Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Loaves & Fishes’ program of “Collective Punishment”

Auschwitz gas chamber. While Loaves & Fishes' Collective Punishment acts and threats are not of a magnitude of what happens on the international stage, the psychology/philosophy is unjust, wrong and cruel, too.
In recent days Friendship Park co-manager Garren Bratcher and Jay, another Loaves & Fishes employee, have threatened the crowd in the cul-de-sac with closure of the Park for an hour if there are any instances of running when the gates are opened at 7am. While Garren and Jay have been beseeching, and seemingly kindly in the way they express themselves, it is fully a threat they are making, nonetheless.

I have complained, with a flier two years ago and a recent blogpost, about this grotesque practice of punishing all for the misdeeds of one or a few. Truly the punishment, and mere threat of such punishment, is unjust and can and does, when deployed, greatly disrupt the efforts of many homeless people to improve their lives.

I have now learned that Loaves & Fishes’ ongoing practice is termed “Collective Punishment,” which, is, of course, greatly condemned. At wikipedia, the term is described thus:
Collective punishment is the punishment of a group of people as a result of the behavior of one or more other individuals or groups. The punished group may often have no direct association with the other individuals or groups, or direct control over their actions.

In times of war and armed conflict, collective punishment has resulted in atrocities, and is a violation of the laws of war and the Geneva Conventions. Historically, occupying powers have used collective punishment to retaliate against and deter attacks on their forces by resistance movements (e.g. destroying whole towns and villages where attacks have taken place).
An example of an atrocious effort in Collective Punishment is the blaming and harming of Jews, by some Christians, for the supposed acts of some Jews, 2000 years ago, in being causal for the death of Christ. Collective punishment is also the method of the Nazis, used against Poles, in World War II: Killing ten Poles, arbitrarily, if one Nazi soldier was killed while policing the streets in Warsaw.

Collective punishment is the basis of racism and tribalism and the most backward and unjust of actions. It is the underpinning of War Crimes and is one of Loaves & Fishes’ longstanding practices to control homeless people, in tune with the philosophy of “warehousing the rabble.”

The administrative people in Friendship Park, known at Green Hats, are fully capable of punishing precisely those who disobey rules.  This is the just alternative to what they are now doing.

By punishing all people wanting and needing to get into the Park when it is scheduled to open, it delays homeless people at getting ready for and to work. Too, it prevents homeless people from otherwise “getting their day on” to take actions to get employment, or get to their appointments, or otherwise do something with and in their lives. A primary reason this is so is because people's lockers are in the park! People are denied access to the things they need that can include documents, food, and a warm coat -- for crying out loud!

In the fairly recent past, Loaves & Fishes has closed its Park for days without giving notice of what it is doing in Collective Punishment because of empty alcohol bottles found in the men’s restroom, or somesuch.

For the actions of a few, all were punished. That is grotesque and if the Loaves & Fishes Board of Directors wasn’t by all indicators comatose, I would hope they would stop the nonprofit's terrible, primitive behaviors.

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