She Who Fought Dictators with Her Voice: Mercedes Sosa and “Todo Cambia”

Mercedes Sosa (July 9, 1935 – October 4, 2009) can be remembered as one of the most memorable, famous, and great singers of the 20th century.   She was known as “La Negra” — the Black One, symbolizing the fact that she often sang for and with, giving voice to, those that are “darker,” and “blacker” –who are now expendable in a global structure, silenced and shunned.

She spent much of her life in prison, then had to live in exile from her homeland because of her leftist views.  She united many music aficionados across South America and in Europe by singing her native Argentinian folk songs as well as those of Cuba and Brazil, often singing of heartache. longing in their connection to loss, politics, and cultural survival.

Here, the video is one of my favorite songs by her: Todo Cambia, (Everything Changes).

I thank Nancho21 who uploaded this nice video on Youtube and I offer an edited version of the translation below the video.

What is superficial changes
What is profound also changes
The mind changes
Everything changes in this world.

The traveler changes his way
Even if this harms him
And just like everything changes
That I change is not strange

Change, everything changes
Change, everything changes

The sun changes its path
When the night prevails
The plants change and dress
in green in Spring

The beast changes its fur
The old man changes his hair
And just like everything changes
That I change is not strange

Change, everything changes
Change, everything changes

But my love does not change
Regardless of the distance
or the memory or the pain
Of my land and my people

What changed yesterday
Will have to change tomorrow
Just as I change
In this distant land

Everything changes
Everything changes
Everything changes
Everything changes

CORRECTED: New Blog about the historical Black Pacific

My new Blog site focused completely on my work in the world:

NEW BLOG SITE  (click here)

Some folks have noticed that I am not posting as intensely as I was a year ago.  This is because I am focusing increasingly on my presentations and work on my multimedia project and book: Dream of the Water Children.

I will continue to work here, on my ainoko blog but I will be posting on my Water Children blog, which means I will be on this ainoko site a tiny bit less frequently.  Please continue to follow me.  If you’re interested in following progress on my book and to hear the underpinnings of the project, the historical and cultural legacies and thoughts that will continue to form this multi-layered project, please visit both my website on the book, and the blog.

My Dream of the Water Children WEBSITE  is on the tab at the top of this site with the title Dream of the Water Children along with an overview.  You can ALSO CLICK HERE.

NEW BLOG SITE:  CLICK HERE

Please stop by, support, spread the word, come to my presentations, make comments, “like my posts” and whatever else you can!  Thanks!

Black-Okinawa in flux: Race/Space -February 11, Friday. Event in California

 


Event:  Blackness in Flux in Okinawa + Black Japanese Guest Artist

Time:        Friday, February 11 at 4:00pm - 6:30pm
      
Location:    UC Berkeley, Barrows Hall, Rm. 691

Organizers: PHD students, Co-recipients of UC Center for New Racial
Studies Grant,2010-11

Eriko Ikehara (UC Berkeley Ethnic Studies)
Mitzi Uehara-Carter (UC Berkeley Anthropology)

"Making Race in Between Racial "States of Being"

Two black-Okinawan graduate students at UC Berkeley will
present some of their research findings and their works in
progress on race, space, and US militarization in Okinawa.

This forum will also bring together several black- Japanese
who will share their poetry, art, and other creative works
which speak to blackness in flux in their own lives.


Guest performers:

Fredrick Cloyd
Sabrena Taylor
Michael James
Ahmed Yamato
Ariko Ikehara
Mitzi Uehara Carter

Program A: 4-4:45 pm

Mid-Year Grant Report

Ariko Ikehara: “Situating black-Amerasian Okinawans in
mixed space/race history”

Mitzi Uehara Carter: “Nappy Routes and Tangled Tales of
Blackness in Okinawa”

