Dealing with the dishonorable and the inconvenient

Això és la continuació del tema Removal of Confederate Monuments.

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Dealing with the dishonorable and the inconvenient

Editat: juny 11, 2020, 9:55am

Nancy Pelosi @SpeakerPelosi | 5:32 PM · Jun 10, 2020
The statues which fill the halls of Congress should reflect our highest ideals as Americans. Today, I am once again calling for the removal from the U.S. Capitol of the 11 statues representing Confederate soldiers and officials. These statues pay homage to hate, not heritage.

US President Donald Trump says he will "not even consider" renaming military bases named for Confederate generals.
BBC | 6/11/2020

Statue of U.K. slave trader fished from harbor amid backlash over another of Scouts founder (Baden-Powell)
Updated on: June 11, 2020 / 8:38 AM / CBS/AP

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov Calls For (Soviet Marshall Ivan) Konev Statue In Prague To Be Reinstalled
RFE/RL | May 15, 2020 20:03 GMT


Their View: Here’s what other countries have done with their statues
The Roanoke Times Jun 11, 2020

(museums, parks, warehouses, blast, drown)

...At least four countries around the world have taken fallen statues and created parks to “contextualize” them — Hungary, India, Lithuania and Russia.

...“Dictatorships chip away at and plaster over their past in order to get rid of all memories of previous ages,” said architect Ákos Eleod, who designed the Hungarian park. “Democracy is the only regime that is prepared to accept that our past with all the dead ends is still ours; we should get to know it, analyze it and think about it.”...

Editat: juny 11, 2020, 10:30am

It's true, of course, that we need to recognise and own our history, good and bad, but owning is not the same as glorifying. It's also a case that statues do not give a balanced view of our history, they give only a selective view. In UK the majority of public statues of real human figures are men with military connections, including colonial conquest and exploitation. There are a smaller number of statues of non-military men (eg railway engineers, industrialists, scientists, etc). There are really rather few statues of women, and even fewer of black Britons (and subjects of the British Empire). That's why contextualisation of statues is probably a good idea.

juny 11, 2020, 11:08am

Christopher Columbus is also undergoing a bit of review.

Editat: juny 11, 2020, 11:13am

I'm fine with removing random slave-owning people who were prominent in the economic development of a city centuries ago. And I'm fine with removing every Confederate general. (In both cases I'd prefer they were relocated to a non-adulatory place, and new statues were commissioned, because statues are nice.) But I get off the bus when it's proposed to junk statues of Churchill, the indispensable man in the fight against fascism, in the name of "anti-fascism."

Columbus is an interesting case. Because he isn't a traditional American hero at all. He ascended onto plinths around the country as part of a move by Italian Americans to assert and commemorate their acceptance into the mainstream. Basically, they said "You called us names and said we could never be real Americans—but we DISCOVERED this place!" Similar moves were made by other ethnic groups. The Poles, for example, latched onto Casimir Pulaski, an obscure Polish officer who assisted in the Revolution, to stake out their claim to Americanness.

Now, I'm happy to take Columbus down. He means something different now. But the context is worth thinking about.

Editat: juny 11, 2020, 1:34pm

Trump Administration postponed release of Harriet Tubman ($5?) bill. Beyond any second term of his if I recall correctly.

In Kingston, Ontario, Canada's first capital, memorials to her first PM (Sir John A MacDonald) are fought over by indigenous peoples and traditionalists. Even his former law office is now a pub that doesn't bear his name --just a plaque inside. (Once Sir John's Public House, now The Public House.) Meanwhile at his request, his grave marker is very modest.

(I like statues, too, but I rarely know who they represent. )

Editat: juny 11, 2020, 11:55am

>4 timspalding:

Thanks, Tim. As you say, the context is worth thinking about.

Churchill is an interesting case. Rightly regarded as a great British hero and an anti-fascist icon but, like all of us, also a flawed and dysfunctional leader, with warmongering, racism, alcoholism and depression being some of his most obvious characteristics. Part of the problem is perhaps that in the modern populist era people are looking for clear cut black and white heroes, failing to recognise the shades of grey, that someone can be a hero who has done great and good deeds but can still have a dark side and indeed can have committed what are now recognised as crimes (and in Churchill's case, war crimes and crimes against humanity). It's a difficult balancing act to recognise the good that someone has done without condoning the evil that they have also done. Again, the importance of contextualisation.

But in looking at the broader picture rather than particular individuals, the type of people who are memorialised in statues are those approved by the ruling establishment, which generally means privilieged wealthy white men. Those outside of that ruling class hardly get a look in, so the statuary landscape does not give a broad and accurate picture of all those who were actually important to our history, only a very limited part of it. The COVID-19 pandemic is making many people reflect on who are actually essential to our society, the day to day heroes, the people providing basic services. Is it the ruling class, or is it the health workers, the food production workers, the supermarket shelf stackers, the volunteers feeding the eldely and housebound, etc? The same must have been true in every generation. Where would the great kings and barons whose statues dot the British landscape be without the humble serfs, male and female, who provided them with food?

juny 11, 2020, 12:08pm

>4 timspalding:

But the context is worth thinking about.

So are the words and deeds of those commemorated--and the viewpoint of their victims. Stalin was indispensable in the fight against fascism too, but I wager you're OK with the removal of his statues (as am I, for the record).

I think it matters to remember we don't all look at the world from the same vantage point and experiences. I mean, isn't that the main message of this "moment"? The people who are calling for the removal of Churchill's statues aren't saying he didn't do anything good, but that he ALSO acted as a white supremacist (and wrote as one, be it noted). Clearly, which side of the good/bad mix will prevail in one's optics depends a LOT on whether we are white or not.

To expand on the example--this difference in perception is also the reason why the monuments to the Confederacy could proliferate long after the war. Because if they bothered someone, it was likely the black people, not the whites--not even the "liberals". Like the confederate flag flying on the Capitol in South Carolina only, what, a few years back. These things seem to have been as good as invisible to the vast majority of whites.

Anyway, I was just looking to post this article by Owen Jones, because it's the best commentary I have seen on what is happening in the UK--and wider--in regard to stuff like the statues etc. The first sentence is one of my favourite sentences ever: "History is not being erased by those seeking to topple the statues of slavers and murderous white supremacists; it is being remembered."

Toppling statues of bygone tyrants forces British people to face present-day racism

juny 11, 2020, 12:23pm

>7 LWMusic: "History is not being erased by those seeking to topple the statues of slavers and murderous white supremacists; it is being remembered."

Great quote - thanks.

juny 11, 2020, 2:05pm

Kenya Celebrates Removal of British Queen Victoria Statue (Voice of America)

citizens do not want to be reminded of slavery, colonialism and the suffering it brought...

juny 12, 2020, 12:01am

Fighting over statues obscures the real problem: Britain's delusion about its past (Guardian)

A collective failure to look the history of empire in the eye stops us from being the kind of country we could be... public history is often based on selective myth...

juny 12, 2020, 2:54am

>4 timspalding:
I'm going off topic but Pulaski might not be as obscure as you suggest. And then of course there was Kościuszko...

juny 12, 2020, 4:28am

This thread has made me think of the statues that are in my hometown.

American Girl--a statue of a horse that died in the middle of a horse race is in Eldridge Park.

Thomas K. Beecher--some kind of 19th century religious guy is in front of Park Church---a very nice building with a minaret downtown.

Elmira College has three statues--one of Mark Twain who had roots in the area particularly to Olivia Langdon who he married and was born and raised in Elmira and the couple spent quite a bit of their life here. The last statue on the College grounds is a Simeon 'something or other' the founder of the college.

The Elmira Reformatory is on a hill--it was first used for boys and later became a New York State prison and I'm pretty sure it's maximum security but on the hill right out in front of the prison is a statue called 'Elmira: builder of men' which goes back to the time when it was built as a correctional facility for boys and it is two naked men with their junk hanging out--one seated and one standing with his hand on the shoulder of the other. For some of those visiting inmates it's probably jarring.

There is a monument to Confederate war dead in Woodlawn Cemetery. It's a darker part of the history of the city as Elmira was a prisoner of war camp for confederate soldiers during the Civil War--most of whom died there of either cold, disease or malnutrition. There are lots and lots of them and they were mostly buried by one black guy back during that time. Those stones are kind of an unique part of that cemetery as they really stand out for their bright white color and being all in rows.

Then there is the statue in front of the Chemung County Court House. It's also a Civil War statue for the New York 107th Volunteer regiment that fought at Antietam, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg among other places.

In front of Ernie Davis Junior High School is Ernie Davis--also known as the Elmira Express--a running back who won College Football's highest honor the Heisman Trophy playing for Syracuse University. I think he might have been the first black man to do so. He unfortunately died of leukemia before he could turn pro.

There may be a couple others but I think that's about it. Of the real people--Twain, Langdon, Beecher, Simeon whoever and Davis---no one I think controversial at all and the horse is a nice touch. The confederate monument in the cemetery maybe but Elmira was as notorious in the South during the Civil War as Andersonville was in the North. Prisoners of war were treated terribly during the Civil War.

Editat: juny 13, 2020, 7:12am

Boris Johnson's polarising statue tweets are pure Trump (Guardian)

He doesn’t want to face the real issues sparked by George Floyd’s death. So he’s distracting us with a culture war...

Britain was built on the backs, and souls, of slaves (Al Jazeera)

The UK owes a debt to descendants of enslaved people and to taxpayers whose money was used to compensate slave traders and owners...

Thousands seek to remove colonialists’ names from Uganda’s streets (Irish Times)

Petition calls for use of domestic heroes in nomenclature rather than British overlords...

Unlike Uganda, most Kenyan streets were renamed after independence in 1964, with a noticeable emphasis on people who had contributed to the liberation struggle, not all of them Africans, eg British lawyer Denis Pritt who in 1952 had (unsuccessfully) defended Jomo Kenyatta et al in a court case over their alleged Mau Mau links.

juny 13, 2020, 9:02am

Mayor responds to petition to remove Macdonald statue
June 12, 2020 Samantha Butler-Hassan

Mayor Bryan Paterson says he is aware of an online petition launched this Thursday, Jun. 10, 2020, calling for the removal of a statue of Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald from Kingston’s City Park.

“My view is that I have seen the petition, but I am also looking at the hundreds of submissions from hundreds of our own community members from the last year and half, that were very clear,” he said.

“Certainly the feedback we’ve gotten from the community is to add Indigenous history, to add Indigenous stories, and also to add context. Let’s talk about not just the good of Macdonald’s story, but let’s talk about the context of the bad. Let’s have that discussion.”

The mayor said the city launched a very comprehensive consultation over year ago on the question of Macdonald’s legacy in the city, in partnership with an Indigenous consultation team from Ottawa, First Peoples Group.

The final results of the consultation are coming to City Council in the next two or three months, he said, with a number of specific recommendations.

