Survivor's Notebook


By Khefira Hasati

Honey has been treasured by humans for many, many thousands of years. The sweet nectar produced by the endless work and tireless effort of bees is, in its quality, comparable to the spiritual gifts one might receive after a lifetime of devotion to prayers and meditations.

Bees, in a single lifetime, fly thousands of miles and collect the nectar from millions of blossoms, depositing the nectar in carefully constructed combs, where it is sealed and then fanned by other bees until all water is evaporated out of it and it shrinks to one quarter its original volume. This concentrated elixir, containing the most precious plant substances from the entire region of local flowers, is what we call honey.

Continue reading Honey

Survivor's Notebook

Accessing Our True Wealth

By: Kasabez Maakmaah

Farmers Plowing Fields

As the US falls deeper into economic recession, the dollar continues to lose its value, more people are having difficulty finding work, and the price of food is rising. Financial hardships and intense budgeting have become a reality for many Americans. Some are referring current urban conditions as third world. One Brooklyn food pantry fed 5000 new families, up from 3000 a year before. By all accounts, it’s getting ugly and by the look of it, the worst has yet to come.

Already, many urban areas have come to be considered “food deserts” where access to fresh, healthy food is not close by. Is Chicago, these food deserts are mostly found in the black communities where the average distance to a grocery store is almost double the average distance to a fast food restaurant. These communities are most in the far south side (past 87th st.) southwest (west of the Dan Ryan) and west. The impact on the health of those who live in these communities is disastrous. Chicago’s black communities have the highest rate of premature deaths due to cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Continue reading Accessing Our True Wealth

Survivor's Notebook

The Dog & Pony Show

Trump Clinton Debate

Politicians are excellent actors. Are these two friends or enemies? While we are distracted by their performance, life goes on.

If you think of yourself as a person who cares and wants better for yourself, your community or humanity, you have certainly attended the dog and pony show more than once. A lot of effort is put into the appearance of things to bring people out. Maybe it will be advertised as a meeting of the minds or a solution-based event. Maybe celebrities will come and talk. Maybe a panel discussion will be held, giving the audienc
e a chance to question the “experts”. Many in attendance attend to feel like they are a part of something important, with the potential to bring something positive into their lives.

Trump Clinton shake handsWe as human beings are facing many problems. When we have problems, we seek solutions. Our dilemma has been that we are often called to attention by people who claim to have answers to our problems. When we take the time to hear what they have to say, however glamourous their presentation is, we still go home with our problems and no closer to solving them.

Continue reading The Dog & Pony Show

Survivor's Notebook

Spiritual Revolution

Bois Caiman Ceremony

A depiction of the Bois Caiman Ceremony

On the island now called Hispaniola, where Columbus first landed over 500 years ago, was the French colony called Saint Dominique. In the chaos of the French Revolution, which began in 1789, an extensive network of Maroons, enslaved Blacks and “freed” Blacks launched a rebellion in 1791. In a ceremony known as Bois-Caiman, the leaders of the rebellion made a spiritual pact to support their cause. Days later, on the 25th of August, 50,000 captives rose up and destroyed the plantations. Around 1500 plantations, about 25% of all plantations on the island, went up in flames in one night. The smoke from the inferno could be seen from as far away as the Bahamas. Smoke and ash obscured the sun while saturating the air and sea. The Haitian Revolution had begun.

Continue reading Spiritual Revolution

Survivor's Notebook

Irresponsible Leaders


Protestors in Chicago call for the resignation of Mayor Rahm Emanuel following murders by Chicago Police.

With the passing of another 4th of July, we have reached 240 years since the Declaration of Independence. Behind the nationwide fanfare of fireworks and cookouts is a celebration of the USA’s history and independence from Britain. Lately, this observance has been met with increasing cynicism as the promises of freedom, justice and equality made by the founding fathers have never been realized by the majority of Americans and actually seem to be getting farther from reach as the years go by. The finger-pointing and scapegoating fuels a never-ending cycle of hatred and antagonism amongst the population. Meanwhile, most of the politicians in the middle of it all skillfully deny their responsibility.

Continue reading Irresponsible Leaders