Face that question.
Clark: — in an affirmative and constructive way. Thank you very much.
- James Baldwin
Never mind that forty years ago, the CIA, under President John F. Kennedy, orchestrated a regime change in Baghdad. In 1963, after a successful coup, the Ba’ath party came to power in Iraq. Using lists provided by the CIA, the new Ba’ath regime systematically eliminated hundreds of doctors, teachers, lawyers, and political figures known to be leftists. An entire intellectual community was slaughtered…The young Saddam Hussein was said to have had a hand in supervising the bloodbath. In 1979, after factional infighting within the Ba’ath Party, Saddam Hussein became the president of Iraq. In April 1980, while Hussein was massacring Shias, U.S. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski declared, “We see no fundamental incompatibility of interests between the United States and Iraq.” Washington and London overtly and covertly supported Saddam Hussein. They financed him, equipped him, and provided him with dual-use materials to manufacture weapons of mass destruction. They supported his worst excesses financially, materially, and morally. They supported the eight-year war against Iran and the 1988 gassing of Kurdish people in Halabja, crimes which fourteen years later were reheated and served up as reasons to justify invading Iraq. After the first Gulf War, the “Allies” fomented an uprising of Shias in Basra and then looked away while Saddam Hussein crushed the revolt and slaughtered thousands in an act of vengeful reprisal.
The point is, if Saddam Hussein was evil enough to merit the most elaborate, openly declared assassination attempt in history (the opening move of Operation Shock and Awe), then surely those who supported him ought at least to be tried for war crimes? Why aren’t the faces of U.S. and U.K. government officials on the infamous pack of cards of wanted men and women?
Because when it comes to Empire, facts don’t matter.
- Arundhati Roy, “Instant-Mix Imperial Democracy” in An Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire (via red-amour)