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Show Up Today

I drove to LAX last night.

Once there, I joined a crowd of a couple hundred people. They–we–demanded release of Muslims from certain countries detained based on a Trump (read: Bannon) executive order issued yesterday.

A California congressperson informed us one Iranian student had already been deported. She and others were at the airport demanding access to the detainees.

As I stood chanting, hoping that so many people show up for Sunday solidarity at airports, I regretted deeply how I contributed to this outcome.

As I drove home, I thought of a post I wrote in October. In “The could-have-been soul-kin of Anne Frank,” I wrote:

anne frank.png

I thought about the quiet inaction of those who watched as Nazis committed genocide. They likely hoped they’d earn safety for themselves and their own if they remained silent.

I understood that the U.S. coming-for actually began at least fifteen years ago.

I thought of three kids who’d stood chanting opposite me at LAX.

They don’t deserve less than my or your non-Muslim kids. In fact, what we do to protect them will profoundly impact the safety of all our kids … forever.

So if you’re wondering what you, just one person, can do? You can donate to the ACLU, busy fighting this heinous executive order. It was the ACLU that earned yesterday’s stay that, unfortunately, wasn’t acted on quickly enough at some airports.

You can call Congress, multiple times every day. You can show up at city council meetings, and other local political meetings. You can call your friends and bring them with  you.

And today? Today you can drive to your nearest airport, and join others in saying, “Not on my watch!”

You don’t need to know what you’re doing tomorrow. Just … please, please, show up today.

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

Our lives mattered

My husband, Anthony, is a good man.

Anthony recently urged me to volunteer. He recognized that my heartbreak at the plight of refugees forced from their homes by American actions needed an outlet bigger than writing.

rocking-horses

My kids get home, food, water, relative security, and lots of toys. Refugee kids get temporary play on two little rocking horses.

I volunteered twice last week, and quickly understood that Anthony was right.

I told him I’ve wanted to delete this blog. “I wrote it when I was asleep!” I told him. “Now I’m no longer asleep and the whole blog just bugs me. What am I supposed to do with it?”

“Be patient,” he told me. “I think you’ll find you have things you want to say there. Different things than before. That’s okay.”

My birthday’s this weekend. Two particular pieces of news are all the birthday present I could possibly want.

“Hon,” I asked Anthony, “is it okay if I gloat just a little about today’s news?”

“No,” he replied swiftly. “Gloating turns you into Trump.”

I trust him, so I won’t gloat. I will, however, explain–and I’ll do it here, because (1) Anthony’s been right many times over and (2) this is outside the little bubble I’ve built on Learning to Speak Politics.

When I saw Hillary Clinton speak with Black Lives Matter activists a few months back, I recoiled from her transparent loathing.* While her words sounded respectful, every other facet of her demeanor screamed, “I don’t even see them as people.”

I tried explaining this to some of my Hillary-loving friends. Impressively enough given all they know about my turbulent youth, they indicated my privilege (and potentially misogyny) blinded me to the wonders of Hillary.**

I read more about the Clintons. As I read, I became more and more horrified. I saw that my fact-averse friends were acting out the same role as wives of predators I knew in childhood: denying because accepting would shatter their relatively comfortable worlds.

A few days ago, one of my friends posted a picture of herself in a sweatshirt proclaiming how it’s about time we had a woman in the White House.***

Immediately after I unfollowed her, Anthony got to hear a lot of really unpleasant reflections about my historically derived basis for translating the sweatshirt’s text to, “We need more poor brown-skinned people dead in this world–there’s too many alive already!”

(The rest is not fit for printing here. I’m trying to work through my rage about how these self alleged “enlightened” friends prop up violence worldwide, stealing countless lives as I type this, but acceptance is a slow process.)

I mentioned my birthday’s this weekend, right? And that today’s news was like a birthday present for me?

Two pieces of news in particular filled me with hope.

First, a 2006 recording of Hillary Clinton advocating voter rigging in Palestine came to light. That the words were spoken is horrible; that they were released, a gift to the future of democracy in the United States.

Second, the FBI indicated that it had received access to new Hillary emails requiring further investigation.

How exactly were those emails derived? Funnily enough, through the husband of Hillary’s top aide, Huma Abedin. Huma’s husband, “disgraced former New York congressman Anthony Weiner,” was being investigated for issues related to illicit messages he sent to a minor, investigation of which led him to hand over a laptop containing what one federal official described to The New York Times as “tens of thousands of [previously undisclosed] emails related to the Clinton case.”

You know what people don’t delete before handing over some portion of subpoenaed records? Yoga schedules.

Many who desperately want a woman in the White House have adamantly avoided any inspection of Hillary’s history. They’ve steered far clear of WikiLeaks, despite (1) its ten-year pristine track record and (2) ample confirmation outside invested Beltway punditry that Podesta Leak contents were not only valid**** and unedited, but not likely obtained via Russians. (Podesta fell for at least one phishing scheme, and used easily guessed passwords such as “p@ssword.” Indeed, after emails began being released, Podesta’s Twitter account was accessed by someone who gleaned his password from the leaks.)

There’s still a good terrible chance Hillary will become president, given how late this news is coming.

Still, I’m hopeful. Late is better than never, and if this news helps Americans see their votes for Clinton count as endorsement for her backing numerous murderous coups*****, past, present, and future, there’s hope that fewer people will be bombed or starved by our kindly Democratic leaders in the months and years ahead.

‘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.

kids outside 792

* Hey, at least something about her is transparent.

** The same “privilege” also made me more receptive to documented historical fact, thank goodness.

*** Totally agreed if that woman is Jill Stein or Gloria LaRiva.

**** Some great articles have derived therefrom, including some highly damning ones about how the Clinton Foundation was a tool to personally enrich the Clintons. Since I didn’t make note of the articles that caught my eye, here’s a list of the 100 most damning situations uncovered so far.

***** So very, very happy to provide links to anyone interested. I’ve mostly omitted them here because they’re really time-consuming to add and only 4-5% of them ever get clicks here.
Read more…

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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