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Pat Tillman is not a hero: He got what was coming to him

by Rene L. Gonzalez Berrios M.A. Friday, Apr. 30, 2004 at 1:53 PM
renegonzalez7@hotmail.com 413-549-9155, 12 Charles Lane, Amherst, MA 01002

However, in my neighborhood in Puerto Rico, Tillman would have been called a "pendejo," an idiot. This was not "Ramon or Tyrone," who joined the military out of financial necessity

Pat Tillman is not a...
arab_kisses_marine.jpeg, image/jpeg, 409x289

Pat Tillman is not a hero: He got what was coming to him
By Rene Gonzalez
April 28, 2004

When the death of Pat Tillman occurred, I turned to my friend who was watching the news with me and said, "How much you want to bet they start talking about him as a 'hero' in about two hours?" Of course, my friend did not want to make that bet. He'd lose. In this self-critical incapable nation, nothing but a knee-jerk "He's a hero" response is to be expected.
I've been mystified at the absolute nonsense of being in "awe" of Tillman's "sacrifice" that has been the American response. Mystified, but not surprised. True, it's not everyday that you forgo a $3.6 million contract for joining the military. And, not just the regular army, but the elite Army Rangers. You know he was a real Rambo, who wanted to be in the "real" thick of things. I could tell he was that type of macho guy, from his scowling, beefy face on the CNN pictures. Well, he got his wish. Even Rambo got shot in the third movie, but in real life, you die as a result of being shot. They should call Pat Tillman's army life "Rambo 4: Rambo Attempts to Strike Back at His Former Rambo 3 Taliban Friends, and Gets Killed."
But, does that make him a hero? I guess it's a matter of perspective. For people in the United States, who seem to be unable to admit the stupidity of both the Afghanistan and Iraqi wars, such a trade-off in life standards (if not expectancy) is nothing short of heroic. Obviously, the man must be made of "stronger stuff" to have had decided to "serve" his country rather than take from it. It's the old JFK exhortation to citizen service to the nation, and it seems to strike an emotional chord. So, it's understandable why Americans automatically knee-jerk into hero worship.
However, in my neighborhood in Puerto Rico, Tillman would have been called a "pendejo," an idiot. Tillman, in the absurd belief that he was defending or serving his all-powerful country from a seventh-rate, Third World nation devastated by the previous conflicts it had endured, decided to give up a comfortable life to place himself in a combat situation that cost him his life. This was not "Ramon or Tyrone," who joined the military out of financial necessity, or to have a chance at education. This was a "G.I. Joe" guy who got what was coming to him. That was not heroism, it was prophetic idiocy.
Tillman, probably acting out his nationalist-patriotic fantasies forged in years of exposure to Clint Eastwood and Rambo movies, decided to insert himself into a conflict he didn't need to insert himself into. It wasn't like he was defending the East coast from an invasion of a foreign power. THAT would have been heroic and laudable. What he did was make himself useful to a foreign invading army, and he paid for it. It's hard to say I have any sympathy for his death because I don't feel like his "service" was necessary. He wasn't defending me, nor was he defending the Afghani people. He was acting out his macho, patriotic crap and I guess someone with a bigger gun did him in.
Perhaps it's the old, dreamy American thought process that forces them to put sports greats and "larger than life" sacrificial lambs on the pedestal of heroism, no matter what they've done. After all, the American nation has no other role to play but to be the cheerleaders of the home team; a sad role to have to play during conflicts that suffer from severe legitimacy and credibility problems.
Matters are a little clearer for those living outside the American borders. Tillman got himself killed in a country other than his own without having been forced to go over to that country to kill its people. After all, whether we like them or not, the Taliban is more Afghani than we are. Their resistance is more legitimate than our invasion, regardless of the fact that our social values are probably more enlightened than theirs. For that, he shouldn't be hailed as a hero, he should be used as a poster boy for the dangerous consequences of too much "America is #1," frat boy, propaganda bull. It might just make a regular man irrationally drop $3.6 million to go fight in a conflict that was anything but "self-defense." The same could be said of the unusual belief of 50 percent of the American nation that thinks Saddam Hussein was behind Sept. 11. One must indeed stand in awe of the amazing success of the American propaganda machine. It works wonders.
Al-Qaeda won't be defeated in Afghanistan, even if we did kill all their operatives there. Only through careful and logical changing of the underlying conditions that allow for the ideology to foster will Al-Qaeda be defeated. Ask the Israelis if 50 years of blunt force have eradicated the Palestinian resistance. For that reason, Tillman's service, along with that of thousands of American soldiers, has been wrongly utilized. He did die in vain, because in the years to come, we will realize the irrationality of the War on Terror and the American reaction to Sept. 11. The sad part is that we won't realize it before we send more people like Pat Tillman over to their deaths.
Rene Gonzalez is a UMass graduate student.

