Margaret Haule, Black Lives Matter: “Each time there is a loss of life, it’s very serious”

A black American has a five times greater chance to be shot dead by the police than a white American. 15% of fatalities caused by police brutality in 2015 consisted of black men between 15 and 34 years old, while that category only makes up for 2% of the entire population. These numbers show the US still has a race problem, and a big one at that. Black Lives Matter activist Margaret Haule couldn’t agree more.

Margaret Haule, founder of Black Lives Matter Austin, next to the graffiti covered wall of Carver Library in Austin, Texas. The Carver library houses a cultural centre that is devoted to the history of the African-American community. (cc. Julie Putseys)

The discussion of police violence against African-Americans was a controversial theme in the presidential elections of 2016. Hillary Clinton, who recently lost the presidential race to Donald Trump, acknowledged the systemic discrimination in judicial processes and told the American people she would do something about it. Trump, on the other hand, the future US President, has criticized Black Lives Matter and consistently supported law enforcement against the accusations of racism.

The national discussion on racism in police departments has been going on for a while now. In the summer of 2014, the discussion picked up after two black men, Michael Brown and Eric Garner, were shot to death by the police. As a reaction to this, Black Lives Matter arose, a grassroots movement that initially existed on social media, at least for the most part. The hashtag #BlackLivesMatter, launched by three activists – Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors en Opal Tometi –was the third most popular hashtag with regards to social issues, according to Twitter. Now, the Black Lives Matter movement has transformed from a largely digital movement to one that occurs in real life. Occasionally, Black Lives Matter demonstrations take place, and in several cities all over the US, local branches have been set up. Margaret Haule established the one in Austin, the capital of Texas.

Guns n’ Moses: Politics of Fear in Israel

On the 17th of March, the Israeli elections confirmed Likud is (still) the most popular political party in the country. “Fear wins”, I tweeted after the results were out. These two words apparently sparked some controversy in the wondrous world of Twitter. A young woman labelled me as ‘anti-Semitic’, which I think was way too silly to comment on (Me? Anti-Semitic? Bitch, please! :) ). Before she made this crazy accusation, however, she also asked me what I meant by my tweet. As I believe 140 characters to be a bit limited for a nuanced answer (nuance and Twitter don’t exactly go hand in hand) and as it’s been quite long I wrote a blog post, allow me to address this question here.

Comments on Anders Breivik’s Opening Statement

Roughly a week ago, I went to see Milo Rau’s performance piece ‘Breivik’s statement’. It’s a dry reading of Breivik’s opening statement and afterwards a debate. Rau criticizes the notion that journalists have excluded Breivik’s statement from their reporting because they do not want to give a platform to his ideas. It’s necessary to confront these ideas, he says, because they’re very much alive today. It’s necessary to enter into the debate. I couldn’t agree more and would like to add my comments on his statement as well. You can read his (more or less) complete statement here.

Delusions

  • He believes after the World War II, there’s been a conspiracy of Marxists. Because they were too radical for political parties, they infiltrated the schools systems and cultural institutions in order to spread their ideas. Of course, this is a convenient delusion for him, as he can always dismiss scientific evidence or journalisticdata that contradicts his argumentation.

  • Breivik thinks Norway is being colonized. He compares the ethnic Norwegians to the native-Americans in their struggle against European colonization. He’s convinced that Muslims want to install sharia in Norway. They’re being helped by Saudi Arabia in their goal. Those who claim that they’re secular Muslims are just trying to deceive us.

What Rasmussen is really saying

I have convened the North Atlantic Council today because of Russia’s military action in Ukraine. And because of President Putin’s threats against this sovereign nation. Sovereignty is the most important principle of the UN. The only principle all UN members agreed on, really. They also agreed that if a country violates this holy principle military intervention is desirable. This sentence already warns Putin not to cross the line.

What Russia is doing now in Ukraine violates the principles of the United Nations Charter. A clarification of the above. The UN is the ultimate authority, the one and only (limited) authority when it comes to global peace and conflict. Also note the irony. Putin loves to refer to the UN and more specifically the principle of sovereignty. Think of Syria. Russia also enjoys being in the “driver seat” of the UN a.k.a. the Security Council. So the focus on the UN is clearly a smart way to deal with this. Getting them at their own game.

A Fairy Tale For Syria

“It is regrettable, Ladies and Gentlemen, that seated amongst us today in this room, are representatives of countries that have the blood of Syrians on their hands, countries that have exported terrorism along with clemency for the perpetrators, as if it was their God given right to determine who will go to heaven and who will go to hell.” – Walid Al-Moallem, Syrian Foreign Minister.

Geneva II is off to a rocky start. The absence of Iran looms over the conference and the Syrian regime sounds far from conciliatory.The words of the Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al-Moallem, blaming several countries for having blood on their hands, sound unbelievably hypocritical considering the hands of the Assad regime are bloody as hell. Human Right groups have documented the various forms of extreme violence and forced disappearances that even increased since the international outrage over the chemical attack in August, and they are pointing fingers?

Cold war with Iran not behind us yet

Negotiations between Iran and the so-called P5+1 – the US, China, Russia, France, the UK, Germany, and, oh yes, Catherine Ashton could come too – have failed to produce an agreement. Part II will take place on the 20th of November, but less important people will show up there. Don’t get your hopes up.

So what went wrong? First, the rumor said France was to be blamed. As a result, dozens of disappointed Iranians, eager to have the sanctions lifted, “bombed” – appropriate choice of words? – Laurent Fabius’ Facebook page with indignant messages. John Kerry later said that it was actually Iran that pulled the plug out of the negotiations. Did he receive an angry phone call from Fabius or something?

Syria #2: To The Brink Of War And Back

A lot has happened since my previous post. Obama got what he wanted: no military intervention in Syria. Instead, Putin reached out to Obama and together they’ve come up with a political solution: Assad should destroy all chemical weapons by mid- 2014 and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will be doing inspections. A soft UN resolution was passed on Friday the 27th of September. Soft, because military intervention is completely out of the picture now. In the case Assad does not get rid of his chemical weapons, a new resolution mandating military intervention still has to pass the security council – which, of course, wouldn’t happen. Ever.

Congressional Veto to Syria Intervention Would Be a Victory for Obama, Not a Fiasco

If politicians would tell the truth…Clinton would have said: “I had sex with that woman”, Berlusconi would have been convicted to lifelong in prison a dozen times by now, and Obama would have admitted he actually does not want to intervene in Syria.

Of course he claims he does, as the world was shocked by the horrendous images of the chemical attack on 21 August – a ‘moral obscenity’ as Kerry put it. Obama’s previous declarations about ‘the Red Line’ that Assad cannot pass – namely the use or movement of chemical weapons. If Assad does cross this line, ‘grave consequences’ would follow.