(My apologies to readers for the lack of posts. I have been dealing with some significant health challenges and the frustration of having spent two years largely isolation because of my autoimmune condition)
These words were spoken by a white man on CBS-one of the U.S’s largest television networks. No one corrected him from mouthing these white supremacist words. The anchors simply looked on, listened on. We live in a world when it is still okay to say this, to insist that the mass killing of brown people in Afghanistan and Iraq is permissible, excusable even necessary.
This post is not any indictment of Ukraine, nor the brave people of Kyiv who have been awarded the badge of being “more or less civilized” because they have built enough coffee shops and bars to be considered integral enough for Western civilization to defend.
This IS a post that expresses how difficult it is to realize that all that I have feared regarding the worthlessness of Brown and Black bodies in white imagination is true. For years altogether, I have written again and again about the fact that the mass deaths of Iraqis and Afghanis and Pakistanis and whoever else were meaningless to the white world. White people agreed but many rolled their eyes-the extermination of “Islamist terror” in their minds required such killing and everyone who died was neatly imagined to be proximate enough that threat. If they didn’t say it, they thought it…all those people deserved to die.
I wish that this terrible moment, this world poised on the cusp of mass destruction, would change its ways. That it would realize, for instance, that it is not ONLY Ukrainian refugees who must be granted admission into Europe but all the other migrants from Syria and Afghanistan…those old wars now conveniently forgotten. This is not at all what is happening. Even as Polish authorities are allowing Ukrainians into their country, providing food and shelter,
they continue to exclude all the other Brown and Black migrants who have been languishing at their door for months and months. Those babies-we can now see in unapologetic stances-are less cute, less worthy of life. This is no longer conjecture-it is now truth.
The real enemy was always Putin. The invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were expansionist wars meant to express the sheer force of American might. The threat of “Islamist terror” was never ever as big as the disproportionate attention devoted to it, as the mass killing justified because of it. Its greatest impact was to devalue entire peoples are justly deserving of hatred. The tragedy of white people dying, “more or less civilized” cities being bombed is not only that a nuclear armed madman is targeting them, but that it reveals that it is still only white pain that motivated the world to act, to feel, to stand in solidarity.
My heart bleeds for the suffering of Ukraine. My heart also bleeds for the inalienable truth that stands exposed yet again-white lives matter. This would be a good thing if it were not for the truth that ONLY white lives matter. People can and must stand with Ukraine but they must also grapple with why they did not stand with Iraqis and Afghans who suffered in just the same way and at their hands,
They must understand that there are no civilized wars.