Wednesday, May 16, 2007

When Justice Fails

I watched the youtube video on how to stop a train. I strongly recommend anyone go see it if only for the ignorant and poorly spelled comments left by completely oblivious idiots with no idea or respect for the past and current struggle First Nations people's face in North America. They screech and accuse each other of being Hitleresque. One more enlightened person suggested Native reserves are rich and that tax-free collectives such as reserves unnecessarily demand "hard-earned" tax dollars. If by rich this person means so snooty and elitist that even such things as indoor plumbing are shunned, if this person means rich in suicide rates (the single highest in the country) then the First Nations people are rich indeed.

I agree about the taxes though, people work hard for their money (well, most people do, some people just own valuable things and get paid for it, but hey, that could be hard work, I wouldn't know.) I suggest the immediate taxation of every landholding on all religious organizations on this continent. Too long have the churches claimed poverty and righteousness while preaching conversion and humility (HA) with tithe money. Let every church here with any history of abuse of Native Peoples pay proper taxes like all other businesses and people and let that money fund a massive humanitarian aid to all reserves where people in this country in this year will die of tuberculosis or have their children removed due to poverty, an action prohibited by the UN.

Now onto the people who actually made the video. Guys, seriously, ..okay. I know you want to help, but earlier this year, Natives were included in an anti-terror manual and they were only removed as a group because the awesome journalists at the Globe and Mail reported it and made it public. Videos like this are not going to aid law enforcement overcome prejudices about "dangerous" First Nations protesters. Cool it.

On another note, in the text next to the video, you mention some difficult moments, some very tense protests. Then you go on to suggest showing solidarity in a "discreet non-traceable way". Why? The whole basis of the problem (notwithstanding the historical basis of the problem) is that most people are unwilling to say something out loud and on camera. Discreet and non-traceable? CN is not the enemy of the people of Canada, whatever their historical background. If regular people were more willing to speak openly and loudly about the disgusting, inhuman conditions on reservations, there would be no need to shut down an essential service from a crown corporation. It is not up to CN to bring the argument to parliament, it is simply that they are the gatekeepers between each end of our nation in a physical way and stopping the trains gets attention.

Show some real solidarity. I know you already have a camera, get some footage of what it's really like on a reserve. Speak to some Chiefs and Medicine women (if they will speak to you). Demand that any tax money collected from landowners be used to bring living conditions in Canada to an acceptable minimum standard for all people.

Go live on a reserve for a time.

The argument is difficult because it is longstanding. There are broken agreements that litter the years of this world. It is not possible to repair all damage done. It is possible to admit that basic human rights are values of Canadians and that we will not accept the abhorrent conditions currently the standard in our reservations. It is possible to insist that our government, whom we pay for directly, be accountable for real timelines to manage land claims. It is possible to insist that law enforcement learn about Native arguments and current conditions and approach protests with more respect for the history of the argument rather than immediately viewing protesters as internal terrorists. It is possible to insist that tax-free religious organizations pay into a First Nations re-construction fund or lose their tax-free status.

I can see what you are trying to do. There are better, more attention-getting ways of getting attention.

No comments: