Glenn Broadnax, a 35-year-old black man from Brooklyn, was unarmed on the night of September 14 when NYPD officers shot at him in the middle of Times Square, striking two bystanders.
Instead of apologizing, the New York Times reports that the city has charged Broadnax ”with assault, on the theory that he was responsible for bullet wounds suffered by two bystanders.”
Broadnax was emotionally disturbed and dodging cars in the middle of the street when officers say he reached into his pocket to grab what they believed was a weapon, prompting them to open fire. His lawyers says he was reaching for his wallet.So, because the NYPD is made up of trigger happy, crappy marksmen who fire at unarmed black people with impunity, Broadnax might spend up to 25 years in prison on trumped up assault charges, which the Manhattan district attorney insisted on.… Meanwhile, the two cops who did the shooting are on desk duty pending an investigation. If the past is any indication, that means they will be back on the streets in no time.
— Maurice Sendak (via bookmania)
The month of August has seen unbearable loss of life in countries once associated with the “Arab Spring.” Allies of civil society were once enthused to witness en masse demonstrations against, and renunciations of, oppression in Tunisia, Libya, Syria, Egypt, and so many other countries. The power structures within these societies were void, and many still are, of any moral decency or respect for life. Citizens demanded that these suffocating regimes, under which they were subject, either reform, or be relieved of their posts as eternal incumbents. These were the sights that left leaning leftist (if you catch my drift), and secularists, and libertarians throughout the political spectrum were hoping to see. The legitimacy, and vigor of these uprisings in defiance of bullying governments were enough to make any reformist in the Western world feel the most unadulterated sense of solidarity with the protesters. To feel pride in seeing kindred spirits take up the struggle against injustice, inequality, and brutish belligerence.
But the beast are beating back violently. Primarily Assad in Syria. The death tolls of Syrians murdered by the Assad regime are now very likely to be in the thousands. Some report as high as 1,600 dead. This is a state of affairs that should not be tolerated. What’s more Assad seems to be using the same tactic of his former fellow Ba’athist Saddam Hussein, and gassing civilian populations. The use of chemical weapons is a serious offence in the international community. If the United Nations finds evidence that gas attacks are taking place in Syria then they will have a legal bases with which to assign Bashar al-Assad a war criminal. And thus be obliged to remove him from his presidential seat.
We should have acted much sooner though. Now we have August 21 as another bloody stain on our collective conscience. Inaction is as immoral as collaboration when we talk about these kinds of acts of brutality. Maybe the Obama administration and the United Nations want to see 2,000 dead before they act. The red line, for me, was crossed as soon as the first civilian was killed, chemical weapons or not. Personally I have felt ashamed about my inability to “do more” in this situation.
Our president on the other hand certainly holds, perhaps not omnipotence - although he’s well on his way to attaining omniscience - definite power in some of these matters. Yet all he’s done is drawn an ephemeral red line that constantly recedes. Obama has shown cowardice before. His capitulations on domestic affairs are beyond irritating. Many of us on the left were excited to see a humanitarian, and progressive in the White House. I definitely felt this way. But as I see the images of so many dead in Syria I cannot help but feel the greatest kind of contempt for Barrack Obama. He has no problem in killing so many innocents himself with his drone strikes. Maybe Assad is his kindred spirit. He’s also lost the trust of everyone concerning domestic surveillance. So why the hesitation to act? Is he tying to save face? With whom? Many on the left have lost their patience, and the right has detested him from the very beginning. My frustrations have certainly reached a crescendo. I have a red line for you too Mr. President. It was crossed when I saw the piled up bodies of children, and the wails of pure agony from the distraught in Syria. I haven’t even gotten to Egypt either…
The naivety inherent in enthusiasm lies in the inability to be level headed about that which your are excited. I was a supporter of Barack Obama. Now I am disillusioned. Our neck hairs might have stood on end at the sight of glorious popular revolutions in the Middle east. Now however those same hairs stand on end out of grief, disgust, and abject fear for the peoples of the nations engulfed in the Syrian civil war, and the Egyptian upheavals.