‘Adding history, not removing’

“I can say that certainly one of those is naming streets or projects after Indigenous history — whether it is historical figures or other pieces of Indigenous culture. I think that one specific example would be something like the third crossing (bridge). I think that could be a great naming opportunity,” he said.

The mayor said he also defers to the chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Senator Murray Sinclair, who was also the first Aboriginal Judge appointed in Manitoba.

“He was also very supportive of adding to history. That is how we can heal some of these systemic racism issues, to add those stories, to add the legacies of the great Indigenous community members here locally and across this region,” Paterson said.

...“As first prime minister of Canada, Sir John A. Macdonald was directly responsible for inhumane crimes against Indigenous people and for setting up the residential school system that impacted generations of them,” writes Roshni Desai in the description of her petition ‘Take down the statue of Sir John A. Macdonald in Kingston, ON.’

“He also had family ties to slavery/the slave trade and openly promoted the preservation of ‘purity’ and the Aryan race.” ...

juny 13, 2020, 9:20am

America was never white: Historian busts the myth at the heart of White Nationalism
History News Network | June 12, 2020

...historian David Lowenthal Author of The Heritage Crusade and the Spoils of History...remarks that heritage is not history at all: “it is not an inquiry into the past, but a celebration of it … a profession of faith in a past tailored to present-day purposes.”

Monuments, under this definition, are not history. Monuments are memory-makers, celebratory edifices erected to hide History’s complexity, drown curiosity, and feed the simple in the present and in the future.

If we dig past the monuments of the Robert E. Lee’s and the Stonewall Jackson’s erected in the 1920s (Jim Crow era) or the 1950s (Civil Rights era), some in far away Arizona (Arizona achieved statehood in 1912, the Civil War ended in 1865), what we get to is a place called the past where easily traceable demographics prove a country filled with ethnicities from all over the world. What the alt-right desires is an America where whites maintain some semblance of power over anyone of color if not outright ethnic cleansing. Their rhetoric of Heritage is pure myth, a fabrication of a false past, creating memory where none existed.

America was never white, and it never will be.

Editat: juny 14, 2020, 12:23am

Boris Johnson said colonialism in Africa should never have ended and dismissed Britain’s role in slavery (Independent)

MPs call on prime minister to explain whether he still believes ‘the problem is not that we were once in charge, but that we are not in charge any more’...

Boris Johnson said colonialism in Africa should never have ended and downplayed Britain’s role in the slave trade, an article written by the prime minister while he was a Tory MP reveals.

Critics are urging Mr Johnson to explain whether he still holds the views expounded in the 2002 piece, where he argued that Africans would not have grown the right crops for export without British direction... “If left to their own devices, the natives would rely on nothing but the instant carbohydrate gratification of the plantain ... the colonists correctly saw that the export market was limited”...

Labour MP Dawn Butler said "Instead of viewing history through rose-tinted glasses maybe it is time to look at history through the lenses of a very visible modern-day lynching.”

The shadow secretary of state for women and equalities, Marsha de Cordova, said: “Boris Johnson’s past comments are an example of why we need to educate people about the impact of colonialism. The legacy of British colonialism and its role in the slave trade is a scar on our society. To infer this is something to be proud of, and that African countries are worse off because they are no longer ruled by the empire, is an insult to millions”...

juny 16, 2020, 1:42am

As statues of slave traders are torn down, their heirs sit untouched in the Lords (Guardian)

Spare a thought for the hereditary peers still barely aware of how their family fortunes were acquired...

juny 16, 2020, 12:29pm

barely aware

Oh, please. That scum doesn't give a shit.

juny 16, 2020, 1:52pm

Brownstein: James McGill (1744-1813) gets his reckoning — over 200 years later
Bill Brownstein | June 16, 2020

James McGill's slave-owning past has spurred demand to remove his statue from the campus of his namesake university

...“I stumbled on literature by (deceased) Laval professor Marcel Trudel, went into the McGill archives on James McGill and taught myself about Canadian slavery. James McGill was not only enslaving Indigenous and Black people in Montreal, but was also exploiting and harming enslaved people in the Caribbean, because they were the ones producing his rum.

“And few Canadians even know slavery transpired here,” (McGill art historian and professor Charmaine Nelson, who teaches the Visual Culture of Slavery) adds. “And if Canadians don’t know about it, the rest of the world doesn’t, either. When I do lectures around the world, people are really astounded. They go: ‘Canada?’ ”


juny 16, 2020, 3:05pm

German church reinstates antisemitic ‘Jew-sow’ sculpture
Authorities say they want to treat object ‘critically’, but disagree over how
Lee Harpin | June 16, 2020

juny 17, 2020, 12:14am

Boris Johnson says we shouldn't edit our past. But Britain has been lying about it for decades (Guardian)

If we really shouldn’t lie about our history, as the prime minister says, let’s finally open up about the atrocities of empire...

Consider the concentration camps Britain built in Kenya in the 1950s. “What concentration camps?” you might ask. If so, job done...

juny 19, 2020, 9:44am

Law students call on Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario) to rename Sir John A. Macdonald Hall
Samantha Butler-Hassan | June 18, 2020

A petition to change the name of Sir John A. Macdonald Hall at Queen’s University to Patricia Monture Hall has nearly 2900 signatures on

...Macdonald Hall is part of the Queen’s University Faculty of Law. The coalition put forward (Queen’s alumna and Mohawk lawyer, Patricia Monture's) name because of her influential 1988 argument that, as a sovereign citizen or member of the Mohawk Nation within the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, she did not need to take an oath under certain sections of the Public Officers Act or Law Society Act in Ontario.

“Through Patricia Monture’s actions, Indigenous people can now hold an eagle feather rather than swear on a bible in a court of law,” their statement reads. Monture received two honorary doctoral degrees, worked as a professor for several Canadian universities, published numerous articles and three books, before passing away at the age of 52.

...The petition launched the same day as another petition from an unrelated group launched, calling for the removal of Sir John A Macdonald’s statue from city park.

...Commemoration of Macdonald’s legacy in Kingston persists as a recurring topic of debate. In January 2018, a local pub formerly known as Sir John’s Public House was renamed to ‘The Public House’ after feedback from community members.

“I am a Mohawk woman, born and raised in Akwesasne, Ontario,” said one of the petition coalition members. “There are subtle ways in which we are able to recognize the damaging legacy of Sir John A. Macdonald…such as not knowing the Mohawk language, Kanienkeha, fluently. Living on a reserve, being bound to these small parcels of land that were allotted during the time that the reserve system was introduced.”

“My grandmother was taken from her home and was put into a school off-reserve, where she was forced to live with a non-Indigenous family during the week, to attend school and get a ‘real,’ westernized education,” she said. “I cannot confidently talk and boast about my law school, that I have worked so hard to be accepted into, as my faculty building is named after the most genocidal* and violent* figure in Canadian history.”

* "Genocidal and violent" seems a bit of exaggeration? Deplorable and cruel, no doubt. After Louis Riel uprising, MacDonald (1st PM) fed Manitoban aboriginals enough to keep them alive, but not combative? Residential schools, though undeniably cruel by our standards, were well-intentioned by 19th c standards? Feel free to correct me--though I have roots in Kingston and attended Queen's U, I'm certainly not up to speed on this aspect of Canadian history!

juny 25, 2020, 5:41am

Protests target Spanish colonial statues that 'celebrate genocide' in US west (Guardian)

Native Americans in New Mexico have held protests to demand that effigies glorifying conquistadors be removed...

Editat: jul. 1, 2020, 10:02am

‘Decolonise and rename’ streets of Uganda and Sudan, activists urge (Guardian)

Campaigners target statues of slave owners and roads named after imperial armies as protests spread to Africa...

In fact most streets and geographical features were renamed, and most offensive statues removed or at least moved somewhere less intrusive, shortly after independence, but a few slipped through the net. The most obvious are Lake Victoria and Victoria Falls, but it's a slow and ponderous process to rename a huge lake that borders three countries (Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania) and a waterfall that divides two (Zambia and Zimbabwe). The falls does have a local name, Mosi-oa-Tunya, or the Smoke that Thunders, referring to the mist that hangs in the air like smoke and the roar of the falling water.

jul. 3, 2020, 6:09am

What if we treated Confederate symbols the way we treated the defeated Nazis? (Guardian)

“Trying to imagine a version of WW2 where the Nazis just get pushed into Bavaria and surrender, but keep the swastika on the state flag, slap it on their cars and say stuff like ‘The Third Reich is my heritage'”...

how absurd it would be to see the grandkids of former Nazis puttering around Munich in VWs adorned with swastika bumper stickers, like something out of a pulpy alt-history novel. It’s an idea so sinister as to seem cartoonish, and laughable. But something similar goes on in America all of the time.

In Germany, you won’t hear debates about Nazi statues. As the moral philosopher Susan Neiman, author of Learning from the Germans: Race and the Memory of Evil, notes, there’s a good reason for that: there aren’t any Nazi statues. The program of denazification began almost immediately after the second world war, established as one of “Four Ds” (along with demilitarization, decentralization and democratization) outlined in the Potsdam agreement of 1945. An Allied order in 1946 declared illegal “any monument, memorial, poster, statue, edifice, street or highway name marker, emblem, tablet, or insignia which tends to preserve and keep alive the German military tradition, to revive militarism or to commemorate the Nazi Party”...

America’s post-civil war treatment of the slave-owning Confederate states has proved, in a word, different. Although the Confederacy lost the war, it hasn’t always felt that way for Black southerners. After Union troops departed, Black Americans endured decades of terrorist violence perpetrated by the Ku Klux Klan and other anti-Black paramilitary groups, plus segregation and humiliation under Jim Crow.

After their historic drubbing, white southerners waged skirmishes on new fronts, reframing Confederate troops as valiant heroes in the “War of Yankee Aggression”, and recasting chattel slavery not as an abject moral horror, but a matter of states’ rights. The Confederate battle flag was raised over government buildings, monuments to anti-abolitionists were erected in town squares, and popular entertainments such as Gone With the Wind posited the Confederacy as a noble “lost cause”.

The civil war was followed by more than a century of calculated misremembering...

jul. 3, 2020, 10:14am

Nairobi’s street names reveal what those in power want to remember, or forget (The Conversation)

In a study of toponymy in Nairobi, Kenya, my colleague and I analysed how streets got their names. It’s important to examine this as street naming and renaming allows us to remember and forget events and people in history. It also articulates what values exist in pursuit of political or national interests.

We explain how street names are imbued with symbolic references of power structures within a society. During the period of British rule (1895–1963), toponymy was used as an exercise of power – it reflected British control. Soon after Kenya gained independence, streets were renamed as a way to renounce the colonial regime and its ideology.

But today, Kenyans are starting to question the naming of important public spaces after a few individuals, their families and political affiliates – the ‘political dynasties’...

Looking forward, the government should consider honouring other people who have contributed to the growth of Kenya as a country – for instance its athletes, academicians and artistes...

