The War on Terror and justice for Trayvon Martin

After more than a decade, the War on Terror continues. After transporting troops and arms to shock and awe millions of Iraqis, at least a million are killed, 5,000 of ours gone, and it goes on. After we preemptively started the war, lying about Saddam Hussein having WMDs, and after invading Afghanistan to find Osama bin Laden, the purported ring-leader of 9/11 and kidney dialysis patient in the American Hospital in Dubai in July of 2001, the mindless War on Terror goes on.

Even as the Iraq War is supposedly over, it continues with new revelations by scientists on the effects of depleted uranium, skyrocketing figures on birth defects and cancers of Fallujah residents. This resonates along with the murder of an entire family of 17 by a U.S. soldier or soldiers in Afghanistan. It is amplified by bombing the smithareens out of Libya, Somalia, intruding in Syria, drone-bombing Pakistan, beating the drum to bomb Iran and supporting the Israelis bombing the Palestinians and salivating to do it to the Iranians.

And what really drives these wars, as I see it, is a relentless greed driven by the racism of America for people of color, the majority of the world. This was the neocon poison pill for history to swallow. Like millions of others, I haven’t swallowed it. But millions of white people and others have.

Despite the many things that white people and people of color do share in America, the current firestorm of opinion over the slaying of Trayvon Martin surges with white voices from the right claiming Martin’s killer is innocent. Moreover, there is no arrest of George Zimmerman (the white man with the smoking gun), after a month of national mourning. It is the young Trayvon who is said to be guilty by the white right. They claim he tried to kill Zimmerman in mortal combat on the grass behind the homes of the development that led to Trayvon’s father’s girlfriend’s home, where he was headed for safety. Trayvon was found dead, face down in the grass of one those open backyards.

This while George Zimmerman, the self-made “Stand Your Ground” vigilante had stalked then shot Martin with a nine-millimeter pistol. You’d think justice could just move forward like eye-witnesses after a month of debate, in order to release evidence, forensics and resume rational investigation, and a trial, as opposed to being stonewalled by the Zimmerman family, police, and residents. We do know that the funeral director who prepared the boy’s body for burial did not find any bruises on him, except the mortal wound made by Zimmerman’s bullet.

Is this not an act of old fashioned Southern terror? And is this race war echoing the Civil War? In fact, as Florida’s reports, “The number of ‘Stand Your Ground’ killings has tripled since the law went into effect in 2005.” It goes on to say, “Florida was the first of at least 20 states to adopt this legislation. It did so at the urging of the gun lobby and against the advice of law enforcement officials who warned it would produce exactly the kind of violence that it has in Florida. The law protects people from prosecution if authorities determine they used deadly force in self-defense. That part of the law is seldom questioned—Americans have long had a right to defend themselves against attackers. But ‘Stand Your Ground’ goes a dangerous step further absolving individuals of any responsibility to retreat if they can safely do so when faced with a serious threat.” So far no one has determined Trayvon used deadly force or that Zimmerman retreated to safety in any way.

“Before the arrival of ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws, authorities applied the test of whether a ‘reasonable person’ would have resorted to deadly force to avoid injury or thwart an attack. ‘Stand Your Ground’ unwisely abolishes that traditional legal test. The Times investigation found that ‘Stand Your Ground’ defenses have been used in bar fights, gang shootings and road-rage incidents. As a recent Times editorial said, ‘It gives a ‘get out of jail free’ card to people quick to feel threatened and who have a lethal weapon at their disposal.” Amen.

It seems our national rage is fueled by an imagined extra-strength violence of people of color. Just like 19 Muslims were claimed to have overtaken a $60 billion intelligence capability on 9/11 to destroy the World Trade Center with hijacked airliners—while nary a US plane was able to get off the ground into the air to defend our country. And more than a decade later, even after Osama bin Laden has been murdered, we still pursue and harass Muslims at home and abroad. Most Muslims are people of color. Worse, they are Muslims not neocon Christians or Jews. And they should step into the For-Colored toilet or restaurant of the world and confess their eternal guilt.

