Showing posts with label Humanities. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Humanities. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Ban the Use of Rubber Bullets

Halsey is one of many artists that are looking for a way to formally begin the process of banning the use of rubber bullets:
Kacey Musgraves and singer-songwriter Victoria Monét are among a host of artists who have called on the police in the US to ban the use of rubber bullets.
Halsey revealed she was among a number of people who have been hit by rubber bullets during recent peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd.
“[The police] fired rubber bullets at us. We did not breach the line. Hands were up. Unmoving. And they gassed and fired,” Halsey posted recently with photos of the altercation.
“This hit me through layers of fabric and for that, I am extremely privileged. At close range it would have caused serious injury.”
There's a way to skirt this issue and claim that the use of rubber bullets and pepper spray and those pepper balls fired out of paintball guns is actually the humanitarian application of advanced crowd control techniques. That's all bullshit. A device fired at people that can cripple or maim them is just as bad as shooting them with bullets if it is done without any regard for public safety. You have people who have lost an eye or have been severely injured by these things. I support banning their use outright.

Crowd control is necessary because of what? In order to suppress the will of the people who have decided to protest? Why is there a need for it in the first place when all it does is put the police in a position to abuse their power? There used to be widespread use of dogs and water cannons as well. The military has these vehicle-mounted devices that emit painful sound waves. When aimed at demonstrators, they can cause severe injury to hundreds of people at once.

This is all you need to know about the Active Denial System, and when you do read about it, try not to panic if you can imagine what Trump would do with it if he knew it was available for his own personal use.

None of this is humane and none of it should be used.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

The Permanence of Humanity

The great Molly Jong Fast wonders if we're headed back to the past:
But why, why have we all gotten so old-fashioned.? Is it out of necessary? Or is it something deeper? I live in New York City, where about 700 people died in the last twenty-four hours, and 700 the day before. There’s a heaviness here, as ambulances roll down empty avenues. What if connecting to the old ways is a way to find comfort, to connect with humanity of previous centuries?
We have no modern playbook for living through a plague but we do have a Victorian playbook for it. They didn’t have a pandemic in the 1965 but they did in the 1665 (the great plague of London). 2017 didn’t have a pandemic but 1817 was ravaged by Cholera. What if connecting with our historic past selves is a way to connect with the collective unconscious? What if we are trying to find the permanence of humanity? Maybe we won’t live forever, but humanity will continue. Maybe baking and sewing and making our own hand sanitizer are ways to connect with our past and, in some ways, even our future?

I would take it further and say that we are not only connecting to a simpler way of living but that we are realizing that so much of modern life is a construct of easily-dismissed bullshit that requires us to examine every aspect of how we're living.

Do you care about your neighbors. Hell, do you even know your neighbors?

It's beyond simple things. It's a re-examination of everything that used to seem important. Do you need a new phone? Do you need that new car? Or do you need to set aside a couple of weeks every year and take your family to a place where they can connect with nature. Or just stay home and have a staycation. What even matters anymore? Is it status, things, your annual salary or is it more than that?

I see so many heartbreaking--goddamned heart rendering and shattering--stories of people who have lost their family members and have been introduced to a new reality. I have to believe that we're going to see a changed and transformed country and that it will be a sign of real progress. I hope to hell we don't come out of this without having learned our lesson and without having learned about what really matters to us as a people and a nation.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Save Your Own Treasures

None of this belongs to the West. And yet, you'd think it did:

ISIS' seizure of the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra early Thursday intensified fears that the 2,000-year-old site's archaeological treasures would become the latest to face destruction at the hands of militants.

The extremists' wanton carnage has also reignited debate about whether precious relics are best housed in their country of origin or stored — and in some cases protected — in overseas museums.

Syria's antiquities chief Maamoun Abdulkarim warned Wednesday that Palmyra looked likely to suffer the same fate as Nimrud in northern Iraq, the 3,000-year-old city which was bulldozed by insurgents in March as part of a campaign to eliminate relics that they consider heretical.

The destruction of history is tragic in and of itself, but the loss of life even more so. We lose sight of that fact when we bemoan the loss of a pile of ancient stones and ignore the slaughter of thousands. The misery of the Syrian people is more important than any historical site. And yet, as far as Iraq and Syria are concerned, these are matters of self pride and self-survival. If they truly want to stop the looting and the destruction, they're going to have to do it for themselves. We cannot send 25,000 troops and do it for them and we should get out of the nation building business.

If the Syrian and the Iraqi people, who number in the millions, can't figure out a way to solve their internal problems and protect their own cultural heritage, then there's nothing that can be done for them. This is the moment where they need to build their own nations on a foundation of not tolerating this way of life. They have to reject the ideology of ISIS and the creation of a civilization that would, effectively, take tens of millions of people back into the Middle Ages.

The U.S. interference in Iraq unleashed these forces, but their essential root was in the original Ba'ath party infrastructure left over from the Iraq War. These are the decision makers, using money from their backers, to drive the destruction of people, property and infrastructure. This is a clash of haves and have-nots--at no point have the people been allowed to profit from or have any pride in the treasures now being ground under the bulldozers. What connection would they have with sites that ended up in their laps because the borders of their countries were drawn by British diplomats?

The mistaken belief that deposing Saddam Hussein would lead to stabilization turned out to be wrong. But re-invading Iraq and then invading Syria would just compound the problem. These are Iraqi and Syrian problems, and they are driven by proxy interests in Iran and Saudi Ara bia.

Someone has made up their minds to tear the region apart and blame it on Israel and America. There is nothing in the Middle East worth the life of a single American service member, and there never was. The people have to save their treasures and I believe they can if they want it badly enough.