Being back at home, I am reassessing the orientation of my blog and how to stay true to the title “heart and mind for justice” now subtitled “from Israel/Palestine to canada.” Like Lilla Watson says,
“If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”
I am now dividing this blog into different categories. If you are reading because you expressly want eye-witness accounts from EAPPI, rest assured you will find a category called: Israel/Palestine. There are also other things that want to be written including snippets from my thesis research about Indigenous rights that I would like to make accessible, bits of wisdom from my reading and research about women in the ecumenical movement (for WCC’s 10th assembly) and other social justice issues that I am passionate about. After reading James Loney’s book “Captivity: 118 Days in Iraq and the Struggle for a World Without War,” I was inspired by his self-reflexive approach in making sense of the violence he has witnessed and worked against. This has inspired me to dig a bit deeper into more personal and theological reflection. Of course these ‘categories’ may be porous and shouldn’t be contained in isolation from one another. For instance I see many links between struggles for human rights in my own context with that of Israel/Palestine.
I have been very inspired by and engaged in the Idle No More movement upon my return to canada (lower case ‘c’ intentional). Idle No More is an Indigenous resistance movement across the country where people are re-asserting their rights, sovereignty and reinvigorating a social movement to draw awareness to the ugly consequences of colonialism in this land. It was started by four women (Indigenous and non-Indigenous) and caught on like wild fire through social media resulting in demonstrations and creative actions across the land including the hunger strike of Chief Teresa Spence. www.idlenomore.ca
Where I live, there have been demonstrations against the Northern Gateway pipeline that would pump oil from the Alberta tar sands across British Columbia to the northern coast of the Pacific Ocean. This project has enormous ecological implications and trespasses on Indigenous, unceded territory which consists of most of western canada (meaning people never gave up their lands or title to them and they were never negotiated through any treaties so all non-Aboriginal settlements on this land are illegal by canada’s own laws and what has been inherited through British law before that). Nevertheless, this pipeline is seen as a lucrative revenue-generating project by the government and corporations.
Some local Syilx and Cree women here organized a series of talks about Bill C-45 and the omnibus bill the current federal government has been pushing through which again challenges current laws and the recognition of Indigenous rights (especially the ‘duty to consult’ to which the canadian government is obligated before introducing anything that could impact Indigenous communities and nations). Their talks have been well attended and mark a truly historic moment in building relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in this region. www.seriesoffour.ca
I feel invigorated to be a part of this awakening process! I see many links between the context here with that of Israel/Palestine and these are the kinds of reflections that want to come out through this blog. I am grateful I have had the opportunity to study at length processes of colonization, how power operates, what racism is and the potential of social movements working for justice and reconciliation. This helps me to make sense of what is happening there, here and in me. Like Bob Marley says, “emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds.” Decolonization starts right from each of us – our way of understanding history, our ways of seeing and doing things.
The views contained herein are personal to me and do not necessarily reflect those of the United Church, my employer, EAPPI or the WCC. If you would like to publish the information contained here (including posting on a website), or distribute it further, please first contact me for permission. Thank you.