Mar 26 2012

1000 days, 33 months. They still don’t care about us.

Category: Books,Humanitarian,Justice,Photos,VideosSeven @ 6:57 pm

On March 21st, it had been 1000 days since Michael Jackson died. Fans from 42 countries contributed to send 1000 roses to his resting place at Forest Lawn and those roses were taken inside to where his body lay. On March 25th, it had been 33 months since Michael died, that grim reminder that comes around the 25th of every month now, a date many would rather forget or better yet, turn back time to before it happened.

Below is a photo of the roses Michael’s fans sent to his resting place in remembrance of him on that 1000-day anniversary:

1000 roses from 42 countries for Michael

But amidst all his fans remembering Michael on these key dates, the national attention surrounding the murder of young Trayvon Martin was increasing, the chorus of demands for justice growing ever-louder by the day. I could not ignore this. I know what Michael would feel about this: heartbroken, and sad that some of the same hatred and stereotyping he endured during his own life is still par for the course in our society, and that a young innocent boy needlessly died because of it. Nothing’s changed in that regard. This latest blatant injustice serves to remind us just how much and for how long things have not changed. I wonder if Michael would have gone to the family, asking if he could help; if he would speak out and if so, what he would say. Michael can’t speak about this now but I can, and so I am.

Michael Jackson fought against just these types of injustices all his life. He fought against them on his own behalf and he fought against them just as much on behalf of all humanity, through passionate philanthropy, music, film, speeches. But nothing’s changed.

They still don’t care about us

After Trayvon Martin was shot, police didn’t even bother to identify him. For three days he lay in a morgue tagged as “John Doe“, even though police had his cell phone and could easily have identified him. They just didn’t care. They could have also spoken with Trayvon’s girlfriend, the last person he spoke to before being accosted and shot by Zimmerman, but they didn’t bother. They just didn’t care. They tested Trayvon Martin’s corpse for drugs and alcohol but oddly, they did not test his murderer for the same. They just didn’t care. A friend of George Zimmerman made the comment that George thought all this would “all just blow over.  In other words, Zimmerman thought that murdering a young black boy was no big deal. He just didn’t care.

Michael’s fans are demanding justice for Trayvon Martin:

The video above did not include the Change.org petition that has over 2 million signatures now demanding justice for this boy’s murder. You can sign that petition here if you haven’t already:

https://www.change.org/petitions/prosecute-the-killer-of-our-son-17-year-old-trayvon-martin

George Zimmerman wanted to be a cop. But he wasn’t. So he decided to just act like one, taking the law into his own hands in a deadly act of vigilantism. There are other groups that are inciting further acts of vigilantism in response to this one. That will not help. It will not turn out well and will only feed Zimmerman’s false story of himself as “victim” in this incident. The victim, as we know, is dead. Some people say Zimmerman can’t be a racist because he is partially Hispanic. But here’s the truth: Anyone can be a racist.

Zimmerman is on record as having pestered the 911 operators and the cops 47 times. Every “suspicious person” he called about was black. Zimmerman even called them about potholes in the road. One might think it would be illegal to waste 911 emergency workers’ time with calling about potholes, or at least unacceptable enough that they would ask him to stop calling them unless it was an emergency. Apparently they did not do so and thus I can only assume police and local 911 operators knew what he was doing and that they approved of his harrassing black people in his neighborhood.

Here is the 47 page history of Zimmerman’s 911 calls:

http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/327330-george-zimmerrman-911-call-history.html

No, it’s not about the damn hoodie

Geraldo Rivera insists that Treyvon got shot because he was wearing a hoodie. I don’t think so. Geraldo (or anyone else) citing the fact that Treyvon Martin was wearing a hoodie as the (or a) reason he was murdered is a weak and pretentious excuse that only serves to protect the behavior of the perpetrator (Zimmerman) from complete accountability. Whether Geraldo meant his statement that way, I do not know but I do know that is the end result of it. It serves to protect the shooter from his actions by blaming the victim.

