Confronting the Big Lie
an essay in three parts by John Bart Gerald
I. Respect for Life and Respect for People
Consider: the ongoing attempt to eradicate the First Peoples of North
America was never necessary. It was never required by the poor who were
often used as the shock troops of conquest. It wasn’t required by the traders
or small businesses who served all people. But in some way it was required
by the rule, by something at the heart of those who invaded that would try
to kill off the native peoples. The strongest need seemed to be escape from
fear, as if by continued killing of the evidence, the conquerors could claim
the nonexistence of a crime. It is a phenomenon of genocide which puzzles our
civilization. What was it in European, Spanish, possibly Anglo-Saxon culture,
that required the choice between itself and the rest of humanity ?
Consider: if born with equal rights, oneself and humanity at large are the
same and have the same interests.
With faith in representative democracy, the need to choose between self and
humanity, passes, at least for the common man and woman. English culture which
cradled democracy early and well doesn’t require the either/or choice which
leads to the enforced eradication of the North American First Peoples, or the
Africans brought to the Americas as stronger slaves than the Indians.
The ongoing North American genocide comes instead from two sources,
racism and capitalism.
Neither ever serves the interests of the people.
Neither ever serves the interests of the poor.
Both are the essential tools of an elite which controls Western civilization,
to maintain its control which is to say, wealth. Within the civilization and with
varying degrees of freedom are the nations, religions, races, ethnic groups,
corporations, and classes from the wealthy to the dispossessed.
The actual members of that elite - who they are, is arbitrary. In many senses
the great criminals of history could as easily be replaced with any upwardly
mobile middle class family, although the culture, values, training of the elite
class prepare it for continuance.
Humanity could decide one morning en masse that we do not like bossy
people or taking orders, and then reverse the entire system. This would be
taboo because it is very deeply trained into us that we cannot, but it is not
as binding as taboos which provide some protection to humanity, such as,
it is better not to have children with one’s blood relatives. What I would head
off at the pass here is that it is not likely to do any good at all to simply identify
and remove the ruling elites. It is possible. But when that is done, history
suggests it allows mass slaughter of common people through wars and
“revolutions,” and then rule by generals or dictators. Exceptions prove
necessary. For example, royalty, when accepting democracies, provides a
necessary defence against fascist takeovers.
So the lessons of non-violence remain sound and generally ignored by the
media which thrive on mayhem. What we require isn’t a violent revolution
replacing individuals , or replacing entire job slots, but a change in thinking,
in commitment, in what we accept. Violence or armed struggle is either
1. Aggressive, in which case it is criminal and eventually requires judgement
and punishment and must offer compensation, or 2., In defence, as resistance
to aggression. When a country’s own rulers are aggressive against their people,
then this resistance may express itself by the people against the rulers or
against foreign rulers of occupation. I’m not sure that self-defence is a
violence. Its motive, its reason, is protection, preservation. It becomes
violent as aggression or when pre-emptive. It is first, counter to other
violence. Humanity stands with resistance.
Change requires that our actions be judged not for their value to profit, to
earning, but for their value to people. State Communism in the Soviet Union,
tried this but with serious loss due to the damage to the environment and
sequestering of power within a party elite. So our values must serve the people
and all life at the same time, so that the environment and all creation are
cared for in mutual sustenance. As if those religions and codes and examples
most respecting life itself were showing us a way because in that respect for
life in its variety there is no racism, no war crime no mass murder, no genocide
or other tactics of rule which are inevitably traced to someone somewhere making
a profit. Against capitalism and genocide, stand respect for life and respect
for people, as one.
II A Threat against the People
The difficulty is that after thinking about all this for some years, I
conclude that North America but particularly the United States, is preparing
The victims intended are the poor, and minorities of colour. The perpetrators
or agents are to be the Anglo Saxon and Euro-American conservatives, the elites
which have been prepared through several generations and who have formed
self-protecting groups with psychologies that inevitably lead to conquest, and
all those who obey them because they are scared to mindlessness. Within any
perspective of conquest are the tools of how they consider others, and a
tactical use of militarily enforced genocide can, I think be traced to military
training and covertly funded entertainment industries. Intuition leads me to
much gentler conclusions. The preponderance of white and usually middle class
Euro-Americans have little conscious intention other than their own betterment.
Is this sense of betterment necessarily one which endangers or entirely replaces
I first became aware of genocide working as a teacher in West Africa, during
its independence from colonial rule in 1960. The basic ethic of how one racial
group of humanity treats another was relevant to my survival. Years later in the
U.S., in 1989 my family small press published (with permission) the United
Nations Convention on Genocide when it was out of print at the United Nations.
The Convention risked being entirely suppressed and its ratification by the
United States in 1988 went unreported. With the first Gulf War as it was called,
in fact the destruction and invasion of Iraq as part of a program of acquisition
by Western, essentially U.S. corporations, it was clear to me that the U.S.
Coalition military action and policy involved genocide, and I shared this
awareness as a writer. In general, it was as though genocide was considered
all right with everyone else unless it affected ethnic groups with some economic
or political clout. For example genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda was taken
to court when the Tutsi had gained military control of the country.
Since then there has been a resurgence of thinking about genocide. In part,
it may have risen from the massacres in Rwanda and the world’s failure to stop
them. In part the resurgence is caused by the tactical use of genocide as a
weapon of the powerful. Genocides throughout Africa continue to place her
resources under the domain of international corporations interested in oil and
minerals. The World Court’s International Tribune’s legal concern for Rwanda and
subsequently Yugoslavia was within a perspective limited by essential corporate
Because of my own difficulties trying to publish and disseminate information
on the Genocide Convention; because the major powers particularly the US did not
respond to the massacres in Rwanda when genocide might have been prevented,
and continue to ignore the dynamics of massacres in the Congo, Sudan, Uganda,
etc.; because the U.S. equivocated in its commitment to the Convention on Genocide
at ratification in 1988; because U.S. foreign policy actively set up political
regimes in Guatemala and Chilé, which were guilty of genocide against their own
peoples, and were not brought to justice, and because the U.S. actively impeded
justice in this concern; because Western nations have historically used genocide
tactically to further individual economic interest; because the US and other
NATO countries have placed into law their abilities to arrest and detain any
number of people they choose keeping detention and charge and accuser and
trial and disposition, secret, ie. because the machinery has been put in place for
genocides to occur, it is necessary to review the people’s recourse and defences
when threatened with genocide.
III. Our Need for Defences against Crimes of Power
After analysing US and NATO wars in Afghanistan, Yugoslavia and Iraq, we
understand something has happened outside of our expectations of our
democratically elected governments, beyond what civilization has prepared us
for. We are avoiding realization of exactly what. If you find it difficult to
use the word “genocide” for small wars of aggression waged for economic
advantage, you may have to wait to understand until the full effects of these
wars become apparent.
In Canada veterans have been denied claims based on medical conditions
caused them and their families by depleted uranium. After the first Gulf War the
US found veterans sick with a syndrome of symptoms standard to radiation
overexposure. Diagnosis of radiologically caused illness was avoided. In such
ways governments cover a U.S. military crime of planting depleted uranium
through warfare in civilian areas of foreign countries. Refusing to admit the
effectiveness of the poison could spare accountability in court. Truth is denied
even to our own militaries.
The tactic of not knowing is a poor pretense when the same event and the
same result occur again and again.. It offers a classic military defence for bomb-
ing civilians. However if a military bombs an area known to harbour civilians, it is
not collateral damage but intentional killing of civilians. If military objectives pre-
figure civilian deaths, the civilian deaths are no longer “mistakes”. The deaths
US and NATO countries argue that the killing of civilians isn’t intentional.
Yet entire civilian infra-structures are targeted and destroyed.. So we are
asked to be complicit in a lie.
In its policy toward Iraq, the US still acts as if partial destruction of a
population will assure cooperation by the survivors. A thoughtful person
understands this will not succeed. Bombing of civilians created terror and a
difficulty with the US and Coalition slaughters of Iraqis, is that these slaughters will
never be forgiven. They will not be forgiven because they were merciless,
and there was no way for the Iraqis to protect themselves.
Part of the meaning of terrible crimes is that they are unforgivable, and
that we do not really expect them to be forgiven. So it is inevitable that the
first Gulf war would be followed by the second. It was not a question of
“weapons of mass destruction.” When the Iraqis became victim to mass
murder, and when the criminals were an American establishment which found
no legal impediment to mass murder, then one could only expect the history
which followed. The crime would not rest half done and so in each country victim
to US conquest, the future is taken away so that there will not be portions of
humanity who would seek justice. This is essentially the same principle taught
death squads throughout the Americas. That may well be what depleted uranium
is about. So in the 1991 war against Iraq, the Western militaries slaughtered
shopkeepers in uniform, and then came back to finish the job. The military
spokespeople said they did not intend to kill civilians because saying that
improved their legal situation, tactically.
The first awful bombardment of Iraq found lawyers in the targeting room
exactly because the US knew it was committing a crime. There could be nothing
unforeseen about Iraqi civilian deaths, which could be predicted proportionately to the
amount of water and sewage facilities, and food and medicine the Iraqis were deprived
of. Iraq was a lesson to the world. Cooperate or die. By my understanding
several million Iraqis have died so far.
It was also intended as a lesson to our own peoples. We are asked to look
at the crime of genocide and accept it as “liberating” a country. That is the
current big lie. These destructions of Iraq and the former Yugoslavia and
Afghanistan, are innately part of the settlement of what was once called “the
new world,.” and it is aptly attributed to “the new world order.” It is as
though we never understood that a portion of the settlement of the Americas,
was a crime, and the lack of understanding will condemn generations to its
repetition. Current U.S policy leads the West toward continuing terrible crimes
against innocents. Entire population groups will be deprived of a future,
because the crimes against them are understood by the perpetrators to be
Why do we think all our peoples are to be dealt with differently?
© 2005, John Bart Gerald
2100 words (replacing previous drafts).Author posted J.B.Gerald home page, April 18, 2005
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