Tag Archives: Injustice

Why I’m Against War: A Military-Veteran Speaks

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Author’s-Note:

Mike Colon, whom I met online, has welcomed me as a Brother. With us united by our Islāmic-Faith, we’ve gotten the chance to learn more about each other. I’ve had the great opportunity to have him educate me as per his Military-Experience as a Muslim, which he’s also graciously allowed me to interview him based on it.

GB: How long have you been a Muslim: are you a Muslim-Revert, or Born-Muslim?

MC: I am a Muslim-Revert; I became a Muslim when I was 17 back in February of 2000 in El Paso, Texas.

GB: How long have you served in the Military, which National-Military, which Armed-Forces Branch?

MC: I was in the Military from September 2001 to September 2006. I was in the United States Marine Corps.

GB: Have you ever seen Live/Active Combat, and if so, how has that made an impact on your practice of Islām?

MC: I was involved in Combat Operations during the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. My Unit earned a Combat Action Ribbon. It has impacted my practice of Islam in the past. After being in combat, I came home and began to rely upon Islam as a way of dealing with my PTSD, depression, and anxiety. Some days were better than others. Some days I didn’t want to get out of bed, other days I isolated myself in the Mosque.

GB: How has Military-Life shaped your Worldview of Peoples whom are Native to the Places where Military-Conflicts take place?

MC: I think that Military life has made me sympathetic to indigenous people’s rebellions and their insurgencies. I saw death and destruction first hand, up close and personal. I saw what we did and I understand why people wanted to attack us.

GB: What has been the Pros & Cons of the Military-Experience?

MC: Pros and Cons of Military life are many. Let me start with the cons: I suffer from anxiety, depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I see the world through jaded lenses. I have a very pessimistic outlook. What I witnessed and have done weighs on my soul deeply. As for the pros, well I think being pushed past my mental and physical limits was a good thing. Other than that I didn’t learn much that would be of any use in a civilian environment.

GB: When did you make the Decision to become Active in the Veterans against War Movement?

MC: It was in 2013 that I decided to join Iraq Veterans against the War. It was after having a discussion with Sheikh Abdullah Bin Hamid Ali that really made me realize that I needed to get involved in an active way against American Imperialism.

GB: How has War generally influenced your Perception of Life & Death, or has it at all?

MC: War has influenced my perception of life and death in a big way. I feel like death can seize us at any moment. Death is real and always near!

GB: Are there any regrets. Is which have, in terms of being in the Military?

MC: I think that I have many regrets, but at the same time I owe my intestinal fortitude, ability to run toward a threat to my training and experience in the Marines.

GB: As both a Muslim & a Minority, who’s literally placed their life on the line via Military-Service for the United States: what’s your Views regarding the Anti-Muslim, Anti-Immigrant Policies being promoted by the Trump-Administration?

MC: My views on the anti Muslims and anti immigration policies are that they all come from the same satanic source of white supremacy. This is why white passing Latinos (Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio for example) can support the policies being pushed by the Trump administration and those of us with brown/indigenous features will hit up the front lines against white supremacy.

GB: How are you able to cope with knowing that you’re the Member of 2-Demographics within the United States which are constantly targeted by Bias & Bigotry?

MC: As for dealing with being part of of two demographics of folks that are being assaulted in Trump’s America-The way I deal with it is through Islam: prayer and good deeds, being a good person based upon what Islam teaches helps my mind & soul attain ease. Also, training myself by: lifting weights, martial arts, boxing, etc. & just keeping the body strong just in case I have to get down. Keeping the company of good people and making alliances with folks that care about the struggle.

GB: What would ultimately be your Advice for any Muslim who’s either currently serving in the US-Military or has aspirations of joining the Ranks of the US-Military?

MC: For Muslims who are currently serving, I say get out! Do whatever it takes to get out of the military.  For those that want to join, I say don’t do it.

GB: Speak more in detail, regarding the Iraq Veterans Against The War: its purpose & objectives, goals, etc. Also, tell me about the Advocacy for bringing Deported-Veterans back to the United States.

MC: For more information regarding the IVAW (Iraq Veterans Against The War) go to: http://www.ivaw.org/mission-values-and-vision

As for the advocacy regarding veterans who have been deported, we are in solidarity with them. Many of those veterans are members of veterans for peace. Our organization IVAW arose from VFP (Veterans For Peace). Many of our members are both VFP and IVAW members. Many of us work with the campaign to bring the deported veterans back to the United States.

GB: What can People like me, as well as others who will read this & get a glimpse of your Story: how can we help People like you in your Struggles coming from a Military-Life & reverting to a Civilian-Life once again?

