Some of the worst violence in the town for three years flared up that afternoon when a crowd of 200 gathered in Lecky Street at the news of an army shooting earlier in the day.
Welder and former boxer Seamus Cusack, 28, died in Letterkenny District Hospital of a gunshot wound. Troops opened fire, initially with rubber bullets and CS gas, but they failed to disperse the crowd. The rioters retaliated by throwing three nail bombs. The army returned fire. One man was shot in the stomach and five soldiers are reported to have been injured by the missiles. The man was dead on arrival at hospital. He was identified as 19-year-old George Desmond Beattie of Donegal Street, Bogside. (source)
President Aleksandr Lukashenko of Belarus … drafted a law that would prohibit a “joint mass presence of citizens in a public place that has been chosen beforehand, including an outdoor space, and at a scheduled time for the purpose of a form of action or inaction that has been planned beforehand and is a form of public expression of the public or political sentiments or protest.” The measure, which in the words of the New York Times “prohibit[ed] people from standing together and doing nothing,” was proposed in response to a series of weekly protests that had begun a month earlier, whereby citizens gathered in public parks or on street corners each Wednesday night and did nothing more than clap their hands or synchronize their cell phones to ring at an appointed time. … There was nothing overtly political about these protests. … There was no mention of the name “Lukashenko.” Not even the word “freedom,” which has gained a new global currency in the wake of the Arab upheavals, crossed anyone’s lips. (source)
The image seems to have been inspired by this one:
More absurd human rights violations here.
For some reason, my older posts on rioting are now immensely popular. So here’s an overview:
I’m not in the mood for serious analyses, but I do want to warn against simplistic explanations involving the words “poverty” and “multicultural”. (See also here). Those types of punditry are usually way off the mark.
During the Red Summer of 1919, mobs of whites attacked African Americans in more than two dozen American cities, though in some cases blacks responded and initiated violent attacks themselves, often because police refused to intervene. The riots started after vicious rumors about Bolshevism and about blacks arming themselves and planning attacks on whites. Because of labor shortages during WWI, an estimated 500,000 African Americans emigrated from the South to the industrial cities of the North and Midwest. They filled new positions as well as many jobs formerly held by whites. In some cities, they were hired as strikebreakers, especially during strikes of 1917. This increased resentment and suspicion among whites, especially the working class.
Dozens of blacks were lynched during these race riots. The material damage was enormous. In Omaha, Nebraska a white mob of more than 10,000 burned the county courthouse and destroyed property valued at more than a million dollars. One man, Will Brown, was lynched.
The Omaha riot was triggered by reports in local media that sensationalized the alleged rape of 19-year-old Agnes Loebeck on September 25, 1919. The following day the police arrested 40-year-old Will Brown as a suspect. Loebeck identified Brown as her rapist, although later reports by the Omaha Police Department and the United States Army stated that she had not made a positive identification. There was an unsuccessful attempt to lynch Brown on the day of his arrest. The Omaha Bee publicized the incident as one of a series of alleged attacks on white women by black men.
At about 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 28, 1919, a large group of white youths gathered near the Bancroft School in South Omaha and began a march to the Douglas County Courthouse, where Brown was being held. By 5:00 p.m., a mob of about 4,000 whites had crowded into the street and ultimately stormed the courthouse. The police did what they could but were unable to stop the capture of Brown. His lifeless body was hung from a telephone post. Hundreds of revolvers and shotguns were fired at the corpse as it dangled in mid-air. Then, the rope was cut. Brown’s body was tied to the rear end of an automobile. It was dragged through the streets to Seventeenth and Dodge Streets, four blocks away. The oil from red lanterns used as danger signals for street repairs was poured on the corpse. It was burned. Members of the mob hauled the charred remains through the business district for several hours.
Tell me again that hate speech is just speech and should receive absolute protection…
The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons. Fyodor Dostoevsky
No matter how much we agree that putting people in prison is often necessary, we shouldn’t forget that in doing so we limit their human rights. Such limits are not impossible in the system of human rights, but should be kept to a minimum necessary for the protection of other rights or the rights of others. Hence, arbitrary arrest, or arrest for “crimes” which do not violate other people’s rights – such as political “crimes”, speech “crimes” etc. - is unacceptable. Moreover, in those cases in which imprisonment is an acceptable measure in view of the protection of the rights of others, there’s no reason to accept prison conditions that add human rights violations to the human rights limitations already inherent in the fact of incarceration itself.
