“In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” G. Orwell
Nov 1, 2016 (San Diego) the word genocide conjures images of the Holocaust. It also brings to mind Cambodia, or even Serbia. Rwanda is up there as well. Yet, what it is currently happening in North Dakota is genocide. It is cultural genocide. It is ethnic cleansing. It is done with the silent consent of American corporate media. It is a continuation of 500 years of colonization and murder.
This is the same media that has given us a breathless coverage of the Presidential race, yet has not mentioned that Donald Trump is an investor in this pipeline. Nor have they told you young men and women went to the Hillary Clinton supporters headquarters in New York City and got a useless statement for their troubles.
CNN cannot be bothered to tell you that young people took over CitiBank offices in San Francisco. Yes, as expected there were arrests. Nor has a major explosion graced their air.. As if to make a point of the water protectors, the Colonial pipeline exploded yesterday killing people in the process and starting a fire.
It is not just CNN it is a whole mainstream media system that has chosen to remain mostly silent.
Silence implies consent. We cannot continue to remain silent. Genocide takes many forms. First people’s have survived concerted attacks. They range from outright killing them, to taking away their children and refusing to recognize their cultures, to the present. Standing Rock is a symbol of resistance to the violations, systematic as they are, of first people’s rights.
That said, thanks to social media the powerful have been unable to hide this in its entirety. The young and old are waking up. When over one million people signed on at Standing Rock through Facebook, it was a moment of waking up. Whether this had any effect with the Morton County Sheriff is a good question. But as a symbol, it has a powerful effect. Those in power can no longer use the cover of media silence.
There is more. The industry knows it has made a mistake. At the very least this is a public relations disaster. Americans have moved away from thinking fossil fuels are king. As slow as it is, climate change is very slowly entering the mass consciousness of Americans. The response to the protests is now a public relations disaster. When you look at this you also need to take into account the industry.
Energy Enterprise Partners had a chance to de-escalate tensions with the Standing Rock Sioux – as crisis communications experts always advise. Instead, the company chose to escalate and continue escalating, culminating with the clash Friday between protestors and police forces who looked like they were ready for a war.
Images of armored vehicles and SWAT teams and young women hit in the face with rubber bullets and rumors of arrested protestors being held in dog cages – and so much more – are buzzing around the world on social media. The Standing Rock Sioux are not going away; instead, they have vowed to continue their protest over the winter and have begun crowdfunding online to pay for provisions and housing. Protests have broken out in other parts of the United States in support of the Sioux.
The industry is starting to wake up to this new reality. Moreover, the message that water is life is far more powerful than the corporate spin. The adds on CNN about energy voters are seen as rank propaganda. It was the Petroleum Institute that sponsored at least one of the debates. And you wondered why climate change did not play a role? Now you know.
Genocide is what colonialism ultimately brings. Native peoples are given a choice, and it is stark: surrender and preferably die. But in spite of the lack of coverage we are seeing effective resistance. People who are portrayed as almost cartoons by football and baseball teams are very much human. Social media is part of this revolution. The question is how long until social media is brought under the effective control of the spin masters?