I know, criticizing/debating American foreign policy is polarizing..and sooo 2008…so, in the hopes of grasping/keeping your attention, this will be brief.
Following the verdict in the Trayvon Martin / George Zimmerman trial, President Obama took to the national airwaves to give voice to the perception that our “justice” system had in fact perpetuated a racially-motivated injustice. He spoke passionately/earnestly about his experience as a black man in America, shining light on racial profiling, and realities of which some Americans might not otherwise have been aware, such as being followed (profiled) while shopping in a store. During the 40 minutes speech, President Obama revisited his comment a year earlier that Trayvon could have been his son, and went further by explaining that, 35 years earlier, he could have actually been Trayvon. While it’s difficult to draw comparisons to this genuine, touching affectation by a Commander-in-chief regarding race relations, one couldn’t help but notice the glaring similarities between the racial profiling President Obama exposed/rebuked, and the racial profiling he endorses/employs.
On October 14, 2011, a drone strike authorized by President Obama killed an American teenager named Abdulrahman al-Awlaki. The 16 year old Denver, Colorado native was killed while eating BBQ with family at an outdoor cafe in Yemen. While print/television media in the US has been reluctant to address this extrajudicial assassination of an unarmed American teenager by the state, other have taken notice.
What follows is a series of questions that should/must be asked, and answered, if America is to continue to be a nation of laws. For your consideration:
Are there any biological differences between Trayvon Martin and Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, American teenagers born in 1995, that afford one or the other special rights/protection under US law?
Is there a particular reason why the families of Trayvon and Abdulrahman, unarmed American teenagers killed while carrying/eating food, should be afforded different rights to seek redress under the law?
Do American teenagers born in Colorado in 1995 have different rights than American teenagers born in Florida in 1995?
Friends and family of both Trayvon and Abdulrahman attest to fact that both the slain American teenagers enjoyed sports, listened to hip-hop music, and had Facebook accounts. What difference did these boys have that can account for the striking difference in both media attention, and legal accountability for their untimely deaths?
Could crimes/affiliations by, or accusations about, the family members of slain, unarmed American teenagers be considered in any way pertinent to, or in any way serve as legal justification for, a slaying for which there is zero accountability under US law?
Does the name of the American citizen have any bearing on whether legal accountability is forthcoming?
If the unarmed 16 year old American teenager killed in Yemen while eating BBQ at a cafe was named Trayvon, would those responsible for his death have their day in court? Suppose the 16 year old was named John. Or George. Or Barack. Would any of these names bring forth a different reaction from an informed American populace?
Barack Obama exclaimed that, as a victim of racial profiling as a black American teenager, he could have found himself in the same unfortunate situation in which Trayvon Martin found himself. Could Barack Obama, as an American citizen, have found himself in the same unfortunate situation in which Abdulrahman al-Awlaki found himself…killed by a drone strike while eating in a cafe?
Is there a difference between killing an American teenager with a handgun, and a hellfire missile? Four Americans have been confirmed to have been killed by US drone strikes since 2009, though not a single case has been brought before a US court. Can American citizens be killed by unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) with impunity?
Could anything OTHER THAN race account for the disproportional interpretation/execution of legal protocol regarding justice for a slain American citizen born in 1995 named Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, and a slain American citizen born in 1995 named Trayvon Martin?
Acclaimed British philosopher Bertrand Russel once stated,
“We have in fact, two kinds of morality, side by side: one which we preach, but do not practice, and another which we practice, but seldom preach.”
In the wake of a controversial, media-spurned legal case which challenged long-established notions of citizens rights, America, as is often the case, has (seemingly) been forced to choose sides. Informed debate should and must be welcomed if humanity is to continue evolving towards a more free society, but we, humans, must remain vigilant of/for our shortcomings. Our inadequacies, and imperfections. We must strive for ever-more information, and accept new data when it’s made available. In our rush to correct that which we perceive to be an injustice, some have expressed willingness to align with those who are in fact perpetuating this injustice. If one American citizen is denied expression of his/her inalienable rights, we’re all denied expression of those rights.
Trayvon Martin, an American citizen, was denied his rights. He was denied his right to walk peacefully to his home with candy and a drink. For this, his assailant was brought before a jury of his peers. Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, an American citizen, was denied his rights. He was denied his right to peacefully eat BBQ with family at an outdoor cafe in Yemen. For this, his assailants have faced zero legal accountability.