Thanksgiving Day, a pre-Christmas Christmas for Americans, is a festival of light, shining on a beautiful event four centuries ago, in which native Americans helped European settlers at a time of crisis and were rewarded with a thank-you feast the following year. If only someone could have pressed the Stop History button at that moment. Let's take a look back...
How many Americans, as they sit stuffing themselves today around their Thanksgiving meal tables, insulting the noble principles of Christianity or Islam or Judaism by invoking God's name and then praising the US Armed Forces for their acts of murder overseas, know the origins of this festivity?
The contrast could not be more striking: between three hundred million Americans sitting around their meal tables cramming themselves with turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, vegetables, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie, washed down with litres of beer or carbonated fizzy drinks gaping open-mouthed and mindlessly at the TV set watching the football game with a slither of spit dribbling down their bloated chins, occasionally bursting into ra!ra!ra! choruses of jingoistic orgasms as they celebrate the heroic feats of their boys overseas, cowards who murder innocent children from 30,000 feet as they implement Washington's Missile Diplomacy...and the noble precepts of Thanksgiving.
Like all festivities at this time of year, the tradition the Americans celebrate today is a mixture of historical fact and mysticism based around the precept of sharing and the principles celebrated on Thanksgiving Day (the last Thursday in November, implemented by Abraham Lincoln in 1863 after George Washington has stipulated that the National Day of Thanksgiving for Independence should be November 26) are not very different from the sharing festivals celebrated in Europe around the same time of year (for different reasons and with differing names but the same basis), such as Saint Martin's Day.
As for Thanksgiving, the story goes that the first European settlers arrived in Massachusetts too late in the year in 1620 to begin a harvest and half of them starved to death or died through disease. Seeing their plight, the native Americans from the Iroquois tribe helped them out by teaching them to hunt and fish and how to grow the crops peculiar to that region. Among these crops were corn (maize), pumpkins, beans and barley and the first harvest in Autumn of 1621 was bountiful so to thank the Indians for their help, the settlers threw a feast, inviting around one hundred Native Americans and their chief, preparing dishes with the crops they had harvested. The Indians brought wildfowl with them, among these turkeys. It is said that the settlers made a sauce out of the cranberries...
How much of this story is true and how much was added on afterwards makes no difference. The thank-you note to the Indians in the forthcoming years was unfortunately what we know, talk about biting the hand that feeds you. It was a mass extermination, showinbg the utter disrespect Europeans have displayed for foreign cultures for centuries. In recent years, Libya, Iraq, Serbia and now Syria have been shining examples.
However, one thing is policy, the other is the people and it is of course obvious that today's American citizens are not to blame for their country's murderous and genocidal origins. Yet thinking back to that first Thanksgiving and its beginnings, does this not provide food for thought?
Instead of careering around the world inventing wars based on lies, breaking the UN Charter, UN Resolutions, the Geneva Conventions and every rule in the annals of diplomacy, murdering innocent people, destroying property, torturing, stealing, urinating in food, setting dogs on people, committing sodomy, could the Government of the United States of America and those who represent it not take a leaf out of the book of those Iroquois? Obama obviously cannot because he has done more of the same and insults the Founding Fathers by labeling it "American values". Tell that to the boy who had his face blown off and his family blown away by a coward in the sky. God Bless America!
Suppose Washington started a process of introspection, taking a look at itself from outside to see what a monster it has become? Suppose Washington distributed aid from a stance of humility, for instance, and did not pander to the eye of the camera with sacks of grain stamped with the stars and stripes and the letters US FOOD AID for all to see? Suppose Washington, if indeed it wishes to help people overseas, followed the principle of development and not deployment? Suppose Washington dismantled its military bases strewn half-way around the globe at an astronomical cost to the American taxpayer while generations of terrorists are created growing up on a diet of anti-US hatred and suppose Washington forgot once and for all the Missile Shield on Russia's doorstep?
Suppose Washington used debate and discussion and dialogue as its tools in diplomacy and not bullying and blackmail and belligerence? And suppose the people of the USA held the leaders of their country to account when the President and his crew turn out to be a bunch of liars and war criminals, suppose foreign policy becomes tied up with the election process, garnering firm commitments on how US resources are going to be applied abroad - for although domestic policy is the force which drives an election, the two are intrinsically bound together.
Those of us outside the United States of America believe that the American people are good people, they care for others, they have a community-based approach, they have the tremendous ability to laugh at themselves, they have centers of excellence in their Schools and in just a few centuries, with the help of the French, they built a powerful nation with the ability to make a difference.
For those who read these lines, have a Happy Thanksgiving, remember its noble beginnings and try to do something to bring us all together in a climate of peace and understanding. Hopefully your new President can bring about real change, not just words and empty gestures, the legacy of Barack "Piss and Wind" Obama. God Bless!
*Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey has worked as a correspondent, journalist, deputy editor, editor, chief editor, director, project manager, executive director, partner and owner of printed and online daily, weekly, monthly and yearly publications, TV stations and media groups printed, aired and distributed in Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Portugal, Mozambique and São Tomé and Principe Isles; the Russian Foreign Ministry publication Dialog and the Cuban Foreign Ministry Official Publications. He has spent the last two decades in humanitarian projects, connecting communities, working to document and catalog disappearing languages, cultures, traditions, working to network with the LGBT communities helping to set up shelters for abused or frightened victims and as Media Partner with UN Women, working to foster the UN Women project to fight against gender violence and to strive for an end to sexism, racism and homophobia. A Vegan, he is also a Media Partner of Humane Society International, fighting for animal rights. He is Director and Chief Editor of the Portuguese version of Pravda.Ru.
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