Concerning Free Speech Zones

They say 9-11 changed everything.  Although the U.S. Government has, from the very beginning, done everything within its power to stifle and quarantine free speech, the Bush era really kicked the practice into high gear.  It’s been nearly fifteen years ago that I first heard the phrase “Free Speech Zone”.  At the time, I co-habitated Jackson, Wyoming with Empire’s most successful war criminal and profiteer, Vice President Dick Cheney.  The wet dream of worldwide military domination he shared with his criminal organization known as The Project for a New American Century (PNAC), was about to get a giant kick start and grow to fruition with the impending, made for television, Shock and Awe of The Iraq War; the sequel to the spectacular World Trade Center/Pentagon production of 9-11-2001. 

Back in those days, shortly before U.S. Military bombs had begun turning Biblical Babylon into rubble, and Saddam Hussein still possessed a pulse and a head, a small group of Jackson Hole activists got together and planned a protest against the unstoppable, runaway train of The Iraq War.  Our efforts were doomed from the start to fail.  The Jackson P.D. had anticipated our soiree.  After closing my small restaurant, I showed up late for the demonstration, scheduled to be held in front of God and everybody, under the famous, elk-antler-arched Town Square, only to discover that the local law-enforcement authorities had declared The Town Square off limits, and moved our little event to the seclusion of St. John’s Episcopal Church, a few blocks to the northwest, and out of earshot of the general public.  A Designated Free Speech Zone, designed for the purpose of eliminating all effectiveness of protest and dissent.  Trees falling in Free Speech Zones make no noise.  

Fast forward to Santa Fe, New Mexico, early September, 2017.  A few miles from my current home, on the historic Plaza de Santa Fe, The Entrada is underway.  Few of the thousands of spectators understand exactly what is being celebrated, but who doesn’t love a good excuse to celebrate?  Even if it’s the most extensive GENOCIDE ever to darken the sordid human history of planet earth.  In order to properly explain, some background information is in order:

It is unknown exactly how long The Pueblo People have called Northern New Mexico home.  The main structures at Taos have been continuously occupied for more than a millennium.  Before the Spanish invaders arrived upon the scene in 1598, armed with unimagined weapons and The Vatican’s Doctrine of Discovery, a gentle culture which grew corn, beans, and squash occupied 98 interrelated pueblos or villages.  After two decades of brutal assault, only 21 pueblos remained.  The survivors of the occupation were enslaved, their gods and celebrations were outlawed, while Christianity and the one true God were shoved firmly up their asses. 

82 years later, in 1680, The Pueblos organized a revolution.  With the aid of neighboring Apaches, Hopis, Navajos, and Utes, they routed the Spanish occupiers out of Santa Fe, driving them hundreds of miles south, and into what is now Chihuahua.  A dozen years of peace then fell upon The Pueblo People.  The Spanish, however, did not accept defeat, nor take it in stride.  They returned to their Capital City of Santa Fe with a vengeance in 1692.  Led by Don Diego De Vargas, they brutally punished those who had formerly defeated them.  Among countless other atrocities, De Vargas ordered a mass hanging of 70 Pueblo braves, on the Plaza de Santa Fe.  The Pueblos would remain under Spanish occupation and subjugation for the next 130 years, until Mexico’s War of Independence sent the Spanish back to Europe, where they belong.

The Santa Fe Entrada is a three day celebration of genocide.  It takes place on the very location of De Vargas’ mass-hanging of 70 Pueblo braves.  They put on a little skit each year, with some prominent citizen playing the part of Don Diego De Vargas.  A few years ago, it was our current mayor.  Not sure why they leave out the part about the hanging.  Maybe they can’t get 70 young Indigenous men to volunteer for that sort of humiliation.  As I write this, the third and final day of festivities is in progress.  Pueblo protests have been increasing in size, intensity, and enthusiasm over the last few years.  On the first day, without announcing it, and hoping to fool the protesters, the organizers started their venue two hours early.  But two hundred Pueblo People arrived in force, armed with chants, signs, and anger.

With Santa Fe SWAT snipers guarding the event from rooftops, the protesters were instructed, then forced by an intimidating and armed army of police, to take their disruptive voices a few blocks away to…wait for it…that’s right, a Designated Free Speech Zone.  This heavily-guarded police barricade was far enough away from the Plaza, that the Pueblo voices would be guaranteed to fall silently upon deaf ears in an unoccupied forest.  Police-induced chaos ensued  Eight (or twelve, depending upon your source) were arrested and hauled off to jail.  Activist leader and San Ildefonso Pueblo member Jennifer Marley was obviously singled out, as video of the event proves, forced to the ground, handcuffed, and paraded through The Entrada Fiasco like a war trophy.  Apparently the next best thing to an actual hanging.  At this time, all of those arrested, except Jennifer, have been released.  She remains incarcerated, facing five charges, including battery of a police officer, criminal trespass, and disorderly conduct.   

Jennifer Marley, activist leader arrested (Photo by Red Nation)

The First Amendment of The Constitution is just a pretty little accumulation of hollow words.  Empire’s fairy tales must be protected from the caustic power of Truth at all cost.  Those who speak it loud enough to be heard will be silenced.  Those who convince others to follow them in protest will be incarcerated.  Public hangings have not yet experienced a resurgence of acceptance.  The Pueblo Nations have been under enemy occupation for over 400 years.  Spanish, Mexican, U.S.A., and even The Confederacy for a short time.  The celebration of The Entrada is a celebration of genocide.  But what a great opportunity for tourists to watch the little production, then go out for Margaritas and chile-intensive New Mexican food.  And what a wonderful time for Santa Fe’s Hispanic/Spanish/Chicano-identifying population to celebrate the lies of their heritage. 

Finishing up this sordid little piece as the sun rises on 9-11-2017.  Sixteen years ago, but it seems like yesterday.  The red, white, and blue is out in force.  9-11 changed nothing, save the intensity of the erosion of freedom.  My government’s thoughtful, spectacular, made for television production simply gave bigger teeth to the Police State.  To the best of my knowledge, Jennifer Marley remains locked up.  Out of earshot.  Soon to disappear from memory.  Makes me proud to be an Amerikan.  Free speech, once again, stifled, quarantined, muffled, and muted.  Next year, Santa Fe will once again celebrate The Great American Holocaust, but with increased police presence.  Perhaps with a gallows. 

John currently resides, writes, and protests injustice in the shadow of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and walks among the spirits of those who once occupied the 79 Disappeared Pueblos. He can be reached via email at: halls245@msn.com. Read other articles by John Rohn.