Sunday, December 31, 2006
Saddam Hussein meets with his boss Donald Rumsfeld
First Pinochet, and now Saddam Hussein.
Two pieces of shit.
Two men drenched in their victims’ blood.
Two men put in power by the greatest war criminals of our age... this December was their last, and yet 2007 remains stained by their legacies.
But what different ways to go...
Augusto Pinochet meets with his boss Henry Kissinger
While people cheered in the streets when the butcher of the soccer stadiums passed away, i was profoundly sad. Passing on peacefully, i felt Augusto Pinochet’s death was just one more defeat for the oppressed. Over thirty years after he did his business for the big boys in Washington, South America’s second-most famous fascist (apologies to Andrew Lloyd Weber & Madonna) enjoyed a kinder end than most on this planet.
But at least we still knew him for what he was.
Saddam Hussein was dealt a more difficult hand to play, and as a reward for his troubles he got set up and stabbed in the back by his imperialist overlords, ending it with all the glory of a show trial, and then the scaffold under the new Iraqi police state... and it just couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy...
(dripping sarcasm for those with poor reading skills)
Whereas the Chilean dictator played on a continent rocked by revolutionary movements, Hussein’s corner of the globe was even bloodier. So while Pinochet set up organizing transnational death squads, supporting genocide throughout Latin America, Hussein had even heavier work to do.
Called upon to attack the Iranian Revolution in 1980, the Iraqi dictator set off one of the greatest bloodbaths of the twentieth century.
Things may not have gone any different for the Revolution had Iraq not attacked, as the left was already theoretically disarmed in its relationship to the Khomeini theocrats. (They thought that Khomeini’s opposition to u.s. imperialism made him a reliable ally... a mistake that would cost them dearly.) But what better way to send people running to line up behind their biggest assholes than to lob poison gas at them? If fascism was already consolidating itself in Tehran, the Iran-Iraq war – a slaughterhouse arranged in Washington DC – put it on steroids.
Which is not even mentioning the one million people who died as Saddam Hussein spent years failing to defeat Iran.
One million people.
Once it became clear that Washington’s butcher in Iraq would be unable to win against the butcher Khomeini – thanks mainly to mass desertions on the Iraqi side – the war was morphed into an investment opportunity as countries throughout “progressive” “peaceful” “Old Europe” gladly sold arms to both sides.
Of course, like in any gangster movie, loyalty to the boss can only get you so far.
Saddam Hussein was set up, in a play worthy of a Le Carre thriller.
In 1990 he asked the united states permission to invade Kuwait – the Beverly Hills of the Middle East, where at the time only male citizens could vote, and even then only the native rulers were considered citizens – and permission was granted.
u.s. ambassador April Glaspie assured Hussein: “We have no opinion on your border dispute with Kuwait. [Secretary of State] James Baker has instructed our official spokesmen to EMPHASIZE this instruction.”
It was a con, and within days of the Iraqi invasion amerika was on the warpath. When Washington’s lapdog was given no way to back down, he tried to put a brave face on events, promising the “mother of all battles,” assuring the gullible that after his victory against the united states he would go on to liberate Palestine. Fishing for support where he could.
Of course, amerika wanted to kick Hussein in the teeth, perhaps even install a new regime... but the Iraqi masses entered the fray. Mass desertions from the Iraqi armed forces are what made Gulf War I so quick, as if providing a cruel answer to that old ditty about “What would happen if they called a war and no one came?”
The Iraqi masses tried to overthrow Hussein in 1990. Refusing to fight for him against the united states, they turned their guns against the regime. There were nationalist and proletarian uprisings throughout the south and the north. Were it not for the intervention of the u.s. and england, Hussein might not have lived to see 1991.
As one left communist group has written:
...the Bush regime openly invited the ruling circles in Iraq to replace Saddam Hussein with the approach of the ground war in March. However, the mass desertion of Iraqi conscripts and the subsequent uprisings in Iraq robbed the American government of such a convenient victory. Instead they faced the prospect of the uprising turning into a full scale proletarian revolution, with all the dire consequences this would have for the accumulation of capital in the Middle East.
The last thing the American government wanted was to be drawn into a prolonged military occupation of Iraq in order to suppress the uprisings. It was far more efficient to back the existing state. But there was no time to insist on the removal of Saddam Hussein. They could ill afford the disruption this would cause. Hence, almost overnight, Bush's hostility to the butcher of Baghdad evaporated. The two rival butchers went into partnership.
Their first task was to crush the uprising in the South which was being swelled by the huge columns of deserters streaming north from Kuwait. Even though these fleeing Iraqi conscripts posed no military threat to Allied troops, or to the objective of "liberating" Kuwait, the war was prolonged long enough for them to be carpet bombed on the road to Basra by the RAF and the USAF. This cold blooded massacre served no other purpose than to preserve the Iraqi state from mutinous armed deserters.
Following this massacre the Allied ground forces, having swept through southern Iraq to encircle Kuwait, stopped short of Basra and gave free rein to the Republican Guards - the elite troops loyal to the Iraqi regime - to crush the insurgents. All proposals to inflict a decisive defeat on the Republican Guards or to proceed towards Baghdad to topple Saddam were quickly forgotten. In the ceasefire negotiations the Allied forces insisted on the grounding of all fixed wing aircraft but the use of helicopters vital for counter-insurgency was permitted for "administrative purposes".
So instead of being overthrown in 1990, Hussein was given an extra thirteen years to suck the blood of the masses. This is still one of the reasons the united states is so hated by the Iraqi people.
There followed years of famine and death, as the Clinton regime tried to put Iraq on the back burner, simply bombing the country and imposing “sanctions” which left hundreds of thousands (according to some estimates, as many as one million) people dead. (Under modern capitalism, when every nation’s economy is connected to so many others’, applying “sanctions” is like cutting off oxygen to a deep sea diver – there is no way any country can simply “rely on itself” to satisfy its own needs, because that’s not how any economy is actually structured.)
Of course, sanctions and bombings were no more intended to remove Hussein from power than were the bombing sorties against deserting soldiers in Gulf War I. Rather, like other “civilized war crimes” (think Hiroshima, think Nagasaki) this was an object lesson to all the world. An example of what could be done at whim – at minimal cost or protest in the metropoles – to any neo-colony, anywhere, at any time.
As Ward Churchill – a man i normally disagree with – notes in his provocative essay Some People Push Back:
...U.N. Assistant Secretary General Denis Halladay, repeatedly denounced what was happening as "a systematic program . . . of deliberate genocide." His statements appeared in the New York Times and other papers during the fall of 1998, so it can hardly be contended that the American public was "unaware" of them. Shortly thereafter, Secretary of State Madeline Albright openly confirmed Halladay's assessment. Asked during the widely-viewed TV program Meet the Press to respond to his "allegations," she calmly announced that she'd decided it was "worth the price" to see that U.S. objectives were achieved.
i remember talking with an Iraqi woman while waiting in line for a movie, just prior to Gulf War II. i was surprised that she was glad it looked like the u.s. would invade, because at least it would end the embargo. She had no illusions about amerikan benevolence, but thought even military invasion was unlikely to involve as much suffering as sanctions. In retrospect, i think she was wrong... but it gives an idea of how bad things were.
Even before September 11th, Bush jr. in the white house signaled a more pro-active u.s. policy the middle east. When the invasion came thirteen years after Gulf War I, many wondered “what took them so long?”
Like most small-time gangsters, Hussein’s fate was not of his own making. This is a case of the big fish determining not only what the little fish do, but even what they mean.
Saddam Hussein lived like a gangster, and met his death like one. He didn’t wimp out, didn’t renounce his path or his legacy – his last words being a curse on Americans, traitors and Persians (and this as Iran faces increasing threats of imperialist invasion itself!). The man who headed a police state which murdered hundreds of thousands has now himself been murdered – by a new police state, one which shows every sign of being just as vicious as the one headed by Hussein himself.
To those who have been blinded in one eye, seeing only jihad and McWorld and nothing else, these male virtues of honour and toughness make Hussein’s undeniable true grit worth a cheer in and of itself. i can just hear some asshole going “He wasn’t no pussy”...
i may not like this, and obviously don’t feel the same way, but like i said before: no better way to get people to line up behind their biggest assholes than to rain death on them 24/7... and isn’t that what imperialism has been doing to the Arab world for generations now?
If Hussein and Pinochet are both dead today, their deaths are being understood in radically different ways. One will be remembered as scum, while the other is being dressed in drag as a revolutionary hero. While i disagree with the kind words they may have for him, the PFLP is certainly speaking the truth of some when they state that Hussein will be “remembered forever as the Arab leader who stood up in the face of American imperialism.”
