on: November 04, 2017, 11:58:31 PM
Started by News - Last post by News
|By Dr. Clyde Winters
October 09, 2006
Ethiopians have had very intimate relations with Indians. In fact, in antiquity the Ethiopians ruled much of India. These Ethiopians were called the Naga. It was the Naga who created Sanskrit.
A reading of ancient Dravidian literature which dates back to 500 BC, gives us considerable information on the Naga. In Indian tradition the Naga won central India from the Villavar (bowmen) and Minavar (fishermen).
The Naga were great seamen who ruled much of India, Sri Lanka and Burma. To the Aryans they described as half man and snake. The Tamil knew them as warlike people who used the bow and noose.
The earliest mention of the Naga, appear in the Ramayana, they are also mentioned in the Mahabharata. In the Mahabharata we discover that the Naga had the capital city in the Dekkan, and other cities spread between the Jumna and Ganges as early as 1300 BC. The Dravidian classic, the Chilappathikaran made it clear that the first great kingdom of India was Naganadu.
The Naga probably came from Kush-Punt/Ethiopia. The Puntites were the greatest sailors of the ancient world. In the Egyptian inscriptions there is mention of the Puntite ports of Outculit, Hamesu and Tekaru, which corresponds to Adulis, Hamasen and Tigre.
In Sumerian text, it is claimed that the Puntites traded with the people of the Indus Valley or Dilmun. According to S.N. Kramer in The Sumerians, part of Punt was probably called Meluhha, and Dilmun was probably the ancient name of the Indus Valley. (Today some scholars maintain that Oman, where we find no ancient cities was Dilmun and the Indus Valley may have been Meluhha).
Ancient Ethiopian traditions support the rule of Puntites or Ethiopians of India. In the Kebra Nagast, we find mention of the Arwe kings who ruled India. The founder of the dynasty was Za Besi Angabo. This dynasty according to the Kebra Nagast began around 1370 BC. These rulers of India and Ethiopia were called Nagas. The Kebra Nagast claims that "Queen Makeda had servants and merchants; they traded for her at sea and on land in the Indies and Aswan". It also says that her son Ebna Hakim or Menelik I, "made a campaign in the Indian Sea; the king of India made gifts and donations and prostrated himself before him". It is also said that "Menalik ruled an empire that extended from the rivers of Egypt (Blue Nile) to the west and from the south Shoa to eastern India", according to the Kebra Nagast. The Kebra Nagast identification of an eastern Indian empre ruled by the Naga, corresponds to the Naga colonies in the Dekkan, and on the East coast between the Kaviri and Vaigai rivers.
The presence of Meluhhaites/ Puntites in India may expain the Greek tradition of Kusites ruling India up to the Ganges. It would also explain the Aryan traditions of Mlechchas (Sanskrit name for some of the non-Aryan people) as one of the aboriginal groups of India. Many scholars associate the name Mlechchas with Meluhha.
The major Naga tribes were the Maravar, Eyinar, Oliyar, Oviyar, Aru-Valur and Parathavar. The Nagas resisted the invansion of the Cholas. In the Kalittokai IV,1-5, the Naga are described as being "of strong limbs and hardy frames and fierce looking tigers wearing long and curled locks of hair." The Naga kings of Sri Lanka are mentioned in the: Mahawanso, and are said to have later become Dravidians, as testified to by the names of these people: Naganathan, Nagaratnam, Nagaraja and etc.
The major gift of the Naga to India was the writing system: Nagari. Nagari is the name for the Sanskrit script. Over a hundred years ago Sir William Jones, pointed out that the ancient Ethiopic and Sanskrit writing are one and the same.
William Jones, explained that the Ethiopian origin of Sanskrit was supported by the fact that both writing systems the writing went from left to right and the vowels were annexed to the consonants. Today Eurocentric scholars teach that Indians taught writing to the Ethiopians, yet the name Nagari for Sanskrit betrays the Ethiopia origin of this form of writing. Moreover, it is interesting to note that Sanskrit vowels: a,aa,',I,u,e,o, virama etc., are in the same order as Geez.
The Ethiopian script has influenced many other writing systems. Y.M. Kobishnor, in the Unesco History of Africa, maintains that Ethiopic was used as the model for Armenian writing, as was many of the Transcaucasian scripts. Dravidian literature indicate that the Naga may have introduced worship of Kali, the Serpent, Murugan and the Sun or Krishna. It is interesting to note that a god called Murugan is worshipped by many people in East Africa.
It is interesting that Krishna, who was associated with the Sun, means Black, this is analogous to the meaning of Khons of the Kushites. Homer, described Hercules as follows: "Black he stood as night his bow uncased, his arrow string for flight". This mention of arrows identifies the Kushites as warriors who used the bow, a common weapon of the Kushites and the Naga.
The Naga or Ethiopians were defeated by Dravidian speaking people from Kumarinadu. Kamarinadu is suppose to have formerly existed as a large Island in the India ocean which connected India with East Africa. This landmass is mentioned in the Silappadikaram, which said that Kamarinadu was made up of seven nadus or regions. The Dravidian scholars Adiyarkunallar and Nachinaar wrote about the ancient principalities of Tamilaham, which existed on Kamarinadu.
Kumarinadu was ruled by the Pandyans/Pandians at Madurai before it sunk beneath the sea. The greatest king of Kumarinadu was Sengoon.
According to Dravidian scholars the Pandyans worshipped the goddess Kumari Amman. This Amman, probably corresponds to the ancient god Amon of the Kushites.
The Kalittokai 104, makes it clear that after the Pandyans were forced to migrate off their Island home into South India, "to compensate for the area lost to the great waves of the sea, King Pandia without tiresome moved to the other countries and won them. Removing the emblems of tiger (Cholas) and bow (Cheras) he, in their place inscribed his reputed emblem fish (Pandia's) and valiantly made his enemies bow to him." http://www.raceandhistory.com/historicalviews/2006/0610.htmlAlso Read:Africans in India: From slaves to reformers and rulershttp://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-30391686African rulers of India: That part of our history we choose to forget
The elite status of the African slaves in India ensured that a number of them had access to political authority and secrets which they could make use of to become rulers in their own right, reigning over parts of India.http://indianexpress.com/article/research/african-rulers-of-india-that-part-of-our-history-we-choose-to-forget/Africans in India: Pictures that Speak of a Forgotten Historyhttps://thewire.in/25347/africans-in-india-pictures-that-speak-of-a-forgotten-history/THE AFRICAN PRESENCE IN INDIA
By RUNOKO RASHIDIhttps://tseday.wordpress.com/2008/08/24/the-african-presence-in-india-by-runoko-rashidi/
on: October 29, 2017, 07:46:00 AM
Started by Historysoul - Last post by Iniko Ujaama
My question is since so many of the regions that should be given reparations are run by corrupt governments and bureaucracies,how can we trust it will actually have a meaningful impact on the countries.
Indeed, most of those governments who are currently calling for reparations have not shown themselves to be trustworthy, particularly when it comes to addressing such issues. There for you are right in questioning whether people should put their trust in the idea that they will use these funds toward meaningful moves toward addressing the prejudices and racial injustice within their societies. I do not much reason to trust that they will independently do so. They should however be held accountable for having sought and accepted payments for reparations on behalf of those affected by this history and the resultant corrupt system.
If somehow these European colonizers do decide to give reparations , who will be responsible for overseeing that it actually benefits the population?
Unless otherwise is decided after reparations is paid it would be administered by the governments who sought it.
