[NetBehaviour] The riot is the language of the unheard

Michael Szpakowski m at michaelszpakowski.org
Sun May 31 10:19:12 CEST 2020

Max I’m not going to *stop* you using the song. I said before it was a gift to you. Simply remove my name from any public version of it and you may use it in whatever way seems proper to you. #GeorgeFloydWasMurdered #BlackLivesMatter #NoJusticeNoPeace

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On Sunday, May 31, 2020, 8:07 am, Max Herman via NetBehaviour <netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org> wrote:

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Hi Michael,
Two blocks from my house tonight neighbors are out on the street observing for arsonists.  This is a primarily Somali section of our neighborhood.  There is a medical clinic across from the high rise serving many Somali residents.
Neighborhood observers noticed two vehicles on a side street replacing their plates with Minnesota plates.  They sent this message to the other observers.  The two vehicles pulled up to the medical clinic, after a previous individual had cut a hole in the plywood boarding up the doors and windows.  They threw a molotov cocktail at the hole in the plywood, but Somali neighbors on watch from the high rise did as the neighborhood watch system advises and shouted to other observers to alert them.  
Fortunately, in my view, the device missed the hole in the plywood and was kicked away by an observer from the medical clinic before it could ignite the exterior.  The vehicles sped away.  This was all just reported on local TV through interviews with the neighborhood observers.
Do you really think it would be better if that medical clinic had burned down?  If yes, should all medical clinics in the city be burned down?  All libraries?  (Several libraries in the poorest neighborhoods have been destroyed.)  If not all, how many, now that the officer in the video is in custody and charged with murder?  Do you really think it likely that the attackers of the medical clinic were trying to change society for the better and accomplish justice for George Floyd?  Much video has been captured, and social media activity gathered, suggesting otherwise -- and I have seen things otherwise with my own eyes.  Context here is also important -- the governor and city mayor are liberal-moderate, and both have been severely targeted by far-right rhetoric in the recent past.  The portrayal of their liberal politics as incompetent to prevent the annihilation of society will have distinct electoral consequences later this year.  Are those consequences not also relevant when considering motive?
My intent behind the lyrics of the song was as follows, which perhaps I should have discussed in more detail.  I wrote the words last summer, in part to lament the divisive ethnonationalist rhetoric which has succeeded in taking power in my own country and consequently in much of the globe.
"The Beautiful" is a reference to "America the Beautiful," and the tragic irony of the latter.  How far we are from that.  The ugliness which has reigned and thrives on death, division, hate, and fear.  On the proliferation of violence.  What is beauty?  It goes deeper than ethnonationalism.  It can unite people and also heal them.  To me it is the truest hope of humanity, and it profoundly relates to peace.  That is what the song is about, for me.  It is about the power of beauty and peace to unite people and end the ugly violence which keeps history in its grip.  It's about what Lincoln called "the better angels of our nature."
However I totally respect that you prefer that I not discuss or share the song in that context.  I will not share or promote the song as a meditation on peace which might help my community survive this hell, as much as I would like to, and despite the fact that a call for peace was the specific intent of the lyrics.
I do respect your views greatly on this as on all things and hope what I am saying is not offensive or out of line -- just my POV from what I am seeing with my own eyes and feeling in my conflicted and indeed physically terrified situation of wanting justice for George Floyd but not wanting my neighborhood or his to be burned down.
Best wishes and regards,

From: NetBehaviour <netbehaviour-bounces at lists.netbehaviour.org> on behalf of Michael Szpakowski <m at michaelszpakowski.org>
Sent: Sunday, May 31, 2020 12:35 AM
To: netbehaviour new netbehaviour <netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org>
Subject: [NetBehaviour] The riot is the language of the unheard See: 

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