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Reclaim Conservation: Activists & Communities Vs. Mainstream Conservation Myths

Reclaim Conservation

December 9, 2017

There are myriad definitions of the term “environmental conservation” and hundreds of ideologies and methods being utilised worldwide in an attempt to conserve habitats and biodiversity. At present, what is clear is that conservation efforts as a whole are failing. While there is increasing, large-scale financial investment in conservation efforts worldwide, positive results from this investment remains to be seen. Indeed, the species extinction crisis, destruction of habitat and climate change continue unabated and pose increasingly severe threats to the natural world.

Mainstream conservation institutions are increasingly modelling themselves on, and indeed directly reliant upon, commercial businesses. Being part of the dominant economic establishment positions these NGOs as conflicted in their ability (and desire) to take effective action against the root cause of environmental degradation which unarguably stems from uncontrolled capitalist exploitation, accompanied by corruption, broken nation states and a burgeoning world leadership crisis. These large NGOs cannot challenge these overarching systems of oppression because they have become part of them. By ignoring the “bigger picture” and the real cause of the problems that they claim to be concerned with tackling and offering superficial, insincere solutions, the big NGOs cause severe damage to our world in that they control the vast majority of resources and funding to ostensibly support conservation efforts, but fail to use it where it is most needed and thus fail to create any meaningful change or positive results.

In order to justify their failure, they have developed discourses blaming local people for being either greedy destroyers of nature or ignorant savages who lack the intelligence or motivation to work to preserve their own environment. Nature is being ascribed economic value and local people are being offered financial “compensation” in order to ensure they do not interfere with the work of the powerful NGOs. Grassroots activism and new, radical approaches to conservation are demonised and accused of “getting in the way” of the “real conservationists” (the large NGOs) in order to distract people from seeing activists’ real potential as capable of creating a new reality. Funds are being blocked from reaching either community conservationists or activists, ensuring that the powerful retain control and those uniquely positioned to dismantle the ineffective and damaging status quo are prevented from accessing the resources and opportunities that are required to make real change.

This situation must change, Reclaim Conservation, through activist work with communities, whistle-blowers and law enforcement, through academia, mass and social medias, will prove and inform the public that:

Conservation is activism

Conservation is against corruption

Conservation is against all kinds of discriminations

Conservation is against right wing, capitalist exploitation

Conservation is compassion

If not, conservation will just not work!

 

www.reclaimconservation.org

Celebrity ‘Charity’: A Gift for a Vicious System

Celebrity ‘Charity’: A Gift for a Vicious System

Al Jazeera

December 3, 2017

By Belen Fernandez

Irish rock star Bono talks to pupils at a school near Lesotho’s capital Maseru on May 17, 2006 [Mike Hutching/Reuters]

When movie star George Clooney married human rights lawyer and fashion icon Amal Alamuddin in Venice back in 2014, the Entertainment Tonight website declared that “it was charity that came out as the real winner” of the multimillion-dollar nuptial festivities.

The reason for the alleged win was that proceeds from certain wedding photos were said to be destined for – you guessed it – “charity”, that favourite celebrity pastime that so often translates into massive PR points and saviour-hero credit, not to mention tax breaks.

We non-celebrities have been so conditioned to perceive charity as something unconditionally positive – rather than a commodification and exploitation of faux altruism – that we don’t seem to notice reality’s conspicuous absence from the feel-good world of celeb-philanthropy.

Case in point: reports that rock star Bono’s anti-poverty foundation ONE managed in 2008 to channel a mere 1.2 percent of the funds it raised to the people it purported to be assisting have done nothing to interfere with the man’s portrayal as some sort of messiah for Africa.

In the case of the Clooneys, who now preside over their very own Clooney Foundation for Justice, celebrity worship and Amal-mania have also precluded sound judgement. Objectively speaking, it would seem that “justice” is not really an option in a world in which human rights lawyer-philanthropists by the name of Amal Clooney wear outfits costing $7,803.

The obscenity of inequality

Currently targeted for charitable assistance by the Clooneys’ organisation is the Syrian refugee population of Lebanon, where, the foundation’s website stresses, “refugee children are sent out to work for as little as 2 dollars per day”. Roughly calculating, it would thus take a Syrian refugee child approximately eleven years to accumulate enough funds for the aforementioned outfit (less if accessories are left out).

Fantastically expensive galas, celebrity photo ops with black and brown children in international charity hotspots, and other mainstays of the celebro-philanthropist repertoire do little, in the end, to alleviate poverty, hunger, oppression, and the rest of the global ills that are repeatedly invoked to tug at heartstrings and thereby provoke admiration and/or financial contributions to the cause being peddled.

This is not to suggest, of course, that one must always calculate and justify one’s expenses in terms of Syrian refugee income, but rather to point out that any sort of actual justice in the world would require dismantling the prevailing neoliberal panorama of obscene economic inequality.

In a forthcoming book titled Against Charity, authors Julie Wark and Daniel Raventos offer a meticulous and scathing indictment of the institution of charity as a key component of the neoliberal order – and of the role of celebrity philanthropists in keeping the have-nots in place and the powerful in power.

Celebrities, write Wark and Raventos, “draw attention to social distress but immediately cover it up by giving the impression that something is being done” by the wealthy of the world, who have the money to do things.

But fantastically expensive galas, celebrity photo ops with black and brown children in international charity hotspots, and other mainstays of the celebro-philanthropist repertoire do little, in the end, to alleviate poverty, hunger, oppression, and the rest of the global ills that are repeatedly invoked to tug at heartstrings and thereby provoke admiration and/or financial contributions to the cause being peddled.

Again, were global oppression to somehow magically cease, the “philanthropic” rich and famous would be up a creek – since no arrangement governed by literal justice would allow the obsequiously-celebrated “poverty fighter” Bill Gates to own a house with 24 bathrooms or for the ever-so-charitable David and Victoria Beckham to trademark their children’s names.

Disappearing context

Regarding the function of celebrities within “a system that sees famous people as brands and thus consumer products”, Wark and Raventos note that celebrity “excess” helps sustain the consumerist model by providing glorified examples of over-the-top materialism – while celebrity “beneficence” helps whitewash the brutality of institutionalised socioeconomic disparity.

Meanwhile, the “awareness” that celebrities purport to raise for their respective causes is frequently devoid of the political context necessary to comprehend contemporary causes of human suffering.

Take, for example, actress and philanthropic superstar Angelina Jolie, whose work as Special Envoy for the United Nations refugee agency elicits continuous media prostration before her charitable “radiance“.

Descending upon war-torn nations and refugee camps in characteristic superhuman perfection, Jolie decries earthly injustice – while regularly excising crucial pieces of the puzzle from her lament.

This was the case in a March 2017 speech in Geneva, when Jolie referenced “the conflict in Iraq – the source of so much Iraqi suffering to this day”, and yet proceeded to self-identify as “a proud American” and a believer in the notion that “a strong nation, like a strong person, helps others to rise up and be independent”.

Never mind that the US – a strong nation indeed – happens to have effectively destroyed Iraq, inflicting unquantifiable death and misery upon the Iraqi people.

