Our nation has a long history of criminalizing poor and minority children. The early colonists brought with them notions of debtor prisons and children could be imprisoned because their parents were broke. The atrocities committed against slave children, native children, and children of indentured servants are shameful stains on our history. Post slavery, children’s rights remained secondary to capitalist aspirations as poor children. So why are we surprised that lady justice sees nothing wrong when grown policemen touch female children inappropriately after-all lady justice did not blink when the blood of children was spilled multiple times.
There is a disturbing trend by some adults to post videos of them “discipling” kids online. They narrate the child’s infraction and then proceed to “punish” the child by verbally or physically abusing the child or humiliating or embarrassing the child. All of these parents claim they are doing it for their child, but I seriously doubt it. They come across as exhibitionists competing for hits off the shame of a child that did not consent to the public humiliation. In what universe is it OK to seek public adulation off the transgressions of your minor child? Even the government recognizes that youthful offenders need protection and typically do not publish their names and crimes, perhaps it is time to protect these children from these adults. If you want to punish your child do it within the confines of the law. Once you post videos that expose your kids to future ridicule, and can limit their career judgment is questionable.
The past few years has seen revolutions and uprisings all over the globe. From Cairo to Baltimore people are rising and rioting, in reaction to a trigger of some kind, police brutality, oppression by leaders. People are reacting! The 99% marched in reaction to the status quo. But then what? What has changed? What has improved? Revolutions cannot be sustained if they are reactionary, they have to be nurtured and purposeful. They have to be driven by goals and these specific objectives must be focused and deliberate otherwise after the fires stop burning,
if they do, the resulting anarchy is often worse than what was displaced. Sadly all over the globe folks are relearning this. But then should people just sit and do nothing? Of course not, because if they do nothing the rage just simmers and grows and the riots are simply postponed. Ideally we would address the root causes of the problems and find solutions. Solutions that recognize that human lives are more important than property and $$$. But getting there will be difficult if we wait for elected leaders. Many of these elected leaders are too privileged to relate to the poor or even the middle class. They are clueless about the needs of the people they should serve and cannot comprehend the effect of their words. So in addition to marching, shouting and praying, register to vote. Field your own candidates that will change the status quo. Think before you act. Remember if all you do is burn your own neighborhood, 20 years from now it may still stay burned. And no one will give a damn until the burning starts again.
There are videos circulating the internet showing Chadian soldiers and Nigeria soldiers with (suspected / captured) Boko Haram fighters, I refuse to watch these videos but I have Facebook friends who have posted before and after screenshots and the pictures are brutal. Killing combatants during a fire-fight is one thing, but going out of your way to brutally torture and kill a captured enemy is extrajudicial murder. Yes Boko Haram is brutal and they have killed over 13,000 in just Nigeria alone. Yes many of these Boko Haram extremists are willing to die for their cause as evidence from their affinity for suicide bombings and missions. But I refuse to celebrate the torture or death of another human not even a suspected Boko Haram warrior. More baffling to me is that some of these Boko Haram warriors look like children who should be in school not actively involved in killing or getting killed. An unanswered question remains how do we stop this cycle of violence of misguided / ignorant / fanatic / militarized / extremist fighters? Our tears are not yet dry from mourning the dead at the hands of Boko Haram. The Chibok girls are still missing so we continue to chant #bringbackourgirls. Boko Haram continues to kill and fight a brutal war against innocent villagers and the numbers of the internally displaced and refugees continues to grow. Boko Haram has to be stopped and it is a brutal war, but in the quest to stop Boko Haram the soldiers should not become worse than them. I fear that based on these videos than it may be too late for some of the soldiers.
I sometimes wonder if humans ever learn. In the last 3 decades we have had genocide in almost every continent and we cannot seem to learn. There are countries where people under 30 have never seen peace and stability and their entire lives have been spent in a war zone. We create weapons capable of self destruction. We kill in the name of God. We spend more energy destroying, and criticizing than creating. There is hope though if each of us decides enough is enough and I have. This life is the only one I know I have and I will not be swayed by hate. I will create a cocoon of peace, harmony and joy with each breath and I will spread it to everyone I touch. Peace and change starts with me. Every little bit counts and each moment is an opportunity to change. I will not only imagine but I will act, write, dance, sing, cry and laugh.
Can you believe that this video is almost 30 years old?
No one cries for me, my short life not even worthy of a hashtag or footnote as leaders and future leaders rally for electoral votes. I am not Charlie, just a nameless faceless child burned to a crisp and left like trash in the charred remains of my town. No one cries for me, not even the mother who took time to wash my hair and plait it in perfect rows, her burned body lies besides the hundreds of relatives friends and enemies equal in agony and death. No one cries for me, no one cries for us, we remain faceless roasted flesh, unholy sacrifices on the altar of Boko Haram. Cry for me and Baga Nigeria. Raise dirges and ululate for the children kidnapped (or sold) and strapped with bombs, unwilling messengers of death. Look at my body as you pray and do something, say something, change something. Was my life in vain?