Up, Down, Postscript.
Three women of the Kainai Nation; Lois Frank, Jill Crop Eared Wolf, and Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers; were arrested for blocking three Murphy Oil trucks carrying fracking fluid onto the reserve near Standoff, Alberta (map) on September 10.
For some reason Google Maps shows the rivers but not their names: Oldman River, St. Mary River, and Belly River.
It looks to me like Murphy Oil Corporation with the connivance of the various levels of so-called 'government' bought all of those nice diesel pickup trucks you can see (and hear) there in the videos, and along with them the Kainai Band Council, but it wasn't enough to shut up these women and their colleagues. There is at least one man involved - Arnell Tailfeathers, a brother (I think) to Máijá, and who (I think) took the videos.
Here are the videos:
1) Introduction: Máijá Tailfeathers & Cathy Brewer,
2) The site: Máijá Tailfeathers,
3) The arrests, and,
4) The trucks go rolling on through.
There is a report at CBC, but better is at CENSORED NEWS by Brenda Norrel:
Sunday, September 11, 2011: Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers Statement, and,
Tuesday, September 13, 2011: Fracking Mother Earth for Dollars.
The network is paying off - I got this news on the very day from Tar Sands Action, the organizers of the Washington protest: 3 Blood Tribe Women Arrested in Fracking Blockade.
There was some applause from supporters as they were arrested - and there has been some applause in this little apartment too as I have been putting this together.
Good on you!
I spent some time in that foothills country - in the 80's putting up windmills (and taking them down again in the 90's) at the now defunct Alberta Renewable Energy Test Site near Pincher Creek (also on that map).
If you are unclear on just what 'fracking' is, you can start here.
The latest report I can find (as I am about to post this) is from Wednesday the 14th in the Calgary Herald.
Here's something else: UBC graduate Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers stands up for the Bloodlands by Shannon O'Rourke in The Ubyssey, September 20, and, her film Bloodlands plays at Empire Granville 7 Theatre on October 6 and 11: VIFF Listing.
A-and a bit more: (October 4 update) A short piece on CBC Radio from September 22, and a link I meant to include before: Protect Blood Land, now with the news that court proceedings have been delayed until October 17 for the three women arrested on September 10th.
Each person is a world, with a history, a geography, biodiversity ...
To know a person is to explore this world. Some are immediately interesting.
On others it is necessary to explore more thoroughly.
And obviously there are some who do not permit visits.
Then, turning over the old compost heap yesterday, it came to me - The Three Graces: Aglaea (Splendor), Euphrosyne (Mirth), and Thalia (Good Cheer). A-and Wikipedia calls them 'The Charites' - which set off another one of those damned tectonic shiftings I have been experiencing lately - mini-strokes maybe (hopefully).
(I have been stumbling around in this territory before, looking for my lost & distant girls Oxum & Iansã and their source Iemanjá ... and Anima and Abishag of course.)
There is a nexus here so deep and wide ... but it was not until today that I followed the trail from the graceful charites through caritas to agapé.
So ... thanks to Miss Numa, who simply called them 'rather delish'.
Another one so soon?! Yup. Here's Alzheimer's
'Vantage #8: Out with a friend to a restauraunt where we shared a delicious Italian dessert. But I cannot remember the name of it - could not indeed remember it at the time for more than 20 seconds (for some reason). So, as long as I remember that there was a dessert at all I will be calling to have the name given to me again. It promotes social interaction do you see? Solidarity.I am betting that the olfactory & gustatory will outlast language. (I have the telephone number written down.) And not a bad bet either - since I believe these senses reside in that old fave-o-rite: the hypothalamus (or substantia nigra is it? amygdala? hippocampus?) ... anyway, the Lizard Brain - you know what I mean.
When mom was going down with it and took a mouthful of sweet custard you could see a change, a kind of a ghost of a smile, just a hint of some vague residual recognition of pleasure.
I am longing to exercise that closing cadence 'My tale is done, a mouse has run' upon this blog. In fact, I did use it here ... more than a year ago, but it didn't stick. Oh well.
I am such a pushover. I can clutch longer at slimmer (even invisible) straws than ... (It's not over yet, so ... Who Knows?) One of my ex's expressed mild & indirect approbation when I participated in Washington and in a flash I was back in love all over again.
It don't take much. (As I hum a few bars of Guess Who's American Woman ... and then ... Undun.)