In Iraq and beyond, in fact, the military and economic policies of the country of which our heroine is so “proud” have contributed to a range of humanitarian crises now abstractly seized upon by Jolie & Co – not least the Saudi-led starvation of Yemen, aided and abetted by none other than the US.

It’s showtime

A recent Vanity Fair cover story on Jolie touches on numerous aspects of the actress’ life, from her new Los Angeles mansion – “listed for around $25 million” – to her cofounding, with British former foreign secretary William Hague, of the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative in 2012. According to its website, the initiative “aims to raise awareness of the extent of sexual violence … in situations of armed conflict and rally global action to end it”.

This is the same Hague who, in addition to fervently championing the war on Iraq, argued in 2015 that just because Iraq had turned out poorly didn’t mean the west shouldn’t intervene in Syria.

In other words, so much for the prevention of violence.

Wark and Raventos observe that “the demigods of celebrity culture are a symptom of a general moral and ethical malaise in which, as capitalism is foundering in its own morass, mythmaking is essential for keeping the show going”.

If only the curtain would fall – not only on the sideshow of celebrity philanthropy, but on the myth itself.

 

[Belen Fernandez is the author of The Imperial Messenger: Thomas Friedman at Work, published by Verso. She is a contributing editor at Jacobin Magazine.]

 

‘Global Britain” is Financing Terrorism and Bloodshed in Syria and Calling it ‘Aid’

‘Global Britain” is Financing Terrorism and Bloodshed in Syria and Calling it ‘Aid’

21st Century Wire

December 9, 2017

by Vanessa Beeley

 

Boris Johnson preached to the UK State choir, in the Foreign Office, on the 7th December. In Churchillian tones, Johnson announced “when in the course of a prolonged, ambitious struggle, you eventually record a success, it is essential, with due humility and caution, to celebrate that success – so I draw your attention, once again, to the defeat of DAESH in Raqqa and the victory of the 74 member coalition, in which the UK played a proud part”.

The sheer sanctimonious humbug contained within that first convoluted utterance should be enough to take our breath away. However, Johnson continued speaking for 36 minutes, turning verbal somersaults of every shade and hue of hypocrisy. This speech comes swift on the heels of the BBC Panorama limping expose of the UK FCO funding of terrorism in Syria that barely scratched the surface of the magnitude of the UK campaign to destablize a sovereign nation and foment insurgency against a “regime” and its allies, that has thwarted Global Britain’s geopolitical ambitions at every turn.

BBC Panorama’s “Jihadis You Pay For” was nothing more than a media sleight of hand designed to conceal the bulk of the funding iceberg beneath the decorative tip of a superficial investigation that revealed nothing that had not already been unmasked by independent analysts, investigative journalists, the Syrian Government and the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the last 7 years. The BBC, as always, made a molehill out of a mountain in order to protect Global Britain’s criminal foreign policy in Syria.

BBC Panorama’s “Jihadis We Pay For” (Photo: Screenshot)

“Jihadis You Pay For” was a professionally packaged damp squib that left most informed viewers feeling cheated. Endless ‘mood’ shots of Jane Corbin were used as narrative “fillers” to bulk out a singularly unimpressive episode in the BBC’s archives of UK State protectionism.

Corbin, who was responsible for the ‘revolution’-partisan-2011 “Syria Inside the Secret Revolution“, begins her reportage with the statement that “ Syrian people desperately need British Aid”. Corbin had obviously not taken the time to speak to the UNDP Deptuty Country Director in Damascus.

In August 2017 Akiko Suzaki told me (during an interview) that Syria did not need  foreign interference, that its civil society was more than capable of repairing the damage done to its country and people by (internationally sponsored terrorism.)

Corbin was simply protecting future “aid” packages that would disguise UK FCO subversion tactics inside Syria. I will not dwell too much on the Panorama non-event. Corbin even managed to reduce the Nour Al Din Zenki torture, humiliation and public decapitation of 12 year old Palestinian child Abdullah Issa, down to “(Zenki) beheaded a young prisoner“.

Corbin glossed over the fact that Issa begged to be shot rather than murdered in the brutal way that Zenki preferred. As is customary among colonial media reports, Corbin gave no name to this child, murdered by the terrorists that the BBC has promoted for 7 years, calling them “freedom fighters” and “democracy bringers”. This child has no name for the BBC, even now, while they twirl Bana Alabed around on the global stage, promoting her to stardom as the war lobby’s Shirley Temple.


Free Syrian Police and White Helmets working side by side. 

Corbin expressed outrage that the Free Syrian Police had cordoned off an area to be used for the stoning of prisoners by the terrorist entities. The White Helmet participation in torture, executions and dismemberment of prisoners of war was not mentioned in Corbin’s sanitised report. She did not explain the connections between the Free Syrian Police, the White Helmets and the Local Councils as exposed in my article:

White Helmets and Local Councils – Is the UK FCO Financing Terrorism in Syria with Taxpayer Funds?

Corbin announced that the Free Syrian Police cannot operate separately to Nusra Front or other terrorist groups occupying specific areas inside Syria. This applies across the board, Corbin, it includes the White Helmets, the Local Councils, the UK FCO created and funded media groups – all those who work within these terrorist-held areas, work exclusively for their sponsors in the 74 member war coalition and support their geopolitical aims in the region.

Why did Corbin not mention them? Simply because the Free Syrian Police will be re-integrated into the myriad of other “Free” organisations. They will be rebranded, just as the terrorist groups have been rebranded to distance them from the hardcore Nusra Front, while they continue their ethnic cleansing pogroms across Syria.  What lies you spin Corbin, around the suffering of the Syrian people who die while you concoct the latest firewall to protect your ‘Global Britain’


Free Syrian Police with Al Okaidi, who collaborated with ISIS 2013-14. East Aleppo.


Free Syrian Police in East Aleppo under Nusra Front (Al Qaeda) flag.

Corbin works for one of the primary cogs in Global Britain’s intervention apparatus, it is not surprising that Panorama failed to address the overarching issues of the UK’s destablisation project in Syria, Yemen and beyond.

Brian Gerrish of UK Column described BBC Media Action’s “change” management process back in July 2014:

“In typical BBC style John Tulsa spun the true subversive political objectives as ‘assistance in transition i.e. help for vulnerable people.” The reality is that the BBC Marshall Plan of the Mind was the opposite. A vast, dangerous and subversive media propaganda exercise to break up and reframe nation states into a new British and BBC designed model, whether they wanted it or not.”


Screenshot from UK Column report on the role of BBC Media Action in the infiltration and subversion of prey nations for Global Britain.

We should also not forget Robert Stuart’s forensic analysis of the previous BBC Panorama hoax report, “Saving Syria’s Children”.

“Analysis of the 30 September 2013 BBC Panorama documentary ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ and related BBC News reports, contending that sequences filmed by BBC personnel and others at Atareb Hospital, Aleppo on 26 August 2013 purporting to show the aftermath of an incendiary bomb attack on a nearby school are largely, if not entirely, staged.”

