Friday, January 11, 2013
The Media Assault on Idle No More
There was an incredibly revealing moment today. A moment that summed up the way many in the MSM have been going after Chief Spence and the Idle No More movement.
And like it has been all along, it was both banal and brutal.
Shawn Atleo, the AFN chief, had just finished addressing reporters in the National Press Theatre. He had talked about the preparations for the critical meeting with Stephen Harper. He had talked about what was at stake, and what his suffering people were hoping to accomplish.
But when he asked reporters for their questions this is the first one he received.
The first issue raised then was the case of a journalist who had been ordered to leave the Attawapiskat reserve earlier this week. Did Mr. Atleo consider that “appropriate?”
Can you believe that? As if the story of a reporter asked to leave a reserve was more important than the incredible story of the native struggle for justice that is rocking this country to its foundations.
It couldn't be more condescending, or more colonial, or more grotesque. But what followed from Shawn Atleo was magnificent.
“Is it appropriate that First Nations rank around 67th on the UN human development index when Canada ranks in the top seven? Is it appropriate that when Amnesty International released a report that said that there’s a grave human rights crisis amongst First Nations in Canada … is that appropriate? In 2011, when Sheila Fraser said that after 10 years of audits and over 30 audits specifically on Indian and Northern Affairs, that conditions were getting worse, is that appropriate?”
“This is what our people are saying. That poverty is killing our people. That the history of colonalization and unilateral action on the part of governments will stop now...We said we would be at a tipping point with the growth of our population exploding, over half under the age of 25. That tipping point is now.
Because of course that's the real story, and Atleo had every right to be angry at the way the Con media has somehow managed to turn their mediocre coverage of the native struggle into an all out assault on Chief Theresa Spence.
I've written about their disgusting bullying behaviour before, how unfair it is, and how it is fuelling a racist backlash.
But still old hacks like Andrew Coyne, just can't stop attacking her.
To be clear, whether Spence attends the meeting is of no importance whatever. A flair for self-promotion and the credulousness of the Canadian media may have landed her on the front pages for a few weeks; she may imagine herself, as such, to be in a position to dictate terms to the Queen, the Governor General and the Prime Minister, not to mention her fellow chiefs (who were instructed not to attend in her absence).
But the mundane reality, with the continuing revelations of just how thoroughly she has mismanaged her tiny hamlet, is that her career in the race hustling business is very nearly at an end. No one person has done more to damage the native cause with the general public, and no native leader who hopes to enlist the public’s support will want to have much to do with her.
As if a pompous ass like him, who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, had the moral authority to dismiss a woman from one of the poorest communities in Canada. As if she was a maid. As if the native struggle for justice depended on the goodwill of other Canadians.
When she's putting her life on the line for her people.
She was the one who forced Stephen Harper to agree to a special meeting.
And as Dr Dawg so excellently puts it, she may be an ordinary woman, but her actions have made her extraordinary.
By her actions she affirms that every one of us, whatever our personal shortcomings, has the capacity of spirit to stand up for what is right, regardless of personal risk. She has, by example, allowed us all to hope. For that reason alone we should freely give her the tremendous credit she is due, and put to shame her cynical detractors.
For in a country where aboriginal people live on average 20 years less than the rest of us her protest has moved many to ask themselves some hard questions.
Like how long we can live in a country where the dreams of so many aboriginal kids are doomed to be shattered?
Or their poverty scarred lives doomed to be short ones.
So what can you say about those in the media who knowing all that would still blame the victims? Or focus on the accounting errors of a tiny impoverished community, or smear its humble chief, or feed the disgusting bigots who are spewing filth all over the place.
Instead of looking at the big picture, and blaming Stephen Harper for triggering this crisis with his reckless, irresponsible, and anti-democratic behaviour. Harper the bully, the fanatic, the tool of Big Oil, the destroyer of nations.
What can you say about those who would treat the poorest Canadians with contempt? Or accuse them of being crooks. While kissing the ass of the most crooked regime in Canadian history.
Except shame on them, how small they are, how cheap and how grubby.
Here's to Chief Spence, an ordinary woman doing extraordinary things.
Here's to all the aboriginal kids whose dreams must not be shattered.
The tipping point is now.
Stephen Harper and his foul Con regime must be brought to their senses, or brought to their knees.
Idle no more...
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