Natalia Vodianova photographed by Steven Meisel
Vogue US, May 2009
Natalia Vodianova photographed by Steven Meisel
Vogue US, May 2009
In Greece, whenever someone does or says something stupid we call it an “amerikania” or “merikania” (plural: amerikanies, merikanies). For example, mistaking the Czech Republic for Chechnya and then calling for its invasion.
(Source: thestolencaryatid, via )
Perhaps the first serious consequence of labeling Boston a “terrorist” attack was the Obama administration’s decision to deprive the suspect who was captured of his constitutional right to receive a Miranda warning on arrest, a further thinning of the already threadbare pretense of “rule of law” in post 11 September 2001 America.
You all can stop thinking the Tsarnaev Brothers will enjoy white privilege in mainstream media now. They’re ethnic Chechens and Muslim - they fit one of the most stereotypical descriptions of “bad, evil Muslims.” Read the whole article.
I’ll say three things clearly so that there is no misconstruing:
1. White privilege exists.
2. This is about the instant media positioning from “White Caucasian Male” to Indoctrined Chechen Terrorist.
3. Call me a “terrorism apologist”, and I’ll take you as seriously as I take a worm.
Race in mainstream media is an extremely complicated issue that is often reduced to stereotypes of bodies of which the majority is non-white or, for the lack of a better term, racially ambiguous i.e. ‘difficult to define’ (who decides the specifics of an ethnicity and its description in media is also a question to be asked). The inherent Otherness of an ethnicity becomes even more obvious during times of reports on conflict, violence, crackdowns, etc. This is the internet after all; The understanding of these issues from what I’ve seen has been terribly parochial. Many times during discussions on Tumblr and even otherwise, I’ve realized that most Americans - regardless of their background - view the world through a highly US-centric gaze which often erases the complexity of dynamics in issues of race, gender, sexuality, etc. The Tsarnaev brothers, prior to these ghastly events, must have surely enjoyed the benefits of passing for white on a normal day when their religion wasn’t brought into question or their initial immigrant status wasn’t being discussed. I say passing because, again, Caucasian does not mean white always. In many cases, the people of South West Asia have been categorized as Caucasian, yet upon seeing them, they’re described as Brown in media, lit, profiling. Racial dynamics become tricky to talk about especially if the person(s) is displaced; Immigrant status, “not American enough”, etc. The unofficial media response to the Tsarnaev Brothers in the case of the ridiculous tweets by mostly young white girls on how ‘hot they are though’, the gentle tone offered for the history of the young guys (how the younger brother was kind and intelligent while the older brother ‘kept to himself’), the temporariness of the empathy professed is obvious now. I am surprised that most people aren’t noticing how Islamophobic tropes have quickly replaced the sympathy-for-the-seemingly-white-guy tone. There is a very particular kind of focus on the Tsarnaev Brothers’ immigrant history and their religion which is Islam. Various news sites showed their social media accounts, photos of the older brother admitting he “did not understand Americans”, a keen concentration on Islam and more.
I’m curious about how the media rhetoric around the Tsarnaev Brothers has surfaced; how the shift of tone occurred in channels and publications about the two Chechens before anchors, journalists, commentators learned about their religion. It doesn’t take too much to realize that the Tsarnaev Brothers won’t receive the same kind of compassion that white terrorists like Richard Paplawski, James Von Brunn, John Patrick Bedell, Andrew Joseph Stack, Jared Loughner, Byron Williams, Ted Kaczynski, Anders Behring Breivik, Timothy McVeigh (the list sadly goes on) have received (‘unstable’, ‘lone killer’, ‘stressed out’) and a lot of this can be explained through looking at two factors of the Tsarnaev Brothers’ lives:
1. Chechen immigrant status (only one of them recently naturalized; the other struggling to find a job and citizenship).
2. Muslim (Let the paranoid, must-protect-US-from-Islam tropes begin.)
This is where the Othering starts.
If the Tsarnaev Brothers were seen as people of mainstream American society (which is code for White), the news of Tamerlan’s death would not bring hyper-nationalist chants of “USA! USA! USA!” from mostly white men, tweets to invade Chechnya (and the Czech Republic because America has yet to teach its students a real course on geography and accurate political histories; this is 2013) would not have flooded timelines on Twitter, a constant emphasis on their Other status as immigrants trying to blend into the American life (and the American ‘dream’) would not be brought up constantly, comments like “moslem pedo fuckers”, “islamic scum”, “go back to the mid east” and more would not surface, Tamerlan’s wife’s history of converting to Islam and marrying Tamerlan would not invoke that done-to-death worry that she was ‘brainwashed’ and maybe ‘oppressed’ as well, their background as Chechens from a war-torn country would not send media ‘experts’ into a group orgy about how Islam and resistance movements against governments go hand in hand, there would not have been such a strong sense of paranoia and xenophobia in the mainstream media at this very moment, Reuters would not make it a point to mention how Tamerlan was deeply religious, newspapers would not publish sub-headings such as “Islam might have had secondary role in Boston attacks”, insidious hints at links with Al Qaeda wouldn’t be mentioned, this obsession with Islam and symbolism would not have happened.
