I haven't done any public replying to e-mail in a while, but since Pinky is busy with painting at the moment I thought I'd answer some e-mail today. The first one is from a viewer in Germany:
dear bunny, there is something i've been thinking about, watching your film [Hawaii vs. U.S. Imperialism] i like how you point out and analyze american imperialism. (but) seeing germany in a list with vietnam and other countries as "colonized" is really weird for me. anti-facists, jewish people and non-fascists from all over europe were really glad the usa helped stop WWII... it finally put an end to holocaust, murder, and genocide by the germans [...] just to give you an impression from an anti-fascist post-war perspective. i'd love to see your work in an art show or in a discussion in europe somewhere. any plans in that direction? viele grüße, panda
My reply to panda:
if i remember correctly, including germany on the list (the long list towards the end of our hawaii vs. US imperialism video) was based on the US's extensive military presence there, plus US military and CIA activities on german soil. we were pointing to how the US has made germany a part of its global imperial structure; it is not a "colony" in the classic sense.
what you say about US fighting in WWII is true - if the US did not fight germany, i would guess that probably even more atrocities against jews and other marginalized people would have occurred. we are definitely NOT suggesting that anything like genocide should ever be unchallenged. what we ARE saying that it is important to examine the inconsistencies and contradictions of US interventionism. for example, if the reasons the US gave as a moral justification for fighting germany were true ("we must enter into this war to stop genocide" or "we must fight fascism/support democracy"), then why have these reasons not also required the US to intervene in parallel circumstances? even a quick look at history shows that the US intervenes in some cases but not others. in fact, there are many examples where the US goes to a foreign country and destroys their democratic government, or supports or commits genocide. why is this? does the US just not know what it's doing? (unlikely) or are there other factors besides moral imperatives that make the US leaders commit violent actions with their military and/or economic weapons? (i think so) this is why we say a situation like WWII cannot be analyzed only according to 'moral justifications' ("we have to stop genocide & fascism"). if we confine ourselves to this kind of logic we will not be able to understand why the US also engages in anti-democratic or even genocidal actions in other situations. however, when we do an analysis that takes into consideration 'imperialism' (what it is, how it works, what it needs to continue, and so on) - well, then suddenly a lot of things that at first seem like contradictions can be explained. so there are many forces at work!
regarding pinky show in europe, we are going to have a small thing in a group show in belgrade in january. but besides that right now we have no invitations from anybody in europe. europe is very exciting to us, we have only been there one time, for a short trip to slovenia last year. we get a lot of emails from germany though, so maybe one day something will happen and we will be able to go. we want to learn more about situations outside the US - our analysis is from a US perspective and often doesn't directly translate to other political & social contexts very well, so we are always trying to learn more.
Here's another e-mail from Valerie:
Hello Pinky and Bunny... I just watched the 13 Things I Learned at Kahoolawe episode and I really liked it alot. It has a sweet, gentle feel to it while sharing very valuable lessons and insights. You are amazing. Thank you. Valerie P.S...I think cats CAN actually swim, they just don't like to (except Tigers, I think)
Hi Valerie. I'm happy you liked the video. We would be super happy if it moved even one person to start fighting against the widespread abuse of this planet. Even if we just started with a tiny sub-category of the broader problem, like, for example, challenging the military to stop destroying native people's most sacred places - we still would have TONS of work to do. Kahoolawe needs lots of help, and there are many other Kahoolawes too, not just in Hawaii but all over the world. Oh, regarding the other thing, yeah, I assumed I could swim too (I've seen videos of swimming cats before) but when I got into the water I found out that actually I can't swim and almost died. So I won't be doing that again. Tigers, yeah, I think they have huge feet. Take care, Bunny
Okay, last one, from a guy named Mark:
I watched the episode on illegal immigration. Weren't native American Indians settlers too? Nothing is fair and people have been taking other peoples stuff since human existence. That's just the way it is...
First thing: "Weren't native American Indians settlers too?" Good question. The answer is NO. Please study settler colonialism. I recommend Patrick Wolfe. It's not "easy reading" but it'll take you far. Do a search for Settler Colonialism and the Transformation of Anthropology - it's on Google Books.
Second thing: "Nothing is fair and people have been taking other peoples stuff since human existence. That's just the way it is." This is a good example of using (arguably) true statements in order to justify moral weakness. Yes, human beings have been jerks througout history - so what? Surrendering to the inevitability of abuse just makes it far easier to continue. - Bunny
About a month ago Pinky and I were hanging out with a friend, and we were just talking about social justice or whatever, when he asked Pinky why she is so obssessed with learning about and fighting against all the bad stuff in this world. I work with Pinky day in and day out and we talk about these kinds of things all the time, but her answer surprised me. She said something like, "In the future, I don't want our descendents to look back and know that we were cowards."
So that's the end of today's Bunny Mailbag, cuz now it's my turn to cook lunch.