I haven’t posted my thoughts and feelings on the atrocities committed against the Water Protectors at Standing Rock for some time. It’s because I can’t process what’s been happening there. It’s unfathomable to me, especially when you consider the history of how shamefully the USA has treated its indigenous people.
Standing Rock represented a huge opportunity for the government to make things better, and to demonstrate they had learned from their past mistakes. Standing Rock could have been hugely symbolic in such a positive way. The government could have used this opportunity to prove to the world that they had evolved into a kinder and more inclusive society, instead they reaffirmed their ugly and brutal past, except this time the world was watching.
All around the globe we watched. We witnessed the police brutality, the humiliation, the vile way in which one human being can treat another. We saw treaties violated for profit. We saw the heavily militarised police break up peaceful prayer circles and we saw the desecration of sacred burial grounds.
Many of us sent money to support the Water Protectors. We checked in electronically to Standing Rock Reservation to confuse the police and make it harder for them to target Water Protectors. But it wasn’t enough.
The USA has become too powerful for its own good and the good of the wider world. Their arrogance is truly frightening. They didn’t care that they were committing crimes against humanity and breaking treaties because, like the schoolyard bully, they know that they are bigger and stronger than every other nation on this planet.
Some American citizens may feel this is a good thing, it could possibly make them feel safer in a world beset by wars, famine and acts of terrorism. But, consider this, and consider it carefully. The world wanted to help the Water Protectors but couldn’t because the USA is too powerful to take on. Some day, this could be you. Your government is taking your beautiful country into a police state, and they’re doing it right under your noses. And if they decide to move you all to camps, evict you from your homes, take away your land and farms, curtail your rights and impose their will on you, there is nothing we can do to protect you. Your government, your police force, your military – just as you feel they are protecting you now, they could just as easily turn against you, just like they’ve done to the Water Protectors.
On the day the Water Protectors lost their fight, we all lost. We lost in the UK, we lost in Africa and we lost in Russia. Our governments failed us because they’re too afraid to stand up to the USA, too scared of losing trade deals, too scared to do and state what is right. Our governments failed the common man and woman, both in the USA and around the world. The message was clear – profits over people. In a balanced and fair world governments are servants of the people. Now, we see clearly. Our governments are our masters and we are slaves and the only freedom we seem to be able to exercise is to choose to believe that we are free, even though this is far from our experienced reality.
If you think I exaggerate, ponder on the draconian measures already in place in the USA. From making it illegal to collect rainwater on your own property to criminalising feeding the homeless and making it an offence to grow vegetables in your own gardens. As a citizen of the UK, I’m not gloating. Quite the reverse, I’m incredibly worried, because what happens first in the USA invariably ends up crossing the pond sooner or later.