“Low Hanging Fruit” Vs. “Strange Fruit”

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tree drawing.jpgWhen it comes to my government’s intelligence agencies, I am, and likely always will remain, “low hanging fruit.”

Until last week I had scarcely heard the expression. Then two lawyers in two different offices separately described me thusly just hours apart on the same day. The phrase has been pinging around my brain’s background circuitry like a pinball ever since.

What does it conjure? A well-endowed gay friend made me laugh when he claimed to share the designation… Sometimes I imagine an easy-to-reach banana with my head on it…

What it really means is that, since I’ve engaged in anti-corporate boycotts and international anti-war organizing, I will remain just at arm’s length – accessible whenever someone from the supposed “Earth Liberation Front” destroys an SUV dealership or some sort of civil disobedience takes place that could seriously impact a corporation’s bottom line.

I get it. At your own job, isn’t it appealing to tackle what is most easily accessible and evident first? I’m already on the radar. And a little digging could always bring some insidious plot to the surface, right?

Since I turn 32 Monday I’m feeling particularly reflective about what this means the rest of my days. I have no way of knowing whether I will have to endure anything equal to or worse than all I’ve been put through in the last year and a half. But I do know that someone will likely always be able to quickly discern my movements, involvements, and assets. Depending on the political climate, I could possibly easily be elevated on the threat indices. It sucks.

But it could suck a lot worse.

Flipping through the New York Times this morning, I came across a map showing the 50-60 “noose incidents” that have occurred since the September 20 Jena Six rally. All of that subconscious pinging and ponging struck my memory of Strange Fruit, the lynching lament sang most famously by Billie Holiday:

Southern trees bear strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

The dissonance of such “strange fruit” is chilling – hard to conceptualize. I can only imagine the visceral responses nooses evoke for those who have emerged from legacy of violent racial oppression. That there used to be around 12 “noose incidents” per year and we have seen so many since September is cause for alarm.

I have to keep reminding myself that I have been scared shitless by spooks, but part of the reason it’s been so jarring is because I’ve always been relatively protected by the state since I’m white and financially comfortable. We are in a civil liberties emergency in this country. The NAACP has also declared a state of emergency due to the increased racial violence and law enforcement inequities. If we are truly dedicated to the principles of our founders, we have to raise hell about this racial injustice while we struggle to preserve our constitution.

As a first step I recently donated to the NAACP and will also give to the Southern Poverty Law Center. I realize that I could easily sound like a shallow, privileged white lady who is throwing money at problems. But – these are organizations fighting for rights and liberties that are worthy of support. I will focus on next steps after my thesis is finished. Now that I’m becoming more “out” about my experience and less and less afraid in general, I can’t wait to get plugged in to the work of civil liberties and rights groups.

Someday soon I hope circumstances lead to more promising fruit metaphors...

What is motivating you? What (even tiny) actions are you taking? What suggestions do you have?


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MJ said:

If you don't already know how bad it is, you might wanna check out these sites ...


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Six Hours A Week Is:

A coping strategy, advocacy outlet, and form of protection. My life has been nearly destroyed by the unconstitutional practices of politically/socially-motivated private intelligence contractors and the corruption and cronyism that allow them. Apparently because I speak out in ways that prioritize the little guy and human and environmental health above gargantuan profit margins, and believe that facts are as important as PR spin, I was someone who had to be completely discredited. In 2007, after a few months of a surreal and relentless invasion of privacy and dignity, I started to spend six hours each week researching, communicating about, and advocating legal and ethical responses to assaults on our shared democratic and republican ideals. For most of that time I was writing from the perspective of someone whose life was manipulated into a constant state of terror and emergency. In 2010, many of the array of entrapment attempts seem to have failed and it seems no longer possible to get away with such excessive, obvious harassment and overt interference. As we take more practical steps to address what has been allowed to happen to my family, we do expect to see some more harassment and intimidation. But I should be able to chronicle it from a more measured perspective, rather than that of someone in constant fear. Part of me would like to go back and delete earlier posts, because even I find them hard to relate to in some ways. But this blog has been one of our only forms of protection as everyone in any official capacity ignored the truth and tried to spin and frame us into the troublemakers and perpetrators of one form or another. So I leave it up as a form of protection, a record of what has occurred, and (with luck) the account of our way back to credibility and some form of legitimate justice. All content on this site is property of Kyeann Sayer. All rights reserved.

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This page contains a single entry by Kyeann published on November 25, 2007 11:32 PM.

Hushmail: So Long Privacy, I Hardly Knew You was the previous entry in this blog.

Intolerance Is A Bigger Threat Than Terrorism is the next entry in this blog.

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