Reflections:   July 2011.    3rd Qtr 2011

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Greetings Relatives,

It is deeply disturbing and a deplorable reflection of our character as a nation and as human beings to rejoice in the death of a fellow human, no matter how heinous the crimes that individual may have committed. In fact, such celebration indicates we are no better or nobler than those who advocate and perpetrate violence.

Warriors in Indigenous cultures live by stringent codes of conduct. If fortunate to be victorious in battle, they respect their adversaries, performing certain rituals on behalf of the slain. After all, the other warrior had a life, may have a spouse and children, certainly parents and relations who are now grieving. Circumstances could have equally favored one's opponent instead. All deserve a dignified observance in relation to their passing.

Being not a Muslim nation, the United States has neither the authority nor right to abscond with Osama Bin Laden's body and dump him into the sea, preventing his family, friends and mother country to honour and remember him accordingly - conducting the necessary funerary rites and ceremonies for mourning appropriate to their culture and tradition. Lest this be unclear, according to colleagues in the Muslim faith, the tenets of the Qur'an do not promote violence and terrorism nor do orthodox followers of Islam sanction the actions of Al Qaeda.

When I learned of the death of Bin Laden at the hands of U.S. forces, after sending prayers (for he too has a soul), my immediate thought was this leaves the United States as essentially the principal global aggressor. Being regarded by many countries as a belligerent, adolescent bully who employs its militaristic might to spread the word, values and ideals of democracy throughout the world (analogous to the colonizers' attempts to proselytize, assimilate and massacre Indigenous peoples) who will our nation next fund, label then target as a terrorist to perpetuate the game? In truth, Bin Laden was a scapegoat for the U.S. and a figurehead for a militant movement. Owing to his strategy as a leader to avoid detection and elude capture for over ten years (confounding the greatest intelligence gathering agencies in the world In the process) undoubtedly contingency plans in the event of his death were devised and will be implemented. In other words, there will be others to replace him. In fact, the manner of his death may elevate him to the status of a martyr in the eyes of his followers. Which serves only to fuel vengeance. Contrariwise, there would be potentially far greater humiliation being captured and brought to justice by a war crimes tribunal.

In relation to the profoundly tragic and reprehensible events of September 11th, our nation regards itself as a victim. Considering human nature (the predilection for retribution) and the extreme hatred that several Middle Eastern nations harbor toward the United States, though I certainly do not condone the conduct of Bin Laden, Al Qaeda or any terrorist organization, a smoldering question remains; what actions have the U.S. government and military performed in the past to warrant and foment such ire culminating in the felling of the towers? I suspect we are not as innocent as the politicians and pundits assert and the people of this country are led to believe.

Furthermore, the code name coined for the military operation is egregiously disrespectful toward Indigenous nations. To equate Geronimo with Bin Laden displays ignorance, continued prejudice and a purposeful denial of history. Though he and his band of warriors effectively evaded U.S. soldiers for nearly thirty years, Geronimo was not a terrorist. He was an Chiricahua Apache leader who protected his nation from the military of the United States whose sole mission and purpose at that time, mandated by the Federal government, was genocide - the indiscriminate slaughter and assimilation - of his and all native peoples on the North American continent. To add insult to injury, a significant percentage of individuals from Native American tribes have served and continue to place their lives on the line in our armed forces today.

The headlines in this country read the world is safer. Really? Journeying to the Gaza strip, Darfur or Somalia, traveling certain reservations in the Americas, even venturing into the inner cities of our own nation will yield a vastly different perception and experience. True innocents on both sides - civilians and soldiers alike - are being unnecessarily sacrificed in three wars that the U.S. is currently waging for dubious reasons. I express heartfelt prayers for all of them and their families.

In the final analysis, it is an empty, pyrrhic victory. Certainly, we may have won the battle (removing a purported instigator from the world stage, thereby seemingly justifying the deaths of our young men and women in uniform serving in that country) but ultimately we have lost the war - the daily inner conflict to liberate ourselves from the slumber, conditioning and domestication of the baser aspects of our humanity.

Gandhi perceptively and wisely remarked that believing in an eye for an eye eventually makes the whole world blind.

At this point, we are swiftly losing our sight.

Phillip

Last updated Jun 11, 2011