Whites’ bid to claim Ali as one of their own

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Obit Muhammad Ali

BY the time the announcement of the demise of the great Muhammad Ali was made last Friday, the US establishment had probably prepared a blueprint of how to steal this legendary man from his rightful owners, the down-trodden people of the US in particular and the world at large.
The epitaphs and glowing tributes that followed that iconic boxer’s death were an exhibition of the dishonesty that the US is.
They tried to claim him, to glorify him and make him beautiful when he had spent his entire life a prime target of ridicule and resentment of the nonchalant US establishment (wafa wanaka. Ali would no longer be a thorn in the establishment’s flesh again).
That is how US conducts its image-building business.
In his article published by RussianTelevision.com early this week, sports commentator John Wight lamented the dishonesty of US leaders.
“We are talking about people such as former US President Bill Clinton, who, following the news of Ali’s death after a brief battle with respiratory illness said: He made decisions and he lived with the consequences of them.
‘He never stopped being an American even as he became a citizen of the world’.
“One of the ‘decisions’ that Ali made was to champion the cause of black people living in the projects and the slums of America’s vast inner cities, the very demography that Clinton’s policy of mass incarceration — i.e. the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 – decimated.
“Over three decades later, the result of that crime bill is a US prison population of over two million people incarcerated, disproportionately made up of members of the country’s minority communities, in particular the black community.
“Ali was well aware of the racial injustice that lies at the heart of the US justice system, wherein poor blacks are warehoused in the country’s vast prison network as a result of social problems that are a symptom of the vast inequality and poverty that blights their communities and has not improved since the civil rights movement of the 1960s.”
The story of Ali, born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jnr in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1942, rings true of the above assessment.
His father made his living as a house painter while his mother was a domestic worker.
The Louisville of Clay’s youth was a segregated horse-breeding community where being black meant being seen as part of a servant class.
The US tried, but failed to absorb him as a ‘harmless’ boxing icon.
They tried to align him with the much maligned US establishment.
But in reality, Clay was a symbol of defiance against slavery, the catalyst for bringing the issues of racism and war into professional sports, a heroic move that shaped global opinion against US.
America hated his stance.
They shunted him out of the mainstream media which relived him for his unwavering stance on slavery, the Vietnam War, mental colonialism and his persistent attacks on the establishment.
His revolt as a black athlete in 1960 is living history.
After winning the gold medal at the 1960 Olympics at the age of 18, he held a press conference at the airport and said:
“To make America the greatest is my goal.
So I beat the Russian and I beat the Pole.
And for the US, won the medal of gold.
The Greeks said you’re better than the Cassius of Old.”
With his gold medal always around his neck, the following week was to define boxing forever.
It is said Clay went to eat a cheeseburger with his medal swinging around his neck in a Louisville restaurant and was denied service because of his race.
He threw his medal in the Ohio River in protest, marking the first arc towards his incorporation of politics and racism into sport.
Ali argued he did not want to wear a medal in a country where he could not be served.
Miffed by the restaurant incident Ali actively involved himself in political activism.
He met the mercurial Malcom X, who was speaking at a meeting of the Nation of Islam (NOI).
There Malcom said:
“You might see these Negroes who believe in non-violence and mistake us for one of them and put your hands on us thinking that we are going to turn the other cheek — and we’ll put you to death just like that.”
The two became both political allies and friends.
They stayed together as Ali trained for his fight against the ‘Big Ugly Bear’, Sonny Liston, who was champion.
After the match, Ali famously said, ‘I’m the king of the world’.
Shortly after that, Ali converted to Islam and changed his slave name to Muhammad Ali.
He gave a message of racial pride for African-Americans and resistance to white domination during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.
In 1966, two years after winning the heavyweight title, Ali further antagonised the white establishment by refusing to be conscripted into the US military, citing his religious beliefs and opposition to US involvement in the Vietnam War.
He was eventually arrested, found guilty of draft evasion charges and stripped of his boxing titles. He successfully appealed in the US Supreme Court, which overturned his conviction in 1971.
Rest in peace man of peace and steel.
You fought a good fight for the emancipation of the black people across the world.

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