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Thursday, 12 February 2015

American Terror


my name is yusor my husnand is deah my sister is razan we were killed by a terrorist called craig #ChapelHillShooting: image via @Elbhaery, 12 February 2015

The Face of American Terror

87% of U.S. mass shooting are committed by caucasians 13-56 but [shooters] are never called 'Terrorists' #ChapelHillShooting: image via Bipartisan Report @Bipartisanism, 12 February 2015

Every time I go at it with some GOP gun-nut on here, it's like they all have the same profile pic and it's THIS one: image via Pin Head @TomAdelsbach, 12 February 2015

Trayvon Martin mural by Sean Marshall; inspired by Shepard Fairey's Obama poster, Hamilton at Tuxedo, 2013

Trayvon Martin mural by Sean Marshall; inspired by Shepard Fairey's Obama poster, Hamilton at Tuxedo, Detroit, 2013: photo by Camilo José Vergara, 23 October 2013 (Library of Congress)

#TeaParty folks have created a support page for the #ChapelHillShooting terrorist. Welcome to conservative America.: image via Bipartisan Report @Bipartisanism, 12 February 2015

Threats: image by Rania Khalek via The Electronic Intifada, 22 January 2015

This is absolutely disgusting and honestly makes me so scared. #ChapelHillShooting: image via Maria @Maria Aliaa, 12 February 2015

Reminder: News agencies decide which narrative they want to sell you. #ChapelHillShooting: image via JRehling @JRehling, 12 February 2015

Just in: We don't give a damn what the #ChapelHillShooting gunman's wife has to say about anything: image via Anonymous @occupythemob, 12 February 2015

BREAKING The #ChapelHillShooting was not over a parking space. The killer had harassed the victims with a gun before: image via Bipartisan Report @Bipartisanism, 12 February 2015

Facebook pages "honoring" Hicks keep popping up. Like this one. Here are the admins too. #ChapelHillShooting: image via rabia chaudry @rabiasquareds, 12 February 2015

This is what a terrorist looks like #ChapelHillShooting: image via Anonymous @occupythemob, 12 February 2015

American Terrorist #Craig Hicks makes his first appearance in court on murder charges #ChapelHillShooting: image via Delonte @Delo_Taylor, 12 February 2015
The Victims

One of the #ChapelHillShooting victims was planning a charity trip to help Syrian refugees: image via World News Tonight @WNTonight, 12 February 2015

Deah Barakat's brother, Basem, 10, cries "I want to see him again, I didn't get to say bye" #ChapelHillShooting: image via TKP @tkpsky, 12 February 2015

#RIP .. They were recently married.. innocent students .. Murdered .. #ChapelHillShooting: image via Islamic Tweets @MuqeemAlii, 12 February 2015

Sorry this ugly world couldn't handle your beautiful dreams.#ChapelHillShooting: image via Humna Usmani @HumnaIsmani, 12 February 2015
A Hate Crime?

Report: Muslim victims' father calls deadly #ChapelHillShooting a hate crime: image via CBS News @CBSNews, 12 February 2015

but its ‘just a film’ right? #ChapelHillShooting: image via @sempiternal, 12 February 2015

Execution style: "He hates us for what we are"

Way of Holiness Church, 5258 Indiana Avenue, Chicago, 2003

Way of Holiness Church, 5258 Indiana Avenue, Chicago: photo by Camilo José Vergara, 2003 (Library of Congress)

Embedded image permalink
from their engagement, to wedding, to heaven..together. <3 i="">#ChapelHillShooting: image via Yousef Saleh @fouseyTUBE 12 February 2015

 "He hates us for what we are," one of the #ChapelHillShooting victims had said of the shooter: image via Yousef Saleh @fouseyTUBE 12 February 2015

 #ChapelHillShooting: "My best friend was killed and I don’t know why": image via ABC News @ABC 12 February 2015

 #ChapelHillShooting: Namee Barakat embraces his wife Layla, parents of shooting victim Deah Shaddy Barakat: image via AJ+ @ajplus, 12 February 2015

Friend of #ChapelHillShooting victim describes encounter with the gun-wielding neighbor: image via William Lafi Youmans @wyoumans, 12 February 2015

 The two sisters murdered yesterday, 21 and 19, with their parents. #ChapelHillShooting: image via rabia chaudry @rabiasquareds, 12 February 2015

“'he hates us for what we are and how we look," distraught father quoted his daughter as saying #ChapelHillShooting: image via Gaza Writes back @ThisIsGaZara, 12 February 2015

 "He took so much—from me, from this family, from this community."- Amira #ChapelHillShooting: image via Latoya Peterson @LatoyaPeterson, 12 February 2015 Washington, DC

They had such a beautiful and harmless soul. #ChapelHillShooting: image via I LIKE 5SOS AND FOOD 5@sose31d, 12 February 2015

