Harry Belafonte vs. Malim Abdul Habib for AARP's Man of the Year

You decide! Then tell the AARP.


The Washington Post quoted a January 21, 2006, AP article titled, Belafonte Continues Tirade Against Bush, reporting entertainer Harry Belafonte had compared America’s Homeland Security Department to the Nazi Gestapo saying, "We've come to this dark time in which the new Gestapo of Homeland Security lurks here, where citizens are having their rights suspended."

Belafonte's remarks were part of a 45-minute speech at the annual meeting of the Arts Presenters Members Conference on the role of the arts in a politically changing world.  He got a standing ovation.  The Post reported the audience included singer Peter Yarrow of the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary, along with members from several dozen countries.

The article went on to say Belafonte, 78, had called President Bush "The greatest terrorist in the world" during his trip to Venezuela to meet with Venezuelan leader, Hugo Chavez, and attended by Hollywood actor Danny Glover.

Martin Luther King had a dream while fighting for equal opportunity for African-Americans.  Belafonte had a beef while comparing the America’s Homeland Security Department to the Third Reich.

While Belafonte was ranting on the war on terror, on the other side of the world, Taliban had beheaded an Afghan schoolmaster, Malim Abdul Habib.  Cherishing the freedom passed to him by America, Habib was responsible for running a new high school with over 1,000 students, including girls.  He was beheaded in front of his wife and his eight children, ages two to twenty two.

In his speech, Belafonte, a so-called good will ambassador for the UNICEF children’s fund of the United Nations, could have instead talked about the sacrifice of Malim Abdul Habib. Habib helped children to enjoy relatively normal lives, ones who had once lived in oppression, their new freedom compliments of the vision of President Bush and the men and women of our military.

Belafonte must have been upset his “greatest terrorist in the world,” George Bush, had revealed yet another scandal during Saddam’s infamous reign, the UN’s Oil for Food program.  The funds were literally dumped into Saddam’s coffers, the largest financial scandal in history.  Bush had exposed Belafonte’s claim that the UN had been feeding hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children.

Surely the attendees of the Arts Presenters Members Conference knew the facts of the beheading and the Oil for Food scandal when they applauded Belafonte’s speech that compared Homeland Security to the creators of the Jewish Holocaust. 

  This poster is an example of Harry Belafonte's anger over America freeing the Iraqi people.  The attribution Web site page for this image is no longer available.

It’s selfish that a creative group, which claims to support individual rights for freedom of expression around the world, would have Belafonte as its main speaker, one who would have kept Saddam in power to continue the suppression of the creative rights of millions of Iraqis and Afghans.  While those in attendance stood up and applauded Belafonte’s remarks, how many do you think stood up to applaud Habib for his sacrifice?

We assume that some might have also been angry two years ago when it was reported the archaeological museum had been sacked as Baghdad fell.  However, the media reports back then were not much better than those that reported blacks were eating their dead in New Orleans.  Save the artifacts, but not the people?

So as Americans who should understand the sacrifices men will make for freedom for themselves and their families, let’s then honor Afghan citizen, Malim Abdul Habib, for his love of freedom.

According to Fox News, Zabul province’s education director, Nabi Khushal, said the insurgents had put up posters around Qalat, demanding that schools for girls be closed and threatening to kill teachers.  So Habib knew the risks, making him a true hero. 

The report confirmed Habib was the headmaster and a teacher at Shaikh Mathi Baba high school, attended by 1,300 boys and girls, located in Zabul . . . a remote mountainous province populated mainly by Pashtuns and bordering Pakistan that is a hotbed of Taliban militancy.

So while Harry can only find time to talk about Harry, labeling Bush as a world terrorist, we’ll instead focus praise to the Afghan schoolmaster.  AARP had made Belafonte its “Man of the Year.” So we'll make Afghan schoolmaster, Malim Abdul Habib, our “Man of the Year,” one who sacrificed everything for freedom for his family and 1,300 Afghan high school students.

Next to Mr. Habib, Belafonte just doesn't have a clue.


Note: This Letter to the Editor was rejected by two Asheville, North Carolina, newspapers along with no interest from the Newark Star-Ledger of New Jersey. You decide.





"Freedom is Knowledge "