Gelhaus Returns to the Streets - Protest Saturday, Aug. 16

A protest has been called for 1:00 P.M., tomorrow Saturday, Aug. 16th in light of the announcement that Deputy Sheriff Erick Gelhaus, 13-year-old Andy Lopez’ killer, will be returned to patrol duty. The protest will take place in front of the Sheriff’s Dept. at 2796 Ventura Ave. in Santa Rosa.

In the wake of the murder of Michael Brown by a policeman in Ferguson, Missouri, many in the United States are finally becoming aware of the extent of police brutality. But residents of Sonoma County, where sixty-four people have died in encounters with police and deputies or while in their custody since 2000, have long been aware of the militarization of the mindset of law enforcement.

District Attorney Jill Ravitch decided not to pursue charges against Gelhaus after releasing the results of an investigation designed, from the start, to exonerate Gelhaus. The investigation, which cost the county $63,000 above staff payroll, failed to ask very basic questions and relied on the work of William Lewinski, director of the Force Science Institute. “He’s the guy police departments go to when they are forced to defend an indefensible shooting,” says Oakland defense attorney, Michael Haddad, “Lewinski will find a way to exonerate the officer.”

Returning Gelhaus, who “feared for his life” when faced with a 13-year-old with a toy gun, to the streets is a reckless and disrespectful act on the part of the Sheriff’s Dept. Residents of Sonoma County will express their displeasure tomorrow.

Palestinians Express Solidarity With the People of Ferguson

We the undersigned Palestinian individuals and groups express our solidarity with the family of Michael Brown, a young unarmed black man gunned down by police on August 9th in Ferguson, Missouri. We wish to express our support and solidarity with the people of Ferguson who have taken their struggle to the street, facing a militarized police occupation.

From all factions and sectors of our dislocated society, we send you our commitment to stand with you in your hour of pain and time of struggle against the oppression that continues to target our black brothers and sisters in nearly every aspect of their lives.

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National Moment of Silence 2014 - Courthouse Square, Santa Rosa

"I am Andy Lopez! Don't shoot!"

NMOS14 on Mendocino Ave.

Frank Saiz explaining panels with the names of those in Sonoma County who have been killed by law enforcement.

l to r - Susan Chuncho, Clifton Buck-Kaufman, Eszter Freeman

Larry Harper and Terra Freedman

Frank Saiz and the panels

Gaza = Guernica

10 Ways Racism Killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner

Racism is not an opinion. Racism is a fact. 

The reality of the color line, how whiteness is a type of material and psychological privilege, and that people of color are disadvantaged in American society, are among the most repeated findings in all of the Social Sciences. 

Critics of white supremacy and white racism work from the reasonable and informed belief—given the mountains of empirical data in support of the claim—that racism is one of the most powerful social forces in the United States. White racism deniers, and those others who have perverted the notion of “colorblindness” in order to advance and protect white supremacy as one of the United States' dominant ideologies, proceed from the opposite assumption. 

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Ferguson, Missouri: From Outrage to Rebellion

A young Black man has again been killed by the cops. Now a rebellion is growing in Ferguson, Missouri.

In 1968, weeks before his own assassination sparked rebellions across the country, Dr. King explained that “a riot is the language of the unheard.” He blamed the government that fails to address the “intolerable conditions” of racism, poverty and inequality. The 1968 report of the President’s own Kerner Commission came to the same conclusion about the social conditions that cause “riots.”

They shot 13-year old Andy Lopez in Santa Rosa, Calif. They shot Alejandro Nieto in San Francisco. They shot James Boyd in Albuquerque. They murdered Eric Garner in New York. There is a new cop killing or act of racist, anti-people brutality essentially every day in this country.

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Bombs Are Medication For Guilt, Not Peace, In Iraq

"Putting U.S. troops back in Iraq, while assuaging our well deserved and well earned feelings of national and personal guilt, will put Americans once again in the middle of a religious, sectarian civil war. As with so many modern wars, a solution lies not in violence, but in accommodation; not in division, but in unification; and not in killing, but in compromise."

Link to the article by Matthew Hoh. Hoh, now a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy, served with the U.S. Marine Corps in Iraq and on U.S. Embassy teams in both Afghanistan and Iraq He was subsequently appointed Senior Civilian Representative of the U.S. government for Zabul Province in Afghanistan. Five months into his year-long contract in 2009, Hoh resigned and became the highest-ranking U.S. official to publicly renounce U.S. policy in Afghanistan. Hoh was awarded The Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling in 2010.

The children of Gaza - video

On Men and War: Misogyny and racism run parallel to Israel's militarism


"Dealing w/ Hamas is like dealing w/ a crazy woman who's trying to kill u - u can only hold her wrists so long before you have to slap her.." tweeted American comedian and satirist, Bill Maher, who's once again, even in jest managed to demonstrate his worldly ignorance and bigotry. 

