Honduras Tear Gas Illustration

I drew this drawing based upon the famous photograph by Kim Kyung-Hoon, a Reuters photojournalist last November of the honduran woman Maria Meza and her two daughters fleeing tear gas canisters shot at her by the US border.

tear gas v2

In the border patrol guard we see the mirror image of the gang member she is fleeing. This alludes to how illegal violence and government are teamed up, in some places through illegal collusion and in come cases through legal yet immoral use of force.  Are american politicans so different from gang members? Do moral people send people out to maim or threaten other people, in the context of taking political shots and making talking points?

Clearly this refugee is terrified for the future of her children.

Children in gangs in Honduras can be under the age of 16.

UN Human Rights expert Chaloka Beyani has spoken on children affected by gangs in Honduras. She said,  “Children are recruited by gangs and used to carry drugs or weapons or as ‘flags’ or lookouts. Parents feel that the only option to escape the influence and threats of gangs and crime is to leave their homes and eventually their country,”

It seems a cruel joke to have children so young being stolen and turned monsters, even if the monsters are twisted and cruel because an illicit economy demands it.

If you are a parent who loves your children, isn’t that exactly what you would do, too?

 

 

 

 

 

Dehumanizing Immigrants Sets Stage for Future Crimes Against US

This month cable news channels blasted Americans with pano shots of a Latin American “migrant caravan”, a.k.a. a group of human beings travelling to seek asylum in the US.

This story has stirred something very vile in many American hearts. For example, take a look at all the Trump supporters supporting Tijuanan anti-immigrant protests in the comments below this Vice News video:

Fake News Justifies Violence

Every time I see a Rightist campaigner saying “immigrants are bad. I want to punch them / shoot them / hurt them,”  or even just something comparably mild-mannered like  “they deserve to die by drowning or exposure”, I get  a sickening feeling that the West has moved the moral baseline towards “exterminating humans is okay”.

I have seen  violence against immigrants proposed as if it were “self defense” for people who feel threatened by immigrants living in the same country (oooo! scary), bearing national steriotypes like “violence” or “laziness,” daring to show their faces in public with naturally dark skin leading to “altering the cultural heritage of our country” (For you people, here’s a new word for you: Globalization. Say it with me.).

In a growing trend, immigrants are assigned completely made-up threatening qualities, for example: “Mexicans are criminals and rapists” (Donald Trump), or immigrants are swarming like insects (David Cameron). This falls in line with a favourite tactic of general nutjob of the first order,  Alex Jones, who believes elites are illuminati. See, no facts required.

Human Rights: Y/N?

Every politics geek has heard of the “Overton window”. “The Overton window, also known as the window of discourse, describes the range of ideas tolerated in public discourse. ”

In normalizing dehumanizing words and actions against immigrants, Republicans choose to destroy the hard-won acceptance of universal egalitarianism and human rights –  the only positive innovations of American democracy.

What have immigrants done to treat them as unhuman? Did Republicans (and others) have to call them bad people to properly enforce their own border laws? No, they didn’t

Why not discuss better and more humane laws? Some would even say it’s the US’s moral obligation, when US companies set up banana plantations and profit from Latin American misery every year?

If Rightists merely don’t want immigrants to come into the country, they can do this without stripping immigrants of their humanity, and while dealing with those at all stages in our immigration system in a humane way.  The way you should treat a stranger, a guest, an emmissary or a person who has just lost everything.

To treat them in such a reckless and hateful way is so unnecessary and harmful to society’s most fundamental values.

Our Future

Rightists know that dehumanizing immigrants is sowing future evil, that’s why anti-immigrant protesters wear shades in interviews.

They realize that someday, maybe even very soon, with inexorably lowering quantities of natural resources to share among a growing global population of humans,  it could easily be in the global elite, or a government’s, or even a corporation’s interest to have fewer of us.

Won’t it be so convenient for the ruling power,  not to need a reason to exterminate us, except for a threat they have made up?

On that day, the days we Westerners called our fellow humans “cockroaches”, justified excessive force, or allowed harm to come them in dire straits, will come back to haunt us.