What will the reparations be used for e.g. to improve education,housing,healthcare,who will we give the reparations to in the population?Who will have a leading say in deciding how it is used?
What reparations is ultimately used for will depend on what these government decide. For anything meaningful to come of it, it would be important for the experiences of those worst affected be an integral part of determining what is to be done with these funds and the issues and priorities to be addressed.
on: October 23, 2017, 10:04:32 PM
Started by Historysoul - Last post by Historysoul
I have been observing all the recent calls for reparations within the Caribbean and even African countries as a form of atonement .Now I am for the reparations movement because many regions have been put in a perpetual state of under development due to centuries of exploitation at the hands of European colonizers. My question is since so many of the regions that should be given reparations are run by corrupt governments and bureaucracies,how can we trust it will actually have a meaningful impact on the countries.If somehow these European colonizers do decide to give reparations , who will be responsible for overseeing that it actually benefits the population?
What will the reparations be used for e.g. to improve education,housing,healthcare,who will we give the reparations to in the population?Who will have a leading say in deciding how it is used?All these questions cause me to ponder how exactly do we tackle the approach to dealing with reparations.To me reparations goes beyond money,I think it sets a presidency for future generations to come.However I find it very real that if reparations if given it may fall into corrupt hands and end back up in the same hands that gave it.
on: October 22, 2017, 08:03:44 AM
Started by Nakandi - Last post by Nakandi
|Colonization, Food, and the Practice of Eating
The violence that accompanied the European colonization of the Indigenous people of Mesoamerica is a well-known fact. Historians have elaborated on the devastating effects such colonization had on Indigenous societies, cultures, and mortality. While the study of the conquest has generally focused on the social, political, and economic changes forced upon Indigenous populations, the matter of food—the very source of survival—is rarely considered. Yet, food was a principal tool of colonization. Arguably, one cannot properly understand colonization without taking into account the issue of food and eating.
Imagine that you are a Spaniard, newly arrived on the coasts of a foreign land. Your survival depends on two things: security (protecting yourself from danger) and nourishment (food and other substances that are necessary for survival). In terms of the former, Europeans arrived on the coast of what is now referred to as “the Americas” fully equipped with the means to protect themselves. Atop horses, armed with advanced weaponry and a slew of European diseases, Spaniards engaged Indigenous populations in the most violent of ways. Nourishment, however, was another matter.
When Spaniards arrived in Mesoamerica, they encountered the Maya, Aztecs and other prominent Indigenous groups. The land was rich, fertile, and filled with crops such as beans, pumpkins, chilies, avocados, elderberries, guavas, papayas, tomatoes, cocoa, cotton, tobacco, henequen, indigo, maguey, corn, and cassava. Europeans encountered similar agricultural plantations throughout the region. However, to the colonists this food was substandard and unacceptable for the proper nourishment of European bodies. At the time of conquest, the European diet was principally composed of bread, olive oil, olives, “meat,” and wine. While this diet was somewhat sustained on the actual voyage from Europe to the Americas, upon arrival, Europeans found themselves devoid of the foods they considered necessary for survival. As Europeans began dying off in these “new” lands, the focus of concern shifted to food. In fact, Columbus himself was convinced that Spaniards were dying because they lacked “healthful European foods.” Herein began the colonial discourse of “right foods” (superior European foods) vs. “wrong foods” (inferior Indigenous foods). The Spaniards considered that without the “right foods,” they would die or, even worse, in their minds, they would become like Indigenous people.The “Right Foods” vs. the “Wrong Foods”
Europeans believed that food shaped the colonial body. In other words, the European constitution differed from that of Indigenous people because the Spanish diet differed from the Indigenous diet. Further, bodies could be altered by diets—thus the fear that by consuming “inferior” Indigenous foods, Spaniards would eventually become “like them.” Only proper European foods would maintain the superior nature of European bodies, and only these “right foods” would be able to protect colonizers from the challenges posed by the “new world” and its unfamiliar environments.
In the minds of Europeans, food not only functioned to maintain the bodily superiority of Spaniards, it also played a role in the formation of social identity. For example, in Spain, elites generally consumed bread, “meat,” and wine. The poor in Spain, however, could not afford such luxuries and instead ate such things as barley, oats, rye, and vegetable stew. Even vegetables were classified based on social status; for example, in some cases rooted vegetables were not considered suitable for elite consumption because they grew underground. Elites preferred to consume food that came from trees, elevated from the filth of the common world. Thus, food served as an indicator of class.
In addition, at the time of conquest, Spain was facing internal divisions of its own. In an effort to expel Spanish Muslims, as well as Jewish people, from Spain, King Ferdinand V and Queen Isabella I relaunched what was known as the Reconquista, the re-conquest of Spain. As a strong Spanish identity formed around the idea of the Reconquista, food became a powerful symbol of Spanish culture. For instance, consider “pork”: Among Muslim, Jewish, and Catholic people, only Catholics could eat “pork,” since for Muslim and Jewish people, the consumption of “pork” was forbidden. During the re-conquest, as individuals were being forced to prove that they were pureblooded Spaniards, they would often be offered “pork” to eat. Any refusal to consume “pork” would be taken as a sign that such people were not true Catholic Spaniards and would subsequently be expelled from Spain, persecuted, or even killed.
As the Spanish arrived in the “new world” and initiated the European colonization of the Americas, they also brought with them the notion of cultural and class based distinctions that were founded on the types of food people ate. For example, upon their arrival, the Spaniards determined that guinea pig “meat” was a fundamentally “Indian” food, thus anyone who consumed guinea pig was considered “Indian.” The same was true for other staple Indigenous foods, such as maize and beans. The Spanish considered such Indigenous fare “famine foods,” fit for consumption only if all other “right foods” had been thoroughly exhausted.
The symbolic nature of food was also seen in the imposition of religion, another destructive aspect of the conquest. The Eucharist, the holiest rite among Catholics, was composed of a wafer made of wheat, which signified the body of Christ, and wine, which signified the blood of Christ. Initially, before wheat was harvested in the Americas, it was difficult to obtain wheat from abroad, since much of it spoiled in transit. The wafers that were necessary for this rite could easily have been made from the native maize, but Spaniards believed that this inferior Indigenous plant could not be transformed into the literal body of Christ, as could European wheat. Similarly, only wine made from grapes was acceptable for the sacrament. Any potential substitute was considered blasphemy.
If Spaniards and their culture were to survive in these foreign lands, they would need to have readily available sources of the “right food.” Often, as Spanish officials reported back to the crown on the suitability of newly conquered lands, the “lack of Spanish food” was mentioned. Frustrated with what the “new world” had to offer, Tomas Lopez Medel, a Spanish official, reported that, “…there was neither wheat, nor grapevines, nor any proper animal…” present in the new colonies. Hearing this, the Crown commissioned a number of reports that were to elaborate on which European plants grew well in the colonized lands, as well as details as to where they grew best. It was soon determined that the most suitable arrangement would be for colonists to grow their own foods, and it was not long before Spaniards began to rearrange agriculture to meet their own needs. Although wheat, wine, and olives only thrived in certain regions of Latin America, the Spaniards considered this a success. Colonists were elated that their own foods were successfully growing in foreign lands, and while crops were important, the Europeans’ most significant success was with farmed animals, which thrived in ways that were unparalleled.The Arrival of Cows, Pigs, Goats, and Sheep
A number of domesticated animals were present when Europeans arrived in what is now known as Latin America. Among them were dogs, llamas and alpacas, guinea pigs, turkeys, Muscovy ducks, and a type of chicken. In Mesoamerica, any “meat” and leather that was consumed or utilized usually came from wild game, and generally, there were no animals exploited for labor, with the exception of dogs, who were at times used for hauling.. Europeans considered this lack of proper animals for work and consumption unacceptable. Thus, the first contingent of horses, dogs, pigs, cows, sheep, and goats arrived with Columbus’ second voyage in 1493. The arrival of these hoofed immigrants would fundamentally alter Indigenous ways of life forever.
