I send greetings to those observing Kwanzaa.
During Kwanzaa, millions of African Americans and people of African descent gather to celebrate their heritage and ancestry. Kwanzaa celebrations provide an opportunity to focus on the importance of family, community, and history, and to reflect on the Nguzo Saba or seven principles of African culture.
These principles emphasize
* collective work and responsibility,
* cooperative economics
* faith [listified by LW]
Kwanzaa strengthens the ties that bind communities across America and around the world and reflects the great promise and diversity of America.
Laura joins me in sending our best wishes for a joyous Kwanzaa.
Let's pause and reflect on those seven principles ("Nguzo Saba"):
...in The Seven Principles of the [Symbionese Liberation Army], ["Cinque"] DeFreeze gives the meaning of each head in Swahili, Spanish, and English. You'll recognize these as being the seven principles of Kwanzaa, the African-American year-end celebration, first celebrated in 1966:
* Umoja: Unity
* Kujichagulia: Self Determination
* Ujima: Collective Work and Responsibility
* Ujamaa: Cooperative Production
* Nia: Purpose
* Kuumba: Creativity
* Imani: Faith
If I have the dates correct, Kwanzaa was celebrated before Cinque's manifesto. Nevertheless, the very fact that the SLA considered that philosophy to be aligned with theirs should give a (principled) politician pause. Of course...
Even if Kwanzaa came before the SLA's manifesto, consider for instance Ujima/Ujamaa:
...so I posted [a Kwanzaa card] on my dormitory door [in Tanzania]. It wasn't long before some of my Tanzanian floor mates were milling around outside my dorm room, asking "What the fuck's up with that card?" Perhaps unsurprisingly, many of them felt it was one of the most bizarre holidays they had ever heard of; not one had even heard of it before. The use of Swahili terms for something rather far-removed from anything connected to the cultures of East Africa threw them for a complete loop, and I have to wonder whether or not the creators of Kwanzaa were sufficiently familiar with the political overtones of the term used for the fouth principle, Ujamaa - it's translated on the Kwanzaa homepage as "cooperative economics," but in the Tanzanian context, it meant roughly twenty years of late President Julius Nyerere's own special blend of African Socialism. Now, Mwalimu Nyerere was a nice enough guy and all, and most Tanzanians still respect him despite his running a de-facto one-party state for most of his time in office. That being said, very few people had anything positive to say about Ujamaa, which left Tanzania, by the time I got there, the fourth poorest country on the planet with an annual GDP per capita of US$150 (and the three countries below it - Mozambique, Afghanistan, and if memory serves me right, Ethiopia - were war-torn hellholes that at least had proper excuses for being dirt poor)...
Continuing on, we could read about the much less than stellar past of Kwanzaa's founder. See Ann Coulter's "Kwanzaa: A Holiday From the FBI" from 2002. Or Mona Charen's "Kwanzaa born of separatism, radicalism". Or "The True Spirit of Kwanzaa". Of course, if you want the PC version, see CNN's guide to the holiday.
We could wonder why President Bush is encouraging racial separatism and socialism, but, does that really come as that much of a surprise and, as with his other moves, is wondering why really all that productive?
Politics · Sun, 12/26/2004 - 23:29 · Importance: 1