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Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Roar Of Fear

I spent September 11 in D.C. at a protest that was advertised as a protest against our use of drones. But this purposely became dominated by 911 conspiracy talks. That and the number of people attending was disappointing. Part of this is what happens when one of the major organizers of an event is the 911 Truth Movement. The other group that helped organize the event was the Million American March Against Fear.

But a couple of speakers, including Cornel West did partially redeem the event along with the counter protesters. There were actually two groups of counter-protesters. The one group consisted of my fellow Christian fundamentalists but who are on the political
right. They assumed our protest against the use of drones in enforcing U.S. policies and that we joined those who are trying to undo Islamophobia meant that we were all Muslims. Well, we weren't. These same counter-protesters explicitly said that they blamed the religion of Islam for the 9-11 attacks rather than just a handful of radicals. They also told us to repent and believe in Jesus with the implication that if we did, we would be pro-American conservatives like they are. The second group of counter-protesters were the rightwing patriotic bikers  who were in D.C. in large numbers and to show pride in their nation. 

We started the protest on the National Mall around four hundred yards from the Washington Monument. And despite the fact that 911 Truth Movement was one of the 2 organizers of the event, there were some good speeches--btw, one of the best speeches of the event was given by a 911 Truth Movement organizer who spoke about her army experience in Iraq and how she had a ignorance-driven fear of Muslims. We then marched to the pool at the U.S. Capital for the second round of speeches. On the way to our second location, we passed more than a few of previously mentioned Bikers. As we were starting our second round of speeches, some of the bikers revved their engines so that hearing anything else became very difficult. 

It was obvious why they did this. They didn't want our message to be heard by them or even us. For they share a fear with their fellow Christian Fundamentalist counter-protesters. Their fear is of that which is different. The first item that was different was our message. Our message is that we must oppose all forms of terrorism even when it is America that acts as its practitioner and people of color and other religions are the victims. 

Thus, they are afraid of Muslims. One of the bikers told us this when he commandeered the microphone after our first round of speeches to blame the religion of Islam for the 9-11 atrocities. 

They are afraid of their fellow Americans who have different political views. In particular, they are afraid of Americans who have views like ours. For how could they live in a country where too many Americans believe what we believe.

And they are afraid of the rest of the world. This is because people from the rest of the world are different from them. In short, they are afraid of all that lies outside of their own world. So, along with the technology of the bikes at their disposal, their way of relating to the rest of us is to project power, the power of their numbers and the sounds of their bikes.

The revving of their engines became the roar of fear. They used the power of their technology to drown out a message they wanted no one to hear. And such serves as an illustration for how America intervenes in the world today. Just as the sound of the many revved up motorcycles overpowered the volume of our portable amplifier and speakers, so we have seen for a while how our troops use their technological advantages, "Shock And Awe" if you will, to overpower their enemies in the field. 

Our technological advantages turn many a combat engagement into a David Vs Goliath matchup. And as if that was not enough, we are now using even more technology to add invincibility via remoteness to some of our troops through drone warfare. What we overlook in so doing is that along with making some of our troops invulnerable, we have shielded them from the inhumanity of war by blinding them to the actual carnage on the ground. We have dehorrorized the process of mass killing by removing the killers from the sights, sounds, and smells of the battlefield which, in the end, only serves to dehumanize these same "warriors."

Why are we so determined to project such technological power to subdue our enemies? Perhaps it is our nation is so afraid of those who are different, that we cannot allow them to exercise any significant control in a world that we share and over resources that we covet. So just as we were not even allowed to hear our own speakers as they talked next to the Capital Building, so those who are nonAmericans are often not allowed to control the resources that belong to them. And it is our technology that enables this stifling display of power.

Of course, just as their faith in the volume of their bikes to prevent our message from heard was merely a delusion, so our faith in our hypertechnological weaponry to so dominate those who are different from us in race, nationality, and religion so that they are not even permitted to own what is naturally theirs is a fantasy too. For one of the points of our protest in objecting to all terrorism is that America has been using its power advantage to intrusively and sometimes brutally subjugate those who have resources we envy because we can't trust them to use their resources in our best interests.   

So the question that becomes to all of us between now and the next September 1st is, what will we do with our fear?




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