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A Voice in the Wilderness

As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness. -- William O. Douglas

Saturday, July 30, 2005

If they take you in the morning

Jean Charles de Menezes
7 January 1978 - 22 July 2005

Killed in London by plain clothes police who wrongly claimed he was a suicide bomber

The death of democray is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment.
Robert M. Hutchins

8 Comments:

At Sat Jul 30, 11:22:00 PM MDT, Blogger Luis Andrade said...

Just to add my two cents to it, I think Justme88 is missing the point Joe is trying to make here. If I'm right in my interpretation of his posts, he's trying to say that: 1. There is little anybody can do about terrorist attacks without a complete overhaul of the foreign (and interior for some of them, like Israel, for example) policy of the countries affected. What the current administrations see as "appeasement" it is, for the people affected, simply justice and proper recognition. So, while there isn't any of those, the fight will continue. This isn't anything new, by the way. All revolutions started by a similar spark. 2. Official sanction of "instant justice" does not make the loss of a life any better. Instant justice is just another form of terrorism and, in that case, a scarier type of it: it makes it predictable and expected as opposed to the random acts of fanatics. If you think that the fear of random acts is bad enough, then, believe me, the fear of officially sanctioned acts of terrorism will take your breath away. It is called totalitarianism. The moment that concept sinks in then your fears will shift from the sensationalism of the newscasts to the everyday certainty that you have an all powerful entity, called government, watching you and dictating your moves and if your stray from the patterns, then you are game. That's what pretty much happened to this young guy.

Loss of life in the hands of another, be it a mugger, a terrorist or a government official, is always horrible. Does the circumstances justify a government official to snuff another's life? Perhaps in some cases of extreme circumstances, like some hostage situations, or self-defense, for example. Now, if you accept those justifications as valid, start thinking about the motives of the people that dissent against officialdom. Those policies, be it internal and/or foreign, that just plain stink totalitarianism. (and totalitarianism only works charms for the very few at the top, the accommodated ones, the sociopaths that couldn't care less about what happens to those below them...)

Democracy is all about dissent and the freedom to express it, all in the hope that dissent will reach some kind of critical mass whereby unjust officialdom policies are changed. 1776 is one of those years where dissent worked as clockwork. You are enjoying the fruits of those who dissented way back then (and lost their lives to it). Now, don't lose that original spark. Keep an eye on it and you will keep it alive. What you are living nowadays is not THAT, for all the empty words and justifications they will throw at you... What we are living now is pretty damn close to what they lived --and fought against-- almost 230 years ago. Even the name of the King is the same... (no, I'm not talking about Karl Rove) :-)

No, I'm not justifying any crazy, fanatic, acts of terrorism whereby innocent lives are lost. What I'm tying to say is that for me is just as abhorring the stamp of officialdom on the same kind terrorist acts where police have "card blanche" on taking a person's life.

Whereby the public and the officials react with an initial "WTF" to an act of terrorism, they react with an "oops!" to certain judgement mistakes, like the killing of this young man. Talk about double standards...

Luis

 
At Sun Jul 31, 01:20:00 AM MDT, Blogger The Voice said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At Sun Jul 31, 09:43:00 AM MDT, Blogger The Voice said...

Luis,

The person who you responded to has elected to have her comments removed.

While her post seemed inflammatory, she maintains that it was taken out of context.

The question she raised was that I had not covered the victims of the suicide bombings as much as I had covered Menezes murder.

 
At Sun Jul 31, 10:52:00 AM MDT, Blogger Liquidplastic said...

J,
I could not have put it better and I doubt if anyone else could either. You speak the truth, and there are those with blinders on that feel that an innocent person will not run. As a colored woman, living right here in good on USA I know why innocent people run, and relates to it.

You do a wonderful job with your blog and I for one promotes it more than I do my own. We all know the truth and if it was not for the internet we would all still be force to see a one sided picture of what the war is and was about.

Forgive the folks who are blind, there is nothing you can say or do about the path they are on. On the other hand, there are those of us ... a group of ten ... that read and discuss the opinions you render on this blog daily. We have learned more about Mexician, Hispanic history then we ever did in histroy books. We are grateful to you for this massive effort that you undertake.

In the end, there are a lot of blogs and/or news media that is saying that what was done to this innocent man is justice, it good to see someone speak out against the injustice.

Keep up the good work ... and know that you are supported 100 percent. We indeed admire and respect what you are about and what you are saying ...

Be well,
LP

 
At Sun Jul 31, 11:34:00 AM MDT, Blogger The Voice said...

The following is my response to the deleted posts. I have copies of them but am honoring justme88's request to have them removed. She claims that secondary to her posting comments here, she has received vitriolic comments at her blogsite. I sincerely hope this is not true. After being informed that she was receiving negative comments at her blog, I originally removed my response but after having reviewed it, I stand behind what I originally posted.

I did not write about the bombing in the way some might have liked me to - I wrote that we should approach it carefully and avoid blaming anyone before we got our facts straight. Of course the killing of people in a subway by suicide bombers is an abhorrent act.