MC: I think the best thing is Community-Support. Having a community to transition to-Being in the military and being in prison are similar. Veterans are able to transition into prison life with ease. You go from one governmental institution to another. I’m speaking from experience. So having a muslim community to come back to is amazing. I was basically homeless when I came out of the Marines. It was living in a broken down RV in a ‘friends’ backyard. It was a Muslim brother (Afro-American) that took me into his home…fed me and took care of me, even when I was sick, like I was just like a member of his family: a recovering Alcoholic who credits Islam to saving his life.

GB: Well…you’ve most definitely given an insightful Interview, regarding this Chapter of your Life-Journey. My hope for you is that Allah constantly/consistently bring you closer to a space & place of Inner-Peace.

Gareth Bryant/2017

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Apathetic Times

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We live in the days of Malice…
…selfishness make us callous.

All we desire is to pursue our own wants…
…we live by immorality, demonic thoughts.

All day in, all day out…
…we complain & shout.

Forgetting just all too often…
…to be grateful for something.

We look down upon those who have less…
…thinking material things equal success.

It’s like we only concern ourselves with Fashion’s latest trends…
…or how many millions our favorite celebrity makes and spends.

We worry too much about when’s the next time we will eat Steak or Lobster…
…while millions of People on the Planet die because they lack clean Water.

But, in the end, we just chase the Illusion…
…to an dauntingly never ending conclusion.

We perceive that this is all there is to life…
…attaining things while causing others strife.

There will be a day when we will regret not caring for one another…
…we’ll be shamed for treating our fellow Man as less than a brother.

There will be fear, we will shed tears…
…and know that this day is very near.

Gareth Bryant/2015

Muslims Giving Back’s annual participation at the annual AFSP: Out Of the Darkness Overnight promoting Suicide-Awareness & Suicide-Prevention

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Donate to the efforts of Muslims Giving Back below…Support Project: #Walk4life:

http://www.theovernight.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donordrive.participant&participantID=13648

Darren Wilson: Wanted Dead Or Alive

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Drastic actions, deadly reactions…
…freed by racist Judicial-Magicians.

Human life given no value because the victim is a Black-Youth…
…Michael Brown seen in the eyes of White-America as uncouth.

Darren Wilson, Cop in Question, snuffed-out a fellow Human being…
…he had him marked for Death, he was on his list from the beginning.

He himself is a cowardly bastard, preying upon the weak…
…no chance against his oppressor, he was way too meek.

This young man was murdered, because of the color of his skin…
…now the killer has gone free, insulting his kith as well as his kin.

But, he deserves to die, because of his crime against Humanity…
…the bogus Kangaroo-Jury who set him loose possesses insanity.

His time will come, either now or in the Hereafter…
…yet, he thinks that he can just walk with laughter.

Someone, anyone…take him down…
…destroy the arrogance of this clown.

Some may think that I’m an extremist, but screw em…
…just think of the community and lives he has ruined.

He needs to pay for his wrong…
…may his life not be at all long.

May he burn in Hell for what his hands have earned…
…may this be reminders for us & lessons be learned.

Gareth Bryant/2014

Eric Garner: the NYPD was his Judge Jury & Executioner

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Eric Garner

NYPD Officers, in Staten Island, New York City, are responsible for the unjust, unnecessary, death by choking, of a Eric Garner. To some this is just a usual isolated incident, of NYPD policing gone terribly wrong. However, for Peoples of Afro-American & Latino-American descent, this has become an all too prevalent expectation of ours: to be confronted, assaulted, violated, and possibly murdered, without any thorough investigation, a nonsense farce of a trial, in another part of New York State, to ensure the acquittals of the Officers who abuse their authority against their victims.

This free-for-all melee of abuses of policing-powers, ever since the dark-days of the Rudy Giuliani administrations, till the present day, we, as ethnically marginalized Peoples, along with other types of targeted demographics, such as Muslims, for example, which I am also a member of this particular demographic… so now, I have 3-strikes against me: Muslim…Black/Hispanic…Black/Hispanic Male…I could’ve just as easily been victimized in the savage manner as Eric Garner was, in my native Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.

One really has to ask one’s self a very serious question: “Okay, this man was confronted by Police, for whatever reason. But, how & why did it escalate to him dying, and by being choked to death? Where is the judge & jury, where’s the recitation of this person’s Miranda-Rights, where’s his phone-call for his atorney/next-of-kin, where’s his day in Court?”. And, sadly, his day in Court was deal to him like gangsters deal with their adversaries, for Eric Garner, Court was held in the Streets. But, then, what is the point of Police, when they are the one’s constantly violating the laws in which they’re hired, paid, trusted by their Citizenry & lawmakers to uphold.

