Archive for the ‘Reflections’ Category

Commentary: The deaths of NYPD Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos

December 21, 2014 Leave a comment

In moments of crisis, in moments when lives have been taken in our republic, that is the time to take time to pause, to take a step back we must think about our reactions. With a sound mind, we must come to a sound but reasonable approach to assess what exactly is happening and why.

The deaths of the two New York City police officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos have begun to set off a chain reaction that I believe will deepen the crisis that is happening through out our republic and the very people who are policing and enforcing the laws of the land.

I have mistrust of all law enforcement, I am biased against all law enforcement; however, I recognize, too, that they are human, they have families, they are a brother or sister, friend, a father or mother. In my initial reaction to the deaths of these officers, it was one cold hearted of jubilation that we have finally gotten two of theirs, that we have finally started to clean house against an organization that every one knows is corrupt accept the very people that work for the organization. It was at that moment I thought, “now how does it feels to have the shoe on the other foot?!”

In retrospect, this is the wrong sentiment to have because it is un-American; this is not how one instigates positive change throughout our republic. Yes, we want police to honor their oaths, yes, we want police to treat the very people in their communities with respect, and we want them to do the right thing. The senseless killing of two human beings because of being a police officer who did nothing wrong and being judged and summarily executed has never helped to bring about positive change.

We had momentum going and the people on our side, and now that this tragedy has unfolded, I fear we have lost that momentum because of one single individual who believed it was his right to take the lives of two human beings. These two human beings, even though who are a part of an organization that is highly racist, bigoted and corrupt, I do not doubt the sincerity of the mass of these two men, and others, who simply doing their jobs. We do not have to like their profession, but we should at least respect them as human beings.

Undoubtedly, the deaths of these human beings will only deepen the crisis that before us, and I only fear that now we will see people more on edge. I think it is critical that we as a people take a step back, let us reflect carefully, and thoroughly before we act. A simple solution would be, for us, as Americans, to regain our perspective, to read our Constitution, to read our history, to read our Declaration of Independence, and than look at the laws that our Congress, State and local governments are passing that to allow our freedoms to be taken away as they are now. If we were more attentive to what is happening to our freedoms, we would have not seen the deaths of not just these two police officers. In addition, we would not have seen the deaths of Eric Garner, Aiyana Jones, Christopher Dorner, Kelly Thomas, Christopher Smith, Brandon Paudert, Bill Evans and countless others.

Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos did not deserve to die, they did nothing wrong, and to those saying that they did. Ask yourself this simple question, if it was your father, friend, brother, sister, mother or loved one who was summarily executed because they believed differently than you do, how would you react or feel? Before your answer that question, be a human being with compassion.

It is important that we as Americans must very carefully look ourselves in the mirror; the world is watching. Do we want lawlessness and corruption that is representative of a third world country? Do we want senseless revenge killings of fellow Americans because they disagree on the law, and the Constitution?

The last time we had senseless killings of fellow Americans, it happened at a time when families were torn apart, our Sister States fought against one another, friends, and neighbors became enemies, and 600,000 Americans lost their lives. We must than ask ourselves where is it that we want to be as a republic, as a nation and union of many sovereign States in the common cause of Constitutional Liberty, the rule of law, as envisioned by our Fathers and an example to the candid world.


It is the American citizen, not the soldier . . .

It is the American citizen, not the soldier or reporter,
Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the American citizen, not the soldier or poet,
Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the American citizen, not the soldier or campus organizer,
Who has given us freedom to demonstrate.

It is the American citizen, not the soldier or lawyer,
Who has given us the right to a free trial.

It is the American citizen, not the soldier,
Who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the American flag,
And who allows protesters to burn the American flag.

It is the American citizen, not the soldier,
Who surrenders their freedom to serve our republic so that future generations may enjoy that freedom.

It is the American citizen, not the soldier,
Who makes makes the ultimate sacrifice in defending our republic’s freedom.

It is the American citizen, not the soldier,
Who swears an oath to the Constitution of the United States to defend against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

It is the American citizen, not the soldier,
Whose principles are armed & guarded by the Constitution of the United States of America and the Declaration of Independence.

It is the American citizen, not the soldier,
Whose duty is to defend the Constitution and our republic.

