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'Only God Can Judge Me' -- A Palestinian American Defends His Right to Sell Liquor

by New American Media (reposted)
The videotaped vandalism of two convenience stores in Oakland has made national headlines. Four members of Your Black Muslim Bakery, a Black Muslim sect have been charged with the crime. PNS contributor Moe Saleh, the owner of one of the markets, has refused to speak with mainstream media. This essay was transcribed from a radio interview on KMEL Street Soldiers Program. Dr. Marshall is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Omega Boys Club. Additional reporting by Kevin Weston, editor-in-chief of YO! Youth Outlook Multimedia, a PNS project.
OAKLAND, Calif.--I own New York Market in Oakland. My brother Tony was kidnapped and my store got burned down. The day before those incidents happened my store was vandalized.

I don't know why my store was targeted -- it was definitely a slow day, the day before Thanksgiving. A lot of stores were closed early that day. We were still open. Were we just a convenient target? I don't know.

Ironically my father was murdered in a liquor store before I was born. He owned a small market in Brooklyn, New York. While working late hours, he was confronted with a robbery. According to my second cousin (who was 12 at the time and with my father in the store) my father tried to disarm the robber and was shot.

Father was murdered during the holiday season, very similar to this time. According to my clerk at New York Market his family was in the back room of the store as it was being ransacked. The similarities between what happened at my store and what happened to my father are eerie.

I did not open a store because I had no other options. I genuinely love people and the business I am in. Many of these small mom and pop stores are making a living because of the long hours they work. If they calculated their time, some might find they make less than minimum wage.

Why are there so many liquor stores on almost every block in Oakland? You really have to look back. There were a lot of opportunities many years ago, 20, 30 years back for these convenience stores because we couldn't get those large retailers in the city. Oakland still has great difficulty getting an Albertson's or a Food 4 Less. We just recently we got Wal-Mart.

There were a lot of opportunities for people to open up these convenience stores to serve these neighborhoods where there are no other stores. The City of Oakland does not allow new liquor stores. The stores that are there have been there for 20-plus years, 30-plus years, 40-plus years.

My store had been in business for over 60 years. The closest grocery store to my market is in Emeryville, Calif., three or four miles away.

Yes, we sold alcoholic beverages but we did not have hard liquor, just beer and wine. Out of the 16 cooler doors that we had in the store, I believe that four or five were used for alcoholic beverages -- so you couldn't say we were just another liquor store. We had a meat department a full line of groceries and a small produce section. It was a market. It was definitely not a liquor store.

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bunk logic
Mon, Dec 12, 2005 11:41AM
you go!
Mon, Dec 12, 2005 11:34AM
Mon, Dec 12, 2005 11:16AM
other options besides toxic alcohol
Mon, Dec 12, 2005 11:02AM
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