Program B: 5pm-6pm

Guest Performances

black-japanese-forum-flyer-final

For Immediate Release: Revoke the Barring of Professor Richard Shapiro

For Immediate Release
November 5th, 2010

WHAT: Protest at the Indian Consulate: Revoke the Barring of Professor Richard
Shapiro, End the Isolation of Kashmiris
WHERE: 540 Arguello Boulevard, San Francisco, CA,
WHEN: November 8th, 11am-12pm
Organized by Students and Friends of the International People's Tribunal on Human
Rights and Justice in Indian-administered Kashmir (IPTK)
Press contact: Amanda McBride, ciisstudentsolidarity@gmail.com, 415.627.7675

On Monday, November 8th, at 11 am, a group of students and community members will be
protesting IndiaÕs banning of Richard Shapiro, a US scholar, without any reported
legal basis. The protest will take place at the San Francisco Consulate General of
India, at 540 Arguello Boulevard.

On November 1st, 2010, Professor Shapiro was denied entry by the Immigration
Authorities in New Delhi.  Professor Shapiro is a US Citizen and Chair, Anthropology
Department, at California Institute of Integral Studies. Professor Shapiro traveled
to India with his life partner, Professor Angana Chatterji, a citizen of India and a
permanent resident of the US. Professor Chatterji, a prominent and frequent visitor
to the region, was granted entry to India while Professor Shapiro was prevented from
entering the country. Reports indicate that no legal basis was given for the
decision to deny his entry. Professor Shapiro was in possession of a valid passport
and visa. Given that Professor ShapiroÕs work focuses neither on South Asia nor
India, it appears that his right to travel has been restricted in an attempt to
further intimidate Professor Chatterji, and to discourage her from continuing her
work as Co-Convener of the International People's Tribunal for Human Rights and
Justice in Kashmir (IPTK).

Since 2006, Shapiro has regularly traveled to Kashmir, and interacted with various
human rights defenders, scholars, and youth to bear witness and to learn from their
experiences. He helped form a Jewish-Muslim Friendship Circle. The focus of his
scholarship and academic work is not India or Kashmir, but issues of race, class,
gender, and alliance building in the United States, and discourses on power and
subjectivity. Richard Shapiro had written an op-ed on Kashmir in 2009 and another in
September 2010. These were analytical pieces based on articles and newspaper
reports, and not on primary research that had been conducted by him. Any scholar can
do that. This is a matter of academic freedom, and beyond the control of states and
their desire to regulate thinking on the injustices they perpetrate.

On November 1, when Professor Shapiro first presented his passport to the
Immigration Authorities, he was stamped an entry permit. Then, they started
processing Professor Chatterji's passport. She has been stopped regularly since the
inception of IPTK in April 2008. As they paused over her passport, the Immigration
Officer again asked Richard Shapiro for his passport. Then, he was informed that he
may not enter India, and that the ban was indefinite. The Immigration Authorities
refused to pay for his return airfare. He was made to leave at 11.50 am that same
morning. The Immigration Authorities refused to give any reason, while stating that
Professor Shapiro had not been charged with anything.

This arbitrary and undemocratic act by the Indian government is an affront to
academic freedom, the right of families to be together, and further isolates
Kashmiris from international solidarity in their struggle for peace and justice. The
barring of an international scholar to Kashmir raises serious questions into the
functioning of democratic rights and human rights conditions of Kashmiris. Denying
Shapiro entry without due cause impinges upon academic freedom, freedom of movement,
and the right to travel with his legal partner and to visit his family in Kolkata.

The Indian state has regularly targeted those that have been outspoken on injustices
and military governance in Kashmir. The Indian state has targetted Professor Angana
Chatterji and her colleagues in Kashmir, Parvez Imroz and Khurram Parvez, for their
work defending human rights. Recently, writer Arundhati Roy was a target. When
academics, writers, and journalists are banned, such actions speak to the intent of
the Indian State in maintaining impunity, and in deliberately isolating Kashmiris
from the world and the world from Kashmiris.

We call upon the Government of India to:

*   Revoke the entry ban of Richard Shapiro from India.
*   Stop obstruction of the IPTK's work.
*   End barring without due cause.
*   Support democratic processes, the exchange of ideas.

For more information on the IPTK, see www.kashmirprocess.org.