This is not to say I sympathize with the Tsarnaev Brothers but to comment on how many of us have reacted quickly to say, “Well, they’re white-passing guys so the media will let it go soon” because it isn’t letting it go, and it won’t. This focus on their religion should tell you that mainstream media and a highly militarized state apparatus that is deeply involved in an Us VS Them narrative after 9/11, does not care if the Tsarnaev Brothers looked white; the sickening focus is once again on Islam. This should tell you that the Othering of an identity (even white-passing) in the context of American media and Islam happens very quickly and leads to dangerous developments.
Two Obamas, Two Classes of Children
An Associated Press photograph brought the horror of little children lying dead outside of their home to an American Audience. At least 10 Afghan children and some of their mothers were struck down by an airstrike on their extended family household by order of President Barack Obama. He probably decided on what his aides describe as the routine weekly “Terror Tuesday” at the White House. On that day, Mr. Obama typically receives the advice about which “militants” should live or die thousands of miles away from drones or aircraft. Even if households far from war zones are often destroyed in clear violation of the laws of war, the president is not deterred.
These Obama airstrikes are launched knowing that very often there is “collateral damage,” that is a form of “so sorry terrorism.” How can the president explain the vaporization of a dozen pre-teen Afghan boys collecting firewood for their families on a hillside? The local spotter-informants must have been disoriented by all those $100 bills in rewards. Imagine a direct strike killing and injuring scores of people in a funeral procession following a previous fatal strike that was the occasion of this processional mourning. Remember the December 2009 Obama strike on an alleged al-Qaida training camp in Yemen, using tomahawk missiles and – get this – cluster bombs, that killed 14 women and 21 children. Again and again “so sorry terrorism” ravages family households far from the battlefields.
If this is a war, why hasn’t Congress declared war under Article 1, Sec. 8 of the U.S. Constitution? The 2001 Congressional Authorization to Use Military Force is not an open-ended authorization for the president. It was restricted to targeting only nations, organizations or persons that are determined to have been implicated in the 9/11 massacres, or harbored complicit organizations or persons.
For several years, White House officials, including ret. General James Jones, have declared that there is no real operational al-Qaeda left in Afghanistan to harbor anyone. The Pakistani Taliban is in conflict with the Pakistani government. The Afghan Taliban is in brutal conflict with the Afghanistan government and wants to expel U.S. forces as their members view occupying-invaders, just as their predecessors did when they expelled the Soviet invaders. The Taliban represent no imminent threat to the U.S.
President Obama’s ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron P. Munter, used to complain to his colleagues about the CIA’s drone attacks saying “he didn’t realize his main job was to kill people.” He knew how such attacks by whining drones, hovering 24/7 over millions of frightened people and their terrified children produce serious backlashes that fester for years.
Even a loyalist such as William M. Daley, Mr. Obama’s chief of staff in 2011, observed that the Obama kill list presents less and less significant pursuits. “One guy gets knocked off, and the guy’s driver, who’s No. 21, becomes 20?” Daley said, describing the internal discussion. “At what point are you just filling the bucket with numbers?”
Yet this unlawful killing by a seemingly obsessed Obama, continues and includes anyone in the vicinity of a “suspect” whose name isn’t even known ( that are called “signature strikes”), or mistakes, like the recent aerial killings of numerous Pakistani soldiers and four Afghan policemen – considered our allies. The drone kill list goes on and on – over 3000 is the official fatality count, not counting injuries.
In a few weeks, The Nation magazine will issue a major report on U.S.-caused civilian casualties in Afghanistan that should add new information.
Now switch the scene. The president, filled with memories of what his secret drone directives as prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner have done to so many children, in so many places, traveled on Monday to Newtown, Connecticut for the second time. He commiserated with the parents and relatives of the 20 children and six adults slain by a lone gunman. Here he became the compassionate president, with words and hugs.
What must be going through his mind as he sees the rows of 10 Afghan little children and their parents blown apart in that day’s New York Times? How can the president justify this continued military occupation for what is a civil war? No wonder a majority of the American people want out of Afghanistan, even without a close knowledge of the grisly and ugly things going on there in our name that are feeding the seething hatred of Obama’s war.
‘Unless the American people come to realize that a president must be subject to the rule of law and our Constitution, our statutes and treaties, every succeeding president will push the deficit-financed lawlessness further until the inevitable blowback day of reckoning. That is the fate of all empires.’Sometime after 2016 when Barack Obama starts writing his lucrative autobiographical recollections, there may be a few pages where he explains how he endured this double life ordering so-called precision attacks that kill many innocent children and their mothers and fathers while mourning domestic mass killings in the U.S. and advocating gun controls. As a constitutional law teacher, he may wonder why there have been no “gun controls” on his lawless, out-of-control presidency and his reckless attacks that only expanded the number of al-Qaeda affiliates wreaking havoc in Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Mali, North Africa and elsewhere.
