Saturday, May 06, 2006

A Broken Arm, the Death of Damu Smith, and Other Bad News

I have been almost a month without writing because of several reasons, the most recent of which is a broken right wrist which has made it difficult to write.

The Death of Damu Smith
I met Damu Smith when he spoke at the University of Maryland in 2004 against the invasion of Iraq. He came across as not only intelligent and outspoken, but thoughtful and sincere. Unfortunately, he was also uninsured. According to Democracy Now
Legendary peace activist Damu Smith died Friday morning in Washington, DC of colon cancer. The founder of Black Voices for Peace and the National Black Environmental Justice Network, he spent years fighting environmental racism, particularly in the South.

He was a key leader in the anti-Apartheid movement and fought police brutality in Washington, DC and around the country. Damu was diagnosed with colon cancer last year while on a peace mission in the Occupied Territories. He then not only fought for his life, but against racial disparities in the health care system. Damu is survived by his daughter Aisha and his legacy lives on in all those who fight for justice.

Listen to the May 5th Democracy Now. In addition to an audio clip of Damu Smith talking about race based health disparities and global apartheid, the show features a recording of Rumsfeld being interrupted by protesters including former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, as well as an interview with the same.

Biology Student Murderer in College Park
University of Maryland Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics student was arrested for the arson and murder of Michael Scrocca after a party last year. This murder always disturbed me because the landlord was the same as our landlord at the time. In fact, when it came out that the burned house had more than the legal limit of residence, we also had to get some people out of our house to comply with the housing code.

The house was also around the corner from the Leonardtown Apartments where I lived for years, and the Sigma Chi abandoned fraternity house that I always meant to take over with other students and turn into a base of student progressive activism. The frat house is now almost as decrepit looking as the burnt out house of the late Mike Scrocca before the latter was bulldozed to the ground.

What can I say, it gives me a sense of missed opportunities and a realization that "This is madness!"

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