Monuments to the second world war are looking increasingly dodgy (Spectator)

some highly contentious memorials across the world, with one nation’s heroes being another’s war criminals...

jul. 3, 2020, 1:00pm

>25 John5918:

An interesting analogy but a problematic one. It would be a tighter analogy if the WWII Allies had slaughtered 600,000 Jews themselves, because the North had 10% of the United States' slaves. (On the other hand, the Allies did coincidentally kill 600,000 German non-combatants through area bombing of cities. I suppose these 600,000 could serve as a rough proxy.) Lincoln certainly seemed more conciliatory towards the South at the end of the Civil War than the Allies did towards Germany at the end of the WWII. (But we're "cancelling" Lincoln now, aren't we, so maybe his attitude is irrelevant.)

Should we view Robert E. Lee analogously to, say, Rommel or Guderian? Or, instead, analogously to the German generals we slowly strangled to death (24 minutes for Keitel) at Nuremberg?

jul. 3, 2020, 1:09pm

>25 John5918:

By the way, I Googled up this site:

Does the existence of these memorials undercut Semley's argument?

jul. 4, 2020, 5:05am

I don't know what that part about military tradition is about, there's plenty of streets and statues of generals and such in Germany. To say nothing of Bismarck...

The starkest display of Hunnic ethnokitsch is probably the Hermanndenkmal, although when I went there I was the only one around, so maybe they just forgot about it.

jul. 10, 2020, 1:26am

US Supreme Court rules half of Oklahoma is Native American land (BBC)

The US Supreme Court has ruled about half of Oklahoma belongs to Native Americans, in a landmark case that also quashed a child rape conviction. The justices decided 5-4 that an eastern chunk of the state, including its second-biggest city, Tulsa, should be recognised as part of a reservation...

the forcible 19th Century relocation of Native Americans, including the Creek Nation, to Oklahoma. The US government said at the time that the new land would belong to the tribes in perpetuity. Justice Gorsuch wrote: "Today we are asked whether the land these treaties promised remains an Indian reservation for purposes of federal criminal law. Because Congress has not said otherwise, we hold the government to its word"...

jul. 10, 2020, 12:07pm

>31 John5918: A classic example of “Be careful what you wish for.” Mr. Trump apparently forgot that appointing someone for life removes any burden on the appointee to kowtow to your wishes.

Editat: jul. 12, 2020, 9:38am

7 Sturlington (Aug 18, 2017, 8:58am )

(cites, from a newsletter's text)

(excerpt) … “Axios notes, 'These findings reflect the fact that, because of the nation's partisan divide and fractured media, we no longer agree on basic facts. That makes civil debate impossible.' ”

(then concludes with her own comment) “I really don't know where we go from here.”


Well, in about 36 more days, we'll have arrived at the first anniversary of this thread. I went back to its opening comments (to which I'd never given any close attention) to learn more about how this train-wreck started.

I have some thoughts on that.

Some of Sturlington's cited text bears looking at again, and, notice, too, that, unlike Sturlington's comment, I link the original citation's URL, which is quite relevant for reasons I'll get to in a moment:

“Axios notes, 'These findings reflect the fact that, because of the nation's partisan divide and fractured media, we no longer agree on basic facts. That makes civil debate impossible.' ”

Notice, first, how conveniently-framed is the picture offered up in, this, the cited excerpt's conclusion. You don't see that? Let me help you, then. We're before what is, in logic's syntax, similar to an “If...→ then...” statement which is posed, to be precise, as a “Since (or Because) … then...” statement:

...the fact that, because of (i.e., Since) (it is posited as a true and given fact that) “the nation's partisan divide (1st unexplained 'given') and (2nd unexplained given) fractured media (thus supposed as true) (Therefore, it follows that or “Then” →) (1st conclusion) “we no longer agree on basic facts.” Furthermore, a second premise → conclusion goes: Since, or because, (the just-stated 1st conclusion) → (Then or “Therefore”) (2nd conclusion) “civil debate (has become) impossible.”

We find neither in Axios's comment nor in Sturlington's review of it any time wasted in analysis of any antecedents to either “the nation's partisan divide and fractured media” or “we no longer agree on basic facts” nor the assumed valid basis in either of them as an explanation for what's supposed to follow from combining them: “mak(ing) civil debate impossible.”

I propose an alternative view and hypothesis, one I believe is a better, more accurate and more honest statement of the circumstances. It is not, however, so conveniently-framed from the points of view of Axios or Sturlington.

And, as evidence of my point, and to take up what I mentioned above that I'd be getting to “in a moment,” I refer to a portion of the original comment which Sturlington's comment tellingly, as I see it, left excluded:

Watching media coverage, you'd think Trump is nearly alone in believing "both sides" share fault for the Charlottesville violence. Turns out, most Republicans have his back. SurveyMonkey findings, previewed first for Axios readers, for an online poll yesterday with 2,181 respondents ”

Sturlington left this part in order to skip directly to the part which immediately followed, (labelled “Why it matters”). That's the point from which she takes up the comment.

Why? How about, as a motive-reason, the potential impression that “Watching media coverage, you'd think Trump is nearly alone " ... might make on the reader?

Why might anyone, let alone nearly everyone, “watching media coverage” be likely to assume from it (or “think”) that “Trump is nearly alone in believing 'both sides' share fault for the Charlottesville violence?"

IF true, then what, if anything, might this suggest about “watching media coverage” and consequences of that for an accurate view of reality?

In supporting my hypothesis, I find Axios has helped in giving us some valuable information about our present circumstances. The reader may by now have guessed what that information implies about these circumstances. And, with this insight, we may now find ourselves able to offer Sturlington some useful advice in getting out of her perplexed and stymied condition, where she admitted, “I really don't know where we go from here.”

Try, for example, not merely skimming over before dismissively leaving behind such views as those of 9 Collectorator
Aug 18, 2017, 1:14pm
, only one comment removed from Sturlington's own, and, instead, take the words into serious consideration:

(with reference to) “8 timspalding:


“It's hard for me to read Facebook for several reasons, but I did see this:

"The vast heart of America is mourning?? Nah, the vast heart of America is at work wondering who the hell these people from both sides are who are out protesting and acting like idiots. The only racist acts, racist comments or discussions about race I see period are on Facebook and in the media. I never see or hear any of it out in the real world and I'm sure the vast heart would agree."

“I agree with that!”

I agree with it's sentiments, too.

jul. 16, 2020, 8:40am

A landscaper’s view of the Confederate statue hornet’s nest
Elizabeth Westling - July 15, 2020

...As time passes and history flows beneath our feet, what any particular manifestation “meant” gets polished by the river of time. In 10,000 years, whether it’s a priceless piece of art or a silent sentinel, time will erode any meaning we might have wanted to convey.

And though it may seem counterintuitive to recommend replacing statues with trees and boulders, I believe it represents the landscaper’s long view of designing public spaces for the ages. Boulders and trees would make better memorials than the racist hubris reflected in Confederate statues. If we take sufficient care of planet Earth, nature will remain, not as a reminder of our petty political points of view, but as proof that we bear witness to the most powerful forces that push their way up from the center of our earth.

Give nature her due, and let the boulders and the trees speak of earth’s diurnal course and our small part in it.

jul. 17, 2020, 12:38am

North Carolina town votes to pay reparations to Black residents (Guardian)

Asheville, a small city in western North Carolina, has voted to pay reparations to Black residents, as the US continues to grapple with stark racial inequality.

The Asheville city council voted 7-0 in favor of issuing what the city considered reparations, issuing a formal apology “for its participation in and sanctioning of the enslavement of Black people”.

“Hundreds of years of Black blood spilled that basically fills the cup we drink from today,” said city councilman Keith Young, one of two African American members of the body and the measure’s chief proponent...

jul. 17, 2020, 7:17am

Dambusters dog's racial slur gravestone altered by RAF (Guardian)

The headstone of a grave of the Dambusters’ dog, whose name was a racial slur, has been altered.

The 617 Squadron, based at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire, undertook a low-level night attack on German dams in 1943, probably the most famous raid in the history of the force.

Wing Commander Guy Gibson used his dog’s name as a codeword to say the dam had been breached. The black labrador retriever died on the same night as the raid.

Films about the Dambusters have either edited out the dog’s name or given him the moniker Trigger instead...

jul. 18, 2020, 11:32am

Pentagon Sidesteps Trump to Ban the Confederate Flag (NYT)

The Pentagon, without once mentioning the word “Confederate,” announced a policy on Friday that essentially banned displays of the Confederate flag on military installations around the world.

In a carefully worded memo that Defense Department officials said they hoped would avoid igniting another defense of the flag from President Trump, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper issued guidance that listed the types of flags that could be displayed on military installations — in barracks, on cars and on signs.

According to the guidance, appropriate flags include those of American states and territories, military services and other countries that are allies of the United States. The guidance never specifically says that Confederate flags are banned, but they do not fit in any of the approved categories — and any such flags are prohibited.

“Problem solved — we hope,” one Defense Department official said on Friday, speaking on the condition of anonymity so as not to anger Mr. Trump...

jul. 22, 2020, 1:37am

UK Home Office urged to correct false slavery information in citizenship test (Guardian)

More than 175 historians have called on the Home Office to remove the history element of the UK citizenship test because of its “misleading and false” representation of slavery and empire.

The signatories say the official handbook, which the Life in the UK test is based on, creates a distorted version of history, which directly counters the values of tolerance and fairness it purports to promote...

jul. 22, 2020, 7:40am

>38 John5918:

Ouch. It was a nice run for the ole Brits. I have plenty of your history saved on my shelves, at least until the book burning starts.

Even Canada had slavery at one point! To be fair, Africa is one of the world's leaders in slavery, so it was effectively not built on the backs of slaves. Perhaps they hate blacks so much in Africa, they just use them as slaves for the fun of it.

jul. 22, 2020, 8:51am

"Brad " and "Chad", two white guys, one's racist, the other is racist (you decide), and one of them is "Woke."

But both are Best Friends Forever because, —wait for it—they agree on everything, as they explain in this video: "When Wokes and Racists Actually Agree on Everything"

jul. 22, 2020, 9:25am

A gigantic question surrounds us. If we intend to obliterate the slave culture, should we allow an African Embassy in the U.S.? Should we be demanding more of these countries that currently have slavery? Should we at the minimum, force them to take down their flags until they stop slavery?

jul. 22, 2020, 1:07pm

Does Jane Addams, one Progressive that I find intelligent and fair, assert in this article that blacks need the social integration of whites in order to become valuable members of the community? One may say or do something, but if she is attempting in some simple way to say that there is a problem of culture, then should we be discussing the invalidity of all her work? All of the work that she actually did, and attempted, should it be null and void because she discussed this from a perspective other than systemic failure?

Is this nonsense >40 proximity1:, exactly what shall return us the glory days of Woodrow Wilson and segregation, the kind that Addams was against?

I like Jane Addams, I do not like John Dewey or Woodrow Wilson. However; vague or not she viewed things from experience and reason and deduced a cultural atmosphere, in large part because of segregation, that was poisonous to the youth. Was it these acts of violence that drew others away from those communities? If so, why?

