Thursday, January 17, 2008

Legacies

As the US government goes forward with its efforts to create an Apartheid Wall, it would be useful to credit some of those for whom credit is due. Surely Preznit Bush deserves some of the honors, as it is his regime that is currently in the process of condemning land on which our fellow humans make their lives and livelihoods in order to erect its Apartheid Wall. Whether that even begins to crack the veneer of American Exceptionalism remains to be seen of course, as no doubt plenty of good Americans will go along cheerfully believing the myth that "we" fight racism and Apartheid. Nothing could be further from the truth, of course, but its usually those on the receiving end of American "diplomacy" who've recognized the facade for what it is.

While we're at it, let's also give Senators (as well as presidential hopefuls) Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama credit, as they voted in favor of building the Apartheid Wall (aptly misnamed the Secure Fence Act) back in 2006. As good neoliberals, they understand that the rampant unemployment and malnutrition perpetrated by various legislation such as NAFTA would inevitably lead to those displaced to desperately seek relief - hence the "need" to erect barriers lest the perpetrating government actually face the human consequences of its actions.

We're only now witnessing the beginnings of a solidarity movement in response. To quote Tecumseh (see the link in the preceding sentence):
"The way and the only way, to stop the evil is for all Red People to unite in claiming a common and equal right in the land, as it was at first, and should be yet; for it was never divided, but belongs to all for the use of each."
Or to take another Tecumseh quote from one of his numerous speeches (cited in The American Empire and the Fourth World by Anthony J. Hall, p. 394):
Before me stands the rightful owners of this beautiful land. The Great Spirit in His Wisdom gave it to you and your children to defend, and placed you here. But alas, the incoming race, like a huge serpent, is coiling closer and closer around you .... As sure as the heavens are above you they are determined to destroy you and your children and occupy this goodly land themselves.

Then they will destroy these forests, whose branches wave in the winds above the graves of your fathers, chanting their praises. If you doubt it, come, go with me eastward or southward a few days journey along your ancient trails, and I will show you a land made desolate. There the forests of untold years have been hewn down and cast into the fire! There the buffalo and the deer, the fowl and the fish, are all gone. There the woodland birds, whose sweet songs once pleased your ears, have forsaken the land, never to return; and the wild flowers, which your maidens once loved to wear, have all withered and died.
Consider that a cautionary tale, as the Apartheid Wall will destroy the natural resources crucial for various plant and animal species to survive in the desert lands of the Southwest; it will separate people living along the border from their sources of water, livestock from their feeding grounds. Tecumseh's legacy is a reminder of what was and what can be once more - most importantly about the need to remove rather than erect barriers.

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