Monday, June 17, 2013

Past, Present and Future.

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 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 definitely deserve a statue dedicated to you.



Bea Elliott said...

As special as these 89er events want to pretend they are, they are all too typical of the common colonial-white, human-male, chest-beating regurgitations of our whole faux-"prosperous" reality. You are right that the hidden wrongs played out as celebrations are insidious and infuriating. The 89er gala is just another version of a grill-fest, a dairy-expo or a columbus day parade - It's all a masquerade to hide the absent referent.

Thanks for taking the effort to stand with others who know all too well who the victims are and what's been stolen from them. We all need to rain on their naked-emperor-shin-digs every chance we get.

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting Bea. It wasn't an effort to protest the lie...I really think stuff like that is required. I've come to appreciate that just sitting around and 'watching the world go by' is an innocuous way of saying "lets turn our planet and our society to those who would destroy it and every living being". Whee.

It has all become way too serious to just say nothing.

Have Gone Vegan said...

They are innocents who believe the distortions they are given by their parents and families and schools and society.

Yep. And I think it's high time we expand the definitions of child abuse.

Is harming those with less power one of our defining group characteristics?

Sadly, it would seem to be so. While some claim that human animals are at the top of the food chain, perhaps the argument could be made that we're definitely at the bottom of the moral chain.

Bea Elliott said...

You are right. Bad choice of words. It is no effort to stand for an ethical cause. I only meant to say that in comparison to the world it appears to be "chore-like". I shouldn't take their compliance as an example of what should be expected of others who engage.

Alice Walker - "Activism is my rent for living on the planet."

Sadly we have far too many tenants that are non-contributing squatters.

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting HGV. I've been spending lots of reading time lately on the behavior of Germany in the 1930s and 1940s. I don't think it is inaccurate to see that society and that time and those behaviors as illustrative of human animals as a whole. Too many other societies, including the U.S., have current and historical behaviors way too similar to ignore. We have some real serious problems and unless and until we begin to come to grips with this the horrors will continue...and are continuing with regard to our behavior toward our fellow Earthlings. With great power, comes great responsibility. We seem to revel in the first part of that statement and be oblivious to the second part.

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting again Bea.

I was trying to voice that I don't feel particularly good about attending such a demonstration, I feel sad that the whole community wasn't there and there were only a few "celebrating" the "land run". I really struggle with avoiding being overwhelmed with disgust by the behavior of my species. Terminal disgust and chagrin...not a good way to go. :-)