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Category Archives: Government Oppression

Letter to the Editor: Not in my name – Kentwired

Posted: March 7, 2017 at 10:53 pm

As a Jewish student, I have to raise an objection to the equation of anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism and attempts to quiet criticism of Israel.

A resolution by Undergraduate Student Government (USG) has recently been put forth to brand anti-Israel and anti-Zionist as speech anti-Semitic, serving as a blatant means of silencing a portion of the population speaking out on issues relating to Palestinian rights. While its expected that the anti-Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) language will be removed, it is troubling that this effort to silence free speech received any legitimacy at all.

The state of Israel is well known for its oppression of the Palestinian people by various means. These include, but are by no means limited to: depriving their communities in the West Bank of natural resources, such as water and land, destroying the homes of innocent people, establishing illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and the unlawful detainment of children.

This is what organizations such as Students for Justice in Palestine are fighting against. No other organization on campus is explicitly dedicated to Palestinian rights.

To equate criticism of oppression with the acts of hatred that have occurred at Kent State, such as the painting of a swastika on the Rock on Front Campus, is blatantly ignorant of the nature of the BDS movement as well as the Jewish community as a whole. Over half of Jews under the age of 30 are critical of the politics of Israel, and organizations like the Jewish Voice for Peace are dedicated to raising awareness about the plight faced by Palestinians living in Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

Attempts within our government and our university to silence criticism of Israel by branding it anti-Semitic must be put to a stop.Per the U.S. Department of State, Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

This can occur on and off campus and has but the rhetoric used by the BDS movement and Students for Justice in Palestine does not fit this definition. This is about human rights, not anti-Semitism.

If a government is built for one people and allows for the subjugation of another, it is impossible for an equal society to exist. There are millions of Palestinians that are ultimately under Israeli rule, all without voting rights or representation. Millions of homes are destroyed, cities walled off, and the right to movement restricted by checkpoints and segregated roads.

I am a Jew, and I cannot remain silent on issues of oppression, especially when theyre done by other Jews in my name. I urge Jewish students in particular to not run from discussions of Israel that make them uncomfortable.

While we may be uncomfortable, families are being torn apart and being forced to live in miserable conditions in the name of a Jewish state.

Im Willemina Davidson, and I say, Not in my name.

Willemina Davidson is a guest columnist, contact her at wdavids3@kent.edu.

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Thousands in women’s rights march in Polish capital – thenews.pl

Posted: March 6, 2017 at 3:47 pm

PR dla Zagranicy

Victoria Bieniek 06.03.2017 08:03

Some 4,000 people gathered in Warsaw on Sunday in a march for women's rights ahead of International Women's Day on Wednesday.

The 18th such annual march, which drew crowds of 3,700, according to police figures, and 4,000 according to City Hall, was entitled Against authoritarian abuse.

Meanwhile, several dozen pro-life protesters gathered outside Warsaw City Hall in opposition to the march, carrying posters with images of aborted foetuses.

Organisers of the main march said that the protest was not anti-government as such, but against cumulative oppression, be it institutional, systemic, economic, physical, sexual....

However, many of the banners held up by marchers carried messages about reproductive rights, following the Polish government's recent decision to consider a bill which would make the morning-after pill and hormonal contraceptives available only on prescription.

Marchers also criticised the abortion compromise, the colloquial name given to Poland's restrictive abortion laws.

Another 40 Polish cities also hosted women's protests over the weekend.

International Women's Day marks the anniversary of a workers' strike in New York in 1910, when 15,000 female textile factory employees stopped work, demanding better work conditions and voting rights.

The factory owner locked strikers in the building and 129 of them died in a fire. (vb/pk)

Source: PAP

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Probe: Artist Blacklist Antidemocratic Oppression – KBS WORLD Radio – KBS WORLD Radio News

Posted: at 3:47 pm

The independent counsel team has concluded that the governments blacklisting of artists critical of the government was an antidemocratic oppression carried out for the sake of factional interests. The probe team announced the final results of its probe into the Choi Soon-sil scandal on Monday. The team said that former Presidential Chief of Staff Kim Ki-choon and former Culture Minister Cho Yoon-sun led the creation of the blacklist. The team said that the blacklist had hurt not only artists but also people in general by violating the freedom of creation and undermining cultural diversity by excluding certain artists from getting state subsidies just because they had different views. The team said that the blacklist was drafted out of the belief that criticism of the government is a challenge to the free democracy system, and constitutes a serious crime against the basic values of the Constitution. The team also said the blacklisting of artists also crippled the career civil service system, forcing Culture Ministry officials to become lackeys in the crime. Meanwhile, key figures in drafting the blacklist, including the former presidential chief of staff, have blasted the probe results and have refused to accept them.

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John Oliver Experiences Entertaining Enlightenment With The Dalai Lama – Decider

Posted: at 3:47 pm


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John Oliver Experiences Entertaining Enlightenment With The Dalai Lama
Decider
While we carry a vague admiration for the Dalai Lama, the Chinese government openly despise him. Oliver reflected on Hollywood's brief obsession with Tibet's oppression (and even got a Moonlight Oscar flub joke in there!), and explained that the Dalai ...
Watch John Oliver Interview Dalai Lama Over Reincarnation ControversyRollingStone.com

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How America Became a Colonial Ruler in Its Own Cities – Vanity Fair

Posted: at 3:47 pm

NO EXIT A protest after the shooting death of Michael Brown, Ferguson, Missouri, November 2014.

By Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times/Polaris.

What most endures about Richard Nixons 1968 speech to the Republican convention is his rhetoric about law and orderrhetoric that, half a century later, were hearing once again from a new Republican president. But that was not, to my mind, the speechs most important theme. Nixon understood that black demands for equalityas cities were torn by riots, with ink on civil-rights legislation barely dryhad to be acknowledged and given their rhetorical due. Let us build bridges, my friends, Nixon said, build bridges to human dignity across that gulf that separates black America from white America. Black Americans, no more than white Americans, they do not want more government programs which perpetuate dependency. They dont want to be a colony in a nation.

