How Do We Recognize A Martyr When We See One??

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    • #326043
      • Total Posts: 34

      A couple of people took exception to my reply to Ohio Barbarian’s thoughtful essay in the “Weekly Posts” forum. I merely asked a few questions, but I guess they were the kind of questions we’re not supposed to ask.

      Anyway, it got me thinking. With all the African-American people who get slaughtered day after day, how do we liberals decide which ones to rally around?? How do we know which should be elevated to martyr status, and which ones are best ignored??

      Take, for example, Breann Leath. A young woman, twenty-four years old. Mother of a little boy. By all accounts, accomplished and capable beyond her years. She was brutally gunned down Apr 9 in Indianapolis.

      My guess is that many of you, probably most, never heard of her. Why is that?? Why didn’t the media alert us all to such a tragedy?? Is it because some Black Lives Matter more than others??

      Or consider David Dorn. Seventy-seven years old, murdered June 2 in St. Louis. His death and funeral were big deals, at least in the local area, so you may have heard of him. But why is no one demanding justice in his name??

      I’m a pretty recent convert to liberal ideology and philosophy, so I’m trying to learn. Kind of like learning a foreign language as an adult. No matter how diligently you study, there will always be idioms and expressions that take you by surprise. I appreciate your patience and answers to my questions.

    • #326048
      HalfCentury Man
      • Total Posts: 862

      What they do can be remembered with pride.

      Those innocent people murdered, brutalized, or violently subjugated during the normal course of their lives should be remembered in horror, and be an even greater motivation to enact change.

      Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

      John F. Kennedy: 13 March 1962.

    • #326059
      NV Wino
      • Total Posts: 8,258

      None of these people wanted to be martyrs. They just wanted to be treated with respect. When (if) we can treat everyone equally with respect there will be no need for martyrs; no need for riots; no need for revolutions; divisiveness, on whatever grounds—skin color, gender, sexual orientation, economic level, political choice, age—will disappear.

      “As we act, let us not become the evil that we deplore.” Barbara Lee
      “Politicians and pro athletes: The only people who still get paid when they lose.” William Rivers Pitt

    • #326060
      • Total Posts: 1,196

      So many cases–every day, new cases, just as brutal and cold as Floyd’s. I don’t know that any should be best forgotten because that requires a judgment on our part. Who are we to judge anyone?

      I don’t have an answer to this question, but I wish I (we) could find some perspective on it.

      If we can’t come up with an answer on our own, perhaps we could submit the question to someone like Amy Goodman or Caitlin Johnstone as a discussion matter for a column?

    • #326101
      • Total Posts: 5,325

      both people you name were police officers, neither of which were killed with malice aforethought. Leath was responding to a domestic disturbance call. These can be dangerous situations. She was killed through a closed door. She didn’t take a knee.

      Dorn was shot by looters during a night of madness. Again, didn’t take a knee on national TV.

      Neither death (murder) was planned and executed with such brazen disregard for human life as was Floyd. Floyd died from malice aforethought. At least that’s my humble suggestion.

    • #326136
      • Total Posts: 2,996

      The Nazis considered Horst Wessel a martyr.  Christians believe Jesus was martyr.  many Japanese consider Kamikaze pilots to be martyrs.  etc, etc, etc.

      It all depends on the individual judgement and beliefs of observers who they decide to make a martyr, hero, icon, or saint.  Dead people are frequently used by the True Believers in whatever cause, religion, or dogma as advertising.

      Some people will go to any lengths to prove they’e right.



      Tell me, great captain, how do the angels sleep when the devil leaves his porch light on? Tom Waites

    • #326144
      • Total Posts: 295


      Chris Hedges has been pointing out for a few years now that the USA is a tinderbox waiting to go off.  He quoted someone whose name I forget, that when watching pre-revolutionary societies, sometimes nothing happens for 20 years… and then suddenly, “20 years happens in one week”.

      I believe that is what we are seeing now.  Who knows why it was George Floyd’s brutal murder rather than one of the many other ones that preceded it.  It was such an offense against decency, with the man pleading for his life for several minutes and never failing to call the officer “Sir”, while the “officer” (read: brute) never relented, and the other “officers” looked on and a couple even joined in.  Maybe we all felt just a little twinge of the boot on our own necks, a harbinger of things to come, perhaps…  in any case, it caught fire, and the people have risen.  No telling how this will play out.  As the saying goes:  “The avalanche has begun — too late for the pebbles to vote”.

    • #326149
      Thom Paine
      • Total Posts: 317

      You asked some good questions.  What are your thoughts on those questions.  What ideology did you hold before you converted to the “liberal ideology and philosophy,”??

    • #326164
      David the Gnome
      • Total Posts: 3,280

      As such, it isn’t really a philosophy anymore, just a useless word now.

      Rather, seek inside yourself for answers.  Define your own unique ideology – generally, I try to look to the common good – and right or wrong really isn’t usually as complicated as moral relativists make it out to be.

      Floyd is an example – caught on video, of the kind of shit that goes down every day somewhere in America.  It isnt about him specifically, which is the mistake a lot are making.  It is about the fact that this kind of thing happens all the time – especially to black people.

