ABOUT THESE PROTESTS

Aquarian Weekly
5/8/24
 
Reality Check
 
ABOUT THESE PROTESTS

No one supports the idea of waving a fist and shouting random musings in large groups against aggression, suppression, and general bullshit more than me. This is what this space has been about since August of 1997. I’d prefer, of course, to keep it to the words and not risk getting tear-gassed or hit with a projectile in a mob of submentals, but you get the gist: I’m into protests. The First Amendment is king around here. And even if the occasional thing gets wrecked, it happens, you deal. But as I watch these recent campus protests against Israel’s military campaign in Gaza or what some are calling “Pro-Palestinian” fervor or “Genocide Joe” outrage against President Biden, I can’t help thinking there is a theoretical disconnect in America’s role in this.

This is not Viet Nam where hundreds of American kids are coming home weekly in boxes for a nonsensical and morally corrupt war based on a lie or even Iraq, another hoax-induced military faux pas, which turned into a clusterfuck of corporate malfeasance wrapped up in vengeance and ad hoc world-building that lasted two decades. This is more than a half-century of fiduciary and ideological commitment to the Middle East’s only democracy that has spanned fourteen presidents. What we’re dealing with here is proxy complaints that need some nuance to deconstruct.

Ahhhh… nuance.

kay, so details matter little in the fine art of the protest. The overarching theme is the key. Nuance is not the bailiwick of someone in a ski mask heaving a brick through a window, I get it. But to be fair, if you are going for red-faced righteousness and morally impassioned voice-shredding, it’s important to know what you are protesting.

Now, I do not wish to see a country, especially one bankrolled by us, murdering women and children arbitrarily in what appears to be some half-assed terrorist campaign. I didn’t dig it in Afghanistan or Iraq, which, again was primarily a U.S. operation instead of a foreign investment. And there is no one more dedicated person to the idea of making the clearly insane Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu go away. I was in Jerusalem in the spring of 1996 when he was first elected and there was more than a little concern that he would wreck things. So, let’s say I was quite shocked to see his return to the position in 2009. He’s a lunatic hardliner, who’s now become that nation’s George W. Bush. – asleep at the wheel this past October when all of this started with Hamas’s attack and capturing of hostages and has only worsened things by taking what used to be the world’s most efficient fighting machine, the Israel Defense Forces, and turned it into an armed thug-fest.  

And I think the protestors need to understand that President Biden and our State Department have endeavored to put pressure on Netanyahu, but this is his country and his tactics. Pulling aid is not the answer here, just as the former president’s maneuver of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a religious hotbed of madness for well over three millennia from the innocuous Tel Aviv, was not the best decision to avoid inciting the violence we see today. Also, decades-long support of Israel by corporations or universities being personally responsible for what has happened in the last six months seems pushing it, even for young, privileged kids, who want to re-enact the 1960s. I get that they want some recognition of this abject violence, and the events on the ground are indeed horrific, but, again, there are degrees to which Columbia University is directly connected to the IDF’s war crimes.

And to address the “I don’t want to pay taxes to bomb children” argument. I pay federal taxes to a nation that currently enslaves the bodies of women to which I am less thrilled, but ya know, how taxes go: If you’re going to worry about blood on your hands by proxy, we’re all going to hell, so chill out. Shit, I’m typing this on a device, and you’re likely reading this on one, that was made by Chinese children in a sweatshop for half a dollar an hour. 

It’s good to have some idea what you’re protesting and, most importantly, have an end game: What do you want?

Finally, I think it’s important to point out that anyone who refers to the January 6 domestic terrorists that sacked the Capitol motivated by Trump’s Big Lie as “hostages,” as the current Republican nominee does, cannot weigh in on how “out of control” college students are. That afternoon’s activities and your dismissing it as “a tour” eliminates your credibility on this issue, and you should shut the fuck up. (I am aware of the ironic shift in my “First Amendment is king” eight-paragraph’s ago claim, but although it’s not illegal to be stupid, I nevertheless wish the purveyors of it would go away). This goes for the Speaker of the House calling these protests “nonsense.” Not a good look for the man two heartbeats from the White House and the most powerful Republican in D.C. shitting on the most sacred right we have – but again, he also calls the January 6 people who wanted to violently stop our other sacred right, voting, from occurring. So… there’s that.

Listen up; everyone supports a cease fire. Maybe not Trump, who appears to be all for razing Gaza to the ground, so you can go ahead vote against Biden and elect him, if you wish. Or cast your vote for that loon, Robert Kennedy Jr., who’ll just help get the game show host back in the White House, so he can sign a national abortion ban. Your call. Just know, that way before Netanyahu, and long after he’s gone, the United States must support Israel. As mentioned, it is the region’s only democracy. It’s bad enough we hang with nations like Saudi Arabia that are human rights abominations for diplomatic and financial reasons – a good subject to check out if you’re into all the protesting – this is truly the lesser of two evils situation. Also, it’s good to have some idea what you’re protesting and, most importantly, have an end game: What do you want?

Figure that out, and get back to me.

Meanwhile, it’s not the greatest balancing act to protest violence and oppression by violently oppressing fellow students and faculty and wasting our tax money sending police in there to stop you while you’re busy deciding on a plan. 

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