A colony in a nation. Nixon meant to conjure an image of a people reduced to mere recipients of state handouts rather than active citizens shaping their own lives. And in using the image of a colony to make his point, he was, in his odd way, channeling the spirit of the time.

As anti-colonial movements erupted in the 1960s, colonized people across the globe recognized a unity of purpose between their struggles for self-determination and the struggle of black Americans. Black activists, in turn, recognized their own circumstances in the images of colonial subjects fighting an oppressive white government. Americas colonial history looked quite different from that of, say, Rhodesia, but on the ground, the structures of oppression seemed remarkably similar.

Nixon was, of course, correct that black Americans dont want to be a colony in a nation. And yet that is what he helped bring about. Over the half-century since Nixon delivered those words, we have created precisely that, and not just for black Americans but for brown Americans and others: a colony in a nation. A territory that isnt actually free. A place controlled from outside rather than from within. A place where the law is a tool of control, rather than a foundation for prosperity. We have created a political regimeand, in its day-to-day applications, a regime of criminal justicelike the one our Founders inherited and rejected, a political order they spilled their blood to defeat.

Another night in Ferguson.

By Ed Zurga/EPA/Redux.

American criminal justice isnt one system with massive racial disparities but two distinct systems. One (the Nation) is the kind of policing regime you expect in a democracy; the other (the Colony) is the kind you expect in an occupied land. Policing is a uniquely important and uniquely dangerous function of the state. We know that dictatorships use the police in horrifying wayswe call them police states for a reason. But the terrifying truth is that we as a people have created the Colony through democratic means. We have voted to subdue our fellow citizens; we have rushed to the polls to elect people promising to bar others from enjoying the fruits of liberty. A majority of Americans have put a minority under lock and key.

In her masterly chronicle of American mass incarceration, The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander argues convincingly that our current era is defined by its continuity with previous eras of white supremacy and black oppression. Her contention is that as Jim Crow was dismantled as a legal entity in the 1960s it was reconceived and reborn through mass incarceration. Alexander writes, Rather than rely on race, we use our criminal justice system to label people of color criminals and then engage in all the practices we supposedly left behind . . . . As a criminal, you have scarcely more rights, and arguably less respect, than a black man living in Alabama at the height of Jim Crow. We have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.

I covered the unrest in Ferguson, in the aftermath of the shooting by police of Michael Brown, and Alexanders analysis seemed undeniable. Clearly the police had taken on the role of enforcing an unannounced but very real form of segregation in that St. Louis suburb. Here was a place that was born of white flight and segregation, nestled among a group of similar hamlets that were notoriously sundown towns, the kind of place where police made sure black people didnt tarry or stay the night. And despite the fact that Fergusons residents were mostly black, the towns entire power structure was white, from the mayor to the city manager to all but one school-board member, as well as all but one city-council member. The police chief was white, and the police force had three black cops out of a total of 53 officers.

Eight months later, I was on the streets of Baltimore after a young black man, Freddie Gray, died from injuries suffered while in the custody of policehis spinal cord was snapped in a police van. The stories and complaints I heard from the residents there sounded uncannily like those I had heard in Ferguson. But if Ferguson was the result of a total lack of black political power, that didnt seem to be the case, at least not at first look, in Baltimore: the city had black city-council members, a black mayor, a very powerful black member of Congress, a black states attorney, and a police force that was integrated.

If Ferguson looked like Jim Crow, Baltimore was something else. The old Jim Crow comprised twin systems of oppression: on the one hand, segregation across public and private spheres that kept black people away from social and economic equality; on the other, systematic political disenfranchisement that made sure black citizens werent represented democratically. It required two separate pieces of landmark legislation, the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, to destroy these twin systems.

Through ceaseless struggle, and federal oversight, the civil-rights movement ended de jure segregation and created the legal conditions for black elected political powerblack state representatives, black mayors, black city-council members, black police chiefs, even a few black senators and a black president. But this power has turned out to be strikingly confined and circumscribed, incorporated into the maintenance of order through something that looksin many placesmore like the centuries-old model of colonial administration.

From India to Vietnam to the Caribbean, colonial systems have always integrated the colonized into government power, while still keeping the colonial subjects in their place.

Half the cops charged in the death of Freddie Gray were black; half were white. The Baltimore police chief is black, as is the mayor. And Freddie Gray, the figure upon whom this authority was wielded?

Well, to those in the neighborhood, there was never any question what race he would be.

This is what distinguishes our era of racial hierarchy, the era of Black Lives Matter and the First Black President. Black political power has never been more fully realized, but blackness feels for so many black people just as dangerous as ever. Black people can live and even prosper in the Nation, but they can never be truly citizens. The threat of the nightstick always lingers, even for, say, a famous and distinguished Harvard professor of African and African-American studies who suddenly found himself in handcuffs on his own stately porch in Cambridge, Massachusetts, just because someone thought he was a burglar.

Race defines the boundaries of the Colony and the Nation, but race itself is a porous and shifting concept. Whiteness both is nonexistent and confers enormous benefits. Blackness is both a conjured fiction and so real it can kill. In their collection of essays called Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life, Karen and Barbara Fields trace the semantic trick of racial vocabulary, which invents categories for the purpose of oppression, while appearing to describe things that already exist out in the world. Over time these categories shift, both as reflections of those in power and as expressions of solidarity and resistance in the face of white supremacy.

IN THE NATION, YOU HAVE RIGHTS; IN THE COLONY, YOU HAVE COMMANDS.

Because our racial categories are always shifting and morphing, disappearing and reappearing, so too are the borders between the Colony and the Nation. In many places, the two territories alternate block by block, in a patchwork of unmarked boundaries and detours that are known only by those who live within them. Its like the fictional cities of Beszel and Ul Qoma in China Mivilles speculative fantasy detective novel, The City & the City. Though the cities occupy the same patch of land, each citys residents discipline themselves to unsee the landscape of their neighbors city.

