[-empyre-] Notes and a comment -

Ana Valdes agora158 at gmail.com
Wed Nov 26 06:39:40 EST 2014

Dear Alan I was a bit concerned yesterday for your emotional reaction to what happened in Ferguson. You opened the Pandora's box you brang Ferguson to our table when we started to react and to try to explain the institutionalized violence embedded in the system you didn't want to hear more and refused to continue the conversation.
My point is why sort out Isis as villain/culprit/ when the US and Kina and Iran and Israel 
 and so many other countries do exactly what Isis does? Public executions? Saudi Arabia and Iran. Collective punishment? Israel.  Death row for 39 years being innocent? The US. Military violence exerted by the police? The whole world.
Children in jail without trials. Israel.
My point is Isis is only one of these groups using rebellions and violence as a tool for "liberation". The Más Mas movement killed white settlers in atrocious ways to decolonize Kongo and Tanzania. 
The Israeli bombed civilian targets and killed scores of bystanders to achieve their own state.
The real challenge for me is eradicate the violence and the wars at all, from the states telling about 'just wars' or from ISIS. 
Neither Isis or the US or any country should have the monopoly of the violence. 

Enviado desde Samsung Mobile

-------- Mensaje original --------
De: Alan Sondheim <sondheim at panix.com> 
Fecha:25/11/2014  16:16  (GMT-03:00) 
A: soft_skinned_space <empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au> 
Asunto: [-empyre-] Notes and a comment - 

----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------

Notes and a comment -

In support of Ana -


From Wikipedia -

Overall racial context

According to The Washington Post, the incident sparked unrest in Ferguson
largely due to questions of racism as a factor in the shooting.[155]
Protests,[156] vandalism, and other forms of social unrest continued for
more than a week,[157] with night curfew being imposed and escalated
violence.[158][159] Several of the stores looted during the unrest are
Asian American owned, with The Daily Beast writing that Asian Americans
tend to be "left out" of the race relations discussion.[160]

Also according to The Washington Post, the Ferguson Police Department
"bears little demographic resemblance" to the mostly African-American
community, which already harbored "suspicions of the law enforcement
agency" preceding Brown's shooting, with 48 of the police force's 53
officers being white,[161] while the population is only one-third white
and about two-thirds black.[155][162] An annual report last year by the
office of Missouri's attorney general concluded that Ferguson police were
"twice as likely to arrest African Americans during traffic stops as they
were whites".[155] The officer who shot Brown, Darren Wilson, lives in
Crestwood, Missouri, 18 miles away from Ferguson.[163]

The Los Angeles Times argues that the situation that exploded in Ferguson
"has been building for decades", and that protesters initially came from
the town and neighboring towns that have pockets of poverty, the poorest
of St. Louis, and lists "the growing challenge of the suburbanization of
poverty" as the catalyst.[164]

Another aspect of this situation might stem from a system that burdens the
poor and black in Ferguson. Minor traffic offenses are the starting point,
and the costs spiral up rapidly if the offenders do not pay the fines on
time or do not appear in court. The income from court fines represented
the second largest source of revenue for Ferguson in 2013. On October 1,
2014, the city of St. Louis cancelled 220,000 arrest warrants - and gave a
three month delay to the offenders to get a new court date before the
warrants would be re-issued.[165]

Boko Haram Slashes Throats, Drowns 50 Civilians in Northern Nigeria
Breitbart News - Nov 24, 2014 Scores of Boko Haram fighters blocked a
route linking Nigeria with Chad near the fishing village of Doron Baga on
the shores of Lake Chad on Thursday and killed a group of 48 fish traders
on their way to Chad to buy fish, according to Abubakar ...

On torture and the U.S.:

Comment -

In backchannel with Johannes, I realized my position unfortunately is one
of nihilism, combined with anguish; I see no way out of this violence and
corruption, and actions of potential healing are for the living of course.
A memorial in Ferguson, and there are, will be, many, will not change the
tactics of the police, the deeply-embedded, structural, racism that rules
the United States; mourning the victims of ISIS doesn't change the tactics
of ISIS - and perhaps that's the real question - what can be done to
change ISIS itself? And if nothing, you end up where I feel I'm heading,
to a state of hopelessness. The world is simultaneously digital flows and
abject, tortured, hungered, flesh, simultaneously living online, and
moving among so many favelas, so much poverty, pollution, starvation,
offline, and again this statistic which haunts me - that one in thirty
children will be homeless, some time in her or his life.

Nihilism isn't a course of action, and it doesn't mean giving up; instead
it references taking a stance, most likely useless, just to assert that
one is human, that anguish is still possible. My own work carries failure
in its heart, it helps some people (I hope) cope with the world - we all
hope for that - it has no effect on the systemic, however... On the other
hand, one may well change the attitudes of the police - through education,
community learning, dialog, and this is (I think) happening in some
places. (I'd appreciate any bibliography you might be able to supply on
nihilism and its potential.)

But ISIS - or other groups believing in absolute inerrancy, absolute
power, absolute truth, absolute annihilation - what is to be done? How to
reach them? Is anything possible?

- Alan (apologies for meandering)

empyre forum
empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
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