But to many “ordinary people,” to many oppressed people around the world – and in the Middle East itself – the underlying unity between these two men’s lives is easy to see.
It is in recognizing this unity, and the deep chasm which separates Hussein from those who have actually fought and died for a better world, that we can retain our bearing and claim our ground in the battles to come.
The following from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, on the execution of Saddam Hussein by the Iraqi police state. I don’t agree with the PFLP’s feelings about Hussein, but for those who are interested, this is what they have to say, in two separate statements:
The Popular Front regards the assassination of Saddam, the symbol and epitome of Arab rejection and resistance, as a vile plot by the evil chief Bush.
In a press statement issued by an official spokesman, the Popular Front declared that it regards the act of assassinating the leader Saddam Husayn, the symbol and epitome of Arab rejection and resistance, as the completion of a vile plot hatched by Bush, the evil chief, his fascist administration, and his stooges in the region.
The official spokesman stressed that this assassination comes in the context of the plot aimed
at destroying the Arab renewal project in Iraq, whereby the Bush Administration sought to put an end to this stage of development, progress, resistance, and rejection of American imperialism.
The official representative said that the assassination, which is in violation of all
international laws and norms but reflects the fake democracy that the United States of America advocates, was carried out by political order of the American Administration, which he said, violates international laws and human rights.
The spokesman emphasized that the criminal assassination constitutes an insult to the Arabs and Muslims in the world, inasmuch as it sends a message to Arab leaders that they must remain under the control and in the grip of the Americans. The fact that this crime was committed on the festival of ‘Id al-Adha is a brazen provocation and an open act of scorn.
The Popular Front praised the leader Saddam Husayn, stressing that he would be remembered forever as the Arab leader who stood up in the face of American imperialism.
The Popular Front appealed to the Arab peoples to move and go out in mass marches in condemnation of the vicious crime against the authentic Arab leader who was always on the side of the oppressed peoples, first of all the Palestinian people.
At the conclusion of his statement, the spokesman saluted the heroic Iraqi resistance front calling on it to intensify its operations against the American occupation. He called on the Iraqi people to unite and stand steadfast so as to attain independence.
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
A spokesman for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine made a statement denouncing the criminal assassination of the Iraqi President Saddam Husayn. The spokesman said: This crime that the American-British forces have committed is aimed at stirring up increased divisions and struggles within Iraq in order to destroy and partition the country and control its resources.
The trial that was held under the aegis of the American occupation of Iraq was devoid of all legality and was in violation of the principles of international law.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine calls on the Iraqi people of all backgrounds and orientations to tighten their ranks in confrontation with the invaders and liberate the country in order to preserve the unity of Iraqi territory and frustrate the American-Zionist plans that aim at igniting and fanning the fires of sectarian and religious strife in Iraq and then spreading them throughout the region in order to impose the so-called “New Middle East” that means the fragmentation of the region and control over its resources and wealth.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine extends its greetings to the fraternal Iraqi people and its heroic resistance that is standing up to the occupation and has forced the American scheme into a bottleneck from which the administration of Bush the criminal is now seeking a way out.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine calls on all honorable people in the world to stand beside the people of Iraq and their resistance and just struggle to expel the occupation, liberate the country, and build a free, united, democratic, Arab Iraq.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
The State of Palestine.
30 December 2006.
Arabic original at:
The following from Hazel Hill, at the Six Nations Reclamation Site just outside Caledonia:
It has been a few weeks since I last updated everyone and I have had
people e-mailing wondering what is happening.
Before I begin, I need to ask that those of you who forward and post this to your blogs, PLEASE do not change it. I have had radio stations slandering me, discrediting me, only to find out that they had been duped and someone had sent them a "so-called update", that had been drastically changed painting me out to be a racist etc. I write what I SEE, and while it may not be journalistically or grammatically correct, it is MY thoughts and MY feelings. The message is being received and understood by everyone else who reads them, so there is no need to change them. Perhaps this would also account for the Crown representatives who have been complaining about my updates to our Haudenesonne delegates. They do not like my updates and are concerned that they could be construed as coming from the "negotiations". So as a matter of clarification, when I update the people, which IS what my job is, I update based on looking at things from the Eagles perspective. It is not from a politicians perspective, and it is not from the Chiefs or delegates perspective. It is from the perspective of one who can bring herself away from the table of discussions and look onto the situation and look beyond the words that are being said, and look at the actions of the Crown and from that, put on paper the words from my heart and from my instincts, of what is really going on. So for the federal government to have made issue with my updates, not just once, but several times, tells me that I AM DOING MY JOB! One thing I made clear at the beginning of my attending the meetings is that I report to the PEOPLE. There is no such thing as confidentiality when it comes to the Haudenesonne. Our people counsel in honesty and openness and that is how we will continue. For us to state otherwise, will only lend to question what it is that we have to hide. I report to the Clanmothers and Chiefs on what I am doing, and answer any questions that they have, and I will continue to do so. My obligation is to the People, and to keep them informed. These updates are for all of the Haudenesonne who are spread across Turtle Island and cannot attend meetings or council to be updated. They are for the millions of Onkwehonweh across the world who are reading and watching and counting on the Haudenesonne to uphold their responsiblities to Creation in order to help bring about Justice for all the Onkwehonweh. More importantly, my updates are for the Creator. To do what I believe is what is the highest good of ALL concerned. Not in the interest of any individual or Nation. This is about the PEACE that was intended for ALL. I have been put on this earth to answer only to the Creator and to do the job that he set me on this earth to do. It is not for any one to question, it is between me and the Creator, and while some may not appreciate my perspective or my thoughts, OH WELL, cause I am not here to please anyone either.
Having said that, the first thing I have to take issue with, IS the Federal representatives reason for taking issue with my updates. Their concern was with my use of the word Genocide and how I refer to their actions as "the continuance of the genocidal practices of the Crown". Well, HELLLLOOOO! Spot it you got it I say. Perhaps they took issue with the fact that it is the TRUTH, and while they might not like it, it is a FACT. One of their legal representatives is apparently Jewish and felt that my use of the word was inappropriate becuase of the suffering of the Jews at the hands of Hitler. Well as a matter of clarification, Hitler studied the Onkwehonweh and while I have been told that he liked how our people lived and how our law worked, he also seen how Western Civilization treated the Onkwehonweh, and he modelled the treatment of the Jews after THAT and so YES!, Geneocide is an ugly word, but no one people can take ownership of the word, and those that do, need to study a bit more of where it comes from and how it even became a word in the english dictionary in the first place. It came from the treatment of the Onkwehonweh by those who invaded our homelands and tried to wipe us out for their own benefit and gain. So as far as I'm concerned, the Crown IS continuing with its genocidal practices because of its insistance on thinking it has some sort of governance over our people, which they do not; and by their refusal to uphold the Treaties to which their ancestors swore to, which they are obligated to do. You can't just have it your way. They want us to acknowledge all of the agreements and treaties that benefit their people, but the moment we remind them that that Silver Covenant Chain can rattle in both directions, they close their eyes and ears. Well, our people are tired of it, and we are not going to tolerate it any longer. The Crown needs to ensure that the representatives that they send to the table to talk, are one's that have the ability to make a decision, not one's that are there to bide time while they try to figure out a way to get out of it. Barbara McDougal herself told Teka reporter Jim Windell that she is not there to negotiate or make decisions. So again, what is it that the taxpayers are paying these big dollars for??????????? For the last ten months they have been dancing around and talking about everything BUT the issue at hand. The Land. We've talked about blockades, fences, buffer zones, governance, 4-wheelers, flashing lights and flags. When are we going to get to the heart of everything. You stole our land, we've proven it. What is there to negotiate? We took it back and there is nothing to talk about other then when are you giving the rest back. Or do we have to come and take that too? When have you ever seen a car thief negotiate with the owner over when and how to give it back. This whole process is ridculous! All I know is that the People are getting tired of being led down the garden path once again and in July when the barricades came down, we gave our delegates a few months to deal with it. It has been well past a few months and it is time that the Crown representatives remembered that the delegates that have been chosen to sit at the table with them are exactly that, delegates. I have heard our delegates remind the Crown representatives that they can only hold the people back for so long. I know that the PEOPLE are definitely not happy about the apparent lack of good will on the part of the Crown, and if the people so choose, we may have to send in more convincing delegates to get the message across.
