Wednesday, June 27, 2007


A Deafening Silence

It is often perplexing, I suppose, to citizens of the former British Empire to watch their governments and militaries assist Third World dictators in slaughtering Fourth World peoples in order to deny them their indigenous claims to resources and territories. Especially when they are non-violent, unarmed, and simply ask to be left alone.

Reading of the British warships shelling Biafran villagers during the Nigerian Civil War, reminded me of a story my sister told me of talking with Australian Air Force pilots who’d just returned from what they described as a “turkey shoot” in East Timor, where alongside Indonesian forces, the Australians were murdering native civilians as part of the ethnic cleansing of the region adjacent to oil fields the two countries planned to divide between themselves once the rightful owners had been eliminated. More recent actions by Indonesia to exterminate West Papuans using US armaments, likewise, seems destined to clear away tribal peoples for the benefit of Canadian and American mining companies.

Sometimes, though, I think that the incongruity of British, American, Canadian, and Australian relief efforts for starving children or traumatized adults, in these Fourth World theaters of war instigated by their own governments, must dawn on at least a few perceptive souls. So why is it that no one speaks of indigenous peoples?


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