Every year here in Norman they put on something called the "89er parade". This occurs in April and is ostensibly a celebration of the beginning of the town...or something. Actually it celebrates another instance of taking land (by force or threat of force) away from Native Americans. So we here in Norman annually celebrate a theft but we don't call it that nor do we characterize it that way. Instead of stealing land we call it "settling"...and those who stole the land we call "pioneers" or "settlers"...and they are looked upon with admiration instead of contempt. This admiration is not shared by all...some Native American organizations protest these events.
I've attended and participated in some of these protests because I think it's disgusting and shameful to lie about what happened the way we do...and because if we weren't lying but were telling the truth then the celebration would be about thieving and the benefits of thieving and that is no occasion or event to "celebrate". It should be a time of remembrance of the victims and shame for the behavior and education about how to make sure something like that never happens again. But it isn't.
How we conceive the past colors how we see the present which in turn forms our view of the future. Inaccuracies proliferate. One of the most poignant things that happens when protesting one of these 89er "celebrations" is the shocked look you can sometimes see on the faces of the children that are brought to these events. They've never heard of the theft, they've never been told that the land that was "settled" actually was land that was occupied by or belonged to others and that it was taken from them. They are innocents who believe the distortions they are given by their parents and families and schools and society.
When we are presented with lies and distortions as if they were "true" we are rarely ever also presented with tools and methods and ways to discern truth from falsehood. This equipping for twisted comprehension begins early and persists throughout our lives. And we all end up the worst for it. The less powerful are victimized by the more powerful and the victimizations are then celebrated as triumphs...by parades and festivals and on and on and the victims are invisibled away...unseen, unheard and unconsidered. And we end up treating a delusion as if it were reality.
In a snazzy little book titled "Two Cheers For Anarchism", James C. Scott argues that power makes us unable to hear the powerless. As we garner power...we become tone deaf...unable to hear the sounds or cries of our victims. They become essentially invisible and unheard to us. His book is about human interactions but it is easily extended to all life, to the planet herself. No one knows this better than our victims, our fellow Earthlings...this includes many indigenous humans of our planet.
We paint our victims out of our picture of the world, we silence their voices or cries with our deafness. And we destroy them, because we have power and we can.
Has their been a grouping of humans as a people, as a tribe, as a state, as a nation that hasn't victimized the less powerful? Ever? Is harming those with less power one of our defining group characteristics? We must get off of this treadmill of terror and exploitation and death that we are on.
And we really need to quit lying to ourselves,
In Scott's little book he references statues in Germany that honor the "Unknown Deserter"...dedicated to honoring "...a man who refused to kill his fellow men." Hooray for those humans...of any nation. Now we need statues for the "Unknown Vegan". Honoring those women and men "who refuse to harm their sister and brother Earthlings". And we need this to become the norm...instead of what exists now. You too can be a deserter from the war of humans on all Earthlings...go vegan. If you've already deserted...thank you...you definitely deserve a statue dedicated to you.