Saturday, May 1, 2010

Andre Picard Sort of Gets It that Gynocide and Genocide Are Atrocities, but not that they are what normal men and whites are invested in

[original caption]
Photographs of missing or murdered women from British Columbia are displayed during a Sisters in Spirit vigil to honour the lives of missing and murdered aboriginal women in Vancouver on Oct. 4, 2009.
DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS 
[this image is from here]

I just came across this and wanted to cross post it. The original is from *here*. And what follows has my interruptions and commentary, in bold and in brackets.

Andre Picard's Second Opinion

With more than 500 aboriginal women missing, action is overdue

How can this not be considered a national priority for police, justice and public-health officials?

Andre Picard
Last week, the Manitoba government announced the creation of a joint RCMP and Winnipeg Police task force to investigate dozens of cases of missing and murdered women in the province.

The news, while welcome, raises the question: Why limit the investigation to Manitoba?

It is true that there are at least 75 missing women in the province, virtually all of them aboriginal. Police have been seemingly incapable of solving the cases and halting the race-based violence. [That would be also be GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE, Andre, unless we find out all the killers are women! And likely also class-based. Killing poor women never gets the mass media attention as the killing of middle class and wealthy white people does.]

But, nationwide, the data are even more gut-wrenching: The Native Women's Association of Canada has catalogued 520 cases of missing or murdered aboriginal women, half of them since the year 2000.

The women, most under the age of 30, are overwhelmingly victims of sexual violence. They are being preyed upon systematically by sexual sadists, killers and probably more than one serial killer. [Or by normal men. You could at least use the word: MEN.]

How can this not be considered a national priority for police, justice and public-health officials? [For human rights activists, for people who care about ending white/het/male supremacist genocide and gynodicde!]

Sadly, when a native woman is murdered or vanishes under suspicious circumstances, it does not mobilize police action nor generate near as much media attention as similar cases involving non-native women. [And this is a tangled mess of racism and specifically anti-Indigenism, misogyny, and classism.]

They were drunk. They were sex workers. [The callousness and cruelty inheres more in the fact that they were poor and desperate, they were pimped and trafficked and some may have been sold into sexual slavery. They were seen as existing only for men's sexual pleasure--primarily white het men's, and were seen as expendable, because there's supposedly always more where they came from, up to a point.] They came from unstable family backgrounds. They were runaways. They were party girls. An endless litany of excuses for inaction is trotted out with shocking regularity. [They weren't wealthy white het men.]

Let's be blunt. The main reason an in-depth investigation is required is that the situation reeks of racism, stereotyping and discrimination. There seems to be a deadly double standard at play. [Why is it about "gendered violence" that isn't screaming out at you, Andre? Are these women NOT women? Are the perpetrators, the rapists, the murderers NOT men? For a group stalked and murdered precisely because they were not men, you really go out of your way to make this seem like it's only about racism. If that were true, the stats would be just as high for missed and murdered men of color, right?]

It is true that many of the 500-plus aboriginal women who have been murdered or disappeared had difficult life circumstances. [As one tends to have when surviving genocide and racialised and gendered poverty and misogyny. As Mary Brave Bird said, if you're white and male, you're lucky.]

But it is precisely these circumstances - alcoholism, drug addiction, sexual abuse, the sequelae of residential schools, poverty, survival sex, etc. - that placed them at much higher risk. ["Survival sex"?? That's a new one. Why not call it being pimped? Why not call it being a prostitute? Women who are very poor are very vulnerable not just to the occasional "good samaritan procurer" who will trade sex for cash. Women and girls tend to be preyed upon by pimps, Andre. So "survival sex" really makes the systems of racist/classist/misogynist/heterosexist exploitation and lethal violence sound like they aren't systems of harm at all.]

The life expectancy of an aboriginal [person] is a decade less than a non-aboriginal [person] in Canada. The rate of infant mortality is three times higher. The suicide rate is six times higher. Aboriginal people have a rate of diabetes and heart disease three times the national average, and dramatically higher rates of infectious diseases like tuberculosis, HIV-AIDS and H1N1 influenza. [It's not called genocide for nothing. You think maybe white folks want Indigenous North Americans to SURVIVE or something?]

The key determinants of health - individually and collectively - are social and economic factors such as housing, income, education, environment and empowerment. First nations, Métis and Inuit communities fare particularly dismally in these essential areas. [One key factor is building a whole civilisation based on white male entitlement to take over the world. It's called racist patriarchy, and it shows up in every facet of life, in every system, in every corner of one's experience. So I'd call that a key factor that is political.]

