#174 Refusing to celebrate imperialist holidays
Deep down, many EAWs are secretly afraid that their profession might be re-packaged colonialism. All that talk about capacity building and development sounds just a tiny bit too much like that old-timey talk about how the natives really need to learn to be more European in their ways.
So it’s not surprising that EAWs are the first to remind everyone back home that certain holidays are just kind of wrong. Victory Day? Why is that even still on the calendar? US Independence Day? Great, but let’s remember – the US was started by a Revolution, so all that patriotic bullshit is basically just set up to brainwash the uneducated American masses. Thanksgiving? Yeah, let’s commemorate how we had a big feast with our new and welcoming friends who taught us to survive the harsh winter. And then we systematically infested them, killed them and occupied their lands… and while we are on this topic, can we please remember that the US is a country founded by immigrants and stop trying to build walls and fence the borders?!
As for Columbus Day, don’t even get the EAW started. “It’s not like Columbus actually discovered the Americas. He invaded! Obviously there were people living there already. It’s not a day for celebration!” the EAW will spout off with righteous indignation. “It marks 500 years of oppression! It should be called Indigenous People’s Day! It’s a day of mourning, not a day for parades to honor the oppressor!” Ugh. Americans are sooo stupid, she will shake her head.
If the EAW happens to be in the capital of a Latin American country for
Columbus Day Dia de la Raza, she will welcome having the day off work (though we really should not be celebrating!) so that she can head to the lefty anti-imperialist protest to display her solidarity. Then perhaps she’ll swing by the pretend-authentic commemoration event of indigenous customs and foods to haggle over some nice silver jewelry, careful to avoid making eye contact with any other EAWs she might encounter while there. She’ll attempt to converse with the market seller about the local government’s hypocritical and foul treatment of the indigenous populations that are blamed and punished for not ‘developing’ while simultaneously highlighted as a major tourist attraction in government tourist brochures due to their distinctive beauty. If the opportunity presents itself, our EAW will spend a bit of time educating the locals about why she doesn’t celebrate Columbus Day, and why they should not be celebrating said imperialist colonizer holiday either.
As the day of protesting, shopping, educating and/or showing solidarity comes to an end, the EAW and her man will head over to the SLONGO-hosted Latino pride glocal party, mingling about with the other enlightened locals and foreigners and making mental notes on which SLONGO should get the next grant. The subtle (or not so subtle) anti-American/anti-European sentiment in the room might make some uncomfortable, but our EAW is not visibly bothered. She is buoyed by the knowledge that at least she, as an individual, has shaken off the privileges and despicable attitudes that her forbears held back in the day and that she is dedicating her whole life to helping reverse those 500 years of oppression.