I went looking for some of the other Canadians from Toronto who were in Washington. I thought maybe we could get together and do something to promote the planned demonstration in Ottawa on the 26th - but it looks like none of them want any, and the organizers have now ignored three offers of support (beyond mere attendance). So ...
Here are some possibly useful links:
VIA Rail - $155.94 Toronto return,
Greyhound Canada - $125.00 Toronto return,
Ottawa Backpacker's Inn - $25 per night, and,
Hostelling International Ottawa (in the old jail) - from $28.
Be aware that there are various discounts for early booking, age, and so on, so these numbers are just indicators.
Estimates are for 400-500 demonstrators in Ottawa on the 26th. I thought this was not enough. But - it would be about twice any given day of the Washington action. So ... close enough to significant & substantial for the girls I go with!
But ... What am I doing wrong then? That so many of my overtures are rejected? What can it be? I don't get it. Either I really am (unbeknownst to myself - is that even possible with the written word?) entirely incoherent. Or am I working secretly and undercover (and schizophrenically I guess, psychotically) for CSIS & the RCMP? Is that it?
Or, as I often fear these days, am I - completely and on every conceivable axis and in every conceivable dimension - simply ... wrong?
Or ... or ... it's a remnant ... an aberration generated in some vestigial circuit of hope à la Allen Ginsberg & his Howl: "waiting for a door in the East River to open full of steamheat ..." Maybe it is not Alzheimer's at all, nor even age. Maybe it is a mind-virus disrupting, expanding, transferring, propagating by some corrupt but invisible intellectual process ... (Ggah!)
Surely my kids would see such a thing and tell me. Wouldn't they? I talk to them all the time.
Aha! A Clue! One of the companheiras from Washington has sent me a blast, trying to whack my pee-pee for being politically incorrect in my language. She missed ... but sure ... She's right! I am so not a devotee of correctitude. Could it be as simple as that? Ai ai ai!
I will try to fathom just how correctitude fits (or doesn't fit more likely) into this nexus and let you know.
Thank you Madam for this honesty, howevermuch unintentional & inverted. It is already useful to me.
I have been wondering about Jared Diamond: How could such a smart guy, so articulate and competent and so obviously full of life, sell out to Chevron? (See Chapter 15 of Collapse.)
So I have set about reading some of his books, as carefully as I can, thinking about him, wondering ... maybe I will have something to say about it all later on sometime ... one of these days:
In The Third Chimpanzee: the evolution and future of the human animal, at the end of Chapter 17 - The Golden Age That Never Was, I found this poem:
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
'My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away".
(Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley)
Of course I already knew it - I think we had to memorize it back in the day, Grade 8 or maybe Grade 9. And there is a mystery in this poem as well: What does, "the hand that mocked them and the heart that fed," refer to exactly I wonder? Another question for another day.
I will carry this poem to Ottawa on the 26th - in the event that someone asks me what I am doing there I will have an answer at hand.
Chapter 18 of The Third Chimpanzee, Blitzkrieg and Thanksgiving in the New World, is quite short, quick to read, and challenges some politically correct notions around the privileged aboriginal relatonship with nature and the environment - and challenges them successfully to my mind. I have been in the bush with First Nations' people who were no more in tune with it than I was (I mean to say: I was, and they were, but no more d'y'unnerstan'?).
Meditations around despair inevitably touch upon suicide. Those I feel closest to these days in considering environmental issues have despaired and, like myself, keep on keepin' on for ever more subtle and difficult-to-describe-in-smalltalk reasons. I met several people in Washington who were there and who share (approximately) my despair (or something like it).
One of them pointed me at this audio webcast of David Webb, and links to his book Thinking of Suicide (unhappily not available at the Toronto Public Library), and to an earlier report of his, The Many Languages of Suicide.
One evening in Rio - this happened right across the street from the famous Garota da Ipanema, where they say The Girl from Ipanema was composed - I had been working too hard and not eating and I collapsed over two choppes and a grilled-cheese sandwich. Luckily, waiters in Rio are not afraid to touch you so they soon had me picked up and into a chair and I came to. I didn't even remember falling. One of my mates saw me to my door later on, just in case. But, as we were walking slowly up the street, I was thinking to myself, "So, that's it then? If I had died I would never have known. When the time comes I can do that - easy."
One of those rare moments of freedom.
David Webb several times asks the question, "What would a compassionate society look like?" Good question!
It would certainly not look much like the urban and sub-urban societies of the early 21st century, for starters. (I said that.)
