Friday, February 13, 2015

Feb. 13: Why us humans believe.

This will probably be just a short note. First, a couple of quick points.
1. The Irving press still hasn't mentioned the story of three Muslim young people shot to death by their American neighbour in Carolina. As well, Obama has said nothing about it. Gee. He always has lots to say when Muslims kill.

In fact, irving press foreign news gives no sense  whatever of what's going on in the world. To get a sense of what they're ignoring, take a look at Information Clearing House. There's no need to agree with ICH opinions. Certainly, I often don't. But the coverage of ICH is far broader than that of irving press, and gives a much stronger sense of the chaos, suffering, and outright insanity that is running loose. And, yes, it will affect even Moncton.

For that matter, even Google News does a far, far better job than the irving press.

2. In a speech in Quebec, Harper vowed to appeal a court decision that allows a Muslim woman to take the Canadian citizenship oath while wearing a heavy veil called a nigab. It covers all but the eyes, Perhaps a more sensitive person than the judges, he feels the nigab is offensive. (It's also not 'our' way of doing things.) Oh, well, if it's not 'our' way, then it can't be allowed. - though he should consult experts on what it means to lose one's own ways. He might start with Canada's native peoples.

He might also look at the case of orthodox Jewish women who shave their heads on marriage, and wear wigs for the rest of their lives. Should they be required to remove their wigs on legal occasions?

Why is Harper doing this? After all, while many Muslim women wear a veil, very, very few wear the nigab. In fact, though I taught a great many muslim students, some of whom wore veils, I can recall only one who wore a nigab. And, insensitive clod that I am, I was not offended. So why is Harper getting his knickers in a twist about this?

Well, he made the announcement in Quebec.

Quebec, including both French and English has always been a hotbed of bigotry and racism. I lived most of my life in the middle of that. One summer, I ran a Jewish camp and, almost every day, I wore a T shirt with a star of David on it. One day, I visited a nearby vacation spot of Montreal's English rich. And that night, the lake committee had an emergency meeting to find out who had let the Jew in.

Blacks had it even worse. As late as the 1960s, they could not rent housing in most of the city, could not enter many of the restaurants or hotels or clubs.Orientals had similar problems. Quebec separatists raised bigotry to an art form. with laws forbidding any religious symbols to be worn by civil servants. (Well, a small cross was okay.)

There's no great Muslim vote in Quebec; and the little there is would affect only one riding, at most. But there's a big Quebec French and English vote, and that vote has lots and lots of bigots and racists. That's why Harper is "offended" by the nigab. And that's why he announced it in Quebec. This is a man who specializes in stirring hatred, fear, bigotry and racism.
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Well, this is getting long already , and I'm just now getting to the point of it. In his column of Feb. 13, on B9, Alec Bruce has a rather rambling discussion on Harper. One sentence had little to do with his topic, but it was the one, toward the end, that caught my eye.  "Do I think he pm should make nice with Vlad the inhaler of the Ukraine? Nope."
The reference, obviously is to Putin.

Yep, gotta watch them there russkies. They's evil. Not like us at all.

Um, well, Which country in all the world has been the worst aggressor over the last 70 years? Can you spell United States? _Care to give us a list of countries Putin has invaded?  Even Ukraine doesn't make the list.  All the evidence is that that the elected government of Ukraine was overthrown by US money, just as US money played a role in setting up the so-called civil war in Syria.

The US has become so detested in Latin America for its interference and invasions. That's why most of Latin America has left the US dominated Organization of American States to form their own body.  The US has murdered hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans over the last 40 years, especially in Central America. It did so to force poverty and deadly pollution over those countries in order to make bigger profits for American (and Canadian) billionaires.

Sure looks like a Vlad the inhaler to me.

And that doesn't count the millions killed , crippled , impoverished, exploited all over Africa and Asia. We can't even name all the countries because so much is carried out by special ops (hired killers) and drones - and they don't make the news media.

But, oh, says Alec Bruce, we have to watch that evil Putin. Perhaps in his next column, he can give us a list of all the millions Putin has murdered or impoverished or invaded.

Yes, I know Putin is not a sweet guy. His rule is heavy; he discriminates; and I have no doubt there is blood on his hands.

But Vlad the inhaler? Come off it. He's not even close. And if you'll take a look, you'll notice that many countries, fed up with with US greed and dominance, have been making friends with Russia -  countries like Egypt and Venezuela.

And, now, the US has brought us to the edge of a nuclear war with Russia and, perhaps, with China. And Europe is very, very scared. That's why Europe forced peace talks in Ukraine. Alas! Those peace talks are likely to achieve nothing. Then Alec Bruce will blame the Russians - as will the rest of our news media - and most of us.

Bruce's statement is pure nonsense. But I'm sure Bruce believes it. So will most of us.

Us humans have always been like that. The British people cheered for their empire. They saw it as glorious and inspiring. Actually, there was nothing glorious about it. It was brutal, murderous, and based on pure greed. Its destruction of societies threw whole continents into confusion, misery, and exploitation. And that, with the help of France, Belgium, The Netherlands and the US is what has created the chaos we now live in.

Rudyard Kipling even saw the obvious murder and torture and exploitation as though it were a job that Christians had to take up for the good of the "savages".. He wrote the following poem to encourage the US in its conquest of the Phillipines, a conquest that set up a US dictatorship for forty years, and killed or tortured hundreds of thousands.

Take up the White man's burden.-
Send forth the best ye breed.
Go, bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild -
Your new-caught sullen peoples,
Half devil and half child.

I ate that stuff up when I was a kid. It took me a long time to realize this was racist, arrogant, unspeakably cruel, all to make the very rich even richer - and as vicious as anything Hitler ever did. But the American people - and most Canadians - have bought into the myth, even that we are doing God's will.

Our racism was - and is- important. It justified all the destruction and greed. And we were superior beyond that because we were a high civilization - and those others were all  'savages'. In fact, nobody quite knows what the word savage means. And,  in any case, the people we called savages had civilizations. The Africans did, the Asians did, our native peoples did (feminists  today are still trying to catch up to where native women were 300 years ago). All that we brought to those people was chaos, horribly suffering, and death.

Thus, we vote for people who tell us that Russians and Muslims are just naturally evil. It's their nature. It's our nature to be good And we preserve that by not seeing the evil and greed we brought to most of the world.

And that's the audience Harper is appealing to for the next election. That's why he wants to ban Muslim women from wearing the nigab while taking the oath of citizenship. He's appealing to our racism and bigotry, for our capacity to invent evil in others, but not to see real evil in ourselves. After all, it worked for the British and the French and the Belgian and the Dutch and now the American empires.

It worked for them. But at a heavy price for the whole world. And now, I fear, we have come to end of that road..


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