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> Monday, February 23rd, 2009 > Opinion > Canada’s green grass
Canada’s green grass
Click here to read more Interrobang articles written by Darius Mirshahi
Published: Monday, February 23rd, 2009
‘The grass is greener when there are no sides.’
How people still pledge allegiances to flags and Queens, and other oppressive symbols of state power and authority baffles me.
The concept of nation-states are, and were always, based on violence and racism. People conquered lands, murdered and subjugated the indigenous peoples who lived there, then drew lines, put up walls, and armed people to ‘defend’ their borders from undesirable outsiders. Take what most people refer to as ‘Canada’ as an example. A couple centuries ago Europeans came here to steal natural resources for their Queens and Kings. But natural resources weren’t enough for these royal families. Thirsty for power, these Kings and Queens were bent on building empires and ruling the earth. So they spread diseases, massacred millions, pitted tribe against tribe, forced Christianity on people at the barrel of a gun and eventually seized this whole territory and raised their flags. And now, the whole nation flies these flags and proudly sings the national anthem. We celebrate ‘Canada’ Day, wear Team Canada jerseys and cheer for our national sports teams without ever stopping to question what it is we are actually supporting. ‘Our’ nation, like most nations, is built on genocide, continued colonization and aggression towards outsiders.
This is not ancient history. Native land is still being stolen today, and our country is always helping one empire or another massacre people of colour around the world.
We helped the British subjugate their colonies and fought for the British-ruled apartheid system in South Africa. Today we help the United States invade and occupy faraway lands, and we help corporations pillage the global south for resources. I know that most of us don’t stop to really think about how our actions affect others, but think about what it means to raise your ‘Canadian’ flag on stolen native land. Raising that flag is endorsing the colonization of this land, the wars of aggression fought under that flag, the monarchy and the racism inherent in dividing this world into nation-states. Flying that flag is violent. In fact, in my opinion it is tantamount to endorsing genocide. That’s not to say that all flag wavers are evil, genocidal, colonizers. I used to wave the flag, and cheer for Team Canada, and was proud of my ‘country’.
Our society has a very clever way of molding us all into patriots. They teach us to sing the national anthem before they ever teach us history. They teach us to identify our nation and its provinces, before we ever learn that these borders are very new, and the product of a violent colonization. Once we finally do get to history lessons, there is quite a bit hidden. We are taught the history of this land from a colonizers perspective and the racism in that perspective perpetuates itself in our present society. It’s time to fundamentally challenge the plague of nationalism, which is seeing a resurgence in popularity these days. There are much better things to be proud of, especially co-operation of peoples across borders and resistance to oppressive hierarchies and power structures everywhere. Borders, empires, militaries, racism, walls and nations are totally incompatible with free humanity. If we strive to liberate people, all people, from oppression we must tear down the borders that separate us and keep us enemies. Once again: ‘THE GRASS IS GREENER WHEN THERE ARE NO SIDES.’