For a press note by Scholars at Risk regarding Professor Shapiro, please visit:
http://scholarsatrisk.nyu.edu/Events-News/Article-Detail.php?art_uid=2454

The op-eds by Richard Shapiro:
Governing Kashmir (August 2010):
http://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/2010/Aug/29/governing-kashmir-17.asp

A Just Peace in Kashmir? (August 2009):
http://www.zcommunications.org/a-just-peace-in-kashmir-by-richard-shapiro

 

Faculty Head of our department denied entry into India

Our students in the Social Cultural Anthropology (SCA) at the California Institute of Integral Studies, where I received my Masters degree in 2001 and where I continue my PHD studies, has been busy the last few days as we intensify efforts to intervene in solidarity to the people of Kashmir and all those who are democratic in spirit, in a world increasingly divided along lines inherited from our nation-states and communities.  Richard Shapiro, who is the department head of the SCA department, was denied entry into India at the airport, where he was to meet his partner Angana Chatterji, who is also one of our faculty at the institute and is co-convener of the International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Kashmir.

This situation merits attention for those who want and need more democratic processes in the world, and to acknowledge the way states work in convening monopolies on power, even where there has been no crime committed.  How can he be turned away for doing nothing?  Why do states have more power than the people they are supposedly serving and protecting?  This is the crucial question of our historical present.

The below article from Yahoo News explains:

This coming Monday, November 8, at 11:00  in San Francisco, there will be a protest at the Indian Consulate, protesting this turn-away and the divisions and policies, actions and heritages that prop up these kinds of actions.  We must demand accountability to rights granted by our constitutions in democratic states and all states.

 

US professor sent back from Delhi airport

Wed, Nov 3 12:18 PM

Yahoo News. India.

A prominent US academic was sent back to America from Delhi airport on Monday, allegedly because his partner is associated with a human rights group in the Kashmir Valley.

According to the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition for Civil Society (JKCCS), immigration officials at the airport initially put an entry stamp on the passport of Prof Richard Shapiro, but cancelled it after they examined the passport of his partner, Angana Chatterji.

Chatterji is co-convener of the International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice, a voluntary organisation investigating alleged human rights abuses in Kashmir. She is professor of social and cultural anthropology at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), where Shapiro is Chair and associate professor of the Department of Social and Cultural Anthopology.

Chatterji was allowed to enter India, and is now in Srinagar. She said the immigration officials did not give any reason for denying Shapiro entry. No government official could be reached for a comment.

“This Monday, Richard Shapiro had travelled a long way from San Francisco to be with Angana Chatterji, who was travelling to Kashmir for work. When he first presented his passport to the immigration authorities, he was stamped an entry permit. Then they started processing Angana Chatterji’s passport.

She has been stopped regularly since the inception of IPTK in April 2008. As they paused over her passport, the immigration officer again asked Richard Shapiro for his passport,” JKCCS president Parvez Imroz said in a statement.

According to Imroz, Shapiro, a US citizen, has accompanied Chatterji, an Indian citizen and a permanent resident of the US, to India about 30 times since 1997. He does not work on Kashmir, but he has, since 2006, interacted with human rights activists in the Valley. He wrote two analytical pieces in local dailies in 2009 and September 2010, the JKCCS said.

According to Imroz, the immigration officials told Shapiro that the ban on his entry into India was indefinite. “They did not deport him or cancel his visa, but insisted that he return immediately. He was made to leave at 11.50 that same morning,” he said.

 

Uzbek Singer Sevara Nazarkhan

She bridges the traditional and pop/jazz/worldmusic genres.  She sings in Uzbek Turkic languages and also in Russian.  She is one of my favorites.

