Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Trenton Readies the Pink Slip for Baraka

Amiri Baraka, once an artist and now a racist idealogue, says he's going to sue on 1st Amendment grounds when Gov. McGreevey signs into law the bill eliminating the post of Poet Laureate.
"This is a clear violation of First Amendment rights and when the governor is foolish enough to sign it, I plan to sue," Baraka said. "This is another kind of lynching; it makes New Jersey look like Mississippi North."

Baraka, 68, of Newark, set off shock waves when he recited his poem at the Dodge Poetry Festival at Waterloo in Sussex County. The poem includes the lines: "Who knew the World Trade Center was gonna get bombed? Who told 4,000 Israeli workers at the Twin Towers to stay home that day?"

The stanza is based on discredited claims that Israeli intelligence tipped its citizens and American Jews to avoid the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
"I contend still that Israeli citizens were warned," Baraka said. Of course, he provides no proof for his contention - I wouldn't be at all surprised if he believes that The Protocols of The Elders of Zion is the straight shit, too. Nonetheless, while spewing his own brand of racism he manages to paint himself as the victim. This sounds amazingly familiar - it's the same trick the ruling radical right use to "prove" that the world is dominated by "liberals" and the "liberal agenda."

Baraka is still a citizen and, as such, he can say almost anything he wants (or at least that used to be the case, pre-Ashcroft). But, given that the Poet Laureate post was created "to celebrate New Jersey's rich poetic history as the home of Walt Whitman, Joyce Kilmer and William Carlos Williams," there's no justification for him to be doing it with the imprimatur of the State of New Jersey.

So, to Amiri Baraka's threat of lawsuits I say, in the undying words of George W Bush, "Bring them on!"

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