This morning I was linked this video on gas exploration for potential fracking in Australia and something struck me.
While watching, and listening to the heartfelt speech I recalled something Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms had said of Smithfield and their treatment of pigs. He said something to the effect ‘If they treat their pigs so horribly, you can bet they’ll treat the people horribly too.’ It was an interesting observation that was made during his interview for the movie Food Inc. Of course the movie then covered the treatment of Smithfield employees and in fact it was quite inhumane.
What caused me to recall it was seeing these helpless Australians who were appealing for justice and common decency. They tried to illustrate their humanity with the hats brought to represent those who feared to show but they did it to no avail as the drive behind the exploration for gas was the resource, not the people; under the umbrella of progress. The police officers seemed to forget their humanity for the sake of duty. Their duty to their bosses, who were more interested in serving the powerful than the helpless.
I reflected on the paradigm of progress and that this has been a major driving force of government for at least 2 millennia. So as Salatin discussed Smithfield’s low respect for a living being I reflected on Australia’s lack of respect for their indigenous peoples for the sake of progress and how this has transitioned to Australia’s current citizenry. Those police officers might as well be protecting James Cook as he entered Botany Bay. So it had shifted from indigenous people who were outnumbered and outgunned to the descendants of the settlers who are outnumbered and outgunned. This is what is meant by ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’ which hadn’t really sunk in deeply to me until this moment. If Smithfield Foods progresses to be the largest pork processor in the world through the commodification of both pork and personnel, what sort of mindset is required of the decision makers in that regard? How does one have to condition themselves in order to become dull to the pain? Does the apathy require that a person be a sociopath in order to climb to a position of power if progress and profit are the paradigms? Similarly, what about the prerequisites for a gas exploration company or a politician dependent on campaign dollars or even a police officer who is beholden to the politician? Does the system weed out conscience and weave in duty in order to enable progress over justice?
As I am sure you drew the parallel so too did I between the treatment of indigenous people in Australia and indigenous people in the Americas. We are wholly culpable here in the US too.
So the next time you see the people of the Occupy Movement in the US being beaten and arrested by the police here, consider that we founded the country on the kind of duty and progress that brought injustice to people who were vulnerable to the crusaders of progress. Oh and the next time you have that delicious rasher of bacon, consider what brought it to you.
Injustice begets more injustice, even in places that go mostly unnoticed.
[UPDATED] The timing is perfect, I discovered this article just now (2012/1/23, 22:18) [colorful words from article’s author notwithstanding]
Apple, Microsoft Supplier Chief Calls His One Million Employees “Animals”
“Terry Gou is the chairman of Hon Hai Precision, the owners of Foxconn. He’s also an insensitive asshat. At the company year-end party at the Taipei Zoo he said: ‘I have a headache how to manage one million animals.'”