It was the American citizen, not the soldier,
Who wrote  the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

It was the American citizen, not the soldier,That fought for our independence, each hero, brave and bold.

It is the American citizen, not the soldier,
Who wears his uniform proud, and will surrender their life so that our country may live.

I wrote this in honor of not the soldier, but in honor of those Americans who fought and continue to fight for our freedom, from the days ’76 to the present day. You don’t have to wear a military uniform to defend our country. We have people fighting for our country all the time, and the majority of the time, they do not have a uniform. They are a simple individual whose patriotism that defines our blessed republic. Mahatma Ghandi, took on the British Empire, the most powerful nation during his time, and yet, he was not a soldier but a citizen of his country. He fought for what he believed in, freedom. Likewise, in our country, the United States, we have people fighting for our country, our freedom, all the time, they are simple mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, lawyers, doctors, factory workers, and teachers; the list goes on and on. At any given time, in times of crisis, it is the American citizen that will answer the call of our country, and of the several States that represent our glorious Union.

My intent is to not offend our soldiers, but to honor every American citizen who believes in freedom and will fight for it. To those American citizens, who gave their lives for our country, to those American citizens who are in jail fighting for justice, to those American citizens who will risk their lives and fortunes so that our republic may continue, I salute you all.



==================ORIGINAL TEXT============================

It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the Soldier, not the poet,
Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer,
Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.

It is the Soldier, not the lawyer,
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the Soldier, who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protestor to burn the flag.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007: Reflection

September 11, 2007 Leave a comment

I remember the day clearly. I was running a bit late for work, I had just arrived, 845am. My co-worker said hello to me and that a plane just hit one of the Twin Towers. At first, my reaction was, probably a small plane. I settle in and begin my day, moments later, my co-worker informs me of ANOTHER plane that hits the second tower. My reaction was to go to the student recreation area in my university to see the big screen television; they would have what is going on.

I arrived and the first thing is a crowd in the television area watching the events unfold. I saw it, the Twin Towers received mortal wounds; but this fact little did we know. As I am watching the events unfold, the sense of numbness began to enter my body. The chill down my spine was taking over the rest of my body. It hit me all of a sudden, there are people in those towers trapped. There was utter silence in that room. You could hear a pin drop and still not know whether this was just a dream or some joke. Reality was, this was not a joke or some dream, it was real. I still could not believe someone would do such a thing especially on American soil. I went back to my office and informed my co-worker of what was happening, she was shocked and on the phone with people she knew. As the hour went by, I kept going back to the student recreation area to view the television to get updates. There were reports of people jumping from the towers. This was all but confirmed, and I would find out days later that it was true, people were actually jumping out of the windows. They were trapped, they had no other recourse. God should not have any thing against those who took their lives that day. It is said that suicide is a sin, but I do believe that God will make an exception, I believe He should and I also believe He will.

1005am, I just get word, one of the towers collapses. The utter disbelief that this is actually happening and that we do not know what else is happening. No words can describe the feelings I felt of gloom and melancholy. I went back to the student recreation area, and with my very eyes I saw only one tower standing. Within a blink of an eye, all those people died. Than again, it hits me, those people had family, friends and were people. Who could do this? Why? I go back to my office, and everything is hectic, people are just confused, all they know is that the Twin Towers were hit, one of them fell and than we get word, the Pentagon was hit and that the second tower collapses. One of the thoughts that creeped my mind was all those people who were trapped. No one, and I mean no one could have survived that type of collapse.

1045am, I went back to the student recreation area and all we see is smoke and no towers. The moment I saw that, my throat swelled up and I felt like I had something lodged in it. My face became teary eyed. I held my composure of sadness and disbelief and I left again. While on my back to my office, tears creeped down my face and I did my best to hide the tears. I didn’t want anyone to see me in that state. I got to my office and I regained my composure. The mood in the office was evident, people had died, the towers and the Pentagon were hit. There was nothing else to say or do. The reality that the suggestion that our republic was under attack. It scared me because the last time we were attacked, we unleashed a speck of the power of God on a people and we killed many of them. My first thought was, whatever country is responsible, God help them. I think I just checked my email like a hundred times, and all throughout the day, we were on our feets in anticipation of what our response would be.

