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Issue #1708      October 28, 2015

Culture & Life

Hypocrisy riding high

During his recent American visit, Pope Francis thrilled a lot of Hispanic Americans by canonising a Hispanic American priest, one Father Junipero Serra. Serra earned his Catholic brownie points by converting lots of California’s Native Americans in the later 18th Century. But California’s Native Americans are less than ecstatic at Serra’s being elevated to Sainthood.

Local Kumeyaay Indians opposed to the canonization of Father Junipero Serra gathered at the Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala for a prayer. (Photo: KC Alfred)

There have even been protest demonstrations. Louise Miranda Ramirez, tribal chairperson for the Ohlone Costanoan-Esselen Nation in Monterey, California, said: “I hear people saying ‘Oh, he loved the Indians.’ I don’t think so. ... His goal was to remove our culture. ‘You have to beat ‘em, torture ‘em, remove them from their homeland’.”

Valentin Lopez, Chair of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, went so far as to write a letter to California’s Governor Jerry Brown, in which he labelled Serra’s methods of converting the natives as “especially coercive and cruel”. In an interview Lopez said it was Serra who developed the tactic of the Mission system, which effectively meant the capture and enslavement of Native Americans.

“Once they came into the Mission compound, they could not leave. The men were separated from the children and from the women. They were kept in separate compounds. ... At night, the [Spanish] soldiers would go in and repeatedly and continuously rape the women.” This was apparently part of Serra’s tactics, since he believed that the only way the Indians could be “controlled” was “with blows”.

California’s coastal Indian communities were the most densely populated native lands north of Mexico City. “California’s Monterey Bay once had 30,000 Indians living there”, said Lopez. “At the end of the mission period., there were fewer than 100.”

Lopez pointed out that when the Pope was in Bolivia on a recent trip, he apologised to Indigenous communities, in these words: “Some might rightly say, ‘When the Pope speaks of colonialism, he overlooks certain actions of the Church.’ I say this to you with regret: many grave sins were committed against the native people of America in the name of God.”

Lopez found it hypocritical of the Pope to then go on and Canonise Father Serra. “What they did in [South and Central America] is exactly what they did in California. So how can it be a sin in all the Latin American countries, but not a sin in California?”

How indeed?

Speaking of hypocrisy, Washington’s aggregation of ultra conservatives, frustrated at not being able to ride roughshod over the peoples of the world whenever they wish, are once again clamouring for Russia to be stripped of its power of veto on the UN Security Council. All five permanent members of the Security Council namely Britain, China, France, Russia and USA have the power of veto. The Security Council deals with the serious matter of peace and war. If the USSR hadn’t had the power of veto, the USA in the decades after WW2 would have used the UN as a shield for its own plans to “roll back Communism”, as it in fact did over Korea.

When the US puppet regime in South Korea staged a provocation against the Socialist North, it was conveniently (by accident or design) timed to coincide with a Soviet boycott of the proceedings of the Security Council in protest against other US diplomatic provocations. This not only allowed the US to obtain a UN vote condemning North Korea but also allowed the US and its allies to invade the Korean Peninsula as a “UN force” engaged in a “police action” to restore peace.

After the USSR resumed its place on the Security Council, US attempts to widen the war, even to use nuclear weapons (US Supreme Commander Douglas MacArthur wanted to use them against China), could not now get Security Council approval. If the power of veto had not been there, the second half of the 20th Century would have seen the USA using the UN to advance imperialism’s agenda of aggression and oppression all over the Middle East, SE Asia, Africa and Latin America on an almost unimaginable scale.

Now Washington is once again claiming that “Russian vetoes” are jeopardising the Security Council’s legitimacy. That’s diplomat’s speak for “the US can’t get its own way – boo hoo!” US author and syndicated columnist Stephen Lendman, writing in Global Research, says that Russia’s veto power “challenges [Washington’s] hegemonic agenda, blocking efforts to authorise war on Syria among other important actions.”

The US envoy to the UN, Samantha Power, is described by Lendman as “one of numerous neo-cons infesting the Obama administration.” He also calls her “an advocate of endless wars dressed up as humanitarian intervention.“ Power herself has used the supposed problem of Russian vetoes to float the idea of the US pulling out of the world body (she calls it “forum shopping”). She declared: “If a particular body reveals itself to be dysfunctional, then people are going to go elsewhere.” Presumably to NATO and the like.

Finally, here at home, we have the hypocrisy of Malcolm Turnbull, hypocrisy so gobsmacking that even Liberal Party members, couldn’t cop it with out jeering. On October 10 Turnbull addressed the Liberal Party Council and, apparently forgetting that he was talking to insiders, told them that the Liberal Party was “not run by factions”.

Elvis Kipman, who was there, relates what happened next: “The response from the Liberal true believers was, on this occasion, not to believe. He received bursts of jeering laughter. … Turnbull became quite flustered, caught unawares that a partisan audience could let him down by not feigning that they were being told the truth….

“We have not heard an explanation from Turnbull himself apart from, ‘Well, you may, you may, you may, you may dispute that, but to tell you by my experience, we are not run by factions, nor are we run by big business or by deals in back rooms’ (more laughter from the audience)”.

The Libs not run by big business? Now why would that make anyone laugh?

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