From SCOTUS to Shireen: Same Extremism. Same Threat

I don’t know about you but so many things seem to be happening all at once in our world right now that it feels impossible, emotionally and intellectually, to keep up.

As thousands marched this Saturday, in opposition to the Supreme Court’s threatened overturn of Roe vs. Wade, the news broke that another young, armed, white man had shot up a grocery store in Buffalo New York, killing 10 and injuring 13, almost all of them African American. The weekend also marked the 74th anniversary of the expulsion of Palestinians from the newly formed state of Israel, an anniversary that took place, this year, amid anger over the killing of Al Jazeera journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh whose last report before being killed by Israeli forces was on one of the more than 500 villages from which Palestinians were expelled in 1948.

A Supreme Court assault on reproductive equity, another racist slaughter, and more Palestinian death. It’s a lot.

At the #BansOffOurBodies march in Brooklyn, I asked Palestinian American Linda Sarsour, co-chair of the Women’s March, how she was thinking about it all. She’s just returned from a freedom journey to Ghana, a major transhipment point for the US Atlantic slave trade.  The news from Buffalo hadn’t reached us yet. Here’s Linda:

Even when you think about the context of Palestinian people, control over their travel, control on whether they have access to education, control over basic things like electricity and water, control on whether I from one village can visit my sister in another village. There’s constant policing of who we are, and obstacles to being able to fully thrive. That was what enslavement was about. It was about someone saying, I own you. I dictate to you, I will control who your family is. I will control where you go and what you do. And the fight in America is also about power and control; controlling who gets to decide if America is their sanctuary, which immigrants come and which can’t come, what healthcare I have, and when do I have it? Even the idea that our healthcare is tied to our employment, so I must be employed in order to have healthcare in America. So many levels . . .

This is a struggle of power. Who has power and control over my body? Enslavement was about power. What’s happening in Palestine is about power and control. What’s happening in the Supreme Court is about power and control. So I always say to people, this is not about any individual issue. The question that we have to ask ourselves is who and when do we allow others to have power over our private decisions that we make in our life? So this fight for me as a Muslim American is not necessarily about abortion. It’s about whether the government gets to tell me what to do with my body . . .”

We’re not facing so many things, in other words. It doesn’t make it smaller. It does make it easier to grasp. We’re facing one thing: a struggle over power, and it’s not over yet.

To listen or watch my interview with Congressman Jamie Raskin, on the January 6 insurrection, the imminent hearings of the Select Committee investigating those events and the struggle for democracy in America as he sees it, find the Laura Flanders Show on PBS stations all week, or on Youtube, or subscribe to the free podcast at And don’t forget, subscribers to our podcast get access to audio extras, like my full, uncut interview with Jamie Raskin, first.

Laura Flanders interviews forward-thinking people about the key questions of our time on The Laura Flanders Show, a nationally syndicated radio and television program also available as a podcast. A contributing writer to The Nation, Flanders is also the author of six books, including The New York Times best-seller, BUSHWOMEN: Tales of a Cynical Species.  She is the recipient of a 2019 Izzy Award for excellence in independent journalism, the Pat Mitchell Lifetime Achievement Award for advancing women’s and girls’ visibility in media and a 2020 Lannan Cultural Freedom Fellowship for her reporting and advocacy for public media.