The memories and questions of history
The title of the book is provocative: “To End All Wars,” and the accolades found on the book’s cover from other writers convinced me I should read it. I didn’t read it all in one day, but I tried.
I thought it might be more or less a philosophical examination of war. However, it was the First World War it covered. I found it to be among the best, most thought-provoking and compelling books I’ve read in many, many years. It chronicles in detail the operation of the war, British attacks against the Sudanese in Africa and the discovery of gold.
To list all the most important events and famous people covered in the book would require many, many pages so I am merely listing a few of them.
1. Women were granted the right to vote;
2. The author, Adam Hochschild and Rudyard Kipling advocated for military conscription;
3. James Keir Hardie, anti-war socialist, editor of union newspaper;
4. Emmeline and Sylvia Pankhurst, influential women suffragists;
5. King George and Queen Mary of Britain installed as Emperor and Empress of India;
6. French and German socialists issued statements of solidarity;
7. Sylvia Pankhurst organized women to protest for voting rights;
8. More than 50,000 Germans working in Britain.
1) The billionaire class has added $308 billion to its wealth even as a record 26 million people lost their jobs.
2) Between March 18 and April 22, the wealthiest Americans’ incomes grew 10.5%.
3) Three coal companies have received $28 billion.
AT THE SAME TIME
U.S. companies like Caterpillar, Levi Strauss, Stanley Black & Decker and World Wrestling Entertainment are still rewarding shareholders while thousands of their laid-off workers are filing for unemployment benefits.
As American families are struggling, war profiteers are requesting their own bailout. The National Defense Association, a trade group for the arms industry, asked the Pentagon to speed up contracts and awards for $160 billion in unobligated funds. Nationally, more than 70 percent of jobless Americans did not receive unemployment benefits in March.
Why were there riots in Minneapolis?
The New Yorker magazine occasionally runs an article that is a barn burner. Years ago, it published a long article by John Hersey about the bombing of Hiroshima that fit the same category. There’s no way I could do justice to another New Yorker article. So instead, I’m offering you a smattering from it. It’s titled “The Uprising” and has to do with the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis policeman as three other policemen observed.
The average median income of Black residents in the Twin Cities is less than half that of whites, and though about 75 percent of white families own their homes, only about a quarter of Black families do. The Black community makes up about a fifth of the white. Unemployment is more than twice as high for Black residents. A 2015 investigation by the American Civil Liberties Union found that Black people in Minneapolis were nearly nine times more likely than whites to be arrested for low-level offenses such as trespassing or public consumption of intoxicants.
In 2007, five high-ranking Black officers sued the department, alleging pervasive institutional racism, including death threats signed “KKK” that were sent to every Black officer through the departmental mail system. The city settled the lawsuit out of court. Patterns of bias have been accompanied by a culture of impunity. An analysis by Reuters of officer misconduct claims of nearly a decade found that 90 percent of claims resulted in no consequence. The only Minneapolis officer in recent history to have been sentenced to jail for killing someone was Mohamed Noor, who shot and killed Justine Damond.
Residents of the 38th Street and Chicago Avenue neighborhood, who were interviewed, had very negative attitudes about the police, claiming they filed false reports and lied in interviews about their behavior. There was looting of the entire neighborhood. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz attributed much of the looting to outsiders who had driven in from other parts of the city. Leslie Redmond, president of the Minneapolis NAACP, said, “What you’re seeing in Minnesota is something that’s been a long time coming. I can’t tell you how many governors I’ve sat down with and we’ve warned them that if you keep murdering Black people, this city will burn.” The looting and destruction of buildings continued through the night.
In conclusion, the situation provoked talk of change and improved relationships. The four policemen were charged: one with second degree murder and the other three with aiding and abetting. The Minneapolis School Board and its parks department severed ties with the police. The Minneapolis Department of Human Rights led an investigation and moved to ban its officers from using chokeholds.
U.S. supports ongoing war against Yemen
The following information is from The Progressive magazine of June-July 2020.
The U.N. reports a death toll of 100,000 in Yemen’s ongoing war, plus 131,000 dying from hunger, disease and a lack of medical care. At least 85,000 children have died from extreme hunger since the war began in 2015. Also involved were the rebels, the Houthis, who constitute 70 percent of Yemen’s population. Of course, the United States is involved. In 2019, it was reported that 11 states and the District of Columbia have each exported more than $100 million worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. On a monthly basis, Saudi Arabia’s state-owned shipping company, Bahri, sends cargo ships to U.S. ports to collect bombs, grenades, cartridges and defense-related aircraft.
I am sure Americans would prefer that their tax dollars be spent on causes that benefit people, be they Yemenis, Houthis, or Saudi Arabians, rather than those that destroy life.