The Singer Who Defied Nigeria’s Generals

Inter Press Service (IPS) Sept 27, 2008

The scene is 1977 in Lagos, Nigeria. Film projections show people racing frantically to escape the thousand troops who have surrounded and invaded Kalakuta, the communal living space and recording studio of musician-songwriter, Fela Anikulapo Kuti.

In a handful of years, Fela had become a worldwide music phenomenon and trenchant political critic of the regime.

How could the songs of one man be deemed such a political threat that the president, Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, seeks to destroy him so brutally?

FELA!, a stunning U.S. musical theatre piece premiering in New York, tells the story using Fela’s own radical lyrics set to the Afrobeat he created out of jazz, African rhythms, funk and reggae. The play is a stirring musical indictment of decades of misrule by Nigeria’s thuggish military dictators

“Where‘s Mobutu!”

June 18, 2008 –

I never thought I‘d hear those words, certainly not at the Council on Foreign Relations. Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico spoke at a Council lunch today. The subject was immigration. Before the talk, several people, including this reporter, stopped at the speaker’s table to chat. Maurice I was standing there when Maurice Tempelsman approached Richardson. The Governor greeted him and said, “Where‘s Mobutu!”

Well, that was a conversation stopper! Tempelsman, a very very rich man, and a generous donor, frequently gets a place of honor at the Council head table, though not today. Nobody raises the question of how he got his money.

Peru: US Gov’t Document Links García to 1980s Death Squads

Inter Press Service (IPS), Dec 5, 2007

There is irony in the recent announcement by Peru’s President Alan García that he would publish the names of 1,800 freed terrorists, so that people might recognise and report them if they were participating in anti-state conspiracies. His list includes people imprisoned on false charges or never convicted or sentenced.

One name that is not on the list is that of Alan García. Alan However, according to a declassified U.S. government document, García, during his first administration from 1985-1990, gave instructions to terror squads organised by his political party to assassinate suspected leftists. Victims included trade unionists and other civil society leaders.

This writer discovered the document, and it was declassified at her request. It is posted following the full article.

With the women at Houston: feminism as national politics

  Lucy Komisar covered the women’s convention in Houston and wrote about it for The Nation, December 10, 1977. (text version is below)         WITH THE WOMEN AT HOUSTON: FEMINISM AS NATIONAL POLITICS LUCY KOMISAR The blue and green bunting, the state delegation signs, the three-cornered hats that said Free D.C., the […]