Posting this picture to make a point that is counter to what has been presented by the Mainstream Media as well as by Law Enforcement Authorities when it comes to the protests in Ferguson, last week, and earlier this week.Their point was that people like this among the protester clashes with Police were outside agitators, often from out of town, and set on only provoking more clashes and pursuing violence. While may there are few small groups of people with that mindset, what is also happening in this picture and others like it is a defiance of the law enforcement and their instructions. In many ways, and in my opinion, for the most part, this is akin to civil disobedience. Unlike how the MSM and the Law presents these young kids as independent of the protests over the injustice of the killing of Mike Brown, it is far more true that they are directly related to that protest, and in many ways more relevant to the outrage felt by that community and all the ones like it across the United States who are over-policed and their populations of young black men are over-incarcerated.The calm and obedient organizers of protests that are usually much older than the ages of those like Michael Brown and those appearing in photos like this, and they are their mothers, fathers, and grandparents. Of course it is relevant to them as they care about the future of their young loved ones, and they don’t want to see them fall victim to the overhanded police reaction to petty criminal activity or completely innocent activity as just being a BMW, Black Male Walking. But is it their outrage that is the most relevant, that ironically comes in the form of peaceful demonstration and polite requesting of redress of their grievances? In my opinion I don’t think so. It seems to me that the feelings of the young, who take the brunt of implicitly racist, and even explicitly racist policing, who have the least opportunity for positive future. It is in their feelings where the real outrage over their situation resides. It is them who find themselves most frustrated over the status quo of mistrust of law enforcement. as they are treated by them as objects of fear and even less than human. Whether consciously in explicit racist attitudes of cops or subconsciously with implicit racism the police approach them as those objects of fear and being less than human, where the choice in reaction to confrontation with young black men and even women is easily made as shoot to kill. There is no second guessing the action of use of utmost force when a cop believes their safety may be in danger. All of that plays into why, the young protesters are easily outraged to the point of perhaps violence or at least complete disobedience towards the instruction of law enforcement. To me it seems to stem from a place where there appe be such little little hope that such attitudes of law enforcement will change, and how they are treated by the Justice System in what is now becoming known to activists as the New Jim Crow will change also. The young black kids of Ferguson especially when all of this national attention dies down, will once again find themselves in a mostly black town with virtually all white government, all white law enforcement, a Police Department that acted with 0 transparency in reaction to the shooting of 6 bullets into an unarmed black 18 year old. A police department that in the immediate aftermath of that shooting did absolutely everything that would suggest they were fully aware they did something wrong, and that they were going to do everything they could to hide the information around that incident and protect the officer did did the wrong. With all that said and then some we should realize that these so called “bad actors” and “outside agitators” were actually at the core of the protest reaction to the shooting of Michael Brown, because it is about more than just that one incident, it is everything about how the law has treated them as less than human and how impossibly hard it is for such a reality to change with so many in this country being apathetic about it, and that ignites such a deep frustration and hopelessness that they feel they have no choice but to act out on. It is more than understandable, and instead of casting them out as irrelevant and just the nasty criminal element, we should strive to understand and have dialogue about this. It is easy for us whites when we are stopped by police for what might seem like suspicious behavior or a violation of law, to be more respectable towards them and cooperate. But when you are part of social class in this country where the frequency of such stops is significantly higher for far more petty and completely normal behavior, it is easy, at least in my eyes, to see why there is such a strong urge to resist cooperating with a law enforcement approach that assumes you to be of a criminal class, an object of fear, and less than human.