As you are well aware, I have put my life on the line as a police officer so I am not your typical ‘peacenik free-loving hippie-type’ – not that there is anything wrong with any type of peace-loving people. I am conservative in my perspectives. There is a Chinese saying, The sign of true wisdom is one’s ability to practice restraint in judgment.' The most conservative thing I do is practice self-restraint. I never waver from that tenet. You wouldn’t want a police officer wrongly accusing you. Would you?

I am surprised that despite our shared distaste for suicide bombers you do not share the same repulsion toward overzealous police officers trained in the art of execution. The British government, through their elite police force, killed an innocent man in public – they tackled him and pumped 7 bullets into his head for no other reason than he looked ‘middle-eastern.’ Perhaps if you were Brazilian or Palestinian or had more melanin and features and cultural ties to southern European countries you might feel differently about his murder. Perhaps if he shared your family’s physical features or ethnicity, you would feel different. Perhaps you should re-read my other posts on this topic again . To the fair and objective reader, they were fair and objective.

My point is plain and simple, what is happening these days with these knee-jerk reactions such as the execution of a law-abiding citizen where good and decent people like you are condoning the murder of a man who was racially profiled is completely unacceptable to me. It should be to you and all the people you care about - namely those serving in Iraq. As your knowledge of me is limited to what I post here - I believe your assessments of me and you’re calling to question my concern and mistrust of George Bush and his crony Tony Blair's botched mess in Iraq is really unfair.

I have family and close friends in Iraq. I want them home and I want them home alive.

You seem to think that my opposition to the war is somehow an indictment of those who are there fighting it. You seem to think that I am un-American for voicing my position on the insanity of our presence in Iraq and that, ‘two wrongs don’t make a right.’ Point of information; those people are all volunteers - the volunteer enlistment is dropping. This is fast becoming an unpopular war and rightly so. There were no WMD's there were no connections between Saddam and Al Qaeda’s bombing of the World Trade Center and still Americans are dying over there. My take on it is plain and simple; we are in Iraq because we do not respect those people. We want their oil. We don’t give a damn if they have no water, shelter, electricity, basic necessities or infrastructure. We see Iraqis as inferior because they worship the same God from a different book. We have bought the bullsh** lie that Americans are superior to everyone else on the planet – Newsflash: We are not – The reality is that we are a mongrel nation and our demographics are rapidly changing.

The dominant culture today is not going to be in power much longer. The Demographics do not support it. But bigotry and smug elitism are hard to let go of after two hundred plus years of looking down on brown people is coming to an end. People around the world learned from Vietnam and now from Iraq that the US is not invincible – they can be beat – their Achilles heel is their ignorant, prideful bigoted arrogance.

In Iraq again, like in Vietnam, we are winning all the battles and we are going to lose the war because we are too damned arrogant. Arrogance mistakenly fails to take into account the will of the subjugated.

Our president and his crew have completely screwed our credibility up with the rest of the world. Thanks to Bush and Company, in the eyes of the world, we are the bullies. Perhaps reviewing the history of the Third Reich and the meaning of Totalitarianism is in order at this point.

Mark my words – remember this post – five days, five weeks, five months and five years from now. Remember what I say here when your friends come home psychologically and physically maimed, or worse. If you think that dismissing those brown people over there as inferior is going to make them any less formidable, you are in for a huge lesson - one that America has apparently forgotten from a failed war thirty years ago. It was called Vietnam. Our soldiers may be American and they are undoubtedly the best trained and equipped on the planet. Nevertheless, their morale is low and you cannot blame that on the peaceniks; not this time. Their morale is low because that war is un-winnable.

I love my country and like I posted on your blog, I believe we need to back our soldiers 100% - all I can say to you is watch your friends when they return - they are going to be different. I have seen it over and over again. It happened in Vietnam and it is happening with the current soldiers in Iraq - it happened in desert Storm I. It is going to happen again. War is disgusting and the toll it takes on people is devastating.

Thanks to George Bush, lives are being ruined and brown-skinned people are not the problem. The problem is that people, like yourself and people who post on your blog - GOOD DECENT PEOPLE - say they 'don't care.'

Bearing that in mind, it seems pretty simple; the people you don’t care about also don't care about you or me either and they will continue to kill themselves and others to show you their response to your, 'Jimmy crack corn and I don't care attitude.' What the hell kind of statement is that to make – in any context?

So what's the point? What do you want me to do? Am I to prove my love for America by hating an Iraqi? Am I to prove my loyalty to American soldiers by saying I don't give a damn that an innocent man who happens to be brown was killed in cold blood by an elite death squad of British police officers trained by Israel’s Mossad?

Please re-read my posts and click on the links – they are from legitimate news sources. Educate yourself and see if your stomach does not turn as well. No amount of rationalizing is going to being back a man killed in cold blood by the police. We are no better than the terrorists in this case - period. In my opinion, we better start caring - our very future as a nation depends on it.

