Thursday, July 16, 2009

and then there were three ...

we're in el paso, listening to some local musicians sing traditional songs that were banned by the spanish imperialists. we're being hosted by the unitarians, and there are now three bus loads of us, so when we leave, at sunrise, we'll be a real caravan stopping in san antonio, and then mcallen.

there's one thing that's bugging me, that's been bugging me for some time ..... and it's a sign on our bus that says "silence is the voice of complicity." and i'm guilty.

but what am i to do? i realized, as soon as i saw our t-shirts, way back in seattle, that someone had screwed up. they're gildan shirts, the label says 'made in honduras.' and they're our main source of revenue for this journey. so after lisa offers her inspiring talk each night, and asks folks to consider that this yearly pilgrimage to cuba isn't an annual picnic but is part of a strategic and purposeful attempt to encourage 'the most powerful nation in the world' to put their big fat ego aside, admit they lost the freakin' revolution 50 years ago, and allow the good law abiding tax paying citizens of the land of the free an opportunity to travel to cuba so we can witness that there is indeed a different way to shape the world - perhaps not a perfect one, nor one we'd want to copy precisely, but something that offers health care and education and is difficult to forget once you've seen it. as lisa says, if cuba was really under the spell of the evil dictator as the evil capitalist greedheads claim it to be, every usa citizen would be offered a free ticket to go witness the evil. but they're not under that spell - they're doing something vastly different than anywhere else in the world, and the stupid and cruel usa government simply can't have its citizens witnessing it. and realizing they've been lied to. again. still.

so anyways, here we are, we caravanistas, travelling throughout the excited states of amnesia, with t-shirts made by gildan, one of the most evil canadian corporations who encouraged the canadian government and the rcmp to involve themselves in the first overtly imperialistic act, at least that i'm aware of. i know that there was canadian uranium, harvested by north saskatchewan indigenous peoples, in the bombs that blew up hiroshima and nagasaki, and that uranium is still exported to the usa under the guise of being needed for nuclear energy. i know we sold candu reactors during the korean war years. i know that we have troops trying to secure an oil pipeline in afghanistan, blowing up anyone - civillian or taliban - who gets in the way. but when our tax money was used to remove the democratically elected jean bertrand aristide from the small island nation of haiti, for the purposes of maintaining the lowest slave wages in the region (which dictates the slave wages for the rest of the sweatshop world), i swore i'd never support the gildan corporation ever again.

and there i was in seattle, looking at a gildan shirt with a 'made in honduras' label, on my way to visit a small island nation that also survived a revolution, but one that works in favour of the people rather than imprisoning them in a sweatshop labour camp. granted, the shirts are adorned with a lovely vancouver artist inspired design and it was printed in a union shop in nyc. but ... are we really gonna take these t-shirts to cuba??!!??

so part of me hopes the usa citizens would buy the shirts and there are none left over to take to the cubans. and part of me wants to make a lot of noise about it, about how we must walk the talk especially here, with the guidance of the reverend lucius walker who founded the pastors for peace after being shot by a bullet that the usa government, his government, bought - with his tax money. silence is complicity. and diplomacy, it's tough sometimes.

i'm assured, by the pastors for peace office, that they won't do the same thing next year.

aside: i'm not sure why the usa is considered 'the most powerful nation in the world.' they can't get an invite to my home, so what's so powerful about them? so what if they can blow everybody up. that's not power, that's cowardice. they can kill me, but they can't make me love them.