Yet, in all fairness, as in our Civil War, hundreds of thousands of brave, patriotic white soldiers came from the North to the fight to undo slavery, and nearly 600,000 thousand of those Union soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice. Also, from the usurping South, came some 400,000, somewhat misguided Americans who were lost as well. That war ended in 1865—on April 9, 1865, when Lee surrendered to Grant. That ratio of freedom-lovers to slavery, I have the feeling, may still stand.

But slavery was supposed to end when the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified in December 1865 by three-quarters of the states. So that supposedly was it. The North won the war and the slaves were freed. But that wasn’t it. It was the beginning of Reconstruction and the occupation of the South by the North, which was also never forgotten.

Wiki reminds us, “The assassination of United States President Abraham Lincoln took place on Good Friday, April 14, 1865 [what an irony], as the American Civil War was drawing to a close. The assassination occurred five days after the commanding General of the Army of Northern Virginia, Robert E. Lee, surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Potomac. Lincoln was the first American president to be successfully assassinated, though an unsuccessful attempt had been made on Andrew Jackson thirty years before in 1835.” The white assassin was John Wilkes Booth, an actor, who had considerable support from sympathetic sources of the “Old South.” So the plot continued . . .

The Northern troops moved back up North, thinking the war was over, while, lo and behold, Deconstruction and the state-sponsored terrorism of the Klu Klux Klan arrived—once again displaying this undying hatred of people of color by untold numbers of whites, especially for those slaves who were declared free men, beholden to no one. Perhaps those ex-slaves were hated more because the old dehumanization of the black man was no longer legal. After all, this was a great humiliation to the poor white class who needed the degradation of blacks to up its deflated self-esteem and to feel human by being inhuman. Today, it seems those regressive forces of our world culture are alive among Conservative Christians, Israelis, controlling elites, and bigoted Zimmerman families everywhere.

Nevertheless, there are millions of good white people in America, whether Democrats, liberals or conservatives, just as there are millions or good people of color. There also is a rival force of racial haters, who’ve gone from leaning to the right to falling into the abyss of hatred, however thinly or thickly it’s disguised, as in the Trayvon Martin case.

If we wish to rectify this balance, let’s see if we can as a people squeeze a simple trial from a simple Florida town over the crass murder by a misguided vigilante simply, idiotically “standing his ground.” Our culture’s racism is showing its worst side, compounded, too, by racist rants against Hispanic immigrants.

No matter how we try to whitewash ourselves in history books, corporate-bought media, or government this is not American Exceptionalism, except in the most negative sense imaginable. It’s pedestrian and ugly. Also, our culture remains as an extension of its slave-holder tradition, presently via the likes of the Koch Brothers and Lloyd Blankfein, trying to reduce the 99% of us (white and black working and middle classes) to slavery, having abused millions of people of color already with toxic mortgages, criminal bank debt, collateral debt obligations (CDOs), etc. In fact, Wall Street has become the plantation owner of this racist, criminal cabal that wishes to rule America and the world.

The schemes of debt manipulation, speculation in commodities, oil, precious minerals, gold, silver, even water, reveal it. Even Europe’s aged colonizing countries, Spain, France, Portugal, Greece and others, are being enslaved by austerity programs that are making the people paupers, sentenced to slavery through austerity programs. The final irony is that America and the White World has for the last 30 years turned on its own with a vengeance that equals the slave-masters of the past. Consider that when you hear the threats to kill entitlements for the aged, infirm and retired to support warfare and the top earners getting their entitled tax cuts.

Think of Trayvon Martin’s smiling face and the grief of his parents, so like the grief-stricken faces of the Syrians, Libyans, Somalians, Egyptians, all the oppressed of the Mideast and Third World countries. Consider that when you examine the incomes and life-styles of the 1% versus the 99%. The Occupy Wall Street movement has identified not only the economic exploitation of this system, but given a racial context to the exploitation.