The housing complexes where Michael Brown lived and died in Ferguson, the low-rise apartments home to largely Section 8 tenants who the white Republican mayor, James Knowles, told me had been a problem, are part of the Colony. The farmers market two miles away, where the mayor was when Brown was shot, is part of the Nation. The West Side of Cleveland, where 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot and killed while playing in a park, is part of the Colony. The West Side of Baltimore, where Freddie Gray died, is part of the Colony. The South Side of Chicago, where Laquan McDonald was shot and killed, is also part of the Colony.

This is the legacy of a post-civil-rights social order that gave up on desegregation as a guiding mission and accepted a country of de facto segregation between nice neighborhoods and rough neighborhoods, good schools and bad schools, inner cities and bedroom communities. None of this was an accident. It was the accumulation of policyfrom federal housing guidelines and the practices of local real-estate agents to the decisions of tens of thousands of school boards and town councils and homeowners associations essentially drawing boundaries: the Nation on one side, the Colony on the other.

The aftermath of a police shooting in Charlotte, North Carolina, last September.

By Gerry Broome/A.P. Images.

In the Colony, violence looms and failure to comply can be fatal. Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old black woman who died in a Texas prison cell, was pulled over because she didnt signal a lane change. Walter Scott, the 50-year-old black man shot in the back as he fled a North Charleston police officer, was pulled over because one of the three brake lights on his car was out. Freddie Gray simply made eye contact with a police officer and started to move swiftly in the other direction.

If you live in the Nation, the criminal-justice system functions like your laptops operating system, quietly humming in the background, doing what it needs to do to allow you to be your most efficient, functional self. In the Colony, the system functions like a computer virus: it intrudes constantly, it interrupts your life at the most inconvenient times, and it does this as a matter of course. The disruption itself is normal.

In the Nation, there is law; in the Colony, there is only a concern with order. In the Nation, citizens call the police to protect them. In the Colony, subjects flee the police, who offer the opposite of protection. In the Nation, you have rights; in the Colony, you have commands. In the Nation, you are innocent until proven guilty; in the Colony, you are born guilty. Police officers tasked with keeping these two realms separate intuitively grasp the contours of the divide: as one Baltimore police sergeant instructed his officers, Do not treat criminals like citizens.

In the Nation, you can stroll down the middle of a quiet, car-less street with no hassle, as I did with the mayor of Ferguson. We chatted on a leafy block in a predominantly white neighborhood filled with stately Victorian homes and wraparound porches. There were no cops to be seen. We were technically breaking the lawyoure not supposed to walk down the middle of the streetbut no one was going to enforce that law, because, really, whats the point? Whom were we hurting?

In the Colony, just half a mile away, the disorderly act of strolling down the middle of the street could be the first link in the chain of events that ends your life at the hands of the state.

The Colony is overwhelmingly black and brown, but in the wake of financial catastrophe, de-industrialization, and sustained wage stagnation, the tendencies and systems of control developed in the Colony have been deployed over wider and wider swaths of working-class white America. If you released every African-American and Latino prisoner in Americas prisons, the United States would still be one of the most incarcerated societies on earth. And the makeup of those white prisoners is dramatically skewed toward the poor and uneducated. As of 2008, nearly 15 percent of white high-school dropouts aged 20 to 34 were in prison. For white college grads the rate was under 1 percent.

This is what makes the maintenance of the division between the Colony and the Nation so treacherous: the constant threat that the tools honed in the Colony will be wielded in the Nationthat tyranny and violence tolerated at the periphery will ultimately infiltrate the core. American police shoot an alarmingly high and disproportionate number of black people. But they also shoot a shockingly high number of white people.

It is easy, I think, for even the most sympathetic residents of the Nation to think this is all someone elses problem. Yes, of course America is over-incarcerated. Of course the killing of unarmed black men by the police is awful. And yes, of course Id like to see that all change. But its fundamentally someone elses issue.

Its not.

Eric Garner died a 10-minute walk from the ferry terminal. In the park across the street, men gamble at a game called quarters. Outside of the Bay Beauty Supply, there is a small Plexiglas memorial with flowers in it. The man selling incense and oils outside of the store says he made the memorial. He says he had been on that street hustling, like Garner, for more than 30 years. He says he knew Eric and saw him in the neighborhood the day before he died.

On the way over, the cab driver says the cops are much better after the riot. He says there are bad apples everywhere, but that the neighborhood is like any other. Its quiet, with the occasional bass thump from passing cars. People say hello; women push babies in strollers; a father drives back from McDonalds with his two children. A bartender says: Make us look good. Were not monsters. Were not evil. Families live in those homes.

Baltimore is so beautiful. The houses are gorgeous, the streets are wide, and there are ample green spaces. One problem is that the neighborhoods havent been kept up, the streets arent cared for, and the green spaces are scarcely usable. Its sad because it seems like the entire neighborhood could turn around in an instant if there were even a little bit of money spent in the community of the forgotten. There were people outside talking, but it was a pretty quiet scene.

Tamir Rice was killed less than two seconds after police officers approached him on a cold day in a beautiful park behind an elementary school. On this day, it is a place that is full of children playing, but there are no adults in sight. It seems like a pretty safe space.

The Triple S Mart is a popular store with cars in and out of the parking lot. It had just rained and they have the memorial covered with a tarp. Some people driving through town stop and say they had never noticed the memorial before. Two people approach from across the street and ask to introduce the artist of the mural. They say they are interested in museum and gallery exhibitions and grant funding for their projects. The truth is, these places are not always as dangerous as they seem.

Walter Scott was killed in an empty field in an unremarkable suburb north of Charleston. It is nerve-racking to walk into that field, because it is difficult to tell if it is private or public property. It feels terrible to walk in the same line of fire as Scott did in order to make the photographs. The photo shoot was not a long one.

Akai Gurley died in a dark stairwell inside a project building on Linden Boulevard. Directly across the street, cops stand on the corner under high-intensity lights. While Graves took the first photograph, four consecutive gunshots rang out, loud but out of view. Seconds later, five teenagers ran past. The cops stationed on the corner crossed the wide lanes of traffic in an instant to the project side of the block. At the end of the photo shoot, there were at least 50 cops on the block, and half of Linden Boulevard was closed.