In the words of a very wise, young, Muslim-Brother, by the name of Ibrahim Jaaber, “You can’t uphold the Law, if you’re the one above it.”. And, this is the crust of the problem, folks: persons with guns & badges, who think that those they’ve sworn to “protect & serve” are to have the absolute right to abuse & dehumanize all and or any whom they wish, just because the have the fire-power, and political-protection, known as their shields, to do so. So, what are we, as a People, as a society, as a Nation, going to do about this? We can no longer state that, “Oh, they’re just doing their jobs.”, we got that cleared-up with the finds of Stop-And-Frisk, along with religious infiltration into specific Religious-Communities, more specifically, Muslim-Communities. And, we can’t state that these are isolated incidents, because, from Anthony Baez, to Abner Louima, to Amadu Diallo, to Sean Bell, and now Eric Garner…what the Hell is going on?!!!

I’ll tell you exactly what’s going on, we have severely regressed, as a society & nation, and have reverted back to the old-ways of the olden days of Jim-Crow type policing-abuses, which basically give the Police the unlimited authority to abuse whom they choose, with little to no consequences on part of the Officers in question who abuse, while even pressuring, threatening, victims with deportation, violence, etc., for exposing the abuses of authority by Police. It’s crystal-clear to me, and should be to anyone & everyone else that there’s is no such thing as a Colorless-America, since Barack Obama has been a President, nor has the dreams of persons like Martin Luther King, Jr. have been authentically realized, nor has there been any true strides by the so-called leaders of our communities to do anything substantial to change the negative nature & relationship that the Common-People have with Law-Enforcement.

Gareth Bryant/2014

Yasmin Mogahed’s position on the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict:

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Author’s-Note:
Yasin Mogahed’s spin on the issue takes us to a place that we ca all relate to: it sets us up & forces us to truly reflect upon the different scenarios that she presents, and how we would view them, had they been in place of the Palestinian-Israeli issue.

I used to wonder why some Palestinian people would engage in actions that could only provoke the aggressor further. Then I realized that to ask a people to live quietly, while they have no justice and no freedom, is to ask them to live “peacefully” as slaves. “Peace” without justice or freedom is slavery. It’s like asking a battered woman to live “peacefully” with her abuse. We all want the bloodshed to stop. But what about the daily humiliation and institutionalized oppression?

I was reminded of a part in “The Hunger Games” when Katniss considers abandoning the resistance against the oppressor, in exchange for “safety”. Gale’s response was telling. He said: “Safe to do what? Starve? Work like slaves? Send their kids to the reaping?”

Consider this: If a woman is being raped, things would be a lot more “peaceful” if she didn’t resist. But, asking her not to resist–just because her attacker is physically stronger–is asking her to accept her own abuse and oppression for the sake of “peace”. This is what the world is asking Palestinians to do.

And sometimes what seems to the world as just ineffective tactics, like throwing a rock at a tank, is in fact an act of resistance. It is a powerful statement to the oppressor–and the world–that they refuse to be enslaved. That dignity and self-respect are even more beloved to them than their own lives.

It is a statement that you can take their lives. But not their freedom.

Yasmin Mogahed/2014

For more info. about Yasmin Mogahed:

http://www.yasminmogahed.com

Oh, Oppressed…don’t be Hopeless!!!

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The Oppressed-Peoples of the World have always been ignored… 
…from the Native-Americans and to the Australian-Aborigines…
 
…The Oppressor has used superiority to seize lands and horde… 
…the original inhabitants ridiculed for fighting their enemies…
 

…Everyone abandons them & the World has their eyes closed…
…just like what happened in Rwanda, no wants to be exposed…

 
…The international governmental bodies acting as power-proxies…
…used to favor some nations over others, in the interests of monies.

 
These atrocities stink of all of the blood-soaked concentration-camps of Nazi-Germany.
Ironically, years later, those who were nearly exterminated, do the same, no Humanity.
 
How can you possibly make claims to want Peace when you are waging the War?
It’s like pretending to be grateful for what you have when you’re greedy for more.
 
You want the entire World to see you as the Peacemakers… 
…but, in all reality, you are the merciless Heartbreakers…
 
…You are always very quick to play that victim-card…
…while you’re making the lives of the Oppressed hard…
 
…You bomb cities and villages, schools, and innocents…
…but, when you’re fired back upon, you call it insolence.
 
My People, from far away: don’t loose hope and don’t go astray…
…keep fighting, for the liberation, for you, Allah will make way…
 
…You must always keep remembering Allah in all you do…
…so that when your enemies come He grants victory to you.
 
Gareth Bryant/2014

Who gets to decide what a Genocide or Holocaust is?

