Friday, 11 November 2011

Canada civil society unrest

David Suzuki at Occupy Vancouver gathering

Dear Stephen Harper,

I am deeply troubled by the repeated actions that Canada has made, under your direction, to disengage from promotions of democracy internationally in order to protect the settler society alliances between Canada, Israel, the US, and occasional others. The Palestinian state preceded the Israeli state, in the same way that all Canadian First Nations (including Inuit and Metis societies) preceded the Canadian state, and the picking-and-choosing between allies based on the Abrahamic tree (guilty adulation of the "elder brother" Jews, kneejerk alliance with the Christians, and phobic demonization of the Muslims) is creating an untenable situation, for all the world to see.

First, you support free elections in Palestine, and then you renege because the popular vote goes to those on the ground who are actually supporting the people-- schools, hospitals, governance-- because they are too religiously identified, too Muslim. Your irrational support of a militaristic, oppressive, right-wing segment of an apartheid state, brings shame upon Canadians as a whole, Canadians of all religions and no religion, Canadians of every colour and race. It brings no peace or justice to Israel as a whole, nor to Palestine nor Palestinians, diasporic or in camps or at home.

Your abandonment of a child soldier to the predations of and illegal detainment by USA-Guantanamo Bay, shows there has been no progress in identifying "who is Canadian," "who is worth defending," since the era of Judge Begbie and the illegal treatment of the Chilcoten chiefs (see here, and here).

Chief Commissioner Sophie Pierre

Your comment that Canada has never colonized is a simple lie, as the process continues in all parts of this country, from the mining deals and militarizing of the North, with bureaucrats assigned to take obstructionist approaches to all land claims settlements, to the continued divisions of Canadians by race and caste-- playing to the Conservative voters by jailing the rest, building bigger jails in order to do so, putting sensitive people over the edge with fear and paranoia: is this how you wish to be remembered?

It was Ottawa, Canada who betrayed the Metis of Manitoba: Osgoode Hall was built with Six Nations funds, held in trust and stolen, and there has been no reparation nor apology for that, only continued fomentation of division and diversion. Residential schools are only one impactful element of a wider history, an archestral interplay, that Canada needs to acknowledge, to synthesize and remember, and our leadership needs to be proactive in rehabilitating and preserving our collective mental health, rather than opportunistic,  playing both sides against the middle, and rewriting the country based on ideological maps rather than a deeply situated ethical base.


Occupy the Hood, Al Jazeera photo

I am writing to you today, on Remembrance Day, because I want you and all Canadians to remember, to honour both sides in every Canadian military conflict within North America, as Britain and as ourselves, and to create a space for genuine truth and reconciliation, in all parts of the land and in all the lands of this planet. I pray that you separate Canadian foreign policy from unthinking support of Israel's illegal activities in Israel-Palestine, and to lend strength to the displaced and the vulnerable, instead of to the politically insane.

Justice within our borders, and justice beyond our borders: that is what I would like to see my leadership, and my tax dollars, representing, at home, at the UN, in relation to UNESCO, in relation to diasporic and homeland-based people everywhere.

In honour of my elders who served in the military, and my ancestors who fought (one way and another) on both sides of the settler-indigenous divide, and who created blood relativity through bridging the gap by marriage:
in honour of the sailors, recently returned from a far away land.

All my relations,
Joanne


Image sources: Occupy Vancouver photo, David Suzuki website 
Chief Commissioner Sophie Pierre, Tom Fletcher, "Treaty Commission calls for political will"
"Separate Money and State" photo, Occupy the Hood, Al Jazeera website
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recommended essay:

A vision of the whole human race














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