Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Defending your homeland from Homeland "Security"

Brenda Norrell has been on the story for a while regarding the US government's threat to invoke eminent domain in order to build its Great Wall. Her latest:
Apache land owners on the Rio Grande told Homeland Security to halt the seizure of their lands for the US/Mexico border wall on January 7, 2008. It was the same day that a 30-day notice from Homeland Security expired with the threat of land seizures by eminent domain to build the US/Mexico border wall.

"There are two kinds of people in this world, those who build walls and those who build bridges," said Enrique Madrid, Jumano Apache community member, land owner in Redford and archaeological steward for the Texas Historical Commission.

"The wall in South Texas is militarization," Madrid said of the planned escalation of militarization with Border Patrol and soldiers. "They will be armed and shoot to kill."

It was in Redford that a U.S. Marine shot and killed 18-year-old Esequiel Hernandez, herding his sheep near his home in 1997.

"We had hoped he would be the last United States citizen and the last Native American to be killed by troops," Madrid said during a media conference call on January 7 with Apaches from Texas and Arizona.

Dr. Eloisa Garcia Tamez, Lipan Apache professor living in the Lower Rio Grande, described how US officials attempted to pressure her into allowing them onto her private land to survey for the US/Mexico borderwall. When Tamez refused, she was told that she would be taken to court and her lands seized by eminent domain.

"I have told them that it is not for sale and they cannot come onto my land." Tamez is among the land owners where the Department of Homeland Security plans to erect 70 miles of intermittent, double-layered fencing in the Rio Grande Valley.

Tamez said the United States government wants access to all of her land, which is on both sides of a levee. "Then they will decide where to build the wall. It could be over my house." Tamez said that she may only have three acres, but it is all she has.

Tamez' daughter Margo Tamez, poet and scholar, said, "We are not a people of walls. It is against our culture to have walls. The Earth and the River go together. We must be with the river. We must be with this land. We were born for this land."

Margo Tamez said the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples now guarantees the right of Indigenous Peoples to their traditional territories.

Rosie Molano Blount, Chiricahua Apache from Del Río said the Chiricahua Apache have proudly served in the United States military."We are proud to be Americans," Blount said, adding that the Chiricahua have always supported the United States government.

Now, with the increasing harassment of people in the borderzone, Blount said the people have had enough.

"Ya Basta! Enough is enough!" Blount said, repeating the phrase that became the battle cry of the Zapatistas in Mexico struggling for Indigenous Peoples' rights.

Blount said there needs to be dialogue concerning the issues at the border, but not forced militarization or a border wall. She also directed a comment at Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. "Don't come here and divide our families Chertoff. You believe this is the only way to do things."

Michael Paul Hill, San Carlos Apache from Arizona, described how US border agents violated and molested his sacred items, including a sacred stone, Eagle feather and drum used in ceremonies while crossing the border.

"They called me a foreigner." Hill described how Border Agents told him that he might "get away" with crossing the border in Nogales, Arizona, with ceremonial items that were not manhandled, but not in Texas.

After participating in a an Apache ceremony in Mexico, when Hill and other Apaches reentered the United States, a SWAT team in full riot gear was waiting for them and interrogated them.

"It was incredibly frightening," said Margo Tamez who was also there. She pointed out how the escalating militarization at the border is terrorizing people as they go about their lives, working, with their families and in their ceremonies.
Read the rest. All emphasis mine. Tip o' the hat to Madman in the Marketplace.

Bonus - an old Dead Kennedys tune that continues to remain relevant:
"The Great Wall"

Great Wall of China
It's so big it's seen from outer space
Put there to keep starving neighbors
Locked outside the gates

What's changed today?
Empires hoard more than they need
And peasants threaten our comfort

We'll build a Great Wall around our power
Build a Great Wall around our power

Bankrupt L.A.'s streetcar line
So people pay more to drive
Plant strategic freeways
To divide neighborhoods by color lines

We'd rather pay for riot squads
Than pump your ghetto back to life
We let your schools decay on purpose

To build a Great Wall around our power
Another Great Wall around our power

Warlords in grey suits
Take a different route to work each day
Second-hand green berets
Form the companies' private armies.
We'll take all your gold
But won't teach reading or feed your poor
The League of Gentleman
Would rather feed guns to puppet dictators

There's too many people in your world
And refugees are expensive
When they trickled down onto our soil
We hunt them and arrest them
Classify them insane
And put them back on the next plane
To the waiting arms
Of the same death squads they fled

We've built a Great Wall around our power
Economic Great Wall around our power
Worldwide Great Wall around our power

Give us your poor,
Your tired and your weak
We'll send 'em right back
To their certain death

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