Monday Notes: *FIRE!

In 1963, Bồ Tát Thích Quảng Đức set himself on fire (self-immolated) to protest religious oppression in Vietnam. Although the country was at least 70% Buddhist, landowners were Roman Catholic, and so was the president at the time. Subsequently, the president and others had created an environment biased in favor of Catholics, resulting in the oppression of Buddhists. So, Quảng Đức self-immolated (source).

Though, I’d seen photos, I could never imagine the image or smell. I could never imagine wanting justice so bad, that I’d set myself on fire to raise awareness and fight for a cause, yet he and other Buddhists did just that.

I read up on it recently. Apparently, Buddhist weren’t allowed to fly their flag for a religious holiday, while Roman Catholics had donned theirs just days prior. Catholics were being advanced in government and military positions, while Buddhist were not. Roman Catholics were forcing Buddhists to convert to their religion as a requirement for living in Vietnam and as a way to reap equitable benefits (source).

I now understand. Conditions were so deplorable and demeaning for Vietnam Buddhists that they resorted to extreme measures. To make a statement. To announce they weren’t taking the Roman Catholics’ shit anymore. They were over it.

Sounds familiar to me.

Though I would never set fire to anything, I understand. Constantly seeing police, representatives of the American government, murder Black people in the street, in broad daylight, on video, while simultaneously telling Black people when, where, and how to protest or not to protest evokes a sense of helplessness.

We’re told we’re American citizens, yet we don’t receive the benefits of a so-called just system. When cops kill Black people, we watch grand jury after grand jury after grand jury return with a decision to not indict. What’s left to do? To what and whom will the government listen?

Destruction of the system American capitalists hold so dear is what’s left. Burning buildings down, even if they’re in our own community and allegedly for own benefit is what’s left to do. It’s a clear manifestation of the suppressed anger and sadness we’re told to get over and stop harboring. It’s a demonstration of how we feel about being shown that our lives are dispensable.

I hear it clearly. Businesses are expendable. Buildings can be rebuilt. Police cars can be replaced. Similar to Quảng Đức’s self-immolation, protestors want to make a point.

However, there’s this part to consider. Vietnam Buddhists had a five-point plan they wanted enacted. After demonstrating, Buddhists were immediately prepared to ask for change from their government. Six days later, The Joint Communiqué was signed.

So, that’s my suggestion.

Black Americans, including born citizens, naturalized citizens, immigrants, Muslims, Christians, non-Christians, Israelites, and everyone in between need to have one unified voice of a multipoint plan, with oversight…for the entire nation, regardless of location.

Number one on the list should be STOP MURDERING US.


*24 hours after I wrote this, it was alleged that white nationalists infiltrated peaceful demonstrations, with looting and fires (source). Whether this is true or not, I maintain that radical action plus a unified plan has to occur to stop police from killing people who look like me; history has proven these two acts to be effective.

70 thoughts on “Monday Notes: *FIRE!

  1. That is the definition of dedication and sacrifice to the utmost and I think people these days are just too afraid to be that stick in the mud for fear of retaliation.

    Great post, doc! I was watching a show called The 100 and a religious woman did light herself on fire because she was done with the shits. Sometimes I think these science “fiction” shows are actually trying to encourage us to add our two cents, stand up for SOMETHING.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. And you make time for those do’s and fights if they’re truly important to you.
        And some of the acting was rough, but it’s a good show. I think sci-fi is so telling.

        Liked by 1 person

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  3. Hello K.E., I wanted to have a dialogue with you regarding the RC church overstepping itself in Vietnam. The French controlled that country heavily influencing the church and its’ administration. Communists formed their own country, North Vietnam, in 1945. And, after many decades of fighting, the communists were victorious over South Vietnam. Unfortunately, according to a 2007 survey 81% of Vietnamese people did not believe in god. The Buddhist monk who gave his life for his cause died in vain. The atheism of the communists was clearly the winner. MLK Jr. was right , non-violence is the answer.

    Protestants have also overstepped their authority in my ancestral home of Ireland for instance. In Northern Ireland there still today exists discrimination in employment, housing, civil rights, etc. only if you are Catholic. BTW, Did you know Irish peasants were sold as slaves to plantation owners in the Caribbean because the Irish made “wonderful servants”. This was before the Irish fought their war for independence.

    So, what I would like to point out is that peaceful protest has always worked for me. Whether it comes in the form of a march or a tweet or a blog post. I know firsthand of fighting a war and how senseless it is. So I ask, why can’t we just get along ?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Dennis! Thanks for adding this. I welcome as many voices as possible to resolve a situation because it’s a human being issue we have, as you’ve shown with these examples.

