Curtain Raiser

Bear Ears Is Listening, Colltalers

There’s a lot of goodwill for U.S. President Biden as we approach his 100th day in office. The economic relief package, rejoining global treaties on Iran nukes and the climate, calling genocide the massacre of over a million Armenians by Ottoman Turks. But do we want more? Let us count the ways.
As Covid-19’s overwhelms India, calls intensify for rich nations to share their vaccine excedent. But they may need to be forced to do it. Elsewhere, FIFA got a rare challenge, and soccer fans, a beef with social media, the FBI needs clues, and it’s the 35th anniversary of Chernobyl’s nuke explosion.
Speaking of radioactivity, there’s a startling new report about American honey, the bee product not the sweetheart of yore. As it turns out, the more than 500 nuclear detonations the world’s superpowers conducted since the late 1940s impacted the sweet nectar loved since ancient times. According to a Nature Communications study, honey in the U.S. has still alarming levels of cesium, the longest-lasting fission product generated by a nuke explosion.
While respected environmental groups cite nuclear power as an unredeemed threat to our civilization, Earth Day celebrations this year were correctly focused on the still weak response by world leaders to the climate emergency threat. But regrettably, all awash in corporate memes and propaganda.
Now, it’s bad enough notorious environment-depleting corporations such as Apple and Google go on capitalizing on concerns about ‘Mother Earth,’ as twisted as the rationale behind it may be. But it’s an outrage that say, gas-burning Florida Power & Light is also welcomed to this free goodness ride.
Reporters Without Borders identified 132 countries where journalists have been routinely attacked or prevented from reporting on the coronavirus. The 2021 World Press Freedom Index says that authoritarian regimes have used the pandemic to “perfect methods of totalitarian control of information,” in countries from the Asia-Pacific region, to Eastern Europe, to Latin America. But the good news is that some nations in Africa have actually improved.
The Sinixt are known for having inhabited parts of today’s Canada and the U.S. for over 10,000 years. But for more than three centuries, descendants have fought for rights over their ancestors’ land. Friday, Canada’s highest court agreed, ruling that the Washington State-based Colville Confederated Tribes are rightful successors to the Sinixt and as a result, have a constitutionally protected right to hunt on their traditional lands across the border too.
Back in the U.S., the FBI has been probing, and in some cases, charging hundreds of members and co-conspirators of the Jan. 6 terrorist attack on the Capitol Hill. But it’s made a stunning admission: it hasn’t found evidence they’d planned the invasion. That contradicts what non-profit Advance Democracy along with almost everyone else has found: thousands of online posts detailing plans by Trump supporters to travel to DC and engage in violence.
Many could be found on the now-gone site but anyone could find incriminating proof against rioters online. Some even bragged about their illegal stunt on social media and dating sites, including their own faces for good measure. So how come the world’s most feared criminal agency couldn’t find any evidence? Well, hasn’t the breach of the Capitol happened in the nation that spends on defense more than 10 others? So there you go.
Turkey “will continue to defend truths against the so-called Armenian genocide lie.” That was Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan in anticipation of Biden’s calling the ethnic cleansing of over a million Armenians by Ottoman Turkish forces just that, genocide. It’s also what most historians believe happened during WWI regardless of whether Erdogan believes it himself, but today about 11 million Armenians are elated with the prospect of justice.
From the get-go, over a year ago, something became very clear: dictators and would-be despots tragically mishandled the Covid pandemic. Whether they’ll ever admit it or were ever affected by it, unlike the misery that millions under their watch faced, the U.S. under Trump, the Brazil of Bolsonaro, and the India of Modi have always had the lead on infections and fatalities. These three are accountable for those we’ve lost due to their negligence.
That adds up to over a million coronavirus deaths of Americans, Brazilians, and Indians, out of the over three million who died worldwide. India’s now reaching the critical mass that Brazil reached a few weeks ago; both countries are in dire need of vaccines as their health systems are about to collapse. Question is, will rich nations force labs to lift pattern rights, so doses can be manufactured locally, or share their over-supply to alleviate such woes?
That’s a false choice given that most of the research to find a treatment was developed in taxpayer-funded universities, with big pharma showing up only at the end of the process, exclusively to purchase the rights to commercialize it. And also, because there are extra doses that could be given away.
The U.S., the U.K., and the European Union nations must establish an immediate action plan with the United Nations to expedite delivery of enough vaccines to impoverished economies. Such an unparallel humanitarian crisis cannot be ignored and it’s bound to negatively affect the world economy.
FIFA, the governing body of world soccer, is only now emerging from a demoralizing corruption scheme in 2015 that threatened to recast the century-old institution into a more accountable setup. Little came out of it, though, besides some chair-changing. Then, two weeks ago, all hell broke loose as a group of billionaire-owned elite European clubs announced they were creating a new international entity and competition. It didn’t go as planned.
There was an immediate backlash and surprise, surprise, FIFA got to play the aggrieved part with unusual support from fans who believe correctly that they’re living a golden era of soccer, as a game and mass entertainment, and changes needed to be made won’t be those that wealthy owners would choose. Last week, clubs apologized to fans for making such a hasty decision to join the new league, and for all accounts, it’s all over now, baby blue.
Unrelated to that, English soccer clubs and leagues are set to stage a three-day boycott to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media, in protest against online – and off it too – racism. The action will take place next weekend, and it may catch some momentum as slurs are now regularly thrown at soccer stars not just in the U.K. but throughout the world too. Who knows, maybe the NBA, the NWSL, and the beloved USWNT will join in. We would.
“We have within our cultures a familial bond. We know these lands as a mother knows her child, as a child knows her mother.” Eloise Wilson, Mary R. Benally, Ahjani Yepa, and Cynthia Wilson, the Women of Bear Ears, write on the need to protect that national monument. They count on another “matriarch of our ancestral lands,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland of the Laguna Pueblo, the first Indigenous woman to be part of a U.S. Cabinet.
And they count on us, who are grateful for the exquisite care Native Americans through millennia have always taken of the land and wonders of this planet. It took us only four centuries to bring it all down to the brink of extinction and now perhaps it’s our last chance to start a reversal; but without their guidance, we’re doomed. “We know the names of the mountains, plants, and animals who teach us everything we need to know to survive.” Aho! WC


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