2ndlook

Tribute to Haiti – in their hour of tragedy

Posted in Current Affairs, Environment, European History, History, Media, politics by Anuraag Sanghi on January 14, 2010
Haiti in Happier times!

Haiti in Happier times!

What Haiti needs

Haiti was stuck by an earthquake measuring7.0-magnitude quake, Haiti’s worst in two centuries, struck at 1653 local time (2153 GMT) on Tuesday, just 15km (10 miles) south-west of Port-au-Prince and close to the surface.” More than 100,000 people are estimated to have been affected. Haiti has been through worse – and the Haitians have always pulled through. What Haiti needs is non-interference.

Sordid reactions

During an earlier segment with a reporter for Robertson’s CBN News, the televangelist had questioned whether the earthquake in Haiti was a “blessing in disguise.”

“They need to have … a great turning to God,” he concluded, adding that the earthquake may have been a direct consequence of their “Satanic pact”.

“Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it,” Robertson said during a broadcast of The 700 Club on the Christian Broadcasting Network. (via US televangelist claims Haiti earthquake ‘a blessing in disguise’ | The Daily Telegraph).

What is it that Haiti did a ‘long time ago’ that made Pat Robertson, do rah-rah for this ‘divine wrath’!

I know what Haiti did

Haiti was the world’s first republic, set up by slaves – after a war of freedom. Haiti’s, support for Simon Bolivar ended the Spanish Empire in South America. Most importantly, it forced the West to free all African slaves across the Europe and Americas. The second major ‘crime’ that the Haitians committed was that they rejected a ‘liberating’ Christianity – and continued with their voudou religion.

For all this, the West has not forgiven Haiti!

Messianic Rev.Pat Robertson

Pat Robertson, more than 40 years ago, founded the Christian Broadcast Network (CBN), which according to “Nielsen Media Research, The 700 Club, aired each weekday, has averaged 863,000 viewers in the last year” in the US alone. Some time earlier, Pat Robertson, had called for the assassination of Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela – for which he later duly apologized. I wonder if the West would forgive if any Iranian Ayatollah issued a fatwa against a Western leader, and later apologized! Even earlier, when the Israeli Prime Minister suffered a stroke, he pronounced that as ‘punishment from God!’ Especially malevolent, Rev.Robertson’s God is, I must say!

Voudou religion has been tarnished in Western eyes!

Voudou religion has been tarnished in Western eyes!

In 1999, he signed a deal with Bank of Scotland, part of the  Lloyd’s Banking Group, later the HBOS, for a Internet-telephone-banking venture. When the deal was called off, Pat Robertson launched a scathing attack. “In Scotland, you can’t believe how strong the homosexuals are,” Mr Robertson said on his Virginia-based Christian Broadcasting Network and his 700 Club television show. Pat Robertson, coming in at NO.2, defeated George Bush in the 1988 Republican Party’s US Presidential nomination race, at the Iowa caucuses. Robertson’s message of moral regenerationappealed to the Americans.

The Magna Carta sanctioned slavery. In various judgments, US Supreme Court, the ultimate arbiter of the US Constitution, upheld slavery. Vatican’s, Council of Gangra, re-affirmed its faith in slavery. The administrators of the teachings of the “Lord of lords, and King of kings.” (Revelation 17: 14) at the Council Of Gangra, 325 AD, issued edicts approving slavery – as did many other Vatican edicts. Pat Robertson, is just one in a long line of such Christian leaders, to support slavery.

In a twisted way, Pat Robertson maybe right.

Talking of money, rich foreigners and expats, who are keeping Haiti in misery, have lost a lot more than Haitians have.

Voodoo priestess, Gro Mambo

Voodoo priestess, Gro Mambo

Tell Haiti you care

Send Haiti your best wishes, your moral support. If you live in a less exploitative society than before, or a more exploitative society, remember, it was Haiti that stuck the first blow. A blow that en-slaver’s have not forgotten 200 years later. To Haiti, we owe whatever liberty, freedom we have – or aspire to.

I don’t know how your money will help them. They may not need your money (I guess), but you should give them your moral support (I strongly suggest). Just send a <ding> to this post. Or ping it. Whatever you do, just make it loud enough that your voice can reach Haiti.

In their hour of tragedy.

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The Great Unease

Posted in Current Affairs, European History, Feminist Issues, History, India, language, Media, politics, Religion by Anuraag Sanghi on February 26, 2008
From the 1954 - 2010 - Indians are the most optimistic

From the 1954 - 2010 - Indians are the most optimistic. Cartoon by RK Laxman, Times of India.

The Great Unease

Global consumer optimism surveys routinely show anxiety, unease, dread in Europe and USA. This sense of unease should be absent considering the prosperity levels, the best health-care systems, a welfare state, guaranteed unemployment benefits, their technology, their currency and their democracy.

The Indians and Chinese routinely are more optimistic – which should not happen considering the low income levels. Fancy theory apart, to my mind, it is the ‘sword fatigue’ in response to constant exposure by Western Governments (to which they are exposed) which causes this low optimism.

Medieval – Renaissance Europe

16th century Europe – specifically, Spain and Portugal. The last of the Moors had been driven out of Spain. The Christian standard was flying high. The Papal Bull divided the Earth (for the Europeans) between Spain and Portugal. White Christian rulers of Spain, Isabella and Ferdinand, set historic standards in persecution and extortion. More than a million Jews were killed, crucified, burnt alive; their properties confiscated and distributed. Columbus returned to enslave the American Natives – and subsequently, work them to death.

