Alice Walker Disinvited from U. of Michigan Over Stance on Isreal

Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Alice Walker has been outspoken about Israel and its relationship to Palenstine, going as far as refusing to allow her works to be translated and sold in Israel.

After some of the school’s donors removed funds due to her stance, Walker was been disinvited as a speaker at the University of Michigan.

Here’s the message Walker received as well as part of her response:

UN Recognizes State of Palestine, Despite U.S. Objections

The United Nations have voted by a more than two-thirds majority to recognize the state of Palestine.

The resolution upgrades Palestine to the status of “nonmenber observer state,” and is being called a “diplomatic defeat for the United States.”

Palestinians rejoiced upon learning the news, but their quest for independence still depends on a peace deal with Israel.

Hip Hop Is ‘Mixtape of the Revolution’ in Africa and the Middle East

Sujatha Fernandes has written a fascinating op-ed for the New York Times on Hip Hop’s influence on the waves of revolutions and protests across the Middle East and Africa.

According to Fernandes, Rappers have become highly influential spokespeople for a generation of youth disillusioned with an establishment deaf and blind to their concerns. Emcees are resonating with young people by concerning themselves with the experiences of those on the street, and give a voice to the voiceless.

What we are witnessing is the continued power of Hip Hop music and culture. It may have been co-opted by the establishment in America; but in Africa and the Middle East Hip Hop is setting off one revolution after another.

Youth as the Miner's Canaries of Democracies!

In Peter Coy’s article the Kids Are Not Alright, he quotes that democracies are “much better at managing large numbers of highly educated people” than are nations with an official leader who has absolute authority (read: autocratic countries).  Leaders of autocratic nations face the dilemma of needing an educated work force to grow their country’s economy, but with increased levels of education the possibility of political dissent grows. This point is most elaborated in the recent youth revolts in Egypt and Tunisia.  A large part of what drove Egyptian and Tunisian youth to take action were the high unemployment rates. Across the globe youth in democracies also face high (or even higher) unemployment rates, yet, they aren’t toppling their respective governments. In democratic nations like Spain and the United States,  where the youth in Spain and American minority youth’s  unemployment rates are the equivalent or significantly higher than those rates seen in Egypt and Tunisia, why are the youth not carrying out mass political demonstrations?

Was It OK For Beyonce, Usher, and Mariah Carey To Perform For The Qaddafi Family?

According to the New York Times, as well as documents obtained by Wikileaks, a slew of pop megastars have received massive paychecks from the dictatorial/psychotic Qaddafi family of Libya, in exchange for private concert performances.

While the people of their country were living in utter poverty and misery, and tortured and/or imprisoned if they ever dared to express dissent, General Qaddafi’s sons were throwing lavish parties in St. Bart’s, extending invitations to some very big names. A recent New Year’s Eve blowout featured back-to-back performances from Usher and Beyonce. The year prior, Mariah Carey rang in the New Year with the Qaddafi’s. All reportedly netted a whopping $1 million a piece for their services.