Saturday, September 25, 2010


When so much of the ‘international community’ is focused on demonizing Israel for its oppressive ‘occupation’ of Palestinian lands and its harsh treatment of the dispossessed Palestinians, I was reminded of a shameful chapter in our history by a movie I watched last night.
It was the first time I saw GERONIMO: AN AMERICAN LEGEND, a 1993 film starring Wes Studi in an impressive performance as Geronimo, Jason Patrick, Gene Hackman as Brig. Gen. George Crook, Robert Duvall and a young Matt Damon.
While the film may not have been historically accurate, it did show how the American Indians - the politically correct term is Native Americans - were driven from their lands by the ‘white-eyes’ and forced to live in reservations that could barely sustain life. To pacify them, the army was ordered to make promises to the Indians that the U.S. government had no intention of keeping.
After watching the movie - and it was a good one - I did not come away feeling that the film was another liberal director’s attempt to make America look bad. My past work has taken me to a number of Indian Reservations in both California and Arizona. The squalor and abject poverty under which the Indians were living on those reservations is hard to fathom. The mortality rate is high and alcoholism is rampant.
Today, life on some Indian reservations is much better, but only because some tribes have been allowed to establish large gambling casinos. But for most Indians life on the reservation remains the same – in many instances bums on skid rows, including soused-up Indians, enjoy a better life.
For me there was one humorous moment in the film. When an army unit came upon some Apache men, women and children that had been killed and scalped by American bounty hunters, Duvall said that the bounty hunters had to be Texans because "A Texan is the lowest form of white man there is." Obviously, some screen writer had little use for us Texans.

For all those nations and individuals who are demonizing the Israelis, please take note: The treatment of the Palestinians pales when compared to America’s treatment of its Indians.

Israel is being told to return lands it captured during wars - wars that its enemies started. That’s no different than if the European Union were to condemn us for our oppressive occupation of Indian lands and demand we return parts of America’s West, Midwest and Southwest to the dispossessed Indians and for us to get out of ‘settlements’ like Palm Springs, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tucson, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Oklahoma City, Wichita, Omaha, Des Moines, Bismarck, Sioux Falls, etc...

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