New chapters in bloodshed were being written by conquistadors like Vasco Nunez De Balboa, Francisco Pizarro, Juan Ponce de Leon, Hernando de Soto, Hernando Cortez, et al. Not to forget the search for El Dorado led by, “above all, that prince of monsters Lope de Aquirre, colour the pages with the darkest hues of bloody emprise.” In South American memory, Francisco de Carvajal, the “demon of the Andes” remains alive. These real-life monsters set new standards in brutality, slavery and genocide.

Europe in the sixteenth century was “obsessed with questions of language, and especially so in Spain and its recently conquered American Empire“ (emphasis mine). This was driven by

what Marshal McLuhan called “the hypertrophy of the unconscious,” a phenomenon he associated with periods of revolution in media technology: the advent of print in the 16th century created a great need for sensational materials to be broadcast, and this need caused ideas that formerly had been only lurking in the dark recesses of men’s minds to come floating to the surface.

One of the great bestsellers of the 16th century was the Histoires prodigieuses of Pierre Boaistuau (Paris, 1560), a sort of Renaissance Ripley’s Believe-it-or-not containing marvelous tales on everything … Seventeen of the Histoires forty tales are about monsters, a fact that may explain why the book was republished anywhere from ten to twenty two times and translated into Dutch, Spanish and English. (from Popular culture in the Middle Ages By Josie P. Campbell).

Spanish literature of the Renaissance

From this hotbed of ferment, a representative of this period was Calderon de la Barca (1600-1681), the Spanish writer. Growing up in a Spain, a 100 years after the Conquistadors, benefiting from the twin advantages of fresh memory and hindsight “a century of Janus, facing backward, towards the rise of the Spanish Empire … and forward, toward its decline.” His more than a 100 plays and writings represent significantly, 17th century Spain – and even Europe.

There is probably no word that is more characteristic of Calderon de la Barca’s art than monstruo, “monster.” Rare is the play in which the word does not appear several times … (from Celestina’s brood By Roberto González Echevarría).

Calderon’s play about Semiramis, the Assyrian Empire builder, showed her in a monster mode – her hybrid character the most masculine modes and the most feminine, a monster of destruction and creation”. And Calderon was not alone. The fertile growth of monsters gave birth to a new study – teratology, the study of monsters.

“Monster lore truly becomes “popular culture” only with the Renaissance … Fresh works on the subject of teratology are written by Italians, Germans, and Frenchmen. The foreruuner of the modern newspaper, the broadside were bought at street corners and at fairs by the barely literate masses. The great reformers Luther and Melanchthon used the broadside medium to popularize their propagandistic and anti-Catholic versions of two of the most famous monsters of the Renaissance, the Monk-calf of Freiburg and the Pope-ass of Rome. (from Popular culture in the Middle Ages By Josie P. Campbell).

Some of Calderon’s plays dealt with the proselytization of the Native Americans – like his play, La Aurora En Copacabana (Dawn in the Copacabana), described as a play about “the conquest and conversion of the Indians in Peru”

The success of the conquest, therefore, is attributed to (Christian) faith which is valued as mans greatest gift to the world … Thus (Christian) conquest becomes a form of colonisation with the purpose of imposing religion and culture on a land “que habitan inhumanos” (512) and is in need of redemption and education. Finally, the play tries to harmonise irreconcilable contradictions which lie at the bottom of colonial discourse. (texts in parentheses mine).

With this idea, must be seen something important. That is the important element of “the escape of the monster.” In the … Monster Theory, Joel Cohen has remarked that the monster always escapes. Now combine the three elements – the newly acquired colonies of America, the proselytization (or otheriwse, the genocide) and the escape of the monster. These were the ‘monsters’ of colonialism.

A very interesting play by Calderon was La vida es sueño (Life is a dream). It tells the story of Segismundo, the Prince Of Poland, who was destined to be a monster. To forestall the prophecy, Segismundo was imprisoned by his father from the time of his birth. In adulthood, released from prison to test the prediction, Segismundo fulfills the prophecy. As a analyst of Calderon’s work summarizes,

Affirming a “better reality,” Segismundo’s message speaks as well to all of Europe: the “new European man” is the real monster. (from The subject in question By C. Christopher Soufas).

200 years after Calderon, HG Wells, in the The Island of Doctor Moreau, foretold Joseph Menegle’s experiments rather well.

Onshore genocide – The Roma Gypsies

Apart from the Jewish persecution, less known is the the persecution of the Roma Gypsy, which continues till date. In Europe, kidnapping children was considered legal for most of 1500AD-1750AD. On one condition – you had to kidnap Roma Gypsy children! More than 25,000 children kidnapped. No problem. Everybody sleeps peacefully at night. Switzerland was doing this till 1973!

Roughly, between 1500 to 1750, it was legal in Europe to hunt human beings. Yes! Just like hunting for deer in India, or hunting buffalo in Africa or fox-hunting in Britain. Yes! You could hunt human beings. As long as the humans you hunted were Roma Gypsies. In Europe you could be hung to death if you committed the crime of being born – between 1500AD-1750AD! Born as a Roma Gypsy!

Europeans, in the their age of Enlightenment and Renaissance, (1500-1750) could just pick up human slaves – yes, own them like cattle and furniture, if you found one! As long as they were Roma Gypsies. Later you could also sell them for profit!

Ship owners and captains in Europe’s Golden age, (1500-1750) could arrange galley slaves for free. No wages, no salary. You just had to feed them. Use them, abuse them, flog them, kill them, drown them. You could do anything – as long as they were Roma Gypsies.

What set off the Roma Gypsy Genocide

In 1420, a 60 year old man, blind in one eye took charge – and took on the might of the Roman Church and Roman Emperors.

