(Hamlet, act 1, sc. 5)
Comments. Dec 29 is the 122nd anniversary of the Massacre of Wounded Knee. The story has not been forgotten among what remains of the American Indians. It is interesting to read what the then Indian Commissioner Morgan wrote prior to the massacre, “The Indians must conform to “the white man’s ways,” peaceably if they will, forcibly if they must. They must adjust themselves to their environment, and conform their mode of living substantially to our civilization. This civilization may not be the best possible, but it is the best the Indians can get. They cannot escape it, and must either conform to it or be crushed by it. The tribal relations should be broken up, socialism destroyed, and the family and the autonomy of the individual substituted.”
So much for “freedom and democracy” The remarks follow a trail of 60 years of continuous murder and dislocation of native Americans from their won land. After all it was President Jackson who, in the 1820s said, “The only good Indian is a dead Indian.”
In conformist history books the Wounded Knee Massacre passes as a “battle” without responsibility and if any, it was the Lakotas who (allegedly) fired a shot first. In reality on Dec 29 1890 over 370 men, women, and children were gunned down as they fled for their lives. But the Wounded Knee Massacre was not an anomaly, nor was it an accident. Wounded Knee is the entire history of indigenous peoples relationship with Imperialism, made manifest in a single event.
These are the words of Black Elk, “I did not know then how much was ended. When I look back now from this high hill of my old age, I can still see the butchered women and children lying heaped and scattered all along the crooked gulch as plain as when I saw them with eyes still young. And I can see that something else died there in the bloody mud, and was buried in the blizzard. A people’s dream died there. It was a beautiful dream.”
And this is what a journalist wrote a few days after the massacre, “The Pioneer has before declared that our only safety depends upon the total extermination of the Indians. Having wronged them for centuries, we had better, in order to protect our civilization, follow it up by one more wrong and wipe these untamed and untamable creatures from the face of the earth.“
Today there are (we hope) no longer Indians to kill, only “terrorists’ on the other side of the world. Witness this picture of a small truck destroyed by a drone – bodies dusted with flour and sugar that the victims were bringing back to their village from the market. A torched woman clutched her daughter in a lifeless embrace. Four severed heads littered the pavement. Ahmed al-Sabooli, 22, a farmer whose parents and 10-year-old sister were among the dead said, “Then I recognized my mother because she was still holding my sister in her lap. That is when I cried.”
On Dec 24, (of course ignored by the corporate media) a Washington Post article said, “U.S. officials in Washington, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, said it was a Defense Department aircraft, either a drone or a fixed-wing airplane, that fired on the vehicle.”
All in the name of “freedom and democracy” for the Yemeni peasant and farmers who are a terrible threat to America.
Tips for Use. One way of expressing your disgust, whether the murder is real or metaphorical.
In the play. The ghost makes his case with Hamlet. The ghost of Hamlet’s father reveals how he was assassinated by his brother.