Thursday, August 14, 2014

Waking up to a not-so-new American morning

"Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; ...or the right of the people peaceably to assemble" -- 1st Amendment, U.S. Constitution
“A riot is the language of the unheard.” -- Dr. M.L. King

Shaken, disturbed, angry...that describes me this morning after watching the live streaming and follow-up news coverage on MSNBC of the violent, militarized police assault on the black community in Ferguson last night. The sounds and images of an unprovoked, small-town, 94%-white police phalanx moving on a crowd of unarmed, peaceful mainly black citizens, firing rubber bullets, tear gas and concussion grenades as they came, rekindled disturbing flashbacks of Watts 1965 and Chicago, 1968 -- two events that greatly shaped my own political consciousness.

Al Jazeera crew flees after taking a direct hit.
This was no police riot, but a well-executed Gaza-style assault on a defenseless community, still in shock after the cold-blooded police murder of Michael Brown.

High on the list of targets was the press with reporters being told to leave, turn off their cameras and stop recording well before the assault began. A camera crew from Al Jazeera was fired upon and reporters from the Huffington Post and Washington Post were roughed up, arrested and then released with no charges. A St. Louis alderman was also jailed. Many of the police had removed their badges and identification and arrested reporters tried in vain to get the offending cops to identify themselves.

 You can read WaPo reporter Wesley Lowery's chilling report of his arrest here. But while many in the media passively complied and others resisted as best they could, one courageous indy-media guy (I am Mike Brown Live) braved the bullets and gas and kept the live stream coming, capturing both the violent horror and the brave acts of resistance.

Twitter was also alive with reports and commentary. My own tweets were being re-posted faster and with greater frequency than ever before. I couldn't even keep them on screen long enough to read. Among the most interesting were the solidarity tweets coming in from Gaza, advising people in Ferguson on how to deal with tear gas.

 THE FIRE NEXT TIME...According the the Washington Post, St. Louis is among the most segregated metropolitan areas in the nation. Ferguson, one of the 91 municipalities in largely white St. Louis County, has seen its population shift in recent years. About two-thirds of the city’s 21,100 residents are black. That’s a significant increase from 2000, when blacks made up just over half of the population. White residents, who had accounted for 44 percent of the population, now make up just under 30 percent.

If this sounds familiar, it should. Chicago, and it's re-segregated inner-ring suburbs are only a hop, skip and a jump up I-55.

1 comment:

  1. This gives the discussion of standards and testing and racing to the top, whole new meaning. Doesn't it?


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