Jan Zizka.

Over the next 12 months, he became completely blind. In the next 15 years, Zizka (and other Czech generals) defeated, many times, the combined armies of Germany, The Roman Church and others. His military strategy was studied for the next 500 years. Thereafter, the myth of military might of the Church was broken forever.

Jan Zizka allied himself with the Taborites (the radical Hussite wing). Zizka made Tábor in Bohemia into an armored and mobile fortress – the Wagenburgs.

Interestingly, a 100 years after the Hussite Wars, the European persecution of the Roma Gypsies began in full earnest. And during WW2, the Vatican joined with the Nazi collaborators, the Ustashe,  to extort gold and the genocide against the Roma Gyspises.

Military success

Zizka ranks with the great military innovators of all time. Zizka’s army was made up of untrained peasants and burghers (townspeople). He did not have the time or resources to train these fighters in armament and tactics of the time. Instead they used weapons like iron-tipped pikes and flails, armored farm wagons, mounted with small, howitzer type cannons.

Roma Gypsy Wagon Caravan
Roma Gypsy Wagon Caravan

His armored wagons, led by the Taborites, in offensive movements, broke through the enemy lines, firing as they rolled, cutting superior forces into pieces. For defense, the wagons were arranged into a tight, impregnable barrier surrounding the foot soldiers – the Wagenburg (the wagon fort), as they came to be known. The wagons also served to transport his men. Zizka thus fully initiated modern tank warfare. Zizka’s experience under various commanders was useful. At the Battle of Tannenberg (1410), Zizka fought on the Polish side , in which the famed German Teutonic Knights were defeated.

Coming back …

Who were the major users of the wagons in Europe then (and now?) Answer – The Roma Gypsies.

Who were the people who could pose spiritual and ecclesiastical questions to the Vatican? Answer – The Gypsies, with their Indian heritage, were not not new to spiritual dialectics (contests, discourse and debates). For instance, Mani, and his adherents, an Indic teacher of Buddhist thought, known to Christians as Manichean thought, were the nightmare for Christianity till the 15th century. When Mani called for overthrow of slavery, the Vatican at the Council of Gangra, re-affirmed its faith in slavery. European minds were occupied with the questions raised by the Hussite reformers.

Some think they (the Waldensians) had held them for centuries; some think they had learned them recently from the Taborites. If scholars insist on this latter view, we are forced back on the further question: Where did the Taborites get their advanced opinions? If the Taborites taught the Waldenses, who taught the Taborites?

Who were the people who could help the persecuted Waldensians, the Bogomils, the Cathars to escape persecution and spread out across the Europe? Answer – The Roma Gypsies – in their wagons. The same Gypsies, had earlier pioneered the Troubadour culture in the Provence Region, which provoked the Albigensian Crusade by the Vatican.

Prokop Coat Of Arms
Prokop Coat Of Arms

And who was the King of the Taborites? Answer – An entire clan of leaders who called themselves as Prokop (The Shaven /Bald; The Little and The Great) were the military leaders of the Taborites.

The word and name Prokop have no meaning in any European language – except in Sanskrit, where it means vengeance, retribution, violent justice.

Mythology as History

Jan Hus initiated the Reformation in the Vatican Church. It was Jan Zizka who broke the back of Papal authority. On the back of these Czech successes, was laid the foundation of 95 Theses by Martin Luther in 1517. The British break (1533-34) with the Holy Roman Church happened due to favors by the Papal office to the Iberian Empires – in matters of trade and colonial expansion, and the impediments to divorce of Henry-VIII at the behest of the Spanish rulers.

Today, the Germans and the British are loath to be reminded about the Czech Church Reform initiatives and the defeats at the hands of the Poles and Czechs. Western historiography about the Enlightenment and Renaissance, in Britain, France and Germany, leading to the reformation is ‘mythology as history’.

Of course, the role of the Greek Orthodox Church, the Byzantine Empire in the entire Czech saga is also worth re-examining. Were the Hussite Wars, a proxy war waged by the Eastern Church against the Vatican?

Dracula, Frankenstein, Dr Jekyll and Mr.Hyde

In the 19th century came the monster story was dubbed as Gothic – and this form of story-telling matured as a craft.

A significant array of Gothic writers emerged from Ireland (from Charles Maturin, Sheridan Le Fanu, Bram Stoker, and Oscar Wilde to the contemporary writer Patrick McGrath), in a colonial situation where a Protestant minority was the colonial occupier. (from Late Victorian Gothic tales By Roger Luckhurst)

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797–1851), wife of Percy Bysshe Shelley started writing Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus, at the age of 18, and completed it one year later. First published in London, anonymously, in 1818 by small London publishing house of Harding, Mavor & Jones – after previous rejections by bigger publishers like Charles Ollier (Percy Bysshe Shelley’s publisher), and John Murray (by Byron’s publisher). The writer’s name started appearing from the second edition of 1823 onwards. The interesting aspect, lost in popular usge, is that the monster is not named – and Frankenstein was the scientist, who brought the monster to life.

In 1886, Robert Louis Stevenson’s book, The Strange Case of Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde was first published. This explored how ‘normal’ (Dr.Jekyll) human beings could become ‘evil’ (Mr.Hyde).

And in 1887, Bram Stoker, an Irish writer published his Dracula. The character of Dracula is based on Emperor Sigismund and his Order of the Dragon, who waged war against the Hussites – led by Jan Zizka. Infamous for his betrayal of Jan Hus, he sparked of the Hussite Wars, in which the Taborites (the Roma Gypsies) used wagons and gun powder for the first time in Europe. He founded a secret sect,  the “Dracul” called the Order of the Dragon.