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Eric Garner died a 10-minute walk from the ferry terminal. In the park across the street, men gamble at a game called quarters. Outside of the Bay Beauty Supply, there is a small Plexiglas memorial with flowers in it. The man selling incense and oils outside of the store says he made the memorial. He says he had been on that street hustling, like Garner, for more than 30 years. He says he knew Eric and saw him in the neighborhood the day before he died.

Photograph by Kris Graves.

On the way over, the cab driver says the cops are much better after the riot. He says there are bad apples everywhere, but that the neighborhood is like any other. Its quiet, with the occasional bass thump from passing cars. People say hello; women push babies in strollers; a father drives back from McDonalds with his two children. A bartender says: Make us look good. Were not monsters. Were not evil. Families live in those homes.

Photograph by Kris Graves.

Baltimore is so beautiful. The houses are gorgeous, the streets are wide, and there are ample green spaces. One problem is that the neighborhoods havent been kept up, the streets arent cared for, and the green spaces are scarcely usable. Its sad because it seems like the entire neighborhood could turn around in an instant if there were even a little bit of money spent in the community of the forgotten. There were people outside talking, but it was a pretty quiet scene.

Photograph by Kris Graves.

Tamir Rice was killed less than two seconds after police officers approached him on a cold day in a beautiful park behind an elementary school. On this day, it is a place that is full of children playing, but there are no adults in sight. It seems like a pretty safe space.

Photograph by Kris Graves.

Philando Castile was killed in front of his family, very close to the northern entrance of the Minnesota State Fair, before it opened for the season. On the day of this photo shoot, there must have been more than 100,000 people in attendance. The road where he died is large and empty, and you can see far in each directiona normal turnpike by any measure.

Photograph by Kris Graves.

The Triple S Mart is a popular store with cars in and out of the parking lot. It had just rained and they have the memorial covered with a tarp. Some people driving through town stop and say they had never noticed the memorial before. Two people approach from across the street and ask to introduce the artist of the mural. They say they are interested in museum and gallery exhibitions and grant funding for their projects. The truth is, these places are not always as dangerous as they seem.

Photograph by Kris Graves.

Walter Scott was killed in an empty field in an unremarkable suburb north of Charleston. It is nerve-racking to walk into that field, because it is difficult to tell if it is private or public property. It feels terrible to walk in the same line of fire as Scott did in order to make the photographs. The photo shoot was not a long one.

Photograph by Kris Graves.

Akai Gurley died in a dark stairwell inside a project building on Linden Boulevard. Directly across the street, cops stand on the corner under high-intensity lights. While Graves took the first photograph, four consecutive gunshots rang out, loud but out of view. Seconds later, five teenagers ran past. The cops stationed on the corner crossed the wide lanes of traffic in an instant to the project side of the block. At the end of the photo shoot, there were at least 50 cops on the block, and half of Linden Boulevard was closed.

Photograph by Kris Graves.

Adapted from A Colony in a Nation, by Chris Hayes, to be published this month by W. W. Norton & Company; 2017 by the author.

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How America Became a Colonial Ruler in Its Own Cities - Vanity Fair

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The Oppression of Eve: Was Patriarchy Actually The First Sin? – Patheos (blog)

Posted: at 3:47 pm

Lets play a little thought game together, shall we? It will require us all to unlock the box in which we hold our thinking, let it burst wide open like a shaken soda bottle, or one of those Cooking Fail memes about pressure cookers. I had this thought the other day, when I was doing something completely unrelated. Probably I was working out. Anyway, heres the thought:

I know. Crazy, right?

Of course, I dont come to the text as a Bible scholar. I dont have an understanding of the ancient languages, and Im not a theologian. I do, however, come to the text as a believer, and an oppressed one at that.

Now, let me say, too, that I am a highly privileged oppressee. I get that. Im white, middle class, Christian, cis, straight, able-bodied. I am essentially one step away from the top of the privilege heap, and I acknowledge that. But the fact is, its been almost 100 years since women won the right to vote, and yet all that time later, werestill paid less than men; werestillunder-represented in board rooms and in government; westill have slut shaming;rapes of womenstill go un- or under-punished; and we still have men who say things like women should not teach menand rank womens ministries and Bible study lower in importance, according to some ridiculous metric found nowhere in the scripture, ever.

And this is just here in America. Land of the free.

So when I say I come to the text as an oppressed person, this is what I am talking about: the fact that due strictly to my physical sex and my gender identity, I am not permitted to live out the fullest expression of who I am as a human being because of patriarchy. I can not earn my fullest potential income nor hold my highest possible office; I can realistically expect to not be allowed to be called a pastor or preach to men (should I ever want to); I can not rest assured that, if I were ever assaulted, I would not be blamed for that assault while my assailant goes free.

In this country and in others, there are people far more oppressed than I am. Ive heard arguments that say thats a good reason for me to shut up and stop whining. I take the opposite stance. Its more important than ever for me to work for my complete freedom, because in doing so, I dig the pathway to liberation a little deeper for others on the same road. I walk alongside them on this journey.I do this with a deep humility, a burning desire for justice, and a massive love for God.

There are two things that strike me as soon as I read the creation story, and bear witness to the interaction between the first man and woman: the othering of Eve, and the ownership of Eve.

I cant decide if the othering of Eve comes from the text itself, or the way weve been conditioned to read the text through millennia of misogyny and patriarchy. Certainly at first, in Genesis 2, the relationship between Adam and God seems central and primary, and Eve seems to be an afterthought. Is that because the story was written down by a man? How would the story be different if it was being told by a woman? Or is it simply the way we read the text that makes us assume thats what its doing?

But Genesis 1 doesnt make it seem like Eve was an afterthought at all. Genesis 1 makes it seem like God had Eve in mind all along. Right there, on day six, God made all living things that walk the land, and she was there. Verse 27 is clear: God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

And verse 26 seems to give them both equal dominion over the earth: Then God said, Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. (bold italic emphasis mine).

