I was recently in a conversation with a Taino gentleman who’s passion for the Taino Nation was so strong it was admirable. He was intelligent and seemed well read and interesting. Personally, I believe he had some very good points at times, but sadly, his truth was hidden in thorns which made it difficult to want to listen.
One loves to hear power and passion in the youth and future of the Nation but this brother’s fires raged unchecked. His words were weapons and he wasn’t afraid to use them. His diatribes were a chaos of topics; a snarl of conspiracy theories jumbled with some historical truths, sprinkled with concern for the future of the Nation. His anger would lead him to rants that would become demeaning, aggressive, divisive and ultimately destructive. At times one had to wonder if the conversation was still on topic and sometimes brother got so deep, I don’t think even he understood himself. Initially, I avoided sharing my opinion for fear of becoming a target for his rage if he didn’t agree, but this didn’t last very long.
He initiated a discussion on a topic I thought was really important, one I thought we agreed on; figure we could start on common ground. Sadly, the conversation ground to a halt and we were never able to continue after that. His questions and commentary were replies to this essay.
Blaming The Victim is an insidious game that can and has been played on us!
I do agree with you that blaming the victim is used quite excessively in society as a means of justifying abhorrent behavior. However, my point was not to wallow in the identity of victim. Victims are powerless- as hurt, shamed and angry as a victim may feel- they are still powerless because they have given the power of action to another. We are being victims when we blame another for our sense of anger, pain and loss of control. Not that we cannot feel these things, for in fact, to heal we need to recognize these feelings, but we don’t need to live there.
I believe there is a difference between a person who was damaged and a damaged person. We should be spurred to action by our history, not be defined by it.
Anger provides the energy to do something about it!!!!! It is dysfunctional when it is turned inward.
I can agree with you in that anger is quite a dynamic emotion and can give us an amazing amount of energy. And in a physical argument one could even intimidate someone into not fighting with a display of anger. However, I believe it is dysfunctional in more ways than when turned inward.
A couple of my brothers are into martial arts. I’ve seen fights where anger was the impetus and I noticed that once the fists are flying, if the person is blinded by rage, they go wild and more often than not miss the mark or their fists hit wherever the blows land. Not so with my brothers who stayed centered and focused.
The work that lies before us, as a Nation, is not one where intimidation nor fists will help. However, it will require the same focus and emotional control my brothers exhibited in fighting, otherwise we will find ourselves flailing wildly and missing the point often for the benefit of “the good fight”; we will lose the sensitivity we will need to reach others, to teach others. In the end, I don’t think true reparations will be served if the conquering nations do not understand the extent of the damage they have done.
I don’t think we can beat them into listening.
You are right that we fight against the idea of blaming the victim, I don’t argue that point, they do paint us as victims and victims to be blamed, to boot! They are seeking a way to justify their actions. What I am saying is that accepting and perpetuating the position of victim, whether we are blamed or not, will get us nowhere.
The perpetrators are fully aware of the damage that they have done and employ all disciplines to maintain their position of power! They are the masters of death and destruction! The major part of their immense wealth is channeled into destructive technologies! All to keep them in power!!!!
Hmmm- I agree and disagree with you there. I fully agree that initially the conquering peoples were well aware of the damage they have done. I also agree with your opinion that “racist imperialism is a socio-pathological mental illness”. Yet, I would offer that this illness is learned and not inherent since it exists in both the conqueror and the conquered. It is a juggernaut, so entrenched in our social psyche that it has become the current paradigm. Most all interactions, governmental and social, even on line, are ego trips, power plays and efforts to control another. And this has become normal- for them and for us! However, I don’t believe violence heals mental illness.
Our history should most certainly should spur us into action, however, our history, especially Eurocentric Historigraphy has most certainly defined us via the prescription of false cultural identities and values that support the interests of our oppressors!
Of course, but history has always been written by the conquerors and their propaganda will reflect them in the best of light. It would be stupid not to! However, we don’t have to accept any other definition but our own, no one else defines us, not even historians. By allowing another to define who and what we are, we are accepting the position of “victim” as defined by the one labeling us.
Tell me which people have acquired their freedom and sovereignty without fighting????
Non-violence does not mean inaction. People have acquired their freedom without fighting, it’s already been done so it’s not impossible; look at India! Gandhi was a flea against the lion of foreign domination- England. Martin Luther King Jr, was murdered, yes, and it was a great loss. But look at what he accomplished, and now we have the opportunity to stand on his shoulders and move forward. Force, anger and war is not always the appropriate action.