And talk about messages. Gary McHale has been on a campaign to prove that there is a two-tiered justice system when it comes to the Native people and he has finally proven himself right. He is a walking talking evidence of the two tiered justice that exists within Canada's so called democracy and its treatment of native people. He has been weebling in and out of the reclamation situation by holding marches, demonstrations, and setting up his web page campaign to try and undermine our people's position, and to get out his propoganda. His latest venture was using the Canadian Troops with his flag campaign. Well, he got what he wanted. He proved that there IS a two-tiered justice. Gary was arrested and released WITHOUT condition. Every single "Native" person that was arrested with respect to the reclamation of OUR lands near Caledonia, had the condition "not to return to Douglas Creek" as part of their release. If the Crown's agents of the Courts really wanted Gary McHale to go away and stop interfering in what is NONE OF HIS BUSINESS, they could have easily directed him with the same conditions as our people have been given. Stay away from Douglas Creek. I guess the Crown doesn't want him to stay away because with the Gary McHales of the world, there is no guarantee of PEACE, and he has been given a "get out of jail free card" to allow him the freedom to continue to manipulate and undermine the Peace by instigating trouble. Good job Gary, thanks for proving our point.
Along side of Gary McHale are the homeowners who claim that the "Native's from the Site" broke into their home and vandalized it. They have Mayor Trainer of Caledonia and MP Toby Barrett going on national television, and in their house of commons blaming our people for the vandalism and continuing with their claims that there is no peace within Caledonia, and that they are constantly being terrorized. It does'nt take a genious to figure out that perhaps there is some dirty pool going on with this so-called break in. First of all, if there was truly a break-in and vandalism, WHY would you compromise the evidence by inviting CH TV Channel 11 in to take footage, and have half the neighbourhood in there trapsing through and eliminating ny chance of the police being able to do a thorough investigation because you've compromised the crime scene. Also, if it was one of our people from the site, there should be alot of mud in the crime scene and foot prints leading to and from the house as they claim the 'individuals' ran out the back when they got home and went into the reclamation site. Our men did our own invesitation and can clearly see there were no footprints leading to or from the house from the site, and for all of those who came to the site when the homeowners had the media and their supporters there claiming the natives had broken in, calling us names and holding signs that read "Peaceful People my Ass", everyone who was on the site had their shoe sizes enhanced by a couple of sizes from the mud that caked on their shoes from walking in the field next to the house, so don't tell me that anyone from the site did this. It was a staged set up, and poorly done I might add. They're either stupid or think we are. Our people are fully prepared to co-operate with the police to ensure that this is investigated thoroughly because we know it wasn't any of our people from the site, and we know a set up when we see one. This is the same crap that was pulled in Kanesetake during 1990 trying to use the media as a negotiating tool and to play out their political bs at the expense of the Onkwehonweh. In this particular case, it has been alleged that the homeowners want to be bought out and the government won't answer to their demands for an outrageous amount of money. It is also been alleged that the three times they claim that the "natives from the site" stole their Canadian flag off of their lawn, they were seen by police removing the flag itself, and then calling in a false police report. I think that the politicians who are supporting these slanderous accusations against our people need to think about who and what they are supporting (unless they are part of the plan) because at this point, perhaps we should go ahead and jump into the boat and into their court system with charges of slander against our people and sue them for everything they got, including their homes that are sitting on land that already belongs to us. The only terroristic action that is happening near Kanesthaton, is that brought on when the instigators from outside try to come in and insite trouble, or when the politicians who think they are doing something for their people, continue with their lied filled campaigns based on slanderous gossip and who are both supported and allowed to report it as facts by irresponsible news media. So, a message from our people, go ahead and continue with your plots of deception, keep on trying to prove to the world that we are an evil people as your latest blog "faces of evil" tried to imply, because when you live and answer to the Creator, you live without fear. We have nothing to hide. We have simply stated the facts. The land is ours. The road which you hang your flags on is ours. The business which you are claiming millions of dollars of losses on, is a result of the racism and hatred shown against our people that has caused our people not to shop in your stores anymore. It is not a result of barricades and it isn't based on fear from the outside townspeople coming in to shop, because they continue to come to Six Nations. It is your own doing. It is your mayors doing. It is because you did not understand or respect the fact that the Haudenesonne, whom you want the army brought in to eliminate, are the very people who supported and kept your business running by our spending our money in your community.
I also wanted to touch on the whole "faces of evil" thing. There was a recent blog which was allegedly started by the same individual from London Ontario who supports Gary McHale and who apparently scanned different pictures of our people and our supporters to create a little video depicting so-called "faces of evil". I didn't get to watch it because by the time I tried to view it, it had been shut down. But the whole thing about our people being evil was started a few months ago within our own community by the elected chief and his political advisor after the band council voted to stop paying the salary of this particular legal advisor and took him out of his position. ( Note however, that the individual is still out there speaking on behalf of the Six Nations, and still wanders around the band administration building as any other employee even though he supposedly was taken off payroll........what gives!? ) It was an attempt at a smear campaign to undermine the position of the people at Kanehstaton, it was done out of anger to try and get our people to stop supporting the site, and somehow try to stop the movement of the people at forcing the crown to deal with our only true government, the Haudenesonne. The people, through our traditional council. As a matter of fact, it was implied that our traditional council was evil. It was an ill fated attempt to smear some of the people who supported us financially. It was and continues to be used as a tool by those who want to discredit the Haudenesonne in order to perpetuate the fraud of the crown in its insistance at dealing with the illegal entity known as the elected band council. I understand that there was something out there with my own name attached to it, that an individual was calling me evil. I don't know because I didn't read it, I was only told about it. It doesn't matter. What matters is that it is right in line with what has been prophescized. That we, the Haudenesonne, would be called evil. That we would referred to as the "666" which apparently one of the article's was referring to the "6-6-6 Nations". I have been told by many elders in the past, that this time would come, and that those who truly work for the Creator would clearly be separated from those that don't. I guess that time is now, and those individuals are showing themselves.
Finally, I want to talk about this holiday season in particular and how deeply it has effected me. For many years, I have struggled with Christmas, and have tried to teach my children the truth about this season, and how I see it. That for the Christian people, it is a time to celebrate Christs birth, and to enjoy Peace on Earth. And yet, for the Onkwehonweh, this is something that we are suppose to live our life by. Every day. Not just one day of the year. Just like many of the other Christian/Calendar holidays. Mothers Day, Fathers Day etc. Why would you only honour your mother and father on one day of the year. So why do we only acknowledge this person, Christ, who gave his life for your sins, only one day of the year. In our teachings, He was known as the Peacemaker, and the Kaienerekowah, this Great Law, is the Law or Message of Peace that he brought to help us to live our life by. It is symbolized by the Great White Pine Tree with an Eagle sitting at the top.
I'll share with you this story I was told and then I will explain why. I was told that when the Peacemaker came and our people accepted the Peace, He then told us that He was going to go across the great big waters and deliver this same message to the people over there. He left instructions for our people to cut a notch out of the Great White Pine every day, and if one day that Pine was to bleed, we would know that those people did not accept the Peace and that they had killed Him. So every day, our people cut the notch out of the tree, and finally, there came a day when that Pine did bleed. Our people were angry and set out to build a big raft and were going to go across those great waters and kill the people that had killed our Peacemaker. But while they were building this raft, the Peacemaker returned to them in spirit and told them not to go across to kill those people. He reminded them of the Peace that we had accepted. He showed them the holes in his hands and feet, and the crown of thorns on his head and he warned our people that there would come a time when those people would come across the waters to our homelands and it was up to us if we welcomed them and helped them. He also warned our people to beware of the man carrying the black book.
This is something that has never left my mind. It was not the book itself that he warned us of. It was the man who carried the black book, and just like anything written, it can be changed and manipulated to control people. And like everything else in the battle of good vs. evil, right handed twin vs. left handed twin, everything that was good that the right handed twin did, the left handed twin has to undermine. So too has this message of Peace been undermined. This celebration of Peace, that was given to all people, was never intended to be commercialized, nor was it intended only to be acknowledged only one day out of the year. The Eagle, representing the Onkwehonweh who have the responsiblity to uphold that peace, that rests on top of the Great Tree; was replaced by the Star of David, and the Message of Peace has been replaced by commercialization and the giving of presents. It has become something that is used to further the stress and hardship of the people by putting pressure on parents to go into debt to buy presents for their children based on what?! On Peace? No wonder statistics show that Christmas time has the highest rate of suicide because we are buying into the fraud and continue to teach our children this fraud. So when I was on my way home from town on Christmas Eve with my daughter, and I had just hung up the phone with my husband who was at the site at Kanehstaton, and I was thinking of the people at the site, who weren't at home with their families enjoying foods and celebrations, but who were there on that site maintaining our position and upholding the Law that Creator gave to us, my tears began to fall. When she asked if I was ok, I told her how I felt. How hypocritical I felt because how I know that this whole Christmas Season is just a fisaude, and that those people who were at the site were doing exactly what the Creator intended for us to do and what we are obligated to do and how this Peace that we speak of isn't suppose to be only acknowledged one day of the year, and that it isn't about presents, and that even though my tree at home has an Eagle on it rather than a Star, am I truly upholding what the Creator intended by continuing that fisaude. I cried alot of tears that night. But my tears were not for the people at the site, they were for the rest of us. Again, just MY thoughts. And while everyone at Kanehstaton knows my heart and my spirit is with them even when I can't be, I want to acknowledge all of them who are staying on the site full time, and I want the rest of the world to know that those individuals have my deepest respect because of their committment and dedication to the Onkwehonweh, to our Sovereignty, to the Kaierenekowah and to the Creator.
