Sunday, 23 December 2012

Of hunger strikes, CON pigs tweeting about bacon, and #IdleNoMore

As I stood on Parliament Hill in solidarity with #IdleNoMore activists and protesters I was reminded that the ancestors of those whose revendications I supported, taught my ancestors how to survive the harsh winters of Turtle Island.

Were it not for the extraordinary generosity that the Anishinabek, Cree, Abenaki and perhaps even Iroquois peoples extended to Europeans, settlement after settlement would have succumbed to the challenges and dangers the natural environment posed.  Famine, and diseases attributed to malnutrition, killed many colonists.

This is particularly ironic since Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence has chosen starvation as the means to express the urgency of a meeting between Harper, the Governor General and First Nations leaders (including Spence). She is putting her very life on the line.

Using self-starvation is one form of immolation that has been tactically deployed throughout history.  This strategy, the very embodiment of explicit resistance and defiance expressed through systematic physical, emotional and intellectual commitment to die, in the hope of reaching a collective goal, was particularly well exploited by Bobby Sands and other Irish republican prisoners - convicted paramilitary members of the Army - during the 1981 Irish hunger strike

Sands started refusing food on 1 March 1981; he died 66 days later. Other prisoners agreed to join the strike at intervals, which helped create publicity as increasing numbers steadily deteriorated over several months.  The prisoners' aim was to achieve recognition as prisoners of war as opposed to being treated as criminals, though the Washington Post reported the reason for the strike was to provoke international publicity.

The strategic use of self-imposed starvation as a political strategy is not unanimously acclaimed. While self-immolation by fire (Afghanistan, Tibet, Maghreb) is certainly more spectacular and *newsworthy* to the corporate media as they can report the event and not dwell on the motives behind such action, a hunger strike offers a longer process that allows the individual to reflect upon the gravity of the choice, and to enlist supporters for the goals envisioned. It is nonetheless just as deadly.

Predictably, members of the CONtempt party have reacted with derision to Chief Spence's decision.  Though infested with porcine individuals who can barely fit 4 to an elevator, the cpc *base* opinionates that most Indigenous people are "well-fed".  And yet, only a few members of First Nations communities are prosperous in that gross "well-fed Con pigs at the trough" way.

Even the flak who cranks out tweets for PMSHithead got into the spirit of Xmas the CPC as it acts in the House of Commons during Question Period.

Harper's ancestry (and the familial karma it suggests) does not leave me hopeful that his 99 sizes-too-small Grinch heart will respond to Chief Spence's ultimatum.

 Stephen Harper Jet

Photograph of Dzawada'enuxw First Nations supporting #IdleNoMore, via @godammitkitty and @SherryBGood.

A wealth of documentation is found at the FB page (no registration required) for Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources - the leading source for news, information, articles, videos, and more on indigenous peoples from around the world. Lincoln (whose Spielbergian biopic Harper and his entourage raved about) story about the hanging of 38 Dakota Sioux on December 26 1862, details here.)

Photo of Harper, from here.


Beijing York said...

The Kainai Nation of Alberta should demand that Harper relinquish his eagle feather. He's made it abundantly clear that he has no respect for indigenous people here or elsewhere, and his residential school apology was just political theatre for him.

Kev said...

Funny you should mention that: "Consider this, one week ago Canada had two-and-a-half million protected
rivers and lakes. Today we have 82," Sandilands said. "It is probably
without precedent but it might be time to consider revoking the honorary
title Mr. Harper received here in 2011."

He was referring to the Kainai chieftainship awarded to Harper; the crowd of protesters cheered at the suggestion.

Anonymous said...

I am so worried for Chief Spence. She is up against a monster. Harper who had the utter gall to say, right on TV, he is a devout Christian. Meanwhile he is giving Canada to Communist China. Chief Spence and her Canadian Human Rights, are no different than Harper's Communist China's, own people's Human Rights. They don't have any.

I was a late child born during WW11. My older brothers and a sister, served in the war. My Dad was born in 1889.

My Dad was a homesteader, when he married my Mother, who was much younger than he. I was brought up on the prairies. I heard many stories of hardship. Many immigrant family's had no idea, how bitterly cold the prairies are in winter. The F.N. people, hunted for these family's. They cut firewood for them. Some only had gunnysacks wrapped around their feet for boots. The F.N. made them fur lined moccasins. Made them fur jackets. Made them bear fur blankets. Gave them dried fish and berries. Those F.N. people were the kindest people, the immigrant family's ever knew, in their lives. Many immigrant family's would have died, without the F.N. peoples help. Family's would then plant, extra vegetables for the F.N. Mom would give them eggs and chickens. Mom sent them out to her raspberry bushes, and told them to pick all they wanted. Family's would give them pork, which they would smoke and cure. My Dad fell and fractured some ribs. The F.N. helped take Dads crops off. They were excellent with the horses. Through the winter they were told, to come by and pick up vegetables from everyone. They were always welcome for a meal.

I never knew anything other than, how kind and good the F.N. People are. We have done enough dirt, to those people. They don't deserve our hate, they deserve our help and support, so they can make better lives for themselves.

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