Thursday, September 22, 2011

9.22.11 Blip Journal: The Progress of a NYC Writer

Odilia Rivera Santos

Idealism, taking action and caring about human rights

I believe most artists are idealists, but maybe, I believe that because I am an idealist.
Last night, I watched what seemed to be a sporting event.
It was the countdown to the execution of Troy Davis on Democracy Now. When his seventeen-year-old nephew was interviewed, he laughed and smiled, talking about how his uncle had mentored him from prison and the colleges he might attend. He was surrounded by loving well-wishers, people from around the world were still protesting, and in England protesters were at the U.S. Embassy until 3am, so his nephew exuded confidence. I felt as he did that Georgia would not dare do this with the world watching. A lynching is supposed to be a clandestine affair, not one with a million signatures opposing it.

Execution and its false civility

The details of torture do not take away from the fact that a human being is being tortured. The coldness of an execution, its false civility with doctors present to conduct a physical to see if you're healthy enough to be murdered, a gurney with a clean sheet and people dressed in uniforms. The paralytic allows people to watch, thinking the tortured feels no pain, but the paralytic just stops the body from jumping like a fish out of water on the gurney as this poor soul dies a painful death. Sparing the audience the truth of the situation is part of this false civility.

Activism on any scale

As I tweeted and posted messages on Facebook for people to sign a petition or make phone calls, my heart raced and the veins in my head throbbed as if I would die just waiting to hear if he would die.
When the reprieve was announced, I believed with all my might he would be spared due to the outrageous injustice of the case: no physical evidence, no DNA, no weapon, out of nine witnesses seven recanted, the jurors never knew the witnesses recanted and the question of money. Mr. Davis could not afford a lawyer and his lawyer was defunded in the middle of the trial according to one of the lawyers speaking on DN. And of course, there is the question of race.

People of color and the death penalty.
We can read the statistics until we've memorized them and speak intelligently at dinner parties with our graphs or we could take action. I believe in idealism. I believe in taking action. I have always been opposed to the death penalty, but have not done enough.
This cause has moved to the top of my list of causes.
I pray for Troy Davis's family.

Abolish the death penalty
What can you do?
Contact an organization and ask how you can help.
‎Amnesty International USA state and regional death penalty abolition coordinators (S/RDPACS)

Using whatever skills one has for public good is noble. Activism, like music, painting, and writing, is an art.

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