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Monday, July 20, 2015

Monday News in Late July 2015

Recently, protesters spoke to the Democratic Presidential candidates former Governor Martin O’Malley and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders. The protesters were in a National Netroots Nation conference (the journalist Jose Antonio Vargas interviewed both Presidential candidates). They wanted the candidates to really address the issues of racism, police brutality, and other matters that are important to the black community. O’Malley has a known history of furthering the status quo on police related matters. Bernie Sanders has talked about income inequality, but he has minimized the evils of the War on Drugs and white racism against the black community. The protesters are in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, which has grown in the course of a few years.  Black Alliance for Just Immigration national coordinator Tia Oso and Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors were among the many protesters there. The protesters talked to O’Malley about how black people’s lives are readily ignored in society. O’Malley responded that Black Lives Matter, Whites Lives Matter, and All Lives Matter. He was booed by many people, because many people use the term All Lives matter as a way to ignore the real issues confronting the black community. Many racists also use the term of All Lives Matter as a way to disrespect the Black Lives Matter movement and slander what that movement really stands for. O’Malley later apologized. When protesters confronted Bernie Sanders, Sanders said that he fought for civil rights for 50 years and he wanted economic solutions to handle the problem (Yet, Bernie Sanders has not talked about ending the militarization of the local police, the ending of the War on Drugs, the end to the prison industrial complex, ending the system of white supremacy, and other revolutionary solutions in a massive way). Typically, some folks act like some of what the young activists did was unique. It wasn’t since anti-war activists, environmentalists, and other people did similar actions. There is the issue of the nuclear radiation that came from the Fukishima explosion from Japan. The courageous Black Lives Matter activists have spoken directly to the Democratic establishment and said that our views matters. There is a criminal justice system that is extremely racist and classist. There is a situation where innocent black people have been killed by the police and others. There is a massive system of oppression in the world. People have the right to be upset at the two party system (which is dominated by corporate power, which link up with the military industrial complex in order to advance a wicked Empire including evil wars globally. War in essence is about the destruction of human life in an evil way. The evil of war caused more social instability, economic inequality, terror, ecocide, and racism) which carried much more about money and prestige than the freedom and justice of all black people.

A former Colombian politician named Carlos Enrique Lehder Rivas was accused of heading the Medellin drug cartel. In the 1980’s, the drug ring was responsible for smuggling 74 percent of the cocaine used in America. He was arrested for drug smuggling in 1987.  Noriega was once aided by the United States. Later, he was overthrown by U.S. forces in 1990. He was accused of drug trafficking, money laundering, and racketeering.  To this day, the Panamanian General Manuel Noriega is in a Miami federal prison. The Colombian drug cartel kingpin Pablo Escobar was killed by police in Medellin in 1993. These events represented an expansion of the War on Drugs. Since Colombia and other places were locations where much of the drugs shipped into America from, America and Colombia collaborate with each other in order to stop drug trafficking in those regions of the world.  The problem is that these wars have been unsuccessful and many of these governments that the U.S. has worked with are blatantly reactionary. The War on Drugs in the 1990’s and during the 21st century has a long history.  Bill Clinton supported Plan Colombia in $1.3 billion in aid to decrease the amount of cocaine produced in Colombia. The aid supports aerial spraying of coca crops with toxic herbicides and also pays for combat helicopter and training for the Colombian military. In 2004, the State Department and the Department of Defense, the DEA announces its involvement in the U.S. Embassy Kabul Counter narcotics Implementation Plan. It was designed to reduce heroin production in Afghanistan, which is the world’s leading opium producer.  In the 21st century, Colombian soldiers readily advance in coca fields after they have been defoliated via plane sprays. Today, we the growth of poppy fields in Afghanistan even after the war on terror started in 2001.  In January of 2006, authorities have announced that they found the longest cross border tunnel in U.S. history. This was the work of what they call a well-organized and well-financed drug smuggling group. The tunnel is a half-mile long that links to a warehouse in Tijuana. In that location, there is about 2 tons of marijuana being seized to a warehouse in America (where 200 pounds of drugs were found).  Another problem with the War on Drugs is that its policies harshly punish nonviolent drug offenders and other people. It violates fundamental human rights. It plain doesn’t work.