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There are those who would dare to argue that what’s going on around the World, pertaining to the proliferation of unwarranted Human-Life being mercilessly taken, that only certain types of carnage qualifies to be considered a “Genocide” a “Holocaust”, etc. Well, for those of you who may take this view:

Does it really even matter whether or not Hundreds, Thousands, or Millions of People were killed in one day, one week, one month, one year, one decade, one score, one century, one millennium? No, the point is that all these People were killed. So, in this case, it doesn’t really matter whether People suffered very unnecessary casualties in a year, or within a span of nearly a Century: Human-Life is Human-Life & Allah states that to kill even just one person out of injustice is just like killing the entire Human-Race.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.5, V.32) And, since this is the case, then, the unjust killing of any Human being, whether it be a Million, a Thousand, a Hundred, or just One, whatever: based upon what Allah, Himself, has stated, the killing of one Man is just like the killing of all Men, and that is a Genocide, a Holocaust, by definition.

Gareth Bryant/2014

What’s happening in Palestine/Israel is very simple…here’s what I call it: #HolocaustRemix

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After seeing the uncensored picture of that lifeless young Palestinian boy, on that Hospital bed, with literally 1/2 of his head missing, I’ve come to the following conclusion: It doesn’t really even matter which side of the coin one favors in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict…if you’ve seen the picture that I saw & your heart doesn’t shed at least one tear, then you are 100% Inhumane. This comfortability which we have that allows us to just tolerate/accept the degradation of fellow Human beings makes me utterly ashamed to be a Human being living in the “Modern-World”…and this can’t be a modern World when there are countries just standing by while one nation is given the complete green-light to exterminate another group of Human beings: today, in front of our very eyes…we are witnessing the resurrection of the Holocaust. Only this time, the #Palestinians have been made to take the place of the Jews & other oppressed Peoples of the era, while the #Zionists have taken the place of the Nazis & Fascists.

Why are People so pathologically afraid to just admit that the Zionists are the new Nazis & Fascists, that Zionism is just the Jewish version of Christianized #Nazism & Fascism, that what’s going on in Palestine/Israel is a direct socio-political mirror-image of what #Hilter did in Europe, what Mussolini did in Africa, and what #Hirohito did in #Asia, during #WorldWarII? Let’s stop pussy-footing around this issue in the Middle-East & call it what it truly is: a Holocaust, an Apartheid, a Genocide.

Being a Muslim is no justification to support Muslims who manifest Terrorism. Likewise, being a Jew is no justification to support Jews who manifest Zionism…Zionism is no different than Nazism or Fascism.

Gareth Bryant/2014

Nelson Mandela: One of many who gave all of themsleves for Justice:

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Author’s-Note:
Nelson Mandela, a freedom-fighter, persecuted in his own land for at least 1/2 of his life, forced to endure 26-years of prison-time, for wanting his people, his countrymen, to be treated as Human beings, in the eyes of the World, as well as in the eyes of the Apartheid-driven oppressive regime in South Africa. He was jailed, stripped of all HUman dignity, taken away from his family, left to rot in a cell, for nearly 3-decades, and for what? For the liberation & humanization of his homeland & all those who live there, in spite of constant racial bigotry which was very similar, if not worse than the JIm-Crow era within the United States, from the 1880′-1960’s and as well as in Palestine, under the Israeli-Regime, from 1948-present. This is what I think about Nelson Mandela.

What Price Freedom?

You’ve endured, so that we wouldn’t have to ever suffer…
…When we were orphaned, you were our father & mother.

When no one fought for us, you stood your ground, and held the reins…
…But, they tried to silence you, lock you away and keep you in chains.

However, Allah, out of mercy & justice, saw that you were eventually set free…
…Your life was preserved by He, who is Lord of all things, to witness liberty.

You lived long enough to weather the storm and fight tumultuous & unyielding struggles…
…You were in the trenches, while the rest of us were in our comfortable Western bubbles.

We can never truly understand why you chose to sacrifice what you do, for the betterment of so many…
…The trials for you and your loved ones were incredibly tantmount, the pain real, the toil equally heavy.

Those who were by your side, every step of the way, have been the foundation of your success…
…Those who fought with you are role-models for us, to fight for right & be different from the rest.

We learned from you to never stand aside just “Let it Be”…no disrespect to The Beatles…
…But, speaking truth-to-power is a element of bravery that places you among the Eagles.

You have soared above the expectations of many, feared by most, admired by plenty…
…I wish I could have met you, to inspire me to continue to fight for justice with longevity.

You even become the leader of the same land that sent you away in a concrete box…
…They attempted to bury your memory, just as we bury the Dead, with dirt and rocks.

But, because Allah wanted to let the light of freedom shine through you, your memory never faded…
…It was a long time coming, but, because of hard-work, we’re closer to justice, it’s good we waited.

People like you only come around, to light the way, for others, once in a while…
…Your life was like a Marathon: you didn’t stop until you completed every mile.

Gareth Bryant/2013