Speak Arabic Openly and Joyfully!

Arabic is a tapestry

Modern Standard Arabic is a construct used to help Arabic speakers living over a wide expanse to understand each other. To speak the language, and yet be understood, you have to choose among Arabic dialects specific to particular geographical areas, as suggested by the map below:

Arabic_Dialects.svg

Modern Standard Arabic is akin to Esperanto among its many speakers: about 400 million Arab speakers on this planet of ours!

Lines on a map I’ve viewed 10,000 times mask the neighborhood scenes, but empires find borders (preferably using a straight edge) an expedient means for control.  Africa before Europeans. Is there a downside?  Empires rape as much as they can as fast as they can, but what’s wrong with that?  Endless decadence for one.

My safari (سفر, from Swahili) into Arabic started some years ago when teaching a German class: sample, sample. One student was born in Jerusalem. Palestinians live under constant occupation. Occupied by Ottomans until 1923, British Empire until May 1948, then another legal entity to 2016 and counting (down). But Palestine is a forever place.

I made a good deal “if you can learn some German I can learn some Arabic.” It was a means for transcending culture and stereotypes, the kind explained in the documentary Reel Bad Arabs.

It’s fun tackling curiosities in Indo-European roots. Only recently did I discover that Persian shares Indo-European roots along with most European countries. Their alphabet looks like Arabic, but there isn’t much overlap in vocabulary.

Farsi doesn’t use the root system – a fundamental building-block system for assigning meaning. Arabic dictionaries are arranged by consonant groupings

SFR = SaFaRi, a journey

indo-european-word-history-of-plek

Arabic script is brilliantly beautiful. The Roman alphabet has a tiny toolbox, as useful as thimbles for trumping fingers and thumb IMO.

Latin doesn’t even have lowercase letters and it does not often include curved letters like U when a V will do. But they are easier to chisel into stone.

alan-dunn-does-ex-take-the-ablative-or-the-dative-new-yorker-cartoon

Nothing beats a zero when speaking the language of science. The Romans didn’t get there. To paraphrase the John Cleese (Why does British food suck? “they had an empire to run.” It’s not easy to derive square roots using Roman numerals.

Let me say something about resources: not all Arabic alphabet aids are good. This one helped me the most: Sugar comes from Arabic.

Many Spanish words derive from Arabic. They stayed on after Arabic culture was forceably ejected from Spain in 1492. So at least two all-time epic fails happened in 1492.

The Crusades and the Inquisition (The Church Militant) were not good ideas. Spreading lies like Joseph Goebbels lends not a single grain of truth. Truth went into exile from 1933 to 1945. No literature or art of any value springs forth under Fascism. Nothing good comes of Fascism. “When I hear the word ‘culture’…”

Islamophobia (from the xeno family of racism) will not lead to a better gentler world.

An earlier post on this theme: Thinking about language

 #RumiWasntWhite.

 

 

 

Understanding the School to Prison Pipeline, Cincinnati tour: Avondale

billziegler1947.com/category/prison

America’s prison-industrial-complex becomes an ever larger sector of the global economy with every passing year: it’s not going to change until we own the ability to break the vicious cycle at its deepest roots. I’m a citizen of this tiny planet who still believes “Think Global, Act Local.” It’s more than a bumper sticker.

This is also a personal invitation to anyone finding themselves near the juncture of Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky June 25 between 3 and 6 o’clock.

Source: Understanding the School to Prison Pipeline, Cincinnati tour: Avondale

Update: my reaction to the teach-in that I posted on FaceBook.

This teach-in was marvelously planned and conducted. The visual aids were convincing and well documented. My thanks go to everyone who made this possible. The room was filled and I look forward to the next one scheduled for next month in Price Hill. It’s important information for an informed citizenry. Grass-root movements like this one are crucial.
My written stuff is more coherent than my vocal attempts these days, so I’m including a link here to the articles I’ve written this past year on the subject of America’s prison-industrial-complex, how it relates to being a Mensch. Again, my thanks to all and each.

Thanks for reading.