Afro-Peruvians are not discussed a lot in many circles. Yet, their stories are valuable and their humanity will always be respected. The evil of slavery existed in Peru and Africans were brought into Peru as slaves. Also, there were the conquistadors who believed in the evils of slavery and imperialism, which is in contradiction to the great principle of loving your neighbor as yourself. The Afro-Peruvian population today is about 589,928. They live mostly in Lima, Callao, Ica, Piura, and Lambayeque. Most of them speak Spanish and they are part of many creeds like Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam, Animism, etc. The first Africans came to Peru in 1521 with conquistadors. Most who came were slaves and some returned with colonists to settle in 1525. There were slaves who came from Africa directly or slaves who came from the Spanish Indies or from other Spanish colonies. People of African descent worked in Peru as cooks, they worked in the shipyards, many were maids,many were laundresses, some were handymen, many were gardeners, and many were in construction projects. There were black artisans who worked as tailors, blacksmiths, swordsmiths, and silver smiths. The Spanish formed an evil color caste system where people of black African descent were heavily discriminated against, the biracial people or mestizos were in the middle, and the Spaniards had most of the economic and political power in Peru. Black people fought to end slavery. In 1856, President Roman Castilla y Marquezado declared freedom of the Afro-Peruvian ethnic groups and abolished slavery. Today, Afro-Peruvians communities celebrate the decision of Castilla with a popular saying. One of the greatest contributions made by Afro-Peruvians involves music. Afro-Peruvian music has been influenced from Africa and from Andean including Spanish traditions. Black people back then used a simple box, a tea chest, and other objects to create sounds for Afro-Peruvian music when slave owners banned musical instruments (since these evil slave owners wanted to crush the spirits of the slaves).  Peru Negro is a famous music group that shows Afro-Peruvian music. Gabriel Algeria performs Afro-Peruvian music too. Most Afro-Peruvians live in the Callao, which is an area that received many of them from the north and the southern coast historically. Today, most Afro-Peruvian communities live in farming areas where mango, rice, and sugarcane production in present. Professor Aguirre’s research is excellent in studying about Afro-Peruvian history and culture. In November 2009, the Peruvian government issued an official apology to Peru's Afro-Peruvian people for centuries of racial injustice. It was the first such apology ever made by the government. It was announced by Women's and Social Development Minister Nidia Vilchez, and initially published in the official newspaper El Peruano . The apology said: “…We extend a historical apology to Afro-Peruvian people for the abuse, exclusion and discrimination perpetrated against them since the colonial era until the present…” We have to remember that one person who was involved in getting that apology made was Congresswoman Marta Moyano. She was an activist and she promoted human rights. Her Sister named Maria Moyano was assassinated in February 15, 1992 by members of the Maoist Shining path movement.  This doesn’t mean that racism is gone in Peru though. Racism is very strong in Peru. Afro-Peruvian activists today are courageously fighting for racial justice. There is the group called: LUNDU Centro de Estudios y Promocion Afroperuanos or the Center for Afro-Peruvian Studies and Empowerment. One of the great young Afro-Peruvian activists today is Monica Carillo. Monica is fighting the good fight for racial justice. “There’s no other place in South America that has the same levels of offensive, aggressive racism as Peru,” says Carrillo. “The other day I left my house...and counted the number of insults I received in 20 minutes: 12. People say these things and they don’t run away, because they feel they’re in the right.”  She has told her story of experiencing racism and she is the founding director of the organization LUNDU, which is a Lima-based human rights organization that fights to improve the conditions for Afro-Peruvians. To this very day, the Afro-Peruvian Sister Monica Carillo is fighting against HIV/AIDS, poverty, sexism, racism, discrimination, and other injustices. Bless the Afro-Peruvian people.

