I am going to share my thoughts, and I may say some things that may piss some people off but fuck it:
The North American continent as we know it was a product of colonialism. For those of you who do not know what colonialism is let me define it as :
the policy or practice of acquiring full or partial political control over another country, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically.
If my anthropology class serves me correct, Europeans, Africans, and certain species of starlings are not native to this part of the world. We all find ourselves here due to the machinations of a plutocratic elite that sold their constituents an incredible narrative that justified their blatant abuses of human life. This narrative was created because of course no one wants to go out and say that I am abusing these people because I can, and I can profit off their tears. So we are instead fed propaganda about the depravity of the people we are looking to exploit.
Here is the process how it works
- The people are inculcated with a standard belief that justifies the oppression of a people. This oppression can take many forms: Gas chamber, slavery, forced labor camps, hypersegregation of cities, over changing, laws to suppress votes. The underlying subtext is always: “Their depravity is so egregious I am forced to do something, to protect my progeny and protect the future for my “people”. And in the process of address this depravity through enslavement, or wide scale rape, or torture the oppressors come to believe that they are in fact doing the people they are oppressing good.
Do you need examples?
- British and Irish
- Nazi Germany and Jews
Summing it All Up
I have taken these words from Herman Goring- founder of the Gestapo, Head of the Luftwaffe. These statements were recorded in Gustave Gilbert‘s transcriptions of conversations with many of the Nazi leaders during the War Crimes Trials at Nuremberg, and later published in Gilbert’s Nuremberg Diary(1947).
Göring: Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.
Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.
Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.
Xenophobia In Quebec
Le Clown wrote a moving piece called: Poutine with a Side of Xenophobia . I really liked the post and agree with it. But it made me want to ask after 500 years of colonial behavior where do all the oppressive thoughts go? They just do not disappear. They lurk in the shadows looking for an entry into the affairs of daily living. They lurk there because as a society I do not think the past was looked at and addressed honestly.
The treatment of Natives in Canada and the People of Columbia
I love Canada to death, I feel Montreal is a home to me and it is the place where my grandfather is buried which means a lot to me but the same way I point stuff out about the USA where I currently reside I am forced to ask a questions concerning Canadian history but first the facts:
Compare these practices
- November, 1910: A joint agreement between the federal government and the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian and Methodist churches establishes the structure of Indian Residential Schools and the contractual obligations of churches running them. Duncan Campbell Scott refers to the policy of the government as that of seeking a “final solution to the Indian Problem”.
- May, 1919: Despite an escalating death rate of Indian children in residential schools from tuberculosis – in some cases as high as 75% – Duncan Campbell Scott abolishes the post of Medical Inspector for Indian residential schools. Within two years, deaths due to tuberculosis have tripled in residential schools.
- 1920: Federal legislation makes it mandatory for every Indian child to be sent to residential schools upon reaching seven years of age.
- 1928: Sexual Sterilization Act is passed in Alberta, allowing any inmate of a native residential school to be sterilized upon the approval of the school Principal. At least 3,500 Indian women are sterilized under this law.
- 1933: An identical Sexual Sterilization Act is passed in British Columbia. Two major sterilization centres are established by The United Church of Canada on the west coast, in Bella Bella and Nanaimo, in which thousands of native men and women are sterilized by missionary doctors until the 1980’s.
To these practices
In a seminal piece of research titled “Profiting from Repression: Canadian Investment in and Trade with Colombia,” award-winning writer and international affairs expert Asad Ismi provides a 240-page breakdown of corporatist neocolonialism in South America. The report “links ten Canadian companies in Colombia to the genocide of indigenous Colombians, to complicity in eight murders and one attempted murder, to other significant military/paramilitary repression [and] to labour union-busting, strike-breaking and worker exploitation.” To date, it is the only document of its kind. A major focus of Ismi’s work are primary Canadian oil producers Colombia-Pacific Rubiales, Gran Tierra, Talisman and Petrominerales – and other mining outfits such as Gran Colombia Gold, Eco Oro Minerals and Cosigo Resources. These companies have, at one time or another, been found in violation of basic human rights or as perpetrators of structural violence related to hyper-capitalist resource extraction.
We are not the same society that created these conditions. Some of us thank good, have a more evolved way of looking at life, and treating other people. However that doesn’t keep the racist attitudes and xenophobia at bay. It forces them out of sight into the shadows. There are elements of our society that still benefit from the oppression of other and as long as the history of such behavior remains enshrouded I think these attitudes will continue to inform political and social discourse and activity. Racism and Xenophabia have always been a tool to justify the depravity of those committing those exploitative acts and I feel we need to shine a very bright light on how some elements of our society profit from the pain of others
Back to Work
BTW – Thanks to Le Clown for his post
- Poutine With a Side of Xenophobia (clownonfire.wordpress.com)
- Join Together in Reconciliation: Announcing the first Reconciliation Week, September 16-22 2013 (thewellnessalmanac.com)