The question I have is; is that an acceptable point of view to take? Is it logical that the struggles of the community, purportedly due to police and system, are due to cultural infliction? Or, should we rip down Jane Addams from her pedestal as a secret racist, because if I suggest these things, I get called a &^#&@^g White Nationalist.

Editat: jul. 22, 2020, 4:55pm

If only it were possible that future generations could learn from and, so, avoid repeating the truly miserable shit-storm through which we're all living today. But that's just not going to happen.

All of this crap shall return in slightly different forms and circumstances but, in essence, the same idiocy shall drive and misinform it.

How do we know this? It's simple: today's morons have no clue, no idea, how they're replaying past dramas in which only certain details are different. The mistakes they're making are exactly the same as those of earlier episodes.

That's the part that I find most dispiriting in all this.

And here, I think, is the great miscalculation on the part of those who utterly loathe and despise Donald Trump and everything about him:

their "pitch", the premise of all they do and say is a simple one, in effect: "Join us. Join us in our hatred of the country and its history." Join them, they invite everyone, in their loathing of the president, of the country, its past, and much about its present.

What they fail to grasp about their project is that they, themselves, are far, far more loathsome than any of the people or things they invite others to despise and loathe.

So, here's a message for these people and I'm the messenger, on assignment, doing a service in the delivery of it.

I've met your stupidity and it would like you to know this:

It—that is, your own stupidity—is coming for you. It's going to find you and there's not a goddamned thing you can do about it.

Editat: jul. 23, 2020, 1:29am

>43 proximity1: hatred of the country and its history

Once again you seem oblivious to the fact that much of this is driven by love of one's country, and a desire to make it a better place, rather than hatred. And that it's not a hatred of a country's history, merely a desire to see a more complete and accurate representation of that history.

jul. 23, 2020, 12:43am

Countries don't exist. People do.

jul. 23, 2020, 1:28am

>43 proximity1: If only it were possible that future generations could learn from and, so, avoid repeating the truly miserable shit-storm through which we're all living today. But that's just not going to happen.

I'll settle for present generations. And I think it's pretty clear that Americans are going to be pretty squeamish about the classic Anarchist Deathcult pitch for the foreseeable future. Very few people who have watched the grim spectacle of Dickless Donald's crumbling regime are likely to vote for the Republican "Smash the state" rhetoric going forward. We all know what that leads to now.

Will the lesson hold for future generations? Yet to be seen, but one can hope that with the dying off of the few old people who still think that Trump was a good idea, there won't be a lot of new voices rushing to sing in that choir. I think there's a reasonable basis for hope that the American people will bias towards competence for at least a few generations. Thus begins the long twilight of the Republicans...

jul. 23, 2020, 3:14pm

>43 proximity1:
For someone who assailed the Bush Administration and American adventurism as well as referring to the US as "morally bankrupt" and her citizens as "morons" you sure have embraced right wing populist rhetoric. Anything for a buck I guess.

jul. 23, 2020, 4:02pm

"assailed the Bush Administration and American adventurism"


It was with good cause and for good reason.

My participation here is and always has been completely voluntary and without compensation of any kind from anyone, whether a person or persons or organizations of any kind.

As usual, your "guess" is completely wrong.

You don't know shit, don't bother to find out or try to find out and in general never have anything useful or interesting to contribute here. That explains why I rarely ever even look at, let alone respond to, the bullshit you post here.

jul. 23, 2020, 5:53pm

>48 proximity1:
Are you saying you don't get a nickel for up chucking those tl;dr masterpieces? I'm beginning to feel sorry for you. How do you pay for that sweet flat in Charing Cross? Must be a GoFundMe page for Trump Shilling.

jul. 25, 2020, 8:44am

Welsh Landscape by R. S. Thomas
There is no present in Wales,
And no future;
There is only the past,
Brittle with relics,
Wind-bitten towers and castles
With sham ghosts;
Mouldering quarries and mines;
And an impotent people,
Sick with inbreeding,
Worrying the carcase of an old song...

Editat: jul. 27, 2020, 8:22pm

Anyone with an interest in another look at an opinion that resonates with 4+1=5 and blue crayons put blue on paper.

John, I'd like your thoughts on this.

Editat: jul. 28, 2020, 8:48am

>51 Cubby.R.S.:

Well, I don't understand your sentence about maths and art, but I respect your request for my thoughts on the article.

Firstly, I find it very difficult to identify with his first paragraph about individuality. I have lived two thirds of my life on a continent where the dominant identity is ubuntu, "I am because we are" (or "We are therefore I am" to put it in Descartes' idiom), "I exist primarily as part of a community within which I explore my individuality" (as opposed to the western idea that "I exist primarily as an autonomous individual, from which I can explore voluntary associations").

The second paragraph is based on a flawed assumption, namely that a "self" that "despises liberal capitalism" will "use its liberty to subvert and abolish a free society". I hate to disillusion you, but "liberal capitalism" and "a free society" are not synonymous, and "liberal capitalism" is not the only form of "a free society". It's not even the best form thereof, and indeed often isn't a particularly free society, particularly for those who are marginalised by it - the poor, ethnic and religious minorities, women, migrants, non-white people, etc. Incidentally I also think the use of the word "liberal" here is open to misunderstanding. While probably not technically incorrect, it seems that in much of the right wing rhetoric "liberal" is a pejorative more or less equivalent to "socialist" and "progressive", so the use of the term to describe capitalism is confusing in the context of the current polemic.

He also seems to believe that the "left wing" agenda is to make people "good" and then later they can be free. I don't believe that is the case. The agenda is to put in place a framework which allows people to be free (all people, not only those with the money and privilege), which also involves removing certain obstacles to freedom. It has nothing to do with being good, although one would like to assume that all people of good will would be on board with such an agenda.

As I read through the rest of it in that light I really find it difficult to engage with his thinking. However a few things stand out for me.

This New Left finds the liberty of the liberal order wanting. They reject the sovereignty of the individual and the consumer and its fruits: SUVs and pickup trucks, football tickets and fast food meals, single-family housing and shopping malls, the open road and its endless choices. The New Left remains pre-modern like that

Well, coming from the ubuntu philosophy rather than the "New Left", and in view of the climate and coronavirus crises which are coming to define modern life, I can agree with much of that first sentence. But "pre-modern"? Perhaps "post-modern" (or "progressive"?) would be a better term.

He then goes on to accuse the left of a "Quest for Control" because they see the need for a paradigm shift in the way we live our lives, as a result of the climate crisis, coronavius and Black Lives Matter. That sounds like a real denial of the fact that we do need to change - see this article from Forbes which I posted in one of the coronavirus threads: The Pandemic Really Has Changed The World Forever. Forbes is a left wing publication now, is it? Your article suggests that "the left" is saying, "Energy will become a luxury good". That's not left wing, that's realistic (and scientific).

The article seems to be defending "bourgeois society" and the "Protestant ethos" and implying that the only healthy moral framework comes from these sources. Well, I'm a Catholic so I don't come from that "Protestant ethos", I come from a background of Catholic Social Thought and Liberation Theology, from which sources the common good, good governance, the preferential option for the poor, peace and social justice, full participation, the dignity of labour, and care for creation are amongst the prominent features. There are plenty of other healthy moral frameworks from different religious and non-religious cultural experiences and perspectives - humanism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Native American, African traditions (including ubuntu), atheism, etc - and the possibility of a healthy mixture thereof.

So all in all I am not impressed. In some ways it was a waste of time reading it, but at least it gives me an idea of some of the spurious arguments being presented under the guise of serious discussion.

jul. 28, 2020, 8:44am

>52 John5918:

Thanks for the insight into your mind. I don't believe that the author is attempting to say that these things are a conscious choice, but needed to fill the empty meaning.

I will write my thoughts later, I'm getting way too busy this week.

jul. 28, 2020, 12:44pm

>53 Cubby.R.S.: Empty meaning? I find that I'm only able to understand about half of your posts. You seem to use these right-wing metaphors that mean nothing to me. You need to speak more plainly if you want us to understand you.

jul. 28, 2020, 12:56pm

>54 jjwilson61:

Well said. Me too.

Editat: jul. 28, 2020, 1:17pm

>54 jjwilson61:
>55 johnthefireman:

You should read the article in >51 Cubby.R.S.:.

I find it very interesting to see how others interpret things, and I like to better understand people and their thoughts. Much of what I say is tangent to a previous statement and or the linked. Empty meaning or purpose or soul I could've said, is a reflection of the author's driving point in the article. Without reading the aforementioned article, those words would mean about nothing to anyone, not just you.

I typically do not type too much, because I would prefer the conversation to move with another's perspective. By large; most people are not reading everything that you or I type. In my case, I notice responses to small sentences rather than the overall idea, which explains a lot to me. Because you can, and I often do, insert a small point among a larger overall purpose and derail an entire conversation.

So you want me to speak more plainly, that requires a significant amount of patience from everyone, and as a society we tend to overlook some glaring points in favor of finding a small weakness in the argument. In short, I am actually trying to work on the very thing that you point out.

Editat: jul. 28, 2020, 1:55pm

>56 Cubby.R.S.: You should read the article in >51 Cubby.R.S.: Cubby.R.S

You may have overlooked the fact that I read it in detail and posted a detailed response in >52 John5918:.

jul. 28, 2020, 2:31pm

>56 Cubby.R.S.: I rarely follow links since I barely have time to keep up with what's posted here.

jul. 28, 2020, 2:57pm

>57 John5918:

I know you did, it was a specific response to another post.

jul. 31, 2020, 1:52am

Holocaust survivor launches legal claim against German railway (Guardian)

A Holocaust survivor who successfully campaigned for the Dutch railway to pay compensation for transporting people to the Nazi concentration camps has tabled a legal claim against the German state over the wartime role of the Deutsche Reichsbahn.

Salo Muller, 84, whose parents were taken by rail from Amsterdam to the Dutch transit camp Westerbork, and on to their deaths at Auschwitz, is demanding an apology and financial recompense for about 500 Dutch survivors and about 5,500 next of kin.

The Deutsche Reichsbahn, the wartime German railway authority, was responsible for transporting about 107,000 Dutch Jewish people to their deaths. The victims were often forced to pay for the costs of their travel in squalid, murderous conditions, earning an estimated €16m (£14.5m) in today’s money for the German railways. Adults had paid 4 pfennigs per kilometre, children 2 pfennigs, while those under the age of 4 travelled free.

In a letter to the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, Muller’s lawyer writes that the heirs of the wartime German railways have a moral and legal obligation to recognise their role in the suffering of the Jewish, Sinti and Roma people.