The ‘Truths’ to be Capitalised Upon

The “Jihadis You Pay For” was produced out of desperation. The ‘Global Britain’ “aid-for-Syria” edifice had been crumbling around its rotten foundations, for some time. During the seven year war that has been waged against Syria, colonial media has been consistently exposed as the corroded-from-within spectre of journalism it really is. They are a denuded gaggle of UK/US State script writers who have lost credibility among their public sponsors whom they have deceived and taken for fools, for way too long. Now, they are being brought to account and they are not happy.

However a few points were made during the programme that should be capitalised upon. Nick Dearden of Global Justice Now made the following statement:

“(The UK Government) simply cannot operated aid projects like that with so little scrutiny or accountability”

Anyone who has experienced the lack of “freedom” in the UK FCO responses to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, will smile at this statement. The dismay expressed by Dearden after seven years of Global Britain’s obfuscation and double-speak regarding their faux humanitarian role in Syria is too little too late.

I was sent the following two FOI requests very recently. They perfectly demonstrate the denial of freedom of information by Global Britain. They should also raise further questions as to the accountability for taxpayer funds – who and what are they financing? Who is conducting the “vetting procedures” and how can they be considered viable when terrorism flourishes in Syria, in areas where UK and US AID sustains them,  while the Syrian people continue to die, starve and suffer under occupation by British ‘financed-by-mistake’, terrorist groups.

Why should we trust a government that bases its policy statements upon spurious evidence provided by terrorist embeds & “unvetted” individuals working under the control of extremist groups secretly benefitting from UK AID.

For example, on the 12th July 2017, Mathew Rycroft, then-permanent UK representative to the UN, made the following statement on “this sickening use of chemical weapons – weapons that Assad agreed in 2013, to destroy – is just the latest in a long list of abhorrent acts”. Employing the now familiar, sociopathically unbalanced, ‘language of diplomacy’ that is representative of Global Britain’s foreign policy, Rycroft made the definitive claim:

“Chemical weapons scientists at Porton Down, in the United Kingdom, have analysed samples obtained from Khan Shaykun, and these have tested positive for the nerve agent sarin, or a sarin-like substance. The United Kingdom therefore shares the US assessment that it is highly likely that the regime was responsible for a sarin attack on Khan Shaykun on the 4th of April.”

This statement carries with it, the potential to escalate military conflict in the region to catastrophic levels, so it is logical, even rational to presume that the UK FCO would have access to the report from Porton Down that has been cited by its representative at the UN. Think again:

The UK FCO “can neither confirm nor deny that the information (Porton Down report) requested is held by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office”. So, yet again, Global Britain demonstrates its duplicity and deceit – it is not interested in “aid” for the Syrian people, it is interested in maintaining pressure upon a recalcitrant state that has confounded the might of 74 coalition member states intent upon its destruction.

At the end of the Panorama report we are told:

“The money of British tax payers is being spent very poorly, it is unfortunately strengthening the extremists and Islamic groups, currently in control of the majority of “opposition” areas”

Well, bravo BBC for finally stating the blindingly obvious. Thank you, however, for giving us the slap-down to all those “Kremlin agent” finger pointers in the ranks of colonial media, the braying media lynch mob who have demonised all under-funded independent media & analysts who have said exactly this throughout the Global Britain interventionist project in Syria and the region.

Thank you BBC for limping across the finishing line with your broken baton of half truths – finally, through gritted teeth, you serve us well.

The Conflict Stability and Security Fund in Detail

I was recently sent the full breakdown of the Conflict Stability and Security Fund which had been detailed following a request from a member of the House of Lords. (Names withheld)

1: Political Support – £ 14 million

2: Peace Building and Track II – £ 18 million

3: Civilian-Military Integration and support to “Moderate” Armed Groups – £ 32 million

4: Safety, Security, Stability – £ 54 million

5: Governance, Livelihood and Education – £ 39 million

6: Strategic Communications – £ 23 million

7: Human Rights and Accountability – £ 20 million

The UK FCO has effectively spent £ 200 million of taxpayer contributions on a 7-year-long, failed military campaign in Syria. Boris Johnson’s posturing and self-congratulatory celebration of a victory against terrorism should ring hollow for those who are living beneath the poverty line in “Austerity” plagued Global Britain as their undisclosed contributions to the Global war fund, have ensured the devastation of yet another sovereign nation.

The British government has lied to its citizens time and time again. Fantasy “WMDs” took us to war in Iraq. False claims of viagra-fuelled rape by Gadaffi’s soldiers in Benghazi led to the Libyan failed state, bombed into oblivion by the NATO intervention. Syria is no exception to the rule of wars based upon deceit, faciliated by the corporate media and think tank accomplices who support the criminal Global Britain operations with their own thinly disguised form of media terrorism.

Syria does not need “political support”, it has a majority elected government and is perfectly capable of negotiating its own political reforms without hostile foreign meddling. Syria does not need “peace building” from Global Britain, it would like GB to lift the sanctions that are collectively punishing the Syrian people while impeding resolution and political, economic progress inside Syria. Syria would like GB to stop financing the terrorist groups that are torturing, raping, executing, starving and imprisoning the Syrian people.

How does GB vet the “moderate” armed groups? How does GB justify fomenting an insurgency against a sovereign state under international law? How do they verify that the aid is “non lethal” when even BBC Panorama has reported on the “bags of cash” being handled by the extremist groups courtesy of Global Britain’s aid contractors.

“International law is indifferent to the perceived legitimacy of the state and to the form of government; both democracies and authoritarian regimes have the right to fight insurgencies and to defend themselves from external powers which aid the insurgents. Either way, it falls under the domestic jurisdiction of the state. Foreign powers are prohibited from assisting insurgents. General Assembly resolution 2131 (XX) declares that “no State shall organize, assist, foment, finance, incite or tolerate subversive, terrorist or armed activities directed towards the violent overthrow of the regime of another State, or interfere in civil strife in another State.” This was reaffirmed by the International Court of Justice in Nicaragua v. USA. The injured state is even entitled to adopt countermeasures against the intervening state.” ~ Amal Saad.

Syria was “safe, secure and stable” before Global Britain started its programme of introducing “safety, stability and security” to the region. How does the UK FCO verify the 100,000 civilians that the multi-million-funded White Helmets claim to have “saved”. What documentation exists? What inventory of names, dates, after-care, exists that can prove this wild assertion by an organisation known to work exclusively with Nusra Front (Al Qaeda) and associates just as the criminalised Free Syrian Police do, according to BBC Panorama.

How can the White Helmets serve 7 million Syrians when over 80% of the civilian population is serviced by the REAL Syria Civil Defence which has been in existence since 1953. Why is that volunteer, Syrian humanitarian organisation helping real Syrians, being targeted by economic sanctions while the White Helmets receive UKAID and equipment as “Nusra Front’s civil defence” or “Islamic State’s fire brigade”?


John Cantile ((kidnapped by ISIS for last 5 years) filming in East Aleppo.