I am truly inspired by you all!
Nya Weh Kowah!
For now, that is it for my update. I was asked to give some thought about the new year, and perhaps share some of what I envision for the Onkwehowehonweh. What I envision is a time of change for the Onkwehonweh. I can see the Unity and Peace growing and the Haudenesonne slowly taking back their responsiblities and rightful place in the Governance of the People, and I see the People, knowing it is OUR responsiblity, making sure that this is what happens. I see the Crown finally recognizing that it is the People who are the government and that they can continue to try and manipulate individuals and the elective system, but they will never manipulate nor dictate to the Onkwehonweh. I know for myself, and in speaking with some of the women who are part of the "negotiations" both band council as well as traditional, we are committed to having more community meetings and updating the people so they are more directly involved with what is going on.
My biggest message is to all of our supporters. For it is with all of you that recognition must be given. When I stood with the Women & Clanmothers in that circle and we sent out the message to re-kindle the Fire of Peace back in April, and I look at how far our message of Peace has reached, and how truly amazing times that we are in and what an impact that this is having on the World, It is all of you that we have to thank. So Nya Weh Kowah to all of you who accepted that Peace and who share that Message with others. Nya Weh to all of those who have supported Kanehstaton through your financial donations, through your encouraging words, and through your prayers. All of you are greatly appreciated and thought of in our prayers as well.
In Love, Light and Peace,
Monday, December 18, 2006
While most of the people who have demonstrated against the Six Nations Reclamation outside Caledonia are your run of the mill settler chauvinists, content to believe the oh-so-convenient racist myth that this land all belongs to them, there have also been some fascists and neo-nazis spotted.
The relationship between settler chauvinism, white supremacism, and fascism is a fluid one, and while it would be a serious mistake to view all racists as being actual fascists, in times of political crisis its a transition which can happen very quickly indeed.
Here are two videos shot at recent racist settler demonstrations, in which the fascists can be spotted. Gotta love the dude explaining that the National Alliance is just a "free speech" organization!
Sunday, December 17, 2006
FREE TREVOR MILLER:
FAMILY AND SUPPORTERS TO ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE IN TORONTO:
SIX NATIONS MOHAWK POLITICAL PRISONER REMAINS BEHIND BARS
Monday, December 18th, 2006
7:30 AM onwards
720 Bay Street
(Just north of Gerrard St.)
After being arrested near Grassy Narrows for charges related to the Six Nations Land Reclamation adjacent to Caledonia in southern Ontario, Trevor, 31, has been denied bail and no trial date has been set. This week, he was again ordered to remain in custody by none other than Justice T. David Marshall, an Ontario Superior Court judge who issued the injunction against the Six Nations Reclamation of the "Douglas Creek Estate", leading to an OPP raid, and whose continued efforts to suspend the on-going negotiations between the Six Nations peoples and the Canadian government were sharply overturned by the Ontario Court of Appeal yesterday.
In the recent court appearance, Trevor asserted that he is not a Canadian citizen, but a Mohawk and a member of the Six Nations, clarifying that the Ontario court has no jurisdiction over him. He asked to be allowed to leave with his people and maintained that he was being held against the terms of the two row wampum. Stuart Myiow, of the Traditional Mohawk Council, requested that Miller be released to the traditional Council
which will guarantee his appearance at all forthcoming court hearings. (There is precedent for this as the Traditional Mohawk Council has intervened in previous court hearings and had prisoners released to them.)
In light of the continued detention of Trevor, preventing him from being with his three children, family members will travel from Six Nations to gather with friends and supporters outside the Attorney General's office on Monday, to demand Trevor's release and his right to be governed by the laws of his people.
Monday, December 18th, 2006
7:30 AM onwards
720 Bay Street
(Just north of Gerrard St.)
Media contact person: Trudi Miller, Trevor's mother, 519.717.3674
just in case anyone missed this in my last post...
A couple of weeks ago i reposted an item from Indymedia about Mohawk political prisoner Trevor Miller. Miller was arrested at a protest at Grassy Narrows on August 9th and was charged with being part of an incident between Six Nations men from the Reclamation Site outside of Caledonia and two CH TV cameramen who happened to be in the Canadian Tire parking lot to film the confrontation. One of the cameramen was injured in the fracas that ensued. (i posted on this incident at the time, if you need your memories refreshed...)
Until recently, Miller received very little support, be it financial or political. During his four months behind bars he has suffered ongoing harassment, and has been told repeatedly that he will be released if only he pleads guilty, but that his continuing defiance could land him a fifteen year prison sentence. Nevertheless, he has remained steadfast in his position that the Canadian government does not have any jurisdiction over him.
Following a letter written by Trevor, in which he questioned the lack of support he has received, and signed “The Forgotten Warrior,” the situation has improved. Supporters, including members of the Traditional Mohawk Council, packed the courthouse on Trevor’s last two court appearances, on November 29th and December 11th, and there was a spirited picket line to support Trevor outside the Hamilton Detention Centre on the 9th. (For videos of these events, see here.)
A leaflet has been designed, that can be downloaded in PDF format, explaining both Trevor’s case and the context of the Six Nations Land Reclamation.
On December 12th Jaggi Singh, of CKUT-Montreal’s NO One Is Illegal Radio programme, interviewed Trevor’s mother Trudi Miller. (You can listen to an mp3 of this where i have mirrored it here, or else on the Radio4all site.)
And tomorrow, family and supporters of Trevor are going to be holding a demonstration from 7:30am on, outside the Ontario Attorney General’s Head Office, at 720 Bay Street in Toronto (just north of Gerrard), demanding Trevor’s release, and his right to be governed by the laws of his own people.
More to come...
This is a short film covering the December 9th protest outside the Hamilton Detention Center to free Six Nations Political Prisoner Trevor Miller. (From Google video.)
Janie Jamieson speaks about Six Nations Political Prisoner Trevor Miller, outside the Cayuga courthouse on Dec 11th, 2006. (From Google video.)
Stuart Myiow speaks outside Cayuga Courthouse on Monday Dec 11th 2006 about the case of Six Nations Political Prisoner Trevor Miller. (From Google video.)
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Upping the Anti is a radical journal, weaving together strands of non-party Marxism and grassroots anti-authoritarian praxis with some very interesting results. Here is how i describe it in my new catalog:
Upping the Anti #3 (November 2006 - 184 pages) The most recent issue of this radical journal from Canada includes interviews with Aijaz Ahmad (“The Anti-Imperialism of our Times”) and William Robinson (“Latin America vs. Global Capitalism”), articles by AK Thompson (“Making Friends With Failure” - thoughts about Richard Day’s book Gramsci Is Dead), Isabel MacDonald (“Haiti: Adventures in Colonialism”), RJ Maccani (“The Zapatistas: Enter the Intergalactic”) and Jen Plyler (“How To Keep On Keeping On” about sustainable modes of long-term community activism). Also, a fascinating roundtable discussion about the struggle at Six Nations and the possibilities and limitations of non-indigenous solidarity. Book reviews of Sociology for Changing the World (Caelie Frampton et al.), Outlaws of America (Dan Berger) and Autobiography of a Blue-Eyed Devil: My life and times in a racist, imperialist society (Inga Muscio).
Like issues one and two, UTA3 contains interviews with movement intellectuals (some “organic,” some academic), articles by activists, and “roundtable discussions” with comrades involved in contemporary radical politics across Canada. It’s a winning combination, with the interviews and roundtables especially providing an accessible format for dealing with some very important issues, ranging from theory to practice and back again. Certainly not an academic publication (that’s a compliment btw), Upping the Anti is well written and touches on complex questions, providing much food for thought.
Issue number three starts off with a thoughtful editorial, Growing Pains: The Anti-Globalization Movement, Anti-Imperialism and the Politics of the United Front – an analysis of the state of the movement and then some. The authors do a good job at summarizing the “anti-globalization moment” of 1997-2001, and examining the differences between politics at that time and the anti-war movement today. More than just a trip down memory lane, this is an ambitious text, one which stakes out positions and tries to define terms.
