Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Digo Paz, a algunos gringos

I'm glad to say I've known (and known of) a lot of gringos who lived and acted as citizens, who empathized and accepted responsibility for their country's history and actions; who held onto their convictions even when their neighbors, family, co-workers, and friends ridiculed those beliefs; and who mobilized to meet that responsibility.

Such Americans keep me going, believing that with enough of them, things will change. And some things do.

Despite America's complacency about apartheid, Anglo college students forced their colleges to pull funds out of U.S. corporations that profited from apartheid, eventually forcing their gov't to vote for UN sanctions.

Despite American gullibility about Vietnam, opposition in the U.S. to the war eventually coincided with the military victories of the Viet Cong, sending the U.S. running.

Despite early, sheepish following of Bush's Iraq conquest, that too can possibly be ended sooner than expected.

Someone said it is not the responsibility of the minority peoples to convince the majority people. In real life, the majority finds it advantageous to ignore the minority; they have a more difficult time dealing with arguments from their own.

I don't envy Anglo Americans their task; I prefer only having to convince my own. (At least I have the advantage of linking Iraq's invasion to the 1845 war, for example.)

When one's economy, colleges, cities were built largely on stolen land, when its original residents were herded into camps to be stripped of everything called Indian; when similar policies were inflicted on Southwest mexicanos, African slaves, Chinese immigrants, cubanos, puertoriqueños, Vietnamese, Palestinian, Iraqi, and a lot of other "colored" peoples and their lands, one would think it not so hard to discuss the obvious with your own--those who at one time enjoyed the highest standard of living, precisely because of that history. But it is.

The inequities, exploitation, suppressions, and invasions made this an inharmonious world. The Bin Ladens, of course, embrace that as much as the Bushes; it is their shared dream of endless, international conflict.

Opposing such warmongers, in the heart of the American Empire, thrives a different passion, a fire with sometimes few guardians, but one that nevertheless envisions the world differently.

During this celebratory season, my message of Paz goes to Anglo Americans who preserve that world view, who strive for awareness and knowledge amongst their own, and understanding between the Anglo and the non-Anglo--an outlook that consequently nurtures Peace. I'm happy to have known you who understand so well.