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Posts Tagged ‘genocide’

No way we could let it happen

This is a picture of Yemeni children sleeping with their hands over their ears.

hands over ears.png

They’re trying to drown out the sounds of airstrikes, while simultaneously hoping they live through the night.

To many of my “I’m-no-foreign-policy-expert” friends in the U.S., it’s kinda sad and regrettable these kids must sleep with their hands over their ears.

For me, it’s a little different.

I grew up dirt poor.

I would have been one of those kids, covering my ears because I had no other choice.

Last week, I wrote:

‘Cause, let me be clear: If I’d been born in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, or Libya, my mom, my siblings, and I would have been among those bombed or starved to death thanks to Clinton. We’d have had no resources to escape, and no hope … save the tiniest sliver of hope that Americans might, before me and mine died, learn to see and join together to speak up in a way that reflected their acknowledgment that

our
lives
mattered.

The U.S.A. is currently bombing seven predominantly Muslim countries in Africa and the Middle East. (I called it genocide before I read about United Nations representatives already using the word more than fifteen years ago.)

Affable, eloquent President Obama has expanded the campaign of terror built by George W. Bush. He’s done it with the consent of the people he leads, who–so far–have not bothered calling on him for change.

Like the predators who once preyed upon me and my siblings, those around me go, “He can’t be a bad guy! He’s so nice!

Nice is tactical, y’all. Nice is meant to win you.

It’s the magician making you look into his eyes while his hands do crafty things.

It’s thanks to President Obama and relatively affluent U.S. citizens that hundreds of thousands of Yemeni children are starving to death right now.

‘Cause, see, there’s lots of oil in the region. And Saudi Arabia is a key U.S. ally, which means we must help them at all costs–yes, even when that cost is in hundreds of thousands of human lives, and even when they routinely target civilians.

The Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, took lots and lots of Saudi money into her family foundation while she was U.S. Secretary of State. She approved record arms sales to them, enabling them to obliterate the poorest of the poor in their quest for dominance. (“Oh, you stop that!” scolds the Obama administration without any real efforts to change anything. “That’s not very nice!”)

The elder Clintons needed lots of money to pay for their daughter’s wedding with Foundation funds, see.

Hillary Clinton was the most prominent “Democratic” advocate of the Iraq War. She advocated for it without having read the 90-page document that might have swayed her against it.

90 pages. Hundreds of thousands of lives destroyed, all so she could show her American stripes.

Then, a few years ago, she said it was time to start thinking of Iraq as a “business opportunity.”

Kill more people, get more oil.

Neat.

Screen Shot 2016-11-07 at 6.56.37 PM.pngSo I’m trying to find the bright side. I’m trying to prepare myself to find people who’ll go, “Oh, shit, we’ve been endorsing that in Yemen?!” after election day.

But, holy shit. In the meantime, I’m stuck with people celebrating their votes for Hillary. Their votes for identity politics: “I’m voting for a woman, which means I must be doing the right thing, yeah!!!!!”

They celebrate their alleged vote for human rights with no concept whatsoever how the Clintons have devastated people at home and abroad for decades.

They’d just have to do two hours of research. Maybe three hours.

I look at that all and I feel hopeless.

Because I would be dead, if I were born in Yemen and my survival were left to such people.

I would be dead because they said, “Lady president! Yeah!” and didn’t bother digging one centimeter deeper.

And so comfortable 38-year-old me faces the uncomfortable dissonance of being relatively okay now, surrounded by people who are relatively okay now, and yet remembering what it was like to not be remotely okay before.

Knowing that hundreds of thousands of people are not-okay right now …

… because we Americans don’t, in the end, really see them as people.

If we did, there’s no way we could let it happen.

No way.

silence is a war crime.png

The could-have-been soul-kin of Anne Frank

I thought of Anne Frank while walking in the rain this morning.

I thought of how she might have lived, had the U.S. approved her entry into the country.

