In the following article of Chelli Stanley, an American woman in her late twenties compares the situation in Palestine with the looting and destruction of the Dineh/Navajo people in Black Mesa, which has similar outcomes for the affected.
While in Palestine the plundering and genocide is perpetrated by jews under religious pretexts, in Black Mesa (Arizona/USA) the plundering and destruction of the natives is being perpetrated by a corporation using pseudo-legal justifications for their criminal behavior.
Stanley wrote me: “I feel like it’s a big subject and I’ve been working on writing it for a few months trying to feel comfortable with it”.
Colonialism: Banning Indigenous and Promoting Barbarity
What law exists in Palestine to protect people from being attacked as they walk on their land? What law exists in Palestine to protect the people’s right to even go to their land? What law exists in Palestine to protect the people in their homes? What does law mean? What do rights mean?
One of the main activities of the Israeli army in Palestine is blocking the People from the Land. Blockades, armed soldiers, minefields, checkpoints, roadblocks, permits, apartheid walls, and Israeli “law” all run around Palestine incessantly trying to block the Land from the People. For this, United States money flows into Palestine. For this barbaric stupidity, billions flow across the sea. Still, the roots of Palestine run deep and the People of Palestine continue to act with strength, courage, integrity, and devotion. They continue to inspire the deepening of intellectual consciousness about the struggle and they do this as Indigenous People. The bond between the Indigenous and the Land is something that the Israeli government will never understand.
Secret Hanging at the Center of United States
There is a certain secret hanging at the center of United States existence, one that reaches into depths. This secret is only secret in that it is unspoken. Otherwise it lies at the center.
The secret is the facts of stolen ground, bloody wars, lies, and corruption to the extreme. The secret lies in “the American Indian”, a Peoples so many times misnamed. It lies in the very legitimacy of the United States government.
- What kind of life is it apart from Land and Community, the Land that grew you and the People that grew you to become what you are?
- What kind of life is it in blank sterile box houses on tract land when you’re used to canyons running across the Center of the Universe, when you’re used to thriving?
- What kind of life is it in a desolate city where you see your people, your strength, so mistreated that they are standing drunken lined up along the storefront to ask you for some money?
- What kind of life is it to die of alcoholism in front of your family as part of this unending cry of sorrow?
- What kind of Life is it when you are Indigenous in a country that wants to be called the United States, where the silence rains down to try to drown you?
- What is it to live in a “free place” where no one will deign speak of the countless tragedies lying bound and gagged all along the path?
- What does law mean?
- What do rights mean? How can a country that so “loves” the Freedom of Speech have such a profound amnesia of its origins and the Peoples whose lives it destroyed to live its great Dream? The stripping of the human rights from the Indigenous Peoples stands in stark contrast to the deluge of propaganda blasted by the United States government about itself.
- How can the United States be called an example of Human Rights? It’s as though we have forgotten that the Red People exist and deserve their rights, and instead are collectively allowing this barbaric colonial point-of-view to go unquestioned.
Here’s a secret not secret to some: one story. In Black Mesa, the Dineh People have been driven from their sacred Homeland. This has been occurring in these last decades on the reservation which holds only part of the Dineh Homeland, in the time since “the United States got around to us again,” as one man told me. More “popularly” known as the Navajo, most of the people of Black Mesa are not living on their land. They have been driven out forcibly by corrupt government officials, armed “Indian agents”, sleazy corporations, “legal” “agreements”, and pieces of paper on which they were told to revoke their right to the land and accept – as was their only choice – Relocation.
In place of the Protectors of the Land at Black Mesa – the Dineh, who have lived with the Hopi for so long in symbiosis – there is barbarity: Peabody Coal Company’s slurry and mining, Uranium Mining, poisonings, constant water rights violations, stealing of the people’s sheep and goats, harassment and violence against elderly women among many others, and the driving of people from their homes, communities, and families – away from their Sacred Land, within sight of Big Mountain. Learn more at: http://blackmesais.org/
See timelines: http://www.aics.org/BM/bm.html
For those familiar with the situation in Palestine, don’t these tactics sound familiar which are being used against the Dineh to try to drive the People from their Lands?
- “Massive siphoning of the Navajo aquifer has reportedly left the Navajo and Hopi tribes of Black Mesa with critical water insufficiency.”
- “Since the early 1970’s, an obstructive law called Bennett Freeze has been in effect on HPL and other portions of the Navajo reservation, making it illegal for the Dineh to fix their homes — such as mending a broken window or repairing a leaky roof. The majority of Dineh hogans now appear frozen in decay, much as the Freeze suggests.” and the response is familiar too:
John Benally, Dineh:
“Coal mining has drained our water supply. Livestock we depend upon are confiscated due to strict permit laws. The B.I.A. treat us like we’re not even human, like we’re nothing. We have few resources, true, but we have the Creator, our prayers; and you’ll notice, we’re still here.” Source and more: Fear and Loathing at Black Mesa, January 2001.