Global Britain claims to provide health and education to the beleaguered Syrian people who had free healthcare and education, a social system which was the envy of the Middle East – long before GB intervened and brought this system to its knees through economic and military terrorism. Meanwhile, back home, GB is steadily destroying the NHS and the UK education system.

Finally, GB has waged information warfare against Syria with £ 43 million of taxpayer funds – establishing, training and equipping anti-Syrian-state media cells in Gaziantep, a city in Turkey, known as the Jihadi Express.  Media cells who have provided much of the war fiction that has fed the pseudo humanitarian complex, chafing at the bit to infiltrate Syria with its toxic aid packages.

£ 200 million has financed the maintenance of “Conflict”, it has guaranteed instability and inscecurity for the Syrian people and we have paid for this entire criminal project, not just the select “Jihadists” that BBC Panorama decided to offer as a sacrificial lamb on the altar of Global Britain’s intelligence operations inside Syria.

In his letter to PM Theresa May, Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn said:

“It is the responsibility of your government to ensure robust scrutiny and transparency processes are in place to prevent such grotesque abuses of UK aid money.

“Given the humanitarian crisis in Syria, with millions of Syrians internally displaced and millions of Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries, it is a real concern that your government has appeared to use aid funding to support sectarian division rather than humanitarian need.”

According to the Morning Star report, “The government has suspended the billion-pound Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF)”. 

Global Britian hides its neocolonialist ventures behind the barricade of “aid” contractors that provide “plausible deniability” when evidence of UK villainy reaches unmanageable proportions.

The UK taxpayers must demand answers from Global Britain and the UK Government. Boris Johnson must not be allowed to celebrate a victory that is not his. The Sryian Arab Army and allies have defeated international terrorism in Syria against all the odds and under punishing conditions which have been financed and fomented by the 74 members of the war coalition.

Global Britain has financed terrorism and bloodshed in Syria, nothing less, and it must be held accountable so history will not endlessly repeat itself at the cost of innocent people in target nations who are perfectly capable of resolving their internal issues without the international, pseudo-humanitarian-aid pretexts fanning the flames of manufactured ‘dissent’, which inevitably lead to the hybrid wars we are witnessing on a horrifying and ever-expanding global scale.

 

AFGHANISTAN: DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS RECOGNIZED AS THE TOP BRAND IN THE MISERY INDUSTRY

Exhibit Abstract

“‘Great Harm Has Been Done to US,’ declared George Bush in a speech thunderously applauded by the U.S. Congress on 20 September 2001. With this disingenuous slogan the United States directed its unaccountable permanent warfare machine at the people of Afghanistan, a place that few U.S. citizens know much about. Our ‘allies’ jumped aboard, unleashing high-tech weaponry and shock-and-awe destruction on a simple people that have been subject to the nasty prerogatives of Empire since ~ 1838.

Civilians bear the brunt of this ugly war: over the past 4 years far more than 33,000 Afghan civilians were injured or killed. The cowardice of our war includes drone strikes, targeted assassinations, ‘dirty tricks’ black operations, snatch-and-snuff kidnappings, torture—all as policy.  The War of Terror has caused millions of direct / indirect deaths since 2001, and millions more displaced persons, and the U.S. has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

Dilawar of Yakubi was a young taxi driver tortured/killed by U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

+++

“Decades of war means destruction of homes and villages, destruction of crops, croplands mined, failed crops, and rising displacement. Starvation and malnutrition were named in a major New York Times ‘news’ article that appears to be more a plug for the UNICEF brand and the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières brand than any serious reportage on the hunger crisis. The disingenuous title of the January 2014 article was: ‘Afghanistan’s Worsening, and Baffling, Hunger Crisis.’ What is baffling? This is a way to diminish responsibility and deflect attention from the obvious causes of starvation, crop failures, starvation, malnutrition, high infant mortality, and other obvious effects of the illegal U.S. war in Afghanistan. Further, the article notes that ‘despite years of Western involvement and billions of dollars in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, children’s health is not only still a problem, but also worsening’ but nowhere does the New York Times probe the massive corruption and outright (advertising & branding) lies of the for-profit humanitarian sector that, obviously, benefits from our permanent warfare economy.”

“Hunger in Afghanistan is a very real problem. These children play at sunset amidst piles of grain being processed—separating the wheat from the chaff using straw brooms on a dirt ground—by their fathers and uncles. To grasp the gross inequity between the level of suffering for children in Afghanistan (the target population that the AID industry preys upon), consider that combined salaries of the top seven Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières executives total $1,169,715 (* 2016 IRS form 990) and they receive $256479 in ‘other’ compensation. Of course, information about Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres corporate sponsors is not easily discoverable from either their web site or their published reports available therein.”

“This father and his son suffer alike after the child was wounded and rests in critical condition in a hospital bed in Kabul.”

“The landscapes in Afghanistan are vast, and the real reasons for the war are for access to the land and its natural resources. In the calculated equations of predatory western capitalism and the profit motives of unconscious demagogues and warmongers the people of Afghanistan are considered in the way: they are expendable, and the depopulation of Afghanistan is underway.”

“Afghan herders often trip unexploded ordnance and land mines while herding domestic donkeys, sheep and goats. Landmines and other battlefield unexploded ordnance (UXOs) contaminate at least 724 million square meters of land in Afghanistan, more than any other country in the world. Only two of Afghanistan’s twenty-nine provinces are believed to be free of landmines. The Northern Alliance and United Front forces have laid mines, while many Russian-era mines remain. According to Human Rights Watch in 2001, the Taliban had stopped using landmines in 1998, declaring it un-Islamic and punishable by death; after 1998 the Taliban were often falsely blamed for using them. Mine clearance teams in Afghanistan still find UXOs from the former Soviet Union but also from Belgium, Italy, the United States and Britain. The United States dropped about 1,228 cluster bombs containing 248,056 bomblets between October 2001 and March 2002 alone; these weapons destroyed the homes and lives of countless civilians.”

“Afghan men discuss war and politics outside a mosque in northern Afghanistan. The people are angry at the U.S. occupation, the corruption of their leaders working with the occupation, and they admit that every U.S. attack redoubles the popular resistance to the U.S. and its goals.”

“Afghan farmers see the profit and value in planting their fields in poppies. The Central Intelligence Agency and U.S. military have their fingers in the Afghan opium/heroin trade: heroin processed in Afghanistan by ‘Taliban’ and ‘Isis’ and other factions backed by the U.S. does not leave Afghanistan on the backs of donkeys. Warlords run the heroin business. The heroin is allegedly shipped by air to Bondsteel Air Base in Kosovo, where it is then allegedly distributed to Western Europe by the Albanian mafia.”

“As Dr. Alfred McCoy pointed out: On 16 November 2017 the United Nations released its opium report for 2017: total crop area up from 200,000 hectares in 2016 to 328,000 hectares in 2017; the opium harvest nearly doubled since 2016 from 4,600 to 9,000 tons, well above the 2007 peak of 8,200 tons.”

