East Bay
East Bay
Indybay Regions North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area California United States International Americas Haiti Iraq Palestine Afghanistan
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature

'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.

Read More
Listen To Interview
Add Your Comments

Comments (Hide Comments)
by other options besides toxic alcohol
The request made by the liquor store owner does not include the fact that the products sold in African-american neighborhoods are often devoid of nutrition and increase toxicity and in severe cases blood alcohol poisoning that results in sometimes aggressive, dangerous and over long term self injurious behavior..

Nor do i think the store owner has a great deal in common with his Palestinian brothers and sisters struggling to survive against the Zionist Israeli incursions (bulldozers, IDF, violent settlers, etc..) into the occupied territories. His suggestion; A Wal-mart to exploit working people in Oakland by providing wage slavery sans benefits, where is this storeowner going with these statements??

There are other options besides selling alcohol products like MD 20/20 and Cisco. The MD 20/20 looks like anti-freeze, bet there's not any nutritional content, though high content of distilled alcohol. In Africa before conversion to Islam people drank nutricious millet beer from home grown fermented grains. The fermenting process actually helped make certain nutrients in the grain not otherwise available for uptake by the body. Quite a far stretch from the toxic brew sold in the MD 20/20 Cisco, etc. bottles often found on the shelves of inner city liquor stores throughout the nation..

To sum up i don't agree with the pro-business (without concern to community health) stance of the store owner nor the radical authoritarian anti-alcohol stance of the NOI (or whatever they call themselves)..

Most certainly DO NOT appreciate Zionist supporters attempting to drive a wedge between the Arab and African-american neighbors. This is a conflict most likely influenced the most by corporations and pits two discriminated groups against one another. A possible bridge is for local store owners to provide healthier food and better quality beers and wines, maybe slow down (or cut out completely) on the MD 20/20, Cisco and other toxic forms of alcohol..

What people can do is learn more about the history of home brewing millet beer in Africa, (and other indigenous food plants) pre-colonialism..

"Unstrained grain beer is a rich source of certain nutrients, especially B-vitamins; in the case of red sorghum the act of germinating the grain frees some of the proteins in it which are otherwise indigestible."

by teetotaler
What i drink is my business. I have just as much right to drink, or not drink Mad Dog as i do to drink, or not drink, Château Lafitte Rosthchild.

It's none of your business what other people drink (or eat, or wear, or watch, or listen to, or do in bed) so butt out.
and if you had no choice and Mad Dog was the primary alchohol around, you would sing to the heavens, "thank God for poverty and the magical conveniences I enjoy of having 5 liquor stores within a half mile. rich people don't know shit about the good things in life." you would then dance a jig to celebrate the healthy convenience of mad dog and top ramon just a stones throw in every direction.

I know I do
That's a straw man. There's no place where Mad Dog is the only drink available, least of Oakland.
We are 100% volunteer and depend on your participation to sustain our efforts!


$55.00 donated
in the past month

Get Involved

If you'd like to help with maintaining or developing the website, contact us.


Publish your stories and upcoming events on Indybay.

IMC Network