No one to pull the desecrated Bible from his hands or return the books to the library or confiscate the notebooks where he wrote about the CIA targeting him, the cops drugging him. No one to halt the paranoid letters to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram or the neighbors. No one to block him from entering the Wedgewood Baptist Church in the middle of September wearing jeans and a black jacket.
In terms of confronting the man’s racism, of course, that question doesn’t really matter, but it nonetheless put me in mind of how easy it is for Jews, white or of color, to pass as not-Jewish until we either self-identify or are outed—a term I am using purposefully, since there are still places in the world, including the hallowed halls of American academia, where it is not always safe to be known publicly as a Jew.
Tensions have been high since the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a letter on November 25th, 2016 stating that it will close all lands north of the Cannonball River, which is where the Oceti Sakowin camp is located. The letter further stated that anyone on the property after Dec. 5 will be considered trespassing and may be subject to arrest. Many immediately feared the worst, as a number of the water protectors have had previous run-ins with the heavily militarized police force that is guarding the pipeline.
If a microfilm of any of this remained, like in the spy-movies of previous eras, the footage would have been mistaken for a lost half-Buñuel, shot through with moons by day, strange montages. The roll of microfilm would be immediately apprehended, destroyed as occurs in the films, by both the enemies and the defenders of memory, as film weakens memory...
Let’s not lie to ourselves about symbols. Let’s not get fired up about non stories. Let’s not act like those things that don’t matter do matter. I don’t care about Black people at the Oscars or concussions in the NFL or depression in college students. That’s all happiness. That’s the third one. The first one is life. The second one is liberty. Acknowledge that we have failed to give those first two to a swath of the population.
“Now this is how I see it. As far as I’m concerned you’re all niggers. All three of you. It’s easy to tell this one’s a nigger but you two may as well be. I don’t know what’s happened to this world, but I’ve had all about all of it I can stand. Now I’m going to make you a deal. If you all get down on your knees and beg, I might just let you go. Otherwise, I’m going to shoot you right here.”
Perhaps, in a futile attempt to understand what happened there, I returned to Dhaka through Google’s Street View, walking through placid images of days less heavy with sadness. I walked to my house. To the homes of my loved ones. To school and the expat bars at which we would spend many weekend nights.
Black Lives Matter started the night George Zimmerman got away with killing Trayvon Martin. After hearing the verdict, Garza used the phrase “Black Lives Matter” in a Facebook post. “Black people. I love you. I love us. Our lives matter, Black Lives Matter”
I woke up Sunday at 5:15 a.m. to police in full riot gear shouting from every direction, “Get out of your tent! Hands in the air!” More than 60 police officers, who had arrived in two buses, flooded a camp of more than 100 activists who had been occupying the railroad tracks leading to the Shell and Tesoro Oil refineries in Anacortes, Washington.
We read a fair amount of news, but it was three days before we learned that the anonymous whistleblower who released the Panama Papers had written a manifesto. So we decided to reproduce it here. We think you'll find it a solid piece of writing.
Meanwhile, in Aliyyah’s life, another drama was building. She was down at the Matagarup Nyungar refugee camp, an urban settlement that redefined the notion of refugees. A group of Nyungar, the first nation of West Australia’s south-west, had welcomed the urban homeless onto their traditional lands. Aliyyah was there, blogging her experience on social media, when the Perth Police and Rangers descended on the camp, taking most of the campers possessions. They took all the tents. They took bedding, clothes, even children’s toys.