The Resistance Of The Oppressed
By Paul Balles
The Indian [was thought] as less than human and worthy only of extermination. We did shoot down defenseless men, and women and children at places like Camp Grant, Sand Creek, and Wounded Knee. We did feed strychnine to red warriors. We did set whole villages of people out naked to freeze in the iron cold of Montana winters. And we did confine thousands in what amounted to concentration camps. — Wellman, The Indian Wars of the West, 1934
On Thursday, November 26, 2009, Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving. The holiday is celebrated in remembrance of the pilgrims and in order to give thanks for the harvest. About the holiday, Professor Robert Jensen has written:
European invaders exterminated nearly the entire indigenous population to create the United States. Without that holocaust, the United States as we know it would not exist. The United States celebrates a Thanksgiving Day holiday dominated not by atonement for that horrendous crime against humanity but by a falsified account of the “encounter” between Europeans and American Indians.Today there are approximately 310 American Indian reservations (or should we refer to them as Bantustans?) in the continental U.S. Perhaps we should call the forced Palestinian enclaves reservations. North America, South Africa, Palestine--all invaded and occupied with indigenous populations exterminated and imprisoned.
Their lands and homes have been taken by settlers protected by troops. They've been herded onto refugee camps called reservations or Bantustans and kept in poverty and despair.
Their fathers tell them stories of how they or their grandfathers resisted the oppressors and how their arrows or stones were no match for the guns and cannons used by the foreign settlers.
Now, the young tribesmen read newspapers in English and watch television. Some even have computers and the Internet.
They see films about Japanese Kamikaze pilots during WWII and about the French resistance. We read about Palestinians blowing themselves up because the settlers in Palestine have been their oppressors.
If I die while killing 20 of my enemies, doesn't that serve my people in their war against oppression? Hasn't this been the justification for all soldiers dying in all wars?
Didn’t we send our youth into Iraq because we approved the certain suicide of all those who would die? That's what's so attractive about invading places like Afghanistan and Iraq: we can act like oppressive settlers again.
Perhaps that's what Americans love about Israel. Israelis act like America's early settlers and garrisons of troops murdering and maiming tribes of people they consider lesser breeds.
America has forgotten the outcome of other conquests by nations and empires that over-extended themselves. All have fallen! America should know better, having fallen to resistance in Viet Nam. How many young lives succumbed to our leaders' suicidal commitment?
But what about the resistance to occupations? Isn't South Korea feeling occupied? What about the Philippines? Japan recently complained about American troops in Okinawa. How about all the other places where America has over-extended its military presence?
What would the U.S. do if a number of American Indian tribesmen decided they had been occupied long enough, been impoverished long enough? Suppose they rose up against the oppression.
Should there be an American Indian uprising--a resistance move after generations of submission—would the only path for America to take and remain true to itself be to eliminate the terrorists? Isn’t that what Israel does now?
Destroy their homes and camps; force them across borders into Canada and Mexico, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Syria. Build walls. Wipe out all potential weapons sources. Don't call it genocide! Call it “eliminating terrorism”! Call it “self defense”!
Paul Balles is a retired American university professor and freelance writer who has lived in the Middle East for many years. For more information, see http://www.pballes.com.