American Friends Service Committee
Patrica Watson, Editor
Sara Burke, Assistant Editor
Pat Farren, Founding Editor
2161 Massachusetts Ave.
Peacework has been published monthly since 1972, intended to serve as a source of dependable information to those who strive for peace and justice and are committed to furthering the nonviolent social change necessary to achieve them. Rooted in Quaker values and informed by AFSC experience and initiatives, Peacework offers a forum for organizers, fostering coalition-building and teaching the methods and strategies that work in the global and local community. Peacework seeks to serve as an incubator for social transformation, introducing a younger generation to a deeper analysis of problems and issues, reminding and re-inspiring long-term activists, encouraging the generations to listen to each other, and creating space for the voices of the disenfranchised.
Views expressed are those of the authors, not necessarily of the AFSC.
Black America is all too familiar with suffering caused by terrorism and racial hatred
Excerpt from a commentary by Art McGee and Bill Fletcher, Jr. for BRC, the Black Radical Congress <www.blackradicalcongress.org>
It is critical in moments such as these that we as human beings fight and resist popular impulses toward scape-goating and racism. This is particularly important given the anti-Palestinian/anti-Arab/anti-Muslim bias of the media. The automatic assumption of the US media is that Palestinians specifically, and Arabs generally, are animals, or at best, fanatics with no concern for human life. Therefore, in the current situation of horror following these criminal acts, we must actively oppose any and all witch- hunting and stereotyping which is bound to emerge.
Yet another danger we face will be xenophobia and, general anti-immigrant sentiment. This will almost inevitably be directed at immigrants of color and particularly those who "look" like they might be of Middle Eastern (North African) origin. The attacks on immigrants and the condemnation of entire communities must be stopped before they escalate out of control. We already see some of this happening with numerous reports of anonymous death threats sent to Arab and Muslim institutions, as well as the spray painting of racist slogans and direct, personal threats and attacks on individuals who are assumed to be from the Middle East (North Africa). We call on all clear-thinking people to be especially vigilant at this time in making sure that in the aftermath of this tragedy, another tragedy born of pain, anger, and hatred does not occur. True anti-racism may require us to put ourselves at risk physically in order to defend Arabs and Muslims from unwarranted attacks.
Black America must not condone or be indifferent to the horrendous
loss of human life resulting from this tragedy. As a people that
has survived over 400 years of genocidal oppression on these shores,
we are all too familiar with the human suffering caused by both
terrorism and racial hatred. From the amputations, beatings, and
rapes of Chattel Slavery, to the New York City Draft Riots of
1863, to the post- Reconstruction terrorism of the Klu Klux Klan,
to the Tulsa Race Riots of 1921, to the government sponsored Counter-Intelligence
Program (COINTELPRO) of the 1960s, to the contemporary state-sanctioned
police murder and brutality we are fighting today, we as Black
people have lots of experience with the horrors of terrorism in
the US, as it has too frequently been directed against us. That
is why we must show our full and unqualified support and compassion
for all those suffering as a result of this horrible tragedy,
most of whom have come to experience terrorism for the first time,
as we continue our 400+ year struggle to rid ourselves of this
evil, both domestically and around the world.