Message of love is disrupted by bellicose voices

By Carlton Joseph

Let me confess that I am not a fan of the monarchy because I refuse to accept that anyone can enter this world and without any individual enterprise  be endowed with such extreme privilege.  You could be born totally brain dead and be a prince, princess or whatever royal designation they decide and the public must to take care of you and your family.  This to me is totally abhorrent.

Having stated my position, I will admit that the wedding between Harry and Meghan Markle was of interest to me, primarily because she was Black and was now entering the world of extreme privilege. She would now be given a royal title and her Black children would be operating in a totally white world. My initial reaction was that this union might do more for black-white racial relations than the past civil rights movements.

The British, one of premier colonizers, was now openly accepting that the people they had dehumanized were the ones they always secretly admired and desired.  Why else would a plantation owner leave his well groomed wife and rape a slave woman who had been toiling in the fields all day, who did not have running water to have a good bath, who did not have the soap and perfumes to make them smell fresh.  He must have had serious inferiority feelings and must have seen his wife as very undesirable when juxtaposed to this Black slave woman.

I was surprised that Markle was able to convince the monarchy that this wedding would be different in that it would feature her African American heritage.  African American Bishop, Michael Curry, delivered the main sermon about slavery, poverty and the enduring power of love.   The Kingdom Choir belted out a stirring “Stand by Me,” followed by an excellent performance from 19-year-old black British cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason.  Curry quoted Dr. Martin Luther King: ” We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love. And when we do that, we will make of this old world a new world, for love is the only way.’  “There’s power in love. Don’t underestimate it. Don’t even over-sentimentalize it. There’s power, power in love.”

After all this love and talk of love, although I must admit that this talk of love seems to be always coming from black people,  the temporary hope for improvement of race relations, and remission of the march to war is disrupted by the bellicose voices of Mike Pompeo, Mike Pence, Steve Bannon and Donald Trump.  Disrupted by the news that Israel has killed and wounded hundreds of Palestinians because they are protesting the US locating its embassy in Jerusalem.

Just when the world is looking forward to peace the US administration has decided that, even though we are the strongest nation militarily and economically, the US President believes that every treaty or trade deal that has been negotiated in the past is no longer acceptable to the US.

In Rio Bravo, Texas, a Border Patrol officer shot an undocumented immigrant in the head, killing her.  The Guardian newspaper found that Customs and Border Patrol officers were involved in nearly 100 “fatal encounters” since 2003, with the U.S. paying out more than $60 million to settle lawsuits alleging wrongful death and other illegal behavior by border guards.

In Texas, black activist, Rakem Balogun says he is the first person to be targeted and prosecuted under a secretive U.S. surveillance effort to track so-called black identity extremists. On December 12, armed FBI agents stormed his Dallas apartment and was then jailed for nearly six months without the possibility of bail as the FBI investigated him for “domestic terrorism,” in part because of his Facebook posts criticizing police brutality.  He was released earlier this month, after U.S. attorneys failed to prosecute him.

Even though Iran is in compliance with the joint nuclear agreement the US has decided to pull out of it.  Mike Pompeo remarked that after our sanctions on Iran come in force, it would be battling to keep its economy alive.  John Bolton and Pence suggested that the Libyan model should be used in North Korea.  These positions make it extremely clear that the administration is not looking to negotiate anything.  What they’re doing is putting together a strategy that is based on maximum pressure and economic warfare, combined with completely unattainable objectives, in order to force these countries into confrontation.

Trump’s decision to open the US embassy in Jerusalem prompted peaceful demonstrations by Palestinians brought on scenes reminiscent of the  ’50s and  ’60”s in the US.   Israeli forces shot dead at least 61 unarmed Palestinian protesters taking part in the Great March of Return in Gaza and more than 2,700 Palestinians were injured.  In true racist fashion, US Ambassador to the United Nations (UN), Nikki Haley, of Indian descent, refused to criticize Israel and has blocked a call for an international investigation into Israel’s actions.  Haley repeatedly blamed the violence on Hamas, while praising Israel for showing restraint.  It’s interesting to me that recently the US has been placing minorities in key positions in the UN to make decisions that are usually harmful to minorities.

My final reengagement with reality was when the US Supreme court ruled that   employers could use arbitration clauses to prohibit workers from banding together to challenge violations of federal labor laws in class-action lawsuits.  Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg read her dissent from the bench, calling the majority opinion “egregiously wrong” and saying, quote, “The court today holds enforceable these arm-twisted, take-it-or-leave-it contracts—including the provisions requiring employees to litigate wage and hours claims only one-by-one.  Federal labor law does not countenance such isolation of employees.”

This is the state of affairs for the majority of the world’s population.  Regardless of the pageantry of royal weddings, or talk of peace the world’s only super power is intent on using force top achieve its goal of global hegemony.   Trump does not care that upending the Iran treaty will bring about the single biggest alienation of the United States from its European allies since President Bush’s invasion of Iraq in 2003.  I am reminded of   British pundit Richard Quest who reminded us during the royal wedding that “This is a 1,000-year institution that constantly knows that it has to change, but it changes slowly. The change takes place evolutionary, not revolutionary. That’s how it has survived.”

The same can be said of the capitalist system.  It is determined to survive and is determined to continue the use of slave labor to ensure that the one per cent controls the wealth and the destinies of the ninety-nine per cent.

(Trinidad-born Carlton Joseph who lives in Washington DC, is a close observer of political developments in the United States.)