Her Names is Shoshana,
If I am saying her name correctly in my head then I can say safely that it is a beautiful name. I have no idea what to say as far as her detainment and the treatment that followed. It most certainly could have been much worse, but that is no consolation. I could say that I am sympathetic or empathetic and that would sound right but it would not be true. I read her Blog, I read Some Real Shock and Awe, I liked it. It was honest, parts of it were simply angry reflex all very human just like me but I don’t really have any idea what that is like, personally. I feel bad for everybody, including the hot discourse that I sampled in the comments.
I’ve had my home broken into on more than one occasion, I know what that feels like. I understand the constant threat of being institutionalized against your will for the common good, I live with that. I know what its like to be singled out by the cops because I am big, not fat, and weird looking, I understand how that feels. But all of that is just my feelings, I can’t say I truly understand what Shoshana was feeling during the process. Imagine not knowing why, having no contact with a lawyer, no clock, no sense of time and place and the entire idea of remaining silent and demanfding a lawyer, well, its cute and somewhat niave. Forgive me.
All I can say is I feel bad. I wish I could comiserate better, walk around in her shoes for a day. But I can’t, my feet are too big.
I don’t like the word race, honestly it comes from a time when race meant different species. We are all human regardless of our continent of origin and the shade of or skin. As far as profiling, that’s been going on as long as I can remember and that’s way before 9/11. Back then if ones skin was a tad to dark or hair too red and they were poor they would be routinely acousted in some neighborhoods and many municipalities throughout Erie County Ohio. The fact is the no one really cared because regardless of the shade, they were all poor. Poor people represent a threat, they are guilty until proven innocent. It wasn’t until an officer slipped and took a swipe at someone who could afford legal defense that things would get sticky. In the end the local courts would be run by the same cultural interests that were on the police force and nothing would come of it. People from the big cities would laugh and make comments aboput small town hicks never realizing that one day this set of attitudes would gain enough momentum to run the country.
Yet Shoshana did nothing wrong, said nothing, threatened no one so when it comes right down to it what happened to her has little to do with laws and a great deal to do with power.
Back in the 1850s, when the two political parties were the Whigs and the Democratic Republicans. or at least around that date Milard Filmore, the president at the time, was forced to call out the regular military to quell a serious civil disturbance. The Whigs were the Anti-immagrant, Anti-Catholic and Anti expansionist party and with their help, there was some encouragement of nativist groups to commit acts of violence agaist first generation Irish and German immagrants as well as Free African americans some of which had never been slaves. Priests were lynched along side African men, Churchs and imagrant businesss were burned, nuns and siaters were defrocked and “Freed” from cloister. Now I can’t say that African, Irish and german stock all got along like the greatest of friends before the rise of nativism, but when the situation became life threatening they armed themselves and fought back. So Millard Filmore sent out the army to act as peacemakers in a war zone, in this case New York City. This is just an illustration of why the color line is so important.
It took a long time to draw the color line, that’s the divison between shades paler and shades darker and in the process cracked the largest political force in this or any other country. The lower classes no longer saw themselves as having comon interests and began to fight amongst themselves. They have it harder than us, we suffer more than they do, they have it too easy and finally, if you don’t like it then get out of the country…My oh My it doesn’t matter which shade you put on which side it only matters that there are sides, division.
What about other Shoshana’s, the one’s disappeared never to be heard of never acknowledged, are they out there? Will they be in the future? By denying the detained contact with the outside it is in fact as though they never were. All the authorities have to do is deny, not acknowledge and ignore and many of us know how accomplished our government is at such things. This is terrifying whether I side with Shoshana or not. It forces or demands trust in a government that hasn’t not inspired even their own employees to such a state. Its a lot to ask a free people.
Then are we free? I guess if the argument stays where it should then we are, but don’t disent in some odd way, don’t stick your head out, don’t rock the boat.
In the comments there was a great deal of talk about rights which was sort of strange. I suggest that, if you can afford it, all of you order a copy of the Patriot Act and take a look at it. Its a substantail work and I haven’t been able to get through it all the way. You see the bill of rights can be suspended individually, regionally or natiuonally at any time National Security is threatened. There are two prescendents for this in American history, first the Civil War and second World War Two. In effect peoples rights couldn’t be violated because they had no rights, now we are involved in the war on Terrorism and again, in esense the bill of rights is in effect only when the government decides that it is. The whole thing is really simple, its called scapegoating. You chose someone or a group conciously or through prejudice and create an air of suspicion and fear. The history of this tactic in the United States goes all the way back to the beginnings of the cold war and the invisible menace, the red scare, nuclear terror. Culturally the population has to clearly define itself asd good and fighting evil, it is an assumed definition so that we never question our, my, indivdual motives. When some one is pulled out of line, skin shades too dark, different ethicity, or different religion or just weirder than the rest, those not chosen, at the surface feel relieved that this hidden mysterious undefined threat has been removed but more deeply we are just happy it wasn’t us individually that got pulled into detention. Fear is a powerful motivator.
So for Shoshana I simply say sorry, I understand as best as I can and really wished it had never happen to you or and anybody else. To the participants in the hot conversation in the comment section of her blog I only wonder…when are we gonna stop pickinging with each other and start working together to try and figure out, just exactly who or what is terrorising whom.