#HateHurts

#HateHurts is a blog I follow and recommend. Misinformation and deliberate bias provokes; it intends to provoke. Broadcasters who long for a return to the Pre-Enlightenment write volumes that with titles like The Glory of the Crusades. Authors with absolutely no knowledge of Arabic language and diverse cultural roots endlessly repeat bad translations of the Quran. This is not scholarship: the title is all you need. Wink and a nod to the ignorant, arrogant and angry. The following video features propaganda using false witness.

Not responding to evil is a complicit act.

In the aftermath of acts of violence/terror by someone from a Muslim background, there is a unique backlash that takes place against Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim. There is often an upswing in assigning collective blame to the greater Muslim community, resulting in violent attacks or harassment against Muslims and their institutions. This […]

via A List of Anti-Muslim Incidents Since The Orlando Shooting — #HateHurts

Better Living through Buycotting

I am updating this post from June 2016 to focus upon the cows, chickens and fish excluded from non-vegan conversation — the other sentient beings on this planet.

Tomato farming in Florida relies on the most exploited and marginalized. Working conditions are among the worst in the US: each workday brutally slams workers’ bodies. Everyday existence means pesticides, bugs, heat, humidity, humiliation, hopelessness. Consumers who could give less than a crap will wait in long lines at a drive-through

Celebrating the Women of Fair Trade

fairfood_icon_6002

A few cents can be the difference between bitter privation and mere privation.  A slice of tastelessness for the harried in the land of freneticism is a cost of production, it’s also a joke to consume.

Tomato-message

“As Chairman of Wendy’s Board of Directors and one of the company’s largest shareholders, Mr. Peltz is also one of Wendy’s top decision makers.  And Wendy’s is the only one of the country’s top five fast-food companies to decide — in 2016, after five years of unprecedented progress for farmworkers in Florida under the Fair Food Program — that it is better to fight than to join the FFP and help lift the farmworkers who pick their tomatoes out of generations of grinding poverty.”

nelson.peltz.protest

E.F. Schumacher wrote of “economies of scale” in 1974. I still own a copy of Small is Beautiful. Its message speaks to its subtitle: “Economics as if People Mattered.” I would add “animals” to that.

small.is.beautifulI am also one who believes that Jimmy Carter‘s grasp of economics is as strong as his understanding of the proper use of the word “apartheid.”

Bill Ziegler Empties A Room

I haven’t mentioned my ability to clear a room of human occupants before. To paraphrase someone I don’t appreciate “You work with the skill set you have.”

Speaking candidly places you in the disturbing position of H.G. Wells’ protagonist in “The Country of the Blind.” Having an ability not shared by the company you share is taken as a threat by the opposing viewpoint. I’ve discovered that vegans are not always greatly valued. Vegans are welcome here.

Adventures in a state of vegan

Replacing your body’s molecules one at a time. What gives?

Incarceration Industries and US

Prisons, Portfolios and Humans as Resources

Prisons are like factory farms: in an American mindset they are just there. Small town employment opportunities depend on their existence, it’s what holds many small communities together: the jail, the slaughterhouse, the slightly trained health services workers, the armed-services recruitment center.

The occasional cow (one of a billion) breaks out and wanders onto the local highway. It makes the local news, the cow gets its fifteen minutes and an unlikely pardon. Prisoners are like cows, a link in the foodchain.

Let’s get in contact with a money manager and ask about prospects for spare dollars. Begin with questions:

How can I get in one of the fastest growing sectors of the American economy? Do I have to sell my soul to make the biggest bucks? Should my portfolio include prisons? Are there any risks to me personally? What are the long term prospects? Could growth slow down?

But not everyone is butt-ignorant. There are people who speak honestly of “business ethics” as two words that should go together well. They deserve your ear.

Read what Berna writes.

from Berna’s Vibe: THREE STRIKES LAW

blackmenprison

From Leo Tolstoy: I sit on a man’s back. Yes, we’re still riding that guy with every assurance that “getting with the program” is a good idea and  in full keeping with the best system ever created by man or beast.