Despite this, somewhere in our readings, Eve took a backseat in this dominion; she was othered as the afterthought, not viewed as the equal, created human that she was an original idea, all her own, and just as central to Gods creation as the man. Somehow, Eve got shoved out of the picture and out of her God-given status and power. We started viewing Eve as secondary and peripheral to Adam, even though Genesis 1 makes it clear she was there from the beginning.

The whole Genesis 2 thing about Eve being Adams helper might have something to do with that. But heres where that knowledge of ancient languages might come in handy (should I ever have time to study those in depth). Our more modern-day reading applies a sort of Mad Men interpretation to this partnership suddenly the Biblical Eve is pictured in our minds holding a pencil sharpener and a steno pad, perhaps, or an apron and a mixing spoon. The image is decidedly ofassistant to a superior,a worker to her boss, a housewife to the king of the castle. But thats not actually the meaning of the original Hebrew.

The original Hebrew word for helper is ezer, and in other places in which this word is used in the Bible, it never refers to any sort of subordination. If anything, it refers to a form of protection; it speaks of the way God helps us. The qualification of that helper is one that is suitable for him, which implies equality, and the reason was Adams loneliness. In other words, the animals were not enough to keep Adam from feeling alone. God, knowing this from the beginning, always intended to create an equal partner for him.

Which brings me to the ownership of Eve, and first sin. Lets start with the ownership part.

God is having a blast with Adam, letting him name all the animals. Naming was a big deal in the ancient Hebrew society, and its interesting to note that in many cases in the OT, women were responsible for naming their children. When God realizes its time for Eves arrival, and he brings her to Adam, the scripture does not say that God told Adam to name her, too. It just says he presented her to Adam. The man, in his excitement, names her woman, and by doing so, he takes ownership of her.

We are not privy to Gods reaction to this, and I think weve all assumed that the lack of a response from God equates to his approval of Adams ownership of Eve. Im playing with the idea that this assumption is wrong. God never actually approves of Adams naming of Eve. Instead, the very next scene involves the serpent.

The serpent addresses the woman, who chooses to eat from the tree that God had declared off limits. But heres something interesting: in all my previous readings of this, indeed for all of history, the burden of sin has been placed squarely on Eves shoulders, leading society to label her the original sinner and a temptress at that. Personally, in all my readings and ponderings of this scene, Ive picture Eve taking a solitary stroll through the garden, the serpent tempting her to eat, and then Eve rushing back to the house where Adam is watching the game and saying, Babe, you gotta try this fruit, its amazing! But thats not what happened.

According to scripture, Adam was right there with her, all along.

Genesis 3:6 says, She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. (emphasis mine)

So rather than the narrative Ive always had in my head, a more accurate story is that Adam and Eve were taking a stroll after dinner, and the serpent came up and suggested fruit for dessert. Eve thought it sounded pretty good, andso did Adam.Nowhere in the Bible do we hear Adam tell the serpent to beat it, or say to his wife, Sweetie, thats a really bad idea, and he certainly didnt say, Hey now, thats all on you. Im good. No thanks. Nope. He was there the whole time, going along with the whole thing, having dessert.

FINALLY God comes back from the sabbatical he was on, probably in Florida or something, and there is sin to be dealt with. But heres my question:

What if theoriginalsin was not the eating of the fruit, but Adams ownership and subordination through naming of she who was supposed to be his equal partner?

What ifit was the oppression of Eve that the serpent exploited, promising her the justification, the wholeness and fullness of her humanity that Adam had stolen by rushing to name her?

What if original sin is this crazy desire we have to oppress other people, and then call their pain and resistance to that oppression pride?

To look at the whole story, we have to of course come to Jesus. The creation story is finished in Him; everything is redeemed through Christ. And while Jesus did accomplish his mission within the framework of patriarchy, he subverted it every chance he got.And the rest of the Christian canon makes it clear that the oppression of peoples is NOT a hobby in which Christians should partake.

The more I read the scripture, the more I learn about Jesus, the more I discover the songs of liberation that weave through the verses like a wild melody. Jesus came to set captives free a freedom that is full and whole and completely accessible to everyone. The freedom of Jesus is meant to allow us fully express our created selves, and to squeeze our potential dry and use it all for good.

What if weve been reading it wrong all this time? What would that mean, and how would we live life differently? If Jesus said specifically that he came to set captives free, that tells me that ending oppression is at the at the top of Gods to do list. What if weve been participating in oppression all this time?

What if?

*I know it wasnt technically an apple. Lets not hyper-focus on the wrong fruit.

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The Readers’ Forum: Monday letters – Winston-Salem Journal

Posted: at 3:47 pm

KENNETH D. VANHOY, Kernersville

Ignorance showed up on the front page of the Journal on Feb. 15 (Protesters urge Burr to save health-care act). They want Sen. Richard Burr to hold a town meeting. For one purpose only. They want to show their true colors by throwing slurs and ignorant remarks at him, just like the idiots did in Washington on Jan. 21. This kind of rhetoric comes from immoral, uneducated, illiterate people.

This newspaper has printed all of the insults that have been thought of by writers to The Readers Forum against President Trump and the Republicans. I hope that you will have the decency to print a few remarks from the other side.

By the way, we have a governor, Roy Cooper, and a few other immoral people, such as popular basketball coaches, who fit the requirements to enter Satans hot house. They oppose HB2.

Our young people have been filled with inherited ignorance from high school to college and from their homes, where it all begins. The Democratic Party and the ACLU are the main supporters of this corruption. As long as we hold onto this way of life we will never have a country to be proud of.

MARY MARTHA SMOAK, Winston-Salem

I thought for a long time about Scott Sextons Feb. 26 column, Toddlers shooting is more than just an accident. Thats a fair summary of the absolute neglect of parents to safely store a handgun.

I know the parents are experiencing great sorrow over the pain and suffering of their 2-year-old son. I am not hard-hearted. I am a parent to two grown children and the grandmother of a toddler and preschooler. I am sure the parents of the victim in question never intended for the 2-year-old to shoot himself.