I hope this is not too long a jump, but: Compassion does not fit into institutions and cannot be made to fit there. A bureaucracy cannot dispense compassion. Compassion can neither be legislated nor enforced. As soon as your church makes it into doctrine it flies away from your church. As soon as you have applied a bumper-sticker to your car saying 'Be Compassionate!" it has flown right away from you.
About the same goes for compassion's first-cousin, 'empathy'. I say 'about' because marketing researchers and such like sleveens do try to use it - sometimes with effect, albeit negative; and because weeping sometimes, over Internet videos of courageous actions and eloquent speeches may (does sometimes) evoke a sort of verisimilitude.
I would go farther and say that compassion only raises its eyes & reveals its visage when you are close enough to someone to reach out and physically touch them. But that might be a step too far, and anyways I am still learning.
One thing David Webb says, which bears very directly, is this: "Speaking openly about suicidal feelings, rather than reacting with panic and fear, is the best ..."
And not true just for suicide either I'll warrant.
No doubt it is nothing but a coincidence that some Americans are simultaneously ruminating (in their way) over related issues:
Paul Krugman: Free to Die, September 15 2011, and,
Peter Catapano: Let’s Talk About Death, September 16 2011.
Be well gentle reader.
(The Wikipedia bio seemed incomplete, so I cobbled this together.)
Kumi Naidoo Bio:
Born in South Africa in 1965, Kumi Naidoo became involved in the South African liberation struggle at the age of 15. As a result of his anti-apartheid activities, he was expelled from high school. He was deeply involved in neighbourhood organisation, youth work in his community, the underground movement, and mass mobilisations against the apartheid regime.
In 1986, he was arrested and charged for violating the state of emergency regulations. He went underground for one year before finally fleeing into exile in the UK until 1989. During this time, he was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and earned a doctorate in political sociology. After Nelson Mandela's release in 1990, Kumi returned to South Africa to work on the legalisation of the African National Congress. During the democratic elections in 1994, he was the official spokesperson of the Independent Electoral Commission and directed the training of all electoral staff in the country.
Kumi became the founding Executive Director of the South African National NGO Coalition (SANGOCO), an umbrella agency for the South African NGO community. Provoked by the fact that South Africa has one of the highest rates of violence against women, Kumi was lead organiser of the National Men's March Against Violence on Women and Children in 1997.
From 1998 until 2008, Kumi Naidoo was the Secretary General and Chief Executive Officer of CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation. With a small staff of 40, but a membership of more than 1000 organisations and individuals from more than 100 countries, CIVICUS is dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society throughout the world. He is currently the honorary president of CIVICUS.
Kumi is a Rhodes Scholar with a D.Phil. in Politics from Magdalen College, Oxford. He also holds a BA in Politics and Law from the University of Durban-Westville, South Africa. He has published and spoken widely on issues relating to civil society, education, and resistance to apartheid.
Kumi Naidoo took up the role of Executive Director of Greenpeace International in November 2009.
Some videos of Kumi Naidoo:
Some (possibly related) miscellaneous links:
Speech at the Copenhagen Global Day of Action, December 2009 (10 minutes).
Greenpeace at 40 Years, a conversation between Rex Weyler & Kumi Naidoo.
Finally, a report of Kumi Naidoo's 2009 hunger strike (written by himself) and a Guardian Interview from July 2009.
The Climate Reality Project (Why is there nothing of this in Toronto?)
I just thought it was time to get to know this man a little better. The speeches are competent but not all flattering to him. Nonetheless he is indeed a fit champion. Actions speak louder than words.
The headline in my Canadian Climate Action Network weekly newsletter trumpets, "Victory! Kent says Maxim coal won't be allowed to skirt the rules."
'Damned Pollyanna optimists!' I think. Everyone knows that Peter Kent is a spineless weasel, and I doubt there has been any real victory over him (yet).
Sure enough, the CTV article they reference has it as, "Ottawa warns pending emissions rules will be enforced," but working your way west, to Winnipeg , where it is still "Kent threatens to tighten coal plant emissions rules," you fetch up with a thump in Calgary & Edmonton where it is "No surprises likely in new coal rules, Kent says."
In an effort to cut down on copy&paste I am keeping text copies of some of the articles I reference here so that if-and-when the link dies and if-and-when I notice it (or someone tells me) I can post them then. This makes it a bit slower to get at them - apologies.