I would like to start this weeks rant with a slightly different tack– tar sands and the ongoing war on Gaza. The Israeli state is currently trying to eliminate resistance and ultimately the people of Gaza entirely; the “war” is not about rockets, nor kidnapped teenagers or anything similar to that, but a combination of forced submission attempts and punishment for Palestinian refusal to simply disappear from the planet and surrender their homeland. In this sense, what Gaza is enduring now is roughly the equivalent of what happened to indigenous peoples with events such as the Trail of Tears, the forced dispossession of children from families to residential schools, and the attempt to crush spirits to the level needed to build a “new” country where other people have lived and always will.
Noam Chomsky is perhaps the best known commenter on the fact that history, unlike other scientific methods, doesn’t provide perfect examples from which to draw as analogies are never perfect, but in many important aspects what we have is best attempted anyway– while clearly earmarking the differences.
The destruction of Gaza– from the air, land and sea– is being carried out while every single major political party in Canada: Harper’s Cons (of course), Trudeau’s Liberals and Mulcair’s NDP– clamour over themselves to both lie to the public and themselves about reality, leaving a trail of blood in their steadfast alliance with another colonial settler state.
The silence of those who are upheld as “environmentalists” in the MSM is not surprising. How can we understand that tar sands must be resisted with respect for the keepers of land defense here without understanding the same truth in the Holy Land? How many green speakers have stopped to simply state “This is being carried out with the tax dollars of our organizations, and we refute the acts of the Canadian state in colluding with Israel”?
This is not mere pedantry. The colonial settler state of Canada needs to whitewash the crimes of tar sands, fracking, mining and a virtual buffet of other crimes in order to carry out further development deep inside Indian Country. In order to support this practice of driving people off the lands of their ancestors the concept must have legitimacy elsewhere. Enter Israel.
What did Stephen Harper, when not flanking tar sands as the great saviour of the economy (though that has been exposed well as a lie, too), have to say about Canada’s historical ties to Israel?
“The friendship between us is rooted in history, nourished by shared values, and it is intentionally reinforced at the highest levels of commerce and government as an outward expression of strongly held inner convictions.”
Exactly. What Israeli bombs are doing now to Palestinians has been seen in Canada with small pox, settlements and more. In fact, while many denounce settlements in the West Bank and Gaza (rightly), the quote from John A Macdonald: “The Indians and the Métis of the Northwest will be held down with a firm hand till the West is over-run and controlled by white settlers” is one that most Canadians would not like to hear, even if the origins of Canadian linkage with Israel becomes very clear in such a statement.
In both cases, never mind that warfare is the greatest means to destroying the planet, the point of the enterprise was to set the stage for colossal industrial development– in Canada, beginning with the railways– that would be a part and parcel of colonialism and attempted genocide.
But let’s get a little deeper. What else happened while Harper was visiting the Zionist state? Joe Oliver had this to say: “Israel’s current state of oil shale resource development has similarities to the early days of Canada’s oil sands, and we are pleased to share Canada’s experiences with respect to policy and regulation.”
The Israeli state has actually begun several forms of extreme energy extraction, among those are the gas fields off of Gaza, written about in the Middle East Monitor only yesterday: “Let us all remember that Israel faces an energy crisis of biblical proportion and that Gaza’s untapped and unexploited billions of dollars represent a fortune and a lifeline which Tel Aviv will not tolerate to go to waste.”
But, in fact, it may be EVEN worse than this. Israeli oil shale– kerogen infused rocks, to be precise– have been slated for major developments. This oil shale is in need of technology of even more extreme design than Canadian tar sands deposits. Got that? And that means a major energy requirement to develop it. In areas near the southwest borders of the so-called Green Line major experiments are to be undertaken, attempting to create synthetic oil. Further, too, are areas of the illegally Occupied Golan Heights (Syrian territory) to be supposedly opened to fracking technology.
Neil Young needs to understand this much, as his tour in Canada shows a sensitivity to both environmental concerns and a need to prevent the destruction of an entire people for oil and gas. Can he be pulled back from the brink of irrelevance by withdrawing from his planned concert date in Tel Aviv?
Meanwhile, how on earth are we supposed to move forward on resisting climate change and promoting a decolonization everywhere if we continue to accept the false premise that ecological concerns are a tiny little special interest group, disconnected from the destruction of Palestine– even when the mass murder from the skies is not only approved and applauded by the same federal parties in Canada that have feted tar sands development?
With an understanding of power– that those who destroy the earth are not our friends, nor partners for a better tomorrow– we can quickly glean why Justin Trudeau is both available to stump for Canadian tar sands oil in the United States, looking to promote Keystone XL pipelines and lauding the general destruction of the Boreal Forest in Alberta, while defending Zionism with such inane, bordering on downright evil comments such as Israel “should be commended for having accepted the ceasefire proposal, and demonstrating its commitment to peace.”
Is this the same person who lauds technological breakthroughs in tar sands developments? Of course it is. This is how power works. And that brief flirtation from Mulcair towards reigning in tar sands was snuffed out, just as quickly as the candidacy of those who are critical of Israel (and whose parents have been arrested trying to take medicine to Gaza) has been quashed.
If you seek power in a colonial state you not only share in the misdeeds of that state, you are forced to publicly embrace those same misdeeds.
That means hugging tar sands and loving Israeli genocide. But for resistance to any of these programs of destruction to move forward, we must reject power– and also embrace all such things. Canada is now known as Israel’s best friend, and Canada is now known as the greatest barrier on the planet to stopping the worst impacts of runaway climate change.
So those on the ground who seek to stop tar sands developments must also be those who seek to end the complicity of mass murder of the helpless Palestinian people.
It’s also a means of noting: We must eschew power, and embrace our own social power. No partnerships with war criminals– be they those who run oil and gas corporations, provincial governments or the Zionist state itself.