Home > history, politics > You are mighty.

You are mighty.

“Why do you care so much what happens to some people in Yemen?” I’ve been asked several times.

The first few times I was asked, I had a hard time keeping my cool. “Why do you need someone else to explain the value of human life?!” I wanted to roar back … and did, a couple of times, accomplishing exactly nothing.

I then started trying to explain, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Injustice isn’t the problem, but a symptom of a systemic corrosion that can’t be confined.

I’ve finally landed on a way to explain this corrosion in a way I think it’ll reach people’s hearts, but it’ll take me some time to write. Today, then, I want to focus on a hopeful corollary:


Last week, I wrote a short post asking Americans to call senators responsible for approving or rejecting an already House-authorized war with Russia. In comments, I summarized what I’d said when I called. I suggested a template for anyone who wanted to call but wasn’t sure what to say.

“I’m a California voter with grave concerns about the misnamed Syrian Civilian ‘Protection’ Act. I urge you to ensure it does not pass. Not with my tax dollars.”

When calling, you might want to use something like the latter, swapping “Californian” with “American.”

Why does it matter what happens to some people in Syria? Apart from the moral dimensions to answering that, there’s a very practical reason.

War is bankrupting the United States. Already, the U.S. government has spent $5 trillion on wars that devastate innocent people worldwide while transferring any and all American wealth from the populace to its arms dealers. Syrians and Americans alike are starving because war is good for the already very wealthy.

That’s horrifying enough on its own, but it gets worse: This was all Osama bin Laden’s plan. He knew his enemy, and it did exactly as he anticipated. As I tweeted last weekend,

In Who Rules the World? Chomsky mentioned bin Laden planned to bankrupt the US through war. US did just as he hoped https://t.co/Sg8Rxpa3BF

@deblarian bin Laden perceived 9/11 as an investment in his desired outcome: $500k to maybe finally get the US out of the Middle East

@deblarian “Bin Laden understood that the way to beat America was to turn its power back upon itself” https://t.co/3O0xe21nGu

@deblarian Priorities: While American people have starved, American war profiteers have thrived … exactly as America’s enemies predicted.

The title of the CNN article I first linked summed it up, “Bin Laden: Goal is to bankrupt U.S.”

Why did bin Laden want the U.S. out of the Middle East, anyway? 

Because, by 9/11/01, the U.S.’s decades-long thirst for oil, control, and regime change had already killed countless Middle East citizens.

bin Laden was especially attuned to this. As John Pilger explained in The New Rulers of the World,

What Bush never explained to his fellow Americans was that his and the previous Clinton administration had been warned that al-Qa’ida, or ‘the Base’, a network spawned in an American client state, Saudi Arabia, was planning audacious attacks on New York and Washington. Hidden from the public was the CIA’s long relationship with Osama bin Laden during the mujaheddin war against the Soviets in Afghanistan, and that the President’s father still worked as a consultant to the immensely rich bin Laden family.

Earlier this week, I asked that we all cast our pennies together to change the world. I explained that I’m going to be shifting my focus from ruminating over horrible things done to fixing things now. When I present uncomfortable history from here on out, it won’t be to vent. It’ll be because the history is important to understanding and changing now.

I want you to know you can change the world. I don’t know how to explain all the nuances of this yet, but I’m working on finding the words.

War seems enormous compared to one frail human body. Members of the U.S. government and its contractors are counting on you to keep feeling that, and to do nothing because … what could you possibly do?

It’s critical to reject the helplessness of viewing the situation from this angle, and to instead acknowledge the good done everywhere each time you confront injustice anywhere.

When you call a senator to protest U.S. atrocities in Syria, you’re confronting injustice everywhere. You’re protecting Syrians, Americans, and the Earth that is being made uninhabitable by aggressive pursuit of oil.

When you call the White House to demand it reject DAPL, or travel to North Dakota to stand as a human barrier between militarized police and water protectors, you’re confronting injustice everywhere.

When you stand holding signs demanding living wages for everyone, you’re confronting injustice everywhere.

When you march and shout for peace, you’re confronting injustice everywhere.

When you refuse to spend your money on global corporations that destroy workers to enhance their bottom line, you’re confronting injustice everywhere. When you spend your hard-earned money on local merchants, you’re doing the same.

When you read sad news and history so you can explain it better to friends and family are unfamiliar with facts, you’re confronting injustice everywhere.

When you love others, and listen to them, extending your heart and arms to them, you’re confronting injustice everywhere.

Your body is small and frail, yes, but what you do to protect others with your body and your voice is mighty.

What’s within you is mighty enough to confront injustice. It’s mighty enough to change the world.

You are mighty.

You are mighty.


This 12/3/16 post transferred from L2SP 8/25/17.

  1. August 25, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    Thank you for loving us.

  2. August 25, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    Strong and beautiful. Inspiring as always. ❤

  3. August 25, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    I long for the day that we realise that as members of the human race we are part of a community. No us and them, but only us.

    • August 25, 2017 at 5:04 pm

      Me, too. Several months back, I started having the sense that writing all these “me, me, me” posts was representing everything wrong, but I didn’t have any idea how to do better.

      Just a few days ago, I started reading a book that articulates everything I was trying to. It’s super hippie, so that I know some folks I know will discount it even though it’s written by a med school teacher with a Ph.D.; he does a perfect job explaining how “us” versus “them” is itself weird and unnatural, but … until more people read and reflect upon (instead of immediately discounting) him, his ideas will seem weird and unnatural.

      We are part of a community. That is so whether or not the community’s parts recognize it. So my question is: How do we make the parts recognize it, while there’s still time left for (almost) everyone?!

      • August 25, 2017 at 5:11 pm

        I wish I knew. By example? Telling/shouting/reasoning has failed.

        • August 25, 2017 at 5:24 pm

          I think that’s what’s left. I wish I could be a better one, but man, I’ll try, given the stakes.

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