“A boy of ten years old—another obvious civilian casualty in the U.S.-led war “to win hearts and minds”—rests awake and immobile and terrified, his wounds still fresh and bloody, in the intensive care section of a hospital in Kabul.”

“The LOVE THY ENEMY sign I posted on my family’s farmland in Williamsburg Massachusetts on September 13, 2001, defaced over night by local people directly connected to the war machine. The people responsible for the war in suffering in Afghanistan and Iraq and Syria and Central Africa are the people of the western nations whose soldiers are fighting and killing there, the populations whose complacency and acceptance make these wars in ‘far off places’ possible. There is little discussion of these wars in popular quarters in the United States, Canada or Europe, as they are hidden and downplayed and obfuscated by the western media propaganda system. The U.S. population is deeply divided between those who favor war and killing and ‘putting America first’ at all costs, and those who see the pointlessness of war, and the profits being made to sustain it, at the expense of all people everywhere, and at the expense of nature, and all of planet earth.”

Photographer’s Statement

View Keith Harmon Snow’s stunning exhibition, in it’s entirety:

http://socialdocumentary.net/exhibit/keith_harmon_snow

[Keith Harmon Snow has worked as a journalist, war correspondent, genocide investigator and/or photographer in 46 countries — often traveling by simple means (mountain bike, raft, horse, foot) to enable a deeper engagement with the land and people.  He is the 2009 Regent’s Lecturer in Law & Society at the University of California, Santa Barbara, recognized for over a decade of work documenting war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.  He is also a certified Holotropic Breathwork facilitator, and author of the non-fiction book: The Worst Interests of the Child: The Trafficking of Children & Families Through U.S. Family Courts.  In July 2016 his SDN exhibit Inside the Company, Down on the Farm (plantations in the DR Congo) won an Honorable Mention in the SDN Call for Entries on The Fine Art of Documentary.  He is available for assignment. You can also visit his website All Things Pass.]

 

Well Funded Traditional Owner Splinter Group Continues To Fight Over Land Use Agreement With Adani Mining Company

Wangan and Jagalingou Family Council

December 2, 2017

 

“We, the Wangan and Jagalingou people, are the Traditional Owners of the land in Queensland’s Galilee Basin. Corporate conglomerate, Adani, wants to use our ancestral lands for their Carmichael coal mine. We do hereby firmly REJECT a Land Use Agreement with Adani for the Carmichael mine on our traditional lands. We DO NOT consent to the Carmichael mine on our ancestral lands.We DO NOT accept Adani’s “offers” to sign away our land and our rights and interests in it. We will not take their “shut up” money. We will PROTECT and DEFEND our Country and our connection to it.”

 

The Wangan and Jagalingou people are the proud Traditional Owners and Native Title Applicants of a vast area of land in central-western Queensland. [Source]

Commentary by Wrong Kind of Green’s Australian correspondent Michael Swifte:

“People should be asking the Queensland South Native Title Services about that dodgy vote. They are the brokers on behalf of the W&J (Wangan and Jagalingou) claim group. We should also be asking the National Native Title Tribunal what information they actually collect from Registered Native Title Bodies Corporate and their agents for use in arbitration for disputes over ILUA negotiations. Having spent several hours on the phone with the NNTT trying to ascertain if the ILUA negotiations with the Juru, Birriah, and Jannga peoples over the North Galilee Basin Rail Project corridor I can say with absolute confidence that the NNTT is in no position to effectively arbitrate any conflict over negotiations and voting meetings.

In a document titled ‘Unfinished Business‘ authored by the very same people who’ve written the installments in the recent New Matilda 5 part series on the W&J Family Council, the QSNTS and the NNTT are identified as active agents in delivering outcomes that favour the Queensland Government and Adani.

“The W&J argue that their engagements with the native title regime, including through organisations including the NNTT and the local NTRB, Queensland South Native Title Services, have seen the consistent prioritising of state and mining interests over their own interests in exercising meaningful consent in relation to Country.” [p. 26, UNFINISHED BUSINESS: ADANI, THE STATE, AND THE INDIGENOUS RIGHTS STRUGGLE OF THE WANGAN AND JAGALINGOU TRADITIONAL OWNERS COUNCIL 2017]

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Watch this powerful video and commentary shared by Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council:

“Murrawah’s question to ABC Q&A last night… If only they ran it! Instead, there are those who have nothing to do with our country or people, who aren’t correct about what’s been happening to W&J, like Warren Mundine, who get to speak instead of us. If this question was put, he wouldn’t get such a free run at misinforming the community, like he did last night.”

Youth spokesperson for the W&J Traditional Owners Council, Murrawah Johnson:


“Adani and the State Government didn’t ‘negotiate’ and achieve the free, prior, informed consent of the W&J people. Instead Adani, backed by the State Government and past NNTT decisions, relied on the threat that they would compulsorily take our land.

 

The meeting, that all these Adani supporters cite where the purported majority voted for the ILUA 294 to 1, is not a true expression of the W&J Traditional Owners. Over 220 of that meeting’s attendees are people that are not Wangan and Jagalingou people according to our law and custom. They have never been involved in the W&J claim or decision making, and are identified with other people and claims. They were bussed in and paid for at Adani’s considerable expense, while hundreds of the rightful W&J Traditional Owners refused to attend this sham meeting.” [Source]

What to Expect From BBC Panorama and Guardian’s Whitewash of UK Gov’t Funding Terrorists in Syria

21st Century Wire

December 4, 2017

By Vanessa Beeley

 

The BBC will be carrying out a controlled journalistic “explosion” on their Panorama programme, airing tonight in the UK. Their report, dramatically titled, “Jihadis You Pay For” is about to expose UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) for the funding of extremist and terrorist groups in Syria via their “Free Syrian Police” project set-up in ‘rebel-held’ areas of Syria since 2014. 

To referee this virtual clash of the titans, The Guardian has been drafted-in to do the honours.

“The report, Jihadis You Pay For, will claim that Foreign Office money paid to the FSP reached people with links to the extremist group al-Nusra Front.” ~ The Guardian

Mike Raddie of BSNEWS commented:

“Is the Guardian’s Daniel Boffey attempting to whitewash the massive scandals of FCO and BBC funding and working with extremist groups in Syria? Why did he not ask Vanessa Beeley or Robert Stuart to explain how these UK institutions are working alongside al Qaeda/ISIS linked groups inside Syria?

 

Is it any wonder the Guardian has closed reader feedback on the story, less than 8 hours after it was posted? “Comment is Free” so long as you don’t mention unsayable truths such as BBC’s Panorama and Boris Johnson’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office are both working with and financing al Qaeda in direct contravention of UK anti-terror legislation.”

 

Boffey’s response to Raddie’s inquiry:

In other words, if you don’t adhere the mainstream media’s narrow narrative, then you must be a Russian agent.

We thought that “Comment is Free” (CIF) at The Guardian, but apparently not. Perhaps #CommentIsNotFree or #CINF would be appropriate hashtags when discussing this on Twitter.