Inhumane prison conditions are often the result of the general poverty of a country. A poor country will have poor prisons. But poverty doesn’t explain everything, as is shown by the problems in some of the prisons in relatively wealthy countries. Prisoners are often viewed as subhuman, deserving not only imprisonment but imprisonment under any condition. However, such a view is self-defeating: bad prison conditions create subhuman behavior. The ripple effects of bad prison conditions do not stop at the prison walls; they reach every corner of society. Not a lot of imagination is required to see what happens when prisoners leave the hell holes that are used as prisons in some countries. Or better, if they leave. If they leave, it’s often in a coffin, or at best with their mental and physical health destroyed.
More on prison conditions here (on overpopulation in prisons), here (prison conditions in Iran), here (prison rape), here (again on overpopulation), here (solitary confinement), here (juvenile incarceration). Here are some statistics. And here’s an collection of images on prison conditions, past and present:
(source, read the full horror story about this prison ship, used by the British during the American Revolutionary War)
Other collections of human rights images are here.
Power corresponds to the human ability not just to act but to act in concert. Power is never the property of an individual; it belongs to a group and remains in existence only so long as the group keeps together.
Force … should be reserved, in terminological language, for the “forces of nature” or the “force of circumstances,” that is, to indicate the energy released by physical or social movements.
Authority can be vested in persons – there is such a thing as personal authority, as for instance, in the relation between parent and child, between teacher and pupil – or it can be vested in offices, as, for instance, in the Roman senate or in the hierarchical offices of the Church. (A priest can grant valid absolution even though he is drunk.) Its hallmark is unquestioning recognition by those who are asked to obey; neither coercion nor persuasion is needed.
Violence, finally, is distinguished by its instrumental character. Phenomenologically, it is close to strength, since the implements of violence, like all other tools, are designed and used for the purpose of multiplying natural strength.
Violence can always destroy power. Out of the barrel of a gun grows the most effective command, resulting in the most instant and perfect obedience. What never can grow out of it is power.
In a head-on clash between violence and power, the outcome is hardly in doubt. Nowhere is the self-defeating factor in the victory of violence over power more evident than in the use of terror to maintain domination, about whose weird successes and eventual failures we know perhaps more than any generation before us. Violence can destroy power; it is utterly incapable of creating it. (source)
The many uprisings and protests which have occurred during the last decades – for example India’s independence, the civil rights movement, Tienanmen, Burma, and now Iran – have often shown how the people – ordinary people, without the means of violence but acting together – can overcome the violence of the state. Or at least inflict a shock on the state and force it to show its true color, namely the color of increasing violence. Violence, when confronted with the power of people acting together, has often destroyed this power, but sometimes power has destroyed violence. Let’s hope the Iranian people will also manage to pull this off. And if they don’t succeed, the world will know that the Iranian state has only violence left.
Like all of you, I’ve seen a lot of images of the protests in Iran, but this one got stuck in my mind:
Why? It’s not particularly spectacular. It’s not bloody or extremely shocking. Out of context, it’s not even clear that it’s about the protests in Iran… And yet, I can’t stop thinking of it. There is something implicitly violent about it. I see a young woman lying on the pavement. It’s obvious that she just fell. Was she pushed down? Did she fall while fleeing from opponents, a militia, or the police? Can we assume that she belongs to the group that protests the official election results? Perhaps, given her age.
And there’s an older man, menacingly pointing his walking stick (or is it something more ominous?) at her. Is he threatening her with violence? Or simply reprimanding her? If so, for what? For taking part in the protests? Perhaps, given his age. He looks old, and perhaps not in good shape (walking stick?), and yet there is something dangerous about him. Did he push the girl down? Is there “Islamic misogyny” here? Or is that just western “hinein interpretieren” and therefore prejudice?
If someone knows more about this image, I’d be glad to hear it.
More on Iran.
(source, click on the image to enlarge)
I don’t have anything to add to the outstanding reporting on the events unfolding in Iran (see for example here). I just wanted to highlight the importance of these events for freedom of speech and political freedom in Iran, and this picture speaks louder than words. It evokes the way in which the protesters try to organize themselves, using the internet and mobile communications (such as Twitter), as well as the way in which the government tries to suppress freedom (by blocking websites, satellite TV, SMS, and limiting bandwidth).
More on popular sovereignty.