merielle: purple passiflora on a barbed wire fence (Default)
 I'm not watching the debate, because I'm already sick right now. We're watching a movie instead. But Twitter exploded with the news of Scalia's death (I will not give the title "Justice" to the man who wrote that actual innocence is not grounds to overturn a death sentence), and I'm fucking appalled at the number of elected officials who took oaths to uphold the Constitution and who want to delay appointing a replacement for almost a freakin' year. Presumably they read the Constitution? The power to appoint Supreme Court justices belongs to the President. Even a President you don't like. Even a Black one. Even in an election year. UGH.
merielle: purple passiflora on a barbed wire fence (Default)
So my Facebook feed is full of appalling jubilation right now. So many people I know are expressing joy that Osama bin Laden is dead. CNN is showing crowds of people gathering in front of the White House and at the site of the Two Towers, cheering, waving the US flag, chanting, "USA, USA." I was particularly nauseated to read that some of those crowds were singing, "na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye," like the death of another human being is like a goddamn hockey game. The president I voted for made a rather stiff speech in which he said some good stuff (reiterating that we are not at war with Islam, acknowledging the losses suffered by the families of those who died on 9/11) and some distressing stuff (the laughable assertion that 'we know the costs of war' when it's been more than 60 years since any war has touched US soil, talking the same bullshit about national unity that totally glosses over the post-9/11 rash of racist vandalism and violence against brown-skinned people in the US, reiteration of US exceptionalism, etc).

The thing that turns my stomach the most is the assertion that this was justice. This was not justice. bin Laden was not arrested and taken into custody. He will never be tried. He was shot and killed. A team of Navy Seals and special ops personnel stormed his home and shot him. According to ABC's reporting of US officials' statements, here's what happened:

According to U.S. officials, two U.S. helicopters swept into the compound at 1:30 and 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning. Twenty to 25 U.S. Navy Seals under the command of the Joint Special Operations Command in cooperation with the CIA stormed the compound and engaged Bin Laden and his men in a firefight, killed Bin Laden and all those with him.

Two Bin Laden couriers were killed, as was one of Osama Bin Laden's son, as was a woman reportedly used as a shield by one of the men. Other women and children were present in the compound, according to Pakistani officials, but were not harmed. U.S. officials said that Bin Laden himself did fire his weapon during the fight.

That's not justice. It's vengeance.

I spent most of 9/11 at work at a state agency, with a colleague whose brother was working at the Pentagon that day. I sat with her while we watched the towers burning and collapsing, the smoke rising from the plane crash in Pennsylvania, and the wreckage at the Pentagon. I held her hand while she waited to find out if her brother was alive. She was lucky; he was fine. I felt sick and scared just like everyone else in the US. It was a horrifying, heartbreaking day.

So I'm not sorry to hear that the man responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent people is dead. But I will not call it just. And I'm not celebrating. I'm not singing.

I keep thinking about the footage that several networks ran, just after 9/11, of a crowd of jubilant brown-skinned men, women, and children in a dusty street in Palestine, supposedly celebrating the attacks. I remember feeling so horrified by those images - and then infuriated by them. Of course I found out later that there were also candlelight vigils all over the world and that everyone from Hezbollah to the Taliban condemned the attacks. And then I was ashamed of falling for the blatantly jingoistic and racist visual rhetoric being deployed there.

And now tonight's accurate footage of crowds singing and waving the flag will run all over the world. I don't think it's any more okay to cheer violent death now than I did then. Who was that woman who died, used as a human shield? Who mourns her? Who will see those images of (mostly white) USians and feel hatred because of them? How does any of this make anything better?

I feel sick. I'm saddened and disgusted. I don't really know what else to say or what to do. So I'll just pray. Tonight I pray for peace and justice for all people of goodwill everywhere on this planet. And I hope and pray that we as a species are, however slowly, getting smarter and kinder.


merielle: purple passiflora on a barbed wire fence (Default)

February 2016

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