Tag Archives: War on Terror

A Few Insightful Posts On Boston Marathon Bombing

Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I really don’t have the words right now to discuss all that went down, from the racist manhunt lead by Reddit (I will be writing about) to Fox News’ Racist Propaganda about Chechnya “they’re all bastards!”, but fortunately, there were brave souls who addressed this issue. I leave with them.

“This is also true when it comes to the disappearances of black and brown women and children, which are all but ignored in the mainstream media. When our children go missing, there’s barely a teardrop in the news cycle. When white children go missing, it’s a national event.

Why don’t our children get to be children? Why don’t they ever get to be innocent?

What all this has resulted in is the displacement of compassion and empathy with anger and resentment. Because when the names of slain white children are spoken, I can barely hear them anymore. My ears are plugged with the unuttered names of the Black and brown children whose lives didn’t mean enough to be spoken aloud on CNN. When I see photos of their smiling white faces, I can only imagine the smiles of fallen Black and brown children whose faces never grace the news.”

Hey White Liberals: A Word On the Boston Bombings, the Suffering of White Children, and the Erosion of Empathy via Black Girl Dangerous

“I believe that the victims of the Newtown School Shooting and the Boston Marathon Bombing are being set up by our collectivization of the trauma of these events as martyrs to white identity and white privilege.”

Newton, Boston, and the Martyrology of Whiteness via Jesus Radicals

“Well pay attention, because the Fox article “Chechnya: History of Horrors” is a clinic on Racist Reporting 101. It begins by quoting Vladimir Putin calling the Chechans bastards and child-killers, and then parenthetically reproduces conspiracy theories about some Chechan/Nazi alliance during the 2nd world war. This may be the first time that Fox News has repeated Stalinist propaganda as fact.”

AntiChechen Racism Unbridled by the Daily Kos

“Now of course they are called ‘Chechen terrorists’, and Muslim to boot. No one seems to call them ‘separatists’ and ‘independence fighters’ now.”

From Separatists to Terrorists: The Boston Bombers by Roland Boer

“Ethnicity is often used to justify violent behaviour. But no ethnicity is inherently violent. Even if the Tsarnaevs aligned themselves with violent Chechen movements – and as of now, there is no evidence they did – treating Chechen ethnicity as the cause of the Boston violence is irresponsible.”

The Wrong Kind of Caucasian by Sarah Kendzior

“One of the most powerful implications of racial formation theory is that racial group membership is contingent and can change to fit the dynamics of Power in a given social and political moment.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokar Tsarnaev are reminders of the contingent status experienced by some white ethnics in America. Ultimately, if terrorism by white Chechens becomes a trend in the United States, they may find themselves traded away in a racial draft like the one featured on Chappelle’s Show.”

Are Chechens Really White?: Racial Formation Theory and the Boston Marathon Bombing by Chauncey DeVega

“Why not? If the State and the public have telegraphed their hand by obsessing over “dark-skinned” Arabs that are a caricature out of a bad 1980’s action movie, and the media and conservatives are willfully blind to white domestic terrorists in the United States, the preferred tactical choice is a clear one.”

“I Thought He was White You Know a Regular American”: The Boston Marathon Bombing Shows Us How White Privilege Hurts White People…Again by Chauncey DeVega

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Why I Didn't BECOME A Pacifist

My Life Long Journey As A Non-Violent Christian

This blog post is in response to Kurt Willems’s post from a few days ago, asking “For those who hold to some version of “nonviolence:” What caused you to embrace this conviction?”; See Also Christian Salafia’s “Embracing Pacifism: How Learned To Hate The Bomb.

1st Lt. George W. Bush in uniform Español: Ten...

1st Lt. George W. Bush in uniform Español: Teniente George W. Bush mientras estuvo en la National Guard. Svenska: George W. Bush i sin nationalgardsuniform. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Unlike Kurt and Christian, I do not have a grand conversion story when it comes to being a pacifist. Growing up, there were several key teachers trying to influence me one way (the American pro-nationalistic way of war) and the way of Jesus (pacifism and universal neighborly love). Every night before we went to bed as little tykes, between the ages of 3 through 5, my mother used to read us from an Old King James Bible that had the Septuagint in it (yes, uhmmmmmm hmmmm). We learned about the Old and New Testament, and the Red Letters were the words from Jesus, and what he taught. Christ’s teachings we learned were supreme, and were to rule in our hearts. We were to take his words seriously and obey them. Competing for my soul was this cartoon show called, G.I. Joe: American Hero. I don’t think that anyone was as big of a fan of this program than I was growing up. My parents believed that most cartoons were safe, and with no real moral consequences that could contradict my religious beliefs. Boy were they wrong! Just as The Smurfs were a evil satanic ploy to teach kids about how to be Socialist and anti-Jewish, G.I.Joe and He-Man Masters of the Universe were some of my earliest teachers of what it mean a man. G.I.Joe, they were so heroic, and masculine and so not racist against Eastern Europeans, I mean sorry, C.O.B.R.A.

