Letters to the Editor, Aug. 14

When history is written by the west

To the Editor:

I am reacting to David Chowes’ letter, “Hamas is the reason for Gaza bloodshed,” in T&V, July 31.
Reading it brought me back to the Sioux Wars in the middle of the nineteenth century when the Dakotas attacked and killed some 800 men, women and children. Their eventual defeat, one might argue, was something they brought about themselves, but that “It’s their own fault,” conclusion would require that one’s story opens with the massacre of 29 soldiers near Fort Laramie: “The savages killed 29 of our boys!’ But the expression of “savagery” points back to a history and to an attitude toward natives and settlers.

In other words, what we have here is not a description of a nasty series of events. There is no acknowledgement that a chief had just been killed by a trooper, nor an acknowledgement of uninvited settlements in (acknowledged) Indian territory, nor an acknowledgement that natives had been forced by treaty, when not forced by military power, to accommodate the flood of foreigners from Europe and the eastern states — an accommodation which, they well-knew was, after tens of thousands of years In-This-Place, their demise.

For some it was then, and now, unfathomable that the natives of This Place did not feel it their duty to go out of existence so that the settlers might “live in peace.” For some it was then, as it is now, unfathomable that those in This Place just might have a moral duty to rebel according to their own terms — a moral duty ever-so precisely described in our Declaration of Independence.

I am not a historian, nor am I suggesting that we go back to the origin of the universe, but it seems to me that Mr. Chowes’ pitch had no more accuracy then we find in “Rockets raining down on Israel!”

We can of course avoid the moral obligation that we have toward the mess created in Palestine by western imperialism, and we do, but we do it at our own peril.  Yet, if we do not know that history, and more important, if we make no attempt to know it, then Mr. Chowes’ words and the pathetic dribble coming out of The White House are secure.

The choices we have supported for the natives of Palestine are 1) disappear, 2) live on your knees, 3) die fighting. Too many of us have the gaul to object when they choose number 3.

John M. Giannone, ST

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