A (not so brief) history of hate


Since the horrific shooting of Rep. Giffords and the loss of Judge Roll, Christina Green, and four other innocent bystanders, folks have been grappling with the role of violent rhetoric in triggering the tragedy. And now the National Day Laborer Organizing Network has set up A History of Hate: Political Violence in a Rogue State to chronicle political violence and intimidation in Arizona since 1987, which is when U2’s Bono received a death threat because of his stance on Martin Luther King.

“Something strange happened toward the end of the Joshua Tree tour,” Bono noted in a 2006 interview. “We had campaigned for Martin Luther King Day in Tempe, Arizona, where the tour opened back in April. There was a governor there called Mecham who was holding out against it, and we had got involved in local politics there and took a stand. We went back to Tempe at the end of the tour, in December, to play the Sun Devil Stadium.”

“I was getting death threats throughout the tour," Bono said. "This character was a racist offended by our work, he thought we were messing in other people’s business and taking sides with the Black man. One night the FBI said: ‘Look, it’s quite serious. He says he has a ticket. He said he’s armed.’… So we played the show, the FBI were around, everyone was a little unnerved. You just didn’t know, could he be in the building?”

A History of Hate's stated mission is "collecting evidence of intolerance that have been brewing and boiling over in this country." And it's asking folks to  contribute their story to this growing archive, "so we can turn the tide from a history of hate to a future of progress."

 “Our hearts go out to the victims and their families in this horrible tragedy,” NDLON director Pablo Alvarado stated. “We mourn alongside them in part because as day laborers, we understand deeply the experience of being targeted by violent hatred and extremism. If there is one lesson from those who have built the historical rights and privileges we enjoy, it is this: hate must be confronted so it can be overcome by love. It cannot be ignored and the world needs to know,” Alvarado continued. “What Arizona needs, and what all of us need, is to confront the hard truth of our current political environment with unifying steps. After we have paused to comprehend the immeasurable tragedy in Arizona, we must now do our part to make a more just society.”

Sounds like a good idea. Hey, maybe immigrant rights advocates and the communities they represent can submit all the hate mail and death threats they regularly receive --a burden they have so far largely borne alone and in silence.




Can Bono be sure that he did not receive a death threat because U2's music had begun to really, really suck by that point?

Seriously, folks, whenever there is a universal rush by media to similar conclusions, we know we're being played.

Congresswoman Giffords is an officer of the United States Government. The USG is engaged in war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq and is enabling same in Israel/Palestine. We're talking regular mass murder, regular lethal and maiming attacks on civilians on a weekly basis.

As an officer of the USG who votes for these policies in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel and Palestine, she is uniquely responsible in a legal sense for these crimes, for the violence being visited against civilians.

As Ward Churchill has documented in "On the Justice of Roosting Chickens," and "The Most Peace Loving of Nations," and as Chomsky and Herman have documented in "Manufacturing Consent," the predominant notions echoed by the US media are that violence is only wrong when it happens here against Americans but tolerable when Americans do it abroad against global southerners and that certain victims are worthy and certain unworthy.

Violence is always wrong, whether directed against a member of the US congress, the Afghan, Iraqi, Israeli, Palestinian or Pakistani parliaments or against civilians.

Would that the US media gave equivalent coverage to the stories behind the piles of corpses that our tax dollars accumulate that are deemed unworthy victims as they do to those who are deemed worthy.

Here's another: In this instance, we've got a direct nexus between a member of Congress and a record of voting for violence. I assume that a Jewish Democrat member of Congress is a "friend of Israel." Even though not all of we Jews are zionists, non-zionist members of Congress are all but unheard of.

Yet the violence visited on her is decried. How many instances are there when those with little or no nexus to violence or power, for that matter, not to mention race or class privilege, are on the receiving end of violence, either from the state or community, but whose suffering and deaths are breezily dismissed as having probably been guilty anyway and as such deserved it?

I'm not saying that anyone deserves to be killed, but any member of Congress is most likely guilty of repeat violations of the Nuremburg Principles, binding international law. If they're probably guilty anyway, so goes the standard, then what's the big deal if someone takes them out, by the standard of their government? I don't buy that argument, but an officer of the US Government doesn't get to have it both ways.


Posted by marcos on Jan. 13, 2011 @ 3:31 pm

I'm pretty sure the point of the History of Hate project is to document ALL hate crimes, whoever they are against. And, in the large majority of cases, the targets aren't famous musicians (sucky compositions notwithstanding) nor are they politicians. So, I get your point, Marcos, it seems a bit off target here.

Posted by sarah on Jan. 13, 2011 @ 3:36 pm

Please tell me you're not going to jump on the bandwagon of blaming the Republican Party for the Tucson murders.

That would be a new low, even by your own low standards.

Posted by Rick on Jan. 13, 2011 @ 3:56 pm

The National Association Of Strawman Arguments called and says your trophy will be at your house sometime next week.

Hopefully you won't be on your prayer rug facing Reagan's grave at the time and can be able to answer the door.

Posted by Matty on Jan. 13, 2011 @ 4:56 pm

and then you can apologize for the straw man reference. The connection was made clearly enough.

Posted by Tom on Jan. 13, 2011 @ 7:58 pm

Rick claimed that Sarah was blaming or might be implying or inferring blame onto the Republican Party, an organization not mentioned anywhere in the post or even alluded to in the post.

Therefore, whatever point you may be making is rendered entirely moot. Sarah would have to make something at least resembling an allusion to the GOP and it's not there.

See, no matter what your mind tells you, when something doesn't exist at all anywhere anyone else can see it, it isn't there--even if you believe it does.

Now I get where the love for "faith-based" comes from. Faith and facts are opposites. You don't like facts.

Posted by Matty on Jan. 13, 2011 @ 9:14 pm

I'm just pointing out that hate talk and crime aren't isolated incidents. A lot is   directed at anyone who is perceived as "alien." And that doesn't just mean "immigrants." And now it's directed at folks who supports health care reform.

Posted by sarah on Jan. 13, 2011 @ 4:46 pm

When a people are violent abroad, they will be violent at home.

It is only a big deal now because it impacts "important" white people like Bono and Giffords.

Violence directed at the powerful gains attention, and it is ignored when directed at the not powerful, "alien" has less to do with it.


Posted by marcos on Jan. 13, 2011 @ 5:14 pm

Indeed one of the most disturbing aspects of the immediate buzz around the Tuscon incident is that neo-liberal propagandists are attempting capitalize on it, and spin coverage in a way that drives garden variety liberals and conservatives in this country back into the carefully preserved false imagery that the 'parties' which represent them (the Democrats and Republicans) are the true poles of debate and public citizenship in the U.S.

I've even seen (as usual during such times) decent progressive organizations falling into the trap of taking part in this macabre narrative.

The good-cop/bad-cop Democrat/Republican mythology.

But the truth is that such horrific incidents serve the ends of both Neo-Con and Neo-Liberal manipulators who seek to separate the public into false camps and rule them with fear of eachother; along with 'terrorism', right wing nut jobs, and a return to the dreaded 'socialism!'.

Progressives need to step back and recognize such subtle and all too purposeful propaganda spin on this moment in time, and to not feed its cynical fire with fuel.

Then we need to get about the job of dismantling the murderous corporate and imperial international juggernaut that is so deeply utilizing and fetishizing violence worldwide, that incidents like the one in Tuscon are an inevitable outcome, and a fascist U.S. state like that of Nazi Germany (but with frighteningly far more power) threatens to rise as it is fed human kindling by corporate funded movements like the 'Tea Party'; such a fascist state likely a purposeful product itself, desired by the empire to give it an excuse to be even more oppressive both at home and abroad, in service of corporate ends.

It is the powerful elite that need to be brought under intense scrutiny as the true nursemaids of terrorism and right wing violence. And it is time to bring down their tyranny, before genocidal wars on myriad countries go on to dominate the 21st century as they did the 20th, and incidents like the one in Tuscon become as common as suicide bombings in Iraq and Israel; all with a potential fourth Reich, and nuclear conflict, as predictable outcomes.

We need to get conscious of this, and turn it around.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jan. 15, 2011 @ 9:15 am