A very dear friend of mine forwarded this email to me earlier today.
Begin forwarded message:
From: *email sender*
Date: July 2, 2012 2:51:56 PM EDT
To: *email receiver*
Subject: On July 4, remembering liberation from mass murder in Rwanda
On July 4, remembering liberation from mass murder in Rwanda
Jacqueline Murekatete is a survivor of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, a human rights activist and program founder at Miracle Corners of the World. She currently lives in New York City.
And this quote struck me as particularly poignant:
“Today, whatever name we place on modern-day tragedies — genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, civilian massacres — we are reminded of the fragility and scarcity of basic rights and freedoms we celebrate every July 4 here and in Rwanda. As long as ruthless governments anywhere are allowed to deny basic rights and fundamental freedoms to their people, our own independence and freedoms remain threatened.”
So here was my response:
The statement above is the statement that I feel best sums up the irony of “Independence” celebrations. So many people are suffering and oppressed the world over, North America included - because I mean, really, hasn’t the story of the indigenous people not been a very drawn out, institutionalized form of genocide - and as I’ve said before, there never has been and never will be a government, I believe, under which all can inherently be “free” under the weight of greed, be it for money or power - well, both really because they have been, and are, notoriously proportionate to one another. You are right, this is a very poignant story. Really, how many people on the 4th even care to consider the struggles of peoples beyond the US borders? Hell, how many take time to consider the struggles of people within these very borders? It is so great to see this story in the Washington Post. It really highlights just how much we take for granted as well as how easy it is to brush off the past and existing injustices that others are forced to confront, even sacrifice their lives to resist and overcome.
Another thing, while I do agree with the quoted Obama statement, “Sovereignty should never be a license to slaughter your own people,” it occurred to me that a “or peoples of other nations” should be of equal weight. But of course I realize that the taint of imperialist ideology and expansionist interests make a tough demon for many powers to face down.