So as my readership is surely aware, the grand jury in the Michael Brown shooting case decided not to indict officer Darren Wilson. To use the words of Gin & Tacos blogger Ed, they didn’t even think the matter was worth discussing. Wilson was a cop, Brown was a young black male. Now of course the media will show us images of rioting, complete with burning police cars. Pundits and politicians will condemn the rioters. They’ll call them “thugs” and accuse them of destroying their own community. To all individuals who do so, and the American media as a whole, please hear my reply. Go fuck yourself.
There’s a breakdown of law and order? Okay, go fuck yourselves.They’re throwing Molotov cocktails? Go fuck yourself. They set a cop car on fire? Good, now go fuck yourselves. They smashed up a Denny’s? Not my property, go fuck yourselves. Condemn the violence, call for order, go ahead and do all of that, but please don’t forget to go fuck yourselves. Do whatever you like, but more than anything I beg of you- go fuck yourselves. You owe the nation that much. Yourselves, go fuck.
Why such hostility? Well you see, the American media has a habit of jumping on the bandwagon of various protest movements, and often those movements which happen to advance America’s foreign policy goals in one way or another. No matter how lawless or violent these protests become, our media dutifully reports the protesters’ own narrative of the event with virtually no criticism. While Ukraine’s Euromaidan protests certainly had some just demands, there was a significant far right presence within the movement, and near the end there was an explosion of violence which involved Molotov cocktails, the occupation of buildings, and eventually firearms. Indeed, many protesters were unarmed and peaceful, but a very active, thuggish minority deliberately turned the protest into a battle without regard for the civilians who would be caught in the crossfire. If these words sound to you like blaming the victims, I invite you to watch the coverage of the Ferguson riots, because this is exactly what we have heard before and what we will be hearing for the next few weeks.
“Protesters beaten by police? They should have done what the police told them! Why didn’t they vacate the area when they were told? Why did they throw rocks at the police? They should have known this would provoke a violent response!” This is how Americans respond to protests which get out of hand on American soil. Law and order in Kyiv mean nothing. Let me make this perfectly clear- in spite of my past criticisms of Maidan, I’m not condemning the idea of violent protests against a government. What I’m condemning is a ridiculous double standard whereby Americans and citizens of other Western countries are expected to meekly obey a policeman’s every command, while at the same time our media cheers on foreigners who engage in melee battles with police. In Ferguson they’re “destroying their own community,” but the people who burnt the center of Kyiv are heroic rebels. Condemn all, condemn none, or maybe take a more nuanced approach and discuss the conflict in a critical manner.
Part of me suspects that one reason for the media love affair with foreign protests is that we’re expected to live vicariously through the actions of protesters on the other side of the planet. We’re encouraged to show solidarity with them via social media, and in so doing, we get to imagine that we’re part of some revolutionary movement, something totally forbidden to us at home. We’re supposed to cheer those who threw Molotovs in Kyiv, while in the US numerous activists have been arrested on spurious claims that they were conspiring to make Molotov cocktails. Resistance is for those foreigners in a far off land you don’t understand, American, at home you will obey.
The Maidan protesters wanted their government to sign a trade agreement with the European Union. Ferguson residents want assurances that their police won’t be able to murder their sons with impunity. I think the latter warrants a bit more leeway than the former. So to every member of the American media who uncritically came out in support for Euromaidan yet condemns the reaction in Missouri, I cannot stress this enough. Go fuck yourselves. To the protesters, you’re America’s Maidan, only more righteous in cause. Burn it to the ground.
“Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.” –Abraham Lincoln, 2nd inaugural address