Patrick Henningsen of 21st Century Wire made the following point:

“Nice to see the Mainstream Media fraternity close ranks this morning on UK FCO/Funding Terrorism story. Just remember which media outlet broke this story first. None of these MSM outlets will dare link to us, or mention name Vanessa Beeley because then they would have to acknowledge this story is much bigger than the little pigeon hole they’ve carved out – which they will “manage” into oblivion, as w/ 2night’s BBC Panorama soft ball pitch. Who’s the real independent media? Here, we beat them, and with a much bigger story”

21WIRE has always known that the White Helmets, the Free Syrian Police and al Nusra terrorists were part of one enclave – because unlike the The Guardian and the BBC, we actually went and looked for ourselves. Here’s one promotional poster for the new UK-backed “Local Councils,” the Free Syrian Police and White Helmets found at a White Helmet base in East Aleppo (Photo: Patrick Henningsen, May 2017 @21WIRE)

21st Century Wire predicts (although we’d love to be wrong on any of these) what the BBC will NOT cover in tonight’s Panorama report on the “Jihadis You Pay For” scandal:

1.  BBC Panorama will not mention the connections between the White Helmets and the Free Syrian Police as detailed in Vanessa Beeley’s investigative article (see report link below).

2.  BBC Panorama will not mention the actual terrorist leadership of many of these UK FCO financed organisations which include the Free Syrian Police, the White Helmets and the Local Councils.

3. BBC Panorama will not include evidence of recent atrocities committed by members of the Free Syrian Police or their White Helmet associates, they will focus on evidence of such collusion with terrorism in 2014. This will ensure that they can always say the protagonists have since been “sacked” or have repented their terrorist ways and joined the ranks of the saviours of all mankind.

4. BBC Panorama will not mention the rebranding of these many organisations that are working hand in hand with terrorism in Syria, in order to muddy the waters of UK FCO funding of terrorism & the dirty war against Syria that has been waged for 7 years.

5. BBC Panorama will not mention the £ 200m that has been used to finance the Syrian “opposition” via the Conflict Stability and Security Fund.

6. BBC Panorama will not mention the lack of freedom in the UK which means Freedom of Information requests in relation to the UK FCO funding of terrorism in Syria remain unanswered. Nor will the BBC mention that the UK Government is not being held accountable for its spending on such organisations.

In light of the BBC, The Times and The Guardian whitewash of this story, we are now calling for a PUBLIC ENQUIRY into the use of UK Overseas Aid money in Syria.

Once again, rather than report on the real scandal – which includes the saintly White Helmets and other covert shadow state-building projects in terrorist-run areas of Syria, the mainstream media are controlling the damage and managing the fall-out on behalf of the state. Meanwhile, the wholesale suffering continues as the Syrian people remain under attack from NATO member state-sponsored terrorism and punishing economic sanctions, and the UK Government funding for the Syrian “opposition” (terrorists) via its Conflict Stability and Security Fund (CSSF).

 

PRESS CONFERENCE: “They Don’t Care About us”: White Helmets True Agenda

Geneva Press Club

November 28, 2017

 

The “White Helmets” organization acting in Syria is hailed as heroes in some countries, and the West provides millions of dollars to these so-called saviors. However, residents of Aleppo (Syria) claim that “White Helmets” care only about money and saving rebels, but not civilians. People from Fua and Kafraya confirm allegiance of “White Helmets” to world recognized terrorist organizations like Jabhat an-Nusra or Al-Qiada and testimony “White Helmets” participation in public executions. The videos that this organization produces are astounding Internet-users all over the world.

The briefing, according to the speakers, is designed to give “a clear view on what is the real agenda of these Hollywood so called “first responders” who received an Oscar for their performance”.

Press conference (both French and English speakers):

(Note: The English text of third talk by De Noli can be found here:  http://theindicter.com/should-un-consider-white-helmets-a-politically-neutral-organization-and-its-allegations-as-credible-sources-by-un-investigative-panels-on-syria/)

 

 

Watch the full video showed during the press conference:

 

 

 

SlutWalk Toronto & Vancouver Dyke March Announce Official Partnership with Sex Trade Lobby

Feminist Current

August 1 2017

By Meghan Murphy

 

“It is concerning that two events aimed primarily at women (that purport a connection to feminism) have partnered with lobby groups promoting prostitution as an empowered choice.”

 

Image: Facebook/Maggie’s: Toronto Sex Workers Action Project

 

 

Two Canadian events, supposedly feminist in nature, have announced they will be partnering with the sex trade lobby. SlutWalk Toronto, which held its first march in April 2011 after police officer Michael Sanguinetti told students that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized,” will be holding their seventh annual march on August 12th. In an email, march organizers announced that they planned to center “sex worker rights” this year and, as such, were partnering with Maggie’s: Toronto Sex Workers Action Project, a lobby group that advocates to fully decriminalize brothels and the purchase of sex.

From early on, SlutWalk has expressed a capitalist, libertarian approach to the sex trade that refused to criticize its misogynist and racist foundation, instead presenting prostitution as gender neutral, empowering for women, and “a job like any other.” But to explicitly partner with an organization that exists primarily to promote sex work as work, to the point that they endorse “youth sex work” and have argued that consent laws harm prostituted children, takes this pro-prostitution position to another level.

In their 2011 “Youth at Work” issue, Shameless magazine published an article by Phoenix Anne McKee, who was working with Maggie’s Toronto to create a guide for “youth sex workers.” She positioned child prostitution as a viable “choice” and argued that men who buy sex from exploited children should be decriminalized, writing, “age of consent laws pose a risk to the safety of youth aged 14 and 15 who decide to engage in sex work.” McKee, who was prostituted at the age of 14, also argued that the sex trade “helped [her] out in [her] life.” She points to Maggie’s as the organization that helped her understand that prostitution is not a bad thing, but an empowering thing.

Considering SlutWalk has particular appeal to young women, it is extremely concerning that this upcoming march is partnering with an organization that promotes prostitution as an empowered choice, not just for women, but for girls.

Beyond this, Maggie’s has worked to silence and smear feminists who criticize the sex trade. In 2015, the organization launched a petition to have me fired and no-platformed, due in large part to my writing (published then at rabble.ca, a Canadian progressive online magazine) in opposition to the sex trade. The petition authors made numerous libelous statements about my words and my work, labeling me as “racist,” a “bigot,” “transmisogynistic,” and “whorephobic.” While, ultimately, I was not fired from my job, the petition and willingness of this organization to publish lies about and work to silence women who make feminist arguments against objectification and male violence against women further cemented their anti-feminist and anti-democratic politics.

On July 29th, the Vancouver Dyke March, an annual event that works toward “greater visibility, pride, and community engagement for queer women and their allies” announced that the Grand Marshal for the 14th Annual Vancouver Dyke March was Sex Workers United Against Violence (SWUAV).

Like Maggie’s, SWUAV is a lobby group that advocates for the full decriminalization of pimps, johns, and brothel-owners. In 2007, the non-profit group filed a constitutional challenge to Canada’s prostitution laws, and has worked with Pivot since then to fight for the decriminalization of johns.