Of course, these three are the most famous – but not the only ones. Sheridan Le Fanu’s 1871 “Carmilla“, about a lesbian vampire was another monster book of its time. An associate of Mary Shelley, John Polidori created the character of the “The Vampyre” in 1819 – on which possibly Dracula was based.

Most significantly, in 1896, was HG Well’s The Island of Doctor Moreau, which presaged Joseph Mengele – when Joseph Mengele had not even started on his higher education. A good 50 years before Joseph Mengele’s experiments were discovered by a shocked world.

The wellspring of these works is H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau. In this 1896 novel, a vivisectionist attempts to transform animals into men until the misshapen creatures revert and kill him, the forces of nature overcoming man’s civilizing artifices. From The Boys From Brazil (Auschwitz doctor Josef Mengele, alive and well and cloning Hitlers at a secret lab in the Brazilian Amazon) to Jurassic Park (Richard Attenborough alive and well and cloning velociraptors), Wells’ basic formula has become familiar: an island; a Frankensteinian experiment; a Faustian scientist; something gone terribly, terribly wrong. (from Requiem for the Mad Scientist By Arthur Allen, in Slate).

From the 1700-1800, while Spain was in decline, for about a 100 years, Western literary field did not see too much action on the monster front. The main action was in Haiti, where zombies, the ex-murderers, the living dead became a part of the voodoo cult.

The late Victorian era was one of the most expansive phases of the empire. Britain annexed some thirty-nine separate areas around the world between 1870-1900, in competition with newly aggressive America in the Pacific or the European powers in the so-called ‘Scramble for Africa’ after the continent was divided up at the Berlin conference of 1885. (from Late Victorian Gothic tales By Roger Luckhurst)

The last of the true great monster in popular culture came from the East. Soon after WW2, as tales of Japanese atrocities started coming out and as American atrocities in Vietnam started, Godzilla came out of Japan. But a different pressure head was building up, which gave rise to a new genre – detective fiction.

Euro-Pessimism

Between 1800-1950, Western powers killed (directly or otherwise) more than 50 million people in America (the Native Americans), Africa (the Native Africans and Afro-Americans), 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 situation.

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.”

The Controversial Tintin In CongoMurder in Popular Image

A trend started by Edgar Allan Poe, whose first detective novel, Murders In Rue Morgue (1841) soon became an avalanche. Writers like Agatha Christie (Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple solving murders happening by the second), Georges Simenon (and his Inspector Maigret investigating brutal crimes), Ngaio Marsh (Roderick Alleyn), GK Chesterton (Father Brown), Raymond Chandler (Sam Spade and Phillip Marlowe) dealt with murder. Alfred Hitchcock made horror thrillers in similar themes.

Agatha Christie’s book filmed as Ten Little Indians, based on the book, initially released (the book) in Britain as Ten Little Niggers (later renamed as Then There None) gives the game away. Agatha Christie probably pre-saged the White desire to ensure that there should be none of the Native Americans left to tell the tale. The overt racism in Herge’s ‘Tintin in Congo’ made the world sit-up and note the pervasiveness of racism in detective fiction.

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.The History Of Mystery

The Mystery of the Dying Detective

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.

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

Western Twins – Anxiety and Paranoia

To develop this understanding further, there are two classes of films that I wish to draw attention to.

Malignant Nature

Jaws (the shark that eats humans), Jurassic Park (mad scientists, conspiring technicians let loose man eating dinos) Gremlins and Poltergiest (things that go bump in the night). This paranoid fear of nature (and natural laws) seems to be a result of the subterranean knowledge of the way in which ecological damage and pollution is happening. These films produced /directed by Steven Spielberg (who is incomparable because as Time Magazine says, “No one else has put together a more popular body of work”)

Illegal AliensVindictive Humans

The other is the thinly disguised hate and prejudice films against the poor and the victimised. ‘Aliens’ needs just one small change for the films idea to become clear. Instead of LV-426, Nostromo the space ship, receives a distress call from some country in South America or Africa (or India, if you prefer). The meaning is clear when you see the movie while conscious of the fact that alien is is the word the US Government uses for people from other countries.

What Does This Mean

A US commentator Robert Putnam says that

“… We don’t trust each other as much as we used to. Trust in other people has fallen from 58 percent in 1960 to 35 percent in the mid-1990s. Our less trusting atmosphere has led us to recoil from civic life and social ties. We belong to fewer voluntary organizations, vote less often, volunteer less, and give a smaller share of our gross national product to charity (Putnam, 1995a, 1995b; Knack, 1992; 1986; Uslaner, 1993, 96-97). People who trust others are more likely to participate in almost all of these activities, so the decline in trust is strongly linked to the fall in civic engagement (Putnam, 1995a; Brehm and Rahn, 1997; Uslaner, 1997) …The Purloined Letter Drawing

Elephants in the room

Most critics and commentators write about the phenomenon of detective fiction devoid of context – and the detective fiction as entertainment only.

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 FictionIn 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.

How was this explained away

As the monsters increased, both in real life and literature, rationalizations were required. A person no less than Immanuel Kant, was pressed into service to deconstruct the ‘monster’, re-invent it and give it a positive spin.

The monster taken up by Kant in an aesthetic sense to refer to those things that exceed representation considers that the monstrous describes an entity whose life force is greater than the matter in which in which it is contained. Thus rather than something that malfunctions during the course of its production, monstrosity is associated during romanticism with “over-exuberant living matter” that extends itself beyond its natural borders in order to affect a much wider sphere. ((from The subject in question By C. Christopher Soufas).