“I blame the railway company for knowingly transporting Jews to the concentration camps and for killing those Jews there in a terrible way”...

jul. 31, 2020, 2:36am

S'ha suprimit aquest usuari en ser considerat brossa.

ag. 1, 2020, 12:34am

Churchill's legacy leaves Indians questioning his hero status (BBC)

I first learnt about Winston Churchill as a child. A character in an Enid Blyton book I was reading kept a picture of him on the mantelpiece in her home because she 'had a terrific admiration for this great statesman'. As I grew older, and had more conversations about India's colonial past, I found most people in my country held a starkly different view of the wartime British prime minister.

There were conflicting opinions about colonial rule too. Some argued the British had done great things for India - built railways, set up a postal system. "They did those things to serve their own purpose, and left India a poor, plundered country" would be the inevitable response to this claim. My grandmother always talked passionately about how they'd participated in protests against "those cruel Britishers". But despite this anger, anything western, anything done or said by people who were white-skinned, was seen as superior in the India I grew up in. The self-confidence of people had been eroded by decades of colonial rule.

Seventy-three years since independence, a lot has changed. A new generation of Indians, more self-assured about our place in the world, are questioning why there isn't more widespread knowledge and condemnation of the many dark chapters of our colonial history, like the Bengal famine of 1943...

ag. 2, 2020, 12:34am

The British role in America's tainted past (BBC)

"Britain put its stamp on America from the beginning. It was Britain who brought the first unfree Africans to this country and helped to start slavery in America"...

True. I think the following quote from the article is also important:

Confederate statues have been pulled down in many cities and there are calls for a more honest look at the ways in which slavery, segregation and discrimination have shaped modern day America...

While some on the right wing are accusing protesters of wanting to change or eradicate history, what is actually being called for is "a more honest look" at history. The narrative which is generally accepted by the dominant culture is neither accurate nor complete, and "a more honest look" is needed.

ag. 3, 2020, 9:58am

Reading about Scottish colonists' impacts on indigenous peoples, sad that even early benevolent sentiments were tough on them, "indistinguishable" from early "experiments in residential schooling and exploitive agricultural apprenticeships". "...the impact of poor and land-hungry Highland settlers was felt with unusual intensity in important areas of Mi'kma'ki..."

John G Reid. 2018. Scots, Settler Colonization and Indigenous Displacement: Mi'kma'ki, 1770–1820, in Comparative Context. Journal of Scottish Historical Studies / List of Issues / Volume 38, Issue 1 ( May 2018)

...James Drummond MacGregor was a Seceder minister of the Anti-Burgher persuasion who served in Pictou (N.S.) from 1786 until his death in 1830. Fluent in Gaelic and his native Scots, he travelled widely in all seasons, and so his constituency was widespread both culturally and geographically.

...(Mi'kmaw elder) Peter Paul, , ‘Doctor MacGregor … (was) a very good man’.

...MacGregor was prominently involved in attempts to bring the benefits of ‘civilized life’ to Indigenous inhabitants, including failed attempts ‘to educate young Indians’, was entirely consistent. By his own lights, MacGregor was benevolent. Also, as Barry Cahill has shown, a courageous opponent of African slavery, he was said on one occasion to have administered a severe rebuke to no less a personage than (Scottish governor – George Ramsay, 9th Earl of Dalhousie), who in an unguarded moment had dismissed the Mi'kmaq as beyond improvement. The improvement MacGregor had in mind, however, was logically indistinguishable from the sort that some Mi'kmaq were already encountering at Sussex Vale in New Brunswick, where experiments in residential schooling and exploitive agricultural apprenticeships were now under way...

Editat: ag. 5, 2020, 4:26am

The forgotten mine that built the atomic bomb (BBC)

Another bit of history which has been virtually erased ("many official US, British and Belgian records on the subject are still classified"), topical now because of the 75th anniversary of the war crime of dropping atomic bombs on civilians in August 1945, but also bringing to light the crimes against humanity committed against Congolese civilians used as slave labour in the uranium mines at Shinkolobwe, a significant historic name that few of us have ever heard of.

ag. 6, 2020, 12:35am

Hiroshima at 75: bitter row persists over US decision to drop the bomb (Guardian)

Historians and military differ on whether 1945 bombing ended the war and saved countless lives – or was an unconscionable act of brutality...

“The vast destruction wreaked by the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the loss of 135,000 people made little impact on the Japanese military,” it says on a plaque beside a replica of Little Boy, the bomb Enola Gay dropped on Hiroshima. “However, the Soviet invasion of Manchuria on 9 August – fulfilling a promise of the Yalta conference in February – changed their minds.” The plaque reflects the views of US navy leadership at the time.

“{T}he use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender,” wrote Adm William Leahy, who presided over the combined US-UK chiefs of staff. The general who had won the war in Europe months earlier, Dwight Eisenhower, recalled his reaction to being told by the secretary of war, Henry Stimson, that the atomic bomb would be used. “I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon,” Eisenhower told his biographer, Stephen Ambrose...

ag. 7, 2020, 12:09am

Imperial War Museum unveils film marking 75 years since Hiroshima bomb (Guardian)

The museum commissioned stage designers Es Devlin, who is British, and Machiko Weston, who is Japanese, to make the piece, which tells the stories and explores the impact of the bombings from different perspectives....

ag. 8, 2020, 11:48pm

Nasa to change 'harmful' and insensitive' planet and galaxy nicknames (Guardian)

Nasa has signaled it is joining the social justice movement by changing unofficial and potentially contentious names used by the scientific community for distant cosmic objects and systems such as planets, galaxies and nebulae.

In a statement last week, the space agency said that as the “community works to identify and address systemic discrimination and inequality in all aspects of the field, it has become clear that certain cosmic nicknames are not only insensitive, but can be actively harmful”.

Nasa added that it is “examining its use of unofficial terminology for cosmic objects as part of its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion”...

ag. 15, 2020, 12:47am

Magnum reviewing archive as concerns raised about images of child sexual exploitation (Guardian)

Magnum Photos, one of the world’s most celebrated photographic agencies, is to re-examine the content of its archive of more than 1 million images after accusations it made available photographs that critics said may show the sexual exploitation of minors...

ag. 16, 2020, 12:07am

'They never went away': reclaiming Indigenous names from a colonial past – a photo essay (Guardian)

The reinstatement of traditional place names in the northern Kimberley signals a new wave of empowerment for Ngarinyin people...

ag. 18, 2020, 12:37am

'We put our lives in danger for the British': the forgotten African soldiers – in pictures (Guardian)

90,000 Africans fought the Japanese in Myanmar on behalf of Britain in the second world war. Feelings are mixed in the few remaining survivors about being sent by a colonial power to fight a battle that wasn’t theirs...

ag. 23, 2020, 12:34am

Why a Somali-born fighter is being honoured in Rome (BBC)

Rome's city council voted earlier this month to name a future metro station in the Italian capital in honour of Giorgio Marincola, an Italian-Somali who was a member of the Italian resistance. He was killed at the age of 21 by withdrawing Nazi troops...

The station, which is currently under construction, was going to be called Amba Aradam-Ipponio - a reference to an Italian campaign in Ethiopia in 1936 when fascist forces brutally unleashed chemical weapons and committed war crimes at the infamous Battle of Amba Aradam. The name change came after a campaign was launched in June, in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests around the world following the killing of African American George Floyd by US police...

ag. 24, 2020, 1:44am

BBC considers dropping Rule Britannia from Last Night of the Proms (Guardian)

The traditional flag-waving anthems Rule Britannia and Land of Hope of Glory could be dropped from the Last Night of the Proms because of their perceived links with colonialism and slavery...

ag. 27, 2020, 1:55am

Caged Congolese man: Why a zoo took 114 years to apologise (BBC)

Ota Benga was kidnapped from what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1904 and taken to the US to be exhibited. Journalist Pamela Newkirk, who has written extensively about the subject, looks at the attempts over the decades to cover up what happened to him.

More than a century after it drew international headlines for exhibiting a young African man in the monkey house, the Bronx Zoo in New York has finally expressed regret...

Instead of capitalising on the episode as a teachable moment, the Wildlife Conservation Society engaged in a century-long cover-up during which it actively perpetuated or failed to correct misleading stories about what had actually occurred...

set. 2, 2020, 7:11am

Is the Story of ‘The Few’ More Myth Than Reality? (History Today)

Eighty years on from the height of the Battle of Britain, four historians confront the nature of this key episode in the Second World War...

set. 10, 2020, 12:04am

"The dishonorable and the inconvenient" which need dealing with are not only in the distant past but also in more recent political narratives such as the "war on terror":

Conflicts since start of US 'war on terror' have displaced 37m people – report (Guardian)

Conflicts with US military involvement have displaced at least 37 million people since the beginning of the “war on terror” nearly two decades ago, a report has estimated...

set. 11, 2020, 12:05am

Belgium must return tooth of murdered Congolese leader, judge rules (Guardian)

A Belgian judge has said that a tooth taken from the remains of the Congo’s first elected leader, Patrice Lumumba, should be returned to his family almost 60 years after his assassination by rebels overseen by Belgian officers. The tooth had been seized from a Belgian policeman who admitted taking it while helping to dispose of Lumumba’s body after the politician was murdered in 1961. The Belgian government of the time, the CIA and MI6 have also been implicated...

Talking of Belgium and the Congo, Adam Hochschild's King Leopold's Ghost is essential reading.

set. 11, 2020, 11:56pm

Survivors: Rusesabagina was no hero as shown in Hotel Rwanda film (The EastAfrican)

His critics argue that he was never a hero and that he grossly exaggerated his role in saving more than 1,000 people, who hid inside Hotel Mille Collines during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Odette Nyiramilimo, a senator and former minister says while Rusesabagina saved her family during the genocide, "he is now a rebel killing Rwandans. He turned. ...

A far more recent interrogation of what has become a global narrative following the film Hotel Rwanda.

set. 17, 2020, 2:25am

UK needs a museum of colonialism, says historian William Dalrymple (Guardian)

Britain should set up a “museum of colonialism” where children will be able to learn about “the really terrible things that happened in our past”, the historian William Dalrymple has said.

Dalrymple, speaking in the final debate at the Jaipur literature festival (JLF) on whether statues in Britain of former imperial heroes who would now be seen as war criminals should be placed in a museum of colonialism, or stay where they are, said that while he “certainly wouldn’t want to see most of the nation’s statues torn down”, people “have to use discrimination”. The debate followed the toppling of the statue of the slaver Edward Colston in Bristol in June.

“When we go to Germany we do not expect to see Hitler or any of the Nazi war criminals or SS officers standing on plinths, and in the same way we have to weed out war criminals from our country,” Dalrymple said. “It’s not a matter of being woke or a matter of being fashionable or trendy but it’s being realistic about some of the really terrible things that happened in our past and teaching them to our children. If we put them in a museum of colonialism, this is an opportunity to teach, because we can set up a museum, which will do what at the moment what the curriculum fails to do”...

Editat: set. 18, 2020, 8:39am

A slavery tour of London: the guided walk laying bare atrocities of the past

From a kneeling slave at the Royal Exchange to the coffee house that was at the heart of the trade, a new tour is revealing a side of London that is often glossed over...

