torsdag 5 maj 2011

Geronimo - revived and shot

When the white man invaded North America it was at the cost of the indigenous people already living there. The settlement of the Europeans started with stealing the land from the Indians. Stealing was not the only injustice committed, though. To be able to cultivate the stolen land the white man started kidnapping and trafficking black people from Africa to North America, enslaving them in their new land.

The indigenous people did not give up the land of their forefathers without a fight, though. Some of them formed what today probably would be described as terrorist organisations and cells raping and pillaging white men and women, killing their children. Obviously the white man stroke back with force, forcing the terrorists into submission, offering money for black scalps and killing some of the terrorist leaders, such as Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse and Mangas Coloradas. Sitting Bull was killed 15 December 1890 by the anti-terrorist police during an attempt to arrest him preventing him from influencing the religious movement Ghost Dance. (Later it has been claimed that Sitting Bull had nothing to do with this movement.) Crazy Horse was fatally wounded by a military guard while allegedly resisting imprisonment 5 September 1877. Mangas Coloradas arrived to the white man under a flag of truce in January 1863. He was arrested and taken into custody, tortured, shot and killed when he, allegedly, tried to escape. His head was cut off and boiled.

There were other peace initiatives. Of 179 peace treaties the white man broke 178.

The concept of vendetta was not new. In Iceland during the time of the Vikings it was common. The German army used it during the Second World War. In Italy it is still used by the mafia.

One of the leaders of the indigenous people of North America that was not killed by the white man was Geronimo. He died of pneumonia, after being thrown from his horse while riding home from the saloon in February 1906, 80 years old. The grandfather of the former president George W Bush allegedly desecrated Geronimo’s grave, stealing his skull.

Now Geronimo has been revived and killed. This Sunday the white man struck again, killing a man they had named Geronimo. He seems to have been unarmed and was arrested in his bedroom, where his wife tried to go between him and the soldiers. She was shot in her leg, he was shot in his head. Around them lay children toys and clothes.

Now you could argue that that land of the white man should have developed over the years, developing concepts as democracy and rule of law. Maybe that would have been the case if the man they called Geronimo wasn’t called a terrorist. Just naming someone terrorist is enough for breaking the sovereignty, flying in helicopters and trained soldiers to another country, killing another country’s citizens without a trial, without a chance for them to speak up in a court of law.

The man they called Geronimo was the ideological leader of a terrorist organisation, standing behind the killings of thousands of men and women. However, we do not know to what extent he took part in the planning of the actual operations. That would have been something for the court to decide. If the man was unarmed in his bedroom with his wife there seem to have been little problems arresting him. Now a 12 year old daughter claims he was shot after arrest. To take the case to court would have been a. expensive, b. would have taken some hard proofs. And so far the proofs seem to have come from the white man water boarding their informants before getting the information.

You can’t nothing but wonder over the reasons behind the choice of the name Geronimo. In what way was Geronimo and Usama bin Ladin comparable? That they both fought against the US? That Geronimo did surrender and they wanted bin Ladin to do the same? Well, I can’t really figure out why someone who have stolen the land from Geronimo’s people, maybe even stolen his skull, would come up with that name, if not to degrade him again. I do wonder what Geronimo would have said about being compared to Usama bin Ladin?

And in the end, all this reminds me of the film Hrafninn Flýgur (Korpen Flyger in Swedish). Vikings kidnap a girl and kill her parents in Ireland and takes the girl to Iceland. 20 years later her brother travels to Iceland and takes revenge by killing her husband. The film ends with the dead man’s child weighing the knives that killed his father in his hands, his mother telling her brother - He is big enough to have seen too much.

To him revenge was the only thing important. To her atonement was.

Note: I do not make any claims about who is a terrorist or not.

Sources: CNN News 4 May 2011, BBC World 4 May 2011,Wikipedia articles on the different Indian chiefs.

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