Wednesday, November 18, 2015
ISIS Attack on DC
The Paris, Beirut, and other attacks by ISIS make me realize that it is quite likely that such an attack will occur here. The leaders of ISIS are choosing soft targets in capitals. And DC, the center of governmental and of corporate power with all its lobbyists determining the policies that will be chosen to stabilize their playgrounds, will probably be targeted.
I often work, worship, and play in DC. I ride the Metro and the busses. I could easily be caught up in such an attack and be killed, as could many of my friends and family. So just in case that happens, I want to reflect on my death now.
The purpose of terror is to incite fear and reaction. As we organizers learned in our work to support those left behind in organizing themselves: “The action is in the reaction.” First you must polarize in order to get respect to negotiate solutions to common problems. But we taught to do this nonviolently because we were acting to remove coercion from the system and believed like Ghandi, King, Malcolm X, Mandela, and Aung San Suu Kyi that we need to model what we want to achieve.
Yes, it is the duty of government to protect its citizens from the harm of foreign and domestic enemies, of criminals who want to take our means of livelihood, of epidemics and other illnesses, and of starvation and poverty. It is the duty of government to create the conditions where citizens can thrive in safety. But I believe that those of you who would have government react by stereotyping Muslims, by blocking refugees and immigrants, and by invading countries and leaving behind failed states are also perpetrators of terror.
It is you I blame for my death now. You, like ISIS, are polarizing the world into “my side, your side” simpleminded thinking and creating an atmosphere of hate and fear.
I beg my descendants to think. Please read the history of how the Middle East got to where it is with the cutting up of the Ottoman Empire and the creation of Israel, not as a homeland for the Jews, but as an Apartheid State that displaced existing residents.
I do want Israel to survive as a homeland for the displaced Jews of the world. And I would like to see the Middle East develop as a homeland for all peoples: Jews, Christians, Shia, and Sunni, and free from Western control.
But I believe this will only happen when all people feel respected and have the power to shape their environments. To do that we must remove the causes of violence and this will only happen when diverse groups understand each other and their interests and quit the demonizing along with the humiliation and cruelty.
I do not see this coming from ISIS. ISIS has declared war. It is to their advantage that Europe and America see this as war and especially a war of civilizations or religions. But I hope that we can be great-souled enough to change the metaphor. I hope that, while containing ISIS and their violence and brutality, we will work to build the structure for a lasting peace built on justice. I know that will take time--maybe decades. I would be happy to know I was dying for that.