What are the origins of violence in our society? As we witness so much death and bloodshed - do things have to be this way? Can we stop the bloodshed?
The great deal of violence, as we witness it (being based in the United States and having many friends from Palestine), is caused by Capitalism and Zionism, and also by white, male supremacist ideologies in the service of Capitalism and Zionism. Those who feel entitled to land, food, and peoples' labor act out in violence to take what they feel they are entitled to. Its the origins of the violence in Palestine, its what has led to the killing of millions in Iraq, and its part of the foundation of the United States.
Amidst all the violence, we must refuse to be afraid, and learn to love and trust others. If we recognize why violence happens, and who is responsible, we can build communities of love and support, and tear down the walls and ideas that divide us.
Last Friday, James Holmes fired into a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 and wounding dozens more. The story has grabbed headlines across the world, prompting calls for stricter gun laws, more guns for citizens, and more to be done for mental health.
But this was not the only story of violence and killing in the last week.
In fact, the day after the killing in Colorado, after President Obama expressed his condolences to those who were killed, he ordered a drone strike in Pakistan, killing 10.
The revolution in Syria continues, as Bashar al Assad's grip on power is becoming weaker. Last Wednesday, three close cabinet members in the Defense Ministry of Assad's regime were murdered by a suicide bombing. The attack seems to have been an inside job, and suggests the tenable hold Assad has and the changing perceptions of the Assad regime by former loyalists.
Assad has fled the capital of Damascus to the coastal resort town of Latakia, and there are rumors that his wife, , has fled to Russia.
But the massacres continue throughout Syria, from Aleppo to Damascus.
The Local Coordinating Committees (LCCs) have been organizing demonstrations from the beginning of the revolution of Syria, and are now providing basic services such as picking up trash, in addition to saving lives. You can follow them on Twitter for the latest.
Over the weekend, Anaheim police shot and killed two people, Manuel Diaz and Joel Acevedo, and the community responded in outrage, and then their protests were met with a crackdown and more police violence. A video circulating shows police dogs attacking babies, and police firing rubber bullets and bean bags almost indiscriminately, also injuring children.
The two killings over the weekend continue a trend reported by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, which says that in the first 6 months of 2012, 110 people of color were targeted and killed in extra-judicial assassinations by police and enforcement officers.
That is one killing every 36 hours by police in the United States.
The lack of justice - and the persecution and oppression of communities of color - is inextricably linked with poverty and Capitalism. According to the 2010 US Census, the median net worth of whites is $110,729; the median net worth of blacks is $4,955, and for latinos it is $7,424. This affects access to essential resources such as food, medical care, education, and politics. In the wake of the Citizens United decision by the US Supreme Court, individuals and corporations can contribute unlimited amounts of money to politics. Just this week, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont released the list of the top 26 contributing individuals who are billionaires, suggesting major influence and distortion of politics by money and corporate interests.
With all of this war, poverty, and violence, can we find alternatives? Can we support those who hurt the most, and build communities based on love? Humanity and the earth depend upon it.