Crossing Swords in Ferguson, Gaza, Egypt", and the Unifying Principle of Respect
By Gary Corseri
"The heart of love that breaks apart the drone, propelled by a slingshot converted into a peace-making tool, points all of us in a direction, sorely needed, that aims to abolish war."
"They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore."--Isaiah, 2:4
"Be the change that you wish to see in the world."--Gandhi
Dear Mother Earth,
I am writing you directly because I believe only the Great Soul of our Home can understand where we are now--lost among the stars.
This past Saturday, at the Carter Presidential Center in Atlanta, Georgia, I marked the 1-year anniversary of the Rabaa Massacre in Egypt, absorbing some 6 hours of talks by a dozen panelists from Egypt, the U.S., Palestine and other Arab nations. There were also Skype reports from Human Rights Watch. In the lobby of the Center's Chapel, there were color photos of the dead and dying, taken by a journalist who had himself died in the carnage.
You know the story that so many have now forgotten: 817 (officially!) dead within 12 hours, as military snipers fired away at protestors who had come to reclaim their democracy. The streets had been blocked by the soldiers staging their coup. To this day, the US, Egypt's principal support for about half a century, has refused to acknowledge that a coup took place. Such acknowledgment would require the immediate cessation of our funding for the regime of General el-Sisi--the regime that replaced the democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood President, Mohamed Morsi.
I'm recapping some of the basics now because most of my fellow Americans have forgotten all or most of this--if they ever bothered to learn it. In this age of 24-7 "news," it's easy for info to slip down the Orwellian "memory hole." (Of course, it's not so much about "information overload" as it is about bad information overload!) People, and history itself, can get "disappeared."
One of the panelists, Medea Benjamin, of Code Pink and Global Exchange, told how she had recently asked a class of high school students to raise their hands if they had ever heard of the Rabaa massacre. Not a hand was raised. When she asked these students if they had ever heard of the Tiananmen Square Massacre of 1989, every hand went up. Why? Because, they had studied that earlier massacre in school! That message had fit: Chinese Communists--bad! Egyptian military suppressing a democracy--they get a pass because that supports our interests in the Middle East.
It's that kind of world. We're that kind of creature. (I don't just mean Americans, of course. It's just that we're numero uno now, and, according to the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), we're planning to keep our show on the road for at least another 100 years!
Except... Except, we've got some problems in our own backyard. In our "heartland," in fact: Right on the New Madrid fault line in the state of Missouri!
You've heard of the Missouri Compromise, I suppose? You heard of John Brown in Kansas and Missouri? Seems we've had these kinds of problems before--going way back--and they always seem to have something to do with what we call "democracy," and "representative government"" but really have more to do with basic questions like dignity and accountability; what Job called "integrity" and Solomon called "wisdom."