‘A National Holiday That I Do Not Recognize’– Reflections on Columbus Day 2015

Today I am not at the office in observance of a United States national holiday that I do not recognize, a day commemorating that in which I recognize my complicity yet nonetheless reject; the project of settler-colonial domination and the creation and perpetuation of myths of nation which OPPRESS. Across the North American continent to the lands of historic Palestine to the city square up the way from my home here in Ankara, (and indeed across the globe) we wake daily to face the brutal and too often deadly consequences of narratives and myths of “nation.”

Today I am not at the office in observance of a United States national holiday that I do not recognize, a day which epitomizes the ‘success’ of *white-washing* history. Today I reflect on years in elementary school doing craft projects and reading story books that told truth through lies so masterfully spun they dared to call it history. The name of the class period was in fact “social sciences” which is far more fitting, for we know that there is a science, an art to the process of national mythology by which repression, displacement, and structural and physical violences against communities of difference is perpetuated and justified.

Today I am not at the office in observance of a United States national holiday which I do not recognize, and the irony of such a mandated commemoration on this the final official day of national mourning in Turkey is not lost on me. Before blood could be washed off the streets political paradigm creators began their acts of justification, of framing, of discourse, of what maybe can only be called story telling. Yet street cleaners and history-writers seem unaware that blood shed in the name of ideology cannot be washed away, for water does not erase, but flow. Innocent blood seeps down into the lands claimed as ‘homeland,’ trickles in the streams and creeks by which our children play, churns through pipes into our homes and places of work. Bloodshed is ingested, and flows without cessation, coursing through the veins of those awake to their own humanity.

Today is no holiday, but a day of mourning. As long as our brothers and sisters of humanity live chained by narratives of erasure and entitlement– of ‘manifestation’– there is no celebration, but only mournful, respectful solidarity and resistance.

 

Note: This was originally posted to my personal Facebook page on 12 October, 2015.