The most useful part, for me, was how Growing Pains explores the tension between the “pedagogy of confrontation” (associated with the anti-globalization movement) and the politics of “the united front” (associated with the anti-war movement today). To discuss this properly would require a separate post, but to (greatly) summarize, the pedagogy of confrontation involves more aggressive tactics and politics aimed at empowering people and getting results, as “people will be moved to action once it is demonstrated that action is both possible and effective.” (35) The united front, on the other hand, is concerned with not alienating less radical people, pursuing “minimum demands while at the same time arguing against the limitations of the minimal platform.” (34)
It’s a good lens through which to examine movements, more fruitful (at the present time) than either the anarchist/socialist or reformist/revolutionary ones.
That said, Growing Pains seems to stretch a little too far, proposing that we need to transcend the “politics of responsibility to the Other” and use “dialectical images” as a way of moving forwards. While i agree with some of what i understood, it felt like the argument should have either been pared down or else given an extra few pages to fully explain what the authors mean. As it is, the logic seems a bit too fast and some of the examples a bit too easy, leaving this reader unsure if he had understood everything that was being said.
A good beginning nevertheless. Even if - or perhaps especially because – one may have to read it a few times to grasp what is being said. Editorials are often bland little things where the people behind a publication fly their flag and pretend to be important, indulging in their favourite platitudes – Growing Pains is several cuts above that.
In previous issues the best parts of Upping the Anti were the interviews and roundtables, and #3 is no exception.
UTA3 features interviews with Aijaz Ahmad and William I. Robinson, each of whom discuss different questions pertaining to different parts of the world, but nevertheless return to some common concerns. I’m not sure if this was the intention of the UTA crew or just happy happenstance, but they work well side by side.
Ahmad, a leading Marxist academic from the Indian subcontinent, defends the need for a revolutionary party, argues that communists should immerse themselves in practical struggles responding to the needs of the oppressed, and briefly describes the different factions within right-wing anti-imperialist Islam. There is a lot going on here, and this interview could have easily been twice as long – as it stands parts of it feel more like a tease than anything else... (lucky me, i notice a local library has several of Ahmad’s books...)
Robinson’s interview is less far-ranging, focusing on the “turn to the left” in Latin America and the nature of global capitalism. Like Ahmad, Robinson argues that revolutionaries should not abandon the struggle for State power, while stressing that it is only because of the extra-parliamentary pressure from the masses that even “progressive” governments are enabled (or forced?) to stand up to global capitalism. Particularly interesting was his discussion of capital’s separation from the nation-state, and the strategic importance of indigenous struggles today – though again, each could have been discussed in quite a bit more detail.
If both of these interviews touch upon the question of the State, it would be misleading to pretend that this is a preoccupation of the journal as a whole. UTA is clearly situated within the non-party radical left, and i understand these dialogues as being a positive byproduct of an ongoing openness to the experiences and lessons of intelligent people, regardless of their precise tendency.
While the interviews with Ahmad and Robinson were very interesting, the Six Nations Roundtable is probably the most important part of UTA3, as a document from a struggle actually going on within/against Canada today. As readers of this blog will know, the people of Six Nations have been involved in a historic struggle to reclaim their land along the Grand River, a struggle which has had as its flashpoint the settler town of Caledonia, where this year Six Nations people managed to put a stop to real estate development on their land through a ten-month occupation.
UTA3’s Six Nations section starts out with a summary by Tom Keefer of the situation at the Kanenhstaton (Protected Place) reclamation site, providing an overview of what this struggle is about and what has happened, both during the “hot points” (a massive police raid, racist settler rallies, etc.) and the less dramatic day-to-day.
This is followed by an interview with Degunohdohgae (Brian Skye), a member of the Cayuga Nation who explains the significance of the Reclamation within the struggle against Canadian colonialism. Degunohdohgae also describes the positive role of solidarity from non-indigenous people.
It is this question of solidarity which constitutes the real focus of the entire Roundtable. Which is an honest thing to do, as UTA is a not an indigenous journal, but one mainly written by and directed towards the settler left. So the rest of the Roundtable consists of an interview with Jan Watson, a white woman from Caledonia who has been active in organizing against the rise of racism in the settler community, and with three members of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty.
It is the discussion with OCAP members that is particularly interesting, as these are anti-capitalist, anti-authoritarian activists – people from the same broad tendency as UTA – discussing their own perceived strengths and weaknesses in regards to providing solidarity with Six Nations.
The question of solidarity, what it means and what its limitations are, is one which has been grappled with for years by comrades in North America. It has been of particular saliency to white activists, as so many of the heaviest struggles do not obviously involve us, and so many of us find ourselves more often in the position of “privileged outsider” than actual protagonist. The middle class complexion of the white left combined with the retreat of feminism and queer liberation onto the terrain of cultural politics just exacerbates this situation. And when we have gotten solidarity wrong, we have sometimes done more damage than the State itself...
So while these issues are addressed in relationship to events at Six Nations, there are some lessons here that will be familiar to many.
For instance, i can certainly relate to this observation by A.J. Withers:
It is very challenging as an outsider to negotiate the need for me to be in my place as a supporter and still be myself. In the beginning I acted very differently than I do now as I increasingly feel confident in myself and my actions. My desire to be pleasing when I first started going meant that I actually behaved poorly. Because I was afraid I would offend someone. I wasn’t as honest as I could have been, even when I was being asked for my opinion. That wasn’t fair to anyone. (161)
Many of us have struggled with this racist tendency to tailor ourselves to what we think people want us to be, making ourselves in fact disingenuous allies. Which is no way to be a real ally at all.
The discussion with OCAP folk has a refreshing lack of defensiveness, and participants seem to share a sincere desire to be honest about the racist errors that solidarity activists so often stumble into. Here is another useful observation Withers makes:
It is important to remember that we [non-native supporters] are not and never will be the central players in this movement. Solidarity work is not in itself liberatory, only the struggles of the people directly affected will see their liberation.
I think that it is key that we take leadership from native people and that we ensure that we are taking it from the people, not a few people. It isn’t hard, in a community of a few thousand, to find someone to tell you what you want to hear and call that leadership. It is hard to try and figure out what an actual community wants and do that. (163)
Of course, this in itself is not a perfect response. After all, “the community” is rarely monolithic. Acting on behalf of “the community” can translate into acting on behalf of those who have more power or prestige and have hegemony, rather than those whose struggle bears with it the greatest potential for liberation.
In certain situations the correct thing for revolutionaries to do is not to respect the wishes of the majority, but to ally with those people we have the most in common with, even though they may only be a minority.
I am not talking specifically about Six Nations here, nor am i talking about intervening in other people’s societies – in fact regardless of our alliances, i think we definitely should not intervene to boost those we consider the “most revolutionary” – but the basis of our alliance should go beyond simple solidarity. It should be based on a shared position of struggle, and with that grounding it should be with those whose struggles intersect with our own. With an eye to spotting class differences, and pushing against the capitalist grain that keeps our perspective pointed upwards, we must turn our sight to the most oppressed.
This kind of politics, which in bygone days would have been called “internationalism,” is clearly reflected in several things the OCAP comrades had to say. For instance, quoting Withers again:
The obvious connection to OCAP’s anti-poverty work is that a lot of Native people are poor, especially in the cities. [...] More than being about poverty, though, connecting anti-poverty and Native rights movements is about building resistance. Aside from there being a lot of poor Natives, poor people and First Nations people have a great deal in common in regards to our issues, struggles and repression we face. (156)
Or as Josh Zucker recalls:
I remember the first conversation I had with anyone at the reclamation site was about welfare rates. It was the first day I was there and I was talking with a man named John about when he lived on the streets in Toronto. He told me point blank that we should be fighting to get the welfare rates raised in Toronto and so we talked a bit about the OCAP “Raise the Rates” campaign. The connection is obvious. Native people live in extreme poverty unknown in many other communities across the country. (156-7)
As Stefanie Gude explains:
Our relationship to supporting indigenous struggle, as an organization, is centered on our own struggle against the government, for welfare, disability, housing, access to health care – a fight for respect and dignity, against poverty and oppression. (160)
Finally, Gude reminds us that:
Non-native activists need to understand that indigenous struggle will never be won because of the actions of settlers. We need to understand our responsibility to fight the racism and power on the settler side, which may not be the most glamorous or exciting part of the fight, but a part of it only we can and should do. Many people who spent time at the site or who came together to plan support for the reclamation here in Toronto are rooted in struggles of their own. This is one of the reasons why we came together, because we are already fighting. This is also one of the reasons why it is hard, albeit crucial, to support the six Nations peoples. You can’t drop your own fight – because it is exactly that which grounds you and offers one way to understand why indigenous struggle is so crucial and what your role supporting it should be. (167)
These are all important points, positions which are the product of past generations of struggle. They don’t add up to anything particularly complicated or awe-inspiring, just a basic call to work within one’s own community, wherever that might be, and to use one’s grounding there as a basis for forging alliances with other people in struggle.