To begin, considering the domesticated animals who existed in Latin America prior to the conquest, these imported animals had little to no predators to deal with. These animals did not succumb to any new diseases, and food sources for these animals were vast. The Spanish literally left the animals to feed on any of the rich grasses, fruits, and other food they could find in these new lands. With a plethora of food and no real threats to their existence, these animals reproduced at astonishingly rapid rates. By the 17th century, herds of cows, pigs, sheep, and goats numbered in the hundreds of thousands and roamed throughout the entire continent. As a result, “meat” prices plummeted and the consumption of “meat” exponentially increased. In Spain, the consumption of “meat” was a luxury, but in the “new world,” the sheer availability of these animals made this luxury accessible to all. This point in time marked the commodification of these animals in the Americas, a natural consequence of which was an ever-expanding “meat” industry. In fact, at this time, “livestock” ranches were so well established and were producing such large quantities of domesticated-animal “meat” that almost everyone was consuming substantial amounts of animal protein. Eating “meat” was considered an economic benefit of keeping animals, but it wasn’t the only one. Records also show an increase in dairy consumption, as well as lard as a replacement for the traditional use of olive oil in colonial cooking. In addition, the demand for “hides” and “tallow” (often used for candles) was even greater than the demand for “meat.”
The most devastating consequence of this new “meat” industry was that its extraordinary proliferation was accompanied by an equally extraordinary decline in Indigenous populations. Spaniards anxious to establish the “right foods” to ensure their own survival delineated large sections of lands for grazing, with no regard for the way the land was being used prior to their arrival. These vast herds often wandered onto Indigenous croplands, destroying their primary means of subsistence. The situation became so severe that in a letter to the Crown, a Spanish official wrote, “May your lordship realize that if cattle are allowed, the Indians will be destroyed…” Initially, many Indigenous people in this region became malnourished, which consequently weakened their resistance to European diseases. Others literally starved to death as their agricultural plots were trampled, consumed by animals or appropriated for Spanish crops. In time, many Indigenous people, left with limited options, began to consume European foods.
As devastating as this was, it is important to note that Indigenous populations in the “Americas” did not passively deal with this change. There are a number of clearly documented instances in which Indigenous people, during the process of colonization, specifically resisted European foods. For instance, in North America, the Pueblo people launched a revolt against the Spaniards in which Spanish food was a primary target. During this rebellion a Pueblo leader was said to have ordered the people to “…burn the seeds which the Spaniards sowed and to plant only maize and beans, which were the crops of their ancestors.” Although resistance to European culture was not uncommon, in time, Indigenous people went on to adopt many European foods into their diet. Similarly, many colonists eventually went on to incorporate Indigenous foods into their daily eating.Food Acculturation in the “New World”
Several factors contributed to the acculturation of food of both Indigenous people and Europeans in the “new world.”
First, in the process of colonization, Europeanization was rewarded. Initially, conversion to Catholicism and the adoption of Spanish culture, customs, and beliefs was a forced matter. In time, the Spanish attempted other methods for converting Indigenous people to their way of life. For example, priests attempting to convert young Indigenous men to Catholicism would offer them “livestock” in return for their conversion. Owning “livestock” was attractive: animals were a source of income, and consuming such animals was a sign of elevated status, by Spanish standards. Since food was an indicator of status and Indigenous people could enhance their status with colonists by taking on Spanish culture, many Indigenous people adopted Spanish practices, cuisine included, as a way of securing a higher status in colonial society.
Another important factor that shaped the adoption of European foods into Indigenous diets was related to the role of women in colonial society. An integral part of colonization was carried out through Iberian women who arrived shortly after their men settled in the “new world.” As Spanish settlers began the task of establishing structured colonies, the Crown was made aware of wanton behavior taking root in their new lands. Spanish men were said to be out at all hours of the night, frolicking with different women, displaying drunkenness and disorder in the streets of new Spain. The Crown determined that logically, this behavior was the consequence of men left to their own devices without their wives to maintain the structure of family and civility. Thus, the Crown demanded that Iberian women be sent to join their husbands in order to civilize society in the “new world.” As these women arrived, Spanish households were reunified and Iberian women began to solidify the role of the Spanish family in the colonies. This reunification of Spanish families paralleled the destruction of the Indigenous household, as many Indigenous women were forced into working as domestic workers, cooks, nannies, and wet-nurses in Spanish homes. Part of the role of these Indigenous women was to learn to cook European foods and reproduce colonial practices in the home; Iberian women were present to make sure it was done properly. The presence of Spanish women was meant to provide an example of how a “civilized” woman looked and behaved, and much of this “civilization” took place in the kitchen. If Indigenous women were to reproduce Spanish cooking—the source of superior Spanish bodies—they would need to be instructed by a Spanish woman who could teach them how to make “civilized” food. Thus, many Indigenous women began reproducing Spanish cuisine as a result of their new role in the European household. However, there is also documentation of the introduction of Indigenous foods and cooking practices into European diets. This was a consequence not only of Indigenous women working in Spanish households, but also a result of mestizas who married Spanish men and began integrating aspects of their mixed heritage into these mixed households. For example, the use of the comal is markedly Indigenous, yet archeological records indicate that it was used in most Spanish households. Also, we see Indigenous variations in cooking with, for instance, the use of chili. Europeans accepted the use of chili in their food since it was similar to pepper. This similarity allowed for its widespread acceptance among Europeans. Alterations to Spanish diets were most common during times of famine, where famine meant a lack of Spanish foods. During these times, Indigenous cooks would prepare indigenous foods, which Spaniards would be forced to consume. For Indigenous people, Spanish cuisine was a principal reason that colonists were intent on acquiring the lands on which they produced their own food. Thus, for Indigenous people, the struggle was in maintaining their own cuisine while understanding that, for pragmatic reasons, they had to adopt new foods.
Lastly, as noted above, the mere availability of food for consumption began to alter eating practices. The land that previously served to nourish indigenous communities was now organized to meet the need for raw materials necessary for export. Yet the Spanish crown was careful to control local Spanish authority so as to not allow any conquistador to acquire a disproportionate amount of power. In order to control this, the crown allowed some land to be preserved for subsistence cultivation of indigenous communities. On this land communities were allowed to collectively grow what they needed for their daily subsistence. However, this was not an altruistic move on behalf of the crown; it was a calculated attempt to maintain their grasp on local power. As time went on, the crown suffered a series of economic shortages, and when such shortages economically affected the crown, they set their eyes on communal lands, which they then deemed should be used to meet the needs of international trade rather than those of the indigenous community. As European needs expanded, indigenous communal lands turned into large plantations, or haciendas, and their production was now directly tied to the demands of European markets. Slowly but surely these haciendas came under the private control of those profiting off international trade.Food, the Legacy of Colonization, and Resistance
Although currently we can recognize many Indigenous foods that are staples of Latin American diets, we must also acknowledge the legacy of colonization in this diet. The large-scale consumption of “meat,” which makes up such a significant part of modern Latin American diets, is entirely traceable to the conquest and the process of colonization, as is the cultural, social, and even gendered significance attached to such consumption. The expansion of the commodification of animals as an industry in Latin America is also rooted in the legacy of colonization. Through this commodification, dairy also became a huge industry in colonial Spain. Interestingly, the consumption of milk and other dairy products serve as a unique lens through which to consider the links between food and colonization.