LD50 Gallery hosts white nationalists in pathetic bid for noterity

The Dalston London art gallery, LD50, directed by a 35-year-old Spanish woman and former herbal-supplement-company owner named Lucia Diego, acted as a platform white nationalist art and speakers all last year.

Alt-right blogger Mark Citadel is one of the white male speakers, with  pretensions towards being a member of Victorian nobility, on a crusade to free white men psychologically enslaved by women and minorities.

The concepts of free speech, truth to power, white nationalism and misogyny are all strangely intertwined in his brain.

Those concepts are all in direct contradiction, as it is impossible to have a white nation without women or a white nation without oppressing the free speech and movement of non-whites, but let’s put that aside for a moment.

Reading through the frenzied scroll of Mark Citadel’s  stilted, 19th-century-styled writings, you may get the impression that what he says about minorities wielding secret power  is original just by virtue of being confrontational.

It’s not. Blaming minority conspiracy for government failure, in effusive language, has been done before. The Nazi party also did the same thing, falsely blaming jews for undermining a Government which became unpopular amid WWI chaos and painting them as heroin dealers.

But perhaps this is a good sign. White male resistance is a sign of progress towards a truly equal governance. The inevitable outcome of any egalitarian or democratic progress in the Western world, if you think about it.

Supposing democracy ever got more (or even was incorrectly perceived to be more) effective at representing marginalised or popular groups, the incumbent wealthy white male population would naturally protest.

The incorrect perception that black people and women were fairly represented in US politics was on the rise in the Obama years when visibility and the profile of black politicians  increased. Despite this, the number of black representatives in the house is less than in the general us population (10% in the house vs 16% of the US population) and in the Senate it’s worse with black representation at 1% of the Senate. Women are also underrepresented  in Congress, about 20% in each house despite comprising 50% of the population.  There is no evidence that minority interests are  advanced by government, especially as calls for stronger laws protecting against rape and police brutality against black people go unheeded.

So much for minorities secretly controlling the American government.

Fame

Given the  incoherent and poorly reasoned nature of the ideas presented by this gallery and its acolytes, it is apparent the events taking place at this gallery are all about appearances and the psychological desire for “otherness” rather than substance.

O.D. Untermesh put it perfectly in his article on the LD50 Gallery in Mute: “Take away the veneer of irony and you see only a few slimy individuals toying with repugnant ideas that most good artists would give no merit, even as illusory discourse.”

Diego Lucia’s art galley website is evidence of her reveling in the attention the recent controversial exhibitions have brought. It doesn’t matter that the attention is not really even directed at the art itself – because the emotional register of the artwork was by all accounts superficial – but at the gallery’s apparent utility as a neo-nazi meeting space.

The gallery is so keen on all this attention that it has idiosyncratically included a feed of  negative tweets about itself,  pathetically posting:

Daily updates – come back,  dont miss it !

In a blatant cry for attention, female nazi apologist Lucia Diego, is a hanger-on in the vanguard of the misogynistic “Alt-right All Boys Club” trying to gain a shred of notoriety in the indifferent art world, all while enjoying the privileges and protections of egalitarian liberal democracy that egalitarian women attained.

That these individuals are willing  do the equivalent of a silly tap-dance to the centuries-old tune of intolerance in hope someone will mistake if for a new smash hit just shows how low creative people will stoop to for fame.

Thanks White Feminism… no, really, THANK YOU!

For all you male people attacking #whitefeminism in the midst of almost wholly male-led reactionary rightist movement (except for a single female in a minor cabinet role), created in the #Altright media with Donald Trump as a figurehead, which just happened to occur at the same time as Hillary Clinton’s failed bid for the office of President….

I wonder what your chances of being injured by your partner are?

http://www.lwa.org.uk/understanding-abuse/statistics.htm

I wonder how high your statistical chance is of being an only parent is?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single_parent

I wonder how high your statistical chance of dying in poverty is?

http://unstats.un.org/unsd/gender/chapter8/chapter8.html

I wonder how many times you put up with unwanted advances from a female while a work because your boss was also female?

