Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Orlando killer: A deranged man struggling with his inner demons?

Omar Mateen
By Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

What a horrific scene. Who in their right mind does not condemn the murder of innocent people in Orlando on Sunday.  A close friend's son was in that very club just a month or so ago. I understand that the mentally deranged man, Omar Mateen, who carried out the massacre that killed 50 people in a gay club swore allegiance to Islamic State as he was slaughtering people. This proves nothing to me at all I'm afraid. I am told by the 1%’s media that he shouted “Allahu Akbar”  (God is great) as he killed people. This wouldn’t surprise me as Christians who hate gays would say the same thing but god in Arabic is Allah in English it is God. Arabic-speakers of all Abrahamic faiths, including Christians and Jews, use the word "Allah" to mean "God". I understand it to have origins in Aramaic.

The media says he was an American born Muslim.  The woman who supposedly murdered her three sons in Arizona was an American born Christian as far as I know but isn’t described that way. None of the people that murder others in the US on a daily basis, and most of them aren’t Muslims, are routinely described as Christians.

Coming from a religious background that condemns homosexuality as all main stream religions do, and originating from a region and a religious community that US capitalism has declared war on as part of its strategy for control of the world’s resources and markets, installing ruthless puppet regimes in the process, it should not surprise anyone that these issues would also be part of a person’s make up, a mentally stable one as well as an unstable one. No human being with a brain, outside the US that is, believes the US is in the Middle East or anywhere else in order to build free societies.

The Jewish Bible, the Old Testament and the Christian, the New Testament, consider homosexuality a perversion and a sin against their god.
And you have to exorcise demons, right?

The New Testament says that homosexuality is a “shameful lust” (Romans 1:26), a “shameful act,” an abandonment of “natural relations” (Romans 1:27), a “wrongdoing” (1 Corinthians 6:9), and “sexual immorality and perversion” (Jude 1:7). Homosexuality carries a “due penalty” (Romans 1:27), 

It is emerging that Mateen was a frequent visitor to the club and was a participant on gay websites.

But despite the reality that the main issue here may well be Mateen’s mental state and in particular his personal struggle with feelings he has that we have all been taught are immoral and unnatural, what we will be led to believe is that behind this killing is a foreign attack on US soil because people hate our free way of life and the Christian religion. It is a response to the US fighting for democracy and freedom around the world and we must continue this fight for freedom.

This is despite the fact that one regular at the club who knew Mateen and said he tried to pick up men at the club believed it possible, “….that he was trying to deal with his inner demons, of trying to get rid of his anger of homosexuality." AP.

The FBI has said that so far there is “…no indication that this was a plot directed from outside the United States, and we see no indication that he was part of any kind of network," Do not be surprised if that changes and they find one.

For the people that rule US society and own the mass media, rather than a deranged man, a wife beater who by all accounts had conflicts about his own sexuality killing people, it is much better to have a Muslim and a terrorist doing it.  Why is this?

It’s not complicated, society or the system in which we live cannot be at fault. In all the years I lived in England and the IRA were putting bombs in garbage cans and blowing up people in pubs, I never once recall the mass media use the term “terrorism” to describe the actions of the British state in Northern Ireland. It never made an issue of the infiltration of the NI police by the British state or the assassinations by the British state or the imprisonment without trial and torture of Irish Catholic resisters to British rule there, terrorists or otherwise. In fact, I never really understood why Northern Ireland was part of the UK rather than the rest of the island of which it was a part. And my ancestry is in Irish Catholicism.  I was not fully aware that prior to 1921, the British occupied the whole country and had occupied it for centuries.

It was not ingrained in my memory, as it was in the mind of an Irishman, that there had been numerous rebellions over the years aimed at driving the British out. I was aware of the home rule efforts in an electoral sense, but not the revolutionary history.

In other words, the root of IRA terrorism lay in British foreign policy. In order to understand this form of resistance to British rule, never mind eliminate it, as it often targets civilians, British rule and its history has to be understood. The Mau Mau uprising against the British led mostly by the Kikuyu has to be understood in the same way. It was not black people hating white, the uncivilized tribal monsters rejecting civilization. It was, like Ireland, an occupied colonized people opposing a powerful colonial state.  When the odds are so stacked against you, like they are against the Palestinians for example, having no planes, no ships, no mass armaments, you respond any way you can. Then you become terrorists.

The US designates any resistance to its imperialist conquest as “enemy combatants” “terrorists” “ insurgents” and its flunkies as rebels and freedom fighters. The British refused to recognize the Mau Mau rebellion as a war as to do so would have afforded them rights under the Geneva Convention. The US does the same. There are rules to war you know.

At the time, I was fooled. No more.

There’s no doubt that ISIS, whatever it is, is a nasty formation, so was the Pol Pot regime. But the US and its favorite European lapdog residing in Westminster, have no problem dealing with brutal regimes; they arm most of them. The US is also the world’s largest arms dealer.

But how did ISIS arise? I traveled all through Iraq in the 1970’s and people were great, I was treated wonderfully and they were Muslims then too.  What has changed?