Good evening @BarackObama U condemned #CharlieHebdo - when will U Condemn #ChapelHillShooting happening at your Soil?: image via Bea @Bea4Palestine, 12 February 2015

"They control the minds of the masses"

you all were quick to tweet political cartoons after charlie hebdo why stop there?? #ChapelHill #MuslimLivesMatter: image via aisling @gameofhorans, 12 February 2015

I'm reminded everyday of how sick this world we live in is. #MuslimLivesMatter #AllLivesMatter: image via Raneeeeeem @heyraneem, 12 February 2015

Hypocrisy in media reporting. #ChapelHill #MuslimLivesMatter: image via Abbas Hamideh @Resistance48, 12 February 2015

The vigil

Suzanne Askar with North Carolina State University students Safam Mahate and Nida Allam during a candlelight vigil for murder victims: photo by Al Drago/Corbis via The Guardianm 12 February 2015

North Carolina shooting victims remembered for their 'amazing spirit': Thousands gathered to pay tribute at vigil for three students who were gunned down on Tuesday, as crowd reminded that ‘Muslim lives matter’: Nicky Woolf in Chapel Hill, North Carolina or The Guardian, 12 February 2015

Thousands gathered on the campus of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill on Wednesday night to pay tribute to three local students who were shot to death the night before.

Deah Barakat, 23, his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, and her younger sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, were killed on Tuesday evening in the couple’s apartment in a leafy suburb of Chapel Hill.

The assembled crowd, which included students from both UNC and North Carolina State University, as well as members of the surrounding community, numbered as many as 3,000 people, university officials confirmed.

1000s gathered in Chapel Hill to remember 3 Muslim Americans who were killed #ChapelHillShooting: image via MC HAMMER @MCHammer, 12 February 20

Brian Swift, a friend of Barakat’s and the president of his class at the dentistry school, told the Guardian that the turnout was “unbelievable.”

“If Deah were to see me now, he would give me a smack and tell me to put a smile on my face,” he added.

Many held candles, while students from the school of dentistry –- where Barakat was studying, and where his wife was set to enroll in the autumn -– wore their white coats in an act of solidarity.

Craig Stephen Hicks, who turned himself in to the police, has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder in connection with the shooting deaths.

deah barakat

Deah Barakat with his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha. All three were shot dead: photo supplied to The Guardian, 12 February 2015

The motive for the shooting is not yet known, but many, including Barakat’s family, have suggested that the murders may have been a hate crime.

After news of the attack broke, the hashtag “#MuslimLivesMatter” began trending on Twitter, and in a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Barakat’s sister Suzanne described the attack as an “execution-style murder.”

Barakat’s comments echoed those of Mohammad Abu-Salha, the father of the two women killed, who said he believes the killings were a hate crime, perpetrated against his daughters and son-in-law because they were Muslim.

Nihad Awad, the national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told the Guardian earlier on Wednesday that his organization was joining the Barakats in calling for authorities to treat the attack as a hate crime.

The vigil crowd is easily in the thousands. #ChapelHillShooting: image via Colin Daileda @ColinDaileda, 12 February 2015

At the vigil, people stood in near-perfect silence in the clear, cold air, as friends and family lined up to pay tribute to the “amazing spirit” of the three victims, and to try and make sense of the horrific crime.

Yasmine Inaya, Razan’s best friend and classmate at North Carolina State University, referenced the hashtag that trended on Twitter after the attack. “Muslim lives matter. 
Black lives matter. All lives matter. Human lives matter,” she said.

Dr Omid Safi, the director of Duke University’s Islamic Studies Center, also addressed the crowd, ending his remarks with “love is more divine than hatred.” At that moment, the bell at the top of the university clock tower sonorously tolled the hour.

Thousands have gathered at the vigil as officials and victims' family members speak. #ChapelHillShooting: image via The Daily Tar Heel Historical Pics @dailytarheels, 12 February 2015

Barakat’s brother Farris made an appeal for calm. “Trust me, as a Muslim, I know: one act does not define a mass,” he said, adding “Do not fight fire with fire”.

After he spoke, a murmur of “Allahu Akhbar”–- an Qur’anic phrase spoken by Muslims meaning ‘God is great’ -– arose in solidarity and support from Muslims and non-Muslims alike in the crowd.

"Love prevails": image via Nicky Woolf @NickyWoolf, 12 February 2015

After the vigil, people left candles burning around the base of the two giant oak trees that dominate the quadrangle. A sign leaning against the trunk of one tree bore the names of the three victims, alongside the simple slogan “love prevails.”
Mohammed Dorgham, a childhood friend of Bakarat’s, told the Guardian that the turnout “showed the life Deah –- and Yusor, and Razan –- led.”

“Words can’t explain it,” he said. “But this turnout may have done.”

Namee Barakat, second left, father of shooting victim Deah Shaddy Barakat, kisses his wife Leila Barakat during a press conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Wednesday: photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP via The Guardian, 11 February 2015


Barry Taylor said...

