FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Peace Protests in the Deep South

by ANTHONY GANCARSKI

“The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities.”

— Lord Acton

On February 15, how many Muslims showed at Jacksonville’s Five Points Peace Rally? The answer depends on what source you believe. Laura Diamond’s “Possible War Draws Protest”, written for the next day’s FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, claims that “more than a dozen Islamic families” were present in a crowd of seventy-five. Her presentation was as objective as you’d expect that of the lone daily in a military town to be. Balanced quotes — a demonstrator’s “dissent is patriotic” versus a passer-by’s “go back to Iraq.” The impression left by the piece was that the protest was futile, but not seditious so much as misguided.

University of North Florida English Instructor Joe Flowers took exception to his local paper representing the rally incorrectly, and he fired off an open letter to Ms. Diamond taking her to task for faulty assumptions. Flowers claimed that over 100 people attended the rally, and that “those who yelled negative things while conveniently driving away swiftly were few and far between–at the very least, the supporters outnumbered the detractors 9 or 10 to 1.”

Flowers has credibility within Jacksonville’s Progressive scene, and those I’ve talked to corroborated his account of the event. He wrote a winning letter, one that calls attention to the “corporate mass media–using misinformation (if not outright racism) to downplay the significance of any attempt to question the nationalistic party line.” He saved his choicest phrases for Diamond’s overly generous appraisal of the number of “Islamic families” in attendance, speculating that the reporter perhaps had arrived late and seen a “gaggle of Muslim families . . . roll in.”

Both the article and Flowers’ response raise the question of why there’s such controversy over the actual number of Muslims in attendance.

One does not have to have roots in the Gulf States or Central Asia to be Muslim. Malcolm X, Amiri Baraka, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar prove that much. Nor are all those with Arabic lineages necessarily Muslim. Tariq Aziz, Iraq’s Foreign Minister, is a Chaldean Christian. His faith has drawn heat from Iranian mullahs as well as from Iraqis jealous of his near-symbiotic relationship with Saddam Hussein.

Perhaps if people were able to think of Iraqis as people with a culture, philosophy, history, and morality, there would be opposition not just to how the continuing destruction of Iraq is playing out, but also to the efforts of our government to mortgage our future for “full-spectrum dominance”. The Department of Education has done many disservices to Americans, but its greatest may be its treasonous refusal to emphasize the importance of understanding history as a continuum .

We’re dumbed down, and can’t find the countries we bomb on maps. We’re easy prey for “Why do they hate us when we’re so good?” For centrist totalitarians who monitor our every action “for our safety”. Reprehensible that these issues can’t be addressed; repugnant that there is so much focus on “Islamic families” being over-counted at a peace rally, as if there’s anything at all wrong with them assembling peacefully.

I think there is something innately beautiful in the idea of “Islamic families” coming together and protesting preemptive war, exhibiting cross-generational consciousness that would be the envy of people from religions that aren’t routinely derided in the corporate media. I would argue also that our nation’s tendency toward thuggish, mercenary wars stems from the 20th century breakdown of community, tribe, and family that made us compete with machines for jobs. That same breakdown created a nation of addicts — chocolate, sex, shopping, opium — which in turn led us to elect people who gleefully turned the government’s guns on its own people. America’s impending insolvency, both cause and effect of our government’s assault on the Cradle of Civilization, is not the fault of suspected Muslims at the peace rally. You can pin that charge on Ivy League boys with Judeo-Christian backgrounds, who sell us shoddier goods and flimsier pretexts for militarism year after year. In that light, perhaps the stoic steadfastness of Islamic families could teach us a thing or two applicable to our foreign policy; modesty, self-restraint, truth.

ANTHONY GANCARSKI is a regular CounterPunch columnist. He can be reached at: ANTHONY.GANCARSKI@ATTBI.COM

 

ANTHONY GANCARSKI is a regular CounterPunch columnist. He can be reached at Anthony.Gancarski@attbi.com

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

January 19, 2017
Melvin Goodman
America’s Russian Problem
Dave Lindorff
Right a Terrible Wrong: Why Obama Should Reverse Himself and Pardon Leonard Peltier
Laura Carlsen
Bringing Mexico to Its Knees Will Not “Make America Great Again”
John W. Whitehead
Nothing is Real: When Reality TV Programming Masquerades as Politics
Yoav Litvin
Time to Diss Obey: the Failure of Identity Politics and Protest
Mike Whitney
The Trump Speech That No One Heard 
Conn Hallinan
Is Europe Heading for a “Lexit”?
Stephen Cooper
Truth or Twitter? Why Donald Trump Is No John Steinbeck
Binoy Kampmark
Scoundrels of Patriotism: The Freeing of Chelsea Manning
Ramzy Baroud
The Balancing Act is Over: What Elor Azaria Taught Us about Israel
Josh Hoxie
Why Health Care Repeal is a Stealth Tax Break for Millionaires
Kim C. Domenico
It’s High Time for a Politics of Desire
Shamus Cooke
Inauguration Day and Beyond
Clark T. Scott
More and More Lousy
David Swanson
Samantha Power Can See Russia from Her Padded Cell
Kevin Carson
Right to Work and the Apartheid State
Malaika H. Kambon
Resisting the Lynching of Haitian Liberty!
January 18, 2017
Gary Leupp
The Extraordinary Array of Those Questioning Trump’s Legitimacy (and Their Various Reasons)
Charles Pierson
Drone Proliferation Ramps Up
Ajamu Baraka
Celebrating Dr. King with the Departure of Barack Obama
David Underhill
Trumpology With a Twist
Chris Floyd
Infinite Jest: Liberals Laughing All the Way to Hell
Stansfield Smith
Obama’s Hidden Role in Worsening Climate Change
Ron Leighton
Trump is Not Hitler: How the Misuse of History Distorts the Present as Well as the Past
Ralph Nader
An Open Letter to President-Elect Donald Trump
Binoy Kampmark
NATO and Obsolescence: Donald Trump and the History of an Alliance
Zarefah Baroud
‘The Power to Create a New World’: Trump and the Environmental Challenge Ahead
Julian Vigo
Obama Must Pardon the Black Panthers in Prison or in Exile
Alfredo Lopez
The Whattsapp Scandal
Clancy Sigal
Russian Hacking and the Smell Test
Terry Simons
The Truth About Ethics and Condoms
January 17, 2017
John Pilger
The Issue is Not Trump, It is Us
John K. White
Is Equality Overrated, Too?
Michael J. Sainato
The DNC Hands the Democratic Party Over to David Brock and Billionaire Donors
John Davis
Landscapes of Shame: America’s National Parks
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Politicians and Rhetorical Tricks
Chris Busby
The Scientific Hero of Chernobyl: Alexey V. Yablokov, the Man Who Dared to Speak the Truth
David Macaray
Four Reasons Trump Will Quit
Chet Richards
The Vicissitudes of the Rural South
Clancy Sigal
“You Don’t Care About Jobs”: Why the Democrats Lost
Robert Dodge
Martin Luther King and U.S. Politics: Time for a U.S. Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Jack Sadat Lee
I Dream of Justice for All the Animal Kingdom
James McEnteer
Mourning Again in America
January 16, 2017
Paul Street
How Pure is Your Hate?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
Did the Elites Have Martin Luther King Jr. Killed?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail