On June 4th, Common Dreams’ lead story is titled, “‘This Isn’t Going Away’: Defying Curfews and Police Brutality in Relentless Push for Justice, Uprising Over Killing of George Floyd Keeps Growing.”
The same day, I received a mass email from Jee Leong Koh, a Singaporean poet living in Harlem. In an 800-word statement about the ongoing protest, riot and looting, there’s this passage:
The destruction of property during this American uprising is not at all senseless. Born out of unheeded rage, it is actually very purposeful. If you are systematically excluded, exploited, or discriminated against in the economy, it is logical that you would smash shop windows in order to be heard and set police cars on fire in order to be seen.
If Koh or his family owned a store that had been looted, I doubt he would find such destruction so logical and purposeful.
On May 28th, ESPN’s Chris Martin Palmer quote tweeted a photo of a six-story building in flames, “Burn that shit down. Burn it all down.”
On May 31st, Palmer tweeted, “They just attacked our sister community down the street. It’s a gated community and they tried to climb the gates. They had to beat them back. Then destroyed a Starbucks and are now in front of my building. Get these animals TF out of my neighborhood. Go back to where you live.”
Checking the news from Philadelphia, my old city, I found out a Rite Aid was looted for 15 hours straight. The local ABC newscast aired a FaceBook rant by Rashan Howard, “I need somebody to please explain to me how this represents getting justice for George Floyd. And you want to know why they don’t put supermarkets in black neighborhoods! This is why.”
That sort of bluntness almost never makes it on air, and unsurprisingly, the online version of the story omits the bit about supermarkets in ghettos.
In Kensington, a tiny drug store was also targeted by looters. On ABC, owner Catherine Tiang said, “I haven’t cried yet, it’s been really stressful.”
Her employee, Donna Knowles, added, “I thought about our patients. Oh my God, what are they going to do to get their medication? They depend on us.”
Block captain Hank Meleski Jr. summed up, “We try to stay together. We want to keep it as nice as we can here ’cause we live here.”
I’ve written about Kensington repeatedly, and know it reasonably well. (When a Philadelphia Inquirer reporter wanted to profile a Kensington bar, she asked me to guide her.) With its factories in ruins, many houses boarded up and junkies nodding on sidewalks, Kensington is a neighborhood that scares even those from Camden, NJ.
People only live or do business in Kensington because they can’t afford anywhere else. They’re the downtrodden you’ve heard so much about, and yet, their takes on race, blacks and cops don’t conform to what you’ve learnt from your Marxist professors.
Most non-black urban poor love cops! And not from some weird sentimentality, ideology or perversion, but because these donut chompers protect them, daily, from criminals, of which way, way too many are black.
These poor live near or work with blacks, ride with them on buses, and, compared to the middle and upper classes, are much more likely to date, marry or have black relatives. They know blacks from direct experiences, so treat them like individuals.
By contrast, too many of the more affluent and refined see blacks as just helpless victims of white racism, so even their worst acts, murdering, raping or, just recently, pummeling old white men and women at a nursing home, can be explained away as natural consequences of this injustice, which isn’t just systemic, but likely eternal, for whites are naturally racist, you see. They’re born guilty.
Three of the last five Philly mayors were black, and over a third of Philly cops are black, including the one who broke up a mugging against me, near the corner of 11th and South in 1992. Dude had a hammer, but I stalled him long enough to not get brained. After the conviction, the cop thanked me, “We’ve had him in here seven or eight times, but this is his first conviction.”
The street violence across America has hardened attitudes on all sides, so there are no winners except for America’s rulers, and I mean the real ones, not their political puppets. No matter how many bricks are thrown, windows broken, stores looted and people injured or killed among protestors and cops, they and their stock portfolios are safe, or so they think.
The current mayhem is not just spontaneous, but elaborately planned out, with bricks delivered, hidden weapons placed at intervals, communication across conflict theater via walkies talkies, scouts and even supply lines.
While some of this sophistication may be grassroots, it’s sensible to suspect there are also deep pockets and professional organization behind it, and unless the state investigates this angle, I will speculate that it is the culprit.
Generating chaos and hatred, America’s rulers reinforce all the worst charges against their divided subjects, such as blacks are lawless, cops are racist psychopaths and disgruntled young people are Antifa terrorists. As for the destruction of the country, this too is consistent with their long-term plan.
I’ve said that Mexico needs the wall more than the US, to prevent panicking Americans from fleeing into it, so short of escaping, Americans should organize and prepare themselves to stake out liberated zones. Those who don’t think they’re in a war are dead meat.
The following coronavirus missives come from Vung Tau, where I’m still hoping to return, and Philly, which I might just see again.
Jim B., a 63-year-old American expat since 1982, working in oil and gas. Originally from Little Rock, Ark, he has lived and worked in the UK, Norway, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.
I flew into Tan Son Nhat from Kuala Lumpur on the 16th March, not realizing the shit storm that was enveloping the world. I got through the medical check by the skin of teeth without being forced into quarantine in an Army barracks. Apparently that happened later in the day. I spent a nervous few days waiting to be hauled out of my apartment where I was self-quarantining, but they never came for me although I was on the CV19 database.
After that Vung Tau was pretty much like everywhere else with social distancing and the like. Still going out with masks and stocking up on booze which got me through the boring times. There were also a couple of times I was cursed as a Tây [Westerner] as at one point it was perceived that most of the new cases were from tourists coming in from other countries. That has all quieted down as it has been demonstrated that even repatriated Vietnamese are bringing it in as well.