The practice of dairying was a product of the domestication of sheep, goats, cows, and pigs somewhere between 11,000-8,000 BCE.  People whose society was structured by a pastoral tradition were the first to practice dairying. These people were primarily Indo-European and are said to have pushed out to Northern Europe and as well as Pakistan, Scandinavia, and Spain. The practice of the consumption of milk—and to a large extent cheese, yogurt, and butter—has long been the tradition among these European people. In groups that were traditionally hunters and gatherers, however, there is little evidence for any type of dairying, given that they had no animals suitable for dairying, and that this practice required a more sedentary lifestyle. As Europeans colonized “the Americas,” they also brought with them the practice of dairying, a huge industry to this day. Yet Indigenous societies were based on the hunter-gatherer model. It is here that we see the most interesting piece of biological resistance to the process of food colonization: the bodily rejection of lactose among Indigenous populations. All data indicate high levels of lactose malabsorption (LM) among groups that were traditionally hunter-gatherers. Populations from traditional zones of non-milking—namely, the Americas, Africa, Southeast and East Asia, and the Pacific—have a very high prevalence of LM. Among these groups, approximately 63-98% of all adults are not able to consume milk or lactose-rich dairy products without experiencing at least some level of physical discomfort.  Individuals of European decent, however, have a very low prevalence of lactose malabsorption.  Thus, there is a clear and well-established link between geography and the prevalence of LM. Descendants of zones of non-milking continue to have high prevalence of LM, especially among those who remain relatively unmixed or who have only interbred with other LM populations. Low prevalence of LM remains constant among those of northern European descent. Among individuals who are mixed between these populations, the level of mixture determines the prevalence of either low or high LM; that is, the more European a person is, the lower the prevalence of LM. Although colonial diets and eating practices were integrated into traditional Indigenous consumption practices, dairy is a product that to this day remains physically intolerable for many.Food Is Power
Colonization is a violent process that fundamentally alters the ways of life of the colonized. Food has always been a fundamental tool in the process of colonization. Through food, social and cultural norms are conveyed, and also violated. The Indigenous people of the Americas encountered a radically different food system with the arrival of the Spanish. The legacy of this system is very present in the food practices of modern Latin American people. Yet, we must never forget that the practice of colonization has always been a contested matter as groups have negotiated spaces within this process. Indigenous foods remain as present in contemporary Latin American diets as do European foods. Understanding the history of food and eating practices in different contexts can help us understand that the practice of eating is inherently complex. Food choices are influenced and constrained by cultural values and are an important part of the construction and maintenance of social identity. In that sense, food has never merely been about the simple act of pleasurable consumption—food is history, it is culturally transmitted, it is identity. Food is power.
Written by Dr. Linda Alvarez for Food Empowerment Project
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 Also known as lactose intolerance.
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 With the exception of some Italians and Greeks.
on: October 22, 2017, 05:31:34 AM
Started by Nakandi - Last post by Nakandi
How Elites Used Human Sacrifice to Enforce Inequality in Ancient Societies
Elites knew the value of fearmongering even way back when.
By Kali Holloway / AlterNet
April 7, 2016, 7:41 AM GMT
Religion has long been a useful tool for social control, with fear of god used in service of every despicable practice from slavery to war. A new study reveals that religious rites, particularly ritual sacrifice, helped create and maintain class stratification in ancient societies. According to researchers from the University of Auckland, Victoria University and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany, the findings reveal a “darker link between religion and the evolution of modern hierarchical societies” than once thought.
The analysis focused on 93 Austronesian cultures, meaning peoples who originated in Taiwan, later settling in Madagascar, Rapa Nui (Easter Island) the Pacific Islands and New Zealand. Researchers found that the more class stratification that existed in a society—elites on top, with the rest of the populace on the bottom—the more likely it was to engage in ritualistic killings. The powerful frightened the masses into staying in proverbial line by employing “god-sanctioned” sacrifice, which entailed implicitly threatening the lives of many for supposed wrongdoing. Those at the top became, by proxy, gods among men and women, and they maintained those positions by doling out killings as they deemed necessary.
“By using human sacrifice to punish taboo violations, demoralize the underclass and instill fear of social elites, power elites were able to maintain and build social control,” lead study author Joseph Watts stated in a press release.
“[H]uman sacrifice provided a particularly effective means of social control because it provided a supernatural justification for punishment,” says study co-author Russell Gray. “Rulers, such as priests and chiefs, were often believed to be descended from gods and ritual human sacrifice was the ultimate demonstration of their power.”
The method by which sacrifices were carried out reads like a horrifying laundry list of ways you would never want to go out. Ritual killings took the form of “burning, drowning, strangulation, bludgeoning, burial, being cut to pieces, crushed beneath a newly built canoe or being rolled off the roof of a house and decapitated.” Once a society began using sacrifice to keep the ancient equivalent of the 1 percent in the top slot and slaves at the bottom, the system became self-perpetuating.
“What we found was that sacrifice was the driving force,” says researcher Quentin Atkinson, “making societies more likely to adopt high social status and less likely to revert to egalitarian social structure."
The study, which was published in Nature, holds obvious implications for the roles of religion—and fear—in our own top-down, elite-ruled culture.
“Religion has traditionally been seen as a key driver of morality and cooperation,” states Watts, “but our study finds religious rituals also had a more sinister role in the evolution of modern societies.”
on: October 07, 2017, 04:39:33 PM
Started by News - Last post by News
|The rise of agricultural states came at a big cost, a new book arguesBy Bruce Bower
October 3, 2017 -
Buy this book "Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States by James C. Scott" at Amazon.com
Contrary to popular opinion, humans didn’t shed a harsh existence as hunter-gatherers and herders for the good life of stay-in-place farming. Year-round farming villages and early agricultural states, such as those that cropped up in Mesopotamia, exchanged mobile groups’ healthy lifestyles for the back-breaking drudgery of cultivating crops, exposure to infectious diseases, inadequate diets, taxes and conscription into armies.Full Article: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/rise-agricultural-states-came-big-cost-new-book-argues
on: October 06, 2017, 01:45:16 PM
Started by News - Last post by News
|In 1898, White Supremacists Killed 60+ African Americans in One of Deadliest Mass Shootings in U.S.October 04, 2017 - democracynow.orghttps://publish.dvlabs.com/democracynow/360/wx2017-1004_barber-360P.mp4
TranscriptThis is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.AMY GOODMAN:
This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report, as we turn to Part 2 of our conversation with Bishop William Barber. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.JUAN GONZÁLEZ:
We turn now to the aftermath of the deadly shooting in Las Vegas. Sunday night’s massacre by 64-year-old Stephen Paddock at a country music festival left 59 people dead and 527 others wounded. Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, House Speaker Paul Ryan said he was suspending a bill that would make gun silencers widely available. Ryan appeared to leave open the possibility that lawmakers would take the bill up again later in the fall. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected calls Tuesday by some Democrats for new gun control laws in the wake of the Las Vegas massacre. At the White House on Monday, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it was not the time to talk about gun control.AMY GOODMAN:
For more, we’re going to Part 2 of our conversation with Bishop William Barber, presented with the Andrew Goodman Foundation Hidden Heroes Award “for courageously defending the moral values of American democracy,” presented with it on Tuesday night, joining us now, though we’ve interviewed him a number of times, for the first time in our studio here in New York.
