Gifts and compensation
When the intention is purely in the giving without expectation of return giving a gift is an act of generosity. A gift is expressed in the present and has precession into the future.
To compensate is to counterbalance and amend for loss or damage. It lives in a recognition of the past.
The colonial impulse, so deeply embedded in everything that happens in Western Liberal democracy, seeks to gift those whose heritable lands, cultures and livelihoods have been stolen from them. Colonised, exploited and used for gain for the few, all the while making those same lands, the oceans, the air, whole communities, uninhabitable to the indigenous people.
To compensate we need to recognise the travesty of injustice of our current and colonial past. Wealth and opportunity stolen, health destroyed, languages and skills lost.
Reparations simply get the balance sheet back to zero. To do this requires a courageous admit to the travesty of colonisation.
Not a gift, not a promise. An act of acknowledgment of how the colonisers (including me, generations down the line) have been able to advance their life conditions while the colonised have had life conditions reduced or eliminated.
Photo taken November 12th 2021