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Eldar Matveyev
Eldar Matveyev

Echoes Of Violence (2021)


"Take me to where you lost her." 1091 Pictures has released an official US trailer for Echoes of Violence, a crime thriller from indie filmmaker Nicholas Woods. This is premiering direct-to-VOD in August this year. An immigrant travels from Sedona, AZ to Los Angeles to seek revenge against the dangerous immigration lawyer who ruined her life. Echoes of Violence tells the story of Marakya, played by Michaella Russell, who was found bloody in the Sedona desert by the real-estate agent Alex, and their journey to Los Angeles to find and exact revenge on those who recently wronged her. But there's more to the story when she discovers the truth about the people who are out to get her. The cast includes Sam Anderson, Frank Oz, Heston Horwin, Chase Cargill, and Amy Tolsky. It looks like a film filled with revenge and anger and violence, with a bunch of people playing around with guns thinking it will solve problems. Not so sure about this one.




Echoes of Violence (2021)



On March 13, 2021, we organized a virtual town hall meeting on the issue, with the theme, Domestic violence, and The African Community. The outcome exceeded our expectation as we had victims speaking up and challenging the cultural, religious, and family influences that shames and prevent victims of domestic abuse from speaking up.


Over and over throughout American history, Esdaile said, when whites perceive that racial and ethnic minorities are gaining power over them, they riot and inflict violence, especially on Black people.


Anti-Hindu violence in parts of Muslim-dominated Bangladesh over three weeks ago found an echo in the contiguous northeastern Indian state of Tripura on October 26, when a rally organized to protest the attacks on Hindus in Bangladesh turned violent.


The Hindu right-wing Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Hindu Jagran Manch had organized rallies in different parts of the state to protest against the violence in Bangladesh. The VHP denied having any role in the violent incidents.


The anti-Hindu violence in Bangladesh, which erupted during the Durga Puja festival, was triggered by rumors that the Quran had been insulted in one of the pavilions set up for the celebrations. Seven people were killed, several temples desecrated, and hundreds of houses and business establishments of the Hindu minority were torched.


The state had witnessed severe violence and was ravaged by insurgency in the 1980s and 1990s. But the violence then had more do with the conflict between the indigenous tribal communities and Bengalis. This was a period when the state was ruled by a communist government with brief intervals of Congress regimes. Muslims have not been the target of violence or hate crimes in Tripura until very recently.


In the wake of Aug. 11-12, then-UVA Law student Elizabeth Sines, now a 2019 graduate, became the lead plaintiff in another historic chapter to the protests, the federal lawsuit Sines v. Kessler. In November, the nine plaintiffs won a $25 million award against the white supremacists who organized the violence.


Instead, ideas that were once confined to fringe groups now appear in the mainstream media. White-supremacist ideas, militia fashion, and conspiracy theories spread via gaming websites, YouTube channels, and blogs, while a slippery language of memes, slang, and jokes blurs the line between posturing and provoking violence, normalizing radical ideologies and activities.


These shifts have created a new reality: millions of Americans willing to undertake, support, or excuse political violence, defined here (following the violence-prevention organization Over Zero) as physical harm or intimidation that affects who benefits from or can participate fully in political, economic, or sociocultural life. Violence may be catalyzed by predictable social events such as Black Lives Matter protests or mask mandates that trigger a sense of threat to a common shared identity. Violence can also be intentionally wielded as a partisan tool to affect elections and democracy itself. This organizational pattern makes stopping political violence more difficult, and also more crucial, than ever before.


Two subgroups appear most prone to violence. The January 2021 American Perspectives Survey found that white Christian evangelical Republicans were outsized supporters of both political violence and the Q-Anon conspiracy, which claims that Democratic politicians and Hollywood elites are pedophiles who (aided by mask mandates that hinder identification) traffic children and harvest their blood; separate polls by evangelical political scientists found that in October 2020 approximately 47 percent of white evangelical Christians believed in the tenets of Q-Anon, as did 59 percent of Republicans.5 Many evangelical pastors are working to turn their flocks away from this heresy. The details appear outlandish, but stripped to its core, the broad appeal becomes clearer: Democrats and cultural elites are often portrayed as Satanic forces arrayed against Christianity and seeking to harm Christian children.