It’s great to have you with us to continue this conversation, Bishop Barber. Respond to the Las Vegas massacre.BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II:
First of all, deep, deep sadness. I had a member of my staff at Repairers who had someone that was actually in the crowd, and so it touched very personally.
I’m deeply concerned, in several ways, about the conversation. First of all, for those who say we shouldn’t politicize this right now, I agree; It shouldn’t be politicized, it should be a moral issue; and it shouldn’t be now, it should have been long before now. What is this commitment that we have to guns? What is this strange psychosis that when these things happen, we want to blame everything but the guns? What kind of stranglehold does the NRA—what kind of bloodthirst commitment do we have?
And, you know, this culture, American culture, we have to own, has been—had a history of violence. I know you’ve been very careful to say this is the worst lone gunman, but there have been other instances throughout history where you’ve had a massive number of people.
But I’m concerned, deeply, if killing children—remember when that happened?—didn’t change us; if congressmen on both sides of the aisle getting shot didn’t change us; if the best we can do, or certain extremist politicians can do, who claim they are pro-life, can say we might suspend silencers, but we’ll bring it back up.
And as I heard the president’s press person say—I think she was asked would silencers—you know, would there still be silencers? She said something to the effect it wouldn’t have really made a difference. So, you mean if the people couldn’t have heard the shots, and if he had had the ability to let off 500 or 600 rounds unheard, it wouldn’t have made a difference? I mean, what—the only purpose for a silencer is to kill people. It’s not something used in hunting.AMY GOODMAN:
And, of course, that’s how the police found him.BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II:
That’s how the police found him.AMY GOODMAN:
That’s how people looked up and saw he was shooting—BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II:
—from high—BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II:
Exactly, exactly, exactly.AMY GOODMAN:
—he was shooting from a high story of the Mandalay Bay hotel.BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II:
Yeah. And I just keep—how much more death do we have to see? How much more of this commitment to violence? Now, as a preacher, I’m reminded of the scripture in the Bible, two of them—one that’s in Ezekiel, which says your politicians have become like wolves whose policies devour the people. The second part of the scripture says, “And your preachers have covered up for the politicians.” Where are all the so-called white evangelicals now? Where are you? You know, where are you when policies about healthcare are passed that are going to destroy people’s lives? Where are you when people aren’t getting a living wage? Where are you now with gun violence? Where are you, Franklin Graham and others? Where are you now? I think Jesus said something like “If you live by the sword, you die by the sword.” Where are those voices now? And that’s a great concern in this country.JUAN GONZÁLEZ:
Well, we had a reporter on just yesterday from The Guardian who had done an investigation of gun ownership in America, and they concluded that 3 percent of gun owners in America own almost 50 percent of all the guns. That’s just a very small group of people—BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II:
—that basically have these amazing arsenals. And yet they have such influence over how gun legislation is—BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II:
—is developed in the country.BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II:
And isn’t it strange when you look back in history, when you had, for instance, the Black Panthers carrying guns, and Ronald Reagan was governor. All of a sudden they wanted gun control. You remember that?AMY GOODMAN:
Right, when the Black Panthers marched on the state Capitol—BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II:
You remember that? That’s right. That’s right.AMY GOODMAN:
—in Sacramento, California.BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II:
Now you have people that want to have—be able to carry concealed weapons on legislative floors. They want all these open gun laws. You can buy as many as you want. I think in Nevada the guns could be taken right into a hotel. But at this point, the conversation should be about life versus death. The problem is, we’ve got this deep moral problem. And that is that it’s not just about guns being violent. We are having debates in this country right now over passing violent policies.
Remember—Coretta Scott King said something we ought to remember. She was asked one time, “What do you think about violence, since your husband was assassinated?” And Coretta gave a very profound answer. She said, “Violence is not just the killing of my husband.” She said, “Violence is denying kids education. Violence is denying people healthcare. Violence is denying people wages. Violence is taking people’s culture.” And then she said, “Even an apathetic attitude that doesn’t address these other forms of violence is a form of violence.” We truly have got to decide in this country, and it’s going to have to be a mass movement that helps us decide, whether we’re going to focus on violence or nonviolence, not in terms of protesting guns, but even in terms of the kind of public policy that’s being pushed.AMY GOODMAN:
You mentioned that we have said this is the largest massacre by a single gunman in history. So talk about history, Bishop Barber.BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II:
History. If you go back to the 1800s, right after slavery, the Reconstruction movement, but then what was called the Deconstruction movement, 1872, the founding of the Ku Klux Klan, was about violence. And a lot of that violence was directed toward whites, trying to get them not to work with African Americans. If you look at the period of time between 1898 to the 1920s, deep violence. Black men were hung at an average of one per day. There were no laws against lynching. You have the Wilmington riots and coup d’état, duly elected black and white people run out of office, black people killed, in 1898. You’ve got the Springfield riots in—AMY GOODMAN:
Wait, stick with Wilmington.BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II:
Also, Juan, you wrote about this in your book News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media. It’s an astounding story that most people don’t know about.BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II:
Astounding, yeah. November 10, 1898—and by the way, let me just put a hook on this. Most of the so-called Confederate statues were raised, 80 percent of them, from 1898 to 1922. 1898 was the Wilmington riots. 1922 was the year, I think, before Leonidas Dyer from St. Louis entered a bill into Congress to make an anti-lynching bill, that passed in the House. He was a Republican—of that day, not this day. And it failed in the Senate.
Now I’ll go back to 1898. November 10th, after two years of violent propaganda, led by Charles B. Aycock, who became governor of the state of North Carolina, and Josephus Daniels, who was the owner of The News & Observer, they began to say, if we don’t remove these black and white fusionist politicians from office, our white women and white children will be under threat. And they did it to the point that by November 10th there was so much vile in the political atmosphere, listen, so much vile in conversation and language, that the language led to the violence.AMY GOODMAN:
What was so unusual about North Carolina and its politics at the time?BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II:
What was so unusual at that time is by—and from 1878 to around 1872, and then later on, North Carolina had more African Americans in the Legislature than it has today. It was extraordinarily progressive. In the first four years, they rewrote the Constitution. They made public education a right, which is not even a right in the federal Constitution. They passed equal protection under the law before equal protection was passed in the 14th Amendment. They opened up voting—of course, for men, not for women. They were even talking about labor rights. They put in the Constitution that every person had a right to the fruit of their own labor. They said that the first principle of a Christian and a civilized society was beneficent provision to the poor. They put that language in the Constitution. The—JUAN GONZÁLEZ:
And, of course, this was an alliance of African Americans and—BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II:
Fusion politics.JUAN GONZÁLEZ:
—and white Republicans, for the most part.BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II:
Right, Republicans of that day.JUAN GONZÁLEZ:
Of that day, right.BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II:
Lincoln Republicans. You have to say that, because sometimes—and that’s how we modeled the Moral Monday movement, off of fusion politics, intersectional politics. And it was powerful. And it was happening all over the South. But by 1896, you had Plessy v. Ferguson. 1883, you had the overturning of the 1875 Civil Rights Act. And there was this push to recodify and institute fully white supremacy, white nationalism, into the laws.
