The assumptions of innocence …
On Saturday, a jury of six women five white found Zimmerman not guilty in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old black man. They all agree on the assumption of innocence of Zimmerman, who claimed he shot Martin in self-defense, what assumptions those women made about Trayvon Martin as Brittney Cooper explained” ….. , this case came down to whether those white women could actually see Trayvon Martin as somebody’s child, or whether they saw him according to the dictates of black male criminality. After the verdict, lots of soul searching debate about race and violence in this country, in where it has been usually and mostly about angry black men and not enough about angry white men” In his statement, Mr Obama commented on the case after the acquittal …. “I know this case has elicited strong passions. And in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher. But we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken.” He saw nothing wrong with system he never did, but as Edward Wyckoff stated in Salon “But neither justice nor humanity are colorblind in the eyes of American law. The nation’s socio-political consciousness remains plagued by a three-fifths compromise that devalues the lives of black people in general, and black boys and men in particular” It is interesting to see in this case what was going on not just in Zimmerman mind, the prosecutor in the case stated that Zimmerman made wrong assumptions about Trayvon, because he was black and young. It is more important is what was gong on in Trayvon mind and what was his assumptions. Someone tweeted right after the verdict “I still don’t understand what Trayvon suppose to do?” He must made a few assumptions of his own about Zimmerman, something like; I’m just a little kid, and Zimmerman wasn’t a black man and he wont resort to gun violence; the wrong assumptions, and he paid the ultimate price, his own young life. As an Arab American I made this wrong assumption a few months ago, … let us call it a revers assumption.
It was a cool evening fall night, I just finished a live interview on the 9pm local Fox news, as a usual guest suspect I was talking about the Muslim reaction to the ridiculous 14 minutes trailer/ film about the prophet. A friend called and wanted to meet up for coffee. As I was trying to park my car in the dark crowded uptown neighborhood street by the Spyhouse Café. I heard someone screaming his lunge out and bounding on my car window, .. get you’re f@#$% ass out of here” he fumed. He was a white occasion (the race is important here) in his late 20’s early 30’s, he was excessively angry. I thought to myself, the situation didn’t warrant any of this, I didn’t hit any car and it is getting late, and I could reason with the angry white man, I was wrong, he was hysterically, kept on screaming .. “you hit my car, you hit my car” Where did I hit your car, Do you want my driving license? … I calmly asked, he kept on screaming orgy, . … why don’t you come with me Ill buy you a cup of coffee to calm you down” … I told him, it was a fatal mistake. I didn’t know what happened then, after gaining my conscious, I heard a police officer asking ..“are you ok”? .. I wasn’t sure how to answer this question, did he mean physically or emotionally. The white man struck me from a close range that left me with a black eye and a broken jaw. At the dark uptown ally I was trying to have a conversation with an angry white man… it was a mistake! I made the same assumptions that Trayvon must had made about the angry white man; that he won’t resort to violence and I can reason with him. Here in America, as in the Zimmerman case in a fight, you fight to win and physically eliminate your opponent no time for reasoning or negotiation. Trayvon must had made an assumption of his own, that Zimmerman won’t resort to gun it was just an altercation.
Through history people fight for different reasons, money, girls, honor, In Chuck Palahniuk’s explosive novel , “Fight Club” the fight starts underground to help men relieve themselves of inner aggression by beating each other into unconscious conditions during secret undergrounds meetings, fight club becomes not just an obsession but a life-style. It is a far fetch cause but not by much, people in the west when they are engaged in conflict, they fight to win, and physically eliminating their opponents, it is an individual quest to triumph. The fight club had no audience no spectators, the fighters were the audience. In Arab world fighting is considered as a public spectacle. Arabs in the street for the untrained eyes, seem to be in a constant conflict and fighting all the time. But you hardily see any physical aggression, or violence; mostly a verbal and theoretical ones. Even with recent riots in the streets in Egypt, which is a political fight, conflicts between Islamists and the so called seculars oppositions, there are more screaming, banners, humors, street arts, than street violence, each faction is accusing the other of being the aggressor, flashing gruesome images of their grievances to gain public support and implicate the opposition. Everyone accuses the other of being “flole” (thugs) to discredit them and defeat them morally to turn public support against them. Saddam Hussein fight was orator fight before anything, to the rally people and crowd support. The American overwhelming response was swift and violent, they meant business they are interested in triumph not rhetoric, ignoring world audience protest and outcries. Likewise Israel disproportional response to a few rockets attack coming from Gaza or southern Lebanon is a case in point, the Arabs bluff the west blast… !
Watching a street fight in Egypt, the parties involved unlike in the west are not interested in winning the fight, as much as they are interested in winning the audience sympathy; it is a public act, a performance for a nonpaying audience, who has the final saying in deciding on who is at fault, no matter where the fight takes place, there is always enough spectators to watch the fight with a great interest to the end. The two parties involved in public fighting main purpose is to bring as many members of the audience in his side, they use all the means and skills pleading their cases to the audience. Creating more of a verbal fight than a physical one. This may involve part acting and part bluffing; hearing someone screaming “Ah Ya ainni” Oh my eye, it doesn’t mean one party was hit in the eye, it is a falls claim made against his opponent to get the audience in his side. This can be found also in sports, in soccer, the soccer player may exaggerate an injury after a hit, to make belief and get the ref sympathy and maybe issuing a red card to the opponent player. That is why lots of Americans, soccer seems a dangerous sport, but football isn’t, goes figured. In American football the emphasis is on the hitting itself and not on the aftermath, and physically eliminating your opponents and gaining territories. At the dark ally in the uptown area, that cool fall night, I was fighting as an Arab, the problem was… we didn’t have any audience, just me and the angry white man.
Ahmed Tharwat / freelance writer/ pubic speaker/ host of the Arab American TV Show BelAhdan/ with open arms
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