My one criticism of the Six Nations section as a whole is that, given its focus on solidarity, it could have benefited from a summary of what forms solidarity has taken. The roundtable format has important strengths, but because of its emphasis on subjective experience it is best tempered with more “objective” informational piece. This would make it easier to see how some of the self-criticisms advanced by the interviewees played out in concrete ways. References are made to spending too much time at the cookhouse, and insufficient ties to First Nations people in Toronto (where OCAP is based, 100km from the Reclamation site), but for people from other communities who have not followed this struggle closely, the relevance of this may not be clear.
Given that this section is a good historical document that comrades could learn from in future struggles, it should be noted that this shortcoming will be only grow in importance as time goes on. In this vein, i would recommend for instance Tom Keefer’s article Caledonia's fifth column: white anti-racism in solidarity with Six Nations which appeared in the August 2006 issue of Briarpatch magazine, which provides a good deal of background information and context to the debates around solidarity with Six Nations.
Upping The Anti continues to be a welcome source of ideas for North American, and specifically Canadian, activists... and i haven’t even mentioned the articles about Canadian imperialism in Haiti, about the Zapatistas, or about sustainable habits of activism – perhaps in a future post!
If you are in Canada you can order Upping the Anti directly from Autonomy & Solidarity, anybody can order it from Kersplebedeb for $13 US postage included:
During the failed Israeli invasion of Lebanon earlier this year many of us were both wary and intrigued about the political nature of Hezbollah, the Islamic organization which provoked and then successfully repelled the attack. Flags went up because of Hezbollah’s close ties to the Iranian regime, its religious ideology and past conflicts with the left. It was easy for us to assimilate it into the broader rise of right-wing anti-imperialist Islam.
While some comrades went so far as to describe the Party of God as fascist, others considered it to be progressive, even left-wing. Mention was made of current co-operation with the left, statements by leaders in favour of ethnic, religious and political pluralism, the prominent role of women in certain levels of the Party, and the fact that in areas under Hezbollah control women are not being forced to wear hijab.
Things still don’t seem clearcut, and while i think the term “fascist” definitely does not apply to Hezbollah, i would still not characterize it as left-wing , regardless of its undisputed anti-imperialism. Once the onus of proving “fascism” – i.e. a revolutionary and totalitarian programme – is abandoned, the much easier case of “right-wing” is still fairly easy to make. Not in the neo-liberal sense, and not in the pro-american sense, but in terms of promoting conservative gender hierarchies and a corporatist and paternalistic approach to class oppression. All of which is fairly standard for right-wing religious movements, and certainly not only Islamic ones.
(A list of some web postings regarding this debate can be found at the bottom of this post.)
Nevertheless, given Lebanese vulnerability to Israeli aggression, both overt and covert, Hezbollah has emerged as the champion of the people. We don’t have to like this fact in order to acknowledge it as true. In this regard, Mari Abi-Habib’s article from the December 10th edition of the Montreal Gazette, about support for the Party of God from Lebanese communists, is of some interest:
Secular meets sectarian
Lebanese communist party works with Hezbollah to promote stronger resistance
Ibtisam Jamaleddine stood in the room of her dead son, Maxim. Maxim was 18 years old when he was mistaken for a fighter and killed by an Israeli missile during this summer's war between Israel and Hezbollah.
Pictures of Che Guevara and soccer players as well as a plaque dedicated to Shiite Islam's most revered imam, Ali, adorn the walls of his room. They tell a story unknown in the West, of the complex nature of forces that fought Israel last summer.
During the war, U.S. President George W. Bush pitted the conflict as one fuelled by "Islamo-fascism," pushed by Hezbollah, the Party of God. But fighting alongside Hezbollah was an older, more seasoned resistance movement - the Lebanese Communist Party, which allied with the Islamic party for the first time and showed its members that Islam and communism can complement each other.
For Maxim's mother, the alliance of these two ideologies was natural and the pictures in her son's room of a communist martyr and a Muslim hero attest to that.
She said her son wasn't religious. She said she sees her son as part of a line of resistance fighters "that began with Imam Ali and went to Che and then to Maxim. It's one lineage of struggle."
The Jamaleddine family has increasingly woven religious symbols into their lives since the Aug. 14 ceasefire went into effect. Ibtisam's daughter, Lina, was hit by shrapnel from a missile that exploded outside the family's house. She now wears a head scarf. Ibtisam hung a picture of Hezbollah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, in her living room "just to spite Bush." But both deny being very religious.
"The LCP's decreasing support shows that the (Lebanese) are becoming more confessional. They believe that because the state is weak they must turn to their sect for protection," said Saadallah Mazraani, vice-president of the LCP.
The communists' organizational and social clout was the envy of many militias at the onset of the civil war that raged from 1975 to 1990. The group's power began to dwindle with the rise of Hezbollah and other sectarian militias. Hezbollah formed in 1982 to fight Israel and hasten its withdrawal from the south.
The communist resistance dates to 1937, when members of the LCP contributed forces to communist Palestinian militias to fight Israeli militias. In that way, the group is known as the father of the resistance.
But Hezbollah has become the main source of resistance in Lebanon.
"It's not that we support (Hezbollah) because they are Islamic. We support them because they are a resistance," said LCP member Mohammed Jamaleddine, Ibtisam's cousin.
"There was no other strong, active resistance during the (summer) war," Ibtisam said.
"It's an internationally politicized resistance that Hezbollah promotes. We like that," Mohammed said.
The Jamaleddines have supported the LCP since its inception and live in the communist stronghold of Jemmalieh in the Bekaa Valley. Four of Ibtisam's family members - her brother-in-law, his son and two cousins - died fighting with the LCP during the Lebanese civil war.
"I've always voted for the LCP before the summer war," Ibtisam said. "This time, Hezbollah and the LCP better run together."
Hezbollah and the LCP are similar in their support for the poor. Both parties often build roads, schools and infrastructure for impoverished, government-neglected villages. The LCP, with support from the Soviet Union, once was the main provider for the poor. But Hezbollah has surpassed it in philanthropy with its larger coffers and support from Syria and Iran.
LCP party members have come to support Hezbollah in growing numbers, mixing secular politics with sectarian beliefs, an alliance to promote a stronger resistance.
The LCP's mandate is to protect Lebanon in the absence of a strong state, Mazraani said. He pointed to the party's fight against the 1976 Syrian occupation as proof that resistance is not woven into religious strife.
University of Chicago professor Richard Pape argues in his book Dying to Win that communist and socialist groups accounted for 75 per cent of suicide attacks during Lebanon's civil war. Pape also asserts that 70 per cent of suicide bombers during the civil war were Christians belonging to secular parties.
This summer's war "was not a religious conflict - Jewish vs. Muslim. It was a political conflict," LCP vice-president Mazraani said. Israel turned "the conflict into a religious one because they are a Jewish entity. They try to show their enemy as a religious force, to unite Jews for Israel and get support from American Jews by showing the conflict as a clash of religions and not as a resistance to Israeli aggression."
Hezbollah members displayed their political sentiments over what they perceived as Israeli-U.S. political aggression during the war. Anti-Bush Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's image was often altered to appear next to Nasrallah's, illustrating their resistance to U.S. policy and downplaying claims of religious strife.
Although their goals might be similar, their tactics during the war differed. "We worked more with the people of the villages," Mazraani said. "Hezbollah had its own independent faction. We collaborated with citizens to provide local protection. We wouldn't seek conflict, but resist attempted occupation."
According to Huessein Diab, an LCP commander and a fighter in this summer's war, LCP fighters mainly fired at planes trying to land and release ground troops into Lebanon.
The Bekaa valley has about 400 villages and the LCP has sympathizers and members in most that number several thousand, Mazraani said.
An official LCP decree released at the start of the summer conflict told members to organize and "resist attempts of Israeli invasion."
"We're closer to Hezbollah (now) as we both have one goal: to resist Israeli occupation," Mazraani said. "The Resistance is not just Islamic."
Those interested in checking out one section of the debate regarding Hezbollah may want to read these texts. Unfortunately - and gallingly so, given the importance of gender to all positions in this debate – all these pieces were written by men. None by women, never mind by women living in Lebanon...
