Orlando, Chicago, Palestine: Is murder just politics?

Orlando, Chicago, Palestine: Is murder just politics?
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Orlando, Chicago, Palestine: Is violence and murder just an exercise in politics? Violence in America is defined by the race, religion and politics of the victims, not by the rule of law, principles of morality or journalism ethics

By Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania covering Chicago City Hall (1976-1992)

Ray Hanania
covering Chicago
City Hall
(1976-1992)

Only two weeks ago we were mourning the passing of one of the most famous and inspiring American Muslims of our generation, Muhammad Ali. And this week, we’re excoriating another American Muslim, Omar Mateen, peeling through the brutality of 49 people murdered in Orlando, looking for reasons, explanations and seeking political ramifications.

And while the massacre of 49 people at an Orlando dance club known as a hangout for Gays and the LGBT community has drawn international empathy, equally violent killings in other parts of America and the world seem to go unnoticed.

Is death an exercise in politics?

In Chicago, 216 people, mostly African American, were murdered in gun-related and street-gang related violence on the streets of Chicago. Yet President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and nearly every major elected official in the country hasn’t issued a statement of condolences, shock or demands for justice for the Chicago victims the way they have for the victims in Orlando.

No gasps for the victims when they are Black, Palestinians or Muslim. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That’s not to minimize the Orlando murders. It was senseless. It was horrific. In addition to the 49 people who were gunned down by Mateen, more than 50 others were seriously injured.

Yet the fact that Mateen is described as an American Muslim of Afghan heritage whose wife, Noor Salman is a Muslim Palestinian, seems to have made this senseless act of carnage of more significance. Although it is doubtful that this massacre was orchestrated by ISIS and terrorists in the Middle East who have killed and have vowed to kill more Americans, Mateen seems to have expressed solidarity for the ISIS terrorists.

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In contrast, street gang murders have gone unsolved as killers continue wot walk the streets of America taking more and more innocent lives in Chicago and in cities across the country.

And because the aspect of the Middle East has been thrown into this blood-filled cauldron, it is fair to note that in the Middle East, hundreds continue to be murdered in Syria and in in Palestine under the brutal military occupation by Israel’s far right wing fanatic government. Call it political exploitation if you are biased towards Israel, and have closed your eyes to Israel’s violent war crimes and terrorism against civilians, but it was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who this week released a video denouncing the Orlando murders and using them to justify his own politically driven agenda of linking those who challenge his governments violence to the same “hatred and extremism” he says drove Mateen.

Is there really a difference?

Just yesterday, June 16, Israeli soldiers entered the occupied city of Qalqiliya in occupied Palestine and  kidnapped one Palestinian because of his political activism and vocal denunciations of Israel’s brutality. In the process, the massive Israeli force injured seven other Palestinians including three children and destroyed portions of family homes.

In the week before that, Netanyahu’s soldiers wounded six Palestinians with gunfire and gun fire shrapnel. And the week before that, Netanyahu’s occupation terrorists in military uniform

Much was made of how four Israelis were murdered in Tel Aviv, but nothing about the Palestinians killed int he weeks before that or the decision by Netanyahu’s government to drop charges against an Israeli settler accused of burning a Palestinian child to death.

According to B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights organization that Netanyahu’s government has condemned for spotlighting Israeli driven terrorism, has reported that 808 Palestinians have been murdered by Israeli forces of the past eight year period, or about 101 deaths per year, which is 2 deaths per week.

Many of those killed were Palestinians accused of having engaged in violence and although there were disarmed and even seriously injured lying on the street incapacitated and untreated by Israel’s discriminatory Magen David Adom. They were shot point-blank by soldiers and armed Jewish Israeli civilians, killed because they were non-Jews.

Israel rarely prosecutes Jews who commit violence and acts of terrorism against non-Jews. And yet that violence passed with little outrage from the same people who today have made Orlando evidence to change policies on the ownership of guns. The same people who have used Orlando as a basis to persuade people how to vote for President of the United States, between Democrat career politician Hillary Clinton and Republican businessman Donald Trump. The same people who have denounced alleged hate-speech by critics of Israel but have remained silent int he face of hate-speech against advocates peacefully protesting violence by Israel, a foreign country.

Why is one death different than another? Because death in America at the hands of a Muslim can be turned into political fodder to push an agenda while death in Palestine is embarrassing for the same people. And the killing of a White person has more value than the killing of a Black person on the streets of America’s crime-plagued cities.

Driving this imbalance in morality and justice is an American mainstream news media that has been co-opted by corporate financial interests and political considerations. The news media reports the news based on the value placed on the lives of victims.

It’s easier for the media and politicians to condemn the murder of people at a Gay nightclub because that is a one-sided agreement on bullying. But they can’t seem to find the line of morality when the victims are Palestinian and the killers are Israelis. And it’s even less important in places like Chicago, where an African American life has absolutely no value and Black teenagers are slaughtered almost every day not just by armed street gangs carrying automatic weapons but also by people wearing the uniform of the police.

In America today, death is weighted by religion, race, politics, skin color of the victims and by the identify of the perpetrators committing the crimes.

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3 comments on “Orlando, Chicago, Palestine: Is murder just politics?
  1. Nikos Retsos says:

    You are correct Ray. Politics nowadays are not like the politics, and/or wars, of the previous millennia when matters ended and settled in the battlefield. Today the whole globe is a battlefield, and the super-battlefield weapons are supplemented by a super-fast global media barrage that assigns guilt
    by race, religion, and association. Palestinians, American Indians, and blacks in South Chicago – as well as across the Sub-Saharan Africa, are the leftovers of civilization because stronger interests
    prevailed and have a chock-hold on the global clout, its resources, and in the definition of who is a rebel, who is a terrorist, or who is a freedom fighter. With American politics being “Who gets what and how, there is also a parallel label making of “Who gets what and how labels” either of one being either a rebel, a freedom fighter, or a terrorist -depending on their association with what state. I consider the Orlando, Florida, massacre a burnout from a cinder blown out of the Middle East’s simmering political volcano! I bet it won’t be the last! Nikos Retsos, retired professor

    • rayhanania says:

      Good analogy Nikos … the Orlando, Florida massacre is a burnout from a cinder blown out of the Middle East’s simmering volcano. It won’t be the last, I think because the United States plays politics with morality, the rule of law, ethics and principle. We no longer have a measure for those virtues and fundamentals of human rights and Democracy. It’s whatever suits us at the moment, driven not by what we love and believe in but rather by what we as Americans, hate. And hate is the biggest power in this country today.

    • Ray Hanania says:

      Good analogy Nikos … the Orlando, Florida massacre is a burnout from a cinder blown out of the Middle East’s simmering volcano. It won’t be the last, I think because the United States plays politics with morality, the rule of law, ethics and principle. We no longer have a measure for those virtues and fundamentals of human rights and Democracy. It’s whatever suits us at the moment, driven not by what we love and believe in but rather by what we as Americans, hate. And hate is the biggest power in this country today.

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