Socialism Art Nature

As the Boston Marathon is run this year, the media will swell with coverage about last year’s deadly bombing. But for all the attention, many important issues weren’t confronted then—and they haven’t been since.

Khury Petersen-Smith attended the Marathon last year as a spectator. Along with SocialistWorker.org contributor Sofia Arias, he left the finish line are about an hour before the bombs went off. Their article about what they experienced was a powerful response to the tragedies that didn’t stop with the explosions. One year later, Petersen-Smith looks at the questions we still need to be asking today.

image

… Over the past year, the media have rightly reported the stories of the many individuals who were at the Marathon finish line when the bombs exploded. We heard about heroism and unspeakable suffering.

But much of the other fallout from the attacks has been under-reported or altogether absent from the mainstream media. Amid the stories of stories of loss and trauma, and of decency and heroism, precious little has been said about the bitter experiences of Muslims in the aftermath of the bombing, nor the broader assault on civil liberties, carried out in the name of keeping us safe from violence and terrorism.

… One year later, we still face big tasks. Among them is establishing anti-racism and solidarity as the immediate response to crimes like this—and mounting a resistance to the increasingly repressive security state. We can’t allow our mourning of this catastrophe to be used for a further attack on our rights.


Share/Bookmark
these are the future terrorists who will be shooting up Jewish centers, Sikh temples, and Black teens wearing hoodies. and our society abets and abides their development.

Edit: someone just commented with the following insight -

“they don’t even have to be violent extremists tbqh..

“white people like this will be the future bosses who won’t hire us, cops who hunt us, parents who tell their kids to watch out for us, scared idiots who call the cops on us, internet commenters that stalk and harass us, hr people who ignore us when we place complaints, teachers who gleefully punish and restrict our learning, coworkers that harass us, and people who will vote to displace us, people who will gentrify us and leave us homeless, people who do not care if we live or die.

“you don’t need to be in the kkk or a terrorist hate group to be a violent racist.”

===


Share/Bookmark
Neo-Nazis roam the streets of America killing people; meanwhile police forces and the Feds are spying on Muslim Student Associations and Occupy activists.

===


Share/Bookmark

The mainstream media coverage of this year’s Boston Marathon is sure to remember the horror and fear of last year, when two explosions ripped through the crowd gathered at the finish line, killing three people and injuring more than 100. They will honor the heartening and courageous response of ordinary people—those who rushed toward the carnage to help the wounded and calm the panicked, those who opened their doors to anyone who wanted to gather, those who flocked to hospitals to donate blood.

But there’s another side to the Marathon bombings that won’t get the same coverage—the frantic and racist crackdown by authorities that reached a high point on April 19, when heavily armed law enforcement locked down Watertown, Mass., west of Boston during a manhunt for bombing suspects. Gabe Camacho is an activist and a resident of Watertown, who was caught in the lockdown. He talked to Sofia Arias about the horror and fear of another kind on the streets of Watertown that day.

 … I work for the American Friends Service Committee. I mostly do immigrant rights work in the U.S., but I also travel internationally as a human rights observer. I’ve been to war zones in Colombia and in Palestine. I know what occupation looks like. I know what a state of siege and a coup looks like. I’ve traveled quite extensively in Guatemala, including living in Santa Cruz del Quiché in Guatemala in 1979. I’ve been to Ecuador a week after the attempted coup against [President Rafael] Correa [in 2010].

So I know what these things look like. When I saw what was happening in my neighborhood, I really thought it was martial law. What I’d like to know is: First, why are our police becoming increasingly militarized? Second, how did they get this military hardware? Third, by what constitutional authority were we placed under house arrest for 18 hours?

I think everybody should be alarmed that this was a trial run for martial law. That’s exactly what I told my wife as these events transpired before our eyes—that this is a practice for martial law. This didn’t just come out of the blue. Somebody must have had plans. Somebody must have said, “Okay, we have the hardware, we have the army with us, we have the helicopters. Let’s try this out in Watertown. Let’s use going after the bombing suspect as an excuse to see how this works.”


Share/Bookmark
While law-abiding Muslims are forced to hide in their homes, and animal-rights activists are labeled as terrorists for undercover filming of abusive treatment at factory farms, right-wing hate groups are free to organize, parade, arm themselves to the hilt and murder with chilling regularity. It’s time for our society to confront this very real threat.
Amy Goodman, “The Grand American Tradition of Violent White Supremacy” | CommonDreams.org

Share/Bookmark

The same government locks up Muslims and Arabs as part of a “war on terror” allowed a real terrorist to roam the streets for the better part of four decades, writes Joe Allen.


Share/Bookmark
whoa. CNN? i am shocked.

===


Share/Bookmark
this is surely a crime against humanity that the u.s. government is engaged in.