- Defending My Enemy’s Enemy, by Matthew Lyons August 3rd 2006 (also discussed on the Sketchy Thoughts blog here)
- More on Hezbollah, Sketcy Thoughts August 6th 2006
- Further Thoughts on Lebanon, Matthew Lyons August 26th 2006
- Hizbullah, Iran and 'Right-Wing Anti-Imperialism': A Reply to Critics, Michael Karadjis September 20th 2006
- Right-wing anti-imperialists are not promoting feudalism: A reply to Michael Karadjis, Matthew Lyons October 10th 2006
Thursday, December 07, 2006
The following update from Hazel Hill from the Six Nations reclamation site just outside of Caledonia:
Good Morning from Grand River. I know everyone has been wondering what is happening with negotiations and our land reclamation of Kanonhstaton.
Since I last wrote after our November 14th Lands Side Table, there has been no meetings so nothing really to report. Unfortunately, we had another death in one of our Clanmothers family's and so our meetings that were scheduled for the end of November were cancelled. They have been re-scheduled to December 13th and 14th and we will see then how the Crown responds to our presentation of our documents and historical evidence as provided through our Wampum and Oral History at our last meeting.
Clearly the Crown has found itself in a dilemma since we have presented the TRUTH. They know for a FACT that the title for Plank Road (also known as Argyle Street and formerly #6 Highway) itself still rests with the Six Nations/Haudenesonne, they cannot contest this. They also know that the so-called land surrender that they are resting their entire case on is merely minutes of a council meeting with no order in council to support it, and no legal grounds to support it. they also know that the Indian agent at the time who was drafting these fraudulent surrenders, was also the individual who was translating them to the Six Nations, and who clearly was telling the Chiefs one thing, and then recording it as something else. This is not a new practice. Our Chiefs pointed out several times in history how this was done, including the Nanfan Treaty, the Simcoe Deed, many areas that the Crown, when realizing that they still were'nt satisified with our generosity and good-will, needed to not only take more of our lands, but to create their own patents so that they could take ownership of them. This is no more valid then as it would be today, and yet the Crowns Legal Advisors have told them that they have a valid surrender. Most of their principal negotiators continue to mislead the people of Caledonia telling them that they have a presented a bill of sale for the lands and that the Six Nations will not get it back. The politicians of today are speaking with the same forked tongue as the Indian agents back then did. They do not know how to speak the truth. They cannot look their people in the eye and tell them that their ancestors lied cheated and stole to get what they have today, and they cannot tell them that their True Landlords are the very people who have been treated with such disrespect, racial discrimination and have been the victim of many hate crimes and antagonistic behaviours since the land reclamation began in February.
You know, one of the things I forgot to tell you about from our last meeting was one of the most significant events since we've begun. Our people decided to see what the crown representatives would do when put in the same situation our people were in during the 1800's. Jock had put together a document written in the Cayuga Language that outlined our presentation that day. He stood and read this document to the Crown representatives in the traditional language, and then he translated it into english for them. He also asked them to sign this document to verify that they had heard this presentation today. None of the Crown representatives would sign. At that point Jock then thanked them for proving our point.
Our ancestors were faced with this throughout our history, with Crown representatives being the ones who not only drafted the documents, but also translated it, having the opportunity to give false information to our people. The difference being is our people trusted the Crown, and this is where we went wrong. They were continually being scammed and mislead, and the evidence was clearly represented that day because what was written and what was handed down orally through our history was not the same thing. After he thanked them for proving that point, Federal Representative Ron Doering put "His X Mark" on the paper. While again, he did so only after being shown that this was how they frauded our people. It would be very easy for anyone to put an "X" mark there, and for us to write down who it was and what their role was. As a matter of fact, that is what we intended to do to show them how we can see through the veil of deception of the past. Jock told them, we were going to get you to put your "X" mark there and we would give you an Indian Name to describe who you are. He also told them that we could have written that you just signed all of Canada back to our people, and you have no way of knowing because it is not your language of understanding. Just as it wasn't our ancestors language of understanding and again, our ancestors trusted your people. Today we know better. This is one of the reasons why I've always said, and quoted Pope John Paul II, it’s not the LAW, it's only paper.
Today, we are faced with having to deal with all of this. However, many things have progressed and continue to progress. At last Chiefs Council meeting there were at least six development companies that have come to our Traditional Council in hopes of finding a way to begin consulting with the Landowners as opposed to the Crown. Interestingly enough, each of those developers have stated that the Crown representatives continue to mislead them. In this case every single one of them mentioned that the lead provincial negotiator Jane Stewart continues to tell them that they need only to consult with the band council. I guess the Crown hasn't clearly understood what is happening in our community as well as across the country and the world with respect to the Onkwehonweh. The PEOPLE have said they have had enough. We are no longer going to tolerate the Crowns interference in our governance. The band council does not represent the people. Please understand that it is not the individual people within that system who are at fault, they have been mislead into believing this is the government because this is what the Crown, and its corporation of Canada has set up. It is the system itself that has been developed to do exactly what it has done, to undermine the authority of our traditional government, our people, for one thing; but also to assimilate our people into canadian society so that the crown will never have to answer to its crimes. This is why the people have stood and will not back down. It is not a personal attack against the Elected Chief, or the elected councillors, nor is it an attack against any of our other brothers and sisters who have been forced into a system to try and help their people. It was a set up. It was part of the genocidal practice of the Crown. Well, again, our people have turned that negative into a positive. The Chiefs Council has invited representatives from across Canada to join us for a meeting on December 9th. All of the Chiefs of Ontario as well as the AFN have been invited to come to meet with the Traditional Council. All of our territories and people are invited to attend. The purpose of this meeting is to explain the very same wampum and history as was explained to the Crown. Only in this instance, to show how that relationship worked with the other Nations, how they fall under the shelter of that Great Tree, and how today that can be worked out so that the Haudenesonne Council, the Original League of Nations, will have its rightful place again, and carry the voice and concerns of the Onkwehonweh to the Crown. This is the way it was, and this is the way it should be. We had an opportunity to look at minutes of the council meeting from 1870. Many of our people traveled to Six Nations at that time to counsel. There were representatives there from Rama, St. Francis, Muncey, Alderville, Chippewas of the Thames, Oneidas of Muncey, Sarnia, Lake of Two Mountains, St. Regis, Caughnawanga, Saugeen, Cape Croker, Walpole Island, Rice Lake, Sauble, Kettle Point, Bay of Quinte, Snake Island, Mississauga of the New Credit, Moravians of Thames as well as Six Nations. What is happening today is exactly why the Crown brought in the Indian Act in the first place. To prevent the Haudenesonne from doing its job. So, this meeting on December 9th, 2006 is like a continuance of our counsel from June 10th 1870. We've been slightly interrupted for over a hundred and fifty years, but again, as was pointed out to the Crown, our Traditional Council has continued, uninterrupted, and nothing the Crown has done, nor can do, will ever cancel that out. This is something that was given to us by the Creator, and this is what the people continue to uphold.
I guess, while there are going to be many who say that our Confederacy Council cannot work with the band council, it is this very issue of governance that our people must begin to put their minds to. To figure out how we can help our people who have been taken outside of that circle, and bring them back in. Again, we can say that they have done so willingly, and that they have no voice. From my perspective, just like when our children were stolen and put in residential schools, or when our children were beaten and strapped for speaking their own language, or how we were forced into their education and religions, and how today when our people are criminalized for trying to defend the future of our people and our homelands. It was all part of the overall plan to get rid of the "Indian Problem". When the Peacemaker came and reminded us of the Great Law, he also gave us the mechanism to work together in Unity & Peace. This was the Five Nations Confederacy. The Original League of Nations. It is very much alive today, as it was the day it was given. Anything we are faced with can be resolved through the Great Law, and through the Confederacy Council. We need only take up our responsibility to it and uphold what was given to us. This is how we can bring the other councils in, they can come under the Confederacy and support the Confederacy in carrying the voice of all of the Onkwehonweh to the Crown. We must stand United and we must stand Strong. This is all part of the prophecies and it is also what the Crown has been trying to prevent from happening for many generations.