I thought of the final marches made by countless peoples Nazis deemed subhuman. Did each of those marchers know how few steps they had to walk in their lives? Or did they hold out some frail hope as they marched toward gas chambers that the worst was behind them?

I ached, but something in my heart told me I wasn’t only aching because of the past.

I turned toward the present, and my blood ran cold.

Over the weekend, I read further in Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine.

I learned that the image of Iraq I’d had painted for me by U.S. media when the U.S. invaded Iraq  was wrong. Far from being a backward country in need of re-creation, it had a rich cultural, artistic, and intellectual history. Its literacy rate exceeded that of many U.S. states.

Then the U.S. invaded and destroyed Iraq, obliterating its universities, museums, and faith centers in addition to ending–through torture and killing–countless lives.

I’d had no idea what–or whom–my country destroyed, nor how completely it did so to open new markets.

After World War II, many ordinary Germans claimed they had no idea what was happening to the people forcibly removed from their communities. Even those with concentration camps in their backyards professed shock upon discovering the atrocities perpetrated–and suffered–by people who’d once walked among them.

To focus very narrowly upon a single city or community might make disappearances merely curious.

Pulling back and taking a wider view, we can see from temporal and physical distance that people disappeared from many communities.

Focusing on any one, it is easy to say it’s not such a big deal some people disappeared.

It would, of course, be wrong, for what happened in any individual community didn’t spring from such community. What happened in each was symptomatic of a much greater ill, which can only be seen from further back.

(The earth seems flat while standing upon it. You must view it from space to see that it is curved.)

I wrote recently about the U.S.’s indispensible role destroying Yemeni lives by bombing Yemen and by cutting it off from desperately needed humanitarian supplies.

Those not killed by bombs are killed by slow starvation.

When I wrote, I was troubled and perplexed by my country’s brutal acts, as well as by my fellow Americans’ apparent lack of concern with the same.

U.S. attacks on Yemen and, once again, Iraq might not seem that disturbing taken as two completely separate sets of actions.

Viewing it that way is viewing it too narrowly, for the U.S. has recently bombed and otherwise attacked three other predominantly Muslim Middle Eastern countries: Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Syria. (In the latter case, U.S. leaders roar for a no-fly zone they quietly acknowledge will kill countless civilians.)

Taking a slighty wider view, the pattern becomes even more sinister: The U.S. is also bombing two Muslim countries in northern Africa. Somalia is under U.S. attack, as is Libya, which was a true democracy until the U.S.’s Clinton-led  intervention a few years ago.

Having destabilized not only Iraq but many of its Muslim neighbors, my country destroys their paths to food, exit, and safety. It totals homes and livelihoods and then dooms entire regions by denying their people safe harbor here.

By Oxford’s definition of genocide, “the deliberate killing of large groups of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation (synonyms: mass murder),” U.S. actions have a name.

Ask some members of certain American contingencies and they’ll tell you we’re bombing Muslim countries because violent Muslims have provoked us to it.

In addition to being a horrifyingly broad overgeneralization, this acontextual view ignores how U.S. attacks have fanned the flames of extremism. In one recent Robert Kennedy piece, he explains how  U.S. Department of Defense “data show a strong correlation between U.S. involvement abroad and terrorist attacks against the U.S.”

Indeed, Pulse Nightclub shooter Omar Mateen told a police negotiator, “You have to tell the U.S. government to stop bombing. They are killing too many children. They are killing too many women, okay.”

In a broadly bipartisan affair, my country has killed and continues to kill hundreds of thousands of Muslim families. To my heart, there is no difference between these families, Sikh families, Christian families, Jewish families, atheist families, or any other loving family.

I cannot stop my government from killing, but I can speak up that none around me may ever truthfully say, “I had no idea that was happening!”

To not know is one thing; to willfully not know, quite another.

As we go about our merry not-knowing, there is no telling how many soul-kin of Anne Frank we are destroying each and every day.

This 10/24/16 post transferred from L2SP 5/16/17

 

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