1200pm, I went back to the student recreation area, and we get word that a Mujehadeen fighter, Osama Bin Laden, a Saudi, may be behind the attacks. Whoever he was, I am quite sure he is on the U.S. most wanted list now. The details were murky at the moment because the information was just coming in droves and to digest this all in just 3 hours was quite a lot. None the less, what I thought of most were the towers and the people over there.

2pm, we are dismissed from work in lieu of what happened. We all know why. There was no asking of why were going home, people just left home. I still couldn’t believe what happened, the towers fell and all those people died. They never got a chance to say good bye or even given a warning, just like that, in an instant their lives would be ended. They say life isn’t fair, I am here to tell you, that it is true, life isn’t fair. And quite frankly, if I had the power, I would make it fair but in reality, this is not my place to say what is fair or is not fair. This is what it means to be human.

The Bronx, New York City, New York, the place I call home. Regardless of where I am, my goal one day is to return home. I consider where I am to be temporary and that eventually, I will go back, but for the time being, I am where I am. In lieu of this, seeing what transpired in New York, my home, it felt as if someone invaded my home and decided to rape it, and pillage it. The feeling of helplessness engulfs me still yet today. My home was hurt and everyone was hurt. Just to see people crying and seeing the pictures of those missing. An inch of what is Hell transcended upon my home. There is no other worse feeling than that but in result of that, though Hell came to my home, my essence was not afraid because like in all conflicts our republic has faced, we as a nation survived and moved forward. This partly is what it means to be American.

To this day, I am still angry and downtrodden at the events that unfolded that day. Like Pearl Harbor, a sense of determination and patriotism swept me and my countrymen. In a larger sense, what was important was those families who lost loved ones. Revenge and vendettas would be solved later.

One thing that hurts me most is that ground where the people that tragic day fell, I will not visit. Just the thought of visiting that hallowed ground gives me chills and rattles the essence of my spirit. I am not sure how to react, but I know the feeling gloom and sadness will over come me. Just knowing that hallowed ground exists, there is no amount of words that will satisfy the ordinary reader that can convey my feelings. It is judicially fair to say that the result of all this leads me to tell the readers at large, take a moment to reflect on life and not what you have, but the people who you love and love you. To take appreciation in the moment, to take a moment of praise in knowing that you are living in the here and now. Just remember to take a moment, to what deities or gods you believe in, and if you are Christian like myself, pray and be thankful. Be thankful that although life on this hectic and insane world can turn on us at any given moment, with great odds and tragedy against us, humanity will always over come.


The Confederate Flag: Racist symbol? Is it really?

December 7, 2006 Leave a comment

Some 200 years ago, the people from the than 13 colonies decided that it was time to set up a new station where their future can be decided by themselves and not a despotic king. By setting up this new nation conceived in the notion that men should decide their future and doing so by governing themselves.

As a historian and researcher, my job is to look at the facts as they present themselves and objectively come to a conclusion. I must put my preconceived notions aside and look at what happened, why it happened and the reasons why an event happened. It is often said, that the victors of war write history. This is very true. Let us take for example the The War Between the States, the War of Southern Independence or as we know it, the American Civil War. The underlying issues that caused the war from the perspective of the south was high tariffs, and states rights. From the Northern perspective it was slavery and the bombardment of Fort Sumner. After 4 years of fighting, the Northern states won and the rest is history; history that is from the Northern or winning sides perspective. That perspective also clings to the fact the Confederate flag is racist and represents slavery, the main reason why the Northern states went to war or is it? Let us take a look at the facts. . .

I used to think that the Confederate flag was all about slavery, racism, segregation and anti-semitism. But if we look at our own history, the United States history, we can see that slavery existed under the Stars and Stripes too! Yet you see the NAACP complaining that the Confederate flag represents a part of our history that was not good. If you’re going to condemn the Confederate flag than be consistent and condemn the Stars and Stripes. Because before 1865, slavery was legal under the Stars and Stripes way before the Confederacy was born. But before we get into issue of the flag let us get a refresher in our U.S. history, shall we?