Taking a look now at our record since bellying up against the Soviet republics and their union. Who is number one? Who is standing atop a heap of bison skulls?

incaration.rates.nato

PrisonPolicy.org has well presented, well researched information.

Around 1963 I sat in the doctor’s office waiting room. I picked up Esquire and read an aritcle by Gore Vidal on the consequences of stringent controls on certain prescription drugs. He warned of its potential societal harm. It was an introduction to critical thinking.

Welcome to Jail, Inc. from The Guardian

Unless our course is changed, the prison-industrial-complex conjoined with its mighty twin the military-industrial is the future of America. Conceived and directed by our jailer mentality.

Repeat these three words three times: We’re Number 1

prison.pie

Repeat these three letters three times: USA

Post late-stage capitalism has its growth industries. Last month gentle souls seeking gain gathered in Texas.

late.stage.capitalism

American Jail dot Org has a bright red banner stating “I need to be a part of this.” Dystopias need allegiances, selling out is an American tradition and the fourth of July is just behind the corner.

The human body consumes its own molecules when it starves. Its decline is marked by accelerating and seemingly sudden changes (like hitting the pavement after jumping off the top floor), such as viewing the explicable in the rear-view.

We’re not in Kansas anymore, nor is Kansas. Noth the Kansas I knew in 1970 at Kansas State.

Let’s take a drive through Syria from the perspective of the journalist behind the wheel: Mad Max Redux in progress.

Reality shows morph into reality, and back again. The morphed becomes a morpher.

Is anyone watching this? Stanley Cohen is one of the one in a million. He was quite literally in Canaan (a prison complex in northeast PA). It isn’t the Promised Land. Your best source for accurate detailed information about Mr. Cohen is Caged but Undaunted. Soon to leave New York for the Middle East.

Bertolt Brecht posed a question for the audience in Der gute Mensch von Sezuan. (The Good Person of Szechwan) The question his play seeks to answer:

Is it possible to simultaneously exist in this world, yet remain a good person?

The jury is out, perhaps for the count.

America Nakba Tour Memories

 

Refugee crisis continues, right to return still a universal human right

It was my privilege to meet personally with Umm Akram, Amena Ashkar and Samir Salem when the North America Nakba Tour visited Cincinnati Clifton Mosque (Masjid): a Cincinnati Palestine Solidarity Coalition event.

traditional.values.universal

The British Empire closed shop on their Raj in India in 1947 and they left Palestine in 1948. At the same time another colonizer opened shop under new management and with a new name. They had owned the place 3,000 years ago and decided to own it again.

Speaking truth to power is not the same as speaking truth to the powerless.

I had a light bulb moment:

Amena momentarily flinched when a questioner referred to an entity I am calling SRL. Her reaction gave me pause and served as a reminder of the entity that controls the narrative: those who lived in Palestine 3,000 years ago and decided to own it again.

Never believe your own propaganda.

I’m calling the entity (one of the words Amena uses) SRL because I am presently learning one of the Semitic languages based on the root system. The larger of the Semitic languages has 300,000,000 speakers, but the principal language in SRL is spoken by 9,000,000. The word antisemitism should be redefined.

My ears and eyes are always open to the slightest mention of anything Palestinian in the news. American media is either corporately owned or corporately sponsored. Censoring the news is ungodly expensive. Without the billions of dollars infused into SRL the whole entity would collapse under its own weight.

Stolen land? What stolen land? Nina Paley’s animated take on land rights is worth your time IMO. Following Nina Paley is worth all the while. If you are having a problem choosing your next Paley animation: Nina Paley Blog.

nina.paley.goddess

So my question hangs in the air: “why is it always okay to freely and frequently speak the word Isr**l, wave their colors, celebrate eternal victimhood, speak loud, act brazen, flex Spartan muscles, trot out the toys of a soldier society…

Occupation of another people is not a universal human right.

Back to SRL. The SRLies use the word Palestinian as a curse word. They never even whisper the word PALESTINE.

Thanks for reading.

Knaves, Fools and Alternate History

Why think about living life backward into time to witness the hideous carnage left by the politics of certainty.

