On April 19, 1995, a terrorist planted a bomb at the front of a federal building in Oklahoma City, blowing up the building and killing 168 people.
On July 17, 1996, a terrorist detonated explosives in Atlanta during the Summer Olympics, killing 1 person and injuring 111.
On June 17, 2015, a terrorist went into an African American church, was welcomed into its prayer group, and proceeded to kill 9 of the congregants.
On November 27, 2015, a terrorist invaded a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, killing 3, injuring 9.
All of theses terrorists were white.
See what I did there? I called acts of terror for what they are, “terror”. Which seems to be something that we as a country cannot do.
Terrorism is what happens overseas. Or, if it happens here, it comes from overseas. Terrorism has a brown hue to it. When the perpetrator is white, it’s a lone nut, a mentally disturbed man. Anything but terrorism.
I have been spooked these last 10 days by the insanity that erupted here in the US since the Paris terrorist attacks. I wanted to give words to my thoughts. But I froze. Then I rediscovered this piece I began writing in April 2013, but had abandoned for being too alarmist! If only I knew….
Here is the piece completed with a few edits…
Rwanda: A Haunting Lesson
April 6 marked the (21st) anniversary of the launch of the genocidal nightmare in the central African country of Rwanda that ended 100 days later with 800,000 people dead, and a nation scarred deeply. That was 11.4% of the total population of 7 million. Nearly three-quarters of those massacred were Tutsis who comprised 14% of the entire population.
The word “anniversary” seems inappropriate because although it is technically a neutral term it still invokes positive associations and anticipation. No one should anticipate a genocide nor look forward to marking milestones in its aftermath. Yet mark, we must. The lessons are not simply framed in dog-eared history tomes or award winning films about a bygone tragedy. The lessons are here. With us. Today.
In societies wracked by mass economic, social and political faultlines the signs are always there for a Rwanda Redux, or a Srebrenica. Hate Radio. Divide and conquer. Nihilism. Opportunistic politicians and cultural loudmouths. Group resentment. Grievance. Silence and apathy from the majority population. Now, all of these do not a genocide trigger. But they exist to be manipulated if conditions ripen.
“The Rwandan genocide resulted from the conscious choice of the elite to promote hatred and fear to keep itself in power. This small, privileged group first set the majority against the minority to counter a growing political opposition within Rwanda. Then, faced with RPF success on the battlefield and at the negotiating table, these few power holders transformed the strategy of ethnic division into genocide. They believed that the extermination campaign would reinstate the solidarity of the Hutu under their leadership and help them win the war, or at least improve their chances of negotiating a favorable peace. They seized control of the state and used its authority to carry out the massacre. (UnitedHumanRights.Org)”
Vladimir Putin’s Excellent Syrian Adventure was all fun and games so long as he was hitting Bashar al-Assad’s enemies (which rarely meant Daesh until that group downed a Russian airliner) and those enemies couldn’t fire back.
However, Russian pilots had the unfortunate habit of straying into Turkish airspace. This was understandable, as the air space in the war zone was rather tight. But the Turks warned Russia after the last incident that another violation of their airspace would bring about a response.
Today, a Russian jet again strayed into Turkish airspace. According to Turkey and the coalition command in Baghdad, Turkey warned the Russian plane ten times to leave its airspace. The Russians either didn’t hear the warnings, or ignored them, at which point Turkey downed the Russian jet. The pilots ejected, but didn’t survive. (The details of their deaths are still sketchy, but it seems that Syrian rebels shot them down.)
I was going to write this essay earlier this month, probably after a GOP debate. But, life intervened, and I set it aside.
I certainly wasn’t expecting the Paris attacks. But I should have expected the reaction among most everyone on the Right.
While Parisians are crowding outdoor cafes and continuing with their lives as a raised fist against the fear which Daesh wants them to live under, conservatives in this country are running around flinging fearful fecal matter in every direction, warning that Daesh is under your bed, or that the orphaned refugee could be a sleeper agent ready to detonate a bomb at your nearest NFL stadium.
However, I’m not going to say that this is against American tradition. The fact is that the United States has always had a very vibrant Party of Fear.