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#174 Refusing to celebrate imperialist holidays

October 8, 2012

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.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Donald Torchia permalink
    December 10, 2012 10:21 am

    Good grief. Where to start with this “why I hate America” drivel. First off, look at ANY country in the world….many holidays within those countries could be questioned as to their origin and or how applicable or politically correct they are when held under the 21st Century spotlight. Many countries became independent through bloody strife. Nothing new there. I’m sure most Americans are QUITE aware that the USA was founded through Revolution. We’re proud of that fact and we celebrate it, as do MANY other countries throughout the world who gained their independence in much the same way. The Native Americans you bemoan when you chastise us for celebrating Thanksgiving? They were killing and butchering each other by the bloody thousands before we came along. Some tribes nearly wiped other tribes from complete existence through their warfare. That doesn’t just hold for Native Americans but indigenous people all over this planet. The word indigenous itself is questionable on it’s face since 99.9% of the people you call indigenous didn’t just suddenly pop up in any given place, they migrated their and often times forced others already living their from their prime agricultural or hunting grounds. So spare us the righteous indignation about what a terrible past we colonial oppressors have. We simply managed through superior weapons, technology or manpower to replace those who had done the VERY SAME THINGS to tribes before them. Survival of the strongest, fittest, or most advanced. Call it what you want but it’s what’s brought the world to the place we are today. It’s not a perfect place by any means. I respect many of the ancient cultures, their insights, their wisdom, their practice of natural medicine etc but I’m certainly not going to make apologies for being human. In the end, THAT is what binds us. Many of the “indigenous” you blather on about drove buffalo by the hundreds off of cliffs to kill them, yet when white hunters came along and shot them it’s the “white man” that almost made the buffalo extinct. I have news for you, the Indians were well on their way to doing the same thing, it simply would have taken them 100 years longer due to the limitations of their weapons at the time. Read up on the history of the Comanche, Apache, Sioux, and other people and see how many tribes they butchered and drove from their lands. Then the white man comes along and suddenly there’s indignation of how we drove those same tribes from the land they killed and butchered to get from others weaker than them? Seriously, I respect Aid organizations that try to help the less fortunate throughout the world but I think it’s ironic how you so often loathe the very Country that’s provided you the means and opportunity to carry out the work you love, utilizing the medicines and advances developed oftentimes right in the very Country you view as having such a questionable pedigree. Ironic indeed.


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