Sevara Nazazrkhan, along with Yulduz Uzmanova, are credited to have brought Uzebek music from its relatively isolated Central Asian and Turkic music scenes, onto the world scene.  Recent events in Uzbekistan remind us of the severe problems existing in the Caucuses and Central Asia due to the several imperial governments that have ruled through violence and heavy-handed central rule via invasions. Mongols, Turkic tribes, Persians and the Russians are the most standout imperial forces that have invaded and ruled the area, and influence the many kinds of peoples, cultures and tribes existing in the nation-state of Uzbekistan.  The recent massacres in 2005, the Andijan massacres ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2005_civil_unrest_in_Uzbekistan), attest to the central government’s use of violence to control the  state and having some of the worst human violations in the world that go along with impunity.

The rich cultural heritage of Uzbekistan’s cultural arts are reflected in Sevara Nazarkhan’s wonderful music. Islamic/Sufi spiritual tradition, Turkic communal music, popular music, Russian balladry, and various western and local dance styles dot the many music-scapes of Sevara’s albums.  Please enjoy.

Wikipedia information on Uzbekistan: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uzbekistan

Debate regarding the August-September 2010 ROMA evacuations in France

Political bodies arguing. States and nations being more important than people currently, increasingly.

Political bodies arguing that institutions and processes are in place in many European nations regarding ‘how to deal with’ the Roma.

The Roma, having to assimilate into the ‘civilized’ European, North American and Japanese colonial systems…..is already a violence, an exclusion, a globally-mandated assumption of obedient minorities having to create themselves into something they are not. It is already a set-up. The fascisms are not acceptable now. But there are residues of fascism in every state, in certain attitudes of many individuals, ourselves possibly. When things go underground, they adapt to the current milieu and operate with new tactics. It is easier to follow an ideology or a fundamental structure in our minds, families and neighborhoods. Many of the scientists and thinkers of fascist governments were paid by the so-called democratic states, to survive and thrive and continue to create in the name of the elites. They are everywhere. The residues show up in people’s attitudes. As I write this, some people have wanted me dead. It is not a surprise. Ethics, love, negotiation, difference, intensity, and struggle, are seen as unwanted. It’s so much easier if everyone just obeyed. It takes lots of obedience to be civilized. It takes lots of obedience to be many things. It is a struggle to think creatively about our issues and what it is we want.

There is little talk of getting programs and institutions together, providing counseling and educational change and other activities, to address the prejudice, racism, violence, brutality, impunity, and aggression of the dominant attitudes and behaviors against the Roma and other minorities. It is a set-up. But there are many who are privately setting up creative ways of resisting the dominant flow of treating minorities like something to do surgery on, to assimilate. The issue is dominance and resistance.

Apparently, much like some of the US Americans I know who are anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim (and whose families were probably anti-Japanese-American during WWII etc.), states have a right to keep the ‘other’ out. Who is ‘us’ and who is ‘them’?? The lines are often justifications for our psychological/social violences to be played out. It is that division, that demarcation, where we give permissions of violence. Nations and national systems are that place, an extension or perhaps where it begins through histories of developing from tribalism to ethnic/sexual/gender/racial/religious identity and national identity currently.

Now it all plays out in its failures. Violent nationalism internalized into safe havens and names such as ‘our state’ and ‘our city’ and ‘our people’. Tribalism continues as democracy fades. But democracy isn’t fading for many. It is enacted and seen everyday. There are thousands around the world, millions around the world, right next to us, who understand the difficult struggle for democratic ethics in our lives. We cannot confuse permissions without ethics with democracy. We cannot confuse the boundaries of identities as demarcations of democracy.

The Roma, the Kurds, the Jews, the Armenians, the Dahlit, the Ainu, the Mayans, and millions of other bodies are forced into the isolation called ‘minority’ and are treated like chess pieces and diseases in the national systems now global. We must make our way in the violent world structured by the dominant system and we are supposed to listen to these people and bodies that have somehow assumed precedence. Even as those in governments are for justice, the system requires you to be a strong state, complete with strong militaries and economies and secret hiding places and hidden tactics and lots of money to pay the secret operators to make the state into a certain self-image, leaving certain ideas, cultures, ways-of-thinking and acting, out of the equation of this imagined state.  It’s an imaginary of violence, playing out with hollow words such as ‘rights’ and ‘diversity’ and ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ in many cases.

