Friday, December 30, 2005

Wild Horses of Newbury, and year's end.

“Have you not seen how to Allah bow all who are in the heavens, and all who are in the earth, the sun and the moon, the stars and the mountains, the trees and the animals, and many of humankind (nas)” (Qur’an 22:18)

A beautiful short video on how two wild horses appear, as two ancient oak trees are prepared to be chainsawed down. However, I was not too keen on part of the narration about "old England glory worshiping trees...etc." But this five minute video is still very beautiful, something to learn from, inshallah... so check it out!

click here to view

Today (December 29th) is also the anniversary of The Wounded Knee Massacare. On this date, in 1890, in a matter of an hour, over 150 Native Americans were killed including many women and children. The event is especially significant, and worthwhile for Muslims to remember because this was not only a matter of taking Indian land, but about religious repression.

White officials became alarmed at the religious fervor and activism and in December 1890 banned the Ghost Dance on Lakota reservations. When the rites continued, officials called in troops to Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations in South Dakota.

Native Americans were not allowed to practise their religion until very recently. It was only in 1978 that Congress passed the American Indian Religious Freedom Act which stated:

[I]t shall be the policy of the United States to protect and preserve for American Indians their inherent right of freedom to believe, express, and exercise the traditional religions of the American Indian, Eskimo, Aleut, and Native Hawaiians, including but not limited to access to sites, use and possession of sacred objects, and the freedom to worship through ceremonials and traditional rites."

While significant, the act has failed to protect many of the areas of North America that are sacred to Native Americans. Some of these areas are rich in natural resources, and, in the name of "progress" and "development" they have been badly damaged.

Groups such as Sacred Land Project, and Honor the Earth are involved in advocating for protection of such sites. However, their struggle should not be considered as a "special interest religious group." This is fundamentally about taking urgent actions to save what we have left of our beautiful earth...

And as we end the year, Bolivia, a majority indigenous country in South America, has elected its first indigenous president: Evo Morales - his words are worth reading and pondering over - as change is in the air... as we move on to 2006...

What happened these past days in Bolivia was a great revolt by those who have been oppressed for more than 500 years. The will of the people was imposed this September and October, and has begun to overcome the empire's cannons. We have lived for so many years through the confrontation of two cultures: the culture of life represented by the indigenous people, and the culture of death represented by West. When we the indigenous people ­ together with the workers and even the businessmen of our country ­ fight for life and justice, the State responds with its "democratic rule of law."

When we speak of the "defense of humanity," as we do at this event, I think that this only happens by eliminating neoliberalism and imperialism. But I think that in this we are not so alone, because we see, every day that anti-imperialist thinking is spreading, especially after Bush's bloody "intervention" policy in Iraq. Our way of organizing and uniting against the system, against the empire's aggression towards our people, is spreading, as are the strategies for creating and strengthening the power of the people.

I believe only in the power of the people. That was my experience in my own region, a single province ­ the importance of local power. And now, with all that has happened in Bolivia, I have seen the importance of the power of a whole people, of a whole nation. For those of us who believe it important to defend humanity, the best contribution we can make is to help create that popular power. This happens when we check our personal interests with those of the group. Sometimes, we commit to the social movements in order to win power. We need to be led by the people, not use or manipulate them.

click here to read entire speech:

2 comment(s):

  • Thanks for this post. I will be passing this around for a long time.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/31/2005 06:23:00 AM  

  • Thank you for the link. The video seems almost like a precursor to Billy Ed Wheeler’s song about eastern Kentucky, Coming of the Roads:

    Look how they've cut all to pieces
    Our ancient poplar and oak
    And the hillsides are stained with the greases
    That burned up the heavens with smoke

    And thank you for reminding me of the Wounded Knee massacre. It reminds me also of the 1973, when Wounded Knee was also the site of the 71-day standoff between federal authorities and militants of the American Indian Movement.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 1/01/2006 03:56:00 PM  

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