Tom - This is an extraordinarily powerful, heart-breaking, necessary post, and it's pretty unbearable that you ever had cause to put it together. The depths of paranoia and hatred plumbed by those Facebook streams are terrifying. And the fact that Fox News has carte blanche to whip this frenzy up with any laughable lie or fantasy 'fact' it cares to invent - ah the beauties of free enterprise and a free media.

L'Enfant de la Haute Mer said...

My condolences to the three young American Muslims!
C.A Hicks is no more than a monster and a terrorist. I am outraged !

erin said...

oh tom. i was afraid to click through on this post... for good reason.

i am stunned. stunned and sickened.

there is no response, i think, that can be just enough but to lie down at the feet of the victims' families, that community, and mourn with them. mourn deeply.

and i am embarrassed and enraged that our public national news (cbc) did not even mention this violent incident last night on the radio. (i only listen to the news, sometimes read it; never watch it.) i reel with the implications. news agencies should be ashamed. ashamed to the core for their omissions and their race/religious rhetoric which can only further incite hate.

... (sickened by this potentiality of us) ...

TC said...

Encouraging to hear this testimony, and not surprising that all of it comes from outside the US. You can lead the blind to a blind spot, but it will look just like home.

Our friend Michael Lally -- that rare American who grasps that there is a world over which the new garish bling-ring tones of the red white and blue concept of freedom through domination by a few, submission by many, does not yet quite totally prevail -- linked to this post today.

Michael's point was directed to the weakness and deceptiveness of the way this story was treated in US major media.

Maybe it could be safely said that there was some covering going on here, on the part of Big Media, but really that's been, as always, more like covering up -- distorting, whitewashing, erasing.

American terrorism and the gun-nut culture and religious persecution and Islamophobia and generalized suspicion of The Other, on these mighty foundations our nation currently supports itself, the grand POS that it has become. And pretty much nobody wants to know, and so, I guess, pretty much nobody is going to find out.

But oh, one senses that elsewhere, eyes are open, we are now being seen for what we are.

billoo said...

Thanks, Tom. The wedding photo was incredibly sad and beautiful at the same time. Not just because it could have come from any culture, could have been any father and daughter, but because it captured a particular moment in a particular person's life, a moment of happiness-and yet, now, it seems like a dance out of time (outside time), ecstatic, oblivious of the future.

TC said...


Thank you for your strong voice, coming, once again, from far away, and for your good heart.

Many thoughts crowd and perhaps cloud, the mind, tonight.

It would be impossible not to have been impressed by the uncommon poise and dignity of the stricken families, in their grief, and amid the madness -- which, not surprisingly, has included further waves of vicious and indeed quite terrifying (that word again) abuse, from pretty much the same, hideously predictable, by now almost robotic quarters.

It seems the current broad interpretation of the US Constitution, among today's gang of born-again gun-totin' redneck patriots, is that it is a document whose principal use is to guarantee the defense of the freedom to possess and use at will just about any sort of lethal weaponry money can buy.

And that interpretation also apparently permits a venomous mound of flesh like this natural-born killer to become. yes, a national hero, now lauded for having the courage (some might call it cowardice, but that's language for you) to barge into the home of some young, bright, happy, community-oriented, peace-loving citizens who've been guilty of nothing more than being who and what they are, and blow their brains out at close range.

Read into the detail of the reported testimony a bit, and it will be clear that the victims had been troubled and fearful about the unwanted attentions of this killer for some time, and with, as is now plain, very good reason, and had considered, and discussed among themselves, the option of calling the police.

But, being no dummies, they would, it is highly likely, have had reason to be anxious that taking that step could also have negative consequences, this being a police state, and all.

The courage and composure, in standing up to represent her family, of the elder sister of Deah Barakat, has been remarkable, allowing the world to see a bit of just what it is that is so violently hated by peckerwood amerika -- that is, the unmistakable evidence of the presence in people like the unfortunate victims of this hate crime of a superior culture; and to consider the pathos of the consequences that may come to those who dare to show difference, thus defining themselves, for all their resolute intention to "blend" and "buy in", as dangerous strangers in a deeply xenophobic, atavistic society.

Suzanne Barakat, physician and older sister of the slain Deah Barakat, interviewed by Anderson Cooper of CNN

This song has been on my sleepless mind since yesterday -- particularly apt, the bit that comes in at about the two-minute mark.

Mary Gauthier: Mercy Now

Hilton said...

Unbearable - and the array of photos tells the story. Hatred that gets barely a mention - just a "man" arguing over a parking space and not a "terrorist" hating an entire religion. Such beautiful kids. More and constant attention needs to be focused on this crime. Thanks for posting this.

TC said...


It's hard to confront this extremely troubling story, yet, as you suggest, at the same time, difficult to turn away.

Craig Stephen Hicks, Angry White Men and Falling Down