FW: Global/Multicultural Awareness

Craven, Jim jcraven at clark.edu
Wed Sep 26 14:39:27 MDT 2001

For the Campus Community:

Among the "campus-wide abilities" to be integrated into curricula, the need
for some "global/multicultural awareness" has been given some support by
some recent examples. For example, the present military buildup, originally
called "Operation Infinite Justice", has been changed to "Operation Enduring
Freedom." Why? Well it seems that with all of these massive expenditures on
arms and forging alliances with "moderate" Muslim theocracies/states, no one
bothered to consult someone familiar with the Koran and aspects of
Arab/Muslim cultures who might have informed them that in the Koran, as in
the New Testament Bible and Torah--and indeed sacred books of many
religions--"infinite justice" is reserved for Allah, God, Creator, etc and
it is considered blasphemy (not only in Islam) to presume to undertake and
dispense that which is reserved for Allah.

Indeed there are as many perspectives on the recent terrorism as forms and
ways of manifesting grief and concern. The night before last I was called by
a Blackfoot Elder on Tribal issues. She said to me the following (I took
notes as the conversation became quite striking). "So many Americans are now
ready to take some forms of terrorism seriously, depending upon who is doing
the terrorism and who is the object of it, but we, in Indian Country have
known only terrorism and attempts to exterminate us since before the
founding of this Republic." She said, "Biological warfare?; We know all
about it; what do you call it when blankets of smallpox victims were
gathered specifically to be used in trading with Indians and epidemics were
deliberately started and even the head of the BIA has openly admitted that
that was done on a mass scale--only to Indians--throughout American
history?" She said, "Chemical warfare?, We know all about it; what do you
call it when Indian Reservations are targeted as toxic-waste dump sites,
when 72 out of 73 designated toxic-waste dumpt sites are Indian reservations
and the toxic water and soil are causing damaged kids and many early
deaths?". She said, "Terrorism? we know all about it, what do you call it
when the government installs, maintains and protects massive Tribal
corruption and those who do it (corrupt Indians sell-out cheap and do the
bidding of the "Man")resulting in losses of lives, precious resources and
our culture?". She said that her daughters work in a rental car place and
the FBI had recently been by to check on a rental that had racked-up over
6,000 miles in a short period, but she noted that repeated pleas by
traditional activists, over many years, for the Federal Government to stop
supporting Tribal corruption and to help solve the murders of activists and
others had fallen over deaf ears.

She said that she wished no ill on anyone, even those who have damaged
Indians, but that she felt that soon "a whole lot of non-Indians are going
to get a small taste of what it is like to be Indian and live on a
Reservation in America." She said "we already know a lot about obscene gas
prices, inferior food at obscene prices, electricity shut-downs, toxic water
and soils, gouging in the name of profit, national ID cards, losses of civil
liberties available to others, ethnic profiling", etc. She thought that in
the end, maybe Indians will be the lucky ones in terms of not suffering the
shock of losing that which is customary and upon which one has become
reliant in the sense that Indians have never had access to much of what
others take for granted and will freak out upon losing.

However one feels about the various perspectives on recent issues, attached
is the perspective on some current issues of Ward Churchill, a Professor of
Native and Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado (Boulder), who is
the author of many influencial and highly-regarded books on Native issues.
For those highly offended, perhaps they can consider that perhaps their own
views are equally offensive to others and that the campus-wide abilities are
supposed to teach and reinforce and explore various kinds and forms of
diversity and respect for the right to hold and present diverse opinions
even if one has no respect for the particular opinions themselves.

Jim Craven

>From Ward Churchill:

As things stand, including the 1993 detonation at the WTC, "Arab
terrorists" have responded to the massive and sustained American
terror bombing of Iraq with a total of four assaults by explosives
inside the US. That's about 1% of the 50,000 bombs the Pentagon
announced were rained on Baghdad alone during the Gulf War (add in
Oklahoma City and you'll get something nearer an actual 1%).

They've managed in the process to kill about 5,000 Americans, or
roughly 1% of the dead Iraqi children (the percentage is far smaller
if you factor in the killing of adult Iraqi civilians, not to mention
troops butchered as/after they'd surrendered and/or after the
"war-ending" ceasefire had been announced).

In terms undoubtedly more meaningful to the property/profit-minded
American mainstream, they've knocked down a half-dozen buildings -
albeit some very well-chosen ones - as opposed to the "strategic
devastation" visited upon the whole of Iraq, and punched a $100
billion hole in the earnings outlook of major corporate shareholders,
as opposed to the U.S. obliteration of Iraq's entire economy.

With that, they've given Americans a tiny dose of their own
medicine.. This might be seen as merely a matter of "vengeance" or
"retribution," and, unquestionably, America has earned it, even if it
were to add up only to something so ultimately petty.

The problem is that vengeance is usually framed in terms of "getting
even," a concept which is plainly inapplicable in this instance. As
the above data indicate, it would require another 49,996 detonations
killing 495,000 more Americans, for the "terrorists" to "break even"
for the bombing of Baghdad/extermination of Iraqi children alone. And
that's to achieve "real number" parity. To attain an actual
proportional parity of damage - the US is about 15 times as large as
Iraq in terms of population, even more in terms of territory - they
would, at a minimum, have to blow up about 300,000 more buildings and
kill something on the order of 7.5 million people.

Were this the intent of those who've entered the US to wage war
against it, it would remain no less true that America and Americans
were only receiving the bill for what they'd already done. Payback,
as they say, can be a real mother------ (ask the Germans). There is,
however, no reason to believe that retributive parity is necessarily
an item on the agenda of those who planned the WTC/Pentagon
operation. If it were, given the virtual certainty that they
possessed the capacity to have inflicted far more damage than they
did, there would be a lot more American bodies lying about right now.

Hence, it can be concluded that ravings carried by the "news" media
since September 11 have contained at least one grain of truth: The
peoples of the Mideast "aren't like" Americans, not least because
they don't "value life' in the same way. By this, it should be
understood that Middle-Easterners, unlike Americans, have no history
of exterminating others purely for profit, or on the basis of racial
animus. Thus, we can appreciate the fact that they value life - all
lives, not just their own - far more highly than do their U.S.

full: http://www.marxmail.org/ward_churchill.htm

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