- > Columns
- TODAY'S NEWS AND HOOTS
- Feature - Lloyd Kaufman: The Kotori Interview
- Feature - Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Road to the Mountaintop
- Feature - Losing LeBron
- Feature - The Crazy Legend of Slowhand Jack
- Feature - The Giving Lens Gets Focused
- Notes From A Polite New Yorker
- Tommy Digital's Pussy Cocktails
- The Octopus Files
- Wasims Rants
- The Guys You'll Meet on Earth, But Not in Heaven
- Slippery Id
- The Shameful Truth
- Writing for the Sake of It
- Void Creation
- Frankly Speaking
- Pulling At The Fringes
- These Altered States - America Trying to Become Itself
- The Worthless
The Shameful Truth: Assassination, Torture, Slavery and Fascism
The U.S.A. of Today
I have been disturbed since Anwar al–Aulaqi, an American citizen preaching Jihad, was assassinated by the CIA. I admit, I was even disturbed when Osama Bin Laden was assassinated by the CIA. In both instances, I believe we are treading in dangerous water. Though it is said that our Constitution permits assassination of those persons who directly threaten the security of our nation, I do question where it might stop. It's like the quote by pastor Martin Niemöller:
First they came for the communists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the socialists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist.
Then they came for the unionists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.
And now Mirza M. Kahn, a respected tribal elder in Afghanistan, was taken for questioning then shot down at the U.S army the base as he was walking to his car - in front of his brother and his six-year-old son.
Has anyone not realized that we have just turned a 6-year-old boy into an aspiring terrorist? What would you do if your father was mercilessly gunned down in front of you before he even got a trial? Incidentally, this is also true in Osama Bin Laden's case: his children were present, as were other children, while several people were gunned down in front of them.
I look at the actions of our nation, think about our racist history (past and present), and if there is one thing I can still do, it is speak up.
We like to believe we are a democracy. We like to believe that we practice human rights. We like to believe we don't torture prisoners and that people who are arrested will get a trial. We like to believe we are not a fascist regime.
I consider myself an educated person, and yet I was educated in schools that used history books written by white men. There was not a great deal of controversy presented me about our disreputable past. We studied slavery in broad strokes; we learned about logistics and dates.
We never learned of the horrors or specifics or details of detainment.
Our fellow countrymen brutalized, tortured, whipped, raped and maimed slaves. Our countrymen stole the slaves' children.
Now we sit back and say how inhumane that was, how wrong, how could "they" have...as if the past does not encompass ourselves, our ancestors and our present. We still live in a racist society, and enslave black men in more invisible ways, i.e., modern day prisons. Black men are imprisoned more than six times more often than white men.
In August 2010, a study by the Schott Foundation found that only forty-seven percent of black men in the U.S. finish high school.
We need to build schools, not prisons. Create job training for people coming out of prison, and equal the playing field in terms of socio-economic status of all peoples.
Instead, prisons in the United States now employ huge numbers of inmates who work for 23 cents an hour to $1.15 an hour, for corporations that pay the prisons for the slave labor. The prisons make money, as do the corporations.
We still prejudice against difference, and we have added Muslims to the suspected and dangerous as well as blacks.
We stand righteous in our anti-terrorist dribble, and become so proud of ourselves that we allow our government to rewrite laws and break other laws to get the bad guys, notably the "terrorist." People have balked at the torture, but few have complained about the righteous assassination of Al-Aulaqi, much less Bin Laden. I am not excusing what Bin Laden did, though I do wonder how many people know he was trained by and worked with the CIA in the 80's.
I am questioning our allegiance to due process and how we call ourselves a democratic nation and not a fascist one when we presently adhere to more principals of fascism than democracy.
Fascism is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism. Fascists seek to unify their nation through a totalitarian state that seeks the mass mobilization of the national community through discipline, indoctrination, and physical training. Fascism utilizes a vanguard party to initiate a revolution to organize the nation upon fascist principles. Fascism views direct action, including political violence and war, as a means to achieve national rejuvenation, spirit and vitality.
Fascism is us.
I have pondered about this before, written commentary to warn of the coming of Fascism. But now I think it has already arrived, and we need to be on alert.
We are already mobilizing the community through discipline i.e. phone tapping, surveillance, rendition (sweeping people to black sites), and torture.
We are allowing these assassinations and this torture, just as we allow systemic racism and modern slavery by imprisoning those whom we marginalize with economic hardship rather than investing into the society we have created.
We condemn our past of slavery and persecution based on race, but we are presently adhering to the same principles through assassination, torture, slave labor and other "direct action, including political violence and war as a means to achieve national rejuvenation..." All of which is Fascism.
That's the shameful truth.