Puerto Rican graduate student Rene Gonzalez, a leader in the African, Latino/a, Asian American, Native American and Arab American (ALAANA) organization

VPres: Rene Gonzalez renegonzalez7 (at) hotmail.com

If you would like additional information about the BCP please contact us by phone or mail at:
Billingual Collegiate Program
101 Wilder Hall
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA 01003
Tel: (413) 545-1968 or 545-1987
Fax: 413 545-3382
Send e-mail to: jbcp (at) acad.umass.edu .

A little bit about me and my musical talents:
RENE GONZALEZ: Drum set, Electric Bass, Timbales, Congas, Bongos, Vocals and Latin Percussion.
Born in 1979 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, he began studying snare drum technique at the age of 6. Rene began to play professionally with Banda Criolla, at the age of 10 (at the time performing on bongos). He currently performs with Jose Gonzalez/Banda Criolla, Criollo Clsico, MarKamusic, and Toli Moreno's Latin Jazz Band. Although a versatile drummer of most popular and traditional styles, Rene is acknowledged for his understanding of Afro-Caribbean drum set playing. Rene has recorded three albums with Banda Criolla and performed in world-renowned festivals such as the Heineken Jazz Jam Series in Puerto Rico.
Ryan (at) markamusic.net
For Rene:
Music of the people
MarKamusic Biography

MarKamusic is a high-energy, multi-national musical ensemble that
performs Latin music deeply rooted within the folkloric and
traditional genres of the South American Andean regions. This
mountainous region comprises distinctively different zones and lands.
From the wind barren high plateaus of the Andes; the mystical Amazon
rain forest and the deserted coasts washed by the Pacific Ocean, the
Andean regions span a whole continent. MarKamusic sensibly brings the
musical forms and the soulful art of the cultures and countries from
these regions. An ever changing, eclectic weave of ancient, modern,
aboriginal and pop themes performed on a fascinating array of native,
western and African influenced instruments, like its ancestors before
them MarKamusic musicians draw from the well of their unique cultural

MarKamusic has embraced the responsibility that an ethnic artist must
have to its own people, history and music but then takes it all
together to a different realm. Fussed with the feelings, experiences
and creations of younger generations, during its performances,
MarKamusic will emphasize the musical and cultural contributions of
the four major cultural influences that have shaped modern, folk and
traditional South American music and Latin American music at large:
the indigenous, the West African, the Euro-Iberian, and the United
States. Traditional rhythms and music forms from these diverse
cultures and lands slowly fused over the centuries, creating that
which is today's South American traditional, folk and popular musics.
MarKamusic's careful choice of repertoire and instrumentation reveals
this historic evolution to its audiences.

12 Charles Lane, Amherst, MA 01002. Ph: 413-549-9155, Email: Freddy (at) markamusic.net
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why they hate us

by Rene L. Gonzalez Berrios M.A. Friday, Apr. 30, 2004 at 1:53 PM
renegonzalez7@hotmail.com 413-549-9155, 12 Charles Lane, Amherst, MA 01002

why they hate us...
042704_fallujah_battle, image/jpeg, 300x227

This is why they hate us and rightly so.
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Kicking the beat

by Rene L. Gonzalez Berrios M.A. Friday, Apr. 30, 2004 at 1:53 PM
renegonzalez7@hotmail.com 413-549-9155, 12 Charles Lane, Amherst, MA 01002

Kicking the beat...
rene_small.jpeg, image/jpeg, 100x102

Rene kicking out the latin beat along with the boys in the BaaannnDDDD!!!!!
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Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 7 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
neither a hero nor a criminal Meyer London Friday, Apr. 30, 2004 at 2:13 PM
lols more rational Friday, Apr. 30, 2004 at 5:04 PM
Pat Tillman is a Hero! Living in the Real World Friday, Apr. 30, 2004 at 9:29 PM
this clown is why drummers sit in back of the band and are told to say nothing cc Friday, Apr. 30, 2004 at 9:35 PM
"...it'd turn into another haiti." Josiah Hagen Friday, May. 07, 2004 at 5:35 PM
propaganda and hypocrisy lucius Friday, May. 07, 2004 at 6:05 PM
Give them Independence Better idea Friday, May. 07, 2004 at 6:11 PM
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