Then and now

It’s fucked up to spend all day in a class about the Book of Judges, reading account after account about how Yhwh is understood to have demonstrated his love for the ancient people of Israel by helping them kill all their neighboring enemies – and then come home to this:

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This image (NYT) comes from airstrikes that occurred in Gaza City today.  This particular child was buried when the Israeli army destroyed a house filled with thirty people – because, naturally, the house belongs to a member of Hamas.  Other highlights from today’s airstrikes are that a U.N. school was hit, killing at least 30.

The most tragic thing is, this new violence isn’t new at all.  There have been 2800 years at minimum, and counting, of cyclical violence in this region – between roughly the same ethnic groups.  So will somebody please explain to me how even more violence now is going to finally achieve the peace for which both sides have so long been fighting?

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Michelle Malkin whips up violent, anti-gay frenzy

Conservative author/commentator/blogger Michelle Malkin has a new post out as part of an ongoing series about persecuted straight people in the aftermath of Prop. 8.  From what I can tell, her modus operandi is to blog about as many hyped-up, isolated instances of anti-Prop. 8 violence, vandalism or harassment as she can.  She does this in order to sell the broader narrative that the good, normal, straight people who supported Prop. 8 are under threat of attack by a vicious mob of crazed queers, who evidently roam the streets looking for church-going grandmothers to kick (and/or sodomize, probably).

Let me be clear:  I deplore individual and mob violence, and categorically condemn the few instances of vandalism to church and/or personal property that has occurred in the aftermath of Prop. 8’s passage.  I have written here and here about our need to maintain respectful dialogue and avoid scapegoating the Mormon Church in particular as we move forward.  But to those on the right who are shocked – shocked! by the huge groups of protesters who are inexplicably pissed that gay people have been relegated to second-class citizenship, get over yourselves.  You made that bed, now we all must sleep in it.

At any rate, Michelle Malkin’s persecuted-majority complex can be ignored easily enough, but she is apparently influential enough to inspire actual violent rage amongst some of her readers.  Check out these comments on just one recent thread of hers:

civil war against al-Gayda

S&W

lead-poisoning

gaynazis

These comments, coming from just this one post (I’m not sure I have the stomach to comb through looking for more), belie a shocking anti-gay sentiment that is murderous at its core.  It’s amazing what people will say under the guise of Internet anonymity.

Here’s a “note from Michelle” at the onset of the comments section (emphasis mine):

Note from Michelle: This section is for comments from michellemalkin.com’s community of registered readers. Please don’t assume that I agree with or endorse any particular comment just because I let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with my terms of use may lose his or her posting privilege.

Okay, that’s worth noting.  Nobody should be held directly responsible for comments that others make on your blog, unless you fail to deal with them in an appropriate and timely fashion.  Yet, her aforementioned terms of use clearly state the following (in part, emphasis mine):

I reserve the right to delete your comments or revoke your registration for any reason whatsoever. Rarely will I do so simply because I disagree with you. I will, however, usually do so if you post something that is, in my opinion, (a) off-topic; (b) libelous, defamatory, abusive, harassing, threatening, profane, pornographic, offensive, false, misleading, or which otherwise violates or encourages others to violate these terms of use or any law, including intellectual property laws; or (c) “spam,” i.e., an attempt to advertise, solicit, or otherwise promote goods and services…

Well, lookit that – Malkin “usually” purges her blog of such sentiments.  Okay, well, it’s been four six ten 549 days since the above comments have sat on her site.  Let’s see how long they remain. [Update on 6/15/10: after eighteen months, I think we can safely assume that Malkin has no intention of removing the hate speech.]

Finally, a note to Michelle, from a fellow Oberlin grad:  it seems to me that if your main thesis is about how out-of-control, violent and crazy those people are out there, then perhaps you should think take care that your words don’t engender out-of-control, violent, crazed people in your own backyard.  And if that happens anyway, then perhaps you should use the means you have already given yourself to purge those sentiments from the website in your name.

Domestic and foreign plights of the Congolese

This past week, two articles were published about the plights of the Congolese. First, the New York Times reveals the systematized sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Put simply, women are being brutally raped by paramilitary groups at a horrifying scale. In 2006, in the relatively tiny South Kivu Province alone, there were 27,000 sexual assaults reported, according to the UN. At just one hospital profiled in the article, ten new rape victims arrive daily. Read the article; this reality is horrifying.

“…The United Nations peacekeepers here seem to be stepping up efforts to protect women. Recently, they initiated what they call “night flashes,” in which three truckloads of peacekeepers drive into the bush and keep their headlights on all night as a signal to both civilians and armed groups that the peacekeepers are there. Sometimes, when morning comes, 3,000 villagers are curled up on the ground around them…”

I can’t imagine the terror they must be living daily.

But while the UN may be making headway (the daily assault rates have not diminished yet), the World Bank has seized the opportunity to sponsor the decimation of the 2nd largest forest in the world, at the expense of its inhabitants.

According to its own internal investigation, since 2002 the World Bank has “encouraged foreign companies to destructively log the world’s second largest forest, endangering the lives of thousands of Congolese Pygmies.”

This is inconceivable: in the same regions that women in the DRC have been sexually mutilated for years, the World Bank has simultaneously pursued cold financial gain on behalf of foreign industrial forestry companies. Worse, it’s supposed to be “legally committed to protecting the environment, and trying to alleviate poverty.”

According to the Guardian:

“In a scathing analysis of the bank’s economic reasoning, the panel said the bank had “distorted the real economic value of the country’s forests” by looking solely at the tax and revenue that increased industrial logging might generate. ‘There seems to have been little action to support alternative uses of the forest resources,’ it said.”

—snip—

“One Pygmy leader told the panel: ‘We are being made poor in every aspect … the [logging] company prevents us from going into the forests.’ Another said that the company had bought the land so that people could no longer live in the forests.”

In response to all this, I am completely overwhelmed. This information must come to light. We in the international community must not sit idly by, unaware while the Congolese people are savagely victimized by domestic sexual assault and foreign theft of their land.