Edited to add a comment from an old friend of mine who is an accredited London walking tour guide: "It's sadly a major part of our history. Many of the grand buildings of Georgian London were built on the proceeds of slavery and prostitution." Incidentally the slave-themed walking tours are not a new thing. He adds, "another of my colleagues has been doing them for years".

set. 19, 2020, 5:55am

Now changing THIS will prompt a culture war! (In some parts anyway. Some are already moving away from Euro representations of Jesus.)

The Long History of How Jesus Came To Resemble a White European
Anna Swartwood House | July 17, 2020

The portrayal of Jesus as a white, European man has come under renewed scrutiny during this period of introspection over the legacy of racism in society.

As protesters called for the removal of Confederate statues in the U.S., activist Shaun King went further, suggesting that murals and artwork depicting “white Jesus” should “come down.”

His concerns about the depiction of Christ and how it is used to uphold notions of white supremacy are not isolated. Prominent scholars and the archbishop of Canterbury have called to reconsider Jesus’ portrayal as a white man.

As a European Renaissance art historian, I study the evolving image of Jesus Christ from A.D. 1350 to 1600. Some of the best-known depictions of Christ, from Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper” to Michelangelo’s “Last Judgment” in the Sistine Chapel, were produced during this period.

But the all-time most-reproduced image of Jesus comes from another period. It is Warner Sallman’s light-eyed, light-haired “Head of Christ” from 1940. Sallman, a former commercial artist who created art for advertising campaigns, successfully marketed this picture worldwide...

set. 19, 2020, 7:12am

>81 margd: Some are already moving away from Euro representations of Jesus

Yes, on the African continent there have been mainstream modern depictions of an African Jesus for several decades now. In Ethiopia, icons of an Ethiopian Jesus go back centuries. And of course north Africa was a major centre of the early church long before Christianity reached most of Europe, so I presume there are icons of a north African Jesus from as early as the second or third century CE.

Editat: set. 20, 2020, 9:15am

Pilgrim fathers: harsh truths amid the Mayflower myths of nationhood (Guardian)

As Plymouth marks 400 years since the colonists set sail, the high price paid by Native American tribes is now revealed in an exhibition...

Mayflower at 400: What we all get wrong about the Pilgrim Fathers (BBC)

So where does the landing of the Mayflower fit within the American story? What significance should we attach to the arrival of these English dissenters? How does it inform the present? On this 400th anniversary, do the Pilgrim Fathers even merit all the fuss?...

Editat: set. 21, 2020, 2:28am

>81 margd:

This reflection from Catholic Franciscan priest Richard Rohr seems to me to be relevant to the conversation on images of Jesus the Christ, particularly his second paragraph.

An Unspeakable Name

Monday,  September 21, 2020

Remember what God said to Moses: “I AM Who I AM” (Exodus 3:14). God is clearly not tied to a name, nor does God seem to want us to tie Divinity to any one name. Which is why, in Judaism, God’s statement to Moses became God’s unspeakable and unnamable identity. Some would say that the name of God literally cannot be “spoken,” only breathed. {1} Now that was very wise, and sometimes I wish we had kept it up. This tradition alone should tell us to practice profound humility in regard to God, who gives us not a name, but only pure presence—no handle that could allow us to think we “know” who God is or have the divine as our private possession.

The Christ is always far too much for us, larger than any one era, culture, empire, or religion. Its radical inclusivity is a threat to any power structure and any form of arrogant thinking. Jesus by himself has usually been limited by the evolution of human consciousness in these first two thousand years, and held captive by culture, nationalism, and Western Christianity’s own cultural captivity to a white, bourgeois, and Eurocentric worldview. We have often missed the ways Jesus reveals himself, because “there stood among us one we did not recognize” (John 1:26). He came in mid-tone skin, from the underclass, a male body with a female soul, from an often-hated religion, and living on the very cusp between East and West. No one owns him, and no one ever will.

Jesus clearly says naming God correctly is not the priority, “Do not believe those who say ‘Lord, Lord’” (Matthew 7:21; Luke 6:46. Italics added). It is those who “do it right” that matter, he says, not those who “say it right.” Yet verbal orthodoxy has been Christianity’s preoccupation, at times even allowing us to burn people at the stake for not “saying it right.” We ended up spreading national cultures under the rubric of Jesus, instead of a universally liberating message under the name of Christ. What I call an incarnational worldview is the profound recognition of the presence of the divine in literally “every thing” and “every one.”

I would go so far as to say that the proof that you are a mature Christian is that you can see Christ everywhere else. Authentic God experience always expands your seeing and never constricts it. What else would be worthy of God? In God you do not include less and less; you always see and love more and more. And it is from this place that we lose any fear we have about entering into discussion, prayer, and friendship with people of other faith traditions.

1. Richard Rohr, The Naked Now (Crossroad Publishing: 2009), 25-26. In fact, the holy name YHWH is most appropriately breathed rather than spoken, and we all breathe the same way.

set. 22, 2020, 7:23am

National Trust details colonialism and slavery links (BBC)

The National Trust has revealed how more than 90 of its properties have connections to slavery and colonialism. The links - at 93 properties - are highlighted in a report commissioned by the charity to tell the history of colonialism and slavery at its sites...

The charity has said it is committed to sharing the histories of slavery and colonialism. It has also pledged to add to its research, and admitted that it has more work to do. John Orna Orenstein, its director of culture and engagement, said it was about raising awareness. He said: "Just to be really clear, we're not making judgements about the past, what we're trying to do is reflect as accurately and comprehensively as we can the histories across a variety of places"...

set. 22, 2020, 11:39pm

Jamaican director of UCL's slavery research centre: British racism is 'clear and sharp' (Guardian)

The UK continues the fiction that racial exploitation is in the past...

British Black Lives Matter activists are shining a strong light on British history and the choices made about how to remember it, and universities are among the institutions being forced to confront the ways in which they benefited from slavery and colonialism...

“The fiction told to descendants of the enslaved was that the horrible past of racial exploitation was over,” he says. “That fiction continues in 2020.” He says he has noticed a “bluntness” in British racism: “it doesn’t pretend to be diplomatic, it’s very clear and sharp”...

set. 25, 2020, 12:26am

Volkswagen to compensate workers over Brazil torture (BBC)

German carmaker Volkswagen (VW) says it will pay $6.4m (£5m) in compensation to former workers at a Brazilian factory who sued the company for collaborating with the country's military during the 1964-1985 dictatorship...

A 2016 review found that VW agents gave employees' names to police hunting for people described as "subversives". They were then detained and tortured. "We regret the violations that occurred in the past. For Volkswagen, it is important to deal responsibly with this negative chapter in Brazil's history and promote transparency," VW executive Hiltrud Werner said in a statement.

VW's deal with Brazilian prosecutors, which was signed on Wednesday, will also see donations to projects including a memorial for victims of the dictatorship...

oct. 5, 2020, 12:24am

The Glamour Boys: gay MPs who gave early warning of Nazi threat (Guardian)

They were attacked as warmongers, threatened with deselection and despised by Neville Chamberlain, who branded them “the Glamour Boys”. Yet a new book has claimed that a group of gay MPs were among the first to warn Britain about the danger Hitler posed. Four of them later died in action. The extraordinary untold story of gay and bisexual British politicians and their bravery in the second world war has been unearthed...

oct. 7, 2020, 10:47am

When Africa was a German laboratory (Al Jazeera)

Western scientists transformed Africa into a living laboratory during the sleeping sickness epidemics of the early 20th century. They should not be allowed to do the same now...

oct. 10, 2020, 11:49pm

Mexico asks Pope Francis for apology for church's role in Spanish conquest (Guardian)

Mexico’s president says the Vatican should apologise for ‘reprehensible atrocities’ in colonisation 500 years ago...

oct. 11, 2020, 7:17am







Editat: oct. 26, 2020, 3:37am

How the colonial enterprise hard-wired violence into Nigeria’s governance (Quartz)

The favored approach to understanding colonial rule, particularly in Africa, is through the prism of political governance—how the colonial authority was imposed through local or native authorities.

In our paper on Nigeria’s colonial history, we apply a different lens. We focus rather on British colonial rule through imperial companies. We argue that the British colonist did not conceive of or organize “Nigeria” as a “nation”. Rather it was administered as a business enterprise in which the Crown depended on companies to “govern” its Nigerian colonies... This business approach of the colonialists existed elsewhere too...

oct. 26, 2020, 5:59am

Sometimes two or more nations competed for the "business"...the US eventually replaced France in the competition with Britain for w North and outright war made allies of various Native Americans. Hard times.

Five companies that dominated the Canadian fur trade
Compagnie de la Nouvelle France. ...
The Hudson's Bay Company. ...
Compagnie de la Baie du Nord. ...
The North West Company. ...
XY Company.

oct. 31, 2020, 12:05am

Kenyan statues must fall (Africa is a Country)

What could or should full decolonization in Kenya look like?...

In the last few months, Kenyans on Twitter have been circulating images of statues of political elites replaced by deserving national heroes. Most notable is the replacement of the statue of the first president Kenyatta with that of Mau Mau leader Dedan Kimathi. This movement has been spurred by the toppling of statues in the US and Europe, where protestors are demanding that their countries grapple with the protracted systemic racism that pervades quotidian Black life...

Interesting that this article deals not only with statues imposed by the former colonial powers (most of which were already removed or marginalised decades ago, soon after independence), but also questions the idolisation of indigenous political elites vis a vis the ordinary heroes of Africa.

Incidentally, the name of this periodical is interesting - "Africa is a Country". When dealing with the ignorance of the Global North, there is often a need to remind people that Africa is not a monolithic country, it is a continent with dozens of countries and a rich diversity of cultures and resources. However one can see the title "Africa is a Country" as a valid attempt to encourage solidarity within a continent which is often marginalised internationally.

Editat: nov. 1, 2020, 11:06pm

It’s true, we ignore parts of our history – and not just about our colonial past (Guardian)

The Putney debates of 1647 pose questions that are still vital to democracies today...

There has been much debate this year about our ignorance of the darker sides of British history, of the realities of empire and slavery. It’s true that too few people are familiar with Tacky’s Revolt in Jamaica, the “black war” in Tasmania or the Bengal famine. But too little is known about the history within Britain either, about radical traditions and working-class movements, about the Chartists, the Lancashire cotton famine of the 1860s, the 1926 General Strike...

“I am a poor man, therefore I must be oppressed? If I have no interest in the kingdom, I must suffer by all their laws – be they right or wrong?” Rainsborough asked rhetorically almost 400 years ago. We still ask those questions today.

The truth about British stoicism (Guardian)

Brits, according to many outsiders, are reserved, repressed, resilient, unemotional and self-controlled. But how did the “stiff upper lip” become so closely associated with Britain?... This famed British self-discipline brought vast conquest and riches that transformed the nation, but with it came exploitation and barbaric acts... “The stiff upper lip was historically an upper class, public school, university and then military concept, a brutal, spartan way of not showing your feelings and ruling the world on the basis of your superior self-control – which veered over into oppression and cruelty”...

nov. 8, 2020, 11:00pm

Remembrance Day is an exercise in collective amnesia (Guardian)

War is the domain of tragedy and chance, not of reassuring patriotic stories...

