Oh no, is Tamela going to get all political on us?
No. No I’m not. I try to keep politics out of my blog, I’m not sure why, but I do. But, for me–and I’m sure for most of us–human rights isn’t about politics? Right? I mean, that’s just basic, yes? I like to be one of the many voices of the downtrodden, the misused and marginalized. I strive to do it in my writing, why wouldn’t I strive to do it in my life as well?
And I know it’s almost greedy to want anything else from our government, from our justice department this week. I know that in times like these when we FINALLY get things right, we should just say thank you, kind sir, and roll around in our affordable health care and our rainbow flags without the shadow of the Confederate flag in our sunshine backdrop. I get that. The last thing I want to do is put a damper on that.
But, well you see… While celebrating Friday’s Supreme Court ruling and jumping from Facebook to Twitter to see all the love and encouragement–and to laugh at Antonin Scalia (poor thing)–I was also reminded of something else that happened on that day–June 26th–forty years before: The Pine Ridge shootout.
The shoot out between FBI, AIM (American Indian Movement) and GOONS (Guardians of the Oglala Nation) ended with two FBI and one tribe member being killed.
Leonard Peltier was convicted of the killing of the two agents in 1977 and is serving two consecutive life sentences for the crime. There has been no investigation into the tribe member, also killed that day.
Two others who were brought up on charges for these killings were not convicted, siting self-defense. Peltier was in Canada at the time of this trial, but when he was extradited to serve trial, things apparently had changed.
I’m not going to argue whether he did it or not, or whether he was even justified in doing it or not. There are many articles that will break that down for you. I’m just going to say that his continued incarceration, or lack of a new, fair trial after all this time makes me sad. That this continued injustice happens for political reasons, that we here in this country has such a thing as political prisoners makes me ashamed.
And when Nelson Mandela–yes, THAT Nelson Mandela–tells your government that they are behaving badly and need to change their ways… you should maybe listen. The man know of what he speaks.
He’s not the only one who has made this request throughout the years. Amnesty International, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights, the National Congress of American Indians, various governing bodies around the globe, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and the Dalai Lama, among others, have all called for Leonard Peltier’s freedom.
And I know I’m not any of those people, I’m just me. But, I’d really like to take this time, for I’ve been reminded this week that if enough people raise their voices loud enough, things CAN be changed, freedoms CAN be afford all.
So, I’d like to pretend, for a bit longer, that the president is like a genie that I can rub (not like that, perv!) and my wishes can be granted. I’d like to ask for one more magic wish. Mister President, do it because it’s the right thing to do. Do it because you’ve accomplished so much awesome and your legacy is intact and this would just be icing for so many–including his family and tribe. Do it because in his time in prison Peltier has held annual gift drives for the children of Pine Ridge Reservation, held fund raisers for battered women and donated the paintings he’s completed while in prison to Native American recovery programs and doesn’t deserve to spend the rest of his life locked up.
Or, do it because this is your second term and you just have no more fucks to give.
I honestly don’t care why. Just do it.
- Pro Tip: Don’t Get Into a Spaceship with a Madman
- The Go Set a Watchman Dilemma