Detective Fiction

In the twentieth century, Kant’s hypothesis finds an echo when Lord Randolph William Churchill, the ‘Bulldog’ declared

“I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race has come in and taken their place. (from Minorities, peoples, and self-determination By Nazila Ghanea-Hercock, Nazila Ghanea, Alexandra Xanthaki, Patrick Thornberry)

In another instance, Churchill wrote how ’superior’ Arabs, imposed on the ‘inferior’ negroes.

The stronger race imposed its customs and language on the negroes. The vigour of their blood sensibly altered the facial appearance … (from The River War By Winston Churchill).

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Scorched Earth Incidents In History – What They Reveal …

Posted in Current Affairs, Gold Reserves, History, Uncategorized by Anuraag Sanghi on November 19, 2007

Guiding Spirit

“Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius” (Kill them all, God will know his own) instructed the Abbot of Citeaux to followers at the start of the Albigensian Crusade.

And 200,000 people were killed.

Emerging nations (India is hopefully, re-emerging), at some point, will confront militant and aggressive powers, who have used major massacres to secure their ends. Apart from well documented and known military massacres , there are equally effective massacres – the Bengal Famine of 1943 being a prime example.

Apart from two major incidents of slaughter in Indian history – the Kalinga War and the sacking of the Vijayanagar Kingdom, there is no other recorded incident of massacres initiated by Indian rulers or conquerors.

Megasthenes (the Greek ambassador in Gupta court) writes, “”Whereas among other nations it is usual, in the contests of war, to ravage the soil and thus to reduce it to an uncultivated waste, among the Indians, on the contrary, by whom husbandmen are regarded as a class that is sacred and inviolable, the tillers of the soil, even when battle is raging in their neighborhood, are undisturbed by any sense of danger, for the combatants on either side in waging the conflict make carnage of each other, but allow those engaged in husbandry to remain quite unmolested. Besides, they never ravage an enemy’s land with fire, nor cut down its trees.”

This makes the Mumbai 1993 riots, the 1984 Sikh Pogrom and the Godhra carnage in India a matter of concern and historical discontinuity.

Vercingetorix

Rome was sucked into the vacuum left behind by Alexander’s death. Roman generals consolidated in Asia Minor and expanded into Europe. One significant territory was Gaul (most of modern France). In 52 BC, the Gaels rebelled. Governor of Gallic provinces – Julius Caesar.

The rebellion was led by Gaellic chieftain, Vercingetorix (pronounced with a k; or in Gaellic possibly Fearcuincedorigh, Chief of a hundred heads, was son of Celtillus, a chieftain executed by his tribesmen, for attempting to unite the tribe). After nearly 2 years of campaigning, Vercingetorix was defeated by Julius Caesar, imprisoned for 5 years and brought in chains to Rome – and strangled to death after a public display.

Rome used massacres freely to quell this rebellion, and to instill fear amongst the tribes. An entire population of Avaricum (Bourges), varying estimates of between 40,000-120,000, was massacred. At the least, 1 million of 3 million Gallic Celtic populations was killed by the time Caesar finished with Gaul. Many Gaels were taken as slaves by soldiers to carry their baggage or sold to slave traders which accompanied these armies.

Carthage

Kart Hadasht, or Carthage as we know it today, was a city founded by Phoenicians, a sea-faring nation, (based in an area near Tunis and modern Lebanon) – and one of the first rivals that Rome had. Carthage ruled over much of the Mediterranean and North Africa. It expanded into Spain – Barcelona is named after the Barca family, of whom Hannibal is the most famous.

Alexander’s campaign had taken the best of male youth from the Greek population and made it incapable of holding at the centre. Alexander’s vast dominions and revenues were unprotected. Greek political leadership were engaged with Alexander abroad. Its armies were tied up in Asia. No ruler after Alexander’s death in 323 BC was in a position to consolidate the conquests or overcome Greek-Macedonian infighting.

It took Greece another 600 years to recoup and challenge the Western Roman Empire. The split between the Western Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire was along linguistic lines. The Byzantine Empire used Greek as the official language – and had many Greek Kings. The ‘Greek Miracle’ was rewritten by these Greek historians – 800-to-1000 years later. Much like modern day propaganda by the West, the Greeks used their language to create a myth around the Greek civilization. Alexander, a Macedonian (from modern day Balkans), was usurped by the Greeks (from the Mediterranean region) as their own.

In 306, BC, Rome allied with Carthage against the Greeks. Over the next 150 years, Carthage and Rome battled Greece, conquered Sicily and attacked each other. After three Macedonian wars and the war with Antiochus the Great of Syria, Rome established itself as a prime power.

Rome then turned its attention to other challengers, most notably, Carthage. Scipio’s armies, engaged Carthage in the Second Punic war (218-203) – and Carthage thereafter, was militarily, a spent force. Over the next 50 years, Carthage declined militarily – but prospered economically.

And Rome…

In 150 BC, controlling much of Alexander’s empire, Rome decided that no one must be left to challenge its power. Cato the Elder, influenced the Roman Senate and pushed for Delenda est Carthago(”Carthage must be destroyed”). An army under consuls Manius Manilius and L.Marcius Censorinus was sent to destroy Carthage, militarily, a shell of its former self. Carthage offered to surrender and deposited all its armour and armament. Roman generals refused to accept the surrender.

Carthage re-armed to defend itself. Roman generals could not make much headway. Finally, the Roman senate sent a descendant of Scipio Africanus (of the Second Punic War), Scipio Aemilianus – and in 146BC, Carthage was defeated. Carthage city was destroyed, its fields plowed and salted, so that the city would never come up again. 50,000 residents of Carthage were enslaved. In parallel, in 146BC, Corinth suffered a similar fate. Final tally during the Punic Wars over 200 years – 10 lakhs people (1million).