The social formation via media is what piqued my curiosity in public school around when I was in second grade, during the time of Operation Desert Storm. These were the days of George H W Bush interrupting my viewing of “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes” and “Swamp Thing.” I was bussed from my middle-class suburb to a nice traditional school, where there were strict dress codes, strict behavior rules, and no separation between honors and normal students. After encountering racism in first grade and being race conscious from that time forward, I sensed there was an exclusion of people of color, even in what we read in Social Studies, my favorite subject. By the time I was in third grade, I addressed this exclusion by personally reading as many stories and books about Native Americans and African Americans as possible. This practice of reading up on the history of violence and exclusion in the U.S. helped me to resist the colonizing public education and entertainment I was ingesting. I cannot even say that the churches and Sunday Schools I was raised in enriched me in my pacifism. Sunday School consisted of lauding the praises of Hebrew Bible heroes like King David and then the sermons (at black Southern Baptist churches) would of course expand this teaching on David to uncritical recognition of the Pastor (I refuse to call anyone back then reverend, only Jesus should be revered).

Years later, I am in high school, arguing with literally a white supremacist skinhead (he really was, because he wanted to be like one of his parents)about gun violence and war each day. He was determined that our debates would end up in fist-to-cuffs. Back then, I remained caught up and interested in contemporary Christian music because of a life-changing experience at an FCA camp where all of the counselors were singing the praises of this new man of God: George W. Bush. I kept quiet, I didn’t know any better since I was a Democrat at that time. A year later when Bush “won,” my mother told me worriedly that Bush was a warmonger. I was confused. But didn’t Bush say he would practice a “humble foreign policy” unlike Bill Clinton? It didn’t take long for George W. Bush to declare war on Iraq, Iran, North Korea, and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Before 9/11 happened, I had always been a quiet, passive advocate for non-violence. After 9/11, I started to become vocal about it, that the difference between true Christianity, and Bush’s Christianity was one that took Jesus’ teachings seriously.

My second favorite band at that time, DC Talk had a song, “The Red Letters,” about the red letters, the words of Jesus, where we find life, and truth and goodness. This is far from the truth. As I began reading the Bible, from the Old Testament to the New, I saw the Good News of peaceableness, and a non-violent ethic everywhere. Reading Augustine of Hippo and Abraham Kuyper in college made me a Calvinist, but I could not be swayed from my life-long pacifism. I was filled with excitement when I read about the earliest Christians like Tertullian who were both FROM AFRICA and PACIFIST. Those two facts meant so much to me. Church history and Tertullian’s witness inspired me to join my college’s Peace Action as a founding member as well as the Fair Trade Group.

The nationalistic fever that took a hold of college students in 2003 during Operation Iraqi Freedom was the first time I saw (and was dreadfully frightened by) the link between nationalism (false patriotism) and uncritical thinking and war-mongering. It was not until seminary that I found myself re-reading Martin Luther King Jr.,and being introduced to Stanley Hauerwas, and then John Howard Yoder. It was in Yoder’s work that I had found myself not just politically being anti-war, but seeing my advocacy of nonviolence as a necessity. There is truth, there is hope, there is love in all of the letters of the Bible, but not because of these sacred scrolls themselves, but because the One whom they testify to, Christ Jesus. Now, some may say that they are “New Testament Christians” and therefore are pacifists, but I feel this position is far too neglecting valuable parts of the Hebrew Bible. If the building of the Temple is one of the most significant parts of the Hebrews’ stories, would not the king who built it and why he was chosen also be just as important? I think so, and the fact that Solomon never went to war as the reason why YHWH chose him to build the Temple should be part of what informs believers’ commitment to nonviolence.

Being a pacifist, now I value media and edutainment that promotes nonviolent politics; I am informed by Jesus’ teachings and there is really no competition. The politics Of Jesus has a monopoly on how I see the world. When I read books or watch television programming that contradicts Jesus’ nonviolent ethic, like the prophets of the Old Testament, I must join them in nonviolently denouncing these mediums. Writing, tweeting, blogging, preaching, speaking up for the oppressed (that other part of Proverbs 31 we don’t talk about) is the way of the Savior, who came preaching peace (Ephesians 2:17).

President George W. Bush addresses the class o...

President George W. Bush addresses the class of 2007 at this years Academy’s commencement. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For those of you all that are pacifists/confessors of non-violence, what was the turning point for you? For those that like to throw shade on pacifism/nonviolence, what are your hang-ups?

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Naming White Male Terrorism

The Irresponsible Self, OR Is It Really That Much Of An Anomaly?