This is just like saying a woman was raped because she wore a short skirt. Or, because she was walking on a certain street or walking at a certain time of day.

It doesn’t make a damn bit of difference. What all this is – is a way to blame the victim for the violent behavior of a criminal. And the victims who so typically get blamed for unprovoked violent criminal behavior against them are most often minorities: blacks, women, homosexuals, etc. This has been a shameful pattern for many decades in U.S. society.

I doesn’t matter what Treyvon was wearing or where he was walking. It doesn’t matter what a rape victim was wearing or where she was walking. It doesn’t matter if someone “looks gay” or not.  None deserve to be the target of a violent crime. Period. It’s called ‘human rights‘. If a non-white, or non-heterosexual, or non-male person were considered to have a full set of human rights, they would not be blamed for unprovoked violent crime against them. It is only when these people are deemed to possess an incomplete or non-existent set of human rights that such excuses are used against them while they are victims of unprovoked violence. And unfortunately that is most, if not all of the time in the United States.

What matters is that these crimes go unpunished while those responsible for enforcing the law flatly refuse to hold the criminals accountable for their behavior, often blaming the victim, then society joins them in that blame response – like Geraldo did with his comment about the hoodie.

George Zimmerman is still walking free. Treyvon Martin is dead and Geraldo Rivera is making excuses for the man who killed him. And this type of thing happens all over the U.S. every day. This particular case just happened to get on the national radar. There are many more that do not.

While the high and mighty and frankly rather pervertedly obsessed American Taliban in the U.S. attempt to completely control what women do with their uteruses beneath the guise of calling themselves “pro-life” — and beneath some twisted version of “religious freedom” (which in practice amounts to same religious oppression that they claim themselves the victim of), actual lives are prematurely ended or ruined every single day with a whole lot of impunity – completely unabated and most often, unnoticed.

I’m talking about rampant hate crime and epidemic human rights abuses. You’re black? You’re a target. You’re a woman? You’re a target. You’re gay? You’re a target. How many school kids have killed or died due to bullying because they’re gay or because they’re different in some other way? Why do so many rapes go unreported and/or unprosecuted? How many of our women in the U.S. Armed Services are sexually assaulted and raped by their own comrades, yet our military does nothing to punish the violent offenders instead threatening and coercing the victims to remain silent on the issue. This particular issue is an epidemic of human rights abuses right in our own military. And yet we somehow against all odds expect these violent offenders not to behave similarly against other innocents on foreign soil. And when they do, we act surprised!

Some current media efforts to smear Trayvon Martin greatly resemble tactics used against rape victims in how they attempt to show past associations, clothing the victim wore, etc. in a damaging light.

When is somebody going to worry about all this? The current pretenses are transparent and not salable. The truth is, they just don’t care.

Society and the justice system in the United States can only start truly saving lives and showing care when they stop blaming innocent victims for the criminals’ unprovoked violent behavior. I have yet to see that begin to happen in this country.

Remembering Kennedy’s words on the death of MLK

King and Kennedy

After Martin Luther-King was shot, Robert F. Kennedy gave an off-the-cuff speech April 4, 1968 in Indianapolis. Many people think this was one of the best speeches Kennedy ever made. Here is what Kennedy said:

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I’m only going to talk to you just for a minute or so this evening, because I have some – some very sad news for all of you – Could you lower those signs, please? – I have some very sad news for all of you, and, I think, sad news for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world; and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and was killed tonight in Memphis, Tennessee.

Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice between fellow human beings. He died in the cause of that effort. In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it’s perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in. For those of you who are black – considering the evidence evidently is that there were white people who were responsible – you can be filled with bitterness, and with hatred, and a desire for revenge.

We can move in that direction as a country, in greater polarization – black people amongst blacks, and white amongst whites, filled with hatred toward one another. Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand, and to comprehend, and replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand, compassion, and love.

