Zemari Ahmadi was killed by a US drone strike in Afghanistan in August this year. Ahmadi, along with nine other members of his family, drove a vehicle that the United States mistakenly took for use by a branch of the Islamic State called ISIS-K.
According to author and journalist Johnathan Katz, this type of unapologetic brutality is not uncommon in countries around the world, including the United States. Liberal Arts Forum initiative, Katz spoke at Elon University on October 11 about the consequences of what he called the imperialist mentality and the danger of a desensitized nation.
Katz kicked off his lecture by highlighting the injustice against Ahmadi and his family. Not only were they civilians, but seven of the ten people killed in the strike were children. It was only after the United States received a backlash for the strike that the Pentagon admitted to any sort of wrongdoing. Ahmadi’s remaining family have still not received compensation or reparations, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Drawing on that concept, Katz gave a history lesson on the US occupation of Afghanistan and Haiti for nearly 20 years, as well as the Capitol Riot on January 6. Katz said these three instances can be used to examine and define America’s current economic, political and militaristic climate.
“These three places and their histories and their histories are actually very, very intertwined in a way that I think is instructive in understanding them individually, us as a country and people and understanding growth differently than we do, Americans, can take in the future, ”Katz said.
Katz was the only full-time US journalist in Haiti during the 2010 earthquake and Associated Press correspondent in Haiti from 2007 to 2011. He later revealed the story that United Nations soldiers likely caused cholera outbreak after earthquake that killed thousands. Katz has reported in more than a dozen countries and territories.
In 2011 he was awarded the Medill Medill for Courage in Journalism and in 2019 was National Fellow in New America. Katz also previously headed the Media & Journalism Initiative at the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University, and still contributes frequently to the New York Times and other publications.
Katz is currently writing a book, “Gangsters of Capitalism”, on General Smedley Butler and the legacy of the American Empire. Its release is scheduled for January 18, 2022.
At the event, Katz described in depth the reasoning reported by America behind the occupation of Haiti from 1915 to 1934 and Afghanistan from 2001 to 2021. He also explained the motivations that did not been reported.
“If the reason we went to Afghanistan was to root out Osama bin Laden and destroy the Taliban government that offered him refuge, then this mission should have ended in 2011,” Katz said. “But the mission of war … continued for another decade, and that’s because [the U.S. government had] these other ideals.
From Katz’s perspective, the world’s superpowers have wreaked havoc on Third World countries under the guise of providing aid, education and “civilization.” Katz said that after millions of deaths, entire regions stripped of their resources, and the will of stronger, foreign nations being applied to the colonized, world powers want to forget the past and pretend every country is starting from the same. starting line.
Professor Linda Dunn, who teaches in Peace and Conflict Studies at Elon University, has been a member of a peace organization located in Alamance County for over 40 years. The group, which started as Peacemakers of Alamance County, has now grown into a chapter of Peace Action. Peace action is a national organization that focuses on efforts such as war, the nuclear threat, poverty, climate change and terrorism.
Dunn attended the conference to get Katz’s advice on how best to educate the masses on how people can be conscious and active citizens.
According to Dunn, the Alamance chapter of Action pour la paix has largely focused on educating people about the current state of the country and how it has become, which includes anchoring institutional racism and funding for the American military might. With concepts and ideals brought to the forefront of American minds in light of events such as the withdrawal from Afghanistan and the riot on the Capitol, Dunn said she believed it was more practical than ever to ‘educate the public.
“I have a lot of hope right now,” Dunn said. “I really believe that you young people are more and more aware of all of these issues – of how institutional racism and all of that stuff relates to this military abuse, and our mindset of spending so much money. money for war. “
Considering that Haiti was the first country in the world to abolish slavery and gain independence in 1804Katz said the nation takes great pride in holding its own identity and its own success. About a century after gaining independence, US troops occupied Haiti under the pretext of restore stability in the Caribbean.
According to Katz, during the 20 years of American occupation of Haiti, American troops reestablished slavery, overthrew the Haitian Parliament and emptied the country of its resources for American profit. Now, as the leader of the modern world, the United States still refuses to provide reparations or acknowledge that Haiti’s current state of suffering is its fault, Katz said.
Not only did Katz draw the same correlation from the US occupation of Afghanistan, but he also pointed to the Capitol insurgency earlier this year as a byproduct of the Americans’ response to US military might. Katz pointed out that not only is the United States responsible for the horrors of colonization, political instability and poverty, but the imposition of its strength and will always occurs – regardless of the consequences on human lives.
“I think the first thing we need to do is stop and look at ourselves in the mirror and look at our history,” Katz said. “This kind of awareness has come home in a major way, and Americans are not sure what to do with it – and so some Americans are looking to America first.”
Although this is not a new concept, Katz explained the effect of “brutalizing” a country like the United States, where people are becoming increasingly numb to destruction, to violence. death and poverty left in other countries by their own nation.
“It’s the fault line that exists in America right now, and there certainly is the fault line in a lot of individual Americans with ‘which way are we going to go,’” Katz said. “Are we going to be brutalized or are we going to stop at realizing ourselves?” “
In the wake of more people learning and sympathizing with the damage inflicted on less developed countries by global superpowers, Katz warned that without proper remedies, these war-torn countries would fall into more corrupt and hostile systems. In the case of reparations, Katz said there must be an acknowledgment of what has been stripped and stolen that has put developing countries at a disadvantage from the start.
“It’s the kind of thing that can allow you to take those experiences, hold onto that story and turn it into something more productive instead of just doubling and tripling the brutality,” Katz said.