Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cowboys and Indians

Naming the ongoing attempt to bring Osama Bin Laden to justice as operation “Geronimo” is telling; this left-over legacy of the Bush administration ironically displays a false equivalency between a terrorist seeking to attack the Twin Towers and what they signified and a Native American chief defending his homeland and people.
Perhaps, it was a name to obfuscate; however, it has belied the intentions of some to rewrite history. Never before in my lifetime has the frantic rush to deny the truth of what is__or to demand one extreme version of what is perceived__been presented as the truth (unless you count fundamentalist religious leaders of all faiths presenting their point-of-view as fact).
Politically the neo-con point-of-view has shaped much of the past ten years. While I have always been against those who would kill, torture and bully others who disagree with them, the present propaganda seems to know no bounds. Or maybe it’s just racism.
For the sake of life on this planet, we each must examine our beliefs and prejudices. Were we taught as children to think of ourselves as superior to others or as part of a larger family of equals? As we grew did we take the lessons learned from meeting others as proof that our way of thinking was right? did we see the potential and peril in certain narrow paths, including our own? Do any of us know the whole story?
Why, you might say, am I focusing on the silly tag given an ultra-secret mission to kill or capture Osama bin Ladin? Because it blurs the line between the pursuit of the mastermind of the most-horrific attack on U.S. civilians and the misguided superiority of those set on vanquishing Native Americans.
It isn’t the first time that some people focused on the middle East have falsely compared the two hemispheric struggles. Simplistically, some have claimed the mantle of THE indigenous while denying the rights of their own extended family members who could claim the same. The patriarchal legacy of sibling struggle for dominance has ironically co-existed within the larger vision that all are worthy of an equal portion. Fervent disregard of women’s rights__as something that must wait until the foe is vanquished__and the fearful attack on the feminine as holy is a living legacy to this day. It is a shame that pits the most fervent of any of the patriarchal faiths against the rest of humanity and its worth. But I digress.
Muddying reality is the tendency of calling one thing another. Of saying this is just like that. It is not. Geronimo was no bin Laden. He stood up against the military might of an army set on making him and his people virtual slaves on the most worthless plots of land; for daring that he was made into a symbol of the broken, dominated savage. He was neither. When Chief Geronimo’s grave was robbed and skull purportedly stolen by scions of privilege to be used in unknown ritual at a secret society, it was not he who was diminished but the honor of each member of that club. That the former Republican president seated just prior Al Qaeda’s airplane attack is a member (son and grandson) of Skull & Bones is telling. Perhaps in giving his nemesis the Geronimo nickname, he contemplated a replacement for the secret rites of the so-called “cream of the crop,” one that would stir no pangs of remorse. Or maybe it was just randomly chosen. I think not.
Conflating the struggles of the Native American people with those of terrorists is wrong. It’s used to advantage by neo-conservatives and ignoramuses alike, seeking advantage in the moment while providing cover for their own shenanigans. In reality it is hiding the neo-cons’ own similarities with the bin Ladens of the world…those who would kill and maim their own people and others against an even “more evil” foe. There are many more unanswered questions about how we presently came to this moment.
The truth is that bad things can happen to good people and have time and again. Might does not necessarily make right. Childhood rivalries acted out on the world stage are ultimately impotent and shameful.
When we demand equality and respect for all people and combat injustice and slavery of all kinds, then maybe the world will have peace. Perhaps victors do get to write history, but that doesn’t prevent truth from surfacing…when the battle’s lost and won.

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