Thursday, October 09, 2008

Thoughts of Injustice and Similar

"First they asked June Johnson, a sixteen-year-old from Greenwood, whether she was a member of the NAACP, and when she admitted it, one officer started slapping her around.   They asked who paid her and what kind of trouble her bosses were planning for Winona, and in the risking heat of the cuffings another officer hit her on the back of the head with a blackjack.  They took the wailing Johnson back to a cell and brought out Annell Ponder-tall, schoolmarmish, and fatefully dignified.  She said she and her friends did not hate them, she steadfastly refused their demands to say "sir" to them so long as they called her "nigger" and "bitch," and she admitted straightforwardly to the highway patrolman that she had been writing down his license number for a complaint to the federal government.   All these answers enraged men who already had stepped over the line of violence.  Cursing the name Bobby Kennedy, they kept beating Ponder to the floor and pulling her to her feet until her head was swollen and bloody, a tooth chipped, and one eye seemed knocked off line.   Ponder held unsteadily to the corridor walls as they pushed her back toward the cells.   She made a terrifying sight to her students, including Fannie Lou Hamer, who was next.   By then vengeance had consumed her captors.   They dragged Hamer into an empty cell, threw here face down on a cot, and ordered a young Negro prisoner to be her with a blackjack. ... "
p. 819, "Parting The Waters: American in The King Years 1954-63" - Taylor Bell, Touchstone Books, 1988 (an incredible book I'm reading slowly - taking in its incredible story)

The text above is in June, 1963 when Annell Ponder, and her students, trying to build voter registration in Mississippi got off a bus in Winona, Mississippi and went into the "Whites Only" waiting room and were arrested because of this.

It is often said: "Never Again" - referring to Not allowing another Holocaust similar to what Jews faced with Hitler during World War II.

I try to imagine what makes people angry so that they want to severely injure or kill others in various settings present, past (and in the future) and how these situations differ from each other.

I can imagine that White Men fearing Black People and killing them when they:  perceive impending "attacks", feel that they can kill without facing serious punishment and have peer support.

I can imagine police, soldiers and other "authority figures" facing repeated violence in their work may perceive All who in the moment appear to be "the enemy" as a threat to them and may kill innocent individuals and groups of people.

I can imagine Taliban members perceiving outsiders and those resisting their cause as needing to be killed.

I can imagine Palestinian teenage boys throwing stones at Israeli soldiers and even blowing themselves up killing Israelis and themselves feeling threatened by the Israeli occupation of the West Bank.

I can imagine Israeli Jews feeling threatened by Palestinians who they fear may kill or injure them most any time.

Separating the "good guys" from the "bad guys" and knowing always what is "right" and what is "wrong" often takes a lot of serious soul searching as well as inqury.

As a Male, White, U.S. citizen, whose memories go back to around 1960 - I can acknowledge progress in some areas.   I'd be shocked today to hear of an incident similar to what Ms. Ponder and her students faced in 1963, the year my partner was born.   

It is also clear to me that killing others needlessly out of anger, fear, envy and similar is fairly equally common today both in the U.S. and elsewhere.   Stalkers and other men who don't let go emotionally of (former) partners, White (generally) Teen Male mass killers in high schools, and others contribute to a world that isn't safe often for many.

It is important that we learn our history - as Men/Women, White/Of-Color, as well as in many other areas - including religion, economic class, gay/lesbian/bi/transgender.   It is important that we learn to support positive change and do our best to face up to the oppressions we and others face today.   It is important that we learn to feel - to grieve, to laugh, to cry - and to be responsible for our own feelings - so we can reach out to others.


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Reality - "The Great Liberal" - and Barack Obama

I have to laugh when McCain, Palin and others try to paint Barack Obama as "the most liberal senator" or similar - in an attempt to get middle-of-the-road/undecided voters and similar to vote against Obama.

Obviously Obama sets off "class warfare" by mentioning class at all and suggesting that having taxation policies which might be of increasing benefit to families with incomes less than $150,000/year is oh so radical.   

At the same time I really can't imagine how capturing or killing Osama Bin Laden is going to appreciably help you, me or others in the U.S. or elsewhere in the world.   While he obviously is our "voodoo doll" - the scapegoat to end all scapegoats - particularly since the death of Saddam Hussein I don't see How things would change appreciably if he were in captivity or deceased.

No doubt Bin Laden is no "angel" and perhaps is "dangerous".   At the same time he affects and reflects a world of "Islamist Extremists" who share a hatred of the U.S. Government, Israel and others.    Those Who are his allies will continue on with their cause with or without him.

As I understand it the 911 - bombers - acted primarily at least independently of Bin Laden.   Even if he did have leadership with that tragedy, we are confusing a Symbol with a Cause in making him into such a "Devil" in our minds.

Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and other neighboring countries - may someday find peace or at least a choice of their own path(s) when they can exist without U.S interference militarily and economically in their normal, everyday existence - when we are "a part" of their worlds, not "Numero Uno" - interfering.

Afghanistan's War, despite what Obama and McCain say is not "winnable".    The Taliban control at least in the range of 75% of the country.    There is no "democratic government" nor effective forces to counter the influence of the Taliban.

I suggest reading eloquent experts in these areas such as Robert Fisk:    

Perhaps Obama must speak as he does for political expediency - to win the election next month.  I hope that he is not naive enough to believe so much of what he says in such areas.