===

On the ground in a country where unmanned missile attacks are a terrifyingly regular occurrence.

Last year, London-based forensic psychologist Peter Schaapveld presented research he’d conducted on the psychological impact of drone strikes in Yemen to a British parliamentary sub-committee. He reported that 92 percent of the population sample he examined was found to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder – with children being the demographic most significantly affected. Women, he found, claimed to be miscarrying from their fear of drones. “This is a population that by any figure is hugely suffering,” Schaapveld said. The fear of drones, he added, “is traumatizing an entire generation.”

Share/Bookmark
Words of wisdom from a friend on the nationalism surrounding the Boston Marathon bombing memorial

“America will never, ever, ever stand down. We are Boston. We are America. We respond, we endure, we overcome and we own the finish line”. –Joe Biden

One of the greatest casualties of the Marathon bombing is that people forget that despite its provincial name, the Boston Marathon was a major international event, one of the few really internationalist events that existed in this city. That has all changed now. It’s now smothered in American flags and checkpoints and racism. You end up forgetting that a Chinese student was one of the dead, that Muslims had been among the first responders, that a Saudi man had to endure injuries from the bombing, followed by interrogations from the FBI, followed by a barrage of Islamophobia, and defamation from the media, with no recompense or apologies. And no Biden, America has never owned that finish line. As far as I can remember, it has always been Africans who owned it, every year.

“Flags are bits of colored cloth that governments use first to shrink-wrap people’s minds & then as ceremonial shrouds to bury the dead” – Arundhati Roy


Share/Bookmark
"Hate crimes" versus "terrorism"

okay, i think i got it. after seeing the news media react to the Neo-Nazi who killed three Jewish people in Kansas, i’ve figured it out.

"hate crimes" are violence that straight white men (very infrequently) commit against "minorities."

"terrorism" is violence that brown people and muslims commit (all the time) against anyone at all.

it doesn’t matter that fewer people died in the Boston Marathon bombing than when a Neo-Nazi went on a killing “rampage” at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin in 2012. one was clearly “terrorism” and the other clearly a “hate crime.”

of course, the US has been engaged in a “war on terrorism” for over 10 years and over a trillion dollars, and the politicians have done everything they can to make sure we don’t forget that war and who the “terrorists” are.

but a “war on hate crimes”? yeah, not so much. perhaps politicians and the media think “war” might be a bit much in that case … ???


Share/Bookmark

Next week will see two wrenching anniversaries one day apart. One will receive a great deal more coverage than the other.

… Today, in Fenway Park, the Army has used the postmarathon Boston Strong narrative of recovery and community to aid their recruitment efforts. As the blog WMTC discussed, the many screens of Fenway Park now show ads that blare, “There’s Strong And Then There’s Army Strong!” The message could not be clearer: there is Boston Strong, there is Army Strong and one is only as, well, strong as the other. If you want to keep Boston strong and prevent more bombings, you better join up and make sure than the Army is strong as well. There are no ads to suggest that maybe occupying countries, sending in armed drones and conducting dirty wars in remote lands will create conditions that bring the war back to the United States.


Share/Bookmark

White supremacist Christian terrorism. Made in the USA. Targeted and killed 3 Jewish people over the weekend. Long-time KKK leader and current member of a Neo-Nazi organization. Had spent 20-years as an elite career gunman in the US Army.

This horrific event underscores the danger and fallacy of the racist scapegoating practiced by the rulers of this country in trying to create an image of TERRORISM as something that is exclusively carried out against innocent civilians by ‘foreign,’ ‘Muslim,’ ‘dark-skinned,’ people who ‘hate America,’ etc., etc. Meanwhile, the biggest actual armed and organized “terrorist” groups in the US are white-supremacist, ultra-nationalist, KKK-militia-types, which exist throughout the country.

In recent years we’ve seen that the NYPD was conducting mass surveillance and infiltration against the Muslim Student Association and other civic Muslim organizations throughout New York. All over the country we’ve seen right-wing bigots protesting against the construction of Mosques as supposed “threats” to America. America’s corporate media has consistently irresponsibly attacked immigrants, Black people wearing hoodies, Arab-Americans, etc, in the most inflammatory way, while apparently having nothing to say about the prevalence of white supremacy and racism at all levels of our society …

[And this is not even to mention the armed forces prowling our streets known as the “police force,” who studies show are 8 times more likely than ‘terrorist attackers’ to be the cause of an average Americans’ death — plus/minus the 8x according to skin color, citizenship, gender, poverty, etc. (See http://www.cato.org/blog/youre-eight-times-more-likely-be-killed-police-officer-terrorist)]

… And, finally, because I’ve been so involved with this lately, I can only say that would it were that groups like Hillel, the ADL, and other like Jewish organizations stopped wasting their time harassing student and community groups that are critical of Israel’s internationally-recognized crimes against Palestine, and instead use their resources to combat ACTUAL anti-Jewish and other forms of bigotry in the U.S. and around the world. (See http://mondoweiss.net/2014/03/northeastern-university-interrogation.html)

===


Share/Bookmark
WWII, US occupation of Japan, and racist falsification of history

Jesus. Reading a 1956 feature article in an American newspaper written by a military officer who served in the U.S. Occupation administration in Japan following the war. The paternalistic racism is literally out of control. Talk about “white man’s burden!”

