To Die by Mistake


There are various ways of dying by mistake. All of them against one’s own will. Not so long ago I believed that we could also die by mistake as a result of our own will. For example, committing suicide when all is not yet lost. Something like killing ourselves when we are in the process of an incurable disease, that has been wrongly diagnosed by a doctor. Killing ourselves from a complete lack of hope, when all the possibilities have not yet been tried. Later on, I considered that this would be properly speaking a killing of oneself by mistake. So I reaffirm that all ways of killing by mistake are done against ones own will.

One could even say, if you would allow me to go into the matter a little more deeply, that there are more cruel and less cruel ways of dying by mistake. And among the less cruel, I would include the mistaken idea of the word fatherland. For example, a Latin or a European fighting under the North-American flag in Iraq. And when least expected the vehicle he/she is traveling in explodes. Or again, in another way, to have been photographed for the last time beside Bush moments before dying. That is what I call dying by mistake, but in a less cruel manner, for it is quick and with a calculated risk. Or again, in a more innocent manner, to mistake the avenue, the restaurant, the hotel, the country, and to be thrown, unexpectedly, into a war zone, bullets flying around, or in the way of an extraordinary gigantic wave. That is also to die by mistake, in a tragic manner, as all deaths are, but even so, they allow for a ranking, in a way less crude and cruel.

Of the hardest and most terrifying ways, we can think of the convicted, of the mistakenly condemned, of the miserable who make up part of the normal criminal class, and as such await death in a corridor. But even these, up to the last moment, expect a last minute clarification, an indult, a merciful salvation, before the priest or the pastor comes to fulfill the role of sending him/her to the heaven of execution. That is why we conclude that few deaths of those who die by mistake are as cruel and despicable as that of being hunted like a dog. Like a dog, did I say? Hunted like a fox would be more like it. Surrounded, knocked down, immobilised and glassy eyed to see the flash and the light of the bullet a fraction of a second before it smashes into and destroys the brain.

The Brazilian, the dog, the fox, this hybrid animal, with no defined species or pedigree, by name Jean Charles de Menezes died thus by mistake, put down with eight bullets. Such a vile and cruel death on a dog, a fox, or even on a rabbit would be proof of perversion and cruelty. And on a human? Excuse me Blair, excuse me Bush, excuse me terrified English subjects, what is it when perpetrated on a creature that is a human being? Even though it be natural in a country of samba and exotic good-in-bed mulattos, and for tourism; even so, and in spite of it, do you think that this subordinate deserved to die like a mad dog in London?

There was nothing national, nothing nationalistic, you understand. Far be it from us to think of demanding, I mean, complaining, sorry, we want to say, to plea in a whisper, humbly for Brazilians to be treated in a different manner. Because you see, the first news that was broadcast was that an Asiatic had been killed. Ah, well, if it is an Asiatic, the world will not tremble, all the blue-eyed nationalists, those from the West, gave a sigh of relief. They had said that because the eyes of the dead terrorist were of the slit type, brownish, which are the first signs of a second class, unimportant exotic world, way over there in the East. Later, surprise!, they realised that the boiling pot of Brazilian mixtures also exports slit-eyed, Chinese-like, American indigenous-like bombs. Then, shit! They saw on the floor of the underground that inert bundle, previously happy, that had drummed out samba and smiled for the family photos, for Mammy, I got on in Europe. They saw that the thing now with no brain was not even a terrorist. Sorry! What a pity, ladies, dogs and gentlemen!

It hadn’t anything to do with nationalism, though. We all know that the English do not treat their dogs like that. There is no nation in the world where people have more love for their pet dogs, pups, every single one. What is so great about going for a walk with their best friends pulling them on the end of a lease through the streets of London? So much love, say the wicked, so much affection dedicated to a fellow creature. No, English people do not treat their dogs that way. If there is a license to kill, to shoot at the heads of beings that move, that order is certainly not directed to dogs. It is directed to something of a much lower and obnoxious order, inferior, much more inferior to dogs, though it may walk (simulates walking), speak (simulates speaking), think (simulates thinking) and smile (simulates smiling). A thing that terror refers to as terrorism. Ah, well, if that is the case, then its OK. Terrorism against Terror, or Terror against Terrorism. The order of the concepts is still uncertain.

But one thing is certain, one thing is clear, crystal clear, objectively so, and without any shadow of a doubt and that is that the terrorist has a face. The terrorist belongs to a race. The terrorist has a nationality. The terrorist has a belief, a language, class and region. The head most worthy of being destroyed by bullets has already been determined. We, the people of the Third World, are the terrorists. We Muslims are the terrorists. We Asiatics are the terrorists. We negroes, half-casts, latins and the like are the terrorists. Terrorists are all those who were not born with the identifiable characteristics of the mass of dogs and hooligans. Our skulls are the target, and the darker they are the more likely to be the target, the mark, the end. Our skull is Jean Charles de Menezes.

