Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Kent State Massacre: Forty Years Ago--and the Massacre of Cambodians Too

[this historic image to those of us in the U.S. who followed anti-war activities is from here]

This is a far less popular image, which is, basically, what the source of the crime was, atop a hill on campus overlooking the lot where the radical students were gathered:

[image above of the four students killed by the National Guard at Kent State University is from here]

"Kent State" only has ever had one meaning in my life. I was too young at the time this shooting happened to remember it. I was too young to be watching the evening news that night. But I grew up seeing the top image many times, and I knew what it meant. It meant the power of the U.S. government is such that if a group of white students on a college campus get too unruly, such as by burning down an ROTC office, you'd better know that this government can and will use lethal force to disperse you and try and terrorise you into stopping all your anti-war activities. This country is as invested in oil as it is land as it is warring against lands where people of color live. This country is as invested in misogyny as it is white supremacy.

And I am well aware that there were many massacres of students and other citizens in the U.S. by the military and local police forces, against women and men of color, African Americans who were resisting white oppressive power and policies and were being killed for doing so. And those killings, and images of them, to the extent there are any, are not so etched in my child's mind.

White and class privilege manifests, in part, by whose death "matters". Whose death matters to the viewers of TV news. When white middle class students are being shot and killed on their high school or college campuses, that's going to be national mainstream news, every time.

The killings of Indigenous youth--students or not, Latina/o youth--students or not, and Black youth--students will not, will not be reported, generally, by the dominant media because genocide is something the U.S. government doesn't want you to know it is doing, and has been doing since the Thirteen Colonies had yet to form "a more perfect union".

It is painful, this murder that is committed by our government, in so many ways, including of non-human life by allowing BP to drill for oil in waters off U.S. coastal ecosystems. If President Obama doesn't retract his plans for off-shore drilling in Alaska and the continental seaboards, and doesn't withdraw all our troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, and doesn't oppose corporate greed with significant measures, and actively and vocally support anti-poverty policies, and speak out against men's violence against women, and anti-queer violence, then he will go down in history as yet another in a long, long series of mass murdering U.S. presidents. We've never had one yet who wasn't, in acts of direct or indirect economic and political policy-protection, a genocidalist.

But, for now, let us remember the four white students killed on the campus of Kent State, who were gunned down for reasons which are still not fully known in detail, but are rather obvious in the larger scheme of what the U.S. government exists, in large part, to do: track, threaten, and/or murder any group of citizens who too loudly protest the U.S. government's plans or current actions of committing mass murder of people of color abroad.

Let's not forget, Cambodians were being mass slaughtered when the picture atop this post was taken. And these white students at Kent State knew it, and vocally opposed it. One of the people shot, who lived, had lost his brother who had been sent to Vietnam, not long before this protest. Vietnamese citizens, as well as U.S. soldiers, were dying there on May 4, 1970 also.

[image of poster calling for protest of Pres. Nixon's military invasion of Cambodia, May 1970 is from here]

I cannot find any images of the Cambodian citizens murdered by U.S. soldiers on May 4, 1970, or those around who looked out in horror.

All that follows is from *here*, at Democracy Now!, which is where the transcript is for what follows in video:

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