Part of the problem we face in America is we don’t really want to deal with problems that are unpleasant and involve malfeasance on our part. Instead we hope either the people we have aggrieved will forget our indiscretions, read oppression, disappear completely as a result of it, or be bought off . African-Americans occupy the first group of those, America wishes/hopes will forget all the years of her misplaced anger and rage ; native Americans are the second group that has almost vanished from the face of the earth and Asian Americans are the third group of people, bought off with the largesse of a bloated federal government which hoped could avenge the sins of World War II and the holocaust inflicted on Asians the world over. In every case excuses were made to justify the oppression reigned down on unsuspecting and innocent peoples.
The current group of people to be targetted, Muslims and Arabs, can look back at their predecessors of America’s racist gauntlet and be assured the driving force of America’s oppression against them today is indeed racism. No where was that more apparent to me than while reading and coming across the picture below of a black American in the ’30s tied up in what would today be called a “stress position”; it so reminds me of the the position people in Guantanamo Bay say they were tied up in and artist rendering of their accounts underscore that point. Why is it America is reaching back into its past to use techniques it once used to oppress its racial minorities on today’s victim of her scourge? Check out the similarities in torture applied to black American citizens in the early 20th century to those applied to Arab/Muslim Americans today.
America’s response to the events of the early part of this century is to react in much the same way it has always reacted when confronted with people who are different than itself; that is to say strike out blindly and irrationally while inciting its citizens to accept some of the most ruthless and brutal acts against fellow human kind known to man. It doesn’t matter that American citizens are the targets of such rage; they have always been in some form or another. What does matter however is that once past victims are now known to engage in this brutality; the ancestors of slaves are as quick to follow torture’s road to perdition as former slave owners’ ancestors with much the same fury and hatred. America has a fresh history of this disease and should have found the cure for it by now; it certainly should not have struck off on a path that takes this country right back down the same errant road it travelled. Our eager to forget that path is what has put us back on it. As the saying goes, if we don’t learn from history we are doomed to repeat it and in so doing become simply doomed.