Friday, February 27, 2015

Twice a week

for the past several years I have furnished food and water for a feral cat colony here in Norman. The location is several miles from my house and driving to and from there has become a routine event.

Yesterday was a usual trip except I was stopped at a red light and was looking at the back of the automobile in front of me. The license plate looked like this.

At the bottom you'll notice the phrase "Native America". You see these tags everywhere here but yesterday's sighting, why I don't know, made me think about where I was going and what I was doing and the meaning of the phrase on the tag.

Oklahoma was a part of the North American continent designated as a place to stick a bunch of the inconvenient Indigenous Peoples from the east who were in the way of Europeans who wanted their land. It was essentially a large concentration camp and, as an added bonus, it was far away from where the tribal peoples lived in the east and the journey served as a death march...hence the  Indigenous population could be moved out of sight and reduced in size all at the same time. This was such a successful maneuver that Adolph Hitler supposedly modeled evacuations of his death camps, when they were in danger of being liberated, on this idea.

Looking at the tag, on my way to water and feed some refugees (from Africa...the original homeland of the ancestors of the feral cats) here in this place called Oklahoma, I thought about the sick craziness of it all. Had the Hitlerites won, they could have fashioned a license place in occupied Poland with Treblinka across the top and Jewish Poland across the bottom and everyone could have pretended that it was wonderful and thoughtful to have fashioned a salute to those fondly remembered peoples and such. Something that would warm the strange and sad heart of any sociopath.

But...I live in the former dumping ground for the unwanted called Oklahoma where we white people (and many of the children of the victims too, those whose minds have been thoroughly colonized) simply turn truth inside out, upside down and pretend that opposites are truth and slap a phrase on a car tag and pretend it's all hunky dory. Whee. Swimming in a sea of current and past horror and pretending it's a resort.

I've not confirmed that Mr. Kundera actually said this, it doesn't matter, in a way, because it stands as a marker to a truth regardless of who originated it.

See the ancestors of the colonists? See the ancestor of the slaves? See the white allies of the ancestor of the slaves? See the white men standing? They're upset because the child of the kidnapped and brutalized who were brought here by their grandfathers is intruding in a place where the white men don't want them to be. The white men have forgotten (?) all that history, all those truths, all that horror...or maybe not. Maybe they haven't forgotten...maybe they just don't care. I hope it's because they've forgotten...I hope that very much.

You can do something to struggle against forgetting, against invisibling, against horror...by living vegan and advocating for social justice for all living beings. Just be prepared to get smacked in the face with lots of reminders of forgetting and distorting...like car tag slogans.

6 comments:

Have Gone Vegan said...

Saw this quote by Milan Kundera just the other day and thought I'd share:

Humanity's true moral test, its fundamental test, consists of its attitude toward those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect humankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it.

D.E.M. said...

There's some weird scrambling up here to pretend all is ok with native history and oppression. The president of my university always introduces anything with, "we stand on treaty territory " & meanwhile Monsanto looms on campus. The takeover continues. The poisoning. OMG I forgot. The Fac of agriculture tweeted that "farmers , like indigenous people, care about land". I tweeted back: "not the ones who cage animals on the 1000s". Soooooooo despicable.

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting HGV. Yes, I've seen Mr. Kundera's quote before...it is an excellent one...I had not seen the one from him on the graphic I shared. It seemed eerily apropos with my postings on invisibling. Thanks for sharing.

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting DEM. You provide two instances of a phenomenon that is depressingly ubiquitous. One of the most insidious aspects of current society is how seemingly positive and accurate things get recycled and distorted by the exploitative mindset and re-framed into something that appears to support destruction and commercialization. When I first encountered the "land acknowledgement" thingee I thought "wow...terrific" then I saw how it gets appropriated and used by a**wipes in an attempt to cover up their bad smells. If I ever get a chance to create a universe, it will include a force that causes humans to shoot flames out their ass when they try to twist something for manipulative purposes. That way there might be both more truth-telling and more fun too. :-)

"Weird scrambling". Great phrase...

Christine said...

Indeed we need to remember the horrors of the past to inspire us to do something about the atrocities and social injustices of the present. Particularly the ongoing and increasing violence and exploitation of the other beings with whom we share this world. I hope that future generations will look back in horror at the ongoing abuse of both human and non-human animals rather than continue to justify and gloss over the continued brutality to thinking feeling sentient beings. Sadly though I think there are many people too apathetic to care, maybe as a result of the overwhelming nature of all the abuse and exploitation or desensitised by the sheer number of atrocities that take place sanctioned by governments and those in authority.

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting Christine. Indeed, we can easily be overwhelmed and seek refuge in numbness when confronted with the ubiquity of atrocity...I suspicion this numbness/apathy is also encouraged by the harmers since that furthers their freedom to act and decreases the possibility that anyone resists them.