Saw the Tyler Perry movie “A Madea Family Funeral” yesterday. Perry must spend too much time with white people in Hollywood because the film is a cornucopia of Black stereotypes that make Black culture look positively foolish. It seems impossible to go lower, but this film is a step down from Black exploitation films. One could say Perry is squandering his talents but it’s likely he would be unable to make films if he did not produce such a mockery of Black life.

Omar Abdullah, the official who authorized the use of pellet guns in Kashmir, called stone pelters “goons.” By which he meant young, unarmed fearless freedom fighters, not these guys with AK-47s throwing rocks at protesters.

Despite being in treatment for cancer, Irish human rights activist Micheal Clinton continues to admin several human rights groups for Palestinians, Kashmiris, Rohingya, Uyghur, Syrians, & any sustaining war, occupation, genocide. Please keep him in your thoughts & prayers that he recover fully & soon.

This is a lovely video of a little guy dancing for joy after getting his new prosthetic leg. His exuberance should not distract us from the fact that he, like thousands of other Afghans, lost his limb due to a landmine which the Soviet & US military occupations have scattered all over Afghanistan. It’s estimated there are 640,000 unexploded landmines in the country.

No final word yet on whether Madonna will honor BDS by not performing at Eurovision 2019 which begins on the 14th. No one should hold their breath since she once gushed to Shimon Peres that she was “in love with Israel.” That was after Israel’s 2008-2009 murderous bombing campaign over Gaza but before its 2012 & 2014 bombing onslaughts of which she is certainly aware because BDS activists have made her so. That she is even considering a performance at Eurovision speaks to her venality.

Her 2012 “Concert for Peace” in Tel Aviv featured blood splattered on a giant video screen, Nazi insignia, & an AK-47 pointed at the audience. She told the cheering audience, from which Palestinians were excluded, that “You can’t be a fan of mine & not want peace in the world. People of all walks of life, we’re all sons & daughters of the universe & human beings. We all bleed the same color. We all want to love & be loved. It’s easy to say, ‘I want peace,’ it’s another thing to do it. … No conflict can ever be resolved by causing pain to another human being.” Come again, Madonna!? The unfortunate woman is committed to provocation but Nazi insignia is completely inappropriate as demeaning to the millions who died in the holocaust & to Palestinians who are being subjected to colonialism, apartheid, & genocide by an army stuffing AK-47s in their faces & bombing them to smithereens.

Madonna has a chance this time to do the right thing, to act on that “sons & daughters of the universe” thing she espouses. Let’s hope she chooses justice.

(Photo is Madonna with Shimon Peres in 2007 when she visited Israel for a Kabbalah event & had a private meeting with Peres.)

At a rally in Florida, where Trump was talking about how to handle refugees attempting to cross the southern US border, he laughed when a redneck audience member shouted “shoot them.” How much longer before inciting racists & nationalists to violence is prosecuted & he is impeached? I am always opposed to censorship to protect the Bill of Rights for us but that does not include those who cry “fire” in a crowded theater or public officials inciting others to vigilante violence.

The American-born former Israeli ambassador to the US Michael Oren is calling for escalated military action against Gaza after Eurovision 2019 ends on the 18th. Last Sunday, he tweeted: “Right after our holidays & Eurovision, Israel must evict Hamas from Gaza. The US should back us militarily & diplomatically &, together with Arab states, commit to Gaza’s renewal. Peace in the region is impossible with Hamas in Gaza. Israel is ready to act.” What insularity & supremacist delusions from a creep born in upstate New York who only moved to Israel in 1979 (when he was 24-years-old) calling casually for the forcible removal of Palestinians who have lived in Palestine for thousands of years. It’s exactly like those of Irish ancestry calling for reclaiming & bombing the Rhineland from whence our ancestors came three thousand years ago.

Trump’s pardon of US Army Lt. Michael Behenna for the war crime of stripping, interrogating, & executing Iraqi Ali Mansur Mohamed in 2008 is not a new low point in US military justice. It’s the way war crimes are handled by the US government, if they’re prosecuted at all & most of them certainly are not. Keep in mind that the US spends considerable effort, especially in Iraq & Afghanistan, forcing even puppet regimes to negotiate security agreements giving US soldiers immunity for war crimes. (It’s similar to India’s Armed Forces Special Powers Act giving Indian soldiers in Kashmir immunity from prosecution for war crimes.)

A military court originally sentenced Behenna to 25 years but that was reduced to 15 & he was released after five. It’s a surprise he served any time at all. In 1971, a military court sentenced Lt. William Calley to life in prison for the mass murder of over 500 Vietnamese men, women, & children at the 1968 My Lai massacre. The military tried for two years to cover it up but because of the persistence of the helicopter crew which intervened to stop the massacre, it was eventually made public. Calley ended up serving three years under house arrest when then-president Nixon reduced his sentence. In 2013, Sgt. Robert Bales was sentenced by a military court to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the 2012 massacre of 16 Afghan civilians. He remains in jail but it is only a matter of time before his sentence is also commuted. If the US prosecutes & punishes soldiers for war crimes, fewer would be willing to carry out their duties during war.

What came out from the My Lai massacre investigation is that war crimes are the very nature of wars & not at all a rare occurrence. Seymour Hersh, then a NY Times journalist, became a celebrity for breaking the story but it was primarily the tenacious, outraged helicopter crew who got it publicized & prosecuted. Hersh toured the campuses & had to be repeatedly corrected by antiwar activists for blaming the massacre on the psychological derangement of Lt. Calley, completely leaving out the culpability of the US government for conducting the war in the first place.

(Photo of My Lai massacre by Ronald S. Haeberle)

“Next Fall onwards I will drop my son to a middle school everyday. My son tells me he knows the active shooter drills and the lockdown drills. He knows how to tilt his desk to create a shield, push the teacher’s desk to block the classroom door, use backpacks as blocking devices, and strategically hide in the corners and closets. He explains these tactics with utmost nonchalance and normalcy, as if these are same as his science homework. Why am I not assured? Why it feels like a war zone? I, after-all, live in the United States of America!”

–Dhrubodhi Mukherjee