Where Is The Love? It’s been an auspicious start to 2009. A month where we celebrate the principles of non-violence advocated by Martin Luther King, Jr. has started with violence. In Oakland the year began with the shooting in the back of an unarmed young black male. The young man named, Oscar Grant III, was lying faced down on a train platform when executed by a transit cop. The murder was witnessed by many and was caught on video that has gone viral. The viral video illustrates what is known throughout the black world that in the culture of policing the life of black people is simply not valued. The people of Oakland, of all backgrounds, races, and ethnicities rightfully decided to have a protests or two.
Far two often there has been the mistaken killing of unarmed black people by police officers with no justice done to those who have committed a crime. If race is not the controlling factor why isn’t there an epidemic of officers shooting unarmed young white males. One never here’s of officers shooting drunken unarmed young white males leaving a bachelor party. Perhaps its time for federal legislation making it a federal crime of murder or manslaughter for police officers (who are state actors) to kill an unarmed citizen of the United States. The transit police officer involved in the murder in Oakland should not only be charged for that crime but also be charged for a hate crime, because it is extremely doubtful that the officer would have pulled out his gun and shot a young white male lying face down.
Where is the love in the middle east? The state of Israel does not bring more people to its side when it kills more women and children than were killed in the Mumbai terrorist attacks. Really. WTF? Israel has acted so brazen and reckless in its war against Hamas that it may have committed a war crime when it bombed UN schools that were being used for refugees, women and children fleeing the violence. They killed over 40 human beings mostly women and children. Yes of course Hamas must stop shooting missiles into Israel but the proportional violence is not humane. Gaza is a strip of land the size of an American city, with about 1.5 million inhabitants. The people live in a modern apartheid state where the people are not free to come and go as they please. Israel is exterminating a city to get rid of the mice. If the Israeli government were white and the Palestinians were black the world community would not tolerate the situation. Former President Jimmy Carter spoke to this theme in his book Peace Not Apartheid and was criticized by many for taking an even handed look at the middle east.
Most U.S. policy makers and its media unashamedly sides with Israel. The Europeans seem to have a more balanced measured approach. In the U.S. most politicians fall into the talking point line which is Israel must do what it can to defend itself. The new President also totes the same line. It is difficult to criticize the Israeli government in the U.S. because critics often get accused of being anti-Semitic. It’s a horrible charge to have to defend against so those who disagree with the policy of the Israeli government but never have a quarrel with the Israeli people opt to remain silent. The consistent question the media asks and the Israeli government asks of U.S. journalists is what would the U.S. do if a terrorist group was shooting missiles at the U.S.? However, this question misses the mark, it ignores the true nature and the actual reasons behind the violence. In a nutshell, Palestinians and their violent and non-violent advocates believe that Israel took their land and forcefully resettled them into the ghettos of Gaza and the West Bank where they have lived in ghetto like conditions for two generations without hope. The inverse question must also be asked of the Israeli government or the next administration of the U.S. government, given the conditions and violence inflicted upon Palestinians who have lost family members, neighbors and friends due to decades of violence. What would you do if you were a Palestinian?