The War Between the States/Civil War was not fought to end slavery, it was a underlying issue for the friction between the Northern and Southern states but not the cause. The reason was to preserve the Federal Union, in other words to keep the South from forming their own country. Most wars, are the direct result of economic reasons. The Northern states at the time preferred high tariffs(taxes on imported goods) whereas the Southern states preferred lower tariffs. The Northern states were an industrial region whereas the Southern states were agricultural. Slavery existed in the Southern states and abolished in the Northern states. The Southern states view of government was quite different from the Northern states. The South’s view was that the government’s power was delegated by the states and that the states, not the government held the ultimate authority. So what does this mean?! It means that they believed in the principles of the Declaration of Independence about the relationship of the states in regards to one another and their association as a nation. They believed that when a government becomes destructive that it is their duty to alter, abolish it or set up a new station. These all ideas that are found in the Declaration of Independence.

Read the Declaration of Indepenence very carefully. It is the foundation in which people today fight for freedom for their country when their old one becomes despotic.

So what do you when a feel your rights start being trampled on or your way of life is threatened? You set up a new shop and government where your rights are protected and that is exactly what the Southern states did. Keep in mind, the majority of Southerners did not own slaves. So when war broke out between the Northern states and Southern states the Confederate soldiers could care less about slavery, they were fighting for the freedom of their state, their way of life and ideas of why governments are instituted among men whose just powers are derived by the consent of the governed. That is what the South was fighting for. Slavery was political issue that the states argued about because of the cultural differences between north and south. The south viewed slavery as an issue of something the state should handle and not the federal government. Lincoln said it himself, he did not wanted to abolish slavery in where it existed but he did wanted it outlawed in the west. But wait, he freed the slaves! Lincoln did not free the slaves, he declared them to be free by the Emancipation Proclamation but that did not mean they were free. How so? Well, he outlawed slavery in territory where the United States government had no control over and secondly the proclamation did not outlaw slavery in the states that were still part of the Union. It was the 13th Amendment that ended slavery forever in the United States; after the war!

Remember, slavery is a part of our past I hope we do not repeat. It is a dark time in our past but we must learn from it in order as a people to move forward understand why it was there and why even today we still see controversy over it. It should have never happened nor even been conceived. But the notion of slavery has existed on this Earth since the days of the British Empire, Egyptians, Roman Empire, Russian Empire, Songhai Empire and the Middle East. If we are to condemn the South for an institution it supported than we must be consistent and condemn the British, Romans, Russians, the Africans, Egyptians, Middle Eastern peoples or any peoples that supported slavery in their own right.

To just condemn the Confederates soldiers who fought with valor, for freedom in their own right is hypocrisy, remember most Confederate soldiers did not own slaves. So when they fought under the Stars and Bars, they were fighting for a cause of freedom from a government that wanted to dictate to them. We must give the Confederate soldier his due, they fought for freedom, they fought for their state, for the ideals of constitutional liberty and the right of a people to set up a new government when the old one becomes repressive. To me, that is the meaning of the Confederate flag.

However, the Confederate flag has had its image tarnished by those seeing the black man and those different culturally. Some men would rather disgrace the flag in which their ancestors fought for valiantly against overwhelming odds and lost. They would rather replace the meaning of the Confederate flag with racism, segregation and bigotry than keep the flag to its true meaning. It is a slap on the face to those Southerners who gave their lives for their land and freedom. They would rather spew words of hate and give the perspective all Southerners share this feeling with hoods and possibly burning crosses. This is the meaning the Confederate flag for me when it is used incorrectly.

So if you were to ask me, what does Confederate flag mean to me? Here is my answer:

In the hands of right people it means, rebel, fighting for a just cause, constitutional liberty against overwhelming odds, Southern culture, pride and valor.

In the hands of the wrong people it means racism, segregation and bigotry. It also means dishonoring those men who gave their lives and fortune both black and white in the name of their country.

If we look at our history, the immoral institution of slavery was legal. The Northern states had the right idea, they abolished slavery, they knew it was wrong. The Southern states on the other hand did not abolish slavery and it was protected by the Constitution because the states held that power to abolish it. So what gives? Eventually, the Southern states would have abolished slavery in their time. Unfortunately, it never happened and many men died for the cause of freedom, both North and South.

A must read about the why the South fought in the war and gives a good meaning to what the Southern flag means.