The terrorist label is a very useful means of obscuring the real issues at play here. Bernie Sanders said last week how important it is for “us” to stop ISIS. He never mentioned US foreign policy which is where we should start. But why would he? He is a supporter of US foreign policy, including the drone assassinations. Do we honestly think this makes us popular around the world?

I also saw Obama answer a gun dealer on TV who was concerned about gun rights.  Obama made it clear he fully supports gun rights.  But surely, he added, there’s something wrong when a known ISIS supporter or person the FBI knows as someone who is interested in the group, can’t be stopped form getting a firearm due to lax gun laws.

So gun control is important because of terrorism. And terrorists are always foreigners and these days, generally Muslim or Middle Eastern minus the Zionists.  There we go again, gun control is important because of terrorists. Never mind that foreign “terrorists” are not responsible for most killings here.

US imperialism has been waging a decades old war against Middle Eastern regimes except those despotic regimes that share the loot, that act as guardians of western profits for a cut.  Why would Muslims not perceive these murderous wars that have destroyed Iraq as a nation state and trying to do the same in Syria, as wars against them as Muslims?  Incidentally, Robert Fisk wrote a very good article about the roots of today’s problems in the Middle East and their origins in the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the role of European colonialism

Like most gun owners I am not opposed to ensuring mentally ill people don’t get guns. But gun control and Terrorism are both smoke screens. Even if this was driven solely by what we know as "terrorism", what is behind it? US foreign policy, what the people that rule our country are doing in the rest of the world is what we must address.
I would ask working class brothers and sisters (and anyone else that wants to) to read Julian Assange’s book, The Wikileaks Files. Just read part 2 Indexing the Empire and US War Crimes and the ICC for example. The US taxpayer finances a whole network of thugs that pressure, cajole, bribe and if necessary overthrow or destabilize any regime that does not open up its markets and society to US corporations. They’re called Ambassadors, or even sillier, diplomats. Even in Europe, the US officials that our taxes pay for, aggressively push on weaker regimes, arms deals, pro-GM food policies and other issues on behalf of US corporations. What makes Assange’s book so important is that all the issues are backed up by official cables between the actors. He is in exile because he has exposed the phony diplomacy of thieves and shared the results with the masses. They become social fact.

Any society that offers some sort of alternative society, that doesn’t adopt the neo-liberal agenda where everything must be privatized and capital unrestrained, is targeted. Cuba is not a threat because it is undemocratic but because it provided a better health care system, a lower infant mortality rate and life expectancy equal to the US.  These are not accomplishments to boast about from a nation that condemns capitalism. As Assange points out, the US didn’t invade Grenada to corner the global Nutmeg trade.

Any threat to rule by the bankers, by Wall Street and the corporations must be destabilized and/or overthrown by US flunkies armed and financed by us. In Europe as well, the US role is destabilizing countries and a threat to peace. It is making us unpopular and if we don’t like that we have to own up to the fact that our government is the dominant obstacle to peace in the world today.

The hypocrisy of a minute’s silence in the US Congress, from people making laws denying civil rights to the victims of this attack. These same people bailed out the bankers at our expense, poison our communities, threw millions out of their homes in order to save their system and then had the taxpayer prop it up with socialist measures.

The two capitalist parties represent the interests of capitalists. They defend the market and the mode of production and social structure based on the market. They both make the workers and middle class pay for this crisis. On this issue their differences are a matter of degrees and expediency.

Bernie Sanders, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and the fool Donald Trump are all agreed on this. If they cared at all about American workers, instead of spending trillions defending corporate interests and capitalism abroad we would have free education.  There wouldn’t be two million in prison. Housing would be a right and homes not commodities. Health care would be provided on demand and social services would be expanded. The retirement age would be declining as would the hours we spend at work not the opposite which is what’s happening now.

And one would think that the crisis of veteran suicides would be a major daily news item, that all of them would be screaming about it. But that is not a good idea either.

The alternative to the thugs that represent us abroad, that are the face of this nation, making deals with the crooks in other countries that don’t have the big stick, is building links between workers in the different countries. In other words----international solidarity like that took place when Americans went to fight Franco’s fascists.

I realize that this is made more difficult here in the US as our socialist tradition and our militant trade union history and history of resistance to state oppression from all groups, has been suppressed. As any Native American will tell you, this killing is not the worst mass murder in US history by a long shot. We also have no party of our own and the trade union leadership’s ideology mirrors the corporate elite but with a gentler facade. Unfortunately it doesn’t change what must be done.  If you are active in the trade union movement and not engaged in an open campaign against the present leadership’s policies you are not doing your job.

Workers must not allow ourselves to be used by the calls for unity with the billionaires in Washington and war profiteers. We must not fall prey to scapegoating people. We must recognize as insulting the proclamations made by these politicians of all stripes at election time. For this election period we can vote for the Green Candidate Jill Stein. It will let the representatives of capitalism in their two parties known that we have had enough.

I learned through experience that when they make laws against their self defined terrorism, these same laws apply to everyone. They will be used against social movements, against workers on strike, against all forms of protest against injustice.

Workers must build our own movement, our own political party and put forward our own agenda.

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