This has been one of the more disturbing aspects the the tensions between Protesters and Police in Ferguson. It was a huge aspect in the first few days after the killing of Michael Brown, but then the State Highway Patrol was brought in, led by Captain Ron Johnson, a community member of Ferguson and someone who has actually marched with protesters in the daytime, and has been allied with local community leaders like clergy and elected officials. But there was only was one day of relative peace with him in command, where looting and other property damage did occur and was not addressed by law enforcement. Then the next day and then on, police started to engage protesters who they deemed to be out of control, and thus they shoot their tear gas and rubber bullets, another point of escalation in the conflict. And further in response to the chaos on the main street in Ferguson, law enforcement, particularly the same department that was originally in control, started to once again raise their weapons and point them at the whole group of protesters. So that was a turning point back towards the original militarized stance they took towards protesters. That was the past couple nights, but tonight seems to be different once again. Reporters on the ground have said that every night has had a different vibe. And tonight, there have not been any clashes or any particular protesters acting up, throwing stuff. Just large protest groups moving along down the sidewalks and chanting “Who are we?… Mike Brown” or “Hands up….don’t shoot.” One chant has been noticeably absent “No justice, no peace.” However, whenever police form lines and gear up near protesters, they seem to reach a heightened sense of tension. It’s situations like that that can become stand offs, provoking protesters to act out, disobey police instruction, and clash in the form of bottles thrown, and in more extreme cases Molotov cocktails. One thing is for sure, the situation is always tense and complex. At this point protesters and police alike are thoroughly annoyed with the media presence. Which I think is unfair, because that is an attitude of this situation being in its own little bubble of conflict only relevant to them. But the overpolicing of black community, and their over incarceration, and the brutalities against them are a nation wide issue that the press should cover.
Hows that for Police Militarization, makes for one radical looking newspaper front page.
Off the cuff shooting out of All Along the Watchtower while in a completely strange and strung out state of mind. Definitely not the best I can do, definitely not the best I’ve ever played this song, but definitely the most passionately and with the purest energy from the visceral depths of my mind and soul. The closing with the progression of A minor chord variations is something I came up with earlier in the day.
Considering the last post, speaking of respect for women, I was just listening to Michelle Obama speak about such. Always, always, she’s been one of, if not THE, favorite speakers of mine. So eloquent and perfectly emotive.
Just because I have not mentioned the conflict that is occurring between Israel and Palestine, specifically in Gaza does not mean I do not care. In fact, I probably have resisted saying anything (on here) until now because it is actually something I care very deeply about.
Ever since beginning to learn about some of the history of the conflict a couple years ago, I have realized the Israeli political right’s control of Government policy. Based upon the impact of such on the lives of Palestinians I have always been somewhat opposed to those policies and the actions of the Israeli military. However, as I heard a commentator say today, this whole situation is much beyond just being Pro-Israel or Pro-Palestine.
For myself, I am someone who deeply detests anti-Semitism, especially the anti-Semites who maintain respected places in American history, and consider myself a lover of the Jewish people. In that sense I am pro-Israel because I strongly support the idea of a Jewish state, and I believe that as a society Israel is very progressive and ultimately a great place, a place I believe I’d find myself much more comfortable in than America.
I want Israel to prosper and to live in safety. It is a very simple and reasonable notion that no society should have to live in the fear of rockets falling from the sky on a constant basis or being surrounded by people who wish for its ultimate destruction. It is sympathetic and just an unbearable way for anyone to have to live. However, I believe that in the context of the whole 50+ year tensions, in reaction to that perceived and real persecution, a faction of Israeli society has reacted with similar hatred and have pursued a public policy of harsh punishment not just on the radical factions of Palestinians militantly opposed to Israel but ultimately of the whole of Palestine. Obviously this is especially true for the Gaza strip where the naval blockade and the heavy restriction on the movement of peoples and goods in and out has created an economic and living situation for Palestine that is stagnant and impoverished.
With the strength and wealth of the Israeli government and military, especially thanks to the long standing financial and political support from the U.S. Government, when Israel launches military offensives it believes to be defensive actions against the militant actions of Palestinian Islamist groups, such as Hamas, against Israel, it results in very significant destruction and loss of civilian life in one of the most densely populated places on earth. Obviously, both the economic and destructive impact on the Palestinian people leads to more support amongst them for groups like Hamas.