Trayvon Martin is the poster boy for racial hatred. It cries out for the elimination of this domestic terror. Settling it would spare the world the pain of our continued preemptive war, and go a long way towards a new level of humanity in the U.S. An even simpler solution would be don’t swallow the poison pill that white humanity bests the humanity of color. It doesn’t. If you can accept that, we’ll both be better off, more productive human beings. What’s more, Trayvon and his family and all those families like his can find some justice and peace at last.

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Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer, life-long resident of New York City. An EBook version of his book of poems “State Of Shock,” on 9/11 and its after effects is now available at and He has also written hundreds of articles on politics and government as Associate Editor of Intrepid Report (formerly Online Journal). Reach him at

11 Responses to The War on Terror and justice for Trayvon Martin

  1. Tony Vodvarka

    Dear Mr. Mazza, May I suggest that the racism theme which you use above to tie together the disparate subjects of our endless aggressive wars and the murder of Trayvon Martin is poorly taken. First, I believe it is a bit of a stretch to refer to Iraqis and Afghanis as “people of color”. This area of central Asia is where all the Caucasian tribes that migrated to Europe after the last ice age came from. A racist motive is not necessary as a justification for oppressing them, we hate them because they dare defend their homes and property from our imperial aggression. In our Civil War, the dehumanization of the enemy necessary to justify the evil inflicted upon them was not difficult to generate and it was not based on race. You say, “usurping south”. Really? May I remind you that it was the North that forced the war upon the south, invading and, in a pre-aerial bombing era, destroying its infrastructure and rendering it a poverty-stricken agricultural colony of the industrial north for two generations. Like the Iraqis and Afghanis, Southerers were defending their homes. Hundreds of thousands of brave, patriotic union soldiers came from the north to the fight to undo slavery? Really? Actually, the war was largely fought over the right of the industrial north to impose tariffs upon southern cotton in order to favor the northern mill’s competition with English mills. Many northern draftees probably ended up in the struggle because they didn’t have five hundred dollars to pay someone else to go. Let us look to a degenerative and unaccountable capitalism, a gangster economy, for the disasters that have been inflicted upon our nation from the time of the Civil War until this day. Anyway, it’s all grist for the mill, excuse my quibbling, looking forward to your coming articles.
    Tony Vodvarka

  2. Tony Vodvarka

    By the way, the first POTUS assassinated was probably Zachary Taylor, poisoned by arsenic and antimony. Although a slaveowner, he opposed the extension of slavery to the new territories acquired by the Mexican War and the opposition did not have enough of a majority to override his veto. His successor, Millard Fillmore, was pro-slavery and his “Great Compromise of 1850″ gave new life to slavery. Taylor’s death has been ascribed to food poisoning by strawberries and cream, a remarkable diagnosis. His body was exhumed in the early nineties and a hair sample taken. In order to get a “not guilty”, the chemical analysis was done on entire lengths of hair, which considerably diluted the estimated amount of arsenic and antimony present, instead of the last week’s growth during the poisoning which would have been potent enough to kill an ox. Of course, there was no explanation for why the arsenic and antimony was there in the first place.

  3. Jerry,
    Many folks chose to feel that Obama’s election indicated that we have finally transcended racism. But we can see that racism is still doing well in this country. There probably no way to legislate racist feelings out of the hearts of people but it is the institutional racism that concerns me. It is not Zimmerman’s personal feelings about an African-American boy that is of importance but, rather providing him with a weapon (gun) with which to act out his sickness. Not only do we provide him with the weapon, but we proceed to provide him with the legal justification for arbitrarily shooting this young boy (the Stand Your Ground law). The police, after this senseless slaying, not only release Zimmerman, but allow him to return home still in possession of the weapon he used to kill Treyvon. If it had been a black man killing a white boy, would the authorities have any hesitation in following a sensible procedure? Would the State Prosecuter tell the local investigator not to charge the “perp”? Would the mainstream media be talking about how complicated the issues are? The answer is a resounding no to all of the above. It is open season on African-Americans and many of the crimes are perpetrated by the police and secretly sanctioned by officials in our legal system. It is the institutional racism which worries me more than anything else.

