Category Archives: Human Rights

A Tribute to Rubin “Hurricane” Carter (1937-2014)

Hail Mi Irieites,

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Middleweight boxer, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, became quite a controversial figure in the mid-70s thanks to icons like Muhammad Ali and Bob Dylan. Born May 6th 1937 in Clifton New Jersey (a mere 6 weeks before Joe Louis became Heavyweight Champion of the World), Carter, after serving a series of time in Juvenile centres, joined the US army at an early age. It was in the army that he became an active pugilist, going on to turn professional by age 24.

Unfortunately, his career was stopped in its tracks in June 1966, when the authorities wrongfully accused him of a triple murder that took place in a bar in Patterson (not Floyd), New Jersey. And although he was not identified by the survivors of the shooting, a trial took place the following year finding him and a friend that was with him at the time of his arrest, guilty. There he was -sentenced to life imprisonment.

Carter and his supporters contested the sentence over the years. Finally there was light at the end of the tunnel when the judge declared him a free man, in November 1985.

But like l said, it was the likes of Ali and Dylan that brought home to the nation the injustice served on this individual. Carter wrote a book during his incarceration in 1975 titled “The 16th Round.” Dylan read it and wrote a song called “Hurricane,” of which he went on to perform it at the Trenton State Prison; the prison where Carter himself, was “residing.”

In 1999, Denzel Washington starred as Hurricane Carter, a film of the boxer’s journey to freedom from behind bars. By this time Rubin Carter was already living in Canada and, talk about lightening striking twice, he was arrested once again. Only this time he was mistaken for a drug dealer wanted by the authorities. They realised their mistake when they acknowledged that Carter, then aged almost 60, was not in his mid 30’s like the suspect they were looking for.

Once again, I have lucked out on meeting this incredible person. But his quest for survival through the injustice will always stay with me. Rubin went on to be quite an active speaker at many events. He earned himself, among other things, two honorary Doctorates of Law, in 2005. Steel Pulse announced his death yesterday evening while performing to our fans in Vail, Colorado. The “Hurricane” passed after a two-year fight with prostate cancer. He was 76 years old. We share our love and condolences with his friends, families and the supporters that believed in his innocence.

R.I.P. Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Hail Mi Irieites,

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Sometimes the art of the writer creates a world bigger, bolder, and brighter than the one we live in.  Such was the case with Gabriel Garcia Marquez – the Colombian exile who was first a journalist and then one of the greatest writers who ever lived.  What impresses me most is his commitment to the truth and speaking the truth for all.  It was Marquez who said that he wanted governments to care about poor people, and that was what he was looking at when he evaluated a nation’s soul.  He made friends in high and low places, uniting people across the planet through the shared love of his art. That was his greatest achievement, and that is what artists have always aspired to. You will live forever, Gabo.

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Here is the last fragment from One Hundred Years of Solitude: ”… races condemned to one hundred years of solitude did not have a second opportunity on earth.”

I confess I must read more of his work, as should we all. “Love and justice through literature” – that was Marquez.

A Prayer for Rwanda 20 Year Later

Yes, Mi Irietes,

Today, April 7th 2014, marks the 20th anniversary of one of the saddest days in African history. It was the beginning of the Rwandan Civil War that lasted a good part of 100 days. It was estimated that a total exceeding 800,000 people were massacred during that time. That’s just about 20% of the population of which 70% of were of the Tutsi tribe; one of the three main tribes in the country.

The war started when an aircraft carrying the Rwandan President, Juvenel Habyriman and the Burundi President, Cyprien Ntaryamira, both from the “Hutu’ tribe was shot down a day before, while attempting to land in the capital, Kigali. Both Presidents and their delegates were all killed. And although things have been brewing between the Hutu and the Tutsi tribe for several decades, this was believed to be the catalyst that triggered off this genocide in 1994.

But this horror will also be remembered for the moral blindness of the UN, the USA and Great Britain. History condemns these nations for standing by and watching – without action. France too is condemned for giving their moral support to the governing Hutu faction, who carried out this genocide.

What was even more sad to remember, were the thousands prisoners that paid their captors to shoot them as oppose to be cut to pieces by their captors with a machete. The movie “Hotel Rwanda,” starring Don Cheadle, just cannot compare to the harsh reality that took place 20years ago.

Like I said …”It’s time to sip from the cup of peace, let’s strive for racial equality,”

Peace Party. Rwanda has made great strides and is rising from the ashes. But we – all humanity – must never forget. Love over Hate.