Editat: nov. 10, 2020, 10:57pm

Africa was civilised long before it was colonised (Star (Kenya))

The prevailing notion is that Africa was a barbaric before the arrival of white men... Anthropological archaeologist found long history of cities and chiefdoms, global trade...

New research sheds light on Alexander Hamilton's ties to slavery (Guardian)

Far from being the “uncompromising abolitionist” of Ron Chernow’s hit biography and the Broadway musical it inspired, Alexander Hamilton not only owned enslaved people himself “but his involvement in the institution of slavery was essential to his identity, both personally and professionally”, new research claims. “When we say Hamilton didn’t enslave people, we’re erasing them from the story”...

nov. 11, 2020, 4:31am

An interesting local example was Jeff Davis Peak, a minor mountain in Great Basin National Park and next to the tallest mountain in Nevada. The tallest peak was named Jeff Davis Peak in 1855, after Secretary of State Jeff Davis, but the name got moved to this peak and the tall one named Wheeler Peak, after a surveyor. Does Jefferson Davis's later turn as Confederate President obliterate his earlier work?

They recently renamed it Doso Doyabi, after a Shoshone name, and I'm not sure I approve. Can we, should we, separate his value as a civil servant pre-Civil War from his actions during? I appreciate the use of local Native names, but it also seems a little disrespectful; by renaming the smaller peak and not the big mountain to a Native name, we're using them to cover up our own problems more than offering them respect, unlike Denali.

nov. 12, 2020, 11:15pm

The National Trust is under attack because it cares about history, not fantasy (Guardian)

Whereas the Trust wants to explore its historic links to slavery, the right wants to preserve an unreal version of the past...

nov. 13, 2020, 4:20am

Word of the day is 'catchfart' (17th century): one who slavishly follows behind their boss and who blows with the political wind.
- Susie Dent @susie_dent | 4:02 AM · Nov 13, 2020

nov. 15, 2020, 1:18am

The rebirth of a historic river (BBC)

For over a century, one of the most important salmon runs in the United States has had to contend with historic dams – and now four of them are set to be taken down...

For the Yurok, Myers says the dams are seen as “monuments to colonialism” and compares them to statues of Confederate generals. “These dams are statues of the war that we fought here on the Klamath River. And these statues destroy our river, the landscape, our culture. We have to deal with them every single day.” In response to this, Pacific Power’s Gravely says: “We are very pleased to be part of a settlement agreement that allows the desire of Klamath Basin Tribes and others for dam removal to move forward” while also ensuring protections for electricity customers in six states.

Myer says the treaty negotiated between Yurok and the federal government in the 1850s limited the tribe to their reservation in return for a good standard of living in perpetuity. Although, he says, the federal government failed to live up to its end of the bargain, dam removals would bring that goal closer...

nov. 17, 2020, 2:22am

That weird image on the back of US $1 bills, which has survived all these years:

The Eye of Providence: The symbol with a secret meaning?
Matthew Wilson | 13th November 2020

How has a seemingly straightforward image – an eye set within a triangle – become a lightning rod for conspiracy theorists? Matthew Wilson looks at the history of an ambiguous symbol...

nov. 17, 2020, 2:30am

>102 margd:

Yes, I had read that article a few days ago. Very interesting. It's baffling how conspiracy theorists maintain their stance in the face of evidence, although what conspiracy theories have going for them is that you can find a handful of facts which are consistent with just about any theory, providing you are willing to ignore all the facts which contradict said theory.

On the subject of conspiracy theories, I feel moved to post once again one of my favourite sketches by the British comedy pair Mitchell and Webb:

nov. 17, 2020, 2:49am

>103 John5918: Nice. I'm a math buff, so I've been looking at this guy:

nov. 17, 2020, 3:04am

>104 bnielsen:

Complicated stuff which needs an expert to explain it. Most of us are not experts so we have a level of ignorance about these things. The difference is that some of us are aware of our ignorance and are willing to learn, while others are ignorant about their ignorance!

nov. 17, 2020, 7:09am

>103 John5918: >104 bnielsen: These are worthy of a new conspiracy-busting thread!

nov. 17, 2020, 8:14am

>106 margd: I want this guy on my side if I need to bust anything:

nov. 24, 2020, 10:50pm

National curriculum ‘systematically omits' black British history (Guardian)

The Black Curriculum report says England’s ‘white, Eurocentric curriculum’ fails to reflect UK society...

nov. 27, 2020, 6:24am

Indian country showed up to beat Trump. How can you show up for Indian country? (Guardian)

Instead of celebrating a false Thanksgiving narrative, listen to and share the countless Native American stories that aren’t being told...

This year saw a record six Native Americans elected to Congress. Native voters were also crucial to the Democratic party’s success in key swing states...

Editat: nov. 27, 2020, 7:43am

>109 John5918: How can you show up for Indian country?

Many, but not all, Native Americans are terribly impacted by COVID--think Navajo Nation in US, the Nunavut territory in Canada. Mostly due to institutional poverty?

In reading about some Skye ancestors who immigrated to Nova Scotia ~200 years ago, I learned about a chain of misery that started in Africa. Apparently some English landowners, flush with money from enslaving Africans, aspired to sheep farming by initiating the Highland Clearances. The Scots, forced off their crofts and onto ships bound for the New World, competed with the Miꞌkmaq, ultimately displacing them from their traditional lands. My ancestors settled in the beautiful Margaree R basin, which had one of the first (Euro) weir agreements and no doubt cut into traditional harvests. Scots reportedly were more sympatico than most with native people (clans in common?)--a reputed ancestress of mine variolated Indians as well as settlers--but a way of life was destroyed nonetheless. Even today, the competition continues over access to the lobster fishery... Misery begat misery begat misery.

Editat: des. 3, 2020, 11:54pm

The hidden story of African-Irish children (BBC)

In the middle of the last century, thousands of students from African countries were studying at Irish universities. Some had children outside marriage, who were then placed in one of Ireland's notorious mother and baby homes. Today these children, now adults, are searching for their families...

des. 14, 2020, 6:55am

How modern mathematics emerged from a lost Islamic library (BBC)

“The question of whose stories we tell, whose culture we privilege, and which forms of knowledge we immortalise into formal learning are inevitably influenced by our Western colonial heritage”...

des. 20, 2020, 10:42pm

I've been unfairly targeted, says academic at heart of National Trust 'woke' row (Guardian)

The academic at the centre of an escalating row over the National Trust’s efforts to explore links between its properties and colonialism has warned of a “political agenda” to “misrepresent, mischaracterise, malign and intimidate” those involved in the project. Professor Corinne Fowler has drawn comparisons between the vilification of academics, including herself, and attacks by climate-crisis deniers on scientists warning about global heating...

Editat: des. 21, 2020, 11:29am

New generation of dishonorables... Seat them? Censure them? Educate voters?

All the Republican rats (editorial cartoon)
Ann Telnaes | December 18, 2020

All of the state attorneys general and U.S. Congress members who collaborated with President Trump in his attempt to subvert the Constitution and stay in office...

Editat: gen. 2, 10:49pm

'We are one and free': Australia's national anthem to change in attempt to recognise Indigenous history (Guardian)

Prime Minister Scott Morrison makes the announcement on New Year’s Eve saying the minor change will help foster a ‘spirit of unity’ after a challenging 2020...

Australia changes national anthem to reflect indigenous past (BBC)

Australians will sing a different version of their national anthem from 1 January after Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a change to the words on Thursday. The anthem will no longer refer to Australia as "young and free" in an attempt to reflect the country's long indigenous history...

People inhabited Australia for tens of thousands of years before it was colonised by mostly white English settlers in the 18th Century. The line to be removed in the anthem, which is called Advance Australia Fair, is "For we are young and free". Instead people will sing "For we are one and free." Earlier this year, the leader of New South Wales state, Premier Gladys Berejiklian, suggested the change, saying the current wording ignored Australia's "proud First Nations culture"...

Edited to add: Australia changes one word in its national anthem to honor Indigenous people (CBS)

"While Australia as a modern nation may be relatively young, our country's story is ancient, as are the stories of the many First Nations peoples whose stewardship we rightly acknowledge and respect"...

gen. 18, 10:38pm

Nigeria's police: The lingering effects of a colonial massacre (BBC)

Complaints about brutal policing in Nigeria today echo the reaction to the shooting dead by colonial policemen of striking coalminers in 1949 and, as the BBC's Nduka Orjinmo reports, there are some who believe there is a direct connection...

gen. 20, 11:11pm

Race in South Africa: 'We haven't learnt we are human beings first' (BBC)

Legal discrimination along racial lines in South Africa ended with the demise of apartheid but racial categorisation is still being used by the government for monitoring economic changes and continues to cause controversy...

gen. 20, 11:46pm

>104 bnielsen: Oh, dear. That Shiva guy that he mentions... he lives in my town and periodically runs for Senate here in Mass. He's produced some fantastically racist campaign literature, and is really a prize nutter.

Also, notably claimed to have invented email, which, if you're interested, he didn't.

gen. 22, 11:18pm

Dutch exhibition offers new insight into Berbice slave uprising (Guardian)

The Dutch national archives are showcasing a unique set of letters sent by the leader of the first organised slave revolt on the American continent to a colonial governor, in which the newly free man proposed to share the land. The offer from the man known as Cuffy, from Kofi – meaning “born on Friday” – is said to provide a new insight into attempts to resist the brutal regimes of the colonial period, often overlooked in histories of enslaved people...

gen. 29, 11:46pm

Tributes to slave traders and colonialists removed across UK (Guardian)

Scores of tributes to slave traders, colonialists and racists have been taken down or will be removed across the UK, a Guardian investigation has found, with hundreds of others under review by local authorities and institutions. In what was described by historians as an “unprecedented” public reckoning with Britain’s slavery and colonial past, an estimated 39 names – including streets, buildings and schools – and 30 statues, plaques and other memorials have been or are undergoing changes or removal since last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests. The movement to remove contentious landmarks has involved a wide section of society, from schools and universities to private landlords, pubs, churches, charitable trusts and councils...

gen. 30, 4:19am

Ohio Republicans want to declare June 14th 'President Donald J. Trump Day'
Anna Staver | Jan 29, 2020

A pair of Ohio GOP (state) lawmakers ( Jon Cross of Kenton and Reggie Stoltzfus of Paris Township ) want to recognize June 14 as "President Donald J. Trump Day" in Ohio. Trump won Ohio by more than 8 points in 2016 and 2020 and made a campaign stop in Circleville, Ohio in late October 2020.