And so, Wilmington was a powerful city. It was 50 percent African-American. The wealthiest man in North Carolina was an African American in Wilmington. And it was the closest port to Africa and Europe. And Wilmington would have ended up being Atlanta, that kind of city. And it was targeted. We can shut it down. And so, white supremacists got together. Newspaper, politicians ran a campaign. And on November the 10th, they brought a Gatling gun into Wilmington. They burned down the black newspaper, that was led by the mulatto’s son—he was a white governor, he had a black mama—burned it down. And they went on a killing spree. And it was endorsed by churches. Some preachers stood in their pulpits and said, “If we have to fill the Cape Fear River with the blood of the”—I won’t say the word—”then let it be, so that we can return the government to its right ownership of the white man.”JUAN GONZÁLEZ:
They not only ran the African-American elected officials out of town, they—as I recall, they installed a former Confederate officer as the new mayor—BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II:
That’s right. That’s right.JUAN GONZÁLEZ:
—in the coup that they organized.BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II:
They organized a coup, because the goal was to—they had already begun to take over the Legislature, to some degree, by re-entering Jim Crow—entering Jim Crow laws in voting. But after that riot, they sent telegraphs all over the country—this riot predates the Springfield riots—saying, “This is how you return power.” And by 1902, the last congressperson—black congressperson was from North Carolina. His name was George White. He was put out of the United States Congress, and it took 90 years.
Now, here’s the—here’s one of the curious things about this, Amy. It took 90 years for North Carolina to have another black person in the United States Congress. Voting went to almost zero in the black community. And what people don’t know is that there was so much fear—right?—around what had happened that it just froze. So all of the progress of Reconstruction was turned back, was turned back. And it was tied to this massacre.AMY GOODMAN:
And Josephus Daniels became—BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II:
He was rewarded secretary of the Navy.AMY GOODMAN:
Woodrow Wilson.BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II:
Woodrow Wilson, who also played Birth of a Nation in the Oval Office.AMY GOODMAN:
Which became this recruiting tool for the Ku Klux Klan.BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II:
That’s right, because it glorified the Ku Klux Klan, and it said—told lies about fusionist white and black politicians. And he played it in the Oval Office. The statue in Charlottesville, that we have recently been talking about, was raised really in celebration to Woodrow Wilson, the white supremacists believing we have a friend in the White House, right?AMY GOODMAN:
He would later become appointed, by FDR, the ambassador to Mexico.BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II:
OK, that’s right. So there’s a lot of this history to go around. Charles B. Aycock becomes governor. They claim that he was the educational governor, but you know what he did? He went to whites and said, “If you don’t want your children to be like these black children, because we’re going to make it so you have to have a certain educational level to vote, you better let me raise taxes on your property.” So he used a race argument to get white Southerners who were racist in North Carolina to allow him to raise taxes off their property to build public schools.AMY GOODMAN:
So go back to the massacre—BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II:
Right, right.AMY GOODMAN:
—that day. How many people are believed to have died?BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II:
Well, there’s some estimates that say 2 to 3 percent of the city. There’s some that say there were at least 60 African Americans alone that were shot and killed. We don’t know how many people were killed, because they had to run into the swamp or could have been drowned, couldn’t—bodies may have never been found.
And it was not written in history. This is the thing I wanted to get to. This was not put into history books until, in the 1980s, Dr. Tim Tyson and a senator, who later died, a black senator from Wilmington, began to force and push it. Irv Joyner, who works with me, was a part of that team.
So you’re talking about when the discussions were around which counties would be covered under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, you know, those counties are not covered, those counties in that part of the state of North Carolina. We only have 40 counties that were covered. So the argument is, there really wasn’t that much white supremacy in the other 60 counties. Those counties weren’t covered, because the testimony of what happened in Wilmington and what happened in southeast North Carolina was not a part of the testimony before the Congress when the decision was made about which counties would be covered under preclearance.JUAN GONZÁLEZ:
It wasn’t until about a hundred years later that they established a commission—right?—in North Carolina—BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II:
A hundred years, that’s right.JUAN GONZÁLEZ:
—that uncovered all the facts. And all these newspapers then did public apologies—BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II:
—for their role in instigating the violence.BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II:
And we still haven’t talked about the number—the people whose land was stolen and taken, who were thrust into poverty. Again, you’re talking about people who were doing very well, black people in Wilmington. So it is a horrific story. But it ought to remind us of what can happen when you have vile, racist, xenophobic language coming from the highest levels of the government.AMY GOODMAN:
And Josephus Daniels, in the newspaper, because a lot of people couldn’t read—BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II:
—used cartoons?BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II:
He used cartoons, political satire. But the cartoons—one of them has a picture of a black person with a top hat on like Abraham Lincoln, but he has vampire teeth and vampire claws. In one hand, he’s holding a white woman. In the other hand, he’s pushing back white men. And, of course, the image there would be that if we don’t stop these black politicians, your women and your children are at risk, which has always been a tool of racists and white nationalists and white supremacists.
That is why, today, it concerns me that—the way in which too much of the corporate media let Trump and his allies off. That is why I’m deeply concerned today when we have a Charlottesville, and everybody focuses on the death of the young girl. And we should. My god, ugly, mean, a violent death, running through a crowd with a car. But the problem is, when we stop there and we—and people denounce the hate, in that moment, which almost everybody will do—I mean, Trump had a problem doing it, but almost everybody, politician, has political sense enough to say, “I’m against that.” But being against that doesn’t mean you are against the white nationalist sentiments that led to that, you see? And so you can actually be against that kind of hate. We had white politicians that signed off on the apology of Wilmington, but none of them have talked about we need to expand preclearance coverage to all of those counties.
That is why I think media—and I love what Democracy Now! does, but we’ve got to get also the other media to begin to look at the policies of white supremacy. That’s why it bothers me that—it’s not that Trump used racism and code words and overt words, not just coded words, to win the presidency and to stir up certain racial fears. It’s that he did it with such ease and almost with the corporate media, and even his opponents, not knowing how to call him out on it.JUAN GONZÁLEZ:
I wanted to ask you, because we had on—in relationship to Charlottesville, we had on Wes Bellamy, the young councilman in Charlottesville, who actually originally introduced the legislation to remove the statue of Robert E. Lee—first African American elected to the City Council of Charlottesville. And—AMY GOODMAN:
What’s interesting, Juan, is you met him in Austin well before all of this.JUAN GONZÁLEZ:
Right, well before all this stuff happened, in a conference of progressive local officials. And he told a story that he not only was able to get the vote for the statue, but initially the City Council was rebuffing him, because he was only one African American on the council, and he couldn’t get the votes. So he told them, “OK, you don’t want to remove the statue of Robert E. Lee. Give me a reparations package.” And he insisted on a pool of money to begin to provide scholarships and job training and all of this money for the African-American community of Charlottesville, and the council gladly gave him that, rather than vote on the statue.AMY GOODMAN:
Eight million dollars.JUAN GONZÁLEZ:
Right, $8 million. And I said to myself, “Wait a second. Everybody’s talking about reparations at the national level. What if this idea of reparations at the local level started being introduced in city councils in areas where there were large African-American majorities?” So Bellamy gets the package, and then, a few months later, he’s able to win over a couple more votes, and then they pass the Robert E. Lee statue. So he got both. And that’s when the Klan started mobilizing and targeting Charlottesville.BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II:
Yeah. Well, it says a couple of things. Number one, the fact that he raised the issue of reparations is very important. It also says something about the power of these statues and why people need to understand that they were not raised immediately after the Civil War, but these statues were raised to celebrate the recodification of white supremacy and the resurrection of white supremacy in the law.
