June 19, 2009

Peru conflict = colonization

Newcomb:  A deadly clash of worldviews in PeruPope Alexander VI called for the “propagation of the Christian empire,” and for the “subjugation” of “barbarous nations.” As Amy Goodman has reported on “Democracy Now!,” Garcia said 40,000 indigenous people of the Amazon rainforest do not have the right to prevent Peru and multi-national corporations from coming onto and exploiting indigenous lands. To say otherwise, claimed Garcia, would be to take Peru into “irrationality and a backwards primitive state.” These terms are synonymous with the pope’s use of the word “barbarous.”

Pope Alexander VI declared “by the authority of Almighty God,” “we” do “give, grant, assign to you and your heirs and successors, kings of Castile and Leon, forever, together with all their dominions, cities, camps, places, and villages, and all rights, jurisdictions, appurtenances, all islands and mainland found and to be found, discovered and to be discovered.”

There was only one “proviso” or limitation on the generous donation by the Holy See. None of the islands or main lands that the Spanish monarchs were authorized to seize could be “in the actual possession of any Christian king or prince.” It did not matter at all, however, that those lands were already in the possession of the original, non-Christian Indian nations because the Indians were portrayed as less than human. As recounted on “Democracy Now!,” there is an audio record of Peruvian police yelling in a dehumanizing manner, “Shoot the dogs in the head!” thereby referring to the Amazonian Indians as less than human.
Good news! Indians win their battle with Peru's colonialist government:

Peru's indigenous win victory over landsPeru's Congress voted overwhelmingly to revoke two decrees that indigenous groups had said would result in the exploitation of their native lands for oil drilling, mining and logging.

The 82-14 vote on Thursday with no abstentions came after five hours of intense debate.
Colonialist attitude continues

Alas, one can find stories such as this one several times a month:

Year-old Legal Challenge to Border Wall DiesA legal challenge in the US Supreme Court to the construction of the US-Mexico border wall was declared dead today. The justices declined to hear an appeal by the County of El Paso, Texas, to an earlier decision by a US federal court judge that allowed the Bush administration to proceed with construction of the controversial wall.

The El Paso case grew out of former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff’s waiver last year of more than 30 federal, state and local laws to speed up construction of border fencing in El Paso County, Texas, among other locations. Arguing that Secretary Chertoff did not have the statutory authority to issue the waivers, El Paso County and several co-plaintiffs filed suit against the federal government last June.
For O'odham, border fence poses real problems

Our view:  Congress needs to consider how barrier could disrupt binational cultureBefore there was a Mexico or a United States, the O'odham and their ancestors lived in the area that is now divided by an invisible political boundary.

As O'odham tribal Chairwoman Vivian Juan-Saunders points out, what that means is that when the borderlands became part of two separate countries, Indians who were part of one cultural group ended up in two different nations.

Some 75 miles of the Mexico-Arizona border crosses the O'odham reservation. In modern times, tribal members have moved between the two countries using traditional routes with relative ease. A wall would create major problems for these native inhabitants.

"The fence they are discussing now would undermine all of our discussions and agreements with the Border Patrol and create undue harm to our land," Juan-Saunders said. "We need (cross-border) access to allow our members to seek health care, to participate in ceremonies and to engage in cultural processes."
Comment:  So the US ignores its own laws to trample and subdivide indigenous land? That's colonialism in action right here.

For more on Peru, see The Amazon Tiananmen and "Sedition" and "Savages" in Peru. For more on colonialism in general, see Those Evil Europeans.

1 comment:

dmarks said...

Defense of property rights wins out this time.