Curtain Raiser

I Am Because We All Are, Colltalers

The fatal stabbing of Conservative parliamentary Sir David Amess reawakens fears of terrorism in the U.K. And throws an inconvenient light over the British government’s insistence in prosecuting Wikileaks’ Julian Assange, especially in light of the revelations that the CIA planned to assassinate him.
Alabama coal miners, Nabisco, Kellogg’s, and John Deer workers, nurses in California, healthcare staff in Buffalo, Hollywood crews; could we be entering another age of labor strikes? And despite global shortages, since March the U.S. has tossed millions of doses of Covid vaccines.
Let’s begin in Haiti where 17 members of an American Christian group were kidnapped on Saturday by the 400 Mawozo, a well-known gang linked to previous kidnappings. It’s not clear how positive is the presence of thousands of foreign religious missionaries in a nation that’s experienced in quick succession the murder of its president, an earthquake, and a hurricane, and already struggles with foreign pressure.
Their fate contrasts with that of 15 Nigerian women and children who last week fled their infamous captors, the Boko Haram which also resorts to abduction as a standard M.O. In the past six years, it kidnapped over 1,000 women and girls, and only a few have ever returned.
In Brazil, President Bolsonaro faces yet another challenge, this time from Austrian legal organization AllRise. The group is urging the International Court in the Hague to probe the former Army-expelled Captain for “crimes against humanity” over his tragic missteps in the Amazon and its Indigenous peoples. Under his watch, the forest’s burned at a record rate, and over a 1,000 Natives died of Covid.
In Oklahoma, 21-year-old Brittney Marie Poolaw was sentenced to four years in prison for miscarrying her fetus. The absurdly cruel act shows how zealotry against abortion is entrenched in a judiciary system riddled with partisanship and religious bias. It also exposes the victimization of minorities and the poor, the demographics that define those who simply can’t afford to cross state lines to see a doctor.
In New York, another inmate in one of the world’s largest correction and mental institutions, Rikers Island, has died, the 13th of this year. Capable of holding 15,000 souls, it’s now less than five thousand but is still known as “hell on Earth,” by some. Like the latest victim who died of Covid, while many await relocation from its inhumane conditions, talk about prison reform is currently a dead-in-the-water issue.
The murder of Sir Amess revisits the fear of violent attacks against politicians in the U.K.. It’s the second killing of an MP since the slain of Labour Jo Cox in Scotland in 2016. A 25-year-old with no prior arrests has been detained; the police has called the murder “terrorism.”
In 2017, while Assange was living in the Embassy of Ecuador in London for five years, the CIA was seriously considering shutting him up for good, either by kidnap or murder, at least eight former intelligence officials told Yahoo News. Some went as far as asking for “options” or “sketches” for ways to assassinate the founder of Wikileaks who made it public what it’s called “the largest data loss in CIA history.”
The fact that the prospect of murdering a publisher by a U.S. government organ is itself an unconstitutional travesty. But since this is the “agency,” past examples abound and the moral point of it all has been long lost. The plan did not go into fruition but Assange is still jailed and in ill health for exposing liable U.S.’ war crimes. The Biden administration must call off this trump-up trial and let the man live free.
“An unofficial general strike?” That’s how former U.S. Labor Sec. Robert Reich sees the resurgence of the labor movement. Workers in several segments of production are slowly realizing that there’s power in numbers, and for as much as corporations and wealthy elites have increased their power, workers are pushing back. Given the pandemic’s dire aftermath, even a four-day workweek is under debate.
Those who still have a choice are choosing working from home, switching to more satisfying careers, even dropping out altogether from the market. Many were already being underpaid and working in mediocre jobs without minimal benefits so the difference was not huge. But the biggest upside of unionizing – again – the American workforce is justice: it’s time the working class has a saying over its destiny.
We’re well into the second year of the Covid scourge but the heartbreak hasn’t ceased yet, neither here nor and especially abroad. The U.S., with near 750,000 deaths leads the unfortunate bunch, with Brazil, over 600K, and India, more than 450 thousand obits still following it closely. But it’s the U.S. and the world’s richest nations that are bearing the biggest responsibility in failing to stop this virus.
Regardless of the ignominious vaccine “rejection,” and Big Pharma refusal to share know-how with impoverished countries, the fact that at least 15 million doses were tossed in the U.S. since March., according to the CDC, is yet another blunder derailing the eradication of the virus. No one in the past or future would understand why three morally dubious excuses could turn so many into intellectual zombies.
If it never occurred to Ruth Hamilton to consider herself luckier than the dinosaurs, now she probably would. She was sound asleep on Oct. 4 when a meteorite pierced her roof and landed on her bed, right next to her. “I had debris on my face from the drywall but not a single scratch,” a still shaken Hamilton told reporters. She got the lucky break that the 65-million-year-old beasts couldn’t possibly get.
Westerners are familiar with the Zulu, the largest ethnic population in South Africa, since colonial times when they battled the British Empire. They’re now less than 13 million people but their rich heritage goes well beyond their fights against invaders, even when one considers Shaka Zulu, their leader and inspiration. Less well-known is their language Nguni’s surprisingly core of humanitarian values.
It’s no wonder; so-called westerners caused the depletion of their once powerful dominance and culture. Thankfully, the same people who used weapons to eliminate and restrain them have also unwittingly helped them to survive and thrive. And some words and expressions did get incorporated to other languages out of their sheer meaning and depth. Such as Ubuntu,“I am because we are.” Look it up. Cheers WC


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