Changing social dynamics were the obvious spur for this violence, but it often yielded political outcomes. The ambiguity incentivized and enabled politicians to play with fire, deliberately provoking violence while claiming plausible deniability. In the 1840s and 1850s, from Maine and Maryland to Kentucky and Louisiana, the Know-Nothing party incited white Protestants to riot against mostly Catholic Irish and Italian immigrants (seen as both nonwhite and Democratic Party voters). When the Know-Nothings collapsed in 1855 in the North and 1860 in the South, anti-Catholic violence suddenly plummeted, despite continued bigotry. In the South, white supremacist violence was blamed on racism, but the timing was linked to elections. After the Supreme Court ruled in 1883 that the federal government lacked jurisdiction over racist terror, overturning the 1875 Civil Rights Act, violence became an open campaign strategy for the Democratic Party in multiple states. Lynchings were used in a similar manner. While proximate causes were social and economic, their time and place were primed by politics: Lynchings increased prior to elections in competitive counties.9 Democratic Party politicians used racial rhetoric to amplify anger, then allowed violence to occur, to convince poor whites that they shared more in common with wealthy whites than with poor blacks, preventing the Populist and Progressive Parties from uniting poor whites and blacks into a single voting base. As Jim Crow laws enshrined Democratic one-party control, lynchings were not needed by politicians. Their numbers fell swiftly; they were no longer linked to elections.10


Globally, four factors elevate the risk of election-related violence, whether carried out directly by a political party through state security or armed party youth wings, outsourced to militias and gangs, or perpetrated by ordinary citizens: 1) a highly competitive election that could shift the balance of power; 2) partisan division based on identity; 3) electoral rules that enable winning by exploiting identity cleavages; and 4) weak institutional constraints on violence, particularly security-sector bias toward one group, leading perpetrators to believe they will not be held accountable for violence.11


The confluence of these factors with sudden social-distancing requirements, closures of businesses and public spaces, and unusually intrusive pandemic-related government measures during an election year may have pushed the more psychologically fragile over the edge. Psychologists have found that when more homogenous groups with significant overlap in their identities face a sense of group threat, they respond with deep anger. Acting on that anger can restore a sense of agency and self-esteem and, in an environment in which violence is justified and normalized, perhaps even win social approval.18


The parallel attitudes suggest that partisan sorting and social pressures were working equally on all Americans, although Republicans may have greater tolerance for online threats and harassment of opponents and opposition leaders.21 Yet actual incidents of political violence, while rising on both sides, have been vastly more prevalent on the right. Why has the right been more willing to act on violent feelings?


Communal violence often flares in contested districts where it is politically expedient, as in Kenya and India. Likewise, political violence in the United States has been greatest in suburbs where Asian American and Hispanic American immigration has been growing fastest, particularly in heavily Democratic metropoles surrounded by Republican-dominated rural areas. These areas, where white flight from the 1960s is meeting demographic change, are areas of social contestation. They are also politically contested swing districts. Most of the arrested January 6 insurrectionists hailed from these areas rather than from Trump strongholds.28 Postelection violence can also be useful to politicians. They can manipulate angry voters who believe their votes were stolen into using violence to influence or block final counts or gain leverage in power-sharing negotiations, as occurred in Kenya in 2007 and Afghanistan in 2019.


Juan Linz famously noted that apart from the United States, few presidential majoritarian systems had survived as continuous democracies. One key reason was the problem of resolving disputes between the executive and legislative branches. Because both are popularly elected, when they are held by different parties stalemates between the two invite resolution through violence. Such a dynamic drove state-level electoral violence throughout the nineteenth century, not only in the Reconstruction South, but also in Pennsylvania, Maine, Rhode Island, and Colorado. It is thus particularly concerning that in the last year, nine states have passed laws to give greater power to partisan bodies, particularly state legislatures.32 The U.S. Supreme Court has also made several recent decisions vesting greater power over elections in state legislatures. These trends are weakening institutional guardrails against future political violence. 041b061a72


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