 

Chicanery is the lifeblood of politics. It’s the same blood that has flowed through humans since prehistoric differences of opinion formed borders, barriers and fences: sow the seeds of war. Good fences make…

We arrive at understanding through our collective memories found in myth. Mythology is eternally familiar, exposing our baser minds but letting us look at the stars. Unless you’re the one starving in a garret with no skyward window.

Myth is about asking inscrutable questions, the inexplicable is never really inexplicable. Everything is woven along an uninterrupted thread leading from the present-time into unalterable history. Infinite paths may mold the future, but only one path leads to the past. The inscrutable is always scrutable, tension: the certainty of the unexpected.

2016 is another strange leap year in American politics.

I remember 14 presidential elections from leap years 1956 to 2016. Whether mundane or jaw-dropping, they are 20-20 glimpses, but you won’t know that until after the die is long cast.

Back to No Future: Daze of Rage

A toss of the hat to Hidden Causes, Visible Effects

I’ve been spinning wheels here trying to draft coherent thoughts  on the inexplicable year 2016. My earliest election year memories extend to 1956 television: watching people in suits holding a sign with the word Connecticut, someone being handed the microphone and booming out an exact count ‘for the right honorable Carey Estes Kefauver.’

carey.estes.kefauver

It’s fourteen leap-years later, but I recall none that parallel even the first five months of 2016.

So, citing a fellow traveler who recalls at least as many election years as I:

Hidden Causes, Visible Effects:

dk.fennell

“One doesn’t have to be particularly observant to notice that we have entered dangerous territory in our public realm. The fact that the Republican Party will nominate a man who makes openly racist appeals, attacks by name and ethnic background a judge presiding over a case in which his business is a party (in a money case, not even a matter of judicial philosophy), insists that as President he will cut back press protections and “have people sue you like you never get sued before,” refuses to rule out first strike use of nuclear weapons, flirt with authoritarians and dictators, ridicules the disabled, women, protestors…”

Read more: Back to No Future: Daze of Rage

Now that I have stood upon another pair of shoulders I will continue to laze-out, taking just the time to pose a trivia question, which of the Chicago 7/Chicago 8  was a University of Cincinnati alumnus, later to become a stock-market revolutionary? Hint below.

jerry.rubin
From The Native Angeleno

Just for the record, the answer to this trivia question does not help explain 2016. So I shall go back to drawing straws.

And do not hesitate to contact me if you can predict anything by November.

Kalief Browder Learned How to Commit Suicide on Rikers

Jennifer Gonnerman is the journalist I credit with introducing me to a young man trapped as thoroughly as the protagonist Kafka introduced in his uncompleted novel Der Prozess (The Trial), a recognition of injustices that compel gentle souls to scream at the every day horror of the everyday.

jennifer.gonnerman.new.yorker.award

One year ago billziegler1947 became a vehicle for transporting readers via metaphor: the ancient and modern Greek for “transport.”

The transport stops here, I turn the wheel over to Ms. Gonnerman:

Before Browder ever attempted to take his own life, he saw another inmate in the jail try to end his.

Source: Kalief Browder Learned How to Commit Suicide on Rikers – The New Yorker

democracy.now.kalief.browder
African Voices: a Tribute to Kalief Browder by Jennifer Gonnerman

excerpt from her New Yorker article published at 10:45 this morning.

On June 6, 2015, Kalief Browder took his own life at his home, in the Bronx. He was twenty-two years old. He had been released from Rikers Island two years earlier, ending an ordeal that had begun on a spring night in 2010, when he had been arrested for robbery, at sixteen. He spent the next three years in jail trying to prove his innocence, and, for about two of those years, he was held in solitary confinement, where he attempted suicide several times. The charges against him were eventually dropped. I met him after his release and wrote a story about him in the fall of 2014.

Please remember Mr. Browder each Memorial Day, acknowledging the fallen and the falling: the failure of a society.

african.voices.kalief.browder
African Voices: a Tribute to Kalief Browder by Jennifer Gonnerman

Thanks for reading.