History repeats itself at home, abroad

In our founding myth, the brave pilgrims come to the new world for religious freedom. They find friendly natives who teach them about farming. These natives cheerfully and conveniently disappear. We don’t talk about the struggles of these people as they are pushed further and further west into the desert.

Capitalism, the free market system of stocks and shares, we have now is only about 200 years old. Before that it was the unquestioned Divine Right of Kings. People obeyed the king because it was his Right as Lord. The king’s power was absolute. The king controlled the economy, set the taxes, awarded monopolies and dictated land use.

The settlers found civilizations here with their own laws and science. The settlers didn’t recognize the science that went into breeding corn. The First Nation’s peoples took a grass and turned it into an eight foot tall plant with thousands of seeds. The best that Europe had come up with was wheat. Compare a stalk of wheat to a stalk of corn.

Our founding fathers did pay some attention to Indian Law. They lifted the preamble to the constitution from the Haudenosaunee Great Law of Peace: “We the People … in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this .”

The Haudenosaunee once controlled all the land from Quebec to Virginia. We don’t talk about the diseases that annihilated the population in the 1500s. Ninety percent of the native population died of diseases brought by Columbus. Imagine you are a village of 150 people, now you have 15. It is speculated that without people to tend the gardens the forest grew so fast and thick it caused the CO2 in the atmosphere to drop and bring about the little ice age in Europe 1650.

We learn about Squanto, his real name was Tisquantum. He was out hunting one day when he was captured by the slave trader Thomas Hunt and sold in Malaga, Spain. Franciscan Friars ransomed him and evangelized him. Somehow he made it to England and then back home in 1619. The same year the first African slave was brought to the “new” world.

When Tisquantum got back to his village everyone was dead from disease. There is a lot of mystery around him. He was fluent in many languages. He was crucial to the Pilgrims’ survival in the “New” world. He negotiated the deal with Wampanoags that allowed the Pilgrims to land and settle that part of Cape Cod in 1620.

There was a fundamental difference in philosophy. To the First Nations People land belonged to everyone. No one person could own land, you could only use it for a while, and you had to think seven generations into the future before doing anything. The situation in England was the opposite.

Remember England was once a Roman slave state in which peasants worked the land they did not own. Over the centuries the peasants were able to win certain rights. The lord of the manor couldn’t sell their children for example the way an African slave child was the master’s property, but few people owned their own homes. The situation is not much different now. Half of England is owned by less than 1% of the population.

To the Pilgrims the land belonged to the king. The king granted them the right to settle it. The First Nations People the Pequots were in the way so the Pilgrims slaughtered them in 1638. That was a successful genocide. “In 1948, the United Nations Genocide Convention defined genocide as any of five “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” These five acts were: killing members of the group, causing them serious bodily or mental harm, imposing living conditions intended to destroy the group, preventing births, and forcibly transferring children out of the group. Victims are targeted because of their real or perceived membership of a group, not randomly.”

Genocide is what is happening to everyone in Gaza Right now. Children are dying of starvation. Hundreds of trucks wait at the border crossings but the Israelis are not letting them in. Not in the kind of numbers needed to keep people alive. The Goal is to kill as many Palestinians as possible.

The Israelis are using our bombs. The Arab world sees us as responsible. They see us living out our history. We can choose a different future. Call President Joe Biden 212-456-1414. Tell him, “No more Genocide in my name. Cease fire Now.” Thank Sen. Chuck Schumer at 716-846-4111 for standing up. Call U.S. Rep. Nick Langworthy at 716-488-8111 Tell him Israel must stop killing Palestinians.

Marie Tomlinson is a Fredonia resident. Send comments to editorial@observertoday.com


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