Thursday, July 24, 2008

You reap what you sow

Thanks to my man Arcturus in a comment earlier today on a related post, I wish to pass this story on to y'all about a young man who was beaten to death by half a dozen goons. His crime? Being of Mexican descent. All those years of eliminationist rhetoric have produced their bitter fruit. I've been on this for about as long as I've been blogging, and really if one were to go back long enough, on to this since my teens. The words we say can and do translate into action.

Eliminationism seems to be an almost exclusively right-wing endeavor. The nativist variety has been given quite an airing to the point to where its extremism has become part of the mainstream. It is nothing more or less than raw white supremacism. Always has been; always will be. The perps in this incident, I'd be willing to wager, were fed a diet of lies about how the US is being "invaded" by "illegals" who pose an alleged threat to their futures of happy motoring and consumerism. Nothing can be further from the truth once one actually bothers to look at the data. But nativist hatred is very much faith-based and resistant to reason. The Lou Dobbs and Pat Buchanans of the world will not be confused by facts (and don't even get me started with regard to their kindred spirits among the Stormfront crowd).

Naturally in this particular sorry incident, in spite of the fact that there are witnesses stating the perps were shouting racist slurs as they beat Luis Ramirez to death, there are those among the community's elites who simply cannot acknowledge that these kids were racist. Juxtapose this excerpt from an interview with a witness, Arielle Garcia:
He was at our house all day that afternoon. And it was around maybe 11:00, he asked us to take him uptown to drop him off, whatever, he was going to go home. So, we leave him at the Vine Street Park, and we drive away, Victor and I, and about two minutes later he called us and told us to come back, that people were beating him up. So we get back as fast as we could. And when we get there, he was—like the fight was over, like the boys were walking away, but they were still screaming like racial slurs, like “Go back to Mexico!”
with this excerpt:
But [Mayor Thomas O'Niell] said late last week that he would be stunned if the investigation reveals a racially motivated beating.

"I just can't believe that's the case," he said then.

[snip]

Borough Manager Joseph Palubinsky acknowledged that some in town resent Latino immigrants for crowding families into borough homes or taking jobs.

But he said that feeling is not unique to Shenandoah and that it is not shared by most people in town.

"I don't believe there are racial problems in the borough," he said. "Wouldn't they (Latinos) be leaving if that were the case?"

Palubinsky said he knows the families of the young people involved in the event and that none is a bigot.

"These people don't harbor any feelings like that," he said.
In other words, "nothing to see here; move along." The police response, by the way, was underwhelming, as Arcturus was mentioning to me:

AMY GOODMAN: And what did the police say? Did the police show up that night?

ARIELLE GARCIA: Yeah, they showed up. First, the ambulance did, and they took our friend to the hospital. And about five minutes later, the police came, and I guess they were looking—I mean, we kept telling them where the kids ran, but they didn’t—they didn’t run towards there. I mean, they kind of stayed where it all happened. And I told them the names and everything.

AMY GOODMAN: And, well, this was more than a week ago. Have they been investigating since?

ARIELLE GARCIA: Yeah. And like, still nothing.

AMY GOODMAN: Why did they say—when you showed them the direction that the kids had run, why did they not go after them at the time?

ARIELLE GARCIA: I don’t know. They told me that it wasn’t their priority right now.

AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean, “their priority”?

ARIELLE GARCIA: Yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: Where was your friend at this point? Where was Luis Ramirez?

ARIELLE GARCIA: He was gone. He was in the—on his way to be [inaudible].

AMY GOODMAN: What was their priority? Did they say that to you?

ARIELLE GARCIA: No. They were pretty rude, some of them. Not all of them, but most of them were pretty rude to me.

AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean they were rude?

ARIELLE GARCIA: Like, I told them where the kids ran, and they wouldn’t go after them, and they told me that “Somebody said there was someone with a gun here, and we have to search your car.” And they searched Victor, like they put his hand behind his back, and like they put him against—

AMY GOODMAN: Victor is your husband?

ARIELLE GARCIA: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: The boys ran off. Was it all boys?

ARIELLE GARCIA: Yeah.
So much for "protect and serve" eh? I'd like to end with some words I found via The Sanctuary:

This story is important because this family’s tragedy—and the lesser tragedies of the boys who were so motivated by fear and hatred of the “other” that they beat another human being to death—represents the experience of millions of migrants living in this country in today’s poisonous environment.

An environment that has been cultivated over the years by an organized political movement. An environment that results in impunity for killers like Joe Horn—provided the victims are from the underclass still labeled “illegal” as a matter of editorial policy by our so-called liberal media. A climate that permits pregnant mothers to be shackled, forced to give birth in police custody, and then torn from their newborn infants—again all for being present in the U.S. without authorization and, perhaps more importantly, for being Latina.

The racial motivations of the perpetrators/oppressors in each of these scenarios cannot reasonably be disentangled from the immigration status of the victims. The punitive immigration laws that target people like Ramirez and DeLaPaz were enacted largely from racial motives—from fear of the waves of brown political and economic refugees produced by longstanding, short-sighted U.S. intervention in Mexico and Central America. And those same fears—fear of displacement and of unfamiliar cultures—have been fanned for political gain into flames of hatred from the embers of the World Trade Center by the restrictionist movement and the federal government.

As the local Shenandoah paper noted in a recent editorial:

[T]his tragic incident is not so much about who is responsible for America’s failed immigration policy as it is about the right of human beings to — live.

If only this message could be communicated to the rest of the country. The emerging Sanctuarysphere is willing to try.

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