      Either we act, or it continues.  That’s my take on it.  We CAN stop it, but it will require action by the common people, for the common good.  The media and politicians aren’t going to do anything good for us.

      See something, say something.  😉  and maybe record it, too.

    • #326173
      • Total Posts: 1,569

      He has become the focus because his life was snuffed out for 9min on a video while he was saying he could not breath, while he called for his dead mother! He was murdered by cop something that black and Native Americans have been subject to for 400 years yet we have not progressed.  The video showed in no uncertain terms how completely sick our police in this country are! Oh he had a record! He should not be a martyr, well if this is the standard both MLK and Gandhi were womanizers  most martyrs actual are not saints they died for the peoples cause.  I think the term is misplaced anyway  He is not being called a martyr by anyone but the people that want to silence the movement or want to say this was his own fault. He is being held up as an example of police and American bigotry, that has continually been papered over by white america along with upperclass black america


    • #326186
      • Total Posts: 279

      Video of the event that gets posted and passed to a point that it becomes viral.

      The video of Amaud Arbery was so horrifying that people were compelled to demand justice.

      The video of George Floyd being suffocated by a law enforcement officer while he begged to be allowed to breathe was even more horrific because of the absolute casual callousness (he had to know he was killing Floyd) shown by Chauvin.

      Video of Eric Garner, likewise, being suffocated in a chokehold by an LEO.

      Uncredible circumstances.

      Breana Taylor being killed in her own home on a no-knock warrant to arrest someone who didn’t live there and who was already in custody.

      Philando Castile killed (unarmed) in his car with his wife beside him and his child in the seat behind him.

      Bothan Jean killed in his own home by an off duty police officer who “thought” she was in her own apartment (which was on a different floor).

      Why did the murder of George Floyd give rise to world wide outrage and demonstration and not the Michael Brown’s, whose death did spark protests and riots in Ferguson and St Louis?

      Partly because the video showed the brazen, depraved indifference displayed by Chauvin for nearly nine minutes while Floyd and bystanders begged for his life.

      Partly because a large portion of society were, are, and have been out of work for nearly two months.

      People can be angered, morally outraged, and motivated to act against injustice.  But it is difficult to attend large marches on a daily basis when one is worried about keeping a roof over and feeding their families.  If one takes time off work, for too long, to protest, one faces the likely reality of losing one’s job.  And thus risking the family’s roof and food supply.

      But many of the people, still worried about how to keep their homes and feed their families, no longer had jobs to tether them.  They were free to take the time to express their rage, despair, and determination to change things.

      George Floyd wasn’t a voluntary martyr.  He wanted to live.  He had a right to live.

      If the circumstances of his death and the subsequent sustained protests do result in systemic and (the catch word of the day) transformational change in policing and institutionalized racism, would George Floyd have considered his death worth the change it brought?

      Only George Floyd could have answered that.  And he can’t.

      But the name George Floyd will not be forgotten.



      You are a child of the Universe, no less than the trees and the stars. You have a right to be here.

    • #326235
      Bernice Ta
      • Total Posts: 216

      It happened at the right time in this country. It could have been any one of those other people mentioned, or someone else who maybe is alive today because the world is watching, people are marching, people are shouting “NO MORE!”.

      Maybe this will be the time things truly change. We are living in strange times, things going on no one in America thought would ever happen (outside of a post apocalyptic novel), the economy is crashing, people are afraid of what’s coming, but they know that if they aren’t out there, are speaking out, aren’t making videos and songs, soon enough we’d be back to “normal” and then the next black person will die.

      The media has a name for why we don’t hear more about the black/POC victims of crime:  pretty white girl syndrome. Pretty black girl gets kidnapped, raped and murdered? Might make local news. Pretty white girl? Everybody’s up in arms. It gets big, like Natalie Holloway, but not for any of the black girls who suffered the same fate around the same time.

    • #326262
      a little weird
      • Total Posts: 708

      For the most part, the media decides what we get to see or not see.  So perhaps your question about why some cases get coverage and some don’t would be better directed at them.  In the George Floyd case, there was a shocking video showing the casual, slow murder of a man by a police officer in broad daylight.  I don’t see how anyone, whether liberal, conservative, or anything in between could not see that as newsworthy.

      I would also point out that just because someone’s story doesn’t get nationwide coverage, it doesn’t mean no one is calling for justice in their names.  But those calls are not amplified if the coverage remains local.

      If your real question is why did George Floyd’s murder precipitate worldwide protests while other tragic murders did not, then I would say it is one of those situations where people are finally pushed to a point of action.  I’m not sure if there’s anyone qualified to say why one event would do it over another, but the general phenomenon has been talked about since at least the 1600’s:

      “The last Dictate of the Judgement, concerning the Good or Bad, that may follow on any Action, is not properly the whole Cause, but the last Part of it, and yet may be said to produce the Effect necessarily, in such Manner as the last Feather may be said to break a Horses Back, when there were so many laid on before as there want but that one to do it.” — Thomas Hobbs

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