We are not making these decisions, yet we reside within the country
Perhaps you are one of those on Facebook that has seen the constant stream of photos of injured or dead Palestinian children, usually with their heads blown off, images streamed from Palestine. Or perhaps you are one who marched against both Iraq wars; or perhaps you are researching, following, and trying to influence folks on the revolution in Syria.
Maybe you’re against the drone bombings in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, or anticipating drone bombings in Iraq using ISIS as a rational. Maybe you followed the war in Libya, driven by the U.S. and the EU, to oust Gaddafi and, according to the U.S., in order to “establish democracy”. Or perhaps you have followed the “Arab Spring” in Egypt that has now reverted to a reactionary winter, fueled by arms delivery courtesy USA.
Maybe you are studying the history of the Middle East, how nations were literally created and carved up by the West after World War I. It’s a complicated history, due to the deception, particularly of the U.S., saying one thing and doing another, supporting both sides of the Iran-Iraq war for example, secretively, deceptively. Now ISIS explodes onto the scene with it’s rabid fundamentalism and co-optation of the justified locally based rebellions erupting in Iraq against the U.S. puppet regime there, and acting on the behest of Assad in Syria, creating chaos within a revolution in motion.
In any case, it all adds up to one thing: the desire of the U.S. to either control or create chaos to disable Arab control of their own land, in order to ensure our potential access and hoarding of oil resources, fossil fuels, that ecologically are destroying the planet. It is a form of genocide: the destruction of Arab self-identity and self-rule, and it is done in the name of the country we live in, and our “ideals”, whether we identify with that country or ideals any longer. It demonstrates a commitment to ecological genocide, in the form of a U.S. obsession with hoarding potential oil resources, no matter the cost to the indigenous peoples on the land, or the cost to the environment, which we now know is massive.
Silence is not an answer. Neither is activity on social media. The images of young children with gaping cavities in their heads are all over Facebook… even on my rather conservative list of friends on the Gulf coast. Yet the killing continues. The mass genocide… Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Palestine, Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, and now soon, eventually Iran may be pulled into this mess.
What is the answer? The genocide of Arab culture is the tip of the iceberg of the ongoing history of capitalist imperialism and what it means: that cultures and traditions must be destroyed in order to ensure access to the minerals, oil and gas within that land. Whole cultures, nations and peoples are being sacrificed in the name of corporate control over natural resources: oil, gas and minerals. I’ve read of how some of the Hopi tribe granted access to minerals on their land and lived to regret it, when the water table dropped so low and it stopped raining; no water to support their crops and their ancient way of life.
We are now watching exactly what happened when the U.S. systematically destroyed American indigenous peoples and culture here… now in the Middle East. The rationales and methods of course have changed with the change in technology, particularly war technology, but the end result is the same: cultural and people genocide. Africa is also subject to this treatment to gain access to natural resources. I emphasize the Arab world now only because the bombings and wars there are what is drawing the attention of even the corporate media. Yet, all the while… certain countries in Africa are experiencing the same genocidal practices at our behest.
We are not making these decisions, yet we reside within the country that is. We cannot afford silence, we cannot afford a reliance on Facebook and Twitter to oppose this genocide of the Arab people. The ongoing genocide of the Arab people ultimately resembles our own death as a culture. Fossil fuels are killing the planet in numerous ways, as is chemical pollution. Our comfortable lives where we can stroll into a department store and purchase what we need… that will all come to an end. The entertainment that we enjoy, whether live or on TV will all end. Once the oceans die, and the signs are already there that some parts of the oceans are dying… it’s all over. Remember Fukushima, still leaking radiation into the Pacific? Ocean acidification?
Our survival is indelibly entwined with the survival of all indigenous peoples. Turning our backs on the Arab world and all indigenous cultures leads to more incredible suffering… and ultimately, ecological destruction. What are we going to do about this? It’s long past time to take on our military industrial complex right here at home that is driving Arab/indigenous genocide, fossil fuel dependence and the destruction of our planet.
Elizabeth Cook is a longtime activist for peoples’ rights in New Orleans, LA.