You can rest assured I abhor violence and I will not ever glorify the taking of another’s life. When a person is killed by another, even if it is by a police officer and even if the killing turns out to be justified, the officers who have taken a life in the line of duty feel tremendous remorse – because they hold life sacred.

I have no tolerance for terrorism or any one who commits it - no matter who commits it. We are in a hell of a mess in the world today because of American Arrogance and bigotry – for those who don’t believe me, I invite you to crack open a history book or take a class at your local university. I believe the experience might change your perspective – if nothing more than by bringing to light that Americans have not always been the 'good guys.'

One reality that seems to have escaped many is that the lion's share of people currently in the American military are poor people who are vastly over-represented by people of color. Look around, you don’t see any kids like Jeb Bush’s son serving in Iraq. Do you? Because your circle of friends are from the dominant culture and they happen to be in the military doesn't make America's military exclusively 'white.' Moreover, when they bleed it is always red - no matter what color, race or religion they are.

Believe me; I want your friends home safe as well. That your heart is not troubled by an innocent man's death at the hands of the state is really telling to me. It says you are buying the line of BS that Bush and Company are feeding the American public.

Do some research and then we can talk. Until then, you can accuse me of being pro-Iraqi and anti-US. I will tell you that you are flat wrong. I love my country as much as you do. I have served my country with pride and I have protected people with my life. Maybe that’s why I think life is precious. I didn't see death and its consequences on a TV show or in a movie. I lived with it. I have seen people killed in the commission of a crime and I have seen officers killed in the line of duty. I have asked about the senseless of it all but in the end, I believe taking a human life not only should have been avoided, it could have been avoided. It all boiled down to understanding the differences that led to it in the first place. Why is that considered offensive?
The reality is that soldiers exposed to battle change - rarely for the better. As civilized Human Beings, we know killing is wrong and after we have killed someone, we become wounded as well. People that deal with violence change. It is easy to talk the big line like our president and his fortunate son crew does because they were exempted from witnessing the horrors of war due to their privileged wealth and political connections. I call them ‘chickenhawks.’ I do not respect them because they are like Sunday afternoon football fans - they yell a lot and call their shots from their armchairs but they wouldn't last a second on the field with the real players. Plainly put, Poor men fight rich men's wars.

The way I see it, Chickenhawks talk a big game but, in the end they are all cowards. Their names are Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rove and the list goes on.

It is easy for cowards to talk about heroism - Heroes on the other hand, never do. They don't have to. Like my Brother-in-law's father said, "I don't need to do my flag waving over here. I did it over there." He was not a self aggrandizing wannabe. He was a man like all the other men that nobly served this country. He was a twice decorated recipient of the Purple Heart - who fought as a foot soldier on the front lines, in the Pacific Corridor at Iwo Jima, Guam, Inchon. He was of the variety of men I regularly dealt with when I worked in the VA Hospital long ago - humble and not at all proud to talk about the atrocities they witnessed.

It's one thing to rattle a saber here - it is something altogether different to do it on the battle field. That's where people die. As far as I am concerned, our soldiers in Iraq are at risk and in jeopardy over lies. Now people are dying around the world because of British and American Policies that have failed.

We damn well better start caring or we are going the way of the USSR.

 
At Sun Jul 31, 11:44:00 AM MDT, Blogger Lew Scannon said...

Two days after the dead man was exonerated by the English police, the Fox News Channel was still referring to him as a 'terror suspect'.
Democracy is dead and has been replaced by a traitorous Christian Fascism intent on fighting an illegal and unconstitutional Holy War where even looking remotely Middle Eastern is a ticket to a cold slab.

 
At Sun Jul 31, 02:32:00 PM MDT, Blogger Renee Wagemans said...

We are lied by too long and behave like the frog that is put in the pan with cold water and then heated.. the frog does not know he is cooked untill he is......dead.

we must stand up and be strong again

make our voices be heard for justice

 
At Sun Jul 31, 10:49:00 PM MDT, Blogger G said...

Voice,

That was a GREAT comment you made.

Hating back doesn't solve the problem, yet many seem to think it's what we should do. In truth, all it does is further a vicious cycle in which we hate the other for their hate, they hate us for that, we hate their new hate ... and on and on ...

What we need to do is understand. Try to figure out why. And maybe those who refuse to do so are scared, because we may discover something about ourselves in that, our own complicity (which is very large) in creating and fostering the hate that exists against The West. We have wronged others. We continue to do so. It is a blind mentality that expects there would be nothing but worship towards us for that.

We need to understand ... we need to search for the truth ... and until we do so all we will end up doing is furthering our own dilemma.

One of the reasons I enjoy A Voice In The Wilderness so much is your pursuit of that understanding, and of that truth, and the willingness you show to face it, and confront it. Not just the search for truth in terms of the events of the world, but also for truth in the self ... for each of us, our own truths are intertwined, for they are what enable us to see the world the way in which we do.

Never stop searching ... even if the only result is opening minds to new thought, new ways of looking at things ... that is an important difference made - perhaps the most important difference of all. Everything else grows from there.

Peace,
G

 

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