“Justice 4 All”

As you may know, the USA was defeated Saturday by the Netherlands 3-1 and has been eliminated from the FIFA (Soccer) World Cup. Before that knockout match, they were in the same group as the team fielded by Iran’s dictatorial regime:

[From Instagram.]

Despots and their mouthpieces, like the Iranian “journalist” who asked a question that prompted that answer above from the US team captain, Tyler Adams…

[From Instagram.]

…is typical and wearily predictable of the Iranian religious tyrants – who have been shooting down unarmed people in the streets, as protests that started over the September “police” killing of a young woman for her “sin” of not covering her head properly, have continued.

When “religious students” (translation: militants working for the regime) overran and took possession of the Great Satan’s U.S. embassy in Tehran (in one of the most basic violations of diplomacy; every country – no matter what – is absolutely required to provide all embassies with reasonable security) back in November 1979, shortly after that seizure Black Americans working in the embassy were separated from the whites and freed – as if trying to make a similar point to that tried on Adams above. Despotic regimes like Iran’s have long sought to posture about shortcomings elsewhere in order to try to divert attention from their own horrific behaviors at home; and when it comes to the U.S., Black Americans are invoked regularly by such regimes. One example: Black U.S. prisoners of war during World War II were often questioned by their Nazi captors as to “why” they were fighting for the U.S. – while, of course, Nazis were at that same time slaughtering unarmed millions in a coolly calculated, state-orchestrated operation targeting Jews and other racial “inferiors” for annihilation: the Holocaust.

I would never try to speak for in particular a Black American. All I will say is every American is entitled to voice dissatisfaction and even anger with anything if they feel it is warranted and to share why with us as other Americans. That is decidedly unlike the experiences of populations crushed under despotic regimes like Iran’s, where “everyone” is, we are told by “government” there, “of one happy and patriotic mind” (or they get a bullet in the back of their head).

[From Instagram.]

Nevertheless a disturbing reality still exists long after the passing of, for instance, one Josephine Baker.

I have in my now three decades in Europe personally bumped into about a dozen Black Americans living/studying here in Britain and on the continent. I encountered them especially in the early 2000s while I was working at a London university (where, naturally, Americans might appear); and our interactions usually resulted in innocuous discussions revolving around our being Americans here. However, EVERY ONE of them as I recall in some way or another also observed that they found life on this continent to be freer, and less judgmental of them, than back in the U.S.

That latter is simply – and unfortunately – what they said to me.

As Americans such feelings should cause us to think on how we can be better at home. Black Americans have a right to “take a knee” about police brutality and racism IF THEY SO CHOOSE. They have a right to demand “reparations” for the enslavement of ancestors IF THEY SO CHOOSE. The list could go on.

[Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com.]

Given all they have faced, as an historian I am always amazed by many Black Americans’ perpetual overall faith and hope in the U.S.

Nearly two hundred fifty years ago, while most of their contemporaries were enslaved, a few of their “free” young men fought for U.S. independence in George Washington’s army… but that was then conveniently forgotten by “white” history to the point that by 1861 (the beginning of the Civil War) few whites then evidently knew that.

Recently, so many have also stood fast in defending OUR shared democracy (and often have put in extra effort to vote by waiting in longer lines than whites in some areas and/or traveling longer distances to ballot drop boxes). And apparently they did so again in Georgia just yesterday…

We all have the constitutional right as Americans to our opinions and even to criticize harshly. The sad fact is that we too often also still do fall short of putting promised constitutional rights into routine practice. Nevertheless, what is also the case is the U.S. government under that Constitution still has no standing to silence anyone for merely voicing dissent…

Trump calls for suspension of Constitution

NBC News

…unless we allow ourselves to be conned into supporting a self-anointed “Dear Leader” who imagines he decides what constitutes patriotism, as if that will, err, “Make America Great Again.”