Genocides We Ignore, Colltalers
An enquiry on multiple deaths and disappearances of Canada’s indigenous women has shed light on a brutally common reality around the world. But violence against women, just as genital mutilation and murder of transgenders, still remains on the rise.
Another week, another terrifying report or two on the climate emergency. Out of 7.7 billion, six billion breathe life-threatening air. Worse: besides carbon dioxide, 84 times more toxic methane now accounts to a quarter of human-caused global warming.
Before elaborating on these headlines, let’s talk about what’s tickled the angry bone of those still in possession of a brain lately. What about the visit of that ugly American, and his hopeless self-driven family, to Queen and country across the pond? Needless to hide: it was, well, ugly. Even before taking off, Trump’s insulted a member of the Royals, and Sadiq Khan, well-liked mayor of London. Once there, he praised Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, the notoriously reviled architects of the Brexit disaster.
All the while, he tweeted nasty things about veteran Robert Muller – on D Day, no less -, and Betty Midler, of all people. And to some, he committed his worst offense so far, donning a grotesquely undersized evening wear he seems to have had since the 90s.
Nothing of it amounts to anything his supporters care about, though, or that too-intimidated-to-act Democrats can throw at him.
For all heartbreak and embarrassment the 45th is causing to Americans, he’s still in control of the media narrative and got quickly back on the saddle. An example of vintage Trump? the so-called deal he claims to have struck with Mexico over tariffs.
For anyone light on critical thinking about what they read around, the president threatened to raise tariffs on Mexican imports, if our neighbor didn’t prevent immigrants to entry… the U.S. Looking closely, however, nothing of sorts ever happened. Mexico’s been already doing its part, agreed upon months ago, by trying to streamline the immigration flow. Problem is, it simply can’t.
With the Trump administration doing all in its power to prevent them from gaining lawful entry into this country, no matter how much people warehousing Mexico may afford to arrange, the flow will only engorge further. Those who jump all hurdles to get here will still have no prayer to see a judge in reasonable time, or even get the protection they are due to from international laws.
‘Genocide.’ That’s how Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called what happened to thousands of impoverished indigenous women killed between 1980 and 2012, at the release of a government report that also concerns American native populations.
Most had left their places of origin in search for a better life, only to be murdered while negotiating the underworld of sex trade and drug addiction. The fate of many remains unknown, but overall, the episode fits a despicable pattern rooted in class and race.
Although sobering, the enquiry was greeted with support by representatives of North American tribes, traditionally
at the bottom of Canada and the U.S.’ social priorities. Trudeau’s ‘National Action Plan’ aims at addressing the violence, helped by indigenous leaders. But given his flawed record on the tar sand pipeline issue, for instance, many remain skeptic of any meaningful change.
Meanwhile in the U.S., there has been no government probe on the rise of female genital mutilation, and only 32 states ban the practice. The Center for Diseases Control and Prevention estimates that over 500 thousand American girls risk being mutilated, out of 200 million worldwide. The Trump administration, however, is more interested in fetuses than in living, breathing women.
There’s been no probe on the eight transgender black women murdered in the U.S. this year, either, only a call to the FBI to finally get involved. It’s not just the particular cruelty of these deaths what should get us up in arms about it; it’s also the tacit attitude of law enforcement towards the murders, and our cultural momentum, where rampant hate is often followed by unpunished crimes.
It’s been said, women and minorities are the canaries of society; when they’re murdered, we all also risk dying of asphyxiation.
That may soon come to the rest of us too, even if by another cause. According to the World Health Organization, seven million people die of air pollution every year. The cause of 10% of all children’s deaths worldwide, toxic air also threatens some 40% of Americans. But even those who don’t die as quickly, suffer of mental impairment, disease and premature deaths. So don’t smoke.
The week of World’s Environment Day, Wednesday, and World’s Oceans Day, on Saturday, also had a day to rejoice. D Day on June 6 marked the moment when a few nations pulled together and warded off a social cancer, even if for ‘only’ 75 years. Despite an incoherent speech by the draft-dodger U.S. president, it was a day to celebrate the courage and sacrifice of those who served.
Few heroes of that bloody day are still with us, but their lives matter more than those who’d never risk their skin for a cause. To picture in uniform any of the Trump-enablers war mongers, so eager to engage us into another war, is an exercise in futility.
That’s why it’s beyond comprehension that the most progressive forces today, that of women movements, climate kids around the world, and some newly elected officials, along civic organizations and advocate groups, are not being supported by the political establishment in the U.S. and elsewhere. As time’s running out, it’s crucial to get the status quo out of the way, and soon. Or else.
‘Any politician who wants to be taken seriously by our generation needs the courage to stand up to fossil fuel billionaires and back a Green New Deal,’ says Sunrise Movement’s Varshini Prakash, who is 25. It’s a shame that we let our children fight in the frontlines of the climate emergency, but stand on their way to exercise citizen rights, and get support from the powers that be.
In case one needs inspiration, try listening to a haunting version of the Beatles’ Blackbird by sixteen-year-old high school student Emma Stevens. On the now viral recording, she sings it in her native Mi’kmaq, to raise awareness about indigenous languages. It’s a fitting end to this sort of disgruntled report, one that could be summarized as solidarity and resistance, but it won’t. Cheers WC