David Koff: A Big Up to “Blacks Britannica” director (24.09.1939 – 06.03.2014)

Hail Mi Irieites,

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With more tributes out there, we pay our respects to David Koff, film director of “Blacks Britannica.” David Koff, who died just over a week ago, age 74, was said to have had bouts of depression, ultimately taking his own life.

You will be missed, David, because you spoke up for justice when few had the courage. We salute you and your work.

Blacks Britannica” is a documentary that came out in 1978, depicted the social, political and racial issues throughout the UK at that time. This film became so controversial that it was banned from the UK for many years. Before it was made, not many outside Britain were aware of the plight and hardships faced by Caribbean migrants struggling to survive in a harsh England.

Our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones. Your spirit will be with us always. Selah.

(David and his producer was kind enough to offer any footage for us to use in the Steel Pulse film/ documentary which is now due for a late summer release.)

Pissed Off: The Oscar Pistorius Legal Circus

With reasoning, Mi Irieites.

I have been keeping an eye on the Oscar Pistorius case and it appears that the whole trial will be based on how cunning the lawyers are, once again, as opposed to truth and rights.

It is up to us, the general public to put in action our commonsense regardless of what these highly paid “Clever Clogs” are construing.

All these witnesses hearing noises before shoots or after shots and how far and how near this and that was, appears to be irrelevant to me, when all one has to do is hone in on the statement the athlete himself has made.

He claims that he shot his girlfriend Reeva, in the dark, mistaking her for an intruder; totally being unaware of her presence in the toilet.

Question: Why should Reeva, who has only been dating him for 12 weeks, leave the bed to go to the bathroom from his pitch black bedroom and walk 7metres all the way down to a dark bathroom, then go further into the “dark” bathroom to use the toilet that has a door on it, then “lock” herself in, and sit there in total darkness to use the toilet?

Question: Was Reeva fully dressed when she left the bedroom to use the bathroom? Remember, she was suppose to be assumed fast asleep next to him since 10.00pm that night.

Question: Why leave your bed to go out unto the balcony to get the fan when you have a remote control for the air conditioning lying right next to you on the same table where you have your gun and watch? I can understand if it were po’ folks like us trying to cut back on
our electricity bills.

Remember, he said it was dark from in his bedroom and he was unable to see anything. Mi Irieites, I am up to listening to any of your suggestions on this. Just do the maths and I am sure you will get an “Oscar” for your performance on this one…

‘Cause what we are all striving for, is Love and Justice through Music, right?

VIDEO: Trayvon Martin: Put Your Hoodies On [2 Year Anniversary]

Yes Mi Irieites,

Here we are on the two year anniversary of the tragic death of Trayvon Martin. Martin’s parents are still fighting courageously for justice – in this unsafe climate created by the unjust “Stand Your Ground” law.  Steel Pulse issues this video on the second anniversary of the slaying of Trayvon as a plea for justice for all mankind:

We will never forget. Forward ever.

February 21, 1965

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Hail Mi Irieites, this is a day to remember.

On February 21, 1965, Malcolm X was preparing to address the Organization of Afro-American Unity in Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom when someone in the 400-person audience yelled “Nigger! Get your hand outta my pocket!” As Malcolm X and his bodyguards attempted to quiet the disturbance, a man who was seated in the front row rushed forward and shot him once in the chest with a double-barreled sawed-off shotgun. Two other men charged the stage and fired semi-automatic handguns, hitting Malcolm X several times.He was pronounced dead at 3:30 pm, shortly after arriving at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. The autopsy report showed 21 gunshot wounds to the chest, left shoulder, and arms and legs, of which ten were buckshot wounds from the initial shotgun blast.

More on Wikipedia

Half the story has never been told. Selah!

Hail Julia Butterfly: The Inspiration for “Global Warning”

Hail Mi Irieites,

JuliabutterflyhillmicSteel Pulse is wishing Julia “Butterfly” a well deserved Happy 40th Birthday, today.  Julia Butterfly, who’s Babylonian name is Julia Lorraine Hill, was our inspiration to write the song “Global Warning.”  This came about when she took it on herself to live in a redwood tree, that she herself called “Luna,” for a period of 738 days (Dec 10th 1997-Dec 18th 1999), in Northern California.

Her purpose was to save the 1,500 year old tree that stood 180 feet tall (55metres), from being cut down as well as  the forest that surrounded it, by the Pacific Lumber Company.  Her mission succeeded.

Julia, this is just to let you know that you are a real trooper, fighting against those plentiful nights of cold and rain to get your message across.  This is just to show you the power of the individual when one truly believes in something.  You will not be forgotten.

“Global Warning, we looking for love,
Stand up and be counted, don’t ever let them chop us down.”

More on Julia >>