      I read your description of the Irish with my mouth hanging open. I’m not sure why we cannot seem to simply get it together, century after century of oppressing one another.

      I also want to clarify that peace is necessary, and violence doesn’t solve anything; however, I wrote this because I understand the need to resort to violence when you feel as if your voice isn’t or hasn’t been heard. I think, too, although peaceful protest work, RADICAL change is necessary. For example, the radical could mean a complete dismantling of a system and re-build or protesting for years, not one day (as we’ve seen across the world now).

      Thank you again for adding to this important conversation.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes! STOP murdering us!!!
    And YES, we gotta have a specific list of what we need and want. I think we should reduce over policing by looking at duties that can be removed from police and given to social workers or other non-police entities; that way we can reduce police dept size and minimize contact because it appears that a lot of them are ate up with racist attitudes. I say this as the sister of a law enforcement professional.
    Seriously, most of these deaths have resulted from misdemeanor arrests. Alleged passing of a counterfeit $20, selling loose cigarettes, speeding or some other traffic violation. Not to mention deaths resulting from being black while looking at new constructions—Can we just live? WTF!
    Great post as usual Doc🌹

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lady G! And yes. Yes. YES. Stuff that other people don’t even get a second look over. Even the store owner said they usually DON’T do anything to the person who has the counterfeit bill, because most people don’t know they’re carrying fake money. Anywho…TIRED.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This: “Black Americans, including born citizens, naturalized citizens, immigrants, Muslims, Christians, non-Christians, Israelites, and everyone in between need to have one unified voice of a multipoint plan, with oversight…for the entire nation, regardless of location.”
    Unity is key. Beautiful post Kathy.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s also the 31st anniversary of Tiananmen Square and I read this in The Guardian today:

    “The message to the Chinese people was: the mass movement never took place; those peaceful protesters were thugs. Only the party can restore order and make you rich. Keep quiet, forget the past. Forget democracy and freedom. For the sake of stability and economic growth, the state can murder civilians.

    But the underlying truth was simpler: dictators will always put their political survival above human life. They will not rest until they have perverted every truth and obliterated all possibility of dissent.”

    I’m sharing this because I’m sure you can see from the quote that there are a lot of parallels between that event and what’s going on in our country.

    I’m seeing a lot of that faux hashtag activism where people basically do the equivalent of thoughts and prayers and social media while not advocating for anything in particular, while not taking direct action, both individuals and corporations. There’s a great post on Medium of ’75 things white people can do to fight racial Injustice’ that I’ve shared with friends and family and it’s been interesting to see the response. Both folks on the Australian side of my family floored me with their ignorance and condescension, one talking about how racism in police brutality is not a problem in Australia (clearly ignoring the long history that Aboriginal peoples have experienced) and another complaining about Aboriginal protesters and doing that same old white suburban housewife bit about how peaceful protesters are just ‘making it worse for themselves’ and lumping them in with the looters.

    There have been a number of reports of both white supremacist and general anti-government groups jumping in at the end of protests and after the peaceful protesters have gone home at the curfew, these (primarily white) guys start the looting and fires and the like. I just saw a news video last night and it was definitely not part of the regular protesters, but the media loves to show the fires rather than the peace, and people love to lump everyone together and blame them instead of being accountable for their own issues.

    I hope the November election gets Trump out along with the Republican majority in the Senate which is also very crucial, but I worry that people think that will suddenly cure what ails this country. There’s a whole lot of ego at all levels and a whole lot of fear keeping those egos right where they are. We need to build fresh, focus on improving things from all sides, from healthcare to education to environment to housing, and vote for the kind of people who will not suppress voting, who will promote policies that protect and nurture people and planet for the long haul.

    Thank you for all of your words and thoughts and philosophies and calls to action and fearlessness to be exactly who you are and share your story that gives so much to us readers. I’m thrilled to have found your blog 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. THANK YOU so much! I really do appreciate your kindness and kind words and solidarity of understanding of what I’m saying here.

      History repeating itself is always eerily moving, especially this part: “But the underlying truth was simpler: dictators will always put their political survival above human life. They will not rest until they have perverted every truth and obliterated all possibility of dissent.” I feel as if we’ve all been here before trying to get it right time and time again. Failing, time and time again.

