We Gotta Keep On Speaking the Truth: No Matter What!
Today, March 24, is the International Day for the Right to the Truth concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims.
More than ever, it is important to connect the domestic wars against Black, Brown and Indigenous people — those murdered by police, the deported, those pushed off tribal land, the victims of mass incarceration, systemic poverty, and exploitation — to our government’s role in the abuse of the people of Venezuela, Palestine, Iraq, Yemen, and so many more. At the same time, we call out the rhetoric of white supremacy and white power that manifested in the horrific murder of 50 muslims in New Zealand.
How does all this continue? Police are acquitted for murdering Stephon Clark in his own backyard; asylum seekers and their children die in U.S. custody; and the U.S. government plans to begin oil exploration around Sacred Native locations.
Recently Ilhan Omar spoke about congressional support for the agenda of AIPAC. Given the UN report condemning Israel for what amounts to crimes against humanity, voices like Omar’s should be lauded for speaking truth. Sadly, both Democratic and Republican lawmakers push bills to criminalize free speech. The criminalization of BDS is a level of repression that could only be dreamed of by those who denounced Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu in the 70’s and 80’s
History provides a road map and context to specific crimes that the majority of the world understands, despite the efforts of leaders in the West to obscure this. White NZ officials called the murderer of 50 people an extremist; the Prime Minister said this was not an act of a true New Zealander. And while there is some truth to this, and something to admire in New Zealand’s prompt substantive response to mass murder, such comments ignore the entire colonial history of New Zealand as well as its structurally racist present. The entire land and people were colonized; the indigenous make up a disproportionate number of those behind bars.
British — and broader european — colonization led to untold abuse, murder, rape, slavery, and theft of land and resources from indigenous people around the world. The murder of 50 muslims by an avowed white supremacist, touting the American president as an inspiration could help mainstream Americans to see what should have always been in plane view.
The U.S.’s relationship with totalitarian clients such as Saudi Arabia allow for the systemic expropriation of natural resources and a worldwide network of military bases — all while reinforcing White Supremacy and White Power. Such a system has no concern for fundamental human rights — Saudi Arabia murders journalists, imprisons and tortures women activists, and decimates the people of Yemen. But this is neither here nor there to the global system of White Supremacy that follows the racist logic letting the natives kill one another while the rulers take the spoils.
This systemic denial of systemic truth allows a convicted war criminal like elliot abrams to serve as envoy to Venezuela during a slow motion coup. Governments around the world have felt the pressure to support this US coup. Even the Haitian government, who have been supported financially by venezuela, is forced into a supporting role so the current leaders can remain in power in the face of anti-corruption protests.
While some of us are paying attention, far too few people in the center of empire care enough about the violence inflicted on people of color in the U.S. and throughout the world. When courageous voices do emerge they are rebuked by leaders of both political parties. Click here to read more about the Democratic Party’s attempts to silence new voices.
We cannot hope to confront White Supremacy by waiting around for politicians to take the lead. On this International Day for the Right to Truth, we — all of us, united, together, and strong — must first speak truth. Then we must organize to demand justice, change, and reparations. We must begin by speaking out on the entirety of this corrupt system, and then get to the hard work of replacing it.
- David Ragland & Mark Lance