Elephants In The Room

Posted in Current Affairs, European History, History, Media, politics, Religion, Uncategorized by Anuraag Sanghi on September 15, 2008

Elephants In The Room

Elephants In The Room

Two Elephants In The Room

Most analysis fail to mention, detect (or is it mislead) the role of slavery and colonies – the twin-elephants in the Western history room. The very basis of post-medieval West has been slavery and colonialism.

Western propaganda has made slavery, an invisible factor in their success.’ And they are on the half way mark, on the erasure in popular memory, about the use of colonies for Western enrichment.

On the other hand, there are those who allege, that Westernization has progressed the world. Take Theodore Von Laue’s essay (author of The World Revolution Of Westernization) which is inspired

“by a humane and compassionate vision which most academic studies lack. Indeed, his study was motivated by his concern about contemporary sectarian strife, interstate conflicts, ecological disasters, superpower rivalry, and anti Western movements mired in nostalgia and resentment”.

The Mystery of the Dying Detective

Between 1800-1950, Western powers killed (directly or otherwise) more than 50 million people in America (the Native Americans), Africa (the Native Africans), Asia (Indians, Chinese, Arabs). This led to a situation that every other person in the West had participated in murder or massacre.

Western ambiguity towards Soviet Russia on one side, Hitler on the other – and to that add, Gandhiji’s resolute opposition to colonialism – and you have a inflammable moral situation. This moral anxiety was directly reflected in popular fiction as the detective fiction genre.

The deluge of blood and murder caused moral anxiety and was a matter of ethical dilemma amongst common folks. The pressure valve for this was popular fiction. Identifying murderers became a form of proxy, vicarious entertainment for ordinary folks.

Enter the super detectives, who pick out the murderer from a room full of ordinary people. Enter detectives like Auguste Dupin, of ‘The Purloined Letter’ fame, who “investigates an apparently motiveless and unsolvable double murder in the Rue Morgue.”

From 1900-1950, the most popular form of fiction was the private detective genre. Most critics and commentators write about the phenomenon of detective fiction devoid of context – and the detective fiction as entertainment or literary device only.

After de-colonisation, as mass murder went underground, the detective-murder mystery books genre faded. This category was replaced by a new theme – the axis of corporation-government international conspiracies.

Conspiracy Theory – Full Steam Ahead

The new category of popular fiction are represented by Ian Fleming, Arthur Hailey, Frederick Forsyth, Irving Wallace, Robert Ludlum, Graham Greene, John Le Carre, et al. More and more contrived, each conspiracy theory writer has been ‘inspired’ by real life incidents.

International-conspiracy-plot-CIA-FBI-KGB series of Robert Ludlum have worn thin, the spookiness of Le Carre’s Absolute Friends and Constant Gardner still work as novels representing the West.

Media and Academia

For instance, this nearly 20-page analysis about Westernization and Modernization, mentions slave once and colonialism (related words included) twice.

H.E.Professor Dr.Kishore Mahbubani, of the National University of Singapore, Dean, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy has recently written a book where he talks about the seven pillars of western wisdom – a cloyingly subservient and ignorant view of the modern history. This ‘respected’ commentator, Kishore Mahbubani, fatuously, talks about the seven pillars of Western success – without once mentioning slavery and colonialism.

One writer, Franco Moretti did half the job in book Signs Taken for Wonders: On the Sociology of Literary Forms By Franco Moretti. He writes,

“The perfect crime – the nightmare of detective fiction – is the feature-less, deindividualized crime that anyone could have committed because at this point everyone is the same.” He further writes,“Yet, if we turn to Agatha Christie, the situation is reversed.Her hundred-odd books have only one message: the criminal can be anyone …”

Detective Fiction

In his entire book he does not use the words like slavery, racism, genocide, bigotry even once. The 19th century, which was based on Western bigotry, White racism, Black slavery, and assorted genocides is unrecognised in Moretti’s books.

Running or hiding? Or it a case of feeling squeamish? Perhaps, a case of queasy stomach, Franco?

Another book, The Detective as Historian: History and Art in Historical Crime Fiction, by Ray Broadus Browne, Lawrence A. Kreiser does a better job. This book examines, the detective fiction genre, with some references to slavery and child prostitution.

