"This is the oppressor’s language." *

March 30th, 2009 10:02 am by Kelly Garbato

Photo via KayVee.INC

Will Potter wonders, Why Aren’t the EPA’s Most Wanted Fugitives Labeled “Eco-terrorists”?:

The brilliance of the “Green Scare” and the War on Terrorism more broadly is how the government and corporations have twisted language to push a political agenda. When environmentalists put their bodies on the line to stop environmental destruction? That’s “eco-terrorism.” When corporations destroy the environment for personal gain? That’s just business as usual. [...]

Now, which is more worthy of receiving the “eco-terrorism” label? Crimes that indiscriminately put humans, animals and the environment at risk, for personal profit? Or narrowly-targeted actions (not all of which are even criminal) intended to stop environmental destruction?

Who do you think is the “eco-terrorist”: The tree sitter or Boise Cascade? The Earth Liberation Front or Monsanto? Tim DeChristopher or mining corporations? Earth First or General Motors?

Since ours is indeed the oppressor’s language, those who terrorize the environment are “smart businessmen,” while defenders of the earth and its inhabitants are labeled “violent” “terrorists” and punished with disproportionately harsh prison sentences – even though the former’s so-called “white collar” crimes destroy far more lives (human and non) than the latter’s so-called acts of “terrorism.”

* Adrienne Rich, quoted in Animal Equality.

It’s worth noting that Rich’s observation comes from a feminist perspective, however, the same applies to the relationship between human and non-human animals, and humans and the earth. Humans [in Rich's words, men] are the oppressors, and our language necessarily legitimizes and reinforces the misdeeds we [men] commit against non-human animals and the earth [women]. Notice how the same processes are at play in each pattern of exploitation?

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One Response to “"This is the oppressor’s language." *”

  1. easyVegan.info » Blog Archive » Dear “Franz,” (a postscript) Says:

    [...] which injustice is the most egregious – and thus the most worthy of our attention? Could it be the oppressors, [...]

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