Dogs of War
Op/Ed Article by John S. Bilal

Cry 'Havoc,' and let slip the dogs of war; that this foul deed shall smell above the earth, with carrion men, groaning for burial.-Antony in Act III of Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

When Michael Vick exploded into the football world a few years ago his physical and mental faculties around “playing” football were out of this world, but what of his knowledge of self and of the creation around him? What about his thinking of higher things? I suggest this part of Mr. Vick’s existence is starved and shallow; a state of being laid out for him long before he was even born.

“A mind is a terrible thing to waste” echoes the somber United Negro College Fund advertisement of a few years ago. The truth is, no one has helped young black males nearly enough to cultivate strong minds. Within a social system dominated by white supremacy, Black males have always been encouraged to have strong labor capable bodies, and weak slow passive docile forgiving playful self-destructive minds.

Just a few short years ago young black males began referring to each other as dogs - how ironic. After suffering the most blatant forms of white supremacist mistreatment; after the resultant brutal struggle for justice, after being attacked by vicious police dogs, after the marches and boycotts, the sit-ins and stand-ins of the 60’s; here today, we find black youth so disconnected from reality they feel comfortable calling each other dogs when in most places around the world being called a dog is a great insult. What is helping to fuel this pitiful self abasement among black youth?

Michael Vick named his dog-fighting ring, Bad Newz Kennels, after his own hometown. Vick was bred in a public housing project in a financially depressed, drug infested, and crime-ridden so-called “neighborhood” located in Newport News – which earned the nickname “Bad Newz”. In a kennel like Bad Newz, the trainers were apparently effective, as evidenced by the countless young black males left thinking and acting like dogs. Playing hard, chasing bitches, and waiting for scraps of meat and bones to drop from the master/trainer’s hand. Check the crime blotter in places like Newport News, when the least conflict arises, these dogs are trained to maim or kill each other. The result – master/trainers and audience get a cheap perverse thrill, or perhaps they gasp when blood splatters near them saying quietly, “what a shame”. Who is the audience, and who are the master/trainers?

Fighting dog trainers breed dogs which will attack another dog, but remain docile and affectionate towards his master. Towards whom do these manufactured dogs remain docile and affectionate? There is evidence dogs like these are being bred all over America, not living, but only existing, in kennels and doghouses, waiting for a nice bone to drop in front of them. These dogs see Michael Vick, a King of Bones, immediately identify with him, and desire with passion to be like Mike. Those noble bone droppers are constantly preparing dogs, and then executing them. Michael Dog Vick, Michael Dog Tyson, and Michael Dog Jackson are three well-known Dog phenoms who entertained the bone droppers until they were offended by their own creations. With all their buried bones, and bitches to chase, and glorified doghouses – they still remain dogs and they are still subject to their masters.

Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia recently made a passionate speech on the floor of the Senate responding to the Michael Vick dog fighting allegations by saying, "I am confident that the hottest places in hell are reserved for the souls of sick and brutal people who hold God's creatures in such brutal and cruel contempt". Further, he stated, "One is left wondering, who are the real animals: the creatures inside or outside the ring?"

Although I have never visited hell, I agree with the logic of this statement. However, this statement begs the question, if dog-fighting brings such eternal damnation, what about people-fighting? What about the approximated 60 million African descendants of Vick who died in chattel slavery. What about the penalty for the 2 million Iraqi’s who have lost their lives over the last 12 years as the result of people-fighting? What about the penalty for 3.3 million Congolese who lost their lives between 1998 and 2002 as the result of people- fighting? What about the penalty for the one million Rwandan’s who died in the so-called “Civil” War in 1994? What about the penalty for the 150,000 Japanese in Hiroshima and Nagasaki who were roasted on those fateful days of August 1945? Most of these wars have found beginnings with the expansion of white supremacy in the world. The people who start these wars covet the people and resources of other nations, and thus do direct violence or, more indirectly, promote weapons sales, set up brutal dictators and watch as populations are brutalized, and in the end collect the spoils. This is the larger version of dog fighting, except the victims are people. Again, who are the master/trainers, and who are the audience/populations who stand by as dumb spectators? If Senator Byrd’s logic holds true, how much hotter will hell be for those who perpetrate the brutal and cruel contempt caused by white supremacy?

Many people who are now calling for Michael Vicks punishment do not have a spoken position on the global impact of white supremacy – but are quick to tell you they support ethical treatment of animals. When pressed about racism, they say the practice no longer exists or is reversed. They will not admit white supremacy’s impact upon today’s world. They will not admit how long standing and institutionalized victimization of non-white people by white supremacists have adversely impacted our world in ways that cannot be measured. They will not commit themselves to replacing white supremacy with justice, and in ignorance their actions appear more in support of the system than against it.

It appears Michael Vick was exceedingly cruel towards animals - dogs and chickens. For that cruelty, his penalty will be assessed by his master, and he will pay the price given. I wonder, what if Michael Vick were in other circumstances, wearing a uniform and holding a weapon in Iraq somewhere, killing people on orders – where is the penalty in that? I find it unsettling and disturbing that an honorary medal is a more likely reward.


“ In my city, we would keep the (drug) traffic in the dark people -- the colored. They're animals anyway, so let them lose their souls...”
Valuchi speaking to Don Corleone in Godfather Part I