Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Harry Belafonte is Right

Is it worse to kill people or to criticize someone who kills people? I vote that killing is worse, so I think Harry Belafonte was absolutely right when he called Bush a terrorist.

Belafonte is being raked over the coals for comments he made in Venezuela at an appearance with President Chavez. He called Bush "the greatest terrorist in the world" and claimed that "millions" of Americans support the Chavez revolution.

Those of us who know anything about Venezuela are few and far between. Americans don't know much about their own country. So I disagree with Belafonte on that point, but it is a minor one.

Belafonte is catching heat because he gave Bush a well deserved slap in the face. Bush is a killer. Thousands are dead in Iraq because of the U.S. military, far more than those killed by "insurgent" car bombs.

This is not the first time that Belafonte walked into the cross hairs of the media. A few years ago he made the following statement about Colin Powell.

There are those slaves who lived on the plantation, and there were those slaves who lived in the house. You got the privilege of living in the house if you served the master. Colin Powell was permitted to come into the house of the master.

I wish that he had made a more reasoned, thoughtful criticism of Powell. When Belafonte had the opportunity to respond to his critics he did a much better job.

America has many plantations, even today. Not only in America, those plantations sit in many places around the world, where I've seen people suffer. I work for the United Nations. I go to places where enormous upheaval and pain and anguish exist. And a lot of it exists based upon American policy. Whom we support, whom we support as heads of state, what countries we've helped to overthrow, what leaders we've helped to diminish because they did not fit the mold we think they should fit, no matter how ill advised that thought may be. It is not without reason that I make my observation.

Belafonte is not just being criticized by right wing attack dogs. Everyone who ever gave him an award, or has any connection with him is now running for cover. The AARP is now sorry they honored him for his work as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador.

To our dismay, Mr. Belafonte has made reckless and irresponsible statements about the President of the United States which we neither support nor condone. Mr. Belafonte is entitled to express his own personal views, but AARP does not condone the manner and tone which he has chosen and finds his comments completely unacceptable.

Even UNICEF is doing a furious back pedal. UNICEF issued a statement making clear that Belafonte spoke "as a private citizen and was not speaking as a UNICEF ambassador, nor acting in an official capacity on behalf of the organization."

It is unfortunate that press is reporting on Chavez only because of Belafonte's remarks. Chavez usually makes the news because the White House has been outspoken in its desire to over throw him. Pat Robertson advocated killing him. When Chavez said Bush wanted him dead he was called crazy. Roberston's brazen threat ended up helping Chavez, so I say thanks to Pat.

When Harry Belafonte lies to Congress about WMD, kidnaps, tortures, kills thousands, and then spies on Americans I will be mad at him. Until that day, I'll direct my anger at the killers in high places.

We have to thank Belafonte. Reactions to his remarks will be very telling. Anyone who joins in the pile on is not to be trusted by thinking people. Black people are not excluded from that assessment. Belafonte gave us a water shed moment. Let us all pay close attention.