Sunday, August 17, 2014

Analogies of Injustice

As defined in our glossary, an analogy is "reasoning or explaining from parallel cases." Put another way, an analogy is a comparison between two different things in order to highlight some point of similarity. As Freud suggested, an analogy won't settle an argument, but a good one may help to clarify the issues. - Websters

Injustice is the violation of the rights of others. According to Dictionary.com, it is the quality or fact of being unjust. It relates to unfairness or undeserved outcomes.  A sense of injustice is a universal human feature, although circumstances considered unjust can vary from one culture to another. While even acts of nature sometimes provoke a sense of injustice, it is felt in relation to human actions such as misuse, abuse, neglect or malfeasance that is uncorrected or else sanctioned by a legal system or fellow human beings.  Ask.com

While it is not my intent to be cynical I have noticed a few points of analogy regarding the situation in Ferguson, Mo., and the war between Israel and Hamas, prosecuted at the expense of the Palestinian people in the occupied territory of the Gaza Strip.  Listening and reading various news media[1], these points of analogy seem to be more and more evident as events unfold.  At times the human condition presents compelling points of analogy with particular similarities which wrench the heart and soul of the witness becoming a ground of frustration and righteous anger. 

There are similarities between the situations in the Gaza Strip and Ferguson, Mo., USA which I seek to point out here.  The intent of this post is to lift up those similarities, tactics and underlying issues that frame the situation in these two places, hopefully to gain a sense of solidarity regarding such.    


The situations as presented in the media

The first situation involves three Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped on the West Bank of Israel. They were walking at night and caught a ride with some unseemly characters that ultimately led to their death as heard on the police tape recording.[2]  In response a Palestinian young man was killed[3] and so began one more war ravaging the Gaza Strip and its people.  In the case of Ferguson, Mo.,  a situation still somewhat unclear, a young African American teenager had allegedly robbed a convenience store as shown in store video.[4]  Upon being stopped by a Ferguson Police Officer, who was unaware of the convenience store incident, he was shot six times, including two shots in the top of his head, while he was in a position of surrender, this according to an autopsy.   Both present the extreme force of the normative towards the lesser force by comparison, and both begun with the death of young male teenagers supported by policies and programmes of the U.S. federal government.[5] 


In the case of the Gaza Strip, Israel is a force of overwhelming military power, backed by the United States of America.  Protected by a system called “the Iron Dome” which has been very effective at protecting the Israeli people from the missiles of Hamas, Israel has launched missiles which have killed over 1000 people, this number includes innocent women, children and men, entire families and devasted the Gaza Strip in an effort to defeat Hamas causing billions of dollars of damage.  As a consequence there has been a move by Palestinian leaders to take Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for possible war crimes.[6]

The Gaza Strip is occupied territory and segregated, the people effectively living under apartheid are in fact the sacrifice for the safety of Israel.  Hamas calls Israel to lift the occupation, to alleviate the suffering of the people and discontinue the abhorrent system of apartheid.  Considered a terrorist organization, Hamas cannot match the military might of Israel.  Nonetheless it seemingly fights a losing war, seeking to make some kind of statement regarding the injustice perpetrated by Israel upon the Palestinian people.

From the viewpoint of analogy we have the residents of Ferguson Mo. throwing rocks and bottles, protesting the slaying of an unarmed black teenager by a white policeman and a police department militarized by the Pentagon, a program emerging from the Reagan administration and its war on drugs.[7]   The police have overwhelming firepower, tanks, Armored Personnel Carriers, machine guns, tear gas, and a plethora of other armament.  There really isn’t any comparison between those fighting for justice regarding a dead African American teenager and the power of a militarized police department.

In the midst of these two situations we have mothers and families experiencing grief and sorrow at the loss of their child, their child seemingly called to be the sacrificial lamb for the hope and safety of normative sensibilities.  In other words the death of a youth, whether an African American, Palestinian or for that matter Israeli maintains the hope of a normative community seemingly in danger of being taken over by vandals.  

The Gaza Strip and Ferguson Mo. are marginal communities of economy suffering from decades of discrimination and various modes of segregation.  In both situations the dominant authorities i.e. Israel and the Ferguson Police Department, sought to control the news coverage of the specific context.  The arrest of reporters from the Huffington Post and the Guardian at a McDonalds in Ferguson was reminiscent of the crackdown by authorities in Egypt on Al Jazeera.  The Gaza strip had its own issues regarding media coverage regarding the imbalanced media coverage of Israel and the Gaza Strip by American media. Israel, like the law enforcement authorities in Ferguson sought to control the media, to maintain the dominant narrative, that Israel was fighting a just and righteous war, in place.   In both cases the communities on the margins were at a significant disadvantage. 

Looking at the destruction wrought on the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian people by Israel and the overwhelming fire power of the Ferguson Police Department I sense a commonality among the two communities created by the zeal of empire to appropriate a sense of rightness, i.e.,  control and domination.  

It is in the commonality of experience that I suggest that zones of solidarity might emerge to facilitate a new consciousness towards change.  Those of us who are not the one percent, who don’t control the systems and processes of the capitalist state must join our bodies of righteous suffering together if we are to make real change to the systems that maintain our poverty.  To that end we raise our hands in solidarity to those in the Gaza Strip and Ferguson Missouri as they stand for justice.

                            “Hope in the midst of frustration creates space for Solidarity”



[1] The News Media indicate New York Times, The Guardian, Seattle Times, Buzzfeed, klcc.org, Alternet.net, accessed August 16, 2014 and the Irish Independent accessed August 17, 2014.
[2] Bodies of Three Missing Teenager found in the West Bank.  Article by Peter Beaumont in Jerusalem and Orlando Crowcroft in El Ad of June 30, 2014 in The Guardian accessed August 16, 2014.
[3] Three Jewish Suspects Charged in Death of Palestinian Youth. Article by McClatchy Foreign Staff of July 12, 2014 in the Seattle Times accessed August 16, 2014. 
[4] A Timeline of the Crisis in Ferguson Since the Death of Michael Brown.  Article by Ryan Broderick published at www.Buzzfeed.com accessed August 16, 2014.
[5] Code, Switch, and Roundup:  On Race, Policing and Ferguson.  Article by Gene Demby published at www.klcc.org accessed August 16, 2014.
[6] Moves to try Israel or War Crimes a the ICC.  Article by Inna Lazareva published August 16, 2014 in www.independent.ie/world news/middle east accessed August 17, 2014
[7] 11 Shocking facts about America’s Militarized Police Forces.  Article by Alex Kane published at www.Alternet.org accessed August 16, 2014.