“The Fourth of July: Nationalism and Colonialism”

“For me, this 4th of July will symbolize another type of fiddling while Rome burns. Instead of focusing the brilliance of our scientists and skills of our workers on the development of alternative energy and toxic waste clean-up technologies, fracking vents bloom like fiery flowers across the global landscape. Instead of putting on the brakes and changing course on our path toward global destruction, our footprint is pressing “the pedal to the metal” in our race toward Armageddon.

Because I am no longer a child crouching in fear with eyes and ears closed, I wonder how I can turn on the sprinklers to stop the mad volley. I prefer to celebrate peace and balance quietly rather than war and domination with explosions that symbolize battle. The notions of “nations” and patriotism to nations and nationalities only serve to divide the peoples of the world.”

Voices from the Margins

Carol A. Hand

As the date of the quintessential celebration of colonial oppression for Indigenous Peoples in the U.S. approaches, signaled by loud explosions in the night, an image from my childhood comes unbidden to mind – a child crouching, head bowed, eyes closed, hands tightly covering ears.

crouching child

Photo Credit: Carol A. Hand

I remember how much I disliked attending these events with my family, surrounded by crowds of people cheering and oohing and aahing in the local park as the symbolic missiles of war blossom like booming “fiery flowers” in the darkened evening sky. I didn’t know the deeper symbolism then for Indigenous Peoples, but the mindless and frenzied fascination of the crowd frightened me. I realize it still does. It brings to mind a story I wrote about my experiences in Missoula, Montana, during the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

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Mount Jumbo montanalandtrusts dot org

Photo Credit: http://www.montanalandtrusts.org/successes/

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