But what else might one expect when leaving a loaded gun in plain view of a toddler in an unattended vehicle for even two minutes?

The class-one misdemeanor is at best a weak law when a child is harmed.

Sextons column outlines statistics collected by many others who are concerned with the harm and death resulting from guns owned by adults in this country who apparently are not competent of gun ownership for self-protection or hunting wildlife.

The National Rifle Association and a Congress that is willing to be manipulated by the almighty dollar seem to be a Goliath that cant be taken down. When all the useless deaths and accidental and/or mass shootings of children and adults in America do not lead to justifiable change in ownership of fire arms, what are we to do? Writing letters and making calls to our representatives seems to have little if any effect in reducing the pain and suffering of the innocent.

TRACY STOTTLER, Kernersville

The writer of the Feb. 28 letter A simple admonition says the protest against the billboard, Real men provide. Real women appreciate it. is just another sign of intolerant political correctness. I always find it curious that people in this country, which was founded by a group resisting government oppression, want to mock and devalue the importance of protests.

The Civil War was a protest. Women were given the right to vote through protesting. Desegregation happened because of protest. I think many people have become so complacent and accepting of things that they forget the value of protesting. Or maybe some people are more focused on their own interests or just dont care. Everyone has that choice, but they should not judge and disparage the people who feel otherwise.

The women (and men) who were at this event see an issue with patriarchy that needs to change. No one really knows the intent of the billboard because it is anonymous. But to many, it sends a message of subjugation to women. Yes, women can vote, women can drive, women can work. However, if women were truly equal, our government and C-suites would be more fully represented. Women would be paid the same. And women wouldnt be subjected to domestic violence, rape, prostitution, human trafficking or other grotesque offenses.

So rather than simply dismiss a large group of peaceful protesters as a band of loud, liberal complainers, perhaps look deeper and ask, Tell me more and How can I help?

The Journal encourages readers comments. To participate in The Readers Forum, please submit letters online to Letters@wsjournal.com. Please write The Readers Forum in the subject line and include your full name, address and a daytime telephone number. Or you may mail letters to: The Readers Forum, P.O. Box 3159, Winston-Salem, NC 27102. Letters are subject to editing and may be published on journalnow.com. Letters are limited to 250 words. Letter writers are allowed one letter every 30 days.

If you would like a photo of yourself included with your letter, send it to us as a .jpg file.

The Journal welcomes original submissions for guest columns on local, regional and statewide topics. Essay length should not exceed 750 words. The writer should have some authority for writing about his or her subject. Our email address is: Letters@wsjournal.com. Essays may also be mailed to: The Readers Forum, P.O. Box 3159, Winston-Salem, NC 27102. Please include your name and address and a daytime telephone number.

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Oppression in the Land of the Free: A Muslim Leader Speaks Out … – teleSUR English

Posted: March 5, 2017 at 4:48 pm

An interview with Hatem Abudayyeh, head of Chicago's Arab American Action Network, on the rising criminalization of Arab and Muslim life in the US.

In September of 2010, American federal agents in Chicago unjustifiably raided the Jefferson Park residence of Hatem Abudayyeh, Executive Director of Arab American Action Network (AAAN), in a time that federal agents were executing search warrants in residences and offices of several people in Chicago and in Minneapolis. Some of many "Muslim hunts" happening since the 9/11 attacks

RELATED: #NoWallNoBan: Muslims and Latinxs as Enemies of the State

The FBI agents took away a computer, video tapes and a cell phone of the Muslim civil rights leader. "They took everything in my home that had the word Palestinian on it," Abudayyeh said. The federal investigation was focused on whether Abudayyeh and the others have funded foreign terrorist organizations. Abudayyeh has never been charged

According to the AAAN leader, a son of Palestinians, the FBI then targeted him merely for having a pro-Palestinian view. "This is a massive escalation of the attacks on people that do Palestine support work in this country and anti-war work," said Abudayyeh at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, three months later as he refused to grant an interview to ABC. "We're not going to stop speaking out against the war. We're not going to stop speaking out against U.S. support of Israel's violations of the Palestinian people."

In this interview, Hatem Abudayyeh speaks out about President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration that bars citizens of Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for the next 90 days, and refugees from around the world for four months. He says: "Trump and the other racists and white supremacists in his government are extremely dangerous, not only to Arabs and Muslims, but also to immigrants in general, black people, workers, women, and all other marginalized and oppressed communities in the US. I believe that Trump wants to truly 'make American white again.'"

RELATED: Trump to Focus Counter-Terror on Islam, Ignore White Supremacy

He states that Arabs and Muslims want to live in peace and dignity, as many of them have been intimidating and a number of their organizations devoted to social services, youth programming, and cultural outreach have been shut down in the "cradle of democracy."

Nothing has changed in the United Police States of America since the oppression he suffered in 2010, in the name of an endless "War on Terror" which spreads fear, violence and hate in the countryand all over the world. "Post 9-11 policies have criminalized Arabs and Muslims to such an extent that we are living in constant fear of detention, deportation, surveillance, and general repression," he says. "Our community is facing massive, documented surveillance and repression."

But not only that, according to the Muslim activist: "He (Trump) criminalizes Arabs and Muslims in the U.S. to get support from the people here for imperialist goals in our countries abroad."

Nothing has changed in US "security policy" (a euphemism for institutionalized crimes) since the dark years of George W. Bush - but a world and the United States themselves much more insecure. That is all that totalitarian powers need to justify the lack of civil liberties and hard-line policies in general, in order to dominate and explore.

Below, the full interview with Hatem Abudayyeh.

Edu Montesanti: Hatem Abudayyeh, thank you so very much for granting this interview. Would you please tell us how the Arab American Action Network (AAAN) works?

Hatem Abudayyeh: The AAAN was established in 1995 to provide support to the Arab community of Greater Chicago in the areas of community organizing, advocacy, social services, youth programming, and cultural outreach.

It is unique in that we are the only Arab organization in Illinois, and one of the very few in the entire U.S. that challenge structural and institutional racism and national oppression with a grass-roots, base-building organizing lens.

