Show Notes, July 14, 2013

The episode’s recording is now available on BlogTalkRadio.

Listen to internet radio with Ayman Fadel on BlogTalkRadio

NRC Chairman visits Georgia Power Company

A jury in Sanford, FL found George Zimmerman not guilty of 2nd degree murder and manslaughter in the killing of Trayvon Martin. Whether Zimmerman is technically guilty, I can’t say because I don’t know the law and I did not hear the evidence. But I believe he is morally guilty, and, more importantly, the United States is morally guilty. Our society has made the black man a more dangerous weapon than guns. It extrajudicially kills a black person every 28 hours. Sidewalks under the feet of a black man are weapons, according to Zimmerman’s lawyer. Indeed, some people are celebrating Zimmerman’s actions and his being found not guilty.

Trayvon’s parents have settled a suit with undisclosed terms against the homeowners’ association which Zimmerman’s neighborhood watch was supposed to be protecting. Zimmerman remains subject to Federal civil prosecution. Supporters of Trayvon’s family should continue to monitor these avenues of redress.

But more importantly, people need to organize. I hope you know who Mumia Abu-Jamal is. He has been in jail since 1981 for the killing of a Philadelphia police officer. He was a member of the Black Panther Party and a distinguished radio journalist. I’m going to play for you a brief clip from Mumia Abu-Jamal on mass movements and a contentious Supreme court from Prison Radio, June 27, 2013. Prison radio’s website is prisonradio.org, and its content is licensed under Creative Commons License 3.0.

So, please, find yourself an organization whose goals you support and work for it. It’s not enough that you go to the polls ever year or two and vote for somebody.

I have also posted a link in the show notes to a clip by Mumia in which he predicted the trial’s outcome and described how prisoners were following the trial.

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Now to the Augusta Chronicle.

On Sundays, the editorial page contains guest columns. The first one which caught my attention was a column by Georgia Regents University professor Dr. Craig Douglas Albert entitled Decision to arm Syrian rebels is a terrible mistake. I agree that arming the rebels is not a good idea, but not necessarily for the reasons Dr. Albert mentions. I believe we need to end our military interventions abroad, and I don’t believe war and violence lead to positive results.

It is worth noting here that the CSRA Peace Alliance is sponsoring a program on Syria on Sunday, August 11, at 3:00 pm. Suffering Grasses, a film by internationally known documentarian Iara Lee, is scheduled to be screened and discussion will follow. The location is the Headquarters Library on Telfair St, and the event is free and open to the public.

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The lead editorial urges people to support the construction of a new Ronald McDonald House in Augusta. When I lived in Indianapolis, I translated for a Palestinian mother who brought her child for a heart surgery to correct a congenital defect. They stayed at the local Ronald McDonald House, and this helps a great deal.

You can visit the local Ronald McDonald House website at http://www.rmhcaugusta.org/.

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Another guest column today by Nancy M. Albert accuses the Supreme Court’s decision defending the rights of same-sex marriage couples of opening the door to polygamy. She then goes on to attribute to polygamy a range of societal ills and compared Muslim societies and populations in non-Muslim majority societies to the Yearning for Zion Ranch in Eldorado, TX.

This column is an example of using anti-Muslim prejudice and stereotypes to justify a position in United States culture wars. The idea that the SCOTUS decision preventing the Federal Government from squashing via DOMA same-sex marriages in states which legalized it is hardly likely to result in a legalization of polygamy, and, even if polygamy is legal, it is hardly likely to become popular and widespread in the United States. In fact, even in countries where it is legal, it is not popular and widespread.

But most importantly, to compare polygamy in societies across Africa and Asia with the Mormon splinter group’s Yearning for Zion Ranch in Eldorado, TX is offensive and misleading.

Most polygamous families are two wives, not the “dozens” Ms. Albert intimates. Polygamous families don’t practice segregation from the rest of society, so there are no compulsory multi-generational polygamous, consanguineous marriages. There is no mechanism to create xenophobia, “justify cheating outsiders” and “avoid diluting inheritances.”

Regarding genetic disease, in some cases consanguineous (primarily 1st cousin) marriages may increase the risk. Many societies worldwide allow 1st cousin marriages, and genetic testing is recommended in those cases to allow couples to assess their children’s risk of genetic disease. But I know of no country which compels Muslims specifically to do genetic testing. This assertion of Ms. Albert’s is another scare tactic based on falsehood.

Here is a description of Qatar’s mandatory testing program. Of course, Qatar is a very small country. No European country has mandatory testing.

And, again, that has nothing to do with polygamy as practiced outside of North American cults.

When I was studying 2 months, in Kano, Nigeria, the family I stayed with consisted of a husband, two wives and their children. I did not interact with the wives, but the children seemed to function fine and I never noticed anything abusive. When I left, I gave gifts for the two wives and they both came out of the “women’s section” of the house to thank me and wish me goodbye.

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On page 5B, we learn that lobbyists gifts to executive branch employees and officials are still flowing, despite Governor Deal’s executive order limiting the value of gifts to $25.

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Short-staffed Georgia Environmental Protection Division can’t inspect Georgia’s 5,000 dams to determine which need repair. Many of these dams were built in rural areas more than 50 years ago. At that time, dam failure would not jeopardize human life. However, with suburban sprawl, many formerly rural areas are now filled with homes.

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