¡La Vida es la Lucha! – Women in the Colombian Protests by Laura Montoya

*Trigger Warning – Reference and description of distressing violence against women at the hands of police*

Alison Melendez was 17 when she was sexually abused last week by a group of Colombian policemen. She was captured for allegedly being part of the protest groups in Popayán, a city in the south of my country Colombia, South America. The next day Alison was found dead. The official version states that she committed suicide. In the social networks, there is a video of four policemen carrying Alison to the detention center, each holding one of her extremities. One can hear Alison screaming, “Four were necessary to carry me? Four against one woman? Cowards!” The next day – before she was found dead – she posted on Instagram that she was not part of the protests that night. She was walking to a friend’s house when the police showed up. She started recording their actions, they saw her and went mad, so they captured her. When she resisted, four of them took her to the police station. In the post, Alison mentions how they groped her to the soul.” In the video, one can see how her pants came off while they were carrying her, and the policemen did not care. They just kept walking. The last time we see Alison in the video is inside the station. Then cameras were turned off.

*End Trigger Warning*

Alison is one of the 18 cases of sexual violence reported during the protests that started last April 28 in different cities of Colombia. In addition, there are 87 reports of violence and abusive behavior against women protesting. Alison’s case has been more visible, but it is easy to find several videos of police officers beating, harassing, and capturing women in the protests on social media. We have been witnessing this terrible violence full of indignation and impotence, despite protesting is our legitimate right as citizens. 

Continue reading “¡La Vida es la Lucha! – Women in the Colombian Protests by Laura Montoya”

Feeling Weary about US Politics by Carol P. Christ

Carol by Honegger cropped

Like many of you, I was anxious and angry during most of the Trump administration years. I watched MSNBC avidly, hoping against hope that a) he could be stopped or b) he would be impeached. Now that he is gone, it would be nice to be able to take a “breather” (I wasn’t breathing regularly during the Trump years), a break from thinking about US politics all the time, but sadly, the political situation in the United States continues to require attention.

President Biden has pleasantly surprised me with his progressive domestic agenda and his decision to remove troops from the heretofore endless war in Afghanistan. Nonetheless, he has proposed an increase in the military budget. Dwight David Eisenhower, who warned of the increasing power of “the military-industrial complex” as he left office, must be turning over in his grave.

Most worrying of all is the fact that so many Americans voted for Donald Trump, believe that the election was stolen from him, and support white supremacy, while the Republican party refuses to deviate from the Trumpian worldview.

As if it could not be any worse, police killings of innocent black men by white officers and mass killings by young white men with easy access to automatic weapons are proliferating. Moreover, Republican-inspired voting restriction legislation is once again threatening the foundations of our democracy. Continue reading “Feeling Weary about US Politics by Carol P. Christ”

The Cop on the Beat is Not Ice-T, the Prosecutor Is Not Sam Waterston, and Mariska Hargitay and S. Epatha Merkerson Are Not in Charge, by Carol P. Christ

carol at green party 2014 croppedI have watched every episode of Law and Order and Law and Order SVU, and most of them more than once. Though there is police violence on these programs, it is usually investigated, and viewers are given the sense that it is not OK. Not living in black America or even in the United States, I guess I was under the illusion that police forces are no longer primarily white and male, that police reforms advocated decades ago have had some effect, and that cops cannot get away with murder.

This despite the fact that I knew that inmates in US prisons are far more likely to be black than their numbers in the population warrant, and that I knew that stop and frisk and arresting black men for petty crimes are ordinary police policies.

For readers who don’t watch MSNBC as avidly as I do, stop and frisk, now banned in New York City, is the policy of searching (primarily) young black men hanging around on street corners to see if they have illegal drugs or weapons on their persons. This policy can lead to the incarceration of young black men for having one or two marijuana cigarettes intended for personal use in their pockets. Stop and frisk is not a policy on college campuses, where police are just as likely to find young white men and women in possession of illegal drugs. Why? Because college authorities and parents of white college students simply would not allow it. Continue reading “The Cop on the Beat is Not Ice-T, the Prosecutor Is Not Sam Waterston, and Mariska Hargitay and S. Epatha Merkerson Are Not in Charge, by Carol P. Christ”

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