But then, I think it also says the reparations that—the scholarships are great, but we also have to have a repeal of the laws that perpetuate the kind of systemic racism and classism. And we need black, whites and brown people committed to understand how racism hurts everybody. For instance, 20—over 20 states, mostly in the South, resisted Obamacare, Medicaid expansion. Now, why did they name it Obamacare? That is to racialize it, right? It’s the Affordable Care Act. So, most of the Southern states resisted, and you could hear in their language of state legislators—”This is going to help these lazy people that are not doing”—when, in fact, most of the people are working. They racialized the Affordable Care Act. But in North Carolina, for instance, 346,000 of the people that would have been helped are white. When I went up to Appalachia in North Carolina, in Mitchell County, and shared with them, “Do you realize a thousand people in this county would have healthcare?”—and this county is 99 percent white, 89 percent Republican—ain’t no black people up here. So, they use racialized arguments to pass policies that hurt everybody. That is something that we’ve got to begin to do. I wish that in the healthcare debate we had talked about lives being lost and we had called it racist and classist.AMY GOODMAN:
Do you think that President Trump is a white supremacist?BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II:
I do. And I think he’s a white nationalist. And when you look at the policies—now, again, I’m talking about policy. People say, “Well, you don’t know what’s in his heart.” I know what’s in the heart of his policies. And, as I’ve said, it’s not just about the statues. It’s about the statutes. And I don’t think he’s the only one that, in terms, embraces white nationalist, white supremacist ideology.
Now, having said that, what do I mean? White nationalists are against—are for voter suppression. Mr. Politician, Trump, Ryan, McConnell, any of them, Tim Scott, where do you stand on restoring the Voting Rights Act? Since it was 52 years, and we have less voting rights now than we had 52 years ago. And we’ve had 1,562 days of filibuster. White nationalists are against healthcare for everybody. Mr. Politician, where do you stand on healthcare for everybody? White nationalists are against the immigrant community and against immigrant justice. Mr. Politician, I don’t need to know if you’ve got a black friend. Where do you stand on immigrant justice? Mr. Politician, 54 percent of the African-American community make less than a living wage. Sixty-two million Americans make less than a living wage. The majority of people without a living wage are white. The majority of poor people are white. But in per—but within the race, more black people. Where do you stand on addressing poverty? Because, you know, white supremacists and white nationalists don’t believe in living wages for everybody.
If you do that kind of analysis, you either are a white supremacist or white nationalist, or you’re engaged in policies that embolden and encourage white supremacy, which is why I believe Unite the Right chose Charlottesville, because just like that statue was raised to celebrate a white supremacist in the White House, I believe the reason they chose that statue, that was actually commissioned in 1917, the year after Woodrow Wilson played Birth of a Nation, that it was a signal. Richard Spencer said in one of his speeches that it was Trump’s talk about immigrants that basically said Trump is my man.
But it’s not just Trump. And that’s the last thing I want to say. We’ve got to be very careful, because there’s not a penny difference between the policy of Trump, the policies of Ryan, the policies of McConnell. It’s style. You know, Tim Scott, who’s black, from South Carolina, went in to talk to Trump about racism. But Tim Scott is not for restoring the Voting Rights Act. Tim Scott is against—was against the Affordable Care Act and expansion of Medicaid.AMY GOODMAN:
Who the White House called Tom Scott.BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II:
Right. I mean, excuse me—yeah, right, the White House called him—I don’t know why they did that, but… You know, in his state, that needs—so, we’ve got to have a real conversation about racism and poverty. And if we have it, I think we can connect black and white and brown people in a way that can be transformational. That’s what this Poor People’s Campaign is going to be about.AMY GOODMAN:
So, can we talk about what you did with Moral Mondays, for people around the country who might not have heard of this movement in North Carolina? In the end, there was a Republican sweep in the 2016 election, for example, of governors around the country. You actually succeeded in getting a Democratic governor elected in North Carolina.BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II:
Yeah. The Moral Monday movement, that was built on top of seven years of the Forward Together Moral Movement, that eventually ended up with nearly 200 coalition partners around a—what we call a 14-point agenda with five clear areas—economic sustainability addressing poverty and labor rights; educational equality and public education for every child; healthcare for all; protecting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and women’s health; addressing the injustices of the criminal justice system that affect black, brown and poor white people; and demanding equal protection under the law; protecting women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, immigrant rights; and voting rights, not only protecting them, but expanding. Those were our goals.
And by doing that, we took the model of 1800s and worked and built fusion politics. We challenged Democrats. People don’t know President Obama would have lost in 2008 if we had only had one day of election. He won because of same-day registration, early voting, which was an outgrowth of the movement. In 2013, extremists came into office, like Trump, and they began, day one, first 50 days, rolling back everything—healthcare, money for public education, going after voting rights. Some people said, “We’ll just wait ’til the next election.” But a group of us said, “No, we don’t wait ’til the next election. We have to challenge this now.” They said, “Well, they have a supermajority. They’re going to vote against us.” OK, they’re going to vote against us. But they can’t vote in the dark. They can’t vote undercover. We have to let people know. We have to show a unified fusion face on these issues.
And lastly, the first time, we had 17 people to go in—black, white, Jew, Muslim, Christian, a woman with cerebral palsy in a wheelchair that they ended up arresting, who was fighting for healthcare. That led to more than a thousand people getting arrested over the next 30 weeks—people of all different races, colors, creeds and party. It put a broad face on the problem. We learned this year, Amy, in a study, that the governor was about at 60 percent at that time. First five weeks, his numbers went down to under—to 40-something. By the seventh or eighth week, he was down to 39 percent, or something like that, and never recovered. The Legislature’s popularity was driven to 19 percent. And because we kept at it—it wasn’t one rally. It wasn’t one tweet. It was constant moral challenge, civil disobedience. We also added a legal challenge to the laws. We added a voter registration challenge. And so, by 2016, in a state that Trump won, and in a state where they took 150 of our early voting sites, we not only won the—we not only saw the governorship—and we never endorsed anybody. We endorsed a change in consciousness. Governor is sent home. For the first time, we have two African Americans on the state Supreme Court. And an African-American candidate won 70-some counties, on a Supreme Court, in the state—in a state in the South. The AG’s Office went to a progressive. And there are many, many other victories. And we’re not through. We’re not through.AMY GOODMAN:
Well, we want to thank you so much for being with us. Again, as you lead your Poor People’s Campaign, you’re making a major announcement on what date?BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II:
December 4th. Dr. Liz Theoharis and myself and people from all over the country, from 25 states and the District of Columbia—hope I can come back and tell it right here on Democracy Now!AMY GOODMAN:
And why December 4th?BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II:
That was the day that Dr. King announced the Poor People’s Campaign in 1967. And also during that week, he preached a sermon called “The Meaning of Hope.” So we’re taking some of the best from that, but also adding to it the work that Kairos Center has done for over 10 years, work that Repairers—I mean, the moral work that’s gone on for the last 12 years, and we’re combining all of that and reimagining, because the last thing we need—and I say this to all my brothers and sisters of faith and in the movement, tell black, white, brown, Jewish, whoever you are—the last thing we need is another commemoration. We don’t need to commemorate. We need to reimagine and reconsecrate and engage in a sustained movement, not just one rally, one tweet. Those are all important, but now we need a sustained movement where our goal is, first, before we can change the policies, is to change the moral imagination and the moral narrative of this country.AMY GOODMAN:
You’re fond of quoting Nell Painter, the Princeton professor. What did she say?BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER II:
Nell Painter said that Trump’s election is as American as apple pie. It is the call and response of this American democracy. You have to call for justice. You have a period of it. And then you have a pushback, a response, that’s often vile, violent and vicious and is very regressive. So nobody should say we’ve never seen this before. We’ve seen it before. And we’ve overcome it before.AMY GOODMAN:
Bishop William Barber, president and senior lecturer of Repairers of the Breach, leader of the Moral Mondays movement, author of The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement.https://www.democracynow.org/2017/10/4/in_1898_white_supremacists_killed_60
on: October 05, 2017, 01:03:51 PM
Started by News - Last post by News
For decades, the U.S. mainstream media has shied away from a clear-eyed view of the Vietnam War, not wanting to offend the war’s apologists, a residue of which tainted the recent PBS series, as John Pilger told Dennis J Bernstein.By Dennis J Bernstein
October 03, 2017 - consortiumnews.com
Ken Burns’s 18-hour documentary on the Vietnam War, which aired on PBS and BBC, presented extraordinary footage of the war’s grotesque brutality but also soft-pedaled the motivations of U.S. policymakers as well-meaning albeit misguided, or as the prologue put it, a conflict begun in “good faith by decent people out of fateful misunderstandings.”