For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and mistrust of the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I would only say that I can also feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man.

But we have to make an effort in the United States. We have to make an effort to understand, to get beyond, or go beyond these rather difficult times.

My favorite poet was Aeschylus. And he once wrote:

Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget
falls drop by drop upon the heart,
until, in our own despair,
against our will,
comes wisdom
through the awful grace of God.

What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love, and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.

So I ask you tonight to return home, to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King, but more importantly to say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love – a prayer for understanding and that compassion of which I spoke.

We can do well in this country. We will have difficult times. We’ve had difficult times in the past, but we – and we will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; and it’s not the end of disorder.

But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings that abide in our land.

And let’s dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world. Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people.

History: The Warmth of Other Suns and The Mind of the South

The past is never dead. It's not even past.

The murder of Trayvon Martin is part of a deeply entrenched and as yet unchanged (other than in the forms it takes) history of racism in the U.S. To explain, I’ll share with you the following article and quotes.

The past is never dead. It’s not even past. — William Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun

In The Warmth of Other Suns, Isabel Wilkerson describes the world of Jim Crow and the Great Migration of black Americans to escape it in the still-bigoted North. One of the central characters of the book is George Swanson Starling, a citrus-picker living in Eustis, Florida.

And Eustis is only about 30 miles from Sanford, where Trayvon Martin was killed.

… breaking from protocol could get people like George killed. Under Jim Crow, only white people could sit in judgment of a colored person on trial. White hearsay had more weight than a colored eyewitness. Colored people had to put on a show of cheerful subservience and unquestioning obedience in the presence of white people or face the consequences of being out of line. If children didn’t learn their place, they could get on the wrong side of a white person, and the parents could do nothing to save them.

George was seeing the world in a new light after being in Detroit. The three of them had gotten used to fair wages for their hard work up north and walked with their backs straight now. George, in particular, never had the constitution to act subservient, and his time up north, where colored people didn’t have to step off the sidewalk, only made him more impatient with the role the southern caste system assigned him.

He had gotten used to carrying himself in a different way, talking to white people as equals in Detroit. Now that he was back in Eustis, he made a point to do whatever he could to keep from addressing white people as “sir” or “ma’am”. “They’d say, ‘So and so and so, boy'” he said. I would never say ‘Yes, sir’ or ‘No, sir.’ I’d say, ‘That’s right.’ ‘Sure.’ ‘Certainly.'”

“What do you mean by *certainly*?” would come the indignant reply. “You don’t know how to say, ‘Yes, sir’?”

George and two friends tried to organize their fellow workers in the orange groves for better and more honest wages. One day a man who worked for one of the white grove owners came to him.

The yard man said he heard mention of a cypress swamp eighteen miles out from town.

“They talking ’bout taking y’all out to Blackwater Creek”, he said. “They talking ’bout giving y’all a necktie party. They gon’ take y’all out there and hang y’all in one of them cypress trees.”

Men had been hanged for far less than what George was orchestrating. And there would be no protecting him if he stayed. In Florida and in the rest of the Deep South, “the killing of a Negro by a white man ceased in practice even to call for legal inquiry,” a white southerner observed in the early 1940s.

That quote is from The Mind of the South by W.J. Cash, who then writes:

But wherever and whenever the forms were still observed, the coroner or jury was all but sure to call it “self-defense” or “justifiable homicide“, and to free the slayer with celerity.

That is part of the history of “self-defense” killings in Florida, and part of the history behind the “Stand Your Ground” law.

SOURCE: http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2012/03/faulkners-past-and-trayvon-martin.html

And so it goes. And goes. And goes. During the next 1000 days and the next 33 months since Michael Jackson’s death, I implore you to DO something. In the name of Michael Jackson for God’s sake DO something to help stop the abuse and the killing. He might have wanted that. Dont you think?

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14 Responses to “1000 days, 33 months. They still don’t care about us.”

