Thursday, 17 November 2011

Imagine - New Hampshirite Liberation Organization

Just imagine.

Imagine a tribe of Native Americans who previously lived in New Hampshire, the Abenaki for example, had as part of their traditional origin myths a story of how what we now call New Hampshire had been granted to them for ever by one of their gods some 4000 years ago. This belief was central to their sense of identity, to their very idea of nationhood and ownership of this part of North America.

Imagine now that history had turned out differently; that this tribe's land had been occupied by other people with superior technology and that they had been scattered across the world to be a minority people in other nations, but always staying loyal to the tribal myth of rightful ownership of New Hampshire; indeed, clinging to this myth was the one thing which kept them together as a people but always a minority wherever they settled.

Meanwhile, back in New Hampshire history moved on and new people arrived, set up home and developed a new state; the state we now call New Hampshire. These people who called themselves New Hapshirites had built homes, created towns and farms, and set up industries and prospered. They had their own religion and knew little and cared less for the old religions of people who used to live there. These people were justifiably proud of the state they had created and were determine to defend it at all costs and to keep the freedoms they had won for themselves.

Roll on a couple of thousand years to a time when the displaced, dispossessed people had lived through periods of repression and persecution and of determined attempts to wipe them out entirely in genocides and pogroms and denials of basic civil liberties. Now they were enjoying a revival in more enlightened times and earning a new respect as progressive bankers, scientists, artists, craftsmen and lawyers and had become influential within the ruling class of a new world powers; a world power that had found itself to be the political and military power in New Hampshire, to the general irritation of the New Hampshirites.

Imagine if this new power had been persuaded that the original people of New Hampshire had a case; that they had a right to live in their former homeland of New Hampshire; that there was actually something in their claim to be the rightful owners because their god had said so several thousand years earlier.

And this new power allowed them to flood into New Hampshire under their protection until they were strong enough and powerful enough to launch a bid for independence; a bid for independence which included expelling the New Hampshirites from their homes; from the towns, villages and farms, and herding them into refugee camps to be treated as lesser people whose land could be taken at will and a people now subjected to the strange laws and customs of these invaders.

Now, imagine the New Hampshirites are trying to gain their state back; to return to live in their former homes, and are engaged in a guerilla war with the occupiers.

Whose side would you be on? Would the New Hampshirite Liberation Organization be terrorists or freedom fighters?

Would the traditional legend of a Native American tribe be a good enough reason to ignore the basic human rights of New Hampshirites?

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  1. Yes exactly. When the topic of Israel crops up, I often mention that 1900 years ago Oxfordshire was in the Roman Empire, under its control. I tend to ask people how they would feel if they were told to move out of their home to neighbouring Berkshire because their land was being given back to its 'rightful owners'. (I'm convinced that none of them are that old!)

  2. Fast-forward for the better part of the century. Most of the people on who were adults at the time of the occupation's beginning are dead. Their grandchildren, born and raised in New Hampshire, are still fighting over who does and does not have a right to live there.

    The children of the New Hampshirites are being taught in church and in religious schools that the Abenaki are evil creatures who are no better than animals. The Abenaki children grow up in homes they don't know were built upon the bulldozed rubble of evicted New Hampshirites' dwellings.

    Now whose side would you be on? Should one group of people have to pack up and leave? Should they both stop fighting and learn to coexist in the land they both know as their only home?


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