MY FINDINGS ON VIOLENCE.
April 15th Saturday. The night before I wrote on Facebook that I would be going “undercover.” Undercover to see into the violence that is all around us. Most people don’t realize that violence isn’t only physical: “Violence is any physical, emotional, verbal, institutional, structural, or spiritual behavior, attitude, policy, or condition that diminishes, dominates, or destroys, ourselves or others” (definition of Violence from Pace e Bene Nonviolent nonprofit service). To show how violence sneaks its way in through the cracks, I am going to show most of my day here play by play. In parentheses is the type of violence. I am going to use Johan Galtung’s 3 types of violence: Physical, Structural, and Cultural, and add Emotional Violence, though there are many more. Keep in mind, I barely left my apartment, had little interaction with folks. It was a quiet writing Saturday. This is fairly raw and to make a point.
10:16am Checked voicemails. One from someone who is actively in addiction and struggling with mental health issues (EV)
11:33am Received a text that was crude and sexist. Someone from the past who I ended up blocking. (SV)
1pm Patriots Rally/Trump rally? in downtown Berkeley turn violent. I am notified by my parents who are worried that I am there protesting and I see violent images on Facebook (PV, EV, SV)
1:30pm More images on Facebook live show escalating fights between Trump supporters, or what some of my Facebook friends are calling facists, and counter protesters. It appears to be irrational and a mess. From race to gender to religion, everything is being othered. (PV, SV, CV, EV).
3:30pm Talked with a friend about drug addiction in detail. Told him about another person in my life who is struggling and possibly dying (not the one from the am). (EV)
4pm Images on Facebook are showing more violence in what appears ALL sides of the protest/rally whatever it is. Othering language is in full swing and so it goes. Pics include people carrying weapons, and videos show what seems to be some activists or counter-protestors trying to reach the unreachable. Time to walk away.
4:30pm Leave apartment for first time for errands. Decide to not go to protest. I notice internally the thoughts I am having as I lock my door. I think about the importance of naming thoughts that can become violent towards oneself, ending up in cycles of violence like abuse, addiction, within and without. Mindfulness.
4:40pm Walking down street. Street folks pretty much all around the avenue. Structural Violence. Do all these folks want to live like this? I know years ago when I studied homelessness, I was told to not assume that everybody doesn’t want to be on the street. In others words, check your bleeding heart. Still, as I pass some men who look like they are struggling, I feel deeply saddened. Remembering that this could easily have been me if I hadn’t gotten help. (PV, SV, CV, EV).
6:30pm Walking back home from errands. Again, surrounded by the impact of structural violence through poverty and homelessness. Everybody keeps walking and the sun shines on.
6:35pm Received a voicemail from someone struggling with mental health issues. (EV)
7:09pm Violence in commercial for the series “Taken” as I am watching (guess what…) Hulu Law & Order SVU. A show about a man avenging his sister’s death by killing the person who killed her. Shows a woman being thrown into a glass table. Other violent images. (PV, SV, CV).
7:10pm Law & Order episode I am watching. Context: a woman is raped on the show. Dialogue between two woman characters calling out men for being dehumanizing but than proceeds to turn violent when one character says, “I want to bust some balls” and Olivia Benson’s character responds in turn “Bust D’Angelo’s balls (male character)”…followed by “Wait till we get a hold of the perp.” (SV, CV).
7:30pm Violence in commercial for series showing Black Lives Matter protests dramatized. “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” chanted, police, etc. (PV, SV, CV).
Later, I got on the phone long distance and that was a wrap.
Was there violence in some shape or form from them or me in that conversation? I hope not.
This report shows BARELY ANY VIOLENCE DIRECTED TOWARDS ME. It does show how we are bombarded with seemingly innocuous images, thoughts, words, as well as seriously violent acts. This is important and critical to notice if we are to emancipate ourselves. Violence in any form, on any level, is a splinter that can infect the soul. We are here for a limited time. We are here on a great journey. We are also here to rise above any violence or suffering. It’s not only the physical violence. It’s racism, speciesism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia, ALL the isms that I may be forgetting (apologies). And, no, you don’t get to pick which one you are against.
We are against violence, but what are we for? We are for Love. We are for God. We are for all Life. We are for one another. At the end of the day we will rise in love, for love, with love. Amen.