This presumed progressive continuously picks on women and ridicules Muslims and other people at the receiving end of power. He argues, rather ignorantly, that all religions are bad, but Islam is worse than the rest.

One dismayed writer responded to Maher with stunned incredulity, "So much sexism packed into one tweet!" adding: "his Israeli-Palestinian conflict commentary is dumb." Amen. 

Bill Maher and his ilk are either indifferent or refuse to see the full picture. They can't see how the "crazy woman" is merely resisting rape under the gun; how a military occupation, like rape, is a horrific forceful violation, whether it involves one person or an entire people.  It's just not funny. 


But then, idiocy, misogyny, vulgarity, and racism are not uncommon bedfellows. And these are mostly, but not exclusively the specialities of men, and in this case western men.

Misogyny and racism

Sadly, when it comes to this war, there are more than a few American and Israeli Mahers. Like-minded misogynists in Israel are usually thrilled by the war and amused by the abuse of women.

David Sheen reports that the city council of the coastal city of Or Yehuda hung a public banner that read: "Israeli soldiers, the residents of Or Yehuda are with you! Pound their mother and come back home safely to your mother." 

Such voices also make it to the mainstream Israel media and academia. Mordechai Kedar, a lecturer from Bar IIan University, told Israelis during a live radio broadcast that if Israel threatens to dispatch agents to rape a Palestinian militant's mother or sister as retribution for his crimes, it would serve as an effective deterrent. 


Inside Story - The US and Israel: A strained relationship?

Similar misogyny and racism was also expressed on social media with Gaza portrayed as an erotic woman to be violated.

This projection of male domination into collective violence and hatred through terrible physical abuse is widespread in the United States and Israel. In the latter, 61 percent believe that forced sex on an acquaintance is permissible. Indeed, Chris Hedges, in his two recent contributions: War is a Force That Gives us Meaning and Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle, attempts to understand why support for war is so pervasive and how for men, war and pornography are intertwined. In both cases, violence or abuse is endemic.

"Porn has always primarily involved the eroticisation of unlimited male power, but today it also involves the expression of male power through the physical abuse, even torture, of women. Porn reflects the endemic cruelty of our society. This is a society that does not blink when the industrial slaughter unleashed by the United States and its allies kills hundreds of civilians in Gaza or hundreds of thousands of innocents in Iraq and Afghanistan." 

It's estimated that porn makes up as high as a third of all online traffic; users spend more than double or triple the time on porn sites than on average news site. One major porn site generates 4.4 billion page views a month, more traffic than the most popular sports channel, ESPN or CNN. The same goes for the pervasiveness of violence and its glorification in cinema and other forms of entertainment - a subject for another day.

Abuse of women in Israel isn't limited to political slogans. Former Israeli President Moshe Katsav was indicted for sexual harassment, and as Sheen reports, two potential presidential candidates, Silvan Shalom and Meir Sheetrit, were both accused of committing serious sex crimes during the presidential election campaign.   

No wonder, the feminist and the peace movements have long been mutually inclusive and intertwined causes.

As for the Palestinian women, the suffering has been too great to imagine and gets even worse with each and every war. They are at the centre of the family, the community and the nation. And it's they who tend to bear the brunt of the consequences of wars and violence. As the scholar Hamid Dabashi commented recently, nothing can express the terrible ordeal of children than "the reflection of their terror on the face of their grieving mothers."

That's not lost on other women, no less in the United States where a majority of men polled reckon Israel is justified in its offensive against Gaza. A recent Gallup poll shows that greater number among women and youth, believe Israel is not justified in its war in Gaza. Only a minority among the two demographics think the opposite. This is particularly important considering the government and mainstream US media are terribly slanted towards Israel.

As the Canadian writer, Naomi Klein noted two decades ago: "So long as Israel continues to usurp Palestine, it will be a country with racism and misogyny at the core of its being. Until this brutality ends, Israel is a country with blood on its hands and on its profile. […] Women's concerns about rape and brutality are considered trivial when men are busy worrying about death and war. But, in Israel, the feminist and the peace movements are closely connected."  

War is the "macho extension of diplomacy" argues the prolific Duch-Israeli military historian, Martin van Creveld, who is anything but a feminist and perhaps an anti-feminist. While he dismisses all bleeding hearts that loathe war, he reckons how, at the end of the day, war is about bored men looking for excitement.

Indeed, it's a man's war. But that's all to the reason why it's high time for women to step in and help end the horrific spectacle.

Marwan Bishara is the senior political analyst at Al Jazeera. 

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.