In 2014, SWUAV and Pivot co-published a report called, “Criminalization of Clients: Reproducing Vulnerabilities for Violence and Poor Health among Street-Based Sex Workers in Canada,” which argued against the “criminalization and policing of sex buyers.” In 2016, SWUAV and Pivot partnered with Maggie’s, as well as a number of other pro-sex industry lobby groups, on a submission to the UN Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which argued it was the criminalization of johns — not the men themselves — that endangered prostituted women. The submission presents prostitution as a source of “economic empowerment” for women and attacks Canada’s new, hard fought for feminist legislation (the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, also known as Bill C-36), which decriminalized prostituted people and criminalized exploitative men, demanding the new laws be repealed. Shockingly, the submission also goes to great lengths to downplay trafficking, saying there is “little evidence of trafficking in Canada,” that numbers are exaggerated, reports sensationalized, and that trafficking is not a pressing problem in Canada, despite numerous reports showing otherwise. Indeed, there is ample evidence connecting the trafficking of Asian women to “massage parlours” across Canada; and Indigenous girls and women, in particular, are trafficked within Canada’s borders. Yet the submission states, “In the vast majority of situations, Indigenous women do sex work independently and voluntarily.”

To imply that marginalized women and girls are voluntarily choosing prostitution of their own free will, that it empowers them, and that men should not be held accountable for exploiting these women and girls is deeply unethical. To deny the problem of trafficking in order to advocate towards the full decriminalization of prostitution, when it is common knowledge that trafficking increases in countries that legalize prostitution, is similarly unconscionable. Both Maggie’s and SWUAV have shown themselves to be working in the interests of capitalism, white supremacy, and patriarchy in their efforts to normalize and expand the sex trade. They have also demonstrated opposition to feminists and women’s rights. That two events purporting to center women and women’s empowerment have officially partnered with such demonstrably unethical and anti-feminist groups is deeply troubling.

 

[MEGHAN MURPHY IS A FREELANCE WRITER/JOURNALIST AND FOUNDER/EDITOR OF FEMINIST CURRENT. SHE HAS BEEN PODCASTING AND WRITING ABOUT FEMINISM SINCE 2010 AND HAS PUBLISHED WORK IN NUMEROUS NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL PUBLICATIONS, INCLUDING NEW STATESMAN, VICE, AL JAZEERA, THE GLOBE AND MAIL, I-D, TRUTHDIG, AND MORE. MEGHAN COMPLETED A MASTERS DEGREE IN THE DEPARTMENT OF GENDER, SEXUALITY AND WOMEN’S STUDIES AT SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY IN 2012 AND LIVES IN VANCOUVER, B.C. WITH HER DOG.]

The Market of Pain: Corruption & Fetishized Altruism in International Aid

Critical investigations into Humanitarianism in Africa

December 4, 2017

By: Emeizmi Mandagi, University of California – Irvine

 

United Nations website: “In Malawi, UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson spotlights efforts to end child marriage.” [Source]

The University of California’s Global Peace and Conflict Studies Colloquium Series recently hosted UC Irvine’s Visiting Researcher Dr. Maria D. Bermudez on November 9, 2017 for a lunch colloquium. Drawing on over 16 years of experience working with international organizations including the United Nations (UN), European Union (EU), and Organization for the Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Dr. Bermudez  argued that within international and non-governmental aid organization, there is a fundamental form of corruption due to the culture of impunity in these organizations and in the market of “fetishized altruism.” While corruption in international aid is classically focused on corrupt acts by international workers for private or personal gain, Dr. Bermudez asserted that in fact there is a more fundamental form of corruption in international aid that involves inaccurate descriptions of realities and results for the purpose of demonstrating efficiency, effectiveness, and ultimately gaining leverage in the competitive market of donors and funds.

“The White Man’s Burden (Apologies to Rudyard Kipling)” Judge, 1 Nisan 1899, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Dr. Bermudez opened her talk stating that the United Nation’s budget for international aid in conflict areas is 40 times higher today than it was in 1950. However, the issue is not necessarily the quantity of money but rather the type of money that is coming in today. Dr. Bermudez emphasized that there is a stark difference between approved core funding, and the real expenditure provided by voluntary contributions from private and corporate donors, foundations, and member states. The allocation of this budget is therefore based on what the members of the donor organization desires. This is in line with a critique covered earlier this year by the CIHA blog on “Culture in Aidland,” a talk by Mark Schuller who highlighted that the current reward system is not designed to hold agencies accountable to the recipients of aid, but rather to the donors. Similarly, Dr. Bermudez mentioned that in 2014 alone, 151 countries received more than $127 billion USD of Official Development Assistance (ODA), but such exorbitant amounts of money are difficult to track and understand how the money is achieving desired results (and who is deciding what are the desired results!).

Dr. Bermudez offered the UN as a case study, which she argued is an organization that supports a culture of impunity. As a committee that reports to itself, the structure of the UN is problematic because, despite its best intentions, the organization and its members can easily engage in abuse, corruption, and secrecy as they are usually shielded by diplomatic immunity. There is little to no accountability of members, nor is there proper follow-up on investigations despite the implementation of the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) Reports. Instead, the status quo established at inception in 1946 continues to be upheld.

Dr. Bermudez further explained that in the field of international aid, there is a market of “fetishized altruism.” She explained that individuals are drawn to the altruistic and heavily idealized concept of “helping” – for example, helping Africans to get access to clean water by building wells, or advocating for the end of female genital mutilation. International aid agencies adopt particular programmatic goals and approaches informed by such moral justification to “help”. However, this results in an unlimited proliferation of international aid actors. This raises the question of who provides oversight on these aid actors and ensures they do not cause more damage than good. Additionally, who ensures that these aid actors are properly trained and prepared? With such a high number of available aid actors, there is an increasing need for training that informs aid actors of the local cultural customs, social norms, current political environment, and the necessary historical context and background. Such training usually requires a deep commitment to a particular location which is often not the scope and structure of international humanitarian work where scale and global reach are valued. At CIHA Blog, we seek to provide humanitarian actors, scholars and students who work on the African continent with a source of information and resources that can help ground their work and efforts in local contexts and histories.

Dr. Bermudez argued that the inherent structure of international aid organizations itself creates a “market of pain” in its attempts to aid communities. For instance, organizations face the double client dilemma when they compete for aid, because organizations have to meet the demands and expectations of donors rather than the needs of those they supposedly serve. Dr. Bermudez concluded by stating that there is a strong need for monitoring the results of international aid projects rather than focusing on manufacturing data and reports to stay relevant in the international aid sector. She held that there needs to be a shift in what is expected of international aid organizations regarding accountability for corruption, adequate training of international aid actors, a focus on the respective communities receiving aid as opposed to a focus on donors, and the types of solutions and projects implemented.

 

[Maria D. Bermudez is a visiting researcher at UCI. She holds a PhD in International Relations by SciencesPo, Paris, France and brings 16 years of experience working with international cooperation in the field of Human Movements, Forced Migration and Refugees, Human Rights, Post-conflict Institution Building and Rule of Law, in more than 20 conflict or post-conflict countries, for different organizations such as the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), or the Organization for the Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).]

