“The capacity to produce social chaos is the last resort of desperate people. You can’t lead the people if you don’t love the people. You can’t save the people, if you don’t serve the people.“
There’s music in those words as well as pain, wisdom and honesty. Those are the words of Cornel West, who has just written a memoir, “Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud.” In it, he writes, “Until now, I’ve never taken the time to focus on the inner dynamics of my soul.”
Educator and philosopher Dr. Cornel West is the Class of 1943 University Professor of Religion and African American Studies at Princeton University. West has won numerous awards, including the American Book Award, and has received more than 20 honorary degrees. He’s produced three CDs of music and spoken word, offers weekly commentary on The Tavis Smiley Show, and is the author of several books, including Race Matters, Democracy Matters, and Hope on a Tightrope.
Irshad Manji, author of ‘The Trouble with Islam Today,’ discusses the closemindedness and literalism of present-day Islam and her path to free thinking.
April 8, 2005 | This interview originally aired on Free Forum with Terrence McNally on Los Angeles’ KPFK radio.
At a moment when America is at war in a Muslim country due in part to the electoral muscle of the Christian Right, I agree with those who speak of a clash of civilizations. But I don’t see Jews and Christians versus Muslims. I see fundamentalist, pre-scientific, pre-enlightenment Jews, Christians and Muslims versus Jews, Christians, Muslims and non-believers who, in their search for meaning, ask questions and question answers.
In her controversial best-seller, The Trouble with Islam Today, Irshad Manji, a spike-haired, lesbian Canadian who looks younger than her 36 years, challenges fellow Muslims to revive a lost tradition of free inquiry within Islam. The book has been published internationally, including in Pakistan, and Urdu and Arabic translations can be downloaded free of charge from her web site (www.muslim-refusenik.com.
Her earlier book, Risking Utopia: On the Edge of a New Democracy, called on young people to re-define democracy through new technologies and social networks. Manji produced and hosted “Queer Television” on Toronto’s Citytv, the first program on commercial airwaves to explore the lives of gay and lesbian people. She currently hosts “Big Ideas” in Toronto, featuring innovative thinkers from around the world.
Oprah Winfrey recently honored Irshad with the first annual Chutzpah Award for “audacity, nerve, boldness and conviction.” Ms. magazine has selected her as a “Feminist for the 21st Century.” Maclean’s, Canada’s national news magazine, named her one of ten “Canadians Who Make a Difference,” and in June, she received the Simon Wiesenthal Award of Valor.
February 11, 2005 | This interview originally aired on Free Forum with Terrence McNally on Los Angeles’ KPFK radio.
After a wonderful career on Saturday Night Live and then debunking right-wing propaganda in his best-selling books and Grammy-winning audio books, Lies, and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them and Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot, Al Franken has taken the fight to America’s airwaves on Air America. With co-host Katherine Lanpher, Franken offers three hours a day of commentary and comedy, as well as substantive interviews – last week’s guests included FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmunds, former EPA head Christine Todd Whitman, The Innocence Project’s Barry Scheck, David Brock, author of The Republican Noise Machine, and Jared Diamond, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse.
The fastest growing network in radio history, Air America is now on in 50 markets, including seven of the top 10, and doing very well against Rush, Hannity and the rest of the rabid right.
And while Franken isn’t yet running for senator of Minnesota, could a leap into politics be too far in the future?
Welcome, Al Franken, to KPFK and Free Forum.