  4. Vincent Amato

    If what you are suggesting is that we are experts on terror since we are so accustomed to living with it here at home, I couldn’t agree more. It becomes clearer each day that, regardless of what one thought of the USSR, its existence seemed to function as a kind of superego, a check on the unfettered tendency in the West, but particularly here in the U.S., to impose the will of the powerful upon the weak. That translates currently into an out of control propaganda mill that for the most part succeeds in squeezing out all but a handful of opposition voices, most of which only come into the sphere of the like-minded. Don’t wonder any longer. Fascism is here.

  5. Mr. Vodvarka, you wrote: “Dear Mr. Mazza, May I suggest that the racism theme which you use above to tie together the disparate subjects of our endless aggressive wars and the murder of Trayvon Martin is poorly taken. First, I believe it is a bit of a stretch to refer to Iraqis and Afghanis as “people of color”. This area of central Asia is where all the Caucasian tribes that migrated to Europe after the last ice age came from.” Frankly, if you took your head out of your butt, they were picked precisely because they were they settled in the Caucasus in the Ice Age and/or Fertile Crescent thousands of years, and definitely not lily whites. So the analogy is totally appropriate as is their religion, Islam, to victimize them with racism. Where have you been while all the Amuricans have been hating them as well as ‘colored people’?” Are the Japanese people of color? Were Libyans people of color?” Do we not assume a lower level of humanity to them given the high level of unmitigated violence they received? Were they both not bombed into the stone-age? Just as that 17 year old black boy, minding his business, talking on a cell to his girlfriend, coming home with a box of Skittles and a can of iced tea, was shot to death by a vigilante and its NRA “State Your Ground” law as ruthlessly? One and the same thing. Have you ever been down South. Do you know who Steppenfetchit is? Are you new to this country? Do you not know the NYPD made over 60,000 “Stops and Searches” last year. 69% were black, 30% were Hispanic, 1% were white. Racism abroad is the mirror of racism in the US. And don’t try to hide our disgraces in any way. Or I’ll assume your one of them.
    Jerry Mazza.

  6. David,
    I agree with you completely as to the institutionalizing of racism in America. But racism also begins in the heart, in the warped mind that feels disaffected, unachieving, so it searches for a victim of transference for those feelings, i.e., a goat. Just in fact as the Nazis did to the Jews, implying their Aryan selves were on a higher level than the swarthy Juden. And so, anything goes. Kill, torture, murder, burn them to ashes, and make the memory go away.

  7. Dear Vincent,
    I agree that what you have stated is the social scenario. But there’s something else involved in racism and its extension prejudice. The blacks were stolen from their native countries to become slaves. Even after four hundred years, when they were titularly freed, they are thought of as slaves. Even after the Civil War was fought and lost by the South, they were slaves, including free men. Even after the Civil Rights Movement 100 years later, they are thought of as “second tier” people, with not quite the right stuff. Once again, it’s goating. Look at Zimmerman. He’s Hispanic on his mother’s side, traditionally at odds with blacks for who is lowest man on the social totem pole. So Zimmerman had to be a man and “Stand His Ground” and kill a boy to prove his prowess as a man. Amazing. And with his nine milimetr pistol no less. And then lie that he was attacked to fulfill the law’s qualifications for murdering the boy. So this incident amazingly illuminates the prism of racism in all its shades, highlights, and, dare I say, tragic flaws.

  8. Tony Vodvarka

    Dear Mr. Mazza, My, my, your mean streak certainly appears when you perceive criticism of your patchwork, intellectually weak article; would that your Truman Capote side included a small fraction of that artist’s talent. At your suggestion, I was easing my head out of my butt (on the way out I noticed an ass..le and I had to check twice to see if it was you) so as to be able to see the total interconnectedness of evil under the guiding hand of the spirit of racism and I wondered at your courageous willingness to detest and defy this force in print. Awesome! But why would you limit yourself to the unity of Trayvon Martin’s murder, the AfPac theater, austerity programs and the Civil War? Why not shoehorn global warming in there also? You’re surely up to it and it’s topical, right? Anyway, may I wish you good luck with your ego issues and please don’t quit your day job. Regards, Tony Vodvarka