When I read the report of a witness to the assassination of Jean Charles, who had seen the eyes of the man immobilised on the ground, by the photos

"If you look at the photos, his eyes seem to be small, but when I saw his face for only a second, because it was all so quick, his eyes were quite, quite open. He seemed very, very scared" When I saw that report, I felt as if I had got a punch on the stomach. The small eyes that opened wide with fright, with a pistol pointed at his head, were mine, ours, our children’s, our brothers’ and sisters’, all non-British peoples’. The Asiatic eyes of all us terrorists.

URARIANO MOTA is a Brazilian journalist. He can be reached at: urarianoms@uol.com.br

(Translation: Michael Mc Laughlin)


October 06, 2015
Vijay Prashad
Afghanistan, the Terrible War: Money for Nothing
Mike Whitney
How Putin will Win in Syria
Paul Street
Yes, There is an Imperialist Ruling Class
Paul Craig Roberts
American Vice
W. T. Whitney
Why is the US Government Persecuting IFCO/Pastors for Peace Humanitarian Organization?
Kathy Kelly
Bombing Hospitals: 22 People Killed by US Airstrike on Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan
Murray Dobbin
Rise Up, Precariat! Cheap Labour is Over
Ron Jacobs
Patti Smith and the Beauty of Memory
David Macaray
Coal Executive Finally Brought Up on Criminal Charges
Norman Pollack
Cold War Rhetoric: The Kept Intelligentsia
Cecil Brown
The Firing This Time: School Shootings and James Baldwin’s Final Message
Roger Annis
The Canadian Election and the Global Climate Crisis
Jesse Jackson
Alabama’s New Jim Crow Far From Subtle
Joe Ramsey
After Umpqua: Does America Have a Gun Problem….or a Dying Capitalist Empire Problem?
October 05, 2015
Michael Hudson
Parasites in the Body Economic: the Disasters of Neoliberalism
Patrick Cockburn
Why We Should Welcome Russia’s Entry Into Syrian War
Kristine Mattis
GMO Propaganda and the Sociology of Science
Heidi Morrison
Well-Intentioned Islamophobia
Ralph Nader
Monsanto and Its Promoters vs. Freedom of Information
Arturo Desimone
Retro-Colonialism: the Exportation of Austerity as War By Other Means
Robert M. Nelson
Noted Argentine Chemist Warns of Climate Disaster
Matt Peppe
Misrepresentation of the Colombian Conflict
Barbara Dorris
Pope Sympathizes More with Bishops, Less with Victims
Clancy Sigal
I’m Not a Scientologist, But I Wish TV Shrinks Would Just Shut Up
Chris Zinda
Get Outta’ Dodge: the State of the Constitution Down in Dixie
Eileen Applebaum
Family and Medical Leave Insurance, Not Tax Credits, Will Help Families
Pierre-Damien Mvuyekure
“Boxing on Paper” for the Nation of Islam, Black Nationalism, and the Black Athlete: a Review of “The Complete Muhammad Ali” by Ishmael Reed
Lawrence Ware
Michael Vick and the Hypocrisy of NFL Fans
Gary Corseri - Charles Orloski
Poets’ Talk: Pope Francis, Masilo, Marc Beaudin, et. al.
Weekend Edition
October 2-4, 2015
Henry Giroux
Murder, USA: Why Politicians Have Blood on Their Hands
Mike Whitney
Putin’s Lightning War in Syria
Jennifer Loewenstein
Heading Toward a Collision: Syria, Saudi Arabia and Regional Proxy Wars
John Pilger
Wikileaks vs. the Empire: the Revolutionary Act of Telling the Truth
Gary Leupp
A Useful Prep-Sheet on Syria for Media Propagandists
Jeffrey St. Clair
Pesticides, Neoliberalism and the Politics of Acceptable Death
Joshua Frank
The Need to Oppose All Foreign Intervention in Syria
Lawrence Ware – Paul Buhle
Insurrectional Black Power: CLR James on Race and Class
Oliver Tickell
Jeremy Corbyn’s Heroic Refusal to be a Nuclear Mass Murderer
Helen Yaffe
Che’s Economist: Remembering Jorge Risquet
Mark Hand
‘Rape Rooms’: How West Virginia Women Paid Off Coal Company Debts
Michael Welton
Junior Partner of Empire: Why Canada’s Foreign Policy Isn’t What You Think
Yves Engler
War Crimes in the Dark: Inside Canada’s Special Forces
Arno J. Mayer
Israel: the Wages of Hubris and Violence
W. T. Whitney
Cuban Government Describes Devastating Effects of U. S. Economic Blockade
Brian Cloughley
The US-NATO Alliance Destroyed Libya, Where Next?