04 February 2020

4 February 2020


 4 February 12020 is World Cancer Day. It is also Day of the Armed Struggle in Angola, Rosa Parks Day in California and Missouri, and Farmer’s Day in Taiwan. It’s Rosa Parks’ birthday—hence the day named after her.
As of this moment there are no results for the Iowa caucus, Turkey and Syria appear to be locked in armed conflict, Trump’s peace plan is being greeted with world laughter and derision, and the planet continues to rotate. Or as an ancient sage put it, The sun rises and the sun sets but the earth stands fast forever.
On this day in history in 1999 New York police officers shot Amadou Diallo nineteen times (out of forty-one shots fired) while he was standing outside his apartment house. No justification was ever given for this killing, except the plea that the police officers were utter incompetents who should never have been allowed outside with anything more lethal than a marshmallow. I mean, how else can you interpret a statement that the officers acted within guidelines and only did what anybody else would have done in the same circumstances? Filled with a sense of entitlement hundreds of self-important officers picketed the New Yorker for running a cartoon referencing the killing, while others edited the Wikipedia article repeatedly, all in a vain attempt to control the narrative. As far as I can learn none of the officers involved in this blatant attempt to suppress the free speech of others was ever called to account. In a rational and sane world the four killers would have been jailed and every officer who defended them would have been summarily fired. The ripples continue down the stream of time. Relatively recently composer Joel Thompson included part of Diallo’s final voicemail to his mother in his composition The Seven Last Words of the Unarmed.

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