  1. Rev. Cate says:

    Seven,this article is so outstanding, and so true. They don’t care about us….

  2. Dialdancer says:

    Seven, One of the most powerful and informative of your works. I keep hearing “We’ve had enough”

  3. Anna Leticia says:

    This is a great reading, really! Very informative for me. Thanks.

  4. Tesla says:

    I appreciate you writing articles which probe different social injustices and you are able to tie these in with Michael Jackson’s life experiences. Good work!

  5. Mado says:

    Thank you Seven. Very informative for us who live in Europe.

  6. Susanne says:

    Excellent article, Seven. This story absolutely fits in Michael’s “They don’t care about us”. That’s exactly why he wrote this song.

  7. truthmarathons says:

    A great call to all of us to continue what Michael started. This injustice against minorities will never end if we don’t take action. We must stand up for Trayvon, who was an innocent teenager murdered because of bigotry and a law that allows anyone to hide behind an unjust law enacted by a Florida legislature influenced by gun lobbyists. We also need to stand against the current political attack on women in the U.S. These laws adopted in many states aim to take away a woman’s right to choose her own healthcare. The political force supporting these laws hypocritically profess to try to reduce government. On the contrary, this is government dictating that they will govern women’s choices. Michael fought against tyranny, and we must keep his fight alive. Thank you seven for this call for justice.

  8. cris says:

    Very sad! “The past is never dead. It’s not even past” – So true… I wonder how many victims still exist out there and no one knows anything on them. Personally, I cannot understand those who are only about hatred. It’s logical that we don’t always agree with all people and their behavior, but from here to end up killing someone just because he isn’t like us is a big difference. Those who are into that can’t call themselves human beings, they are psychically insane.
    I wonder what the heck happened with Rivera? As far as I know, he’s a really kind person and a good journalist, unlike other ‘humans-garbage’. But he prove me once again, if it needed to, that in this job they are not always play by their rules, but by others. Too bad… If Michael sees this he must feel terribly sad. Michael, thank you for your fight against all types of injustice, for loving all races and religions. Your humanitarianism was not understood and appreciated to it’s entire value. I really hope this can change one day! I have this dream….

  9. Sina says:

    Seven,thank you for all the information and a bit of American history.
    What a sad state the US find itself today when a young man gets the blame of his murder and the murderer walks free. Seems like nothing has changed.
    For a journalist of Geraldos stature his statement is unprofessional and dangerous.
    Your comparison to women who are raped because of the way they dress or harassment of gays just for being gay is spot on.
    How can people feel safe and protected in a society that puts the blame on the victim.
    Remembering Michaels already more than 1000 days, makes me feel like taking a brake from the news and shut out all the hegativity thats going on.
    I’m happy that I hear his music every day in some way or form , its timeless and comforting.
    Thank you Michael,RIP .

  10. vero says:

    Thank you for this–I really appreciated Robert Kennedy’s words about love and compassion and understanding and his quote from Aeschylus–indeed, to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the world is a big task–but Michael is our guide in that. Also, I did not know that Trayvon was a John Doe for 3 days! Someone in the police force needs to be fired for sure!

  11. melina says:

    revenge increases hate …. Justice gives dignity to humanity

  12. Michelle says:

    Thanks, Seven, this article is great. Now I see why Michael got his idea for the song “They Don’t Care About Us”! The media, the police, you name it, don’t even care about this kind of stuff that goes on. Michael would want us to try and put a stop to this!!

  13. Pamela says:

    I am glad that Zimmerman will be charged with second-degree murder in the death of Trayvon Martin. Oh, I wish it was first-degree. My thoughts go out to his parents and his family both on his mother’s side as well as father’s. I just pray that justice will be done. I can’t believe that this is 2012.

  14. Pamela says:

    You know what, it will be 20 years ago this month I believe that the Rodney King situation occurred. When those cops were acquitted.

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