[Emeizmi Mandagi is an Irvine Intern at the University of California.]

 

This Reconciliation is for the Colonizer

Indigenous Motherhood

June 13, 2017

By Andrea Landry

 

“Indigenous based child-rearing in today’s generation resides in watching the restoration of unfaltering kinship in our Indigenous family systems unfold and allowing that to reside in the raising of our children with the knowing of who they are, and where they come from, wildly and unapologetically.”

 

Artwork by: Votan Henriquez 

 

This reconciliation is for the colonizer.

This settler-colonial reconciliation branded by the government is artificially sweetened with handshake photo-ops and small pockets of money buying out silence on real issues.

The fad and conversation of reconciliation that our people are playing a role in is immobilizing “leadership” and converting indigenous peoples into colonially operated marionettes.

This type of reconciliation is a distraction.

Instead of being idle no more, we are “reconciling some more” with present day Indian act agents whose hands are choking out our voices for land, water, and our children’s minds.

This type of reconciliation is for the ones who want to be “friends” with the Indians for land commodification reasoning, for the ones who whisper the words “im sorry” as they watched the priests and nuns rape our children, for the ones who shut their eyes and turned away when genocide was bleeding into their forts, for the ones who defy Treaty daily- without remorse, and it’s for the ones who beat you, apologize, and beat your daughter and their daughters in the coming years.

This type of reconciliation is for the professors at universities who are pro-Trudeau and believe “decolonizing” universities looks like mandatory Indigenous studies classes yet those very same professors still belittle, marginalize, and see themselves better than, smarter than, and superior to every indigenous student in their classes, shaming them for their brown skin and indigenous minds.

This type of reconciliation is for the professionals in work-spaces who want to aid in repairing the settler-Indigenous relationship in their work places but when an Indigenous women brings her children into that space because her sitter didn’t show up that morning, the mother will be told that her children need to leave because they’re laughter doesn’t line up with colonial workplace standards.

This type of reconciliation helps elderly white woman carry their groceries to their vehicle, but later follows a single indigenous woman with 3 children in the store, aisle after aisle, under the suspicion that she will shoplift.

This type of reconciliation will have dollars for moccasin making and small “cultural” events, but those accounts will be “out of money” the moment those events begin to engage in conversations and action around indigenous liberation, sovereignty, and nationhood.

This type of reconciliation sponsors powwows through companies like Potash and Shell, hoping the 1000 first place special will buy out a few hundred acres of indigenous land more easily.

This type of reconciliation claims residential schools are over but maintains a superior and oppressive power dynamic between settler adults and indigenous children at its own convenience.

This type of reconciliation declares “no foul play” to the bodies of young indigenous youth found in the riverbanks in this country’s most racist cities but later claims they celebrate the lives of indigenous peoples.

This type of reconciliation organizes a national inquiry for missing and murdered indigenous women but neglects to do any actual work by configuring the timeframe to benefit the colonizer and showing that bringing justice to murdered indigenous women is something that can go on summer vacation.

This type of reconciliation invents a “new nation to nation relationship” and teaches our people that the only way we can access our treaty rights is if we have a status card, completely negating from the truth that we, as indigenous peoples, do not need a new “nation to nation relationship,” as ours is with the crown “as long as the sun shines, grass grows, and water flows,” and those status cards have nothing to do with our treaty rights.

This type of reconciliation was born by the colonizer’s TRC and will die on the very same shelves as those documents in the halls and walls of colonial buildings. For their benefit.

This type of reconciliation claims they are not racist but makes degrading comments about the braids on your sons and the skin of your daughters in public spaces.

This type of reconciliation will say it wants to bring justice to our women but is raping the very land our mothers were birthed on for generations.

This type of reconciliation will say there are no funds for following through with Jordan’s principle, none for the lack of clean drinking water in communities, zero for decreasing the price of food in northern communities, and nothing for the mouldy housing and schools that indigenous children must learn in everyday, but will spend half a billion dollars on Canada 150 – a birthday party founded and based upon genocide.

This type of reconciliation claims to “love” indigenous peoples but expects your indigenous child to sing “oh Canada” in their classroom every morning, standing up.

This type of reconciliation is “making space” for indigenous peoples in writing and editorials but later compiles money together to create an appropriation prize.

This type of reconciliation is “putting an end” to indigenous young people killing themselves but only provides enough money for communities to bring in guest speakers and concerts rather than full time therapists equipped with all the tools needed to aid young people in full-blown crisis.

This type of reconciliation “seeks” to decrease the numbers of indigenous peoples in the criminal justice system but will place a young indigenous male in solitary confinement for 4 years for no real reason other than being an Indian in “Canada.”

This type of reconciliation wants to build better relationships with indigenous peoples but is building better ways to commit treason, genocide, colonization, and prejudice with nice hair and a smile of lies.

This reconciliation is for the colonizers.

This is a time of pseudo-reconciliation for continued colonization.

This reconciliation is colonization, disguised with dollar signs and white-skinned handshakes.

This reconciliation is not our reconciliation.

Because.

The only reconciliation that exists for us, as Indigenous nations, is the reconciliation we need to find within ourselves and our communities, for agreeing and complying to this madness for so long.

The only reconciliation that exists for us, is the reconciliation needed to forgive our families, our loved ones, for acting like the colonizer.

The only reconciliation we need. Is a reconciliation that doesn’t involve white skinned handshakes and five dollar handouts for our lands.

The only reconciliation we need is indigenous reconciliation. Free of money. Handshakes. Photo-ops. Inquiries with summer vacations. The continued rape of our women, our girls, our lands, and our babies. Highway of tears and roadways of fears. The continued murder of our women, our girls, our lands, and our babies. Free of shaming our boys out for being indigenous boys with indigenous hair. Free of shaming our girls for being indigenous girls with indigenous skin. Free of support for the colonizer’s version of indigenous “culture,” yet no support money for liberation. Free of supremacy. Trickery. Fake it til you make it syndrome. Indian agents. Sir John A Macdonald governments disguised as Trudeau. Colonial chiefs. Free of the continued manipulation, colonization, degradation, and humiliation of Indigenous people. Free of colonially written documents claiming to “save” us, viewing us always, as victims. Free of the lyrics of Oh Canada for breakfast for our children.

Instead of us living in times of reconciliation, we are living in times of recolonization.

And it will only happen if we allow it.

This reconciliation is for the colonizer. And we need to leave this conversation.

We need to reconcile with ourselves. With our families. With our nations.

For our babies.

Because I want our children to to learn about our own liberation, rather than the colonizer’s reconciliation.

And I want our children to know that
Indigenous liberation will always overthrow colonial reconciliation.

Because having our homelands is more important to me than a photo-op and handshake with government officials named Trudeau.

 

[Andrea Landry is Anishinaabe from Pawgwasheeng (Pays Plat First Nation) but currently resides on Treaty Six territory in Poundmaker Cree Nation. She holds a Masters in Communications and Social Justice from the University of Windsor. Full bio.]