Do you really believe that we are going to reason and talk our way to liberation??? Puhlease! We most certainly require the emotional control of your warrior brothers, but fight we must!!!!
You ask me this question and I will answer with another, do you really think we have the physical forces necessary to attack our conquerors and come out victorious? Really?
Let’s look at our cousins on the mainland and learn from their actions. What happened at Wounded Knee? What happened to the Trudell family or Ana Mae Aquash? Why has Peltier been jailed for the better part of his life? How about our own (Puerto Rican) history? Look at what happened in Jayuya! The Ponce Massacre! Cerro Maravilla! If you don’t know these histories, maybe you should read up on them a little more thoroughly before we start repeating it.
I have said nothing about not fighting; the fight however, is one of words and not of physical violence. One of stealth and awareness, like you said “raising consciousness”, because there are just too few of us! And we are not going to attract more support by enraged diatribes and displays of violence.
I am accusing the perpetrators of genocide for their crimes against humanity!
I do not argue your feeling here, guatiao, I agree. However I am one who likes to look at things and learn from the actions of others. Guatemala’s history of genocide is more recent than ours and yet they are having to dig up the bodies of their relatives to prove, with forensics, to the world courts, the tortures and murders they are claiming. And that’s recent, with these horrors broadcasted throughout the world. Our own history is centuries older than theirs, we have bones and skulls spread out in museums all over the world- how are we going to prove our case?
I think we need to pick our battles carefully and keep in mind that there will be some losses that we will just have to let go.
My anger and pain is a direct result of their crimes!
I hope you don’t take this as a personal attack, but your anger and pain, like mine, is a direct result of our thoughts about the conquerors actions. It is not something we suffered in the flesh and would never feel this way had we remained in ignorance. But to fight the fight we have before us we need to keep our cool. We need action but we need to think before we act. We need to gather together as a People, as a Nation, and make our presence known. We need to use the same forces presently used against us- propaganda, presence, dissemination of information and the legal system. There is no victory greater than the one gained by using the adversaries own resources against them. They are writing us out of existence, we need to write ourselves back in! We need to make sure that we speak our truth every chance we get, but in a way that will allow that truth to settle into peoples consciousness. People will shut down when faced with a person raging against them and our truth will be lost among the volley of attacks and criticisms. We don’t need to go to war to speak truth. Gandhi didn’t. Not only that, but a paradigm shift will only happen when critical mass is achieved, not sooner. We can create that critical mass with education and awareness.
I’d like to share a couple of examples of speaking truth. My brother’s daughter was in the fifth grade and told her teacher that the Taino were not extinct and that the teacher should have known better being that she was Caribbean. My daughter told her teacher that Columbus did not discover America because there were people here already and you can’t discover something that is already known. She was in the 4th grade at the time. On both occasions we were called in as parents and we were able to speak our truth. Did it change the educational system? No, but it taught a Caribbean woman and several others the truth of Taino presence.
A stone may be harder than water, but drop by drop the stone will erode away and the water will overcome. We need to be water, not stone.
If I had lost control, I would have killed several of them by now!!!
And this would then rid them of their “socio-pathological mental illness”, like the Spanish did to rid us of our “indianess”? Are we to become like the conquerors and take on their actions? And where would we start? Our neighbor? Our next client? Maybe take a plane to Spain? Should we take the time to check their genealogical family tree to make sure we are killing a conquereror’s descendant or should we just go after anyone that claims euro blood? Should we spare the mixed bloods or only the ones who deny their euro heritage?
And what of the aftermath, what good would this bring about? You go to jail or the chair and our Nation then loses more of it’s passionate, intelligent brothers. The government propaganda will tout how they have kept our streets clean by eliminating yet more raging maniacs. The Taino Movement then becomes the target for Homeland Security and labeled a terrorist organization or a militant group with terrorist undertones, just like AIM.
Your rage and your pain is not unknown to anyone who claims their Taino ancestry and learns the truth of our history. I can tell you that I have been there and I have seen my family go through it as well. This passion is like a raging fire but a raging fire is no good to the firekeeper. It will either destroy everything around it or burn itself out in a short period of time. Our fires must be stoked for the long haul because these issues did not appear over night nor will they be resolved as quickly.