I want to write their names but I can’t.
Another eleven people murdered by a white man, a white supremacist in a synagogue this past Saturday during shabbos worship.
Tree of Life was cut down but the roots still firmly in place, as a community puts eleven loved ones into the soil.
I will not say the murderer’s name and give him the satisfaction his violent doctrine sought to amplify in the screams of innocent victims and innocent people left to put the pieces of broken tomorrows back together.
I want to write their names, the victims as if it will write them back into existence.
Three years ago Youth Ki Awaaz lent me their platform to pen (Obama’s Move To Control Illegal Gun Sale Is Welcome, But Here’s What It Completely Misses) the mindless madness of vitriolic white male supremacy. Three years later, with hundreds of innocent people murdered, a white supremacist is in the White House and we aren’t powerless to stop it. We aren’t empowered to stop it either. We aren’t here from a lack of discourse, we are here again because of a lack of will. We are masters of algorithms, marketing, hash-tags, talking points, mediated drivel that combined masks the most elemental rudiment in changing a society, a culture, a politics that genuflects to the idea of growth but fears change. We are abject of will.
If I were to write the names of the people killed in the madness of gun violence, armaments, allegiances of assassinations, eliminations, exterminations and slaughter, how long would that list be?
Long enough to be titled United States’ his-story.
How many existences liquidified? The list would stretch from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania to Saada in Yemen.
So, I cannot fulfill the patchwork of routine. I cannot, cannot write their names.
I cannot dishonor their names after the last school shooting, after the last sixteen-year-old boy who was shot in the head, blocks away from where I live in front of a library in broad daylight, I cannot write their names.
I cannot ceremoniously perform a perfunctory duty of mindlessness and customary observance – because at some point, long past, it became accordance and accordance became duplicitous to convenience. Convenience is apposite to complacency and complacency answerable to history.
We worship – worship Colin Kaepernick but he didn’t take a kneel when it was convenient to do so. He didn’t take it in a selfie, in production of presenting an ideal, he did it on the playing field, where it counted. White people throughout the United States loved to take pictures on their front lawn emulating Kaepernick’s kneel where they are under no duress and aren’t made to sacrifice an ounce of privilege – in fact it reinforces, it doubles down on their social capital by virtue of marketing themselves as having a social consciousness. We don’t need public relations. Public relations is the window dressing and behind that window dressing are the cemeteries.
This white supremacist, opportunist, misogynistic, megalomaniac president is donning the stock market – an incubated misdirection because people don’t understand how markets work – as his main accomplishment. Tomorrow, on the playing field how many will refuse to go to work, to disrupt the status quo, to do things without routine–THAT- THAT, THAT IS WHAT CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE IS – DISRUPTION. It doesn’t have to be violent, but it seeks to affect the constancy, amenity of comfort and convenience.
VOTING – WHICH EVERYONE SHOULD DO, IS NOT A DISRUPTION OF ANY FRAMEWORK.
We must boycott labor and exalt to end this madness. We must put the money we make where their mouths are.
Politicians work for us, not the other way around. Politicians are not commercial celebrities accountable to the aesthetic of perpetual mediated relevancy. We don’t need representation on twitter, we need it in the trenches, integrating process to action for tangible policies to redirect the course of society. As long as they are made out to be celebrities beyond reproach they are unapproachable, unaccountable and we maintain the abased reality show value of politics. If we have questions about how we keep children from going to school, how we sustain ourselves while not going to work for a few days on the threshold of a higher ideal, as custodians of future generations’ safety and human rights, with what we do while not going to work to amplify our message, then we need to start there. Full stop. We need to start somewhere beyond funeral services. The inquiry is the starting point for a blueprint that doesn’t qualify the question as to what we can achieve but what we want to achieve, how to achieve and how our politicians and celebrities can organize around us not us around them.
Our celebrities who live in largess while we live in constant danger, can provide resources to supplement what we sacrifice.
I don’t know why it is so hard to understand that if everyone acts in unison then we can jam every single mode of accountability they can target us with. We cannot organize, but we are good at organizing pretense. Perhaps that is the real problem, we don’t know how to cooperate and our so-called leaders are busy playing into the production, creating production, that these become essential questions, reflections and arduous endeavors.
We do not get anywhere being reactionary, apolitical or living with historical amnesia.
I say this because I love you. Because I do not want to see a news feed and news being fed of children being put into the ground, of a grandfather or grandmother, a woman or man, trans, black, indigenous, a sex worker, muslim, jew, sikh or hindu, put to the ground before their time. I don’t differentiate the value of life or death when it is US aid sanctioned weapons targeting Gaza, drone attacks or coordinated support for war crimes in Yemen, the protocols that incubate market induced famine in Somalia, Sandra Bland being pulled from her car, Tamir Rice executed in a park of eleven people executed in worship. It is all white supremacy. It is all insulated by varying polarities of white supremacy. We do not give a platform to Al-Queda, Al-Shabaab or Al Nusra to make their case among the meme-stream commercial punditry, yet our so-called liberals are willing to pull a chair out for leading violent anti-intellectual white supremacists and it is time to pull the chair out from under this conceit replicating intelligent discourse.
Only unity can heal hate, it is innate to the dynamic of moving in one direction. Doing the same thing over and over, saying the names over and over again doesn’t honor them or us.
I would rather go to Union Square, Foley Square, or wherever square and just mark X’s across the concrete so that when we gather again in prescription, the scene will be preset. Maybe when the concrete brims in essays of the dead murdered in preventable atrocities we will get it.
Maybe we will get that doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome is the definition of security and security only fortifies complacency.
There is mindless violent rhetoric everywhere but not everywhere does mindless violent rhetoric have access to automatic weapons, semiautomatic and small arms. I am saying this again, because I don’t want to see any of us lost to madness but the script has got to go.
Yes, this is a time for community, this is a time to show harmony, consensus and cohesion.
No one is disputing the fact that we need unity in mending that piece of us that all of society needs to endear for survival. I only ask what we are conceding consensus to?
In 1968, Robert Kennedy (I invoke a Kennedy with unease) espoused the “Mindless menace of violence – that goes on and on in this nation.” Three years after the assassination of Malcolm, three months after the assassination of Martin, a month later he was dead. Fifty years later, these eleven people are dead. In between these eleven are hundreds of thousands of extra-judicially murdered through mass atrocities.
Anyone who has ever been to a nation under the thumb of US militarism knows that when you mention the United States people immediately, immediately, immediately bring up the persistence of violence. No gender-based-violence refugee I have ever worked with has ever wanted to come to the United States aside from the default of the idea of economic sustainability. Meaning, our economic sustainability is conscripted to a bloodletting of potential and we are withering from the disappearance of Indigenous women, trans people, black women, Afro-Latin, a people living enforced poverty.
If we aren’t willing to do anything different, disrupt, live up to the example that children walking out of schools are setting, then we aren’t going anywhere. An economic policy will not solve this. Healthcare for all will not solve this specifically. Abortion was recognized as a right that isn’t formally enumerated in any so-called bill of rights, and forty years later it is still being fought tooth and nail. A hundred and fifty years after the original sins of slavery, these people are fighting a civil war. We must show the world that we are willing to do what anyone, anywhere in the world would do, would do for less, if this were happening anywhere else in the world.
Bring the stock market down. Bring the economy to a halt. Let them see us refusing. Tell these people running for office that we are willing to do what it takes and we expect the same of them and in that, in that bond of labor, in that maternity of trust, in the will and courage, is a fire that burns with dignity for all that we have lost and we have lost too much. The world has lost too much and we are about to lose the world.