      There’s so much more I’d want to say, but just know this. I agree with each and every word you’ve written here.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No more you need to say – I gotcha 🙂 I am simultaneously watching this beautiful emotional growth in my Australian husband during these current events, while also witnessing those in his home country – including, tragically, his stepmother – making comments that go well beyond ignorance. So very much work to be done.

        Hugs – A.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Well, change is in the winds so don’t raise the white flag… 🙂

    “Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do…” Pope John XXIII

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for sharing!!… Unfortunately there is a element of world’s societies who are closed minded and deny change, especially with the religious/faith ideologies… and they use fear as a weapon to get others to look upon others with ridicule and distrust.. I believe that today’s technology will help everyone trying to make change for the good to eventually be successful… just have to continue to let the fingers do the walking (typing/writing) and the heart do the talking!!.. 🙂

    “When we begin to build walls of prejudice, hatred, pride, and self-indulgence around ourselves, we are more surely imprisoned than any prisoner behind concrete walls and iron bars.” Mother Angelica

    Liked by 1 person

  9. totally agree — & here in Los Angeles amid the same wreckage we saw with Rodney King, it breaks my heart (an understatement for lack of better words) that a-holes (again, lack of better words) subvert people’s valiant efforts toward the kind of change that’s needed into opportunities for crimes that take away from the whole message…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Love this post!!! I am not one who loves power over others and don’t understand what makes people want that. Wish we could all just thrive peacefully side by side.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Change is inevitable. I believe change isn’t what should be the key focus. Awareness is key…individually and as a unity. I also still believe the systems are not necessarily wrong, the way they are implemented and used, that’s where we as humanity fail. Hate only increases hate. Violence increases violence. Do I understand the urge to not only be heard, but also really listened to; absolutely. Do certain persons need to step down, be removed, absolutely.
    Do I have all the answers? No, absolutely not. However, what I observe happening on our globe…it just doesn’t seem, to me, the right turn to take. As frustrated, angry and sad I am. It just doesn’t feel it is. I hope we find a way to align soon, a way we all can just be.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for adding this Patty. I agree that awareness is key; however, some of us are either acting unaware of current conditions or are really unaware, while others are well aware because we continue to live through repeated trauma due to the way our American system is set up. It’s not working. I also agree that violence begets violence, but kind of like people, there has to be a rock bottom, where we ALL look around and realize there’s no place but up and out.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Powerfully said Kathy. I’d add the right of protest is celebrated in some contexts…Boston tea party? It is frustrating to see white supremacists over taking the cause to change the narrative. And, although I know it is important gor change, like I said in a message to you, I’m getting tired of the easily repostable nice to say taglines about anti racism. In some cases, i see people post that shit who don’t walk the talk, for example, by continuing to shop in a local supermarket after being made aware of my experiences of racism there. Maybe I should give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe it is a beginning.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Mek. Oh for sure. Contexts = white people.

      So, yeah. I don’t even give attention to anti-racism posts, feel-good comments, or people who don’t understand what we’re saying. I decided long ago that they and I are not on the same vibration…and that’s okay. I give no one the benefit of the doubt when it comes to issues like these. When you can watch a police officer literally murder a man on video and then say something else to try and convince me it’s not what I think…you and I have nothing to say to one another. That’s where I am with this.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It has consumed me and made it a really hard week…it is not just George Floyd it is every single black woman and black man eho have experienced anything from school yard teasing to murder. Not a single friend (amd most are white) has checked on me. Because they think it is a foreign problem that they are blacking out their posts for in solidarity with dome abstract black person somewhere far away. Im going to limit social media to just posting my daily writing and s signing off, because that is a commitment I made to myself and I will not let this stop me. However, I cannot look at any more posts. And yes, I agree about vibrations. Unfortunately the anger and ruminations of almost every notable racist experience I’ve had in my life being at the forefront of my thoughts almost constantly this week has lowered my vibration. Sigh. I’ll stop now.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I hear you. That’s one reason I think writing is important. Some will always other the situation. We have to be diligent (if we want to) in saying, ME TOO! People, I’m sure, think I’m unaffected because of my social status. I have to remind people that I’m black first in a society that sees my race before they see anything else. Sending you some light and love. I’ll check my phone soon.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Yes, there is a hierachy in the order of bigotry and black is bottom. I’ve never liked the POC umbrella cause even among others lumped into that, again there is a hierachy and we are at the bottom. Thanks ✊🏿 💛

