I was listening to the radio the other morning and heard a report on the bloodshed in Egypt, where the military has opened fire on civilians. I must admit that like many Americans, I have become desensitized to reports of violence when I hear or see it on the news. But this report somehow broke through the protective shell I’ve constructed to protect my delicate psyche from absorbing the full impact of the misery and suffering that millions around the globe experience on a daily basis due to my taxpayer dollars. In defending the U.S.’s position on the intervention, er, military coup that took place in Egypt this past week, the POTUS was quoted as saying, “I know it’s tempting inside of Egypt to blame the United States or the West or some other outside actor for what’s gone wrong…But America, Obama says, can’t determine the future of Egypt.” Woe is America, it must be hard to be blamed for all the world’s troubles, whether it’s drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan, war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, the CIA-backed “rebels” in Syria or that other “intervention” in Libya where U.S. backed rebels gutted Qaddafi in the street and videotaped it while H. Clinton cackled about it. Then I realized why our noble leaders would be so ambivalent (secretly giddy) about the massacres taking place on the streets in Cairo…the recent events serve to undermine the dreams of a new day that the Arab Spring instilled in the people. Just as the Occupy movement gave some of us a faint glimmer of hope that the Civil Rights movement was, um, actually moving again so, too, did the Arab Spring for our Middle Eastern counterparts, many of whom are under the thumb of State Department sanctioned despots who bear a striking resemblance to those found in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. So once again, the POTUS sells out people of color to serve his colonial masters who are the true ballers and shot callers in this country. Then again, Obama has always embodied the cynical co-opting of the civil rights movement rather than the culmination of it.
Arthur Silber got it right when he called them all monsters, these architects of destruction who are responsible for green lighting the torture of an American citizen in the brig, launching drone strikes across the Middle East and unleashing the full horrorshow in Yemen, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, etc. How do these monsters go to sleep at night with all of this blood on their hands? How do they look their children in the eyes in the morning? This entire decade has seen war without end as the global war of terror zeroes in on anything with a keffiyeh that moves. Meanwhile, in the homeland, the ruling class has conditioned us to believe that affordable housing, universal healthcare and public education that is free of corporate influences are more than we uppity serfs deserve. Really, we should be more grateful for the GMO bread and flying circuses they throw our way and stop all this unreasonable dissenting. Why, if it weren’t for the (rich) white man, the First Nation people of North America wouldn’t get to shop at Whole Foods and the African people who
immigrated were imported in chains like Hondas to the sweet land of liberty wouldn’t get to beat white kids at every blessed sport except for lacrosse and hockey. They say hope springs eternal but when you’re holding your executed neighbor, friend or family member in your arms because the most powerful nation on the planet shrugged it’s shoulders at the “intervention”, the time for asking politely to respect one’s human rights has ended. This is the moment that Harriet Tubmans, Crazy Horses, Malcolm Xs and Che Guaveras are born. For such a time as this, we were born into the struggle…what we do with the knowledge belongs to each of us as individuals but it is only in unity that we can hope to overcome the monsters that walk among us.
Aside: I was planning on commenting in this post on the letter that Bradley Manning wrote to the court during the sentencing phase of his court martial as well as the sentence, itself, but decided Manning deserved his own post. Stay tuned…