To racists, colonialist statues matter, lives don’t

This 16 June 2020 video from the USA says about itself on YouTube:

[Albuquerque] New Mexico Protester Shot Trying to Take Down Conquistador Statue | NowThis

In US news and current events today, one person is in critical but stable condition after a man believed to be part of an armed militia opened fire on a group of protesters trying to dismantle a statue of Spanish conquistador Juan de Oñate in New Mexico.

According to Wikipedia:

Today Oñate is known for the 1599 Acoma Massacre. …

Oñate ordered a brutal retaliation against Acoma Pueblo. The Pueblo was destroyed.[2] Around 800–1000 Ácoma were killed.[3]. …

Of the 500 or so survivors, at a trial at Ohkay Owingeh, Oñate sentenced most to twenty years of forced “personal servitude” and additionally mandated that all men over the age of twenty-five have a foot cut off.[3] … He was convicted by the Spanish government of using “excessive force” against the Acoma people.

In London, England, the extreme right ‘defends’ memorials by urinating on them (not a slave trader or colonialist memorial in that case).

In New Mexico, the extreme right ‘defends’ statues by attempted murder. They glorify the war in which the United States conquered New Mexico from Mexico. According to 19th century United States general and Republican party President Ulysses Grant, that war was ‘one of the most unjust wars ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation.’ The far right glorifies that war by violence against Mexicans and others of Latin American ancestry, including by murdering little girls.

And they don’t just glorify the 19th century United States conquest, but the cruel 16th-century Spanish empire war against native New Mexicans as well.

The YouTube text continues:

In the wake of the police killings of George Floyd, Rayshard Brown, Breonna Taylor and so many more Black people and people of color, the Black Lives Matter protests and George Floyd protests have opened the eyes of the world to the insidious reach of systemic racism.

As the United States reconciles with its racist past, by removing Confederate statues and moving to rename military bases named after treasonous Confederate soldiers, some protesters are calling for an even more sweeping statement against the historical horrors of racism. In many cities protesters are removing Christopher Columbus statues, citing his history as a genocidal colonizer, and in New Mexico, statues of Spanish Conquistadors are a testament to the brutal colonization of indigenous people.

Sadly, peaceful protests and peaceful protesters have been rocked with violence, usually from armed white supremacist militias in defense of their ugly past, and this case appears no different. The peaceful protester shot trying to take down a colonialist statue is evidence of a larger conflict brewing in America, one that will take real change from the top down to eliminate racial violence and ensure justice and equality for all.

The attempted murder in Albuquerque was by a former Republican local council candidate. He is Steven Baca, a Donald Trump supporter.

Murder attempt suspect Steven Baca

3 thoughts on “To racists, colonialist statues matter, lives don’t

  1. Dear Friends,

    Thank you so much for signing the George Floyd open letter. NOW WE NEED YOU TO ACT URGENTLY!

    On Wednesday at 3 pm CET, the UN will hold an unprecedented debate on systemic racism and police violence. They could order the set up of an independent commission of inquiry investigating police brutality in the US. But, we need to pressure our governments to demand US accountability at this meeting!

    Insiders say the Trump Administration is exerting massive pressure on countries to take the spotlight off the US. Australia and European countries have capitulated to a watered down resolution, and other countries are also coming under intense pressure. This is where we come in!

    If enough of us contact our foreign ministries / country representatives to the UN in the next 18 hours, we can get these countries to reverse course and to demand US accountability! Here’s how we do it:

    If you live outside the US, please contact your Foreign Ministry or your country’s UN Mission in Geneva and let them know that you support the call made by families of victims of police killings in the United States, 54 African countries, and over 660 groups from 66 countries to mandate an independent Commission of Inquiry.
    If you live in the United States, please contact foreign embassies in Washington D.C. that are members of the UNHRC (see list here) especially U.S. allies and urge them to support international accountability for police killings in the U.S

    George Floyd’s brutal murder has sparked an unstoppable global movement demanding concrete and bold actions to end racist policing practices and impunity for police violence. Our community has an unparalleled opportunity to bring meaningful change here. Let’s rise to the occasion!

    In solidarity,
    The Avaaz team

    Dear friends,

    These are the last words of George Floyd, a 46-year-old man who died as a US police officer pinned him down, kneeling on his neck for almost nine minutes:

    “It’s my face man
    I didn’t do nothing serious man
    please I can’t breathe
    please man
    please somebody
    please man
    I can’t breathe
    I can’t breathe
    man can’t breathe, my face
    just get up
    I can’t breathe
    lease, a knee on my neck
    I can’t breathe
    I will
    I can’t move
    I can’t
    my knee
    my neck
    I’m through
    I’m through
    I’m claustrophobic
    my stomach hurt
    my neck hurts
    everything hurts
    some water or something
    I can’t breathe officer
    don’t kill me
    they’re gonna kill me, man
    come on man
    I cannot breathe
    I cannot breathe
    they’re gonna kill me
    they’re gonna kill me
    I can’t breathe
    I can’t breathe
    please sir
    please I can’t breathe”

    Then his eyes shut and the pleas stop. George Floyd was pronounced dead shortly after.

    Right now, we have a choice. This can just be one more tragic death at the hands of US police — or the moment for change.

    We are a movement of more than 60 million people — when we all speak up, we are deafening. So let’s raise our voices to join everyone calling for an end to these racist killings, and push those in power to do the same.

    Sign this open letter with one click, and when it’s massive, Avaaz will publish it in major US newspapers and websites around the world. Let it be an anthem to end the killing and honour all those we’ve already lost.

    Add your name

    As people of the world, we grieve the senseless loss of another life at the hands of US police.

    We stand in community with everyone who is hurting.

    These brutal killings must end. Each is a wound to the heart of our humanity and a shameful, indelible mark on that great flag of the United States of America.

    Racism thrives in the company of silence — so we will not stay quiet. Racism is a problem that belongs to us all. It is our fight.

    But we cannot allow that fight to become hatred, for then we are no wiser than those whose hearts we seek to change. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

    It is in this spirit that we call on all those in power to act NOW, and hold President Trump and US state and local governments accountable to:

    Ensure all officers involved in the killing of George Floyd face legal due process,
    Expel and prosecute officers for even one instance of excessive force or the failure to intervene when excessive force is used,
    Ensure every police killing is independently and transparently investigated.

    We pledge to do our part, meeting the fear, anger, and ignorance of racism with all the hope, love, and strength of our humanity.

    Rest in Power, George Floyd.
    It will not be in vain.

    Add your name

    With endless hope,

    Mike, Marie, Meetali, Sarah, Andrew, Ricken, Bert and the whole team at Avaaz.

    More information:

    Of Course There Are Protests. The State Is Failing Black People. (New York Times)

    George Floyd killing: sister says officers should face murder charge as protests grow (The Guardian)


  2. Pingback: Juan de Oñate, ‘hero’ of 21st-century racists | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Racism and police brutality | Dear Kitty. Some blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.