For one of my regular commenters in particular, I’ve tried to come up with a kind of template here. It seems to have suitably wide application to accommodate all sorts of widely different situations. Rule: the ensuing thread must be kept as unspecific as possible. Otherwise abstract comparisons, say between Israeli Jews and aboriginal people in Canada (just as a hypothetical example), will become impossible. But abstraction is what this post is all about. Who needs history, that ungovernable welter of conflicting detail? Who needs fashionable socioeconomic nonsense? We’re talking principle here, dammit.
So here goes:
The leader of a settler state wants to open up more land for settlement and development. Furious protests erupt from the indigenous people whose land it is.
End the occupation, they demand. We stole this land fair and square, say the settlers.
We want recognition, say the indigenous people. Equal social services. Equal rights. Ownership of the resources on our own land. We’re workin’ on it, says the settler leader, doing no such thing.
We need a peace process, say a lot of well-meaning people all over the place. OK, say some moderate, non-violent indigenous people. Here’s who we want to meet with.
Nothing doing, says the settler leader. We’ll decide that. And we don’t like a lot of you anyway. Here are the indigenous people we want to meet with. Meanwhile we’re going to push ahead with pipelines and private property and making your lands uninhabitable and your lives unbearable. Suck it up.
Things could get nasty, some indigenous people warn. We’ve got prisons, we’ve got security, we’re taking no guff from the likes of you, snarls the settler leader.
Even your capital city is on our unceded land, protest the indigenous people. Justice! Rights! Self-determination!
Somehow, miraculously, what critics call an “oh-slow” process starts up again. The arguments over the shape of the table are unrecorded. Talks begin. They go on for years. Decades.
Facts on the ground, meanwhile, continue to favour the settlers. More land is taken, more laws are passed stripping indigenous people of their traditional rights. Open racism in the media and on the streets becomes the order of the day.
Ideas for actually moving forward? Remember, keep them generic!
[H/t Peter for the notion]