american in palestine

Monday, November 13, 2006

post-election commentary: the lame duck massacres

soooo...while the lame-duck congress in the US goes ahead with passing some of the most draconian laws yet, like the one they passed yesterday that makes protesting animal cruelty at a circus or an animal lab a terrorist act (!) -- which, by the way, goes right along with their stated priorities of 'who is a threat'......ie. not bin laden or the saudis who fund him.... but instead, as the FBI has stated publicly on multiple occasions, their 'Number One Domestic Terrorist Threat' is the 'animal liberation front', an organization that has never ever been charged with killing or hurting anyone, but whose only purpose is to rescue animals from cruel conditions (!)....

and while a bunch of afghanis who were swept up in U.S. raids during the brutal U.S. invasion of their country in 2002 sit rotting away, forgotten by the world, in Guantanamo Bay prison -- a prison built on foreign soil by the U.S. military explicitly so that torture could be practiced there.......most of those prisoners probably civilians, and even if not, still subject to international regulations regarding the treatment of prisoners-of-war.....

while the american public 'looks the other way', considering they've done their part by electing the democrats, despite the fact that it was the democrats that voted to give the executive branch unprecedented power, the democrats who voted to allow torture, the democrats who voted for the draconian 'PATRIOT' Act in direct violation of the Bill of Rights......a _democratic_ president (bill clinton) who signed the NAFTA free trade agreement into law (NAFTA, if you recall, being the impetus for the zapatista revolution....they called the agreement 'death to indigenous peoples')...

while the congress pushes through their U.S.-mexico border wall plan, which will result in the deaths of many more than the 3-400 who already die each year while crossing the border in a desperate search for jobs, as their local economy has been wiped out by free trade agreements like NAFTA....

while all this is going on north of the border, south of the border another lame-duck president, vicente fox in mexico, is using his last days in office to implement a massive crackdown on dissent. a massacre took place just two days ago, in the indigenous community of montes azules in chiapas. 3 children, 4 women, 2 men.....killed by paramilitaries, with mexican military weapons, and strangely enough, despite the presence of no less than one hundred forty (!) military bases in the immediate area, none of them seem to have any idea who might have carried out the massacre....

and in chiapas, the peaceful uprising of indigenous farmers, workers, and teachers in the indigenous communities is being violently repressed in the guise of 'law and order', using the murder of my friend brad as an excuse to further brutally repress the uprising.....and his murderers, positively identified as the local chief of police and other off-duty police officers, remain at large, with the federal government unwilling to take them in (although everyone knows where they are).....instead once again blaming the victims, and coming in with massive military force to violently repress a just and non-violent people's protest.

my question to the mexican government and millionaires (ultimately one and the same) is the same as my question to the israeli government in regard to the palestinians: How hard can it be to give these people equal rights and self-determination? I mean, how hard can it really be?

what have you got to lose?

i mean, ok, in mexico, the indigenous population, stripped of their rights and their land, become an easily-exploitable cheap labor force used by the industrial machine to produce cheap goods at slave wages for consumers in the U.S.A. ......so, ok, by giving them equal rights you lose the slave-like cheap labor force........instead you get a population who are willing to work for fair, negotiated wages, and to produce from their own land, on their own terms......

is that really so bad?

and in palestine, by giving the palestinians equal rights, you'd lose the justification for the massive military machine that makes up fully half of the israeli economy.......

but you'd end up with the next generation being fed, educated and trained in crafts and skills for life......instead of living inside the prison of occupation, with their resentment growing and growing, until some among them feel so resentful they are willing to blow you up for putting them in this prison since birth.

i mean.......is that really such a bad thing?

but the fear in israeli society is so pervasive -- ultimately, it reminds me of the fear of white south africans in south africa. knowing, deep down, what they'd done to the africans, they were so desperately afraid of taking their boot off the neck of the african people, for fear that the one held under the boot so long would sieze the opportunity to jump up and cut their throat in revenge.

it was a combination of that fear and their racism that kept apartheid going for so long.

but ultimately, in throwing off the yoke of their oppression, the african people in south africa showed their true colors of patience, forgiveness and a desire for peace and coexistence with the white south africans who had been oppressing them for so long.

and palestinians will do the same. having lived among them for several years now, on and off, i can say that these are truly the most patient people I have ever known. it's amazing, just how patient they are. if the world steps up to challenge israeli apartheid against the palestinians, demanding a truth and reconciliation commission like that in south africa, providing a mechanism for compensation for losses and for the right of return, i truly believe israel and palestine can resolve this in the way of south africa (though yes, I know, they are still working on it there).

the bloodbath can end. but it is up to israel, the occupier, to lift their boot from the neck of the occupied, and to give them equal rights.

it is NOT, as israel so often claims, up to the palestinians to 'choose to recognize israel', when in fact, Hamas (the majority Palestinian party) already did that, back in june, before the latest offensive, that killed 350 palestinians, began.

it is up to israel to decide to give palestinians equal rights......
is that really such a hard thing to do?

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