Jerome Delamater, Ruth Prigozy, in an essay compilation, Theory and Practice of Classic Detective Fiction’, observe that Jane Marple, along with Hercule “Poirot becomes an equal opportunity detective who really believes that anyone might commit murder”.

Dismissing the “jaundiced view of human nature,” the writers of this book, while commenting about the detective fiction genre, do not mention slavery at all – and mention colonialism and racism once each.

End Of Slavery

Western media today glosses over Western record of slavery and colonialism. This ‘collective amnesia’ about the past is widespread and blatant. Other writers forget about the causes leading to abolition of slavery. Seminal events in Haiti, Cuba, Caribbean are ignored, white-washed or brushed under the carpet.

Black emancipation in the USA is a 1970s phenomenon, 30+ years ago event – and not 200 years ago as this article in New York Times seems to make out.

One is from a member of the US Conservative Right, part of the Republican propaganda team – aapla, our own Dinesh DeSouza. He tries, speciously and very hard, to show how it is the White, Christian, Americans who actually freed the slaves – after the slaves were sold into slave by their Black Brothers. Of course, he cannot see the long history of trade in slaves, the laws and might of the State which enforced this trade, the continuing attempts (under disenfranchisement laws) to deny Blacks, their voting rights. Dinesh does a fabulous hatchet job on how the West can make me a colonial subject of the Raj again.

Another blog, by an academic, celebrates a pseudo-anniversary. This post, ‘a professor at a large state university,’ abandons academic integrity to promote propaganda, instead of academic excellence. At least, he published dissenting comments. Bro.Dinesh DeSouza does not publish dissenting comments.

Or for this matter this book review in The Times (from London) about slavery – which doesn’t once mention the one reason, why slavery was abolished – Haiti and slave revolts in the Caribbean.

What most of this coverage of mainline and popular press fail to mention is the determined Black struggle for overthrow of slavery. Between 1789-1833, more than 20 slave rebellions occurred in the Caribbean – one every 2 years. It were these slave revolts that ‘persuaded’ the West to abolish slavery. In the USA, about 200 slave uprising and revolts occurred in the USA before the Civil War.

Another aspect which is not mentioned is the significant reason for unpopularity of slavery in the US North. The reason was the depressing effect of slavery on wages and employment. Poor (free) whites had to compete with slave labour for employment – and that was a non-starter.

Birth Of Freedom – Haiti

The USA and the West has been at war (or by proxy) with the Black Republics of Haiti, Cuba, Greneda for the last 200 years. Fuelled by a desperate desire to show White superiority. By a need to white wash history. To hide the origins of their misbegotten wealth – built on the foundation of the skeletons of dead and surviving slaves.

Haiti gave the world freedom. Not America – which claims itself to be a land of the free (as long as you are white). For this reason, Haiti must now be protected – by the rest of the world. Make Haiti a UN protectorate. All the superpowers to be forced to declare Haiti as off limits.

Haiti must succeed.

Similar campaigns by paid Western hacks have distorted analysis on population studies and environment.

The Importance Of Being Earnest

With nearly 190 sovereign nations in the world, with large income disparities, political disequilibrium, there is a crying need for an objective analysis of what works, successful national models, productive economic modelling which can serve as templates.

Western intellectual and military aggression, at times distorts this analysis – and raises questions regarding intentions and objectives.

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  1. […] instance, the various laws under which disproportionately large number of African-Americans were disenfranchised and /or imprisoned in the US. Or the large number of Muslims have been imprisoned in the […]

  2. […] instance, the various laws under which disproportionately large number of African-Americans were disenfranchised and /or imprisoned in the US. Or the large number of Muslims have been imprisoned in the […]

  3. […] This is one of the two elephants in the Western history room! […]

  4. […] world has looked to India for answers. But modern India looks to the West. And Western history, by drawing away our attention from the elephants in room has irrelevant answers – a trail of red herrings. It is this lack of […]

  5. […] steadily shed various aspects of its colonial legacy. More importantly, India did not go through the slavery-colonialism-capitalism route at […]

  6. […] numbers of slaves. Capitalism, which died out in 19th century, as we all know, was built on the pillars of ‘on-shore’ slavery and colonialism. Kaplan either forgets (unlikely) or does not know (surprising) that India has never used slaves – […]

  7. […] Elephants in the room … […]

  8. […] observation I like. Elephants in the room! Very similar to the myth of the ‘non-violent struggle for Indian independence.’ I […]

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