SF Pride Speaks: Pained Manning Divides Gay Community
A reminder. The SF Pride board meets tomorrow, Tuesday, May 7th at 7 PM at their office located at 1841 Market Street. Hope to see you there with me.
My nudist friend Rusty Mills posted this note, that brought about the end of SF Pride's silence, at the Bay Area Reporter's story about the pro-Bradley Manning rally on April 29th outside the SF Pride office. Thanks, for Rusty, for being the person that prodded SF Pride to end their silence:
I think it's time for a change of leadership at SF Pride.
David Currie, the board's treasurer, pictured, replied:
Rusty, are you aware that we have many new board members, recently appointed, and a new CEO, Earl Plant? Pride is the largest yearly event in San Francisco. We have fought to keep it free and open to all, including those that don't agree with all our decisions. At its core, Pride is an event by and of the community. If you want to lead at pride, you can, but not from the sidelines.
What is Currie smoking? How dare he say the parade and celebration are by and of the community, when in reality SF Pride has become little more than a shill for sleazy corporations and banks, and a chance for politicians to seek votes. Currie went on to say:
As a pride board member it pains me to see the Bradley Manning issue divide us as a community.
I am gay and a liberal democrat, and to me its simple. He admitted to serious crimes which had nothing to do with his sexual orientation. Those actions put many good people, LGBT and not, in harms way. When I compare Manning's actions to those of Dan Choi, its hard for me to be sympathetic. Dan stood up for his beliefs by putting _himself_ in harms way, not by throwing his countrymen under the bus. Manning leaked those documents maliciously and in secret. Are those the actions of a whistle blower, or of someone seeking revenge?
I will also point out that Amnesty International has not stepped in to support Bradley Manning as a prisoner of conscience. My guess is that they never will.
If only Currie and his colleagues gave a damn about the pain many peace and social justice LGBT people have experienced for years, because of SF Pride's corporatization and making military and marriage the only political issues of Pride.
Speaking of dividing the community, any fool who is naive enough to think there is ever going to be unity among the millions of diverse queers who comprise the community is, well, a fool. It's woefully shortsighted of Currie to say Manning is dividing queers and totally overlook how SF Pride's chasing of corporate and banking funds, among other criticisms against the board of directors.
There’s quite an amazing documentary where Ethan McCord, one of the soldiers who was on the ground and came upon the aftermath of the “Collateral Murder” incident (the video of which Manning has now admitted he released to Wikleaks) concludes:
“I wanted to be that soldier, that hero. So I went, and realized…that there was no enemy. The only terrorists when I was in Iraq was us.”
Another part of the video, with the close-up photos of the wounded children in the van that was shot up in the “Collateral Murder” video, was also heart-wrenching:
According to McCord, he had seen far worse incidents of the slaughter of children than this, along with unfathomable callousness on the part of some of his fellow soldiers in regards to the children. In the end, McCord and two other soldiers featured in the video couldn’t take it any longer. For anyone with a scintilla of compassion, empathy, and conscience, these incidents, along with the heartlessness of some of their fellow soldiers (like the Sergeant Shirfield who McCord describes), just eats them up alive from the inside.
McCord’s statement about having witnessed far worse incidents than that recorded in the “Collateral Murder” video is consistent with Manning’s testimony to the court-martial court. Manning’s testimony was recorded and released to the press illegally, because the judge conducting the tribunal had ordered Manning’s testimony to remian secret. Manning testified that he gave Wikileaks another video that showed an incident even more disturbing than the “Collateral Murder” video from Iraq. Of the Iraqi “Collateral Murder” video, Manning said he was alarmed by the pilots’ “delightful blood lust” in the video as they conducted an air strike that killed 12 innocent Iraquis and wounded two children. Afterwards, Manning said in his testimony to the court, the pilots congratulated each other on their ability to kill and maim people so effortlessly.
Manning testified the other video showed an airstrike in the Garani Village in Farah Province, northwestern Afghanistan. In it between 100 and 150 civilians, mostly women and children, were murdered by a US aerial weapons team. He said that the incident was similar to that shown in the “Collateral Murder” video, but it was “even more disturbing” than the Iraqi event.
We seem to have come full circle back to the Vietnam era. As Martin Luther King put it: “I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without first having spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government.”
“There’s something strangely inconsistent about a nation and a press,” King continues, “that will praise you when you say, ‘Be non-violent toward Jim Clark,’ but will curse and damn you when you say, ‘Be non-violent toward little brown Vietnamese children.’ There’s something wrong with that press!”
King’s sermon can be heard here
David Currie doesn't know that "liberal democrat" is not a sterling identity. The liberal democrat -- not far enough Left -- is the one who stands by, not wanting to be "rude" toward those offering "half-support" to those who are half-way to opening the door to repression. Dan Choi is one among many, many unrecognized war resisters, but in our presence is Stephen Funk, the first soldier to refuse to serve in Iraq -- no half-way resister, another brave gay man, little recognized, who was determined to be free of any half-way turning away from "patriotic" warfare, thus a truly brave patriot.. email@example.com
I was just looking over Hannah Arendt's The Origins of Totalitarianism and she claims we can't lay all the blame for the moral depravity of folks like Currie and Williams at their own feet, that we must also consider structral issues.
Using Arendt's classifications, we could dub people like Currie and Williams variously "excepton queers," "court queers," or "parvenu queers." "As long as defamed peoples and classes exist," Arendt writes, "parvenu- and pariah- qualities will be produced anew by each generation with incomparable monotony, in Jewish society and everywhere else."
The denunciation of Marx by rich Jews, Arendt continues, "cannot be properly understood except in the light of this conflict between rich Jews and Jewish intellectuals." Jews felt "the parvenu's bad conscience at having betrayed his people and exchanged equal rights for personal privileges."
"The 'exception Jews' of wealth felt like exceptions from the common destiny of the Jewish people and were recognized by the governments as exceptionally useful," Arendt adds.
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