Al-Qaeda of Iraq is now merging with an affiliate called “al-Nusra” in Syria that will give Obama more futile exercises on Terror Tuesdays. The CIA calls the reaction to such operations “blowback” because the unintended consequences undermine our long-term national security.
Obama is not like the official criminal recidivist, ex-Vice President Dick Cheney, who misses no chance to say he has no regrets. Obama worries even as he greatly escalates the aerial attacks started by George W. Bush. In his State of the Union speech he called for a “legal and policy framework” to guide “our counterterrorism operations,” so that “no one should just take my word that we’re doing things the right way.” Granted, this is a good cover for his derelictions, but it probably reflects that he also needs some restraint. Last year he told CNN it was “something you have to struggle with.”
Not that our abdicatory Congress would ever take him up on his offer for such legal guidance should he ever submit a proposed framework. Nor would Congress move to put an end to secret laws, secret criteria for targeting, indefinite imprisonment, no due process, even for American citizens, secret cover-ups of illegal outsourcing to contracting corporations and enact other preventive reforms.
Mr. Obama recognized in his CNN interview that “it’s very easy to slip into a situation in which you end up bending rules thinking that the ends always justify the means. That’s not who we are as a country.”
Unfortunately, however, that’s what he has done as a president.
Unless the American people come to realize that a president must be subject to the rule of law and our Constitution, our statutes and treaties, every succeeding president will push the deficit-financed lawlessness further until the inevitable blowback day of reckoning. That is the fate of all empires.
Article printed from www.CommonDreams.orgSource URL: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/04/11-10
Can ya’ll just read this.
But I’ll be honest. I wish the world mourned for all victims of violence the same.
I love you.
A trove of leaked classified reports has confirmed what many had suspected – US drone kills in Pakistan are not the precision strikes against top-level al-Qaeda terrorists they are portrayed as by the Obama administration.
Instead, many of the attacks are aimed at suspected low-level tribal militants, who may pose no direct danger to the United States – and for many there appears to be little evidence to justify the assassinations.
Top secret documents obtained by McClatchy newspapers in the US show the locations, identities and numbers of those attacked and killed in Pakistan in 2006-8 and 2010-11, as well as explanations for why the targets were picked.
The statistics illustrate the breadth of the US ‘drone doctrine’ – which has never been defined by consecutive US administrations. Between 1,990 and 3,308 people are reported to have been killed in the drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004, the vast majority of them during the Obama terms.
In the 12-month period up to 2011, 43 out of 95 drone strikes in the reports (which give an account of the vast majority of US operations in the country) were not aimed at al-Qaeda at all. And 265 out of 482 people killed in those assassinations, were defined internally as “extremists”.
Indeed, only six of the men killed – less than two percent – were senior al-Qaeda leaders.
Some of the groups include the Haqqani network and the Taliban Movement of Pakistan, both militant organizations, but ones the US did not designate as terrorists until 2012 and 2010 respectively. Neither one has ever conducted an attack on US soil.
It also confirms that attacks during the George W. Bush era, were conducted on targets picked by ISI, Pakistan’s security agency, which has no obligations to comply with US legal criteria.
Furthermore, in some cases it is difficult to confirm that the targets were militants at all.
I said it before and I’ll say it again: Obama isn’t worth shit.
This is how you lose her.
You lose her when you forget to remember the little things that mean the world to her: the sincerity in a stranger’s voice during a trip to the grocery, the delight of finding something lost or forgotten like a sticker from when she was five, the selflessness of a child giving a part of his meal to another, the scent of new books in the store, the surprise short but honest notes she tucks in her journal and others you could only see if you look closely.
You must remember when she forgets.
You lose her when you don’t notice that she notices everything about you: your use of the proper punctuation that tells her continuation rather than finality, your silence when you’re about to ask a question but you think anything you’re about to say to her would be silly, your mindless humming when it is too quiet, your handwriting when you sign your name in blank sheets of paper, your muted laughter when you are trying to be polite, and more and more of what you are, which you don’t even know about yourself, because she pays attention.
She remembers when you forget.
You lose her for every second you make her feel less and less of the beauty that she is. When you make her feel that she is replaceable. She wants to feel cherished. When you make her feel that you are fleeting. She wants you to stay. When you make her feel inadequate. She wants to know that she is enough and she does not need to change for you, nor for anyone else because she is she and she is beautiful, kind and good.
You must learn her.
You must know the reason why she is silent. You must trace her weakest spots. You must write to her. You must remind her that you are there. You must know how long it takes for her to give up. You must be there to hold her when she is about to.
You must love her because many have tried and failed. And she wants to know that she is worthy to be loved, that she is worthy to be kept.
And, this is how you keep her.