As a Caucasian-American who found truth in submitting to the will of God, the will of God that promotes peace, liberty and justice for all, I did not celebrate 4th of July this year as I have not for the last 10 years. The simple reason is that as "a symbol for the principles of freedom and liberty", 4th of July is not enough for me to celebrate without the implementation of those principles of freedom and liberty. When America is truly free and just for all of it's citizens, then I will celebrate.
To understand what I'm talking about, all one has to do is investigate the continuing true history of oppression and injustice in the US. To cite an important, serious and underemphasized example: the extermination of Native American Indians. Historians estimate that there were originally 5 million indigenous Native Americans in Canada and the US with 2000 language groups. Did you know that among the slave population in the US, one out of four slaves was a Native American? We also shipped 10,000 Native Americans to the West Indies during the slave trade - that figure was only for a one year period. We traded them for blacks slaves who wouldn't be able to escape back to their homes. In case this sounds like "old" history, the Navajo and Apaches were enslaved in the Southwest up until the middle of the Civil War. The US fought 5 of the 7 major battles of the War of 1812 against Native Americans. On a more subtle note, by 1862, 10,000 whites had moved onto the Nez Perce Reservation in Oregon. A senator of Oregon suggested that the US remove the Indians!
These wars and the oppression of Native Americans were only because of one thing. The Natives refused to acculturate to the ways of the people that had invaded and taken over their lands. Any group that fails to assimilate to a level that Americans feel is acceptable is targeted.
America initially accepts others under the credo "All men are created Equal". In 1775, congress formulated a speech to the Iroquois, signed by John Hancock that said, "The Six Nations are a wise people, let us hearken to their council and teach our children to follow it". Later, in 1790 after unleashing the Ohio War, George Washington denounced the Ohio Indians as "having nothing human except the shape". Dehumanizing one's enemies continues to be an American trait.
I am leaving out examples of oppression of other members of American society - Black, Chinese, Japanese, Irish, Oklahomans in California during the Dust Bowl, and now, Muslims. Basically, the stories are all the same. I include my own Islamic culture here and do not specify immigrant Muslims not only because of recent governmental policies which no longer discriminate between us - naturalized or born citizen, but because of direct hate attacks that I have experienced. One man told me to get out of "his" country. Actually, this man was correct in his observation that under my white skin and blue eyes I wasn't an American. By accepting Islam, I purposely un-assimilated from American society. I don't want to be a part of this culture when its true beliefs, practices, and political agenda go directly against Islam.
These are just a few examples of the arrogance and ethnocentrism of America. Historically, nothing has changed. Another thing that hasn't changed is the taking over and enforcing the American ideal of "liberty and justice for all" around the world.
Here are some facts that show how the continuing legacy of oppression and injustice that America inflicts on others in other countries. The facts above and below are found in James Loewen's book, Lies My Teacher Told Me; everything your American History Textbook got wrong, Simon & Schuster, 1996:
Examples of US governments attempts so subvert foreign governments before 1973 include:
- Our assistance to the shah's faction in Iran in deposing Prime Minister Mussedegh and returning the shah to the throne in 1953;
- Our role in bringing down the elected government of Guatemala in 1954;
- Our rigging of the 1957 election in Lebanon, which entrenched the Christians on top and led to the Muslim revolt and civil war the next year;
- Our involvement in the assassination of Patrice Lumumba of Zaire in 1961;
- Our repeated attempts to murder Premier Fidel Castro of Cuba and bring down his government by terror and sabotage; and
- Our role in bringing down the elected government of Chile in 1973.
Loewen further writes with regards to Chile, "in 1974, CIA Director William Colby testified that 'a secret high-level intelligence committee led by Henry Kissinger himself had authorized CIA expenditures of over $8,000,000 during the period 1970-73 to destabilize the government of President Allende.' Secretary of State Henry Kissinger later explained, 'I don't see why we have to let a country go Marxist just because its people are irresponsible.' Since the Chilean people's "irresponsibility" consisted of voting for Allende, here Kissinger openly says that the US should not and will not respect the electoral process or sovereignty of another country if the results do not please us."
This historical incident showcases our government's policies towards other countries. Even though these events took place before 1974, 28 years later things have still not changed.
While I believe in the ideals that the US stands for, I do not believe in nor agree with the way in which the US hides behind and twists around these ideals to benefit itself. I reject the idea that the American people are not to blame for their government's failings. I believe that by flag waving and declaring themselves proud Americans they are acting with complicity, for what does the American flag or government stand for given these historical facts? I find no independence of conscious through participating in such events.
In conclusion, with these few but significant examples laid out, I will restate that I do not celebrate, nor intend to celebrate Independence Day until all it's citizens have attained equality and freedom.
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