The internment of Japanese Americans during World War II was one of the greatest injustices of American history. A climate of xenophobia, racism, and bigotry has inspired the interment to take place. The Immigration Act of 1924 denied Japanese people (who even lived in America after 1907) the right to become naturalized U.S. citizens. The law also restricted further immigration from Japan. Some racist people expressws paranoid lies about tons of Japanese people wanting to have sabotage during the war, which wasn’t the case at all. These fears existed even before Pearl Harbor. Then, California Attorney General Earl Warren called for the internment of Japanese Americans. Lieutenant Colonel John L. DeWitt had massive anti-Japanese racism too. Even the racist FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover said to Attorney General Francis Biddle that mass evacuations aren’t necessary at first. Biddle informed Roosevelt that internment of Japanese people wasn’t necessary. There were still racists who questioned the loyalty of Japanese people in America. Later, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (who was right on many issues) made one of his greatest mistakes during his Presidency when he signed Executive Order 9066. This executive order laid the groundwork for the evacuation and incarceration of Japanese people and Japanese Americans, from California, Washington, and Oregon. Two thirds of Japanese people in America were U.S. citizens by birth. Between 110,000 and 120,000 Japanese human beings were interned. The internment camps were mostly in the West Coast, including Texas, Kansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, etc. Most of the camps were in California. Japanese people were told to carry items and leave. Many people stole the resources of the homes and farms of the Japanese when they went into the internment camps. The conditions of the internment camps were horrible. People worked in the harsh elements. The camps were surrounded by barbed wire. Workers were paid very less in money .Many Japanese doctors received $228 per year and a whites senior medical officer earned $46,000 per year. By February 1943, the United States government allowed some Japanese Americans to fight in WWII via segregated units. Those who fought were Nisei or second generation Japanese American people. The Issei were first generation Japanese Americans. In June 1943, the Supreme Court in the Gordon Kiyoshi Hirabayashi v. United States, decision ruled to maintain the application of curfews against members of a minority group when the nation was at war. The defendant, Gordon Kiyoshi Hirabayashi, was a University of Washington student who was accused of violating the curfew and exclusion order, designated a misdemeanor by Public Law 503, a Congressional statue introduced to enforce Executive Order 9066 and any subsequent military order. The Supreme Court was wrong on that issue.  It would take decades after WWII for a national apology for the Japanese victims of interment would occur and the $1.5 billion for survivors of the internment camps.  Many German Americans (in the number of a total of 11,507 human beings) and Italian Americans (which lasted from 1941 to 1945) were interned in bases and locations nationwide. In 2001 the US Attorney General reported to Congress on a review of treatment by the Department of Justice of Italian Americans during World War II. In 2010, the California Legislature passed a resolution apologizing for US mistreatment of Italian residents during the war.

All human life have value in the Universe. The problem in America is that some evil people want to ignore the experiences and the human dignity of black people. This is why courageous, strong activists are talking about how Black Lives Matter, especially the lives of black women. Those who believe in the truth that Black Lives Matters reject racism and they never discount how all lives matter. Yet, they are asserting their human right to make known about the dignity of black human lives. Standing up against racism or showing the truth that America has a problem with oppressive conditions has nothing to do with expressing bigoted vitriol. It is about showing the world about evil and doing something about it. We have structural racism and structural economic inequality in America, which refutes the myths of America having a purely fair meritocracy and American exceptionalism being divine. There must be true solutions done in a positive, progressive direction and it must be done excluding post racial mythological mindsets. Black people fighting for justice are fine with me. Ta-Nehisi to his credit has written eloquently and accurately on racial issues. He wrote about the case for reparations and he is a strong father who wants to tell his son about reality not fantasy. The common myths embraced by many whites are that American exceptionalism is omnipotent and that America was founded by holy men who wanted liberty and justice for all. The truth is that America was overtly founded on white supremacy, misogyny, slavery, and other injustices. Slavery was found in the Constitution and that is why people among many backgrounds (in America) fought against tyranny in order for society to change. We have a long way to go. David Brooks is a person that I know about. He’s a conservative person. He has the right to believe in what he wants to and Brother Ta-Nehisi has the right to honestly show his experiences. David Brooks tries to use many distortions of Ta-Nehisi’s arguments and Brooks talks about abandoning old wrongs when many evil folks deny the wrongs of the present let alone the past. Far too often, black people are readily shammed by certain people in minimizing our experiences, so we can placate a narrative of America that ignores oppression and condemns legitimate black anger at evil. That is wrong. We have the right to show our emotions and have righteous indignation to stand up for our human rights. We should never sugar coat our stories as a means for us to submit to the words of white guilt. We should be strong and tell the whole story of America. I’m glad that the Brother wrote this story for his child, so his son can see that a black man and a black woman can be killed in the streets without just cause, a black person can experience oppression, and we have the right to fight for solutions. Ta-Nehisi’s story (in his book) is not just about showing a realistic look at American oppression. It courageously eliminates the myth of American divinity.

By Timothy

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