Today is Memorial day, a time to remember our lost soldiers. I propose we also remember the scores of millions of people killed by colonization. Or maybe we should have another day to remember them, and to remember and reframe the history of the psychopathic savagery with which mostly European colonizers killed aboriginal indigenous peoples and destroyed their cultures. Such a day should teach children the history that most Westerners are never taught-- a history of extermination which was supported and justified by the leading religious organizations.
I'm watching EXTERMINATE The Brutes on HBO. It is a must-watch documentary which documents the profound, horrific, psychopathic brutality and cruelty of White Christian Europeans. The church played a key role in justifying colonization that killed indigenous people and stole all their lands and possessions. That would be the same Church that engaged in the Spanish Inquisition, for example. The church justified colonization by ruling that indigenous people were subhuman. This happened in the Americas but also in Ireland, where the British treated the Irish as subhuman animals.
Within a century of the "discovery" of America, 90% of the indigenous people were wiped out-- some by battle, more by rape, murder and pillage and more by transmission of diseases to which the indigenous had no resistance.
If a historian could go to those indigenous people and warn them that 90% would be dead, that their women would be raped and killed, that their children would be massacred, what would be the best advice said historian could offer? I would say the best advice would be to kill anyone who fit the description of European explorers, to wipe out every single one, to go to the ships, kill the people on them and sink them, so no reports could be brought back.
I've long believed that the few aboriginal indigenous tribes remaining on this planet should be protected by armed protectors, there to stop people driven by greed, like loggers and miners, or people driven by abominable, evil versions of religions who aim to convert "savages" into Christians. I believe that those tribes and the lands the live on should be protected by government and international regulations and laws. Of course, twenty first century humans are unable to protect themselves from corporations and governments turning their environment into a toxic, malignant one that kills, sickens and decreases their fertility. But we need to, at least, envision what should be done-- one of the first steps to making change happen.
Today, most of the remaining aboriginal, indigenous peoples who have been relatively untouched by modernity live in nations currently ruled by right wing fascists, who are literally encouraging exploitation of the aboriginal lands and destruction of their cultures. That is tragic. And it is too late to warn them.
Now I'll take a wild digression. What about colonization of other places, like the planet Mars. There won't be any people to kill, but I wonder what precautions the USA and China are taking to prevent the contamination the Martian biome. Remember, the most deaths, of the 90% killed in the Americas was by transmission of disease. Are there policies, or better, laws, that require serious effort to prevent such disease transmissions?
Bottom line, advice to kill the colonizers is, for the most part, too little and far too late. But we can learn, and when we see attempts at colonization we can defend the people being colonized. There are organizations that work towards this end. I propose that we really do need to elevate the world's awareness of the inhuman crimes of these colonizers. I propose that we "correct" the historical accounts to portray the earliest colonizers as greedy human monsters, or misguided proselytizers of corrupted versions of religions. Columbus should be removed from the names of cities, streets, etc. and he should be recast as a brutal, greedy monster.
American history has already been rewritten by Howard Zinn, in his groundbreaking book, A People's History of the United States, which has led to a plethora of related books, like Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz's An Indigenous People's History of The United States. These books, or material from these books should be included in the education of every modern human.
We've taken steps to de-platform the statues of confederate "heroes." We need to do the same thing with the colonizers and the people who expedited the killing and moving of indigenous peoples. Andrew Jackson and George Custer should be on these infamy lists.
And those soldiers we memorialize on Memorial Day? We've already made some progress. The day used to be called Decoration day-- a day to decorate graves of soldiers. But we need to recognize that these soldiers were exploited, sent to fight wars that were not about freedom or democracy.
What are your thoughts?
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