14 August 2014

Ferguson and Gaza

In Ferguson, Missouri, just outside of St. Louis, citizens continue to protest the recent shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown at the hands of a local (and as yet unnamed) cop.

And the police are overreacting, to put it mildly. Provoked by a very few unruly protestors, they have been using tear gas, and military equipment and tactics, against even peaceful demonstrators. They've even arrested some reporters who were covering the protests.

These cops are engaging in collective punishment, which is a clear-cut human rights violation. You can take action against your aggressors; they are fair game. But innocent bystanders are supposed to be off-limits.

It reminds me of the current situation in Gaza, where the Israeli military is overreacting to a handful of rockets and a handful of casualties - mostly military - perpetrated by a few bad apples.

Israel has responded by bombing civilian structures, including multiple United Nations bomb shelters. As a result, the Palestinian death count - mostly civilian - has risen to at least 1,959.

Violence is never a viable solution to a political/diplomatic problem - be it in Ferguson or in Gaza. And hope is lost whenever a Gazan baby is injured or killed, and also whenever an innocent Ferguson protestor has his or her human rights violated by those whom we pay to protect us from such things.

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