The article starts with a subheading which promises to unravel “one of the great mysteries of the East: that unfathomable Japanese personality.” He proceeds to inform the reader that the “Japanese are not accustomed to analysis,” “they take their feelings for granted,” and they all have a “stoic Oriental acceptance of misfortune.”

He concludes, “This was the one gift we could say we had brought them [the Japanese]. All their lives for centuries past, they had accepted their misfortunes. They had endured poverty, illness, malnutrition, famine, earthquake, typhoons and wars. They had resigned themselves; the misery of their lives was beyond remedy. Now they had a new hope. It was something that came to them from the New World.”

Strange “hope” this, which came to Japan from the “New World” along with the deaths of at least 750,000 Japanese citizens, slaughtered — en masse — by what remains today the most destructive series of bombing raids in human history. 153,000 tons of bombs dropped on civilian targets; 60 major Japanese cities completely burned to the ground by nonstop fire-bombings; Hiroshima and Nagasaki obliterated instantaneously by nuclear bombs; millions more left homeless, permanently injured, suffering from radiation poisoning; and all followed by a totalitarian occupation in which US officials had absolute control over the lives of all Japanese citizens, including suspension of the right to travel inside and outside of Japan, having all of the press subject to unilateral US censorship, the summary prohibition of independent political parties and trade unions, famine-producing rationing of food and medicines, and the widespread proliferation of sex-trafficking and rape at the hand of US forces.

As Martin Luther King, Jr., said of the Vietnamese people during the U.S. war on that nation, “They must see Americans as strange liberators.”


Share/Bookmark

With the Supreme Court due to decide on the constitutionality of a Massachusetts law, Madeline Burrows looks at clinic “buffer zones” and the fight for reproductive rights.

"IT’S A slaughterhouse in there! You’ll regret this all your life!"

A group of anti-abortion activists are huddled outside of Planned Parenthood. Some are praying. Others are approaching women as they enter the clinic.

"Don’t be the mother of a dead baby."

A busload of high school students from a nearby Catholic high school stand nearby, holding signs that read, “Women do regret abortion.”

Then, as if the preceding statements weren’t traumatic enough, a priest yells out at a woman entering the clinic “Happy Mother’s Day!”

This is a typical day outside an abortion clinic in 2014. As clinic escort and pro-choice activist Paul Valette describes, “Many sidewalk counselors will continue to shout at patients who have entered the private property, until they enter the building, and sometimes continue to shout at the closed doors.”

Valette has volunteered as a clinic escort since he retired from the U.S. Army in the mid-1990s. While the more aggressive era of anti-abortion tactics—like blockading clinic entrances, gluing locks and chaining themselves to doors—was largely over when he began volunteering at the Washington, D.C., area clinic nearly 20 years ago, the chaotic, intimidating and emotionally manipulative environment created by anti-abortion protesters remains the same.

He described the scene:

When patients arrive by car, [anti-abortion protesters] will often stand next to the car, making it difficult for the patient to exit the vehicle. On one occasion, a female anti-abortion protester—about 70 years old, but tall and sturdy-looking—stood in a position where it was impossible for the patient to open the door. And they routinely attempt to slide leaflets into the car through the windows.

Sometimes, protesters go even further.

"On one occasion, a patient arrived by cab. She opened the door, then leaned back away from the door, still inside the cab, to pay the drivers," Valette said. An elderly male anti-abortion protester then "entered the cab and began talking to the woman," pleading with her not to go inside for her scheduled procedure.

 … In the pages of the New York Times, anti-abortion protesters like McCullen become “sidewalk counselors” who merely want to engage patients in polite conversations, and give women facing unplanned pregnancies their full range of choices.

USA Today’s Mary Ann Glendon, for example, portrayed McCullen as a compassionate victim of an outrageous attack on free speech:

Unfortunately, Massachusetts has relegated McCullen to the margins. She is now often forced to call out her compassionate and loving message from behind lines painted on the ground, like a child put in the corner for bad behavior…Moreover, the lines suggest to incoming women that McCullen and persons like her are somehow dangerous or suspicious.

In Glendon’s view, it is the faint yellow lines of a buffer zone and not anti-abortion protesters themselves who create a sense of danger outside of abortion clinics.


Share/Bookmark

===

fuck the PATRIOT Act


Share/Bookmark