Wednesday, July 4, 2007
Happy 4th of July?
By Guest Blogger Yesi King
As many U.S. residents stock up on beer, barbecue and chips, and families happily sit around excited circles to anticipate the crackling and luminous fireworks that will light up the sky for the most revered of American holidays, many people across the globe suffer from U.S. policies. This day is a reminder of the ‘freedom’ we have and enjoy. However, the irony in Americans enthusiasm lies is the mentality that promotes perceptions like “don’t forget what this day is all about,” or “don't let us forget those brave men and women that fought and died so that we might have the freedom to speak up when things are not as they should be...” Such patriotism is instilled in the institutions of this country in an attempt to quiet dissent over government policies that at the same time promote quite the opposite.
What short memories and biased sense of ‘being’ Americans have. For many, rather than being a celebratory day, the 4th of July is the anniversary of a country whose history is based upon almost 300 years of ongoing carnage and despair brought upon Native Americans of all tribes, it represents a strong and still active mentality of imperialism and racism that we see is alive and popular in the minds of those who support the Israeli Occupation over Palestine, it represents the repressive state of mind amongst all people celebrating the institutions and mockery these symbolic gestures signify while choosing to ignore their true historical significance in the eyes of minorities and those who have not had the privilege of enjoying.
The birth day of your national independence and of your political freedom reminds you of your great deliverance entitled to you by your Declaration of Independence. Are those same embodied principles of freedom and justice extended to those whom you oppress in your own country and elsewhere? Because beneath your public celebrations, festive shouts and enjoyment, the woeful bawl of millions whose shackles, heavy and dreadful are also plagued with further perplexity and disgust for your joy. To forget and ignore them for your convenience is nothing less than American denial and oppression. What wonder it would be if instead on this day, the 4th of July caused you to view your freedom and privilege in comparison to theirs, from their point of view. Whether you choose to look towards your declarations, your present ideology or your dreams for the future, the performance of this nation seems by the same token repulsive and fake.
Standing with those whom you choose to ignore on this day much like every other day, in the name of compassion which you have trampled, in the name of self independence which is chained, what, to the oppressed and occupied, is your 4th of July? To him, your merriment is a farce filled with the merciless jubilation over your governments bulging arrogance and deception. A day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he has to pay in exchange for your joys. Point the finger all you want, search high and low, you will not find a country guiltier of bloody and horrible practices than the United States.
What is a joyous day for you is only a reminder of the price others have to pay for your definition of freedom, democracy and liberation. Your imperialist tendencies cause the problems you believe you face and use to justify your war mongering and crimes. So as people sit back on their lawn chairs and enjoy the beaches on this hot and sunny day, the wail of children elsewhere will blend into the backdrop of bombs, poverty and inequality the U.S. has designated to be necessary for their own well being and prosperous future. Thus, on this happy 4th of July as the fireworks scream freedom that you continue to take away, blind patriotism will make many people very happy.