Tel Rumeida, the Historical Mountainous Hill in Hebron
The way things are on the hill of Tel Rumeida where indigenous Palestinians are attacked and harassed walking on their land by the colonial Israeli army and settlers, as well as the Israeli Power Structure, demonstrates that colonialism still blatantly exists in this so-called “post colonial” world. It is difficult to describe the depth of what I’m trying to convey, the vastness of the crimes occurring in Al Khalil. These crimes have been well documented – with thousands documented online – though the documentation represents a mere fraction of the total.
In Al Khalil, it seems the colonial settler Hellion’s underlying goal is to create barbarity everywhere you look. To do this in an ancient sacred city named “The Friend of God” is the pinnacle of stupidity and blindness, and from these backward colonists all you hear is their bleating blaring of hate and their desire to take it over: the “mine! mine! mine!” so pushed in the United States. These colonial “Israelis” come from a 60-year-old country imposed on Palestine by the colonial powers of that day, and they come bearing the law and the gun, with blindness and sickness in their hearts, which is evident in every illegal act they commit.
Human rights cannot be glimpsed in Palestine because everything is tossed on its head, and instead of peace there is war and instead of rights there are violations, and instead of calm there is imposed, bought chaos. And the silence rains down here too, and to keep things so silent and smothered it leaves you gasping for breath sometimes.
But still the People continue the struggle to protect and sustain their Land. The struggle continues in Palestine, even with the weight of Empire bearing down, continues despite the barbaric hell imposed onto their Lands and into their lives. Hope too continues, against all odds. “You have to have hope in order to be strong,” a Palestinian friend told me. And with those words, he returned my hope to me.
“They came with the Bible in one hand and the gun in the other. First they stole gold. Then they stole the land. Then they stole our souls.” Ginger Hills, Dineh. Source and for more literature is here.
Sometimes it seems that our governments’ rulers think that time is on their side, that history can be whitewashed even out of existence, leaving us with only illusions and lies by which to live our lives. Still, a question remains: Does time bury all crimes?
Does the United States government get to “get away” with all its vast crimes – with the history of massacres, thievery, and the destruction of pristine and cherished Land? Does it get to get away with continually hounding the Many Indigenous Nations for centuries, forcing them to stop living within their spirituality, their communities and their rooted relationships with the Land? What about with imprisoning these People onto smaller and smaller areas, and then destroying those areas as well?
Though the crimes against the Indigenous Peoples are at the center of all of this, they are only the tip of the iceberg concerning the vast crimes committed by the United States government throughout the world.
So, does the United States – on top of all of this – still get to be called “A Beacon of Light Unto the Nations,” and “A Lover of Freedom and Democracy” ? Will we continue to look to this government for guidance and freedom and truth? Will we continue to look to it for answers to our problems? Does time bury all crimes?
There is a Difference Between “Legality” and Rights
Sometimes the type of reaction one hears in the United States to these conveniently uncomfortable truths is a “don’t spoil the party” kind of thing. Like, Who cares about justice when we have consumer goods to drown in?
This kind of purposeful blindness is both imposed and chosen, deep to profound levels, affecting each person, affecting the very Earth at this point in history. It frightened me throughout my young adult life to see this in the society around me, to see it in the times – even in the very air. It is something that I still cannot name though I have watched it for many years. Rooted in arrogance, fear, shallowness, greed, and the endless propaganda of the State, this refusal to look the United States in the face is the first Idol that needs to fall before we can begin to move forward out of the depths of these pits.
Let us say, and let us repeat it, and let us pass the learning on so that we will find our way out of this abyss: There is a difference between colonialism and indigenous life. There is a difference between barbarity and sacred. There is a difference between “legality” and rights. There is a difference between propaganda and truth. And there is a real need to push over the Idol of the United States and watch it fall so that we can begin to look around with eyes that are not clouded with lies.
The suppression of the cultural knowledge of the Indigenous Nations in the land now-called The United States has brought us to the point we are at now. Until we The People of the World accept them and their knowledge, and listen to them, and treat them with dignity and respect, we cannot find our way out of this Hell. Until we acknowledge and condemn the brutal history against them as central to problems we face in this time, we will not move one inch forward. So we must move from Barbarity to Indigenous, from The United States to Sacred Land, from laws to rights. We must listen to those who are smothered under silence and hear the truths so long suppressed.
What does law mean, and what do rights mean? Rights one always has, even if the law betrays them, even if the powerful make the world turn away from seeing. The struggle is about Indigenous Rights: The right to live on your land. The right to walk with safety in your streets. The right to live in your home. The right to honor the Land with the respect it deeply deserves. The right to honor Life. The right to travel freely. The right to live without constant violence in your life. The right to healthy, stable, loving communities. It is about living in dignity rather than being forced to live under barbarity.
Within this struggle it is about protecting and fighting for Palestine, a place with deep roots between the People and the Land, a fight that continues against all the might and lawlessness from the United States and Israeli governments.