...sent an email to their House colleagues Friday asking them to cosponsor an upcoming bill "to celebrate one of the greatest presidents in American history...Let's show the 3,154,834 Ohio voters who cast their ballot to re-elect Donald J. Trump that we as a legislature recognize the accomplishments of his administration"...

gen. 30, 2:16pm

>121 margd: This is so uncomfortably close to Juneteenth! An accident you say? I think not.

feb. 7, 11:26pm

'We want our riches back' – the African activist taking treasures from Europe's museums (Guardian)

Mwazulu Diyabanza makes no secret of why he is in France. If coronavirus had not closed most of Europe’s museums, the Congolese activist would probably be inside one right now, wresting African objects from their displays to highlight what he sees as the mass pillaging of the continent by European colonialists.

And it’s not just the mighty museums. Diyabanza and his supporters also plan to include smaller galleries, private collections and auction houses in their campaign. “Wherever the riches of our heritage and culture have been stolen,” says the 42-year-old, “we will intervene.” As the leader of a pan-African movement called Yanka Nku (Unity, Dignity and Courage), Diyabanza is on a mission is to recover all works of art and culture taken from Africa to Europe. He calls his method “active diplomacy”...

feb. 11, 11:14pm

Museums as Monuments to White Supremacy (Public Books)

We have reached a new phase in the public debate over whether to repatriate objects stolen from former colonies and now displayed in European and worldwide museums: individuals, on film and in real life, are quite literally taking matters into their own hands...

feb. 11, 11:26pm

Empire shaped Ireland's past. A century after partition, it still shapes our present (Guardian) by President Michael D Higgins

Only by remembering complex, uncomfortable aspects of Britain and Ireland’s shared history can we forge a better future...

As president of Ireland, I have been engaging with our citizens in an exercise of ethical remembering of this period. This is not only to allow us to understand more fully the complexities of those times. It is also to allow us to recognise the reverberations of that past for our societies today and for our relationships with each other and our neighbours.

A feigned amnesia around the uncomfortable aspects of our shared history will not help us to forge a better future together. The complex events we recall and commemorate during this time are integral to the story that has shaped our nations, in all their diversity. They are, however, events to be remembered and understood, respecting the fact that different perspectives exist. In doing this, we can facilitate a more authentic interpretation not only of our shared history but also of post-sectarian possibilities for the future.

This journey of ethical remembering has allowed us to examine the nature of commemoration itself and how it might unburden us of history’s capacity to create obstacles to a better, shared future. It has entailed uncomfortable interrogations of the events and forces that shaped the Ireland of a century ago and the country we know today. Class, gender, religion, democracy, language, culture and violence all played important roles, and all were intertwined with British imperialist rule in Ireland.

It is vital to understand the nature of the British imperialist mindset of that time if we are to understand the history of coexisting support for, active resistance to, and, for most, a resigned acceptance of British rule in Ireland. While our nations have been utterly transformed over the past century, I suggest that there are important benefits for all on these islands of engaging with the shadows cast by our shared past...

feb. 17, 1:45pm

More war hero statues 'wholly retrograde move', say UK women's groups (Guardian)

Tory campaign to immortalise VC and GC medal holders will increase gender imbalance of UK civic statues, says inVisibleWomen...

feb. 17, 3:15pm

One of the VC recipients in question is good old George Samson. Women really can't let that one go.

Editat: feb. 18, 12:20am

>127 Kuiperdolin:

George Samson. Without doubt a brave man and I'm sure he deserved his Victoria Cross. However I'm not sure why you think women would be particularly interested in his case rather than all the others.

My own doubt about erecting statues of more Victoria Cross holders is not only about the gender imbalance but also about glorifying militarism. I have less objection to erecting statues of George Cross holders as it is awarded "for non-operational gallantry or gallantry not in the presence of an enemy" and is held by many civilians for acts of bravery in both war and peace time. I always think of the explosion on a train loaded with bombs at Soham during World War II, where train driver Benjamin Gimbert and fireman James Nightall were both awarded the George Cross for preventing further damage which would have occurred if the rest of the train had exploded. To accurately portray and honour the history and the values of our society we need more statues of nurses, doctors, hospital cleaners, teachers, carers, firefighters, scientists, engineers, paramedics, lifeboat crews, trade unionists, human rights activists, peacebuilders, religious figures, minorities, workers, farmers, fisherfolk, people in the food supply chain, street sweepers, dustbin collectors, lorry drivers, railway personnel, merchant marine, artists, authors, playwrights, musicians, sportspersons, indeed every walk of life - and of course women. We have more than enough military statues, most of which are white males.

feb. 18, 8:03am

I think that because they attacked him before.

feb. 18, 8:22am

S'ha suprimit aquest usuari en ser considerat brossa.

Editat: feb. 19, 6:17am

Dolly Parton rejects proposed statue of her at Tennessee Capitol: "I don't think putting me on a pedestal is appropriate at this time"
Caitlin O'Kane | February 19, 2021

feb. 21, 10:10am

Lloyd's seeks archivist to investigate slave trade links (BBC)

Insurance market Lloyd's of London is seeking an archivist who would examine its artefacts for historical links to the slave trade...

feb. 22, 10:55pm

Politicians should not 'weaponise' UK history, says colonialism researcher (Guardian)

The academic leading the National Trust’s efforts to explore links between its properties and colonialism has warned of a “menacing” attempt to censor and politicise historical research. Prof Corinne Fowler, the director of the Colonial Countryside project, said her work was “absolutely not political” and that politicians should not “weaponise history”, adding: “When you try to interfere with academic freedom in the name of free speech, you’re steering the country in a dangerous direction”...

Oliver Dowden, the culture secretary, would use the round table on Tuesday to warn organisations against focusing too heavily on Britain’s imperial history...

Fowler, a professor of postcolonial literature at the University of Leicester, said it was “menacing” to suggest the government will determine which future projects are funded. “How can less history be better than more history? Surely we should be expanding and deepening our understanding of history in all its complexity,” she said. “And historians do rewrite history. Stonehenge has just been discovered to have a different history based on new evidence. It’s the same with colonial history, as new evidence comes to light, we reassess our view. That’s what historians do.” Fowler said she had been researching country houses and empire for 10 years but her work had never received this level of attention previously, something she attributes to a “culture war” being declared after the Black Lives Matter protests last year. “But some of us don’t want to fight culture wars, we want to have sensible conversations about evidence-based research,” she said.

She likened the attacks on her work to those previously experienced by climate scientists, adding: “I’m very worried that all across Europe, and in the US and in Australia, there are similar attacks on academic freedom like this. And these attacks tend to be directed at prominent female academics”...

feb. 23, 1:10am

#133---I don't know how anyone could come to any other conclusion but that British history wasn't pretty damn gnarly whether in Africa, Asia, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand or North America. They pretty much wrote the book on modern colonialism. We talk about Israel some times and their treatment of Palestinians but they learned a lot of their tactics from the British.

Anyway reading your #111 as well I remember reading a story about Irish people who were shipped off to a Caribbean Island(s) as slaves during the time of the penal laws who mixed in with African slaves being sold into slavery at the same time.

Editat: feb. 23, 6:23am

>134 lriley:

Although as I alluded in another thread recently, we grew up being unaware of any of the "gnarly" (I love that word!) side of British history - it wasn't taught in history or geography classes in any of the schools I went to, and the UK media (which is broadly owned by the right wing with a few notable exceptions) tended (and still does) towards talking up imperialism, militarism and colonialism, harking back to an imaginary golden age.

My >133 John5918: is also an example of how the so-called "cancel culture" which right wingers love to accuse the left of is actually more often applied by the right, who don't want their flawed historical and other narratives to be challenged. As the good professor points out, the right also attempted to "cancel" the scientific evidence on climate change, although fortunately they have generally failed to cancel that one.

feb. 23, 6:16am

#135---it's kind of a 'history is written by the winners' thing and sometimes it can take centuries to actually get to what the reality was....and it's not like here in the United States we were very perfect either. We made treaties with Native Americans pretty much knowing we would break those treaties and push them either farther west or into small restricted areas when we weren't annihilating their communities altogether. And for most people of the time and probably even today it was all justifiable.

As far as our right is absolutely reactionary. They can't help justifying every little thing with this is what the constitution said or what our founders wanted......and it's almost all interpretation on their part---for instance the second amendment and damn whatever facts there are now. 'John Hancock and Thomas Jefferson gave me the right to buy a flamethrower and parade it around town'. The constitution to them is not a living breathing thing adaptable to changing with the times or situations. To them it has to be what it was from the beginning--a rock solid unadaptable document more like the old testament and they've turned these people who wrote it into almost biblical figures. Harkening back to the past is not a good way to move into the future.

feb. 23, 11:12pm

Unions fear government wants museums to 'airbrush' UK history (Guardian)

Unions representing museum staff fear that the culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, is seeking to “airbrush” Britain’s colonialist and racist past following a meeting with the heads of some of the UK’s most prestigious cultural institutions... their members were “deeply worried” that the government was challenging the independence of museums and galleries to provoke an unnecessary “culture war” over the portrayal of historical figures... “Ministers need to respect the independence and professionalism of institutions, and our members who work there, to get on with the job, and that means listening to their expertise over any fringe clamour”...

feb. 28, 2:28am

Alumna teaches students the history that's not in the books (Forida International University)

She writes her own curriculum – infusing the culture, food and stories she remembers from her childhood visits to Jamaica, a cultural crossroads resulting from a history of colonialism. She’s trying to change a system that covers the black history narrative of slavery and the civil rights movement without making important connections to the present day... Her desire to engage students in new ways of viewing history originates from her own experiences in learning... She wants her students to see themselves and recognize that their own history is part of all history. Her classes often leave them asking, ‘How come I haven’t learned this before?’...

feb. 28, 11:58pm

Ireland 1921: how republicans used their whiteness to win freedom (Guardian)

The comparisons between Ireland and other colonial possessions were not fanciful. To many British politicians, the situation in Ireland was on a par with the postwar nationalist revolts they faced in Egypt and India. Irish revolutionary leaders themselves supported self-determination as a universal principle. But the unspoken assumption of the French journalist who impressed Hammond was crucial: the Irish merited better treatment than the Berbers fighting French and Spanish colonialists in North Africa because they were white. Although the Irish revolutionaries worked to forge links with anti-colonial movements across the world, they were increasingly aware that proclaiming their whiteness was a clever card to play...

març 2, 11:15pm

Bristol council calls for parliamentary inquiry on slavery reparations (Guardian)

Councillors in Bristol have called for a parliamentary commission of inquiry to be set up to investigate reparations for the UK’s part in the slave trade. A motion approved at an extraordinary full council meeting on Tuesday evening said that the experiences, voices and perspectives of African heritage groups were needed to help develop a “reparations plan” for the city, which is the first authority outside London to approve such a measure...

Ahir, 11:57pm

Northern Ireland council withdraws plan to honour Hercules Mulligan (Guardian)

Proposed tribute to Coleraine man regarded as revolutionary figure in US scrapped over slavery links...