With the fully manifested desire of Israel to enact punishment on Palestine with its significantly stronger military power there is an even greater threat to Israel living in peace with ever more Palestinians developing feelings of hatred towards it. Not to mention with such lopsided military action, Israel effectively makes its citizens look like cry-babys for not wanting to live under the threat of rocket attacks. Rocket attacks that with the development of the Iron-dome missile defense system have a much lower risk of actually causing a loss of Israeli life compared to the high impact bombardment of Gaza now having killed over 1800 Palestinians, mostly civilian, in the current conflict.
And obviously there is the other factors of the Palestinians in the historical context of the conflict having lost much of the land they had once considered home. There are also religious zealots who believe that they have a spiritual entitlement to the land that Palestinians live on in the West bank, encroaching on them and harassing them. It is this segment of Israel society there seems to have such a deep resentment of Hamas on the surface but more truly of all Palestinians so that they actually prefer to remain with the status quot and not reach an agreement for Peace and Sovereignty of both the peoples. This status quot allows that right wing segment of Israel to continue to develop settlements and also with its control of the government to exercise its full military might, just because it exists. Then every couple years they can enact more punishment on the Palestinians especially in Gaza by launching military offensives.
I do not know if the hardline Israeli government realizes it or not, and although every western reporter on the ground in Gaza has seen no evidence to the claim that Hamas uses civilians as human shields, the massive loss of innocent Palestinian lives in these military incursions and bombardments only strengthen Hamas’ position and cause more Palestinian hatred for Israel. Israel very well might realize it, because not only has there been evidence that every incident of innocent life destruction, such as at U.N. schools, were easily avoidable, but because this only deepens and further entrenches the status quot ensuring that Israel can continue to punish Palestinians and restrict their future and freedom.
This indeed pisses me off because I too hate Hamas and their anti-Antisemitism as they are equally responsible for the entrenchment of this old conflict.
As for the current state of the conflict to this day and hour, I am glad it has winded down and Israeli ground forces have left Gaza. Glad that a cease fire has prospered for longer than any other yet in this current round of fighting. If this offensive has been somewhat successful in the weakening of Hamas’ military capabilities, I might consider that a good thing, but thousands of Palestinian families’ lives have been uprooted and generally ruined. That is the true and significant humanitarian cost to the conflict at this point and what makes the actions of Israel so egregious.
The political faction of Hamas, despite their wish for the destruction of Israel in their charter, when combined with the moderate Palestinian Authority and PLO in the West Bank might actually leave room to consider a peace deal and ultimately a two state solution. But Israel completely refuses to accept that as a possibiliy and will not work for peace as long as Hamas has any real political power in Palestinian territory. I am not a conspiracy theorist but it makes you wonder when George W. Bush, a strongly pro Israel military president, was the one who pushed for the elections in the Gaza strip that got Hamas elected.
Ultimately, what pisses me off about both side’s more radical leaders is that we all know a final Peace deal’s most basic terms have been outlined as a two state solution based on 1967 borders. The whole of the Palestinian delegation including Hamas has publicly stated their willingness to pursue such a peace deal, yet Israel has stated nothing but what feels like false outrage in the face of the blatantly disproportionate impact of the conflict on the two peoples, thus making it clear that they are up for nothing but the status quot. What makes that even more disappointing, especially in spite of my idealistic optimism about Israeli society that has always been much more tolerant than America, is the fact that the Israeli population was polled at 95% support for their Government’s policies of offensive action. Which is understandable granted the threat under which they feel they live, and to some extent they truly do. In the early new millennium Israeli society was terrorized by extremely devastating suicide bombings. But that poll leaves only 5% of the Israeli people that might feel like I do, and this conflict has been so charged that the truth is I may be considered an anti-Semite myself for being disappointed by that. < /p>