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Cui Bono?

I'm nobody special. Not an expert on history or politics. Just a person with an autoimmune disorder and brain injury that sometimes keep me home. I offer help where I can, and always have, but mostly, I'm just a writer and a human watching the world around me with grief in my heart. But as a writer, one thing I have to offer is words. So here are my thoughts:




There are children in the rubble. There are always children in the rubble.

There are bodies in the water. There are always bodies in the water.

There are families fleeing, sleeping in the cold, looking for safety, food, and home. There are always families fleeing.

There are multiple genocides happening as I type this, as the glaciers melt, the oceans rise, and forests burn. There are piles of garbage choking land and sea. There are people working for pennies, barely able to survive. There are people living on street corners, and children going hungry, every day.

***

Who benefits from violence, oppression, subjugation, genocide, pollution, and war? It is never the families, the workers, the ordinary people, or the children. It is multi-national corporations, billionaires, weapons manufacturers, and exploiters of cheap labor. It is authoritarians and fascists who benefit from pain.

Every time we celebrate a billionaire, we tell the majority poor, “Your lives are forfeit to the machines of commerce. Your dreams and hopes don’t matter. You belong to us now. Fall in line.”

***

In the 1940s, the US government turned away Jews fleeing the Shoah, sending boats back into open water. The US government now supports a genocidal political regime in Israel, not because Jewish people need a home, but because it is financially and strategically convenient.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, the US government lied about weapons of mass destruction, resulting in mass death in Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and increased surveillance and control of its own citizens, the militarization and engorged funding of its police, and larger contracts for the machinery of war. The US went on to target and harass potential immigrants from the Middle East who tried to flee these created conflicts.

The US supports the current genocide in Darfur not because it cares, one way or another about the people or causes there, but because the Saudi family funding the war has access the US wants, access to money and oil. The African continent, formerly a ground used to enslave free people for the sake of commerce, is rich in resources to be extracted. The people? The animals and plants? The climate? They don’t much matter.

What matters are mineral rights, access, cheap labor, and oil.

Kleptocracy demands its tribute in blood and tears.

***

Who benefits from violence, subjugation, and oppression?

Who benefits from dividing us from one another? Who benefits from building prisons and border walls?

Who benefits from news cycles, obfuscation, terror, and lies?

When we turn on our neighbors in anger, we must ask ourselves, “Who benefits?”

When synagogues or mosques are attacked, we must ask ourselves, “Who benefits?”

When we complain about protestors blocking bridges, we must ask ourselves, “Who benefits?”

When we sneer at immigrants, we must ask ourselves, “Who benefits?”

When we buy an eight-dollar shirt, we must ask ourselves, “Who benefits?”

When a Black man is shot down in the streets, we must ask ourselves, “Who benefits?”

When an Indigenous woman goes missing, we must ask ourselves, “Who benefits?”

When LGBTQIA rights are legislated out of existence, we must ask ourselves, “Who benefits?”

When prenatal care and abortion rights are curtailed, we must ask ourselves, “Who benefits?”

When language and culture are eradicated, and history gets rewritten in order to teach lies, we must ask ourselves, “Who benefits?”

When we see the images of slaughter, or drought, or burning, or drowning, or when children are taken from their families and passed on to the white and wealthy, we must ask ourselves, “Who benefits?”

It isn’t most of us. It is never most of us. These actions benefit the very few, who leave the rest of us to suffer the consequences.

Oh, we may acquire temporary benefits by proxy—especially the more privileged among our ranks—but that is only to placate us, to keep us quiet, to hold the guillotines at bay.

***

Global solidarity requires us to remember that we are not the enemies of one another. No immigrant is coming to steal our jobs. No child is hiding a bomb in a school satchel. No doctor has a weapons cache beneath the operating table.

Together, we can build a world where we do not always need to live in fear. Where trauma does not define our every thought and action. Where teachers are valued, and people are housed.

Even in grief and anger, our faces are beautiful. I feel so many hearts, breaking. I see so many actions filled with hope: feeding people, protesting injustice, caring for a world in need.

Compassion and strength will lead us all toward justice, over time. I must believe this, because to do otherwise is to give over to despair.

Together, we are all we have.

November, 2023

 

If you are fortunate enough to have money to donate, World Central Kitchen and Doctors Without Borders are both on the ground in several parts of the world that are currently crying out for help. If those links don't work in your country, just do a search.

And thank you to everyone showing up in so many ways right now. I appreciate you.


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