We provide leadership development for youth and immigrant women, and the most affected community members lead our campaigns for social justice and systemic change.

What does it mean being an Arab in the United States today, especially Muslim Arabs after Sept. 11, 2001, and what has changed since President Donald Trump won the U.S. election?

Arabs in the U.S. have faced national oppression and racism for many decades, since way before 9-11 and now Trump, but the challenges are much more acute now.

RELATED: Trump Picks Fan of Illegal Surveillance as Intelligence Czar

Post 9-11 policies have criminalized Arabs and Muslims to such an extent that we are living in constant fear of detention, deportation, surveillance, and general repression.

A number of our organizations have been shut down; prominent individuals like Rasmea Odeh have faced political indictments; and the court system, the media, the educational system, and others have made it very intimidating for Arabs and Muslims to live here in peace and dignity.

In his inauguration speech, President Donald Trump called for the civilized world to unite against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth. Later, President Trump confirmed Rep. Mike Pompeo as head of the CIA: Pompeo is a Tea Party Republican. Pompeo favors the reinstatement of waterboarding, among other torture techniques. He views Muslims as a threat to Christianity and Western civilization. He is identified as a radical Christian extremist who believes that the global war on terrorism (GWOT) constitutes a war between Islam and Christianity.

Your view, please, Hatem.

Trump and the other racists and white supremacists in his government are extremely dangerous, not only to Arabs and Muslims, but also to immigrants in general, Black people, workers, women, and all other marginalized and oppressed communities in the U.S.

There is not much of a difference between Republicans and Democrats in this country, especially when it comes to U.S. foreign policy and even most domestic and economic policy, but Trump is clearly different.

He is clearly pandering to the worst racism in U.S. society, has put avowed white supremacists in his government, and is attacking immigrants, Black people, and workers with every executive order that he signs.

The specific attack against Arabs and Muslims serves a very specific cause, a cause that has been served by every president since 9-11; i.e. to justify U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East -- invasion, occupation, support for the destabilization of Syria, the threats against Iran and Lebanon, etc.--the government here needs to put a local face on the "enemy" abroad.

He criminalizes Arabs and Muslims in the U.S. to get support from the people here for imperialist goals in our countries abroad. Yes, Trump and Pompeo are ultra-right radical racists, but this is just a continuation of imperialist policy, albeit maybe more devastating.

How do you see Trump's executive order on immigration that bars citizens of Muslim-majority countries Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the United States for the next 90 days, and refugees from around the world for four months?

I believe that Trump wants to truly "make American white again." The Muslim ban and previous executive order implementation memos have the express intent of banning immigrants of color from coming here, and kicking out others who are already here--mostly Mexicans and Central Americans.

The AAAN does not believe that these policies are only affecting Arabs and Muslims. In fact, the people who are and will bear the brunt are Latinos, who constitute the largest population of undocumented immigrants in this country.

The vast majority of them work and pay taxes and try to support their families here, but Trump wants to deport them all. He is claiming that they have "broken the law," but the only thing broken is our immigration system, which has a massive backlog of applications for people trying to become permanent residents.

They have been here for years and years, and have mostly been forced here because of neo-liberal economic policies like NAFTA and CAFTA, but now they are being threatened daily with deportations.

Trump is a racist autocrat who is using executive actions to try to make the country look more like what his supporters want it to, i.e. the white European politically dominated society of the 30s, 40s, and 50s in the U.S.

How will it affect U.S. society and the world in the coming years?

These Muslim bans and anti-immigrant policies, in general, are already affecting American society, causing massive apprehension and intimidation, but also massive resistance.

OPINION: American Muslims Must Stop Apologizing

We have not seen the kinds of daily, consistent protests like those triggered by Trump and his racism since the civil rights era, and it is clear that they will not slow down. At the same time that immigrants are under attack, Black people and their Black Liberation Movement are as well, as evidenced by the Trump plan to rescind Obama's policy of phasing out private prisons, and the Trump administration's propaganda attacks on the Movement for Black Lives and its demands that law enforcement in this country stop its racial profiling and killing of Black people.

The other current danger that we see today is white supremacist crimes against people in communities of color. Because Trump has normalized racism against Black people, Latinos, Arabs, Muslimsand so many others, white supremacists have perpetrated racist hate crimes against all of these communities.

From a massacre in a Black church and armed white racists protesting against mosques to an Indian American shot because he looked Arab and Latinos being assaulted by white mobs, Trump's America looks very much like "Bull" Connor's America in Alabama in the 50s and 60s.

But like the civil rights movement in Alabama and throughout the U.S., people today will not allow themselves to be victims. They will defend themselves, they will resist, and they will fight back.

And Trump's policies will be stopped by the masseslike the Muslim banwas. The federal court that froze the ban stated clearly that it had caused "chaos," meaning our resistance, mass protests, and shutting down of airports had as much to do with the court decision as the unconstitutionality of the ban.

You once denounced FBI repression against activists, and you were avictim of an FBI raid in 2010. Does it still happen? Do you and your community feel victimized byany surveillance and repression?

Our community is facing massive, documented surveillance and repression. There are thousands of FBI informants in our communitiesstaking out mosques, community centersand small businesses.

RELATED: Trump Announces 'Victims of Immigration Crime' DHS Program

A federal program started by Obama's administration, called Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), gives massive amounts of money to communities to target young Arabs and Muslims, and considers our community to be extreme, but not the white supremacists who have perpetrated more terrorist attacks than anyone else in this country over the years.

Most specifically, we believe that surveillance and political repression affects Palestinians and their supporters the most, from students advocating for Palestinian rights and the Midwest 23 to community-based Palestinian organizations and the aforementioned Rasmea Odeh.

Political criticism of Israeli occupation and colonization is becoming the norm in this country, and the U.S. government, because of its unequivocal support of Israel, needs to repress Palestine support organizing to continue to ensure that Israel remains its watchdog in the Arab World.

And now, the ultra-right government of Trump is in place at the same time that the ultra-right government of Netanyahu rules Israel so we should expect the repression to get worse.