        Liked by 1 person

      1. When I saw it online (and I rarely look at video clips), I had a flicker of hope. Only a flicker, because so many voices are needed, but these are the ones, of all races and especially from police chiefs, that need to be heard. My heart is breaking for my former country and for the world.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. “need to have one unified voice of a multipoint plan, with oversight”
    The question has long been who, and how, do we come together to write up this plan? No one seems to be able to agree, since the death of Dr. King (and even then, but the majority of the Black community followed him, via organization through the Black churches, which we no longer really have as we did then). How do we get all of the various parties on-board and set a unified agenda with input from everyone? I think that the churches are still a good place to start, but these days, not enough. Labor/union orgs used to be another place to turn for organizing and solidarity, but not so much, anymore. There are multi-faith/interfaith progressive groups, but how to reach those who do not attend any services or belong to a union, or progressive group?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You’re absolutely right. We’ve been having this conversation about leadership since Black leaders were murdered. I’m not sure HOW to unify and mobilize, but I agree it should occur. I thought the BLM organizers were going to pick up that mantle, but they seem to only organize protests? The Players Coalition was created to provide support and accountability in situations like these. It would seem that with social media we could get the word out as to how to organize a little faster, no matter where it’s coming from.

      As a side note, labor unions and churches are now seen as self-serving and corrupt, hence their lack of ability to unify society for a common cause.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh. I knew about the unions, but I hadn’t realized that churches were so widely seen as corrupt, also. 😦 I guess it has to be social media, but with everyone so silo’d in our echo chambers, how to get a message out in a timely way? Unless someone well-known and respected, like President Obama, perhaps, endorsed something? But I don’t think he is allowed to.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh. I saw the sectioned out re-post of his medium article on Twitter, but I didn’t see a video when I searched. I reblogged the article from someone who had already found and posted it here on WP.

        Liked by 2 people

  14. When Kap took a knee in peaceful protest against the killing of unarmed African-Americans by law enforcement, people lost their shit and called it a slap in the face to God, country, the flag…and oh yes, the troops. No one came forward to have a discussion on WHY he protested, but simply vilified him for the WAY he protested. The constitutionally protected way.

    Now protests have taken on a different form and people are stressed and confused.

    I agree we NEED a unified stance to put down systemic racism once and for all. It will take time but we all need to be at the table… not in the streets. Evil has an agenda and is taking advantage of the chaos…by creating more.

    I cannot keep myself from smirking though at the DOZENS of posts I’ve seen across social media decrying the burning of TARGET when the countless burnings of mosques, Jewish synagogues, and Black churches in THIS century have barely registered a blip on the screen outside those cultures. Much respect.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Yesterday’s blog post was written as a letter to a friend who needs to participate in the conversation. She missed the “whole entire” point and accused me of threatening her and inciting hate and violence. I was seriously like, “Did you read someone else’s blog post?”

        Liked by 1 person

  15. You will be aware that the world condemns this act of vile and extreme racism, one in a series of atrocities. We see. We see the establishment incite riots. I am sorry to say, and goodness knows we have our own weak leadership and racism issues, we judge your President harshly. Something had to give, if not now then when, how much more, how many times?

    Liked by 4 people

  16. I remember this photo. For this monk, the flames were beyond his ‘self’. This was liberation and the final protest, to give of one’s life. Perhaps this is what we are seeing but it’s hard to understand with the western mind set. But many do understand considering the protest we are witnessing… jc

    Liked by 2 people

  17. My heart is breaking for our society and our country. The events of the past week has had me question my own beliefs about things. I know I’ve always been appalled by things that have happened to the black community, but I can also admit that I have not offered the support I think is necessary. I chose to shed my affiliation with a political party this past year, because I have noticed that I was sacrificing what I know in my heart is right for something I’m not even sure about anymore…

    Liked by 2 people

  18. You bring up a powerful point about the smell. We have seen much of this in photos on social media but for those who witness the destruction, something as powerful and pungent as smell isn’t easy to turn away from or forget. The question that lingers like smoke and ashes: when will this violence stop?

    Liked by 2 people

  19. I’ve seen reports in my local (South Africa) newspaper of peaceful protests being answered with violence by the police. It’s a human rights issue and the International Criminal Courts should be approached if there’s no justice to be reached within America. The police should be up for crimes against humanity and their leaders, read Trump ultimately, be removed from their positions. That’s one thing. What you suggested will take the entire black population standing together. It can be done.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Thanks. Wish I had the means/energy to do something about it myself. I’m far from the city now and there are enough probs in the small town I live in now. Don’t ask … some of it nearly did me in! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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