Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Chief Spence, Harper, and the Attawapiskat Christmas



I didn't want to blog tonight. I just wanted to enjoy Christmas.

But I couldn't get these two contrasting images out of my mind. 

Chief Theresa Spence  slowly starving to death.

While Stephen Harper, with a weird look on his face, plays cribbage. 

And the Idle No More movement continues to spread.

For Rome had its Nero and we have our mad emperor. And those contrasting images couldn't be more powerful.

Lying in my dark room, I pictured the chief of the Attawapiskat First Nation lying on a pile of blankets in her teepee across from Parliament Hill, entering day 14 of her hunger strike.

Lying there, I imagined another resolve too -- Prime Minister Harper's. Telling himself: I will not meet with her. I will not cave in to her. I will not be forced to do anything.


Mr. Harper may relent, scared of the political fallout from letting this great leader die. I dearly hope he does. I want Chief Spence to eat. But I won't soon forget this clash between these two very different kinds of resolve, one so sealed off, closed in; the other cracked wide open, a conduit for the pain of the world.


Or in Harper's case more shameful. Or more cowardly.

In a hunger strike, most of the phases are well known. When glycogen is used up and no food is taken, the body begins consuming fat stocks. When they are gone, muscles and organ tissue are consumed to produce energy. But there is not much information about when a hunger strike begins to consume politicians. 

The country is waiting to see what Stephen Harper will do about a woman who is dying to talk to him. If she does die, the prime minister will not have to ask for whom the bell tolls — and neither will anyone else.

And then I read how back in Chief Spence's humble little community of Attawapiskat, they were doing their best to keep the spirit of Christmas alive for the children.















The Attawapiskat River is frozen; the temperature is -18 C but feels like -27. The wind is relentless; it cuts through like a knife. But Christmas in Attawapiskat is anything but cold. People in this community don’t have much but what they do have, they share without a second thought, even with strangers.















As people from the community trooped in, children in tow, they chose what they needed. Shoes, clothes and toys, in that order, went quickly. If two people wanted the same thing — it didn’t happen often — they quickly and quietly discussed who needed it more and resolved the conundrum. 

 “It is like this in daily life, too, every day,” Vezina said. “When you don’t have much, you realize you don’t need much.”

And I was moved beyond words, for the justice of the cause of the Idle No More movement  never seemed so obvious. My Christmas never seemed so privileged. Or this so true.

Chief Spence's hunger is not just speaking to Mr. Harper. It is also speaking to all of us, telling us that the time for bitching and moaning is over. Now is the time to act, to stand strong and unbending for the people, places and principles that we love.

You know it's funny eh? Stephen Harper calls himself a Christian. But I'm a better Christian than he is, for I would never let even my worst enemy starve, because I was too proud to talk to him. And I'm an atheist. 

So I can't offer Chief Spence a prayer. But I was once a choir boy, believe it or not.

So in the bleak midwinter of Harperland I could sing this old song for her...



What can I give Him,/ Poor as I am?/ If I were a shepherd/ I would bring a lamb,/ If I were a wise man/ I would do my part,/ Yet what I can I give Him,/ Give my heart.

And give her, and her people, my heart. And my undying support.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays to all of you who read this humble blog.

Justice for all Canadians.

Idle no more...

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5 comments:

  1. Harper will get his due lump(s) of coal.

    In the meantime Simon, may you and Sab├ęstian have a safe and Happy Christmas.

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  2. Anonymous12:25 PM

    I worry about Chief Spence. Her starvation can damage her organs.

    The worst for Chief Spence is, she is up against a monster of a tyrant. Harper is selling Canada to Communist China. He has given China our resources and resource jobs. Harper gave Communist China the right to sue, any Canadians blocking China's takeover of Canada. By Harper's permission. Communist China was awarded all of BC's mining jobs, by the BC courts.

    Chief Spence and her Canadian Human Rights are the same as, Harper's Chinese peoples Human Rights. In China, their people have no Human Rights. Chinese child laborers, only earn pennies a day. Chinese people looking for work in an apple factory, are required to sign a document, they won't commit suicide.

    This is the horrible country Harper has brought, right onto our Canadian soil. Harper is more than willing, to permit China to exploit their own people and Canadians alike.

    On TV, Harper had the audacity, to proclaim himself a Christian. He said, he "prey's" every day. What a wonderful Christan Harper is? Harper "prey's" while Chief Spence, is going to die for her people.

    Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini were all evil dictators. All of them had the same typo personalities, including Harper.

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  3. hi sassy...I think a lump of coal is being too generous...but thanks for the good wishes, and Merry Christmas to you too !!!

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  4. Anonymous4:14 PM

    Doesn't Chief Spence make more than the Prime Minister?

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  5. Anonymous12:35 AM

    She isn't on a hunger strike, its a diet. She is still eating soup.
    Nice picture - the effects on it look cool, and hide the fact that she is still extremely plump in that picture.
    And lastly, she isn't sitting on blankets in a teepee. She goes to sleep in a nice comfy hotel room e very night, paid for with the cash that should have gone to help those on her reserve.

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