There are many people in world government, such as can be seen in this video snapshot of politicians arguing about what to do with the Roma people, who actually care and want peace.  However, justice cannot come in states where peace is about obedience to laws, no matter how lofty.  Laws, in most powerful states, ignore the brutality of how that state came into being in the first place.  Law is not justice.  Neither is law about anarchic violence and tearing down of all.  Justice is more of an attention to history and creative processes of negotiation through differences. But in positions of privilege, where a person or a body of people ‘decide what to do with others’ is precarious when the rules of law are interpreted in different ways. What is worse, as Raphael Lemkin (1900-1959) himself, wrote the first writings on the term ‘genocide’ and watched about a third of the laws he proposed be left out when the genocide laws were implemented by the international body–because those laws that were too threatening to the so-called integrity of the state would make all states culpable and make the global national system criminal itself). The human rights system is a necessary group of policies, laws, and research and documentation bodies, do not get me wrong.  But no one can enforce them. There cannot be a human rights police.  So human rights are continually broken in the United States, the European Union, Japan and other nations.  All one can do is watch arguments or invasions.

What’s even more daunting is that the term ‘genocide’ has been coined as an event, a moment in time with a certain look, an obvious massacre and displacement and hatred. The issue is that genocides rarely happen as an event. Culminations in massacres happen, but the processes of cleansing in states and regions happen over long periods of time, due to intensifications of exclusion-wishing and creating our living spaces in certain ways that do not allow certain differences. Displacements may happen continually for centuries, making a certain group poor. Policies to exclude and keep them poor keep being passed, while institutions are set-up to ‘help’ these minorities. The help keeps that group in their particular circumstances and are designed to construct assimilation. Help is usually a form of surveillance and identity-making. It is created through the dominant’s will, not those who are marginalized. Propaganda can be created over decades, where racism and prejudice can strangle the look of a city or a state or a people into a  reality where certain people and communities and areas can only be seen through that lens of the constructed dominant instead of through a different lens. Criminalizating minorities and their actions is a tactic of killing the spirits and locking the men away, leaving vulnerable populations to fend for themselves. Since laws concern the privileged, what does survival look like for the already-vulnerable?  Genocide is not an event. The killing of spirits and ideas and lives happen over prolonged periods in all of the ways Raphael Lemkin has stated (in the complete version, not only in the edited version the international body has made public). So genocide may not look like genocide. For change in our world, we must intervene into these smaller structures of cultural killings before an event.  In fact, some philosophers have actually spoken to the everydayness of genocide. Our ignoring and going about our lives is an aspect of the killing of another community. Buying or not buying certain things can also play into killing ‘the other.’  We cannot wait for the ‘event’ that we recognize. By then it is usually too late.

These politicians can argue, but whoever has the biggest weapons currently controls whatever happens, regardless of human rights. States have more power than groups of persecuted peoples. States have become more important to maintain, rather than communities. Self-hatred begins to creep in as we think of ways to empower and resist. Making ourselves into ethnic groups, then wanting a state, seems to be a logical conclusion of ways to live, as the stronger states treat those within its boundaries that are not the dominant group, as well as weaker states and non-dominant peoples globally, as things to extract work from (exploit) and displace and make into problems at will. It is ugly. There is no secret. We all know individual people like this in our lives. But when it is larger, we may think they are nice people, but the structures will a certain pattern, a certain way for things to turn out. More and more people are no longer willing to take it, however.

Issues of dominance and dominant attitudes control the so-called ‘Roma issue’ and other minority peoples’ and stateless peoples’ living circumstances, continuing to be ‘cases,’ as can be seen in this video, in the early 21st century.  It brings up memories of World War II, fascism, and the current crisis of human, social, ecological systems at crossroads. They don’t fit it.  ‘They’ are nomadic, ‘they’ are communal and not individualistic, ‘they’ have ties to life-ways that are contradictory to the dominant globalizing state system. Where does difference come into play? What can be done? Must we/they obey to survive? Where is our creativity?