The US missile that struck al-Majalah in 2009 reportedly killed 41 people, more than half of them children. If the US government and public are so willing to gloss over this collateral and, by denying and concealing it, essentially label children terrorists, who in Yemen is safe? Perhaps this is the most straightforward interpretation of his statement: if even children can be targets, nobody is innocent enough to be safe. The family of the eight year-old boy killed at the Marathon finish line, and many others in Boston, now know this fear all too well.
Because of the United States’ racially tinged “global war on terror,” people around the world face such fear daily:
Those living under drones have to face the constant worry that a deadly strike may be fired at any moment, and the knowledge that they are powerless to protect themselves. These fears have affected behavior. The US practice of striking one area multiple times, and evidence that it has killed rescuers, makes both community members and humanitarian workers afraid or unwilling to assist injured victims. Some community members shy away from gathering in groups, including important tribal dispute-resolution bodies, out of fear that they may attract the attention of drone operators. Some parents choose to keep their children home, and children injured or traumatized by strikes have dropped out of school. Waziris told our researchers that the strikes have undermined cultural and religious practices related to burial, and made family members afraid to attend funerals. (Living Under Drones)
As Farea Al-Muslimi testified to a Senate Committee last week after a drone attack on his village in Yemen: “This fear permeates our country and it is shared by the youngest and oldest Yeminis. A middle age man from Rada’a, in central Yemen, said in an interview recently: “In the past, mothers used to tell their kids to go to bed or I will call your father. Now, they say, ‘Go to bed or I will call the planes.’”
The man grieves his community’s losses. While his tone was not threatening, anger is a natural part of the grieving process. His statement raises the concern that the US government’s continued killing of children and innocent civilians will create anger that ferments into hate, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy of terrorism.
Take it from a Stanford/NYU study: “The number of “high-level” targets killed as a percentage of total casualties is extremely low—estimated at just 2%.
Monday night, I joined about 200 other bicyclists for a costumed Halloween bike ride through Boston. A friend and I dressed up as militant cyclists, complete with gas masks (which we tested for visibility before joining the pack of riders). We greatly enjoyed the 3 hour ride through Jamaica Plain, Longwood, Fenway, the Back Bay, the Financial District, Chinatown, Cambridge, Harvard, Brighton, and Brookline. Despite the traffic jams our group caused, drivers for the most part enjoyed the show; much of the honking seemed quite friendly and was accompanied by shouts of “Happy Halloween!”
Costumed riders meeting at Green St.
Taking over the streets
Militant bicyclist on the Southwest Corridor
Militant bicyclist at South Station
Generated by Facebook Photo Fetcher
A video of the ride is below. I make brief appearances at 0:09 (a silhouette with a gas mask in the foreground) and 3:35 (ringing my bike bell).
MBTA Route 73 Bus to Mt. Auburn in the Harvard Bus Tunnel
I spent the first half of fall break in Boston. Other than a quick overnight earlier this fall, this was my first chance to spend time there since the summer of 2008 when I worked with ACE. Overall, despite the ten hours it took me to travel from Swarthmore to Somerville (thumbs down for Bolt Bus, thumbs up for Megabus), it was a great trip. I got a chance to catch up with ACE and spend time with a number of friends from high school and college. I also had some great Indian food, made it to Kimball’s, watched the undefeated Tufts water polo team play their alumni game, and rode the Silver Line to South Station on its first day of operation. And I hopped on an Amtrak train to head back down south before the snow started. Pictures from my trip to Boston are below:
At a press conference on Friday, Governor Patrick announced a broad set of goals for transportation funding and reforms. Although the proposed six cents per gallon of new gas tax revenue dedicated to the MBTA may not be enough pay down the $2.7 million backlog of system maintenance and repair, the Governor’s plan is a step in the right direction. [Read More]… Read the rest
It’s been a great baseball season. Since May, I’ve been to Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, and Angel Stadium (the most baseball I’ve ever seen live during a summer). The postseason will be enjoyable because I’ll be rooting hard against the Dodgers, and for the Cubs, Phillies, and Angels. I want the Angels to take it all, and they have a good shot at doing so. They have the best record in the MLB, and K-Rod has been racking up the saves. Even though the Angels haven’t won a playoff game against the Red Sox since two years before I was born, I’m hoping they can score some wins against the Socks across the river from where I lived this summer.
Lights at Fenway Park from my bedroom window in Cambridge
The Globe recently published an article about broad community support for the Green Line extension to Somerville. Community members are still fighting about the details, with a less than ideal amount of NIMBYism, but the project is moving ahead. It’s about time, as this project has been in the pipeline for a while. I wish it had been in place this summer, since it would have greatly reduced my travel time to Grace Episcopal Church in Medford. Unfortunately, it has taken a lawsuit filed by the cities of Somerville and Medford and work from groups like STEP to get the state and the MBTA to fulfill their Big Dig mitigation obligations.… Read the rest
I’m all for a new transit line. Hopefully, it will draw people away from their cars and onto public transit. But the Urban Ring is going to be Bus Rapid Transit (or as some mocking call it, “Barely Rapid Transit”). Since the Silver Line debuted in 2002, I’ve wary of the whole concept. I’m still not entirely sold on the idea of a bus being considered rapid transit.
My last weekend in Boston was great. It involved a goodbye party with people from work, Mama Mia!, Stick It (the Bring it On of Gymnastics), an all nighter, pancakes, the baseball exhibit at the Museum of Science, a trip to Faneuil Hall, sailing, roller derby, my last Sunday at Grace Church, and almost 40 miles of walking. It was a nice way to end my summer in Boston.