This is also why they continue to use tactics such as instigators like Gary McHale to come in and hopefully create a situation that will divert the people from our path. Last weekend they had the nerve to use the Canadian Troops as an excuse to try and create such a situation. They claim they wanted to hang ribbons and flags up in support of the troops in Afganistan. They had the television media there even before they got there with their flags, waiting in anticipation and hoping our people from the site would come out and try to stop them or fight with them. They did not anticipate that we would simply inform the OPP to deal with their people, and that again, we have been respectful. we have our flags flying on the site and in front of the site. we could go into the town of Caledonia and fly them, because as i've said, we've proven that the road itself is still ours, and that most of the town is still ours too, but we have respected the people and have maintained our presence on and near the reclamation site. We only ask that the same respect be shown in return. We do not have a problem with them hanging their flags anywhere outside the proximity of the site, it was being veiwed as it was intended, to try and instigate a fight. When the OPP prevented them from hanging the flags across the road from the site there was much anger at the fact that they should be able to hang their canadian flag on canadian soil. I understand and respect this. However, it is questionable whether there is any land within Turtle Island that they can claim as Canadian soil, and in this particular case, again, the road itself we have already proven is within the Six Nations jurisdiction and we were within our rights to ask them to respect that. Interestingly enough, when they did go down just past 6th line to hang their flags in support of the troops, (still in our jurisdiction but we gave them permission to hang them there) the television camermen didn't follow them. Again, they were there only to make sure they caught on tv any violence that they were hoping would erupt. Shame on those who used the troops in that way!
There are many things going through my mind and things I would like to share, but at this point, I will close with one last message. I want all of you to keep in mind December 17th 2006. It appears that since the Crown has been put in the position of having to address the issue of the theft of our lands and resources, at having been put in the position of answering to the crimes they have committed, we are going to be faced with continued attempts of instigation and potential violence. Gary McHale is again planning another rally. I've been told he has the help of a woman (sorry I don't know her name off hand), but she is like the president of a white supremist group. Again they are hoping to bring violence to our people at Kanonhstaton. I would like all of you to bring your minds to PEACE on that day, and offer your sacred tobacco or medicine to help support us in upholding the LAWS OF CREATION. According to the star map, December 17th is directly under the Temple of Taurus, and Orions Belt which is representative of the Peacemaker. The Temple of Taurus is our Rosetta Stone. It is our Great Law. It is who we are and how we connect to the Peacemaker. These are things our people have forgotten, but it is how our ancestors knew when to do things, just like they know when to begin the midwinter ceremonies and our other ceremonies. Through the Stars. It IS OUR MAP in Creation. But, the Crown has learned this too. Throughout history the Crown has used the stars just as our ancestors did, to sanction their continued use and abuse of our people and the Great Law. This is how they have been able to keep our people down and under their thumb for so long. They have kept us in spiritual bondage. They use our own people and our medicines to do this. This is what the People have been fighting and this is what the Women and Clanmothers stopped the day they went onto our lands to stop development, and this is what the Men have been standing and protecting. And this is what today, we have to continue to stop. Today, we need to bring all of our minds together to do this. All of the Onkwehonweh must stand before the Creator and acknowledge the Law that was given to us, we need to acknowledge our responsibilities to Creation, and acknoweldge our duty to uphold and protect the Law that He provided. That is what I would like each of you to do everyday, and specifically on December 17th. We need only to let Creation know we are standing strong and doing our best, and Creation will respond.
That's all I have to say for now. Nya Weh!
In Love, Light and Peace,
Sorry i didn’t post this earlier – i’m no longer in the habit of reading the Mirror. This article by Montreal activist/journalist Stefan Christoff is a welcome mention of Mohamed Anas Bennis in the local media.
Montreal Mirror: Why did Mohamed-Anas Bennis die?by Stefan ChristoffOne year after Montreal police killed the 25-year-old, his family and community are still in the dark
One year ago, Montrealer Mohamed-Anas Bennis, 25, was shot dead by a police officer in Côte-des-Neiges. Circumstances leading to the death remain unclear, while the official police report on the killing, now in the hands of Quebec's Ministry of Public Security, has not been released to date.
According to Pierre Paquet, the lawyer representing the Bennis family, a Montreal policeman fired on Bennis shortly after dawn prayer at the Kent street mosque in NDG at approximately 7 a.m. on Dec. 1. Prior to the shooting, Montreal police had been called in to back up Sûreté du Québec investigators executing a warrant in a fraud case. Bennis was not the subject of the fraud investigation, but apparently stabbed a police officer for an unknown reason, provoking the police shooting.
According to the Montreal police, the shooting was an act of "self-defence". Sameer Zuberi of the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), however, views the case as "an illustration of the potential danger that Canadian security and police officials can pose to the Muslim community." The umbrella organization Muslim Council of Montreal is also supporting the family.
"Mohamed was very focused on his personal faith and was someone who people had nothing but good things to say about," says Zuberi. "Now people in the community are standing up and supporting his family due to the tragedy they have experienced."
"Why is this case so secret?" asks Bennis family lawyer Paquet. "I found it alarming that the police officially declared they acted in self-defence against Mohamed-Anas on the very same day of the incident, without any substantial investigation."
While Quebec City police have been assigned to investigate the shooting, Paquet's legal appeals to provincial authorities to release the original police report have failed.
Quebec's Ministry of Public Security refused to disclose the original police report on the shooting, also deciding last Nov. 4 not to press criminal charges against the police officers involved in the incident.
"Essentially I am looking for what happened on that day," says Paquet. "The problem is that the decision from the Ministry of Public Security can't be appealed, and now the Bennis case is, on the legal side, technically over."
Calls to both the Quebec City police and the Ministry of Public Security for comment on the case were not returned by press time. But Bennis's father, Mohamed, contacted in Morocco last week, says he only wants to know how and why his son died. "We don't want to keep these things hidden," he says. "We want the truth to be revealed concerning what happened last year."
To mark the anniversary of the police shooting, community and activist groups are coordinating neighbourhood activities in Côte-des-Neiges to build public awareness concerning the case.
"We are organizing a vigil [on Saturday, Dec. 2] at the same place the shooting occurred," says Rachid Najahi, president of Atlas.Mtl, a community newspaper. For more info on the time and place, see www.atlasmedias.com.
Local activist group the Collective Opposed to Police Brutality [COPB] has also taken up the case. "The cops that killed an innocent person could still be walking the streets without being brought to justice," says COPB's Kerre King. The COPB rally takes place on Friday, Dec. 1 from 5.7 p.m. at the corner of Kent and Côte-des-Neiges.
i did not make it to last Friday’s vigil, having unavoidable personal responsibilities elsewhere. It was freezing rain, about the most inhospitable kind of weather you can get here this time of year, but a couple of dozen people did turn out nevertheless. Mohamed Anas’ father spoke, as did local activists from COBP and Solidarity Across Borders, as well as a comrade from Mexico’s Other Campaign who spoke of repression in that country.
i did manage to get to Saturday’s noontime vigil. There were about fifty people, many from the Muslim community but also some from the anti-authoritarian activist scene. If nothing else i found it... very very sad, being there where the cops had killed this guy a year ago, seeing his father and sister and knowing how this must now be killing them.
Off he goes to mosque, and he never comes back... shot through the heart by police who then put on some cockamamie story about how Anas “just went crazy.” The fact that he was Muslim, and they were on a testosterone-charged raid on a criminal enterprise “with links to terrorism”... this just had nothing to do with it...
As has been amply documented, the State has decided to cover up what happened that morning. I’m not saying the cops shot Anas because they are racist, because they thought he was a terrorist, because of mistaken identity because they were involved in some kind of conspiracy, or anything else for that matter... how can i given that there aren’t enough details known to even explain the most basic elements of what happened?
i mean space aliens could have come down, engineered the whole thing, the flown off the Cloud Cuckoo Land and we wouldn’t have a clue, because everything about that morning has been kept under wraps, nothing plausible has been made public.
One thing i do know for sure, though, is that the cops’ story is inadequate, to the point that you’d have to be crazy not to assume it was a lie. According to the Coroner’s Report, “The two officers [Bernier and Roy of Station 25] were walking on the sidewalk towards the building when Mr Bennis headed southwest in their direction; when he reached the police he stabbed one of the officers in his neck and in his right leg for no known reason.”
Now i was at the spot where this happened, and for the first time had someone point out where the mosque Anas had been praying at was. It completely changes the nature of the cops’ story, because the mosque itself is on the corner of Kent and Cote-des-Neiges, on the southwest corner. If Anas Bennis was walking southwest to intercept the police, then he was walking back towards the mosque, not away from it. This, combined with the fact that he was killed fifty minutes after morning prayers ended, raises serious questions about what else the police are leaving out. What else went on between Anas Bennis and officers Bernier and Roy during those fifty minutes?
It feels obscene to wonder what happened to lead to someone’s death. Especially when you’re doing the wondering in public (i.e. on a blog) and you know the family of the deceased have themselves been denied any answers.
How offensive it is to guess at what led to this young man’s death. How horrible it is to know that his sisters and brothers and parents must be wondering this too, running scenarios through their heads, trying to come to terms with a wall of State secrecy.
The evil genius of the cops in this case is that by suppressing all information they have left us with no idea what questions we should be asking. The pathetic evil of this moment in history is that so few even care to wonder what this means, never mind how to stop it.