Spartacus

50 BC. Alexander had passed into mythology. Romans had taken complete hold of the Alexandrian Empire. Millions (men, women and children) were enslaved. Swollen by revenues from the inherited Alexandrian territories of Asia Minor; by loot and conquests from Europe, Roman society was rolling in wealth. Nearly a million slaves toiled to keep Roman population well fed and in luxury.

On the other side of the world, Alexander’s conquests had increased trade manifold. Indo Roman trade flourished. Greco-Roman currency, laws started at Indian borders and led right to the heart of the world’s largest and most prosperous market. A ‘merchant prince’, Chandragupta Maurya and a Brahmin minister, Kautilya Chanakya, with the support of the 16 mahajanapadas (principal ruling Indian federations) had united most of Indian subcontinent. The most famous of this dynasty, Ashoka (The Great) started the spread of Buddhism.

With rapid economic growth, also came rapid change in social differences. In Rome, slacvery was political and economic (slaves and master). In India, many religious teachers started movements against slavery – now commonly popular as ‘ahimsa’. In Rome this sparked the Spartacus revolution. 100,000 slaves mutinied and were led by Spartacus. After many battles between 72BC-71BC, Spartacus and his slave legions were defeated. 6,000 slaves were crucified on the main Roman highway – the Via Appia.

Ustashe Cleansing

Ustati in slav languages means “to rise”. 1939, Italy, supported and created the Croat Ustashi Army made up Croats. This army reached a size of upto 100,000.

After Hitler’s sweep across the Balkans, a Nazi puppet government of Ante (Anton) Pavelic, headed the “Catholic State of Croatia.” The Pavelic regime supported “Clerical Fascism”-a mix of Catholic religiosity, Anti-Semitism and authoritarian politics. Mussolini’s Italy and Nazi Germany’s “Ausland” department assisted Ante Pavelic and his Catholic terrorists to set up a dictatorship. Ante Pavelic was declared Poglavnik – or what we better know as Fuhrer. Archbishop A. Stepanic established a Croat Separatist Movement and seized power.

They had a simple one point agenda – One third to be converted from Orthodox Christians to Catholic Christianity; one third to be killed and one third to be expelled . Their allies – Before and during the WWW2 – Italy, Germany and The Vatican. More than 10 lakh were put in concentration camps – and most died.

After WW2, Marshal Tito curbed the Ustashi – and the USA embraced these Ustashi to “fight communuism”. After death of Marshal Tito and collapse of the Soviet Empire, these groups were sent back – and the old massacres restarted.

Final tally – More than 20 lakh people killed.

Mau Mau

Post WW2, Churchill was the British Prime Minister from 1950. Kenya became the new jewel in the depleted British crown. The crown princess (the current queen) celebrated the end of war, with a well publicised holiday (1952) at a tree top lodge in Kenya. Churchill resisted the “liquidation of Her Majesty’s empire …” and “winds of change” were yet to blow across Africa.

Kenyan de-colonialisation movement was symbolised by a Kikiyu tribesman, Kamau wa Ngengi, who later took the surname, Kenyatta (from the Kikuyu word for a type of beaded belt he wore) and the first name Jomo – Jomo Kenyatta. Meanwhile, inspired by Gandhiji’s success in India, 1950 saw, at a joint meeting of KAU and Kenya Indian Congress at Nairobi, Trade Unionist Makhan Singh’s resolution for freedom for East Africa being passed. In 1952, Jomo Kenyatta was arrested in ‘Operation Jock Scot’ with 182 other African leaders.

The Kikiyu tribe, considered relatively less aggressive (compared to the Masais) and well settled in agriculture, were provoked to revolt by loss of their lands to white settlers. They formed the Land and Freedom Army and what followed was a 11 year guerilla war, which descended very soon into brutality – and reminded some of Nazi ways of Joseph Mengele. The British and the Western press called this the Mau Mau uprising in a derogatory manner.

Final count – as per Caroline Elkins 100,000 dead; 10,00,000 imprisoned and detained without legal cause; a record 1090 people hung to death. British Government numbers – 12,000 dead Kenyans, (certified). 100,000 imprisoned. Another article estimated close to 12.5 lakhs (of a total population of 50 lakhs) were killed or imprisoned.

Wipe out of the Red Indian Population

In 1492, when Columbus landed in the West Indies, the native American population was 3 million (in the what is currently USA) and more than 10 million in the Americas – and they spoke a 600 languages. 300 years later, they had become tourist attractions.

The British and the independent Americans were equally brutal with the Red Indians. During the French and Indian Wars, Britain waged a biological warfare against the Red Indians by distributing small pox infected blankets to Red Indians. 70 years later, Andrew Jackson delayed (some say withheld) small pox medical supplies and vaccines from Red Indians.

During the American War of Independence against the British, George Washington, was clear what to with native Red Indians at least. On May 31, 1779 Washington sent his official Instructions to Major General John Sullivan:

Sir: The expedition you are appointed to command is to be directed against the hostile tribes of the six nations of Indians, with their associates and adherents. The immediate objects are the total destruction and devastation of their settlements and the capture of as many prisoners of every age and sex as possible…whence parties should be detached to lay waste all the settlements around, with instruction to do it in the most effectual manner; that the country may not be merely overrun but destroyed

Reminiscent of George Bush threatening the world , either you are for us or against us , George Washington, made a similar remark more than 200 years ago. George Washington wrote to the President of the Continental Congress in 1776:

In my opinion it will be impossible to keep them [Indians] in a state of Neutrality, they must, and no doubt soon will take an active part either for, or against us…

Thomas Jefferson view of the native Red Indians was equally dismissive.