Edu Montesanti is an independent analyst, researcher and journalist whose work has been published by Truth Out, Pravda, Global Research, and numerous other publications across the globe.

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The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal Hearings On Myanmar Crimes Against Rohingya & Kachin – The Chicago Monitor

Posted: at 4:48 pm

The Rome-based InternationalPermanent Peoples Tribunal(PPT),will hold hearings in London on March 6-8 at Queen Mary University (LIVE Feed) where evidence will be presented, and expert testimony heard on crimes committed by the Myanmar (Burma) state against persecuted Rohingya and Kachin minorities.

The Tribunal was formed in 1979 as a continuation of the earlier Russell Tribunal II, which held hearings on the crimes of Latin American dictatorships. Since that time the Tribunal has successfully completed 42 sessions. Each session takes up the cause of an oppressed people whose collective humanity and rights as has been negated or threatened by neo-colonial or allied forces and structures of power, and which international institutions and law courts have failed to address directly or provide the requisite moral relief. The values of the PPT are grounded in the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Peoplesproclaimedin Algiers in 1979, based on the post-colonial experience and reality of new forms of Imperialism that evolved to oppress and exploit peoples, particularly those freed from colonization.

The Rohingya and Kachin have endured severe persecution by Myanmar since independence in the 1940s; for years activists from both communities have urged the international community and legal institutions to seriously push back against the crimes of the state. The Secretary General of the Tribunal, Dr. Gianni Tognoni, noted this, sayingThe gravity of Myanmars alleged mistreatment of these ethnic communities has been a concern for us at the PPT for a number of years. My colleagues and I are glad to be able to respond positively to the victims request for a credible moral tribunal on what appear to be international crimes being committed by the government of Myanmar.

Credible reports by Queen Mary Universitys State Crime Initiative, Yale Law School and numerous rights organizations such as: Fortify Rights, Human Rights Watch, Burma Task Force and others presented evidence of crimes and violations of basic human rights pointing to strong evidence of a genocide against the Rohingya. Since October, when Myanmars army initiated a so-called clearance operation in Rohingya areas, there has been an escalation in the genocidal process: thousands have been killed, tens of thousands displaced, whole villages have been burned to the ground, many Rohingya men have been disappeared, hundreds of Rohingya women have been raped, and mosques have been leveled.All in the name of fighting an insignificant insurgency thats been dubbed by the government as terrorist.

Likewise, the Kachin people, have faced the brunt of state repression for decades. The Myanmar army has pillaged whole villages, committing mass atrocities along the way, hundreds of thousands of Kachin remain displaced due to this and are vulnerable to extreme violence, Churches have been destroyed and forcibly taken over. The Kachin face numerous restrictions on their movement, access to food, and other basic necessities such as health, education and welfare. Just like the Rohingya, the Kachin make up one of the greatest number of refugees fleeing Myanmar for safety in other nations.

Representatives of the Rohingya and Kachin communities willbring forth the charges before the jury panel that the Myanmargovernment is committing crimes under international law, such as warcrimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. The Dalai Lama and numerous human rights organizations are either participating or given their backing to this process. The hope is that when the verdict is presented the swell of coverage will be enough for those who have abetted, sat on the sidelines or denied the crimes against the communities to change their belligerent attitude and insidious activity.The Rohingya and Kachin demand and deserve an end to their oppression, and may the Tribunal be one more salvo in the necessary change that leads to them achieving equality and liberty.

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The Permanent Peoples' Tribunal Hearings On Myanmar Crimes Against Rohingya & Kachin - The Chicago Monitor

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Public needs to help get government back on track – Fairfield Daily Republic

Posted: March 4, 2017 at 3:52 pm

What kind of government or political actions affect your economic well-being?

This will be a brief review of some highlights. Or lowlights more accurately. Primarily, how the Democratic Party establishment has placed partisanship over public well-being. Party above country, so to speak. Making every effort to prevent the creation of a functional government. Deferring the proposed benefits of change as long as possible.

If they keep it up they may be able to put off tax reform benefits for a full year. Its a shameful show of pure partisanship at the expense of the American people. The solution is to get rid of these anti-American politicians, either by recall or by replacing them with representatives who will put the country and the American people above party and partisanship.

Where are our taxes and borrowed money going? To welfare for noncitizens and citizens, alike. Welfare that acts as a demotivator why work when you dont have to? The primary cause has been that we have failed to provide necessary skills. The result has been violent inner cities and a huge cost in dollars more importantly in lost opportunity and lives. We are giving people fish instead of teaching them to fish.

The cost of dependence in dollars is far less important than the cost of lost human productivity and the great loss of self-worth through achievement. So, what needs to be done to have an effective government? To create environments and systems that give every person in our country an equal chance to succeed? How about a year of national service for every individual? Provide the basic skills that individuals lack. Reform schools that ignore achievement and install systems that only reward achievement. Teach kids. And if current teachers cant or wont teach, replace them with teachers whowill.

Benefit programs such as pension plans and health programs are supposed to pay for themselves, so that there is no risk that promised benefits can be assured. In California, it is the norm for the budgets of government at all levels to be made up of up to 80 personal personnel costs. State mandates are primarily responsible: requirement to be a part of an inflated pension system that is driving cities and counties to bankruptcy. Local governments cannot withdraw without paying outrageous penalties. Unfunded liabilities hang over the heads of the public.

Here are some facts and history of why we are in such deep trouble:

So what can be done to get back on track?

Elect responsible representatives at all levels. Get rid of professional politicians by creating term limits and reducing politicians benefits. Right-to-work states have accomplished some of these things. Give public organizations an economical option for shedding unbearable public pension costs without excessive penalties.

There are pathways to economic health and reasonable costs of government. The public has to become aware that they are in jeopardy and become involved. Make the changes needed.

These are not pie-in-the-sky options. They do require involvement and courage on the part of the public. The public (you and me) can change government oppression through the use of the initiative process. Difficult but possible. Its up to us.

Murray Bass of Suisun City can be reached at 720-5139 or [emailprotected].

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