Curtain Raiser

The Making of a New Day, Colltalers

It’s clear by now that the administration doesn’t care about people. Massive worldwide protests against racism and murder of African-American George Floyd by the police, and eight million COVID-19 cases, are not as important to Trump as the economy. And now, cops killed Rayshard Brooks too.
Many say that Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro closely follows the U.S. president but there’s one big difference: he’s not up to reelection. Thus, besides a threat of a coup, he’s free to pursue his deranged denial of almost a million coronavirus cases and the unforgivable killing of the Rainforest and its natives.
We’ll be back to these two intertwined topics but first, let us have our usual world roundup. Starting with some good Middle East news, as Israel’s High Court canceled the Regulation law that’d retroactively legalize settlements built on Palestinian land. But the ruling may as well be symbolic; on July 1, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will bring up to vote the law for the annexation of West Bank, which may render this and other rulings irrelevant.
Speaking of Israel, Europe’s Court of Human Rights sided up with pro-Palestinian activists convicted of campaigning for the BDS movement, which seeks to condition support to the Israeli government according to its treatment of Palestinians. The non-violent movement has found resonance around the world, from civil rights to peace in the Middle East organizations. But not from Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, who spoke against it.
On Saturday, Ilyac Halaq, an autistic Palestinian with a ‘Black Lives Matter’ banner, was killed by the Israeli police. His death happened in the context of traditional Palestinian support to African-American causes. According to black liberation activist and scholar Angela Davis, commonalities of their struggle and alliance reach far back to the 1960s when Palestinians led the international pressure to free Davis, jailed on unproven murder charges.
Also on the good side is the spontaneous Twitter movement of women in Turkey who are switching genders of misogynistic assumptions and making the Turkish society rethink its view of feminism in the process. But don’t let the humor of Tweets such as, ‘I’m a modern woman, so I help my husband with housework,’ or, ‘Men should be chaste. They should not laugh out loud in public,’ fool you: it’s gotten a powerful response. And of course, threats.
A note of solidarity to the heroic Navajo people in New Mexico who are facing yet another devastating battle. Besides being one of the world’s worst-affected communities by COVID-19, they’re also waging an unfair battle against the U.S. Land Management

Bureau’s plans to lease land to the oil and gas industries to dig some 3,000 wells for fracking. It’ll disrupt sacred native sites, destroy pristine extensions for millennia, and make everyone sick.
And then there’s Russia, the country most likely to welcome a reelected Trump – yeah, we’ve run out of good news, sorry. It’s been battling, apparently without much success, an over 20,000-ton spill of diesel fuel in Norilsk, Siberia, above the Arctic circle. After Greenpeace sounded the alarm, that it’s comparable to the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster, Putin declared a state of emergency while curbing info and help from abroad. But it doesn’t look good.
The timing of this new spill could hardly come at a worse moment. NOAA and the Scripps IO have just announced that atmospheric carbon dioxide measured at Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory reached a seasonal peak of 417.1 parts per million for 2020 in May, the highest monthly reading ever recorded. Nothing less than the highest CO2 level in 23 million years, according to a separate study by Geology. Yeah, good news is hard to come by.
My worst nightmare.’ That’s how Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, called COVID-19, an accurate assessment of the crisis, in the same week that he also sort of backpedaled, by saying that a second wave ‘is not inevitable’ in the U.S., at best, his educated opinion. Such inconsistency undermines the only role we should see fit for him to play: that of the knowledgeable expert, calling it as it is.
Which brings us to a tenet of the scientific method: replication. As in, the more a result can be replicated, the likelier it is accurate. We’ve seen what happens when people isolate, wear masks, and dutifully sanitize hands: the pandemic shrinks. Consequently, we know also what happens if that stops: the virus thrives. But that proven experience, replicated millions of times globally, doesn’t seem to be the basis for the reopening of the world economy.
Instead, the U.S., Brazil, and too many countries are restarting their economies while contagion is still on the rise, and it’s only logical that it’ll have nefarious consequences. How hard will it be to lock up people at home again, once they’re out, basking in the sun? when did the cat return to the bag?
To no one’s surprise, Trump supporters will need to sign an agreement not to sue the campaign if they contract the virus. Thus if his legacy will be the few million casualties of the virus that he did not take seriously, and was incompetent to fight it, Bolsonaro’s will be the deforestation of the world’s biggest Rainforest. Near 10,000 sq.km. have already been cleared, and 2020 may beat all records of casualties in the region under his pitiful watch.
Which is also a grave concern for indigenous communities in the Amazon. The coronavirus may usher a large-scale genocide so considered because it’s happening mostly either from neglect or policies of extermination, which have also caused deadly confrontations of natives and landowners’ hitmen.
The killing of Rayshard Brooks follows a nauseating ritual by the U.S. police: called to referee a routine incident, they wind up killing another black man. It gets terribly worse: since Floyd’s agonizing final breath, there’s been a half dozen assassinations, either recently or on videos resurfacing only now, some eerily similar, others obscenely cruel, but all inexorably brutal. Protesters were shot and beaten up while marching against police brutality.
It seems that now that the reelection season is on at a full clip and will increase its pitch in the months ahead, any racially-motivated crimes bound to happen again will continue being ignored and chastised by the GOP candidate. He’s made clear that he’ll do anything to get his campaign going, (even if he’d have to shoot someone on Fifth Ave.) The BLM movement and those who support it must transition now from rally to action to face this threat.
Biden, who continues to be tone deft about most of the issues facing America today, may not represent the dreams and aspirations of all of those who may vote for him. But he must win if we’re to have a chance to promote real change, despite himself, his party, ingrained prejudice, or the status quo.
Perhaps toppling statues of traitors and slave-traders is a place to start. Or making cops accountable for murder. But if protests won’t evolve into a new society, prisons will remain loaded with people of color and profits for corporations. As Angela Davis says, ‘if reforms have failed to have a transformative impact on police or jails, does it make sense to simply call for more reforms?‘ That will require guts as hell but we’ll fight to win. Happy Juneteenth. WC

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