Whenever tragedy strikes like the two recent gun shootings in Wisconsin and Colorado, I take the time to turn off the television, get off of Twitter, and just avoid the frenzy for the next few hours to even couple of days. These acts of premeditated murder were all three planned scripted, and executed by white men not likely to be profiled as terrorists.

English: Front view of federal mug shot of Jar...

When we first got word of Jared Lee Loughner, and the shooting in Arizona, everyone on the left and right was pointing their fingers at each other, oh it was the Tea Party, oh it was a Communist, as if these ideologies matter in the when we have senselessly lost human life.  Almost as soon as you could as you could say, Bazinga!, Jared Lee Loughner because he is white, was labelled as crazy, an outsider, an oddball. Young white men like him aren’t supposed to be the faces of terror; they are supposed to love America. He is now pleading guilty guilty to all charges. The story I linked included the fact that JLL is on medication, and once he realized that he had killed six people. The fact is, that NOW JLL is cognizant of the fact of what he did as wrong, in the eyes of the media and public. The question is, JLL planned this all along, so I just have to wonder how a person can plan assassinations and murders one day, and all of a sudden use the “I am crazy cop-out”? What is society’s definition of crazy, being on the fringe?

James Holmes

Next, we have James Holmes, a medical student who had dropped out of school, who murdered 12 people, injured seriously almost 60 others, and somehow his neighbors were saved from triggering the bomb in his apartment. Guess what line the media pushes? Insane. He’s not one of us. Inspite of the warnings sent to police by Holmes’ psychiatrist, police did NOTHING! Do you think the police would have taken her seriously if he was a person of color? If he was black, or Middle-Eastern (middle-east of where?), or hispanic? It’s not a rhetorical question. It’s yes or no, and I would answer in the affirmative. Racial profiling, which used to be about the War on Drugs, got extended to the War on Terror. Brown people are the criminals, therefore, out of some sense of urgency, let’s avoid profiling/suspecting people who are not brown, aka, white males.

Lastly, we have Wade Michael Page who has links to white supremacists, you know, the ones that raise that Confederate flags that’s really about the coming race war. Page is being said to have been guided by hate. There must be something wrong with his state of mind: “FBI investigators will be looking into what it was Page was listening to in the hours before the massacre and whether it shaped his state of mind given he played in two white power bands that performed with lyrics urging racial domination.” Of course, the newstory I linked to had to add, “Page did well enough after joining in 1992 to be assigned to a psychological operations unit at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.” Just in case you wanted to know, Wade is not insane, he’s not mainstream, he’s has hate in his heart.

The corporate-driven racist media is sooooo concerned about the mental state of these white male terrorists that they do not even take a single moment of silence for the victim, or to reflect on how them “Bowling For Columbine” (looking for tragedy).  We learn that these shooters are no where near anything like us, something went wrong, something malfunctioned.  Well, I have news. We are not as good and altruistic as we think we are, and that racists are just not “fringe” thinkers with “fringe” books with “marginal” followings, but that they find their way into the mainstream. How else do you explain the number of so-called Christians coming to the defense of a “paleo-confederate” like Douglas Wilson?

We are. Jared Lee Loughner. We are James Holmes.  We are Wade Michael Page. We are all responsible when we don’t want to be held responsible. The denial of moral responsibility and culpability IS THE PROBLEM. James Holmes saw himself performing the White Terrorist from the movie The Dark Knight (2008). The Joker chose to believe (lying to himself) that he was responsible for any chaos that happened in Gotham. The Joker, the White Terrorist, according to many people’s interpretations, is crazy, is spontaneous, he “isn’t a schemer” and at the top of the class.  Joker used his image of insane to take human life, cuz he just couldn’t help it, much like the three white male terrorists I have been discussing.

Now, I could sit here and write about Islamphobia (fear of Muslims) and Orientalism (going with the idea that ideas from the “west” and the “east” are irreconcilable, etc.,) but these are problems that the media willingly gets out there in some form or fashion. What we don’t want to talk about is our unwillingness to transgress our fixed definitions of terrorists to include whites. The terrorist has to be always the Other, always the outsider. The Second Amendment is being re-interpreted to reclaim white supremacy and domination, and that’s just something that the National Rifle Association doesn’t want us to talk about as they hand our politicians campaign funds. “Men such as Loughner, Holmes, and Page are not trying to accumulate durable political power.  They are trying to enact fantasies of fearsomeness, to reinscribe dignity on their bodies, to dissolve their sense of their own worthlessness.”- Donovan Schaefer, Profile Me: The Confederate Flag, Shame, and White Male Terror

So, yes, I putting into question the insanity plea, as well as the idea that white supremacy has somehow become an “abnormal” ideology. I think we should settle down like nice pro-life folks, talk about gun control laws, get the NRA’s money out of politics, increase revenue so that we can have more law enforcement, and institute universal profiling.

But hey, what do I know?

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