Unemployment levels and poverty rates in aboriginal communities are three times higher than in mainstream society. Only 4 per cent of natives have a university education, one quarter the rate in mainstream society. More than one third of aboriginal people in Canada have, in government jargon, a "core housing need," meaning their homes do not meet the most basic standards of acceptability. Overcrowding, lack of running water and inadequate sewage services are the norm in many native communities. [Which, I'd argue, meets the standards of acceptability quite well, for genocidalists. If it were genuinely unacceptable, it wouldn't exist. It exists precisely because it IS acceptable to whites, the wealthy, and men who are not members of the First Nations.]

Not to mention that an aboriginal is five times more likely to be murdered than a non-aboriginal Canadian.
The murder of poor (literally and figuratively [?!--as in "pitiful"?!]) aboriginal women is the most extreme manifestation of the price first nations, Inuit and Métis peoples are paying for the abysmal social conditions in which they are trapped. [I'd say it is the most acceptable manifestation of white het male supremacist civilisation. I'd say it's mandatory, in fact. Proof of that is how few predators/normal white men are caught and prosecuted. You can bet if the victims were wealthy white men there wouldn't be 520 disappearances before it got some major press--half of those in one year!]

The murders are also a gruesome symbol of society's indifference to that plight. [Indifference, callousness, cruelty, denial, destruction, death, and delusion are core values of any capitalist racist patriarchy.]

Much was made of the fact that virtually all of mass murderer Robert Pickton's victims were sex workers. But rarely did we hear that almost all his victims were young aboriginal women. There is evidence that a serial killer may also be at work in Manitoba, and a single [white het] man may also be responsible for the carnage along British Columbia's infamous Highway of Tears. (The Yellowhead Highway, which stretches 750 kilometres from Prince George to Prince Rupert has been the site of nine murders and disappearances since 1990, all but one of the victims young aboriginal women.) But the reality is that the Highway of Tears stretches from sea-to-sea-to-sea in this country: Aboriginal women have been murdered or disappeared by the score in every single province and territory in Canada. [As well as in 'the lower 48', and as well across the globe.]

This is not a Manitoba-only problem. [To say the least.]

Beverley Jacobs, president of the Native Women's Association of Canada, has repeatedly called for a national investigation into this on-going horror.

As she noted, the deaths and disappearances of 520 aboriginal women is the equivalent of 18,000 missing and murdered non-aboriginal women.

Would we stand idly by while a massacre of our daughters, sisters, mothers and grandmothers unfolded on this scale? [And by "our" you mean... white? That's taking assumptions about literacy a bit far, don't you think? And you know damn well that if all the missing and dead were Black, non-Indigenous women, there'd be no major press about that either. So let's call it like it is: if you're not white and you are not wealthy and you are killed, media doesn't care what happens to you. Put in place an economic system that is entirely white male supremacist, and you'll end up with very poor women of color.]

We would not and we should not. [But "we" whites, will and we whites do. It's not like the gynocidal genocide started a couple of years ago, right? I mean we whites have had a few centuries to get a grasp on how this particular atrocity works, yes?]

Incomprehensibly [or not], Ms. Jacobs's call for a national investigation has gone unheeded by the federal government. Instead, politicians have contented themselves with funding research into the problem. [Dude, that's all that's supposed to happen. I'm glad you're outraged and upset, but please don't pretend this is new or at all unusual. It is, literally and figuratively, "status quo" behavior and practice.]

A report published earlier this year, entitled Voices of Our Sisters in Spirit, makes for chilling reading, recounting the stories of many murdered and missing aboriginal women. The data therein are as humbling as they are sickening: More than half the murders of aboriginal women remain unsolved. [Don't worry: whites won't read it. It's too chilling and sickening.]

It's time to go beyond mere cataloguing of the carnage, and to understand the root causes. [WHITE HET MALE SUPREMACY, and WESTERN CAPITALIST CIVILISATION.]

In Canada, a death or a disappearance should not be taken less seriously because of the colour of a person's skin. [Yeah, well. Welcome to the world of reality. Again, sir, you're not like 18. You've had plenty of time to notice THERE'S A GYNOCIDAL GENOCIDE GOING ON.]

And [non-Indigenous] Canadians should not tolerate that the horror of these crimes - 520 daughters, sisters, mothers and grandmothers stolen away from their families, friends and communities - be redoubled by indifference. ["Our" indifference doesn't go away because crimes happen against the poor, against women, and against people of color. Not unless "our" means a federal government comprised of ethical people of color, women, and poor people.]

Our willful blindness to the plight of aboriginal women is the greatest injustice. [I agree it's an atrocity. But it's one you and every other white Canadian benefit from, so don't leave that out. Because whether you say so or not, you are invested, literally and figuratively, in genocide and in gynocide within and beyond Canada.]

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