The wars………… 19 November 2007Posted by marisacat in Afghanistan War, Beirut, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Iran, Iraq War, Israel/AIPAC, The Battle for New Orleans, WAR!.
New Orleans – April – 2005
I landed on this linkless snip in a thread at Rigorous Intuition, from Randall Robinson of TransAfrica, on with Amy / Democracy Now. I am hunting for the original DN link (hard to do as he references the move to St Kitts Nevis often when on the show and has appeared many times over the years since the move, 2001)
– anyway, I think in his references to “bottom stuck” and how America feels it has “done enough” post slavery, de jure apartheid and post Jim Crow, think RR is absolutely on target:
AMY GOODMAN: Why did you quit? Why did you leave America?
RANDALL ROBINSON: Well, we were — my wife, Hazel, and I, with our daughter Kalia were going to a place as much as we were leaving this place. St. Kitts-Nevis is a small exquisitely beautiful, democratic, well-run, civil, decent society, where people care about each other and take care of each other.
These were qualities I had come to find hopelessly lacking, absent, in American society. I had discovered at this age — I was 60 when we left — that I wanted to live in a society for some time, some portion of my life, where race did not have to be a battlement, that one could get beyond that and not feel it always in one’s craw. And it’s a kind of thing that it used up so much of my energy, and the energy of so many in the United States.
But perhaps more importantly, that after the active stage of this great crime against humanity, slavery and de jure discrimination that put together ran for 346 years, America became very satisfied with itself, that it had done all that it was going to do, while the victims of this long-running crime were left wounded in the worst way: families destroyed, chances for healthy socializations gone, prospects nil, and so the main bulk of the black community remained bottom stuck.
The civil rights movement helped people like me, people who had come from intact families, whose parents were healthy enough to encourage us to believe that we could do well. And so, it meant that the door was open, if you could walk, perhaps could you get through it, but many could not, and they remained bottom stuck. Black community cleaved into two parts: those who could benefit and those who were too terribly devastated to do so. Nothing has been done for them.
So, we find ourselves now in a situation in America with a society in terrible shape, but with that condition, fundamentally ignored by those who rule it. It just does not matter, even as it jeopardizes the whole of society. A poll was done recently that showed that a full half of Americans are afraid to venture more than a mile from their homes at night. The whole society has become a sort of prison. We have one 1/20ths of the world’s population with one-fourth of the world’s prisoners. There’s something wrong with that, 2 million and climbing, half of whom are black, because of the reasons I detailed, in addition to the active discrimination that is ongoing.
The chance of a black getting arrested, a young black male, are six times that of his white counterpart, of being incarcerated seven times, and once incarcerated will serve a sentence exactly twice as long as his white counterpart for the same crime. Blacks are half of those on death row, three-quarters when they are added to the Hispanic inmate populations. So, this business of locking up people has become a new thriving industry in America with private prisons, in a democracy, which means that in order to have your stock increase in value in a private prison, you have to get more prisoners. So, states like California are investing much more in prison construction than they are in ground-up construction of new universities.
And all of this goes on with the full blessing of not just governments that come and go, Democratic and Republican, but with the full blessing of media, the popular culture, and all of the rest.
In our foreign policy, this hyperpower, I think is coming to endanger the entire world, because now it operates willy-nilly without checks and balances. Iraq is just one example of the kind of disaster that is possible when we have a nation so powerful, so full of itself, unwilling to examine itself, self absorbed, and narcissistic in all of what that means, that it will go forward against the grain of the international community unilaterally, to create the disaster that Iraq will be for many generations to come. It won’t work.
To think that we now in Iraq have Muslim women becoming prostitutes, servicing American soldiers just feeds the kind of hatred that is growing and felt towards Americans throughout the Islamic world. It’s a very sad thing, and we get to a point that we cannot make America listen anymore to anybody but itself.I — I just — to preserve my sanity, and I think my voice, I thought it best for me to leave. I wanted to see another place, to feel …
and there the snip in the RigInt thread cut off…
The other thing is a Reuters report I fell on….. about women serving in the IDF.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – One posed for a photo as she scrubbed a Palestinian corpse. Another stripped a man to his underwear and then beat him. A third helped cover up the abuse of a young boy.
The six Israeli women who feature in the documentary “To See If I’m Smiling” each wrestle with memories of their compulsory military service that they would rather erase.
But after years of trying to bury the past, they have spoken out in a film that explores the darker side of Israel’s 40-year-old occupation of the Palestinian territories and examines its impact on a generation of young men and women.
All but one of the women spent time as conscript soldiers in the Palestinian territories during the uprising that erupted in 2000. In the film, they recount their memories from that period, describing how they coped with military machismo and with the residual guilt about what they witnessed.
[Y]arom hopes the documentary will prompt soul-searching in the Jewish state, where military service is a core part of national identity, and encourage other traumatized ex-soldiers to talk about violence they may have inflicted or witnessed.
“This country is in a coma. With all the bombs and attacks, we are numb,” she said.
“People feel we are in a war of survival and it’s better not to criticize soldiers, because they are the ones protecting us.”
Israel’s army said in a statement that soldiers adhere to a strict ethical code and that in exceptional cases, where the code is violated, an investigation is launched. It said the number of ethical violations involving Palestinians had “consistently dropped” since the events described in the film.
Yarom expects the film, which is due to be televised this weekend, to provoke criticism both from the Israeli left — because of her sympathetic portrayal of the soldiers — and from the right — which often balks at criticizing the army.
Yarom said personal experience prompted her to make the film. As a support soldier during the earlier intifada of the 1980s, she was shown a Palestinian torture victim but failed to speak out.
Almost two decades later, she still cannot shake the image of the man, slumped over a generator, his neck bent to the side and his face covered in blood.
“It’s the kind of picture that stays with you forever,” she said. “During my service I detached myself. When you try to re-attach yourself afterwards it’s painful.”
I wish I thought there were a way out – anytime soon. It is just so immense, so world-wide, so all-encompassing and crushing of anything resembling a political process in this country – that I am not hopeful….