by Smoke Wijaya
(this is personal opinion, and not (necesarily) that of SLLU)
Tuesday, the 20th of Januari, inauguration of Obama. Netroots Nation (formerly YearlyKos Convention) in SL, amongst others, organized events around this day, starting off with live streaming of the inaugural events.
I went to the Progressive Island where the event was held and joined the small crowd that had gathered there, sitting on a stage while looking to a big screen for the inauguration. People present voiced their irrational joy, patriotism and hope for what change Obama might bring to the US: “History is happenin' !!”, “This is a beautiful day!!”, “peace is never wrong, love is never wrong. Let Freedom Ring”, “I am so proud again to be American”, “God Bless America”. For these progressives of Netroots Nation, Obama being sworn in somehow already makes an end to the suffering and violence that the Bush-administration (and US in general) created over this world as well: “Just a few minutes away from the end of the bloody Bush years!! YIPPEE!!”
I took place behind the crowd, next to Plot, as to not disturb their view of the screen and attached a placard (normal size) which showed Israeli and American flag, a call to “stop the genocide” and to boycott Israel. Plot wore a Palestinian flag.
Being at an event by progressive Americans, their conviction of Obama bringing change, US being the biggest supporter of Israel and biggest frustrator of sanctions against Israel, it seemed a good event to quietly, in a non-disturbing manner, also point to international politics of the US and the need for change. Expected by me was support for such change by these self proclaimed American progressives, but that proved to be a wrong thought.
In between US-supremacy and instant-diabetes statements like “LOOK AT THAT!! It's a sea of people!!” - “that sea of people are the smartest people in the world - giggles - a long with us here . . and every American who voted for OBAMA” and “the light in their faces is making me cry it's so full of HOPE” and “oh the smiles - the light beaming from their joy is amazing” by people like Elizabeth Spieler, Dianna Eberhardt, Michele Mrigesh and others, I suddenly got ejected by a certain Trouble Streeter, triggerhappy “security” of Netroots Nation group, who directly IMd me stating that I should loose the sign. Returning to the stage I asked why that ejection was necessary (note, I did not utter one word yet besides greetings).
Apparently I was being radical and disturbing 'their celebration of this beautiful and historic day' by just standing there with the sign. Questioning of this action, their idea of freedom of speech and progressiveness, made them hit the ban button while uttering ridiculous statements like “Trouble Streeter: he is an anarchist who enjoys disruptions” (I did not say a word before the initial ejection) and “Elizabeth Spieler: we have the right to ignore terrorists seeking to ruin our day of victory”.
So there I stood, barred from the celebration, banned from their land. Soon I was joined by Plot who these “progressives” also banned, initially we though because of his questioning of my banning, but apparently because of a personal grudge: “GenJCChristian Homewood: Nah, I banned you for simply being an asshole”. And none of the people present opposed the banning of us (besides one person that IMd me saying that she did not agree with the banning).
Apparently we were such a threat that they thought it was also necessary to ban us right away from their other island, Netroots Nation, which we did not even visit.
To me at least, this experience showed pretty clear that these Americans, the progressives of Netroots Nation, Cafe Wellstone and the like, are blinded by irrational patriotism, uncritical sheep behaviour, unsubstantiated hope and misplaced adoration of Obama as messiah, not to speak about their bigotry towards left (radical) views. For any true progressive person, who also looks to the rest of the world, instead of just on the narcissistic hyper religious island that is the US, and acknowledges the effects of US imperialism, these are not the people to support and organize with.
Wednesday, 21 January 2009
by Smoke Wijaya