Friday, December 17, 2010

Hope Knows an Injustice Visited on our Neighbor is an Injustice Visited on Us All.

In Pakistan, civilians have no choice but to cope with a drone war that has turned merciless, as  unprecedented’ drone assaults - 58 Strikes in 102 days - continues on without an official figure of how many civilians have died as a result of the unmanned missile strikes.  Strikes, which President Obama has more than doubled since the remote attacks started, despite the United Nation's urging to rein in , the "once-limited, once-covert program to off senior terrorist leaders that has morphed into a full-scale — if undeclared — war in Pakistan".

So, now, that we can do war by remote control, it's easy for us, as Americans, nestled in our mostly taken-for-granted creature comforts, to keep a positive attitude and pretend that that is enough to save our country...the world from those who want to take it over with no thought for anyone but  themselves.  It's not enough.

However, thankfully, there are brave people who realize that something must be done.  One of those people is Chris Hedges, who demonstrated the courage to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, to vindicate the rights of all who are left desolate,” and who consequently, was arrested yesterday, along with 130 other people, including Daniel Ellsberg, at the Veterans for Peace White House Civil Disobedience to End War event.

In the video below, Hedges gives a speech on how to keep hope alive, and it will not be kept alive, in his words, by "trusting in the ultimate goodness of Barack Obama".



Chis Hedges' speech:

"Hope, from now on, will look like this.

Hope is not trusting in the ultimate goodness of Barack Obama, who, like Herod of old, sold out his people. It will not be realized by chanting packaged campaign slogans or attempting to influence the democratic party.  It will not come through our bankrupt liberal institutions, from the press, nor from the withered stump that is the labor movement.

Hope will only come now when we physically defy the violence of the state.  All who resist. All who are here today keep hope alive.  All who succumb to fear, despair, and apathy become an enemy of hope.  They become in their passivity, agents of injustice. If the enemies of hope are finally victorious, the poison of violence will become not only the language of power but the language of opposition. And those who resist with nonviolence are in times like these the thin line of defense between a civil society and its disintegration.

Hope has a cost. Hope is not comfortable or easy. Hope requires personal risk. It is not about the right attitude or peace of mind. Hope is an action. Hope is doing something. The more futile, the more useless, the more irrelevant and incomprehensible an act of rebellion is, the vaster and the more potent hope becomes. Hope never makes sense. Hope is weak, unorganized and absurd. Hope, which is always nonviolent, exposes in its powerlessness the lies, fraud and coercion employed by the state. Hope knows that an injustice visited on our neighbor is an injustice visited on us all. Hope posits that people are drawn to the good by the good. This is the secret of hope’s power and it is why it can never finally be defeated. Hope demands for others what we demand for ourselves. Hope does not separate us from them. Hope sees in our enemy our own face.

Hope is not for the practical and the sophisticated, the cynics and the complacent, the defeated and the fearful. Hope is what the corporate state, which saturates our airwaves with lies, seeks to obliterate. Hope is what our corporate overlords are determined to crush. Be afraid, they tell us. Surrender your liberties to us so we can make the world safe from terror. Don’t resist. Embrace the alienation of our cheerful conformity. Buy our products. Without them you are worthless. Become our brands. Do not look up from your electronic hallucinations to think. No. Above all do not think. Obey.

The powerful do not understand hope. Hope is not part of their vocabulary. They speak in the cold, dead words of national security, global markets, electoral strategy, staying on message, image and money. The powerful protect their own. They divide the world into the damned and the blessed, the patriots and the enemy, the rich and the poor. They insist that extinguishing lives in foreign wars or in our prison complexes is a form of human progress. They cannot see that the suffering of a child in Kandahar or a child in the blighted urban pocket of our nation's capitol diminishes and impoverishes us all. They are deaf, dumb and blind to hope. Those addicted to power, enthralled by self-exaltation, cannot decipher the words of hope any more than most of us can decipher hieroglyphics. Hope to Wall Street bankers and politicians, to the masters of war and commerce, is not practical. It is gibberish. It means nothing. And this is because they kneel before the idols of greed and money.

If we resist, and carry out acts, no matter how small, of open defiance, hope will not be extinguished. If all we accomplish today is to assure a grieving mother in Baghdad or Afghanistan, a young man or woman crippled physically and emotionally by the hammer blows of war that he or she is not alone, our act will be successful, but hope cannot be sustained if it cannot be seen. Any act of rebellion, any physical defiance of those who make war, of those who perpetuate corporate greed, and are responsible for state crimes, anything that seeks to draw the good to the good, nourishes our souls and holds out the possibility that we can touch and transform the souls of others. Hope affirms that which we must affirm. And every act that imparts hope is a victory in itself.

Defenseless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

Links:

Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC) - Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict works on behalf of war victims by advocating that warring parties recognize and help the civilians they harm. CIVIC supports the principle that it is never acceptable for a warring party to ignore civilian suffering.

In 2005, CIVIC’s founder Marla Ruzicka was killed in Iraq by a suicide bomb while advocating for families of victims. CIVIC honors her legacy and strives to sustain her vision.

2 comments:

Phil,  01:55  

Could you please explain the following about so-called “al-Qaeda”:

1. Where, when and how they were founded.
2. Who are their leaders and how they are identified.
3. What are their stated aims.
4. What is the estimate of their total numbers.
5. What is the source of their funding.
6. In which countries they have cells.
7. What evidence there is for existence of such an international organisation.

None of this has been sufficiently explained in msm since the “War on Terror” began. As far as I can see, we're doing all of the terrorizing. We should know more about this so-called enemy

recap1 02:56  

And Obama said “the pace will be picked up” next year. And now there is the Reaper drone, which carries a bigger payload; with lighter weight of air-launched precision missiles.

I can't imagine what it must be like for the hundreds of thousands of civilians in North Waziristan and the rest of the tribal areas who live with the anxiety of the missiles overhead... living under the shadows of the drones.

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