Posts tagged justice.
Hesitation amdist the excitement
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m over-analytical. Maybe I’m jaded.
But bear with me (or keep scrolling down, your choice).
I’m excited for the 1,000 prisoners to be released, their families (and yes, also for Gilad Shalit and his family)- unjust incarceration is always wrong.
But I have to pause and wonder what kind of sick calculus is at play here. It’s nothing new, and its properties are shifting, but constant (if that makes sense, which I hope it will). What sort of value judgement does the occupying government of Israel impose on the value of Palestinian life and how does this release reinforce that. 1 Israeli for 1,000 Palestinians. Cast Lead saw somewhere around 1,400 dead Palestinians and 13 dead Israelis. There’s this. There are countless other examples of this macabre arithmetic….
And I’m left to wonder, how can the international community abide such blatant use of disproportionate force? How can people buy into the hasbara of Israeli victimhood?
This is where I get jaded- what sort of future can we expect when the Israeli arithmetic weighs the value of a Jewish life at a 1:100 or 1:1,000 ratio against the lives of Palestinians?
Sorry, that is not to detract from the excitement of people going home- just a thought that has been bothering me.
Troy was found guilty of murdering a police officer 19 years ago, based upon the testimony of 9 witnesses. Today, 7 of those 9 have recanted their testimony entirely, and there are enormous problems with the testimony of the remaining 2 witness accounts. There is NO OTHER EVIDENCE. The murder weapon was never found. There is no DNA to test. Troy is scheduled to die by lethal injection on September 21, 2011.
A message from Troy Anthony Davis
September 10, 2011
I want to thank all of you for your efforts and dedication to Human Rights and Human Kindness, in the past year I have experienced such emotion, joy, sadness and never ending faith. It is because of all of you that I am alive today, as I look at my sister Martina I am marveled by the love she has for me and of course I worry about her and her health, but as she tells me she is the eldest and she will not back down from this fight to save my life and prove to the world that I am innocent of this terrible crime.
As I look at my mail from across the globe, from places I have never ever dreamed I would know about and people speaking languages and expressing cultures and religions I could only hope to one day see first hand. I am humbled by the emotion that fills my heart with overwhelming, overflowing Joy. I can’t even explain the insurgence of emotion I feel when I try to express the strength I draw from you all, it compounds my faith and it shows me yet again that this is not a case about the death penalty, this is not a case about Troy Davis, this is a case about Justice and the Human Spirit to see Justice prevail.
I cannot answer all of your letters but I do read them all, I cannot see you all but I can imagine your faces, I cannot hear you speak but your letters take me to the far reaches of the world, I cannot touch you physically but I feel your warmth everyday I exist.
So Thank you and remember I am in a place where execution can only destroy your physical form but because of my faith in God, my family and all of you I have been spiritually free for some time and no matter what happens in the days, weeks to come, this Movement to end the death penalty, to seek true justice, to expose a system that fails to protect the innocent must be accelerated. There are so many more Troy Davis’. This fight to end the death penalty is not won or lost through me but through our strength to move forward and save every innocent person in captivity around the globe. We need to dismantle this Unjust system city by city, state by state and country by country.
I can’t wait to Stand with you, no matter if that is in physical or spiritual form, I will one day be announcing,
“I AM TROY DAVIS, and I AM FREE!”
Never Stop Fighting for Justice and We will Win!
Dominique Strauss-Kahn - the former-IMF Chief who raped Nafissatou Diallo, a black hotel worker - has had all charges against him dropped, while Troy Davis - an innocent black man - is set to be executed within 2 weeks, despite 7 of the 9 witnesses against him having recanted their testimony. Why? The former is a rich ruler, while the latter is working class black man. There is no justice in this country, neither for Troy Davis nor Nafissatou Diallo, unless we fight for it!
It is utterly astounding how such a notorious murder and trial could get so little coverage as even the gay and Asian American press have left the issue largely untouched. Contrast that to cases such as Caylee Anthony and kidnapping girls in backyard prisons, or the coverage given to Asian women victims such as Yale student Annie Le or Melanie Lee who was the subject of a book “The Dead Girl” who both died at the hands of non-Asian assailants.
The Immigrant Youth Movement and the Missing South Asian Voices
Six undocumented immigrant youth — Dulce (18), Jessica (17), Felipe (24), Richie (16), Nataly (16) and Leeidy (16) — sat down in the middle of an intersection in Georgia this past week, in a protest against the latest wave of anti-immigrant terror unleashed by the Southern state.
