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As a foreign media TV reporter that has covered the situation in Kenosha since last summer I have several observations which I would like to share as an outsider to the Kenosha media bubble.
The culmination of the legal and societal ordeal that the community went through since last summer was the anti-catharsis of last week’s decision by the local DA, Michael Graveley of not charging both Mr Blake and the policeman, Mr Sheskey that shot him 7 times in a back.
The ethics of the legal practice was brought forward as justification for the lack of indictment, not to mention the presumption of what the jury would or would not do while presented with available evidence.
The DA’s hired outside expert, Mr Noble Wry has also offered his own justification for the DA’s controversial decision, directly pointing out the police doctrine of “stopping the threat” as benchmark for police culpability or lack thereof. However what was omitted from Mr Wry’s eloquent explanation was the historical fact that the “stopping the threat” enforcement policy comes from the military training procedures as I personally witnessed in Iraq in 2013 and in Ukraine in 2016.
At that time the idea of “neutralizing the threat” was taught by the US military advisors appointed to train Iraqi Army and Ukrainian Special forces which arguably characterizes both the certain population of Kenosha and ISIS as deadly threat to be dealt with, accordingly. The real pornography of power put on display during the January 5th PR event in Kenosha was as subtle as the lack of historical context surrounding the decision by the DA not to indict.
Just as the Michael Bell Jr shooting in 2004, the current set of events have created a verbal momentum for alleging police reform that will be internalized into its own dynamics and power play resulting in the usual “new and improved” status quo solution changing absolutely nothing.
This is regardless of fact that both Mr Blake and Officer Sheskey are both coming out as victims in this scenario and two personal tragedies that are subsequently visited on both families are then used as political mileage for both local and national political interests. From the local perspective the local govt clique that includes the most prominent people of the local establishment will have an interest in galvanizing their power making them more electable in the next electoral cycle, while on the national level, both Biden and Trump did outmost to politically benefit from the division and hurt of the community.
The spectacle of the outrage of injustice has also galvanized the local activist base on both ends of the political divide to drive up the ante leading to the tragic deaths of two protesters who jumped an armed teenager Kyle Rittenhouse and to cause riots that burned many businesses out of existence. In this way Kenosha has gone through a purification ritual of its political beliefs as both sides falsely claimed the outsiders were the most responsible for the havoc and mayhem that put Kenosha on the news virtually everywhere.
It is as if the Hegelian “the other” was to blame for the deaths and destructions while keeping the old good folks of Kenosha virtually captive to the outside forces that descended upon them.
However healing this narrative is, unfortunately it is untrue. In due course of many conversations with the locals, including govt officials , it dawned on me that for all practical purpose all sides of this conflict are seeing this event as some kind of Pokemon game of preconceived notions.
It is as their own individual actions are not to be scrutinized or questioned while the “other” appearing on the Kenosha game screen, whether the BLM, Antifa, White Supremacists, Racists , Trumpists etc. are the real culprit.
In this narrative of reality the lack of police reform and the reality of destruction of the economic base decades in the making is as unimportant and disconnected as the gargantuan Amazon warehouse just outside of town acting as glove of the “invisible hand” of the economy that “taketh but not giveth”.
Instead of looking at the Kenosha mirror and seeing the society for what it has become, the spectacle of the political form takes precedence over content. In this make believe world of false consciousness, the Trumpism’s false promise of imperial greatness is as hollow as the BLM’s promise of social revolution based on the woke politics of hyper identity.
Just as the Trumpism has resented the foreign media as agents of foreign power (including this reporter), the BLM did exactly the same to this reporter attacking him on his white and European identity while throwing him out of its Biden/Harris support rally. The transgression worth the condemnation was daring to ask questions about the Amazon and other military contractors financial support given to the movement and how this fact reflects on their real and perceived mission statement.
Kenosha’s virtual reality of false expectations will eventually come out true again in the form of renewed cycle of violence as if connecting the dots of class divide underpinning the old tradition of “divide et empera” (divide and conquer) is the most horrendous crime in itself. In this way the show will go on as it always does, while the pawns, as usual, will pay the highest price.
– Derek Monroe is an accomplished journalist reporting on US Foreign Policy issues. He’s currently a US correspondent with Radio Centraal (Belgium) and contributor to Ruptly TV, (Germany) and he has covered issues sensitive to U.S. government involvement in countries such as Poland, Japan, Sri Lanka, India, Ukraine and Iraq. He’s also a recipient of a 2017 research award grant from Sweden-US exchange fund foundation in Stockholm, Sweden. Fluent in four languages, working capability in six, Monroe resides in both Northern Illinois and Tokyo, Japan.