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USA and KSA: “Already going to hell, just pumping that gas”


It is official: dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has been killed but the US shouldn’t do anything about it because we have billions of dollars worth of weapons to sell to Saudi Arabia. That is, after all, what Jesus really wants.

The back and forth over Jamal’s disappearance before it was confirmed that he was, in fact, dead was sickening to watch. Perhaps we all immediately understood what the consequences would be: nothing. But even that expectation didn’t make it any easier to listen to the US President downplay the murder and accept the contradictory explanations from the oft-touted “reformer” Mohammed Bin Salman.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave the ultimate cringe-worthy sound bite to the press after meeting with MBS, stating that neither party wanted to talk about any of the facts.

Running through my head is Sri Lankan-born rapper MIA’s, mostly misunderstood and extremely catchy, single “Paper Planes” from 2007.

I fly like paper, get high like planes
If you catch me at the border I got visas in my name
If you come around here, I make ’em all day
I get one down in a second if you wait

I fly like paper, get high like planes

I get one down in a second if you wait

Sometimes I think sitting on trains
Every stop I get to I’m clicking my gun
Everyone’s a winner we’re making that fame
Bonafide hustler making my name
All I wanna do is
💵 💸
And take your money
Pirate skulls and bones
Sticks and stones and weed and bombs
Running when we hit ’em
Lethal poison through their system
No one on the corner has swag like us
Hit me on my burner prepaid wireless
We pack and deliver like UPS trucks
Already going to hell, just pumping that gas
Third world democracy
Yeah, I got more records than the K.G.B.
So, uh, no funny business
Some some some I some I murder
Some I some I let go
Some some some I some I murder
Some I some I let go

The song itself originates with MIA’s own personal experience as an immigrant, being demonised as a “job taker” and her black immigrant peers being branded as “criminals”. But Paper Planes is a song with multiple meanings, one of them also being the international arms trade.

“You can…apply it on a street level…” she told Entertainment Weekly in 2008. “But, really, it could be a much bigger idea: someone’s selling you guns and making money. Selling weapons and the companies that manufacture guns — that’s probably the biggest moneymaker in the world.”

The Saudis are eager to buy American weapons so they can continue committing mass atrocities against civilians in Yemen. Many journalists have correctly pointed out that reporting on these harrowing images of suffering has produced little response in comparison to the disappearance and killing of one dissident journalist. It would be a wonderful testament to Jamal’s legacy if these two stories were to eventually merge into one narrative that achieves some measure of justice.

Which one is really the dangerous criminal: The guy running your local bodega or the international businessman sitting down to dinner with lobbyists in DC?

Cartoon by Osama Hajaj

Ten years later after Paper Planes hit the airwaves law-abiding immigrants are being kicked out of the country while new immigrants are rounded up into cruel prison camps and the guys running it all are flaunting their blood-money.

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