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History is Disturbing in so Many Ways

April 2, 2011 Leave a comment

I just saw the movie Amistad (1997) this evening.  I cried my frickin eyes out during several parts of the film.  When Cinque remembers what happened on the Tecora and the Amistad I could hardly stand it.  A few weeks ago I watched In the Heat of the Night (1967).  I could barely stand that either.  Racism and the subjugation of people makes me so angry and sad about humanity. 

I have been doing some research on slavery in America, the slave trade and abolitionists.  I came upon some historical documents and found this one.  It is quite lovely…yeah right.  Is it wrong if I blame Christianity for causing so much suffering in the past 2000 years?  The whole religious paradigm people live in directs their whole vision of the world.  Ever since I had a Native American teacher for U.S. History in high school have I hated seeing Jackson’s face on the $20 bill.  Here is a tiny part of why:

Andrew Jackson’s Second Annual Message

It gives me pleasure to announce to Congress that the benevolent policy of the Government, steadily pursued for nearly thirty years, in relation to the removal of the Indians beyond the white settlements is approaching to a happy consummation. Two important tribes have accepted the provision made for their removal at the last session of Congress, and it is believed that their example will induce the remaining tribes also to seek the same obvious advantages.

The consequences of a speedy removal will be important to the United States, to individual States, and to the Indians themselves. The pecuniary advantages which it promises to the Government are the least of its recommendations. It puts an end to all possible danger of collision between the authorities of the General and State Governments on account of the Indians. It will place a dense and civilized population in large tracts of country now occupied by a few savage hunters. By opening the whole territory between Tennessee on the north and Louisiana on the south to the settlement of the whites it will incalculably strengthen the southwestern frontier and render the adjacent States strong enough to repel future invasions without remote aid. It will relieve the whole State of Mississippi and the western part of Alabama of Indian occupancy, and enable those States to advance rapidly in population, wealth, and power. It will separate the Indians from immediate contact with settlements of whites; free them from the power of the States; to enable them pursue happiness in their own way and under their own rude institutions; will retard the progress of decay, which is lessening their numbers, and perhaps cause them gradually, under the protection of the Government and through the influence of good counsels, to cast off their savage habits and become an interesting, civilized, and Christian community.

What good man would prefer a country covered with forests and ranged by a few thousand savages to our extensive Republic, studded with cities, towns, and prosperous farms embellished with all the improvements which art can devise or industry execute, occupied by more than 12,000,000 happy people, and filled with all the blessings of liberty, civilization and religion?

The present policy of the Government is but a continuation of the same progressive change by a milder process. The tribes which occupied the countries now constituting the Eastern States were annihilated or have melted away to make room for the whites. The waves of population and civilization are rolling to the westward, and we now propose to acquire the countries occupied by the red men of the South and West by a fair exchange, and, at the expense of the United States, to send them to land where their existence may be prolonged and perhaps made perpetual. Doubtless it will be painful to leave the graves of their fathers; but what do they more than our ancestors did or than our children are now doing? To better their condition in an unknown land our forefathers left all that was dear in earthly objects. Our children by thousands yearly leave the land of their birth to seek new homes in distant regions. Does Humanity weep at these painful separations from everything, animate and inanimate, with which the young heart has become entwined? Far from it. It is rather a source of joy that our country affords scope where our young population may range unconstrained in body or in mind, developing the power and facilities of man in their highest perfection. These remove hundreds and almost thousands of miles at their own expense, purchase the lands they occupy, and support themselves at their new homes from the moment of their arrival. Can it be cruel in this Government when, by events which it can not control, the Indian is made discontented in his ancient home to purchase his lands, to give him a new and extensive territory, to pay the expense of his removal, and support him a year in his new abode? How many thousands of our own people would gladly embrace the opportunity of removing to the West on such conditions! If the offers made to the Indians were extended to them, they would be hailed with gratitude and joy.

And is it supposed that the wandering savage has a stronger attachment to his home than the settled, civilized Christian? Is it more afflicting to him to leave the graves of his fathers than it is to our brothers and children? Rightly considered, the policy of the General Government toward the red man is not only liberal, but generous. He is unwilling to submit to the laws of the States and mingle with their population. To save him from this alternative, or perhaps utter annihilation, the General Government kindly offers him a new home, and proposes to pay the whole expense of his removal and settlement.
A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents 1789-1908, Volume II, by James D. Richardson, published by Bureau of National Literature and Art ,1908

All of my highlighting, obviously.  The words are such utter bullshit I can hardly stand myself and I am literally laughing over it.

Articles found here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/index.html

Steig Larsson’s Crime Thrillers

December 10, 2010 Leave a comment

The Millennium Triology

I LOVED these books.  I read them each in less than 4 days.  And they are 500-600 page books.  Wow.  I have never been so sucked into a mystery before as I was throughout this trilogy.  Lisbeth Salander is one of the most interesting characters in modern literature that I have read before.  I am not going to say that these will go down as examples of the best literature of the age but their popularity and bestseller status may.

Finishing the third novel I don’t think I have ever cheered out loud as much I as I did when Advokat Giannini was bringing that bastard Teleborian down on the stand!