He (King George III) has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions… (Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence, 1776).

Treaty after treaty was made with Red Indians – which were broken time and again. The whites coveted everything that the Red Indian had – but mostly, his life. This “land of the free” by all possible (and some impossible) means was soon made land free of the “natives and savages”.

The US President, Andrew Jackson started by (December 8, 1829) posing as a Red Indian sympathiser. He proclaimed

“By persuasion and force they (Red Indians) have been made to retire from river to river and from mountain to mountain, … tribes have become extinct … Surrounded by the whites … which by destroying the resources … doom him to weakness and decay … That this fate surely awaits them if they remain within the limits of the states … Humanity and national honor demand that every effort should be made to avert so great a calamity.” (parts excised for brevity and ellipsis inserted; bold letters mine).

His solution – remove the Red Indians. In 1830, 40 years after George Washington became the President, the “land of the free”, a law was passed to make the land free of the native Cherokee (Red Indian) population. The vast prairie lands were expropriated – and the Cherokee Indians were marched out by the US army. This march, Trail Of Tears, signalled the break of treaty by white Anglo Saxons. Land West of the Mississippi were to belong to the Eastern Indians ‘in perpetuity.’

The Red Indians resisted removal and forcible transfers. Their resistance was brutally crushed.

By December 4, 1832, Andrew Jackson was saying,

“After a harassing warfare, prolonged by the nature of the country and by the difficulty of procuring subsistence, the Indians were entirely defeated, and the disaffected band dispersed or destroyed. The result has been creditable to the troops engaged in the service. Severe as is the lesson to the Indians, it was rendered necessary by their unprovoked aggressions, and it is to be hoped that its impression will be permanent and salutary.” (bold letters mine)

Gen. Winfield Scott was sent in May 1938, (with an army) to deliver the ultimatum to the Cherokees. Move or we will make you. At your cost.

President Woodrow Wilson echoes the ideology behind the alleged “genocide” –

“The experience of Liberia and Haiti show that the African race are devoid of any capacity for political organisation… there is an inherent tendency to revert to savagery and to cast aside the shackles of civilisation which are irksome to their physical nature. Our industries have expanded to such a point that they will burst their jackets… Our domestic markets no longer suffice; we need foreign markets. In the matter of Chinese and Japanese coolie immigration, I stand for the national policy of exclusion… We cannot allow a homogeneous population of a people who do not blend with the Caucasian race.”

The entire Anglo Saxon race was against the very existence of the native Red Indian. The British Colonialists and the White Anglo Saxon settlers continued a scorched earth policy in their genocidal campaign.

Just like Romani Gypsy and Australian aboriginal children were taken away from their parents, Red Indian children were also removed. In different continents, at different times, similar tactics were used by Europeans and the Anglo Saxons in the colonies.

Aborigines

In 1788, the estimated Aboriginal population was 7,50,000. By 1911, the survivors, were estimated at 31,000. Prior to the Anglo Saxon settlement, “Australia was an ‘empty land‘ because its inhabitants did not count as human“. Today, the Anglo Saxon race prides itself for the building of Australia. Australia was a British colony and till date the Queen (or King) of Britain is the head of State for Australia.

Churchill, the British Prime Minister during WW2, one time Chanecllor Of The Exchequer, had his views on Arabs, Indians, Aborigines, Red Indians –

I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race has come in and taken their place.

Churchill similarly had highly enlightened views on Arabs – “The Arabs are a backwards people who eat nothing but Camel dung.”

One of the main causes of deaths was public health. In India, in the early 19th century, an estimated 25 million died due the cholera epidemic – as the colonial Government was not bothered (to give them the benefit of any doubt). In Northern Ireland, during the Irish Famine, the then British Prime Minster with held supplies essential aid from starving Irishmen. In USA, the Government delayed allocations to fight small pox, 20 years after similar actions for the whites. Similarly from the Australian aborigines.

Genghis Khan & The Mongol Tribes

Temujin, more famous as Genghis Khan had an empire larger than Alexander and lasted longer than Alexander’s. From remote fastness of Mongolia to borders of Western Europe, from Central Asia to Arabia, his family ruled for nearly 300 years – over an empire larger than Alexander’s. The expansion of the empire continued well after his death – unlike Alexander.

His armies made a habit of slaughtering entire cities – and the final tally is close to 30 lakhs (3 million). In his direct line of conquest along The Silk Route, Eastern /Central Europe had a population of 35 million. European population in medieval times is estimated at 60-80 million. World population at that time is estimated at 50 crores (500 million). Genghis Khan and his hordes slaughtered 20%-30% of humanity in affected territories.

The Bengal Famine 1943 & Indian Gold Drain

Between 1920-1945, the British manipulated exchange rates and trade to impoverish the Indians. Food grain prices rose sharply on supply disruptions during WW2. Indians had no financial reserves. 40 lakhs Indians died in the resultant Bengal Famine.

India Pakistan Partition

After WW2, Churchill promised that he will not “preside over the liquidation of Her Majesty’s empire …” Clement Atlee promised the British voter a quick exit from India. Post war Britain was tired of rationing, shortages – and subsidising a starving, bankrupted India. The Colonial Office was reporting deficits. Gold transfers from India had reduced to a trickle.

The clue is in the body language

The clue is in the body language

Clement Atlee won. Mountbatten was sent to India. An unprepared India and a leaderless Pakistan were handed over governance.