It is not the first act of civil disobedience led by undocumented youth and it is certainly not the last as more of us come out of the shadows and demand our right to live in the United States.
And yet, where are the undocumented South Asian youth in this movement? As part of the sixth largest population of undocumented immigrants in the United States, it often pains me to be one of the only vocal ones.
“Rehne do. Chodho. Jaane do.”
These are infamous South Asian attitudes passed on to us by our wonderful mothers and fathers — to suffer in silence and not say anything, to not protest or create a fuss when things are not right, to not step into the public arena to fight for justice. It’s a conditioned survival skill that may even come handy at times. But it is troubling when that survival skill propagates and perpetuates a fear that makes it hard to live our lives fully.
That’s how a lot of the South Asian 1.5 generation grows up in America. Afraid about what people would say. Afraid to shatter expectations. Afraid to live. Afraid to breathe. Afraid, afraid and more afraid till the die we finally die. Yeh bhi koi jeena hai kya?
I lived like that for many years. It wasn’t living; it was surviving. Then I decided that I’m not interested in surviving. I’m interested in thriving.
And I’m talking about thriving in a home that denies our existence, deprives us of basic human rights, and refuses to recognize the fact that we are an integral part of the American fabric even while using our labor and taxes to fund wars for imperialism abroad that compel more of our brothers and sisters to flee and hunt for refuge here after their own homes are destroyed.
There are many discourses that one can articulate in response. Why bother to live here? Why not return to improve our countries of origin? There are many answers. Our parents brought us here. We grew up here. We see this as our home. We want to work to change it.
I’m queer and undocumented. Along with undocumented youth from across the country, I’ve worked to rip the DREAM Act from the clutches of the non-profit industrial complex, to queer the immigrant rights movement and to create a culture of radical dissent and accountability. It’s taken a whole decade to build a movement that is not hinged on the non-profit industrial complex framing our stories in ways that are damaging and containing our migrant bodies in neat boxes with pretty labels.
There was a time when national immigration reform groups would refuse to help with deportation campaigns. Now they receive foundation money to run such campaigns. It is the movement bringing the DREAM Act full-circle to meet with the non-profit industrial complex again and becoming a mainstream idea that is co-opted by our “leaders” such as Barack Obama even while he deports many more in our communities.
I hope no one is waiting for the DREAM Act and other pro-immigrant legislation to pass. It’s erroneous to think that incremental reforms like passing a single piece of legislation would change our lives dramatically. Our movement is not about passing a piece of legislation. It is about creating and fueling spaces for dialogue and resistance, building structures and networks that work for those who have been historically disenfranchised and castigated, and becoming our whole selves again. It’s not about waiting for change or for the right time to demand solutions but demanding change and creating our own solutions. It’s about being undocumented, unafraid, unashamed and unapologetic — and that includes not blaming out parents, not feeding into the military industrial complex and not serving as part of the grand narrative that seeks to criminalize other immigrants.
Currently, we are working to ensure that ICE does not drug and deport Andy Mathe to South Africa. For every one save, there are countless other deportations. But the rockstar immigrants like Mandeep Chahal, Jose Antonio Vargas and I am often placed into this category, can get or a private bill passed for us and stay here as true American heroes, whatever that means. We are not at any risk of deportation and we will likely benefit from the work and sacrifices of so many before us.
It is the non-Pulitzer prize-winning immigrants, the ones who don’t have college degrees, who are unluckily ensnared by unjust and unfair laws, who don’t get the chance to live up to the “American dream” or who could care less about serving as part of the hegemonic discourse that need our utmost help and support. After all, everyone deserves a second chance.
It’s time to come out of the shadows and fight.
Photo Credit: Justin Valas
<3 Our movement is not about passing a piece of legislation. It is about creating and fueling spaces for dialogue and resistance, building structures and networks that work for those who have been historically disenfranchised and castigated, and becoming our whole selves again. It’s not about waiting for change or for the right time to demand solutions but demanding change and creating our own solutions. It’s about being undocumented, unafraid, unashamed and unapologetic — and that includes not blaming out parents, not feeding into the military industrial complex and not serving as part of the grand narrative that seeks to criminalize other immigrants. <3
Silence will not help us, settling for survival over living is a compromise on each individual’s potential and future- and that is not ok.