Someone told me a few days ago, “we need to talk about it. We need to react.”
This isn’t analysis. It’s officially too personal. But it’s important. Black Lives Matter. It’s not a trend. It’s not a fashion statement. It’s not even a lifestyle.
It is a fact.
It is reality.
I have seen too many situations like this violent one. At some point, you know what happens next even though, it’s a new situation, a new crime.
However, it’s not.
I am sick of writing this paragraph over and over again. It always begins and ends with the same words.
Enough. Enough with the violence. Enough with the police violence.
It’s appreciable to see the world suddenly 100% aware of the real situation in the US. However, it isn’t something, with which the world can help. The only person, who can change the US is the US itself. And unlike 2014, when the protests in response to Trayvon Martin and the Ferguson murders only lasted a few months, the anger did not, leading to the explosion of protests in 2020.
Enough with the police violence. Yes, I am one of those people who know police officers personally. But I am also one of those, who know those same police officers don’t do their jobs properly. One high school classmate got himself stupidly killed because he wasn’t doing his job correctly. His own fault.
Whether Lebanon or the US, it’s that one parallel (and I’ll stop there because that’s where the comparison ends because there’s no comparison.)
The lack of understanding how we got to where we are (for some who still refuse to change their opinions or their views). But mostly, most importantly, the mentality.
It doesn’t matter how many times we talk about it.
It doesn’t matter that most of my entourage thinks like me on the US society’s woes.
It doesn’t matter that the person telling me we need to react is neither a US citizen nor a US resident.
It doesn’t matter. As long as the mentality doesn’t change, the country cannot move forward. If a country’s elite, or its’ society in general, cannot reform its education policy and cannot place more importance on the lessons of History and the study of the Constitution than on a flag, a piece of fabric, and the national anthem then the problem is huge. That is because the country would not move forward. Its’ citizens cannot learn and grow properly.
I grew up during the Bush era in the NYC greater region. Yes, I saw and remember 11 September 2001. I experienced the Obama era on both sides of the Atlantic. I am the daughter of a Lebanese father, who couldn’t get the Green card on his own, if it hadn’t been for his French wife. Why? Because Hezbollah had bombed a US outpost in Lebanon and of course foreign policy is child’s play. It’s like every Lebanese was compared to a Hezbollah. This is excruciatingly personal. Truth is, the entire paragraph was to illustrate the extent of what families had to go through in the 1980s, after 9/11, and all the way to today.
More importantly than that, the US has not changed its foreign policy since 1810. Democrat or Republican, policy is the same. There’s no difference. Problematic, that is. Outdated, it is as well. As long as this continues, our society will continue to downgrade and break down. Remember that Eric Garner was choked to death on Bill de Blasio’s watch. A man, who won the NYC municipal elections partly because he emphasized the importance of having a biracial family. Remember. Remember every man, every woman, and every child, who died at the hands of a police officer because of their skin color. Remember their ancestors, who were forced to come to North America (and South America) like cattle, stripped of all humanity because of a deal made on the West Africa coast.
Remember. Say their names. Remember also that this isn’t a social media trend. I wrote once recently somewhere that I know I don’t talk enough of every case of police violence and innocent people killed in their beds. However, I think about it every day. It’s the reason why my blood boils over every time a new crime occurs. These cases of violence are crimes. It’s the reason I was extremely vocal since secondary school. I have not changed. I discussed it here over and over again whether it is the lack of history in the classroom curriculum, the lack of civics education, the lack of being able to connect cause with effect, the crisis, which is, and has been for a very long time, the US governing establishment and political system.
A man, Jacob Blake, is in hospital and paralyzed from the waist down because he was shot 7 times in the back by police in Wisconsin. His crime? Taking his children somewhere in the car and about to get in. That and being a normal good neighbor.
For a European, a South American, or just about anyone else in the world, this sounds outrageous. It is. It also sounds crazy. It sounds like a one case scénario probably.
It is not.
Let me be clear. It happens every day. Several times a day even. It’s always been like this for a long time. Since Bush, and much more under Obama, it became worse. It could even be identified as “disobedience” under the latter. Why? Probably because, in addition to the continued adherence to the same policy agenda as the predecessors, Obama, simply by being in the White House, angered many. This ultimately led to the hardening stance from the Republican party and the conservative camp, setting the stage for the 2016 election outcomes.
It is outrageous. It is criminal. It is inhumane. And it has been going on for too long.
The limit was reached years and years ago. It was reached 4 years ago, leading to the creation of several initiatives including Black Lives Matter. Today those initiatives, along with the NAACP and older organizations lead the fight, whether lobbying or protesting in the streets, to change this society once and for all.
But only the US can change the US. Simply voting will not help. Voting and an entire list of actions or demands will make it happen.
- The parties need to change. Not reform but complete revamping from scratch, outside and inside.
- The law deserves change. Don’t burn the Constitution. No, more importantly, stop throwing it out like it is a second rate citizen. We need the Constitution to create a better governance establishment.
- Defund the police. We’re at this point because we let ourselves be convinced that defense and security meant Big Guns. That was the Cold War. That was both Bush the Elder and Bush the Younger. It’s over, politicos. The Cold War is over. It has been over since 1990 (one or three years doesn’t matter in this case.)
- Reform our education. Give back more. It is time not only money went into the schools but also a coherent roadmap. This means no more state testing. This means more and better History coursework. This means civic education. Create it. Shape the future of the country. Stop the pledge of allegiance. That was introduced as a racist act and continues to be so to this day.
- Make education available for everyone. No less, no more.
- An overhaul of the system is necessary. The country’s infrastructure, for example. Its transportation routes (city, trains, and intercity) also. A better 100% working postal service too. This includes a fully-rounded, equal, and inclusive voter’s system and rights. Want the vote to count without corruption? End the current practices, whether they be the minority votes and the votes from isolated places or the votes from abroad. The latter are never counted to this day and electoral officials do everything to slow down the process of acquiring the ballots on time.
- Include and prioritize the indigenous peoples’ voices in policy-making. Give back what is due to them.
- Stop making US citizens with dual nationalities pay for their choices and passports. We did not choose for the most part. Moreover, living abroad in our home country, for example, to study, work, or for other reasons, is our choice. Not the government’s.
There comes a time when the broken record cracks. It played over and over again until it cannot any more. It’s time to stop. Not rewind but go forward.
Enough is enough.
Enough with the violence.
Enough with death without justification or justice.