Many theories apart, it showed another extension of the “scorched earth policy” and a callous disregard for 10 lakh brown lives that were lost to Hindu-Muslim-Sikh riots.

Similarly, after the fall of the Chinese Imperial Dynasty, The Japanese Occupation, WW2, Western powers aided both sides in a conflict. Mao Ze Dong was aided by the Americans against the Japanese, Chiang Kai Shek against Mao Ze Dong and Communist Chinese army built with western aid (during WW2), occupied a pro-India Tibet.

Haiti – First Slave Independence

14th August 1791. St Dominque. A black slave overseer killed a pig. And it sparked off the world’s first successful slave uprising.

Boukman Dutty was Voudou N’Gan (oungan, houngan, voodoo priest), killed a pig as a part of an African tribal ritual Bwa Kayiman, to his ancestors and Ogoun, god of fire, iron and war. Ogoun and Erzulie Dantor (Ezili Dantor), a Vodou l’wha (loa) a warrior spirit, responded to this call to protect these slave warriors.

25th August. Night of Fire. 50,000 slaves rose in revolt. More than 1000 sugar and coffee plantations were put to fire. Flames could be seen as far as Bahamas. 31st December 1803, liberation brought about by vengeance, independence was declared.

St. Dominque, now called Haiti, was a French colony with 800 sugar plantations and 4,00,000 slaves from Niger and Dahomey (now Benin) in West Africa. Haiti, the greatest jewel of French colonies, accounting for 40% of French GDP in 1700s, was the largest market for slaves in Atlantic trade. It was the largest producer of sugar in the world and competed with British colonies (like India) for indigo production and had thousands of coffee plantations. Discovered and exploited by Christopher Columbus,

What happened to the original population 1.3 million of its original population. Done to death in forced silver mines in 10 years.

Cuban Independence

After the fall of Haiti, by 1860, Cuban production grew to 500,00 tons of sugar – 1/3 of the world’s production. Under Spanish rule from 1511, the indigenous population was annihilated and the island was populated by imported African slave labour. Henry Clay, Secretary Of State, in President John Quincy’s administration,”This counry prefers that Cuba and Porto Rico remain dependant on Spain …”

In 1844 Cuban slaves revolted unsuccessfully. 10th, October 1868, Carlos Manuel de Céspesdes released his slaves and El Grito de Yara, a 10 year war against Spain started.

General Valeriano Weyler, “The Butcher,” to stamp out the independence movement. He created modern history’s first concentration camps. Hundreds of thousands of men women and children were put into concentration camps. In Havana city, 52,000 people died. The peasants retaliated by burning down vast Spanish owned sugar plantations. Weyler was recalled to Spain in 1879. October 7th 1886, slavery was finally abolished. Spain continued to rule Cuba – with greater repression.

” Seventy-five percent of Latin America’s exports to the United States came from Cuba and half of the Latin American imports from the United States went to Cuba in 1894. The United States had well entrenched itself in the Cuban economy and did not want to lose a valuable market so close by. Spain clung to its remaining claim. Cuba was caught in the middle in the mid-1890’s when the United States reduced sugar imports with the Wilson-Gorman tariff and Spain restricted United States imports to Cuba. Proponents of annexation and independence divided Cuba’s population.” by Brad Williford in The Cuban Revolution of 1895-98

125 years after Independence, US was developing colonial ambitions. The Monroe doctrine was used to create colonies in the American backyard. “Yellow Journalism” invented. On April 25th 1898, the US Congress declared war. For the next 4 months, the US fought the Spanish American War. On August 12th, 1898, Spain signed the peace treaty. On December 10th 1898, the treaty of Paris was signed. USA annexed Philippines, Guam and Puerto Rico in exchange for US$2,00, 00,000. Cubans became nominally declared free but with many conditions.

Cost – Over 20 years that Cuba fought the Spaniards, 500,000 people died.

The Israel – Palestinian Conflict

Post WW2, USA was the significant power which could project its power across continents. To protect this position, the USA and Europeans created Israel on specious grounds. Less than 1 lakh Jews (original inhabitants) were given preference over 10 lakh Muslims and the state of Israel was formed. Palestinians are today paying for Europeans genocide of Jews. If the Jewish state was essential, the Europeans could have created a Jewish state in Europe and guaranteed safety and neutrality of the same.

Why did West Asia have to pay for European genocide? One reason – Oil.

Israel is the Western world’s cat’s paw in West Asia. Price of this oil politics – More than 2 million in the last 50 years. Innocent Israelis and Palestinians – fed on distorted history kill and maim each other. The beneficiaries – Europe and USA.

Tally – More than a million dead.

The US Philippine War

After the abolition of slavery in USA, the ‘land of the free’ turned to proxy slavery – colonialism. The first attempt was Cuba.

In Asia, Philippines was the American colony in the Asia. To protect the US$2,00,00,000 payment made by the USA to Spain, USA colonial forces killed 1.4 million during the period 1899 to 1905. Over the next 80 years, Philippines was ruled by Americans and foisted dictators like Marcos – at the cost of these Filipinos. As history would have it, Brigadier General Arthur MacArthur fought the first Filipino war – and his son, Douglas fought in the second during WW2.

Human Cost – Some 1.4 million dead during the period from 1899 to 1905.

More updates on …

Atomic Bombing Of Japanese

The Jewish Persecution In Europe

African Slavery

Brussels & Berlin Conferences – Agreement on Colonies & Slavery

Conquistadors

Hitler’s Holocaust

The Sacking Of Vijayanagar Kingdom

Timur, the Lame

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