I am glad all of those statistics are not worse than they are (for women of many ethnicities) – and here in the West that is thanks to people like Gloria Steinem, Emmeline Pankhurst and Emma Goldman –  women who fought for equal rights and had a vision of radical equality in their time. Thank goodness they did so so I can carry on the flag and am not a dependent sexual slave, beaten and knocked up perpetually! While many women  continue to be domestically abused, poor and work for mainly men it is not legal for them to simply kill us outright (in the US) anymore! Horray. With a woman at the helm of the world’s most powerful country for the first time ever, was there a chance those murder rates and poverty rates would go down even further? I like to think so.

Many of the best known early feminists in the West happened to be “white”,  and I sincerely hope other “white” women will not abandon the life-affirming and just cause of equal rights for the sexes, just because of their natural skin pigmentation. Moreover, I hope they can encourage and join in solidarity with women who do not have the same skin pigmentation.

Maybe if you anti-feminists on the left stop misdirecting your anger at fellow activists, and swallowing the propaganda Kool-aid  that kept everyone during the election from focussing on BORING OLD LEGISLATION, you can actually stop the legislated destruction of democracy by the right rather than getting more likes for trendily braying in the rightist echo chamber of anti-activism.

Is Lionel Shriver missing the point on cultural appropriation?

As author Lionel Shiver voiced controversial support of cultural appropriation, with some listeners walking out on her speech at the Brisbane Writers Festival on 8 September,  she seemed to miss an important point by looking backwards on outdated laws and cultural mores.

The advent of online self-publishing caused an explosion in uncensored writing on matters of society, politics and culture, thanks to self-publishing platforms and social media. It removed the print publisher, an historic force censoring authors and a flunkie for authority.  Self-publishing pushed us into a bold new world with potential for democratic and cultural evolution.

In response many did post views that were very unpopular, and seeing this, a huge multinational movement of armchair activists in vulnerable groups started advocating self-censorship, which was of course confusing to everybody because there was nothing in law to enshrine such censorship.

But culture races forward. People in great numbers numbers are voting with their petitions to remove offensive content. Partly as a result, companies like Facebook and Twitter, which are acting to protect commercial profits, practice censorship extra-judically. This all goes to show that companies – and perhaps an element of  conscience in society – have replaced the legal system and publisher on media law matters.

In fact, US laws enshrine freedom of expression for any side  a debate, so long as it doesn’t threaten violence. Also, libel and hate speech are punishable, but rarely are punished in practice.

The problem is all these publishing and media laws look outdated to vulnerable groups, who observe the internet allowing a rise in dangerous hate speech.

It used to be that, referencing the outdated media law and first Amendment protection, you could end the debate just by saying,  “You see it this incredibly complex, multifaceted and nuanced topic of how we should express ourselves through dress, speech and creative words in one way and I see it in another way. The laws support us in saying whatever we want and wearing what we like. It’s unlikely that I’ll get published anyway.”

This reflects back on the idea conveyed by the constitution’s writers: that free expression and speech was not considered a threat to Democracy when the first Amendment was written. Clearly, lawmakers trusted people’s words to  cause neither riots nor revolutions, but who knows what they’d have done had more people been literate. Despite high literacy rates among white nothern males it must be said most black people were illiterate.

Extremist views were seen as unlikely to even enter the consciousness of many people.

You have only to look at the campaigns of Donald  Trumps and Bernie Sanders to concede the point that the popularity of extreme views is on the rise.

On the other hand, it may be argued, you have only to look to Saudi Arabia or China, to see that censorship is the sure way to create an intolerant society ignorant of much more than the opinions it is refusing expression.

Given the wholly new circumstances politically and within the media, perhaps it is necessary to write new laws or simply evolve as a culture, in which the common practice is to shun (but not censor) those who don’t express themselves respectfully, with nuance, and with reference to how the execution of their ideas would impact a free and egalitarian democracy.

Now it may be sensible to make it common practice to simply say, “You see this incredibly complex, multifaceted and nuanced topic of how we should express ourselves through dress, speech and creative words one way, I see it in another way, and the law accords us both a right to express our non-hate speech opinions, which I acknowledge is a cornerstone of democracy, but please do also consider my own feelings, and the rise of tolerated hate speech in the West that is having a real impact on culture and potentially on democracy itself.”