This glossing over of U.S. neocolonialism and its deadly consequences angered John Pilger, who cut his journalistic teeth covering the Vietnam War for a decade. I spoke to Pilger after he watched the first couple of hours of the highly touted series.
Dennis Bernstein: I was reading your piece called “The Killing of History
” and these lines stood out for me: “The revisionism never stops and the blood never dies. The invader is pitied and purged of guilt while ‘searching for some meaning in this terrible tragedy’.” What is your initial response to the framework of the film?
John Pilger: That quote, “searching for some meaning in this terrible tragedy,” is from Lynn Novick, who is Ken Burns’ collaborator on this series on the Vietnam War. If we don’t understand the meaning of the Vietnam War by now, I don’t know where our brains have been all these years.
Like so many colonial wars, it was an invasion based on a series of deceptions and lies. This is effectively denied in the Burns series. It starts off with the narrator saying that it was all conducted in good faith by decent people. It was all a big misunderstanding that grew out of the Cold War, and so on. That is complete nonsense.
The Vietnam War started specifically with the US arming the French to reclaim their colony in Indochina after the Second World War. It really got underway for the US with the Gulf of Tonkin incidents, following which Congress gave President Johnson the authority to start one of the longest bombing campaigns in the history of warfare, called “Rolling Thunder.” The long litany of official documents say it all.
But these filmmakers put aside all this demonstrable truth and obfuscate what really happened in Vietnam. The word “invasion” was never used by the press during the Vietnam War and it still isn’t being used. Instead that awful word “involved” is used. The United States was “involved” in Vietnam. It must be very difficult for truly decent Americans and especially veterans to watch. But it is very interesting, we get such a supply of special forces officers. Maybe we will see the drafted men later on. They were the truth-tellers, in my experience.
DB: You write in your piece The Killing of History
: “The meaning of the Vietnam War is no different than the meaning of the genocidal campaign against the Native Americans, the colonial massacres in the Philippines, the atomic bombings of Japan, the leveling of every city in North Korea. The aim was described by Colonel Edward Lansdale, the CIA man who served as the model for the character in the Graham Greene story ‘The Quiet American.’ He said, ‘There is only one means of defeating an insurgent people who will not surrender, and that is extermination. There is only one way to control a territory that harbors resistance, and that is to turn it into a desert.'”
JP: This is the concept of total war, which the US adopted from Korea. The devastation of the Korean War, the millions killed, the new weapons, including napalm, that were used, the dikes that were bombed, costing countless lives. This was the model and it was during this time that the United States assumed its post-World War II imperial role. This concept of total war has been pursued in every colonial war that the US has been involved in since, either directly by the Americans or indirectly through proxies.
In Vietnam, for instance, they established “free fire zones.” You ringed an enormous area with heavy artillery, then you bombed it from above and then you strafed it, so that it would be a miracle if anyone survived. When I went to the province of Quang Ngai, where the massacre of My Lai took place in the late 1960’s, free fire zones had killed something like 50,000 people.
It happened also in neighboring Laos, the most bombed country in history. In southern Vietnam, since the end of the war, something like 40,000 people have died from unexploded ordnance, a great many of them children. We can go on forever talking in these terrible statistics.
You get some sense of that in this PBS series, the archive is really astonishing. But the way it is projected reminds me of the Newsweek cover that described the My Lai massacre as “an American tragedy.” You get a sense of the same thing in the Burns film. Yes, they interview Vietnamese, yes, you see terrible things happening, but the overall sense you are meant to come away with is that it was a great perplexing tragedy, a great blunder.
The whole thing was genocidal. The bombing of Cambodia between 1969 and 1975 was something like five times the equivalent of Hiroshima. According to one study that seemed to have credibility, something like 750,000 Cambodians were killed in that bombing. And that was simply a sideshow to the main event in Vietnam. Total war is a form of industrialized killing. The obsession in Vietnam was with body counts and we get no sense of that from the Burns film.
DB: There is a lot of discussion now of how dangerous Trump is, but if you look back at the Vietnam policy, Trump seems to fit right in.
JP: Trump’s specialty is abusing the world. But you’re right, he is just the latest on the team. In fact, he is a bit of a wimp in comparison with the ones who have come before. Obama was probably one of the most violent presidents in US history. He conducted a record of seven simultaneous wars, not to mention his assassination campaign.
This is not to say that Trump cannot get up in speed to equal this terrible record. But Once you unTrump should be understood as a symptom and a caricature of a violent, extremist system.derstand that, you can understand how the past has helped create the present. Trump is not an aberration, he is a caricature. Much more interesting is the way the suave Obama went about his violent presidency without due recognition.
DB: Let’s not forget that Hillary Clinton threatened to “totally obliterate” Iran.
JP: She said that when she was running against Obama. Well, Iran has 80 million people.
DB: She and Colonel Lansdale were talking the same language.
JP: Yes, and President Truman was talking the same language when he dropped two atomic bombs for reasons that had nothing to do with making the Japanese surrender. These were the first terrible explosions in the Cold War, aimed at intimidating the Soviet Union.
DB: What responsibility does the corporate media have for the US and world population not knowing the real story?
JP: They are the gatekeepers. People turn to the media for their information, to be able to make some sense of a difficult world. And they don’t get it. You will find that most of the exceptions are on the World Wide Web. That is where my article was published. It would not have been published in The Guardian, where I used to publish.
I don’t agree that everyone is wildly enthusiastic about Burns’ film. I think there has been a lot of critical response to the film as well. This is going to build, and I suppose he has done us a service in opening up the wound so that people who really experienced Vietnam can describe what happened.
DB: Burns also says he is grateful to “the entire Bank of America family.”
JP: The Bank of America was a corporate prop of the invasion that killed up to 4 million people. That is just corporate speak and it rather demeans a filmmaker to talk like that.Dennis J Bernstein is a host of “Flashpoints” on the Pacifica radio network and the author of Special Ed: Voices from a Hidden Classroom. You can access the audio archives at www.flashpoints.net.
This article was originally published by Consortium News: