Friday, November 15, 2019

1619, Mao, & 9-11: History According to the NYT—Plus, a Remarkable Issue of National Geographic Reveals the Leftists' "Blame America First" Approach to History

Over the past few months, the New York Times has opined three times on historical questions, both ancient and recent.

How valid, how pretty (sic), have the results been?

First, the 1619 Project, which is designed to call America's entire history a scam, for which Americans deserve to be shamed and punished. (I forgot where I read it, but this is hardly unrelated to the fact it appears that the Democrats' 2020 candidates want less to govern Americans than to punish Americans.)

(The present post is mainly about the 1619 take, and la pièce de résistance is a remarkable document by the left-leaning National Geographic's attempt to share in and to contribute to the leftist message — below, in the third part of this post. After a presentation of the Times's, i.e., the leftists', twisted view of history (part 1 of this post) and a discussion thereof (part 2) — not least Europe's contribution to the demonization of the United States (for almost two centuries, if not more!) — the final, 3rd, part, will feature an in-depth examination of a fully left-leaning article that actually manages to utterly debunk the leftists' (and the Europeans') entire (self-serving) premise.)

Second, America's paper of record described the "narrative" within the "arch of history" of communist China's founder as a rise from poverty to (apparently well-deserved) fame and glory. Mao Zedong "began as an obscure peasant", the Times wrote (quoting its own 1976 obituary), and he "died one of history's greatest revolutionary figures."  (By the way: don't forget that Trump ‘May Be Responsible for Many More Millions of Deaths’ than Hitler, Stalin, and Mao — hardly an implausible conclusion to make, when you reflect upon the fact that the NYT' headline for a 1953 Kremlin obituary was: Stalin Rose From Czarist Oppression to Transform Russia Into Mighty Socialist State.)

So, China's revolutionary, who went out of his way to murder 45 million people, deserves nothing but praise and hagiography. While America's revolutionaries must be condemned irrevocably for having slaves (as was part of daily life at the time, indeed had been so the world over up until their era, when Founding Fathers such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson went out of their way to begin the abolition thereof) — slaves who, by all accounts, were treated in a relatively humane fashion. (By the way, does the average American — does the average foreigner (!) — know that African-Americans in North America lived about twice as long as their fellow slaves in South America, as well as far longer than in Africa… itself? Probably not. That would make the demonization of the United States — along with what is alleged to be white privilege — much harder to accomplish…)
Third, on the 18th anniversary of 9/11, the "newspaper of record" sent out a commemorative tweet ignoring the Islamist terrorists ("airplanes took aim" — compare with guns kill people and must be banned; an irreverent Iowahawk adds, "And 18 years later, we still somehow allow airplanes to be legal. Let that sink in"), managing to downplay the number of the victims (is 2977 closer to "more than 2000" or simply to nearly 3,000?).

The Times also referred to their cold-blooded murders as simple deaths; not to mention they made the chief part of the story the fact that "families will gather at Ground Zero" and that "there will be an outpouring of grief." (On June 6, do we put the main focus on the young American, British, and Canadian soldiers storming ashore in Normandy in 1944 or on the (relatively banal) "annual ritual[s] of mourning" by their families in subsequent years and decades where "once more", common civilians remember their loved ones?)

Likewise, when Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in October 2019, the Washington Post referred to the ISIS terrorist-in-chief (at least temporarily) as an austere religious scholar while Bloomberg News tried to outdo the Democracy Dies in Darkness newspaper with a fawning headline hailing an up-from-the-bootstraps story.

As an aside, may it be pointed out that the New York Times approach to 9/11 sounds remarkably like that of their fellow leftist, Ilhan Omar, when she describes the crimes of the Islamists as "some people did something," all the while going ballistic at the alleged sins of Americans.

Granted, Omar managed to backtrack somewhat subsequently, saying on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that
9/11 was an attack on all Americans. It was an attack on all of us, and I certainly could not understand the weight of the pain that the families of the victims of 9/11 must feel.
But the Minnesota representative immediately hedges this with a "But": she tempers this with what she finds objectionable — truly shocking — which is that
It’s important for us to make sure that we are not forgetting the aftermath of 9/11, [when] many Americans found themselves now having their civil rights stripped from them, and so what I was speaking to was that as a Muslim, not only was I suffering as an American who was attacked on that day, but the next day I woke up as my fellow Americans were now treating me as suspect.
First of all, when people bring up the suffering and the hundreds of post-9/11 anti-Muslim crimes, they refrain from explaining that many, if not most, of these "hate crimes" are little else than such things as anonymous phone calls with insults.

Forgive me if I am so callous not to get extremely upset about this type of "crime" and would prefer suffering such types of crimes by far, 1,000 times over, to getting blown to smithereens by aircraft used as missiles and having skyscrapers collapse on my head. Or, as a French father wrote four years after 130 people were killed by Islamists in the 2015 attacks in Paris, "They killed my daughter at Le Bataclan, and their women dare to pout about not being allowed to wear a veil!"

Having said that, there is simply no truth to any part of Ilhan Omar's statement: in the aftermath of 9/11, everybody lost civil rights (just look at airport security). Indeed, Americans, whatever their race, creed, or religion, lost civil rights precisely because America was, and is, doing its utmost to show impartiality to the Muslim American community, by targeting everyone as potential suspects…
(End of the brief Omar aside…)

Whatever the case: According to leftists, Americans are sinners and need to be shamed, with every molehill made into a mountain. By contrast, America's adversaries, from Mao's communists to Bin Laden's Islamists, are heroic or at least blameless and need to be excused, with every mountain made into a molehill.

To conclude: don't you recognize the NYT's approach to history, whether it's by mainstream media types or simple left-leaning citizens, as well as to current events? Previous generations called it "BLAME AMERICA FIRST!"

(Even as a teenager, I protested: "Why 'first'? There is no 'first'!" It should be called "Blame America alone"!  And so t'is.)

The message to America and to Americans is:

You have nothing to be proud of.

Indeed, the only thing you ought to feel is shame!



From Mike Gonzalez in the Federalist:
the series is but yet another attempt to make Americans [and foreigners alike (!)] question [the] country’s very core
Adds Lyman Stone:
the 1619 Project … isn’t mostly about helping Americans understand the role played by plantation agriculture in American history. It’s mostly about convincing Americans [and foreigners alike (!)] that “America” and “slavery” are essentially synonyms.
It’s mostly about trying to tell readers they should feel sort of, kind of, at least a little bit bad about being American, because, didn’t you hear? As several articles say explicitly, America, in its basic DNA, is not a liberal democracy, constitutional republic, or federation. It’s a slave society.

Nothing is more repellent than the next generation of American (as well as foreign, chiefly European) schoolchildren and college students believing that America is uniquely, demonically evil and even that America invented slavery.

Over at RealClearInvestigations, John Murawski chimes in:
 … the spread of ethnic studies from college campuses to K-12 education is raising alarm among those who find the field one-sided, ideological and frightening. They note, for example, that college students generally take such courses voluntarily, whereas as high-schoolers and middle-schoolers may not have a choice. 

"It comes dangerously close to turning American exceptionalism on its head: Yes, we're exceptional – exceptionally evil,” said Will Swaim, president of the California Policy Center, a free market think tank. "It is remindful of re-education camps in Vietnam or China. It is indoctrination rather than education.”

Instapundit's Sarah Hoyt raises her voice:
Sure, there was slavery in America in the seventeenth century.  Bad news guys. There was slavery everywhere in the seventeenth century, pretty much.

 … Within [the Declaration of Independence], these words — these revolutionary, crazy words — contained the seeds of real justice, contained the fall of slavery, contained… we don’t know yet, but contained the possibility of a future we can build, a future that’s more equitable than all the past.

 … The left wants to revile and destroy our founding fathers in order to make themselves appear revolutionary and new, and innovative.

 … Yes, the founders were men who lived and died in a world full of slavery. But what they built had within it the end of slavery. All kinds of slavery.  It was a mental revolution. The kind that can’t be reset.
Over at the Cat Rotator's Quarterly, TXRed puts things in perspective;
That the Spanish and Prortugese had already been bringing African slaves over, and that almost every other people on the American continents practiced slavery, and that the rest of the planet practiced slavery, doesn’t seem to matter. That slavery is still practiced today, in part because some religious texts positively command it, doesn’t matter to those who are concerned with chattel slavery of Africans as practiced in the British colonies.

Yes, slavery has been around as long as humans have been around in sufficient numbers to get into disputes. And it continues, either openly as slavery, or as debt-peonage, or concubinage, or debt-slavery, or “life servants,” or “gift servants.” Only Europeans tried to end the practice, because they believed that all men were created equal, and that enslaving people was no longer a right and moral practice. But that doesn’t count, or so the New York Times and other sources suggest.
Me being me, I have to wave my penalty flag. First off, slavery is not unique to the Americas, Europeans, or Africans. Everyone enslaved everyone else, ever since waaaay back when.
Africans enslaved other Africans, and sold them to everyone else. Until almost 1800, it was native Africans who controlled the sale of slaves to Europeans in west Africa. …
The Mongols, and later Tatars captured millions of Europeans and sold them into slavery over the course of time from around 1000 until the 1700s. The last slave raids against England and Iceland were in the late 1600s! Part of the job of the Royal Navy was to keep Barbary Pirates from landing and kidnapping English men and women to sell in North Africa. … Indian groups owned slaves just like Euro-Americans did.
… Having practiced chattel slavery makes the US neither unique nor especially evil. It means we were like other humans since the eighth day of creation. 
Over at Minding the Campus, Peter Wood points out that the 1619 Project comes in the wake of
Ta-Nehisi Coates’ anti-white screed Between the World and Me (2015) … now the second most-assigned book in the country in college summer reading programs. Coates treats slavery as an institution that was never truly abolished. It continues as the pervasive racism of American society.

 … The Times launched its 1619 Project on August 18 to a great deal of fanfare. 1619 is the year that the first black African slaves landed at Jamestown. It is a noteworthy date, but not quite what the beginning of slavery in the New World or in what would become the United States. The Spanish [and the Portuguese — see below] had brought African slaves long before. And we have at least one account by an early Spanish soldier, Cabeza de Vaca, who was captured and enslaved by Native Americans in the South in the 1520s. Slavery was an indigenous American institution long before Europeans got here.

Be that as it may, the Times wants to re-imagine the European version of America as founded on slavery and stained in every possible way by the continuing effects of slavery. This is a political project more than a historical one. Its unacknowledged goal is to taint all opposition to progressive political goals as rooted in the perpetuation of oppression, and perhaps to delegitimize America itself.

 … But the 1619 Project also reduces the lives of African Americans to perpetual victimhood, and it ignores the glorious ideal of freedom in American history. It reverses the traditional conception of America as an exceptional land of liberty to conceive of it as an exceptional land of slavery and oppression.

 … The 1619 Project creates a new kind of Black Legend, which casts America as uniquely, demonically evil.

The Times is calculating that Americans are already primed to believe this new Black Legend. They have been softened up by the pseudo-history of Howard Zinn, whose elaborately distorted vision in A People’s History of the United States has been swallowed whole by millions. (A nod of appreciation is due to Mary Grabar whose new book Debunking Howard Zinn is a long-overdue corrective to the Marxist storyteller.) Others are hoping the 1619 Project will flatten what is left of resistance to anti-American mythmaking in K-12 and college history courses. The new Black Legend is already comfortably ensconced in many of our high schools and colleges. The first book college students read very likely treats it as fact.

 … The campaign to delegitimize America, to recast it as a uniquely evil force for slavery and oppression, has triumphed in a myriad of classrooms in American [and European] higher education.

 … The college administrators … deans, provosts, and presidents … are already true believers in The 1619 Project … The institutional stamp of higher education tells incoming college students throughout the country: We believe in the Black Legend of American villainy. And you should too. After all, the editors at The New York Times who commissioned The 1619 Project learned their defamatory history in college.
Do not think that Europe's role in this is secondary or passive. Au contraireEurope's influence in these teachings is paramount and must not be minimized.

From the Europeans' school benches in the 19th century to the establishment in the United States of the Frankfurt School — certainly the European élites' most successful gambit has been to take over at least parts of American education over the course of the 20th century — with the more or less willing aid of the Democrat Party.

I am the son of diplomats who, every three years, would be posted in the embassy of a different national capital — among the places I lived in through my childhood were Denmark, the United States, France, and Belgium:
In Scandinavia I learned about slavery in America along with the treatment of the Indians.

In France I learned about slavery in America along with the treatment of the Indians.

In Belgium I learned about slavery in America along with the treatment of the Indians.

In Scandinavia we did not learn much about the Sámi people — a people, and a word, even most Scandinavians would barely recognize (they are better known as Lapps or Laplanders, but with no Swedish blood-letting attached to their names, only romantic folklore).

In France we did not learn much about Napoleon's conquest of Haiti and the horrors perpetrated on the blacks of that island, along with the reenslavement (!) of the former slaves liberated during the French Revolution.

In Belgium we did not learn much about the kingdom's Congo — where, 20 to 40 years after Appomattox, indeed all the way into the early 20th century, blacks were not only the equivalents of slaves, but the terror and brutality meted upon them dwarfed any punishment seen on a Southern plantation, the most terrifying being the most horrific instances of maiming (having hands and/or feet chopped off) if they did not meet their masters' expectations.

Nor, needless to say, does any American schoolchild learn much, if anything, about the Sami, Haiti, or King Leopold's Congo Free State.

When King Leopold's Ghost (A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa) was translated into French and Dutch, writes Adam Hochschild,
The Belgian prime minister clearly wanted the row to end. "The colonial past is completely past," he told the [Guardian]. "There is really no strong emotional link any more. . . . It's history."
That's it. The only country where the "past" — if and when leaning towards the negative — is never "completely past" is the United States. The only sins, real or alleged, that there is a strong emotional link to is America's.

As Walt Whitman wrote in the midst of civil war, around 1863 or 1864,
The Democratic Republic has paid her to-day the terrible and resplendent compliment of the united wish of all the nations of the world that her Union should be broken, her future cut off, and that she should be compell’d to descend to the level of kingdoms and empires ordinarily great! There is certainly not one government in Europe but is now watching the war in this country, with the ardent prayer that the united States may be effectually split, crippled, and dismember’d by it. There is not one but would help toward that dismemberment, if it dared. I say such is the ardent wish to-day of England and of France, as governments, and of all the nations of Europe, as governments. I think indeed it is to-day the real, heart-felt wish of all the nations of the world

 … We need this hot lesson of general hatred, and henceforth must never forget it. Never again will we trust the moral sense nor abstract friendliness of a single government of the world.
The reason is very simple: the hatred for America started in the 1780s, when George Washington, instead of executing the Hessian prisoners, instead of keeping the mercenaries imprisoned, or instead of simply sending them home, offered them to remain in the United States and become citizens, even giving them, as far as I remember, free land.

Coupled with comparatively minute amounts of taxes, this led to two fears in Europe's more or less oppressive kingdoms. First, that their countries would become deserted, as whole strata of their populations started emigrating to the land of the free and the brave (for instance, one tenth of the Danish people, one fourth of the Swedish, and one third of the Norwegian); and, two, that their populations would not emigrate (and who could tell which scenario was worse?!) but might start demanding the same rights and freedoms, not to mention the same comparatively low taxes, in their homelands as in America. 

In that perspective, it is no coincidence that it was after the revolutions of 1848, that the European élites eventually started treating their populations better and invented the public school, while passing the message, overtly or covertly, and foremost to their nations' respective children, that those Yankees were hypocrites, racists, violent, and without an iota of compassion within them.

The people, convinced that they (and that their élites) are compassionate, tolerant, and overflowing with wisdom, take these (self-serving) notions to heart and have been doing so for more than a century.

(Similarly, the whole purpose of the social studies systems that grew in Europe throughout the 19th century seems to be to prove that the average person cannot be trusted and therefore that popular government does not work.)

As mentioned earlier, among the most disastrous events of the past 100 years is the Frankfurt School's success in importing European myths to America's schools.

Listen to Mike Gonzalez in the Federalist again:
Edmund Burke wrote in 1790, “To make us love our country, our country ought to be lovely,” and [Howard] Zinn, [Herbert] Marcuse, [Ta-Nehisi Coates, Bryan Stevenson,] and the writers of the “1619 Project” understood that the obverse is also true: You make children believe their nation has been hideous from the start, and you have the makings of a peaceful revolution.
No wonder that, as Jamie Kirchik put it, Barack Obama
entered the White House with a deep conviction that many of the world’s problems were chiefly the consequence of American hubris [which the apologizer-in-chief with the brilliant forward-looking policy of smart diplomacy basically referred to as] disastrous acts of American imperialist aggression
As the Stéphane blog puts it,
we can turn the subject in all directions, in the final analysis, the only problem in the world turns out to be the United States. … In short, nothing is ever right. On the one hand Americans are scolded for acting the part of the world's policeman, on the other, for not acting with the responsibility and the diligence of the world's policeman.
Let Pascal Bruckner have the final word: as it turns out,
there exists in Europe a group of shallow critics [echoed by their American counterparts, better known as leftists and as Democrats] for whom the worst crime by a tyrant like Milosevic [or Saddam, Ho, Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Santa Anna, George III] … can never match the fundamental crime of America's intrinsic sin: the very fact of its existence. (Il existe en Europe un groupe de critiques primaires, pour qui le pire crime d’un tyran comme Milosevic … ne pourra jamais égaler le crime fondamental de l’Amérique — le simple fait d’exister.)
In a sense, it is less an anti-American position per se than a position against independence and self-rule (which the Americans have tried to be champions of for the past two and a half centuries).
Related: 1619: Wondering Why Slavery Persisted for Almost 75 Years After the Founding of the USA? According to Lincoln, the Democrat Party's "Principled" Opposition to "Hate Speech"

Who, Exactly, Is It Who Should Apologize for Slavery and Make Reparations? America? The South? The Descendants of the Planters? …

And what all of the above does is bring us to is this post's pièce de résistance. It so happens that the National Geographic got the NYT's message, as its History offspring sets out to join in the demonization of Americans, the nation's birth (its birth defect), and America's very existence.

Like the Journolist — or, more recently, like the Bidens' shady dealings in Ukraine for which all the media outlets hastened to use the exact same dismissive adjective ("inaccurate") to describe a story they had had no more than a few days to investigate — it seems that a number of MSM reporters, editors, and publications have all agreed more or less in secret to set out a broadside of the same, or of a similar, message at the same time.

Over the decades, once-neutral periodicals like the National Geographic, and once-conservative periodicals like the Reader's Digest, have been taken over by leftists and become left-leaning publications. 

Lyman Stone, Peter Wood, and TXRed are among those who have written lengthy articles whose factual details entirely undercut and debunk the 1619 project. (As it turns out, The United States Was a Footnote in Slavery’s History.)

But most of those writers are conservative. What is remarkable about the article by "a historian of the African diaspora" is that the article is introduced by an opening paragraph presuming America's guilt. Likewise, Dr. Kelley Fanto Deetz's piece ends with finger-wagging about the depth of American guilt. However, if you read the article, "400 years ago, enslaved Africans first arrived in Virginia", the National Geographic's quarterly offshoot is entirely open about the mutiple-nation, multiple-continent, existence of slavery, hiding nothing and in fact giving far more details than our conservative friends do.

What is fascinating about leftists' written history is how they try to get all, or most, details correct, but in the end, they still manage to pull off the "Blame America First Alone" editorializing.

The article starts familiarly enough — with castigation of the United States (or of the future United States):
In late August 1619, “20 and odd” captive Africans first touched the soil at Point Comfort (now Fort Monroe National Monument), part of England’s new colony in Virginia. These men and women had been stolen from their homes in Africa, forced to board a ship, and sailed for months into the unknown. The first Africans in an English colony, their arrival is considered by many historians to be the beginning of a 400-year story filled with tragedy, endurance, survival, and a legacy of resilience, inequality, and oppression.
But what follows, especially the first half of the article, is surprisingly neutral and objective — again, that is, until the conclusion.

Here, the Congolese are not the victims as in the late 19th and early 20th century, they are central in the group of oppressive victimizers.

Prepare to be surprised as we take the National Geographic's "400 years ago, enslaved Africans first arrived in Virginia" from the following subhead:

Slavery in Africa

On the west coast of central Africa in the 1600s, the Portuguese were in the midst of a war with Ndongo, a powerful west African kingdom located between the Lukala and Kwanza rivers, in present-day Angola. The people of Ndongo lived in developed cities and towns surrounding their capital city, Kabasa. The capital was where royalty lived, along with approximately 50,000 citizens. In 1618, Portuguese forces aligned with Ndongo’s adversaries, neighboring Imbangala mercenaries, to invade the kingdom. They captured thousands of prisoners to sell into slavery.

These political relationships were spawned 135 years earlier. In 1483, the Portuguese first forged a relationship with the Kingdom of Kongo. Portuguese explorers aimed to spread Catholicism in Africa, colonize both people and land, and grow rich. Upon developing a trade deal with the Portuguese, the Kongo King Nkuwu converted to Catholicism. After his death, his son and heir, King Nzinga Mbemba, took the name King Afonso I and declared the kingdom a Catholic state, firmly bonding the two nations.

In 1512, Afonso I negotiated an agreement with the Portuguese giving them rights to land and direct access to Kongo’s prisoners of war, who would be sold into the transatlantic slave trade. This arrangement provided a model that other European nations and western and central African kingdoms would follow for centuries afterward. (See also: Tracing slaves to their African homelands.)
The first people sold were mostly prisoners of war. African kingdoms were often in conflict, at times absorbing smaller nations or kinship groups into themselves. The vast ethnic, linguistic, and religious diversity in these kingdoms allowed for easily identifiable differences among groups, making it easier for kingdoms to sell their enemies in exchange for weapons and goods to expand and protect their territories. Grand empires, such as the Kongo, Dahomey, Yoruba, Benin, and Asante, were vying for wealth and power in their regions, and Europeans were in need of laborers to build their colonies. It was the ideal circumstance to bring about the largest forced migration in human history.

In just two years, 1618 and 1619, the Portuguese-Imbangala alliance resulted in the capture and enslavement of thousands of Ndongo people, filling at least 36 ships with human cargo. These captives would be sent to the Spanish and Portuguese colonies in Central and South America to work as laborers. It was through this arrangement that slavery would spread to British North America in 1619, when chaos intervened and the destiny of those “20 and odd” Africans was redirected to a place called the Colony of Virginia on the Atlantic coast.
To repeat: In just two years, the Portuguese-Imbangala alliance results in the capture and enslavement of so many Africans that the 1000s upon 1000s of prisoners will fill no less than 36 ships with human cargo. In the second of those two years, a single ship bearing still more African slaves to Iberian America is captured by pirates and sent instead to an English colony, resulting in the landing in Virginia of some 20 Africans

But: neither the Portuguese nor the Spanish nor the English need to be unduly censured for this; neither do the Imbangala nor does any part of Africa. 

No, the only country that deserves castigation is the one that won't be founded for another 150 to 160 years!

They entered the Middle Passage, a phrase used to describe both the trip itself and the shipping of people from the coasts of Africa to the European colonies in the Americas. Conditions aboard the ships were dreadful; a lack of food and water, physical abuse, and severe overcrowding led to the death of approximately 30 percent of the captives on any given ship.

 … It was because of [the] complex political climate that the Africans aboard the San Juan Bautista found themselves in an unexpected turn of events. In late July or early August 1619, just weeks before the Ndongo captives would have been sold through the port of Veracruz, the ship was attacked by pirates searching for Spanish gold.
 … The English colonies were expanding and the captives supplied them with an instant and distinguishable work force. The Spanish and Portuguese capture and enslavement of Africans as laborers in the Atlantic world was common practice by the time Jamestown was established, and the British followed suit. By the end of the 17th century, the colonies’ reliance on indentured servants had shifted toward that of enslaved African people.

Got that? Barely mentioned so far have been the United States — for obvious reasons — as well as their direct colonial forebears (ibid), and neither have their cousins, the colonists' countrymen in Britain (re–ibid). And yet, notice that, as we approach the conclusion of the article, Dr. Kelley Fanto Deetz ("a historian of the African diaspora") loses all interest in, say, the thousands of Ndongo slaves who filled at least 36 ships with human cargo, as she focuses only on the United States.

By all means, the 20-odd slaves arriving in Virginia by a fluke are not uninteresting, far from it, nor is the fate of the thousands of slaves that would follow them over the next two centuries inside what would exclusively become the territory of the USA, but we know where we are headed as the historian of the African diaspora starts to editorialize by echoing Barack Obama's speech that racism is "part of our [i.e., of Americans'] DNA." This is not anything I have a problem with, offhand, but why does racism never seem to be part of the DNA of, say, Portugal, Spain, France, or Belgium? Or part of the DNA of, say, the Kongo, Benin, Asante, or Imbangala nations?

As an Economist article on slavery in South America's largest country (Brazil) signals, sporting a chart from the Transatlantic Slave Trade Database, the 400,000 slaves brought to mainland North America are a minute part of three and a half centuries of transatlantic slave trade from Africa (only the — tiny — archipelago of the Danish West Indies imported fewer slaves) — thus proving that, in fact, The United States Was a Footnote in Slavery’s History. And yet, the article will basically apply the final subhead, "Dark Legacy," to the United States alone.
National Geographic History:
 … Early Virginia census records [mark] the beginnings of a racial caste, formalized into Virginia law by the early 1650s, the enslaved status of African women was written into Virginia law as their children automatically inherited their status and were enslaved at birth, regardless of the father’s identity. This set up slavery as a permanent, hereditary condition. A series of laws, called slave codes, followed, each one cementing racism firmly in the DNA of the United States. 
 … The first Africans in Virginia were followed by more than 400,000 people captured and brought directly from West and central African to the North American slave ports, from New England to New Orleans.

Dark legacy

  most African Americans can only trace their ancestors back to the late 19th century, following emancipation, when African Americans were free to record their own full legal names. Scientific advances in genetics have also given people new tools to find their ancestors via DNA, but creating a full family tree remains unlikely. Few family histories will ever be complete, yet another legacy of the inhumane treatment of enslaved Africans and their descendants. 

Looking back to 1619, one realizes it is time to recognize how racist ideology fed the colonization of the Americas and the systematic enslavement and oppression of both Native Americans and captive Africans. Looking forward, one must also see how necessary it is for humanity to try to tell the full story of the millions of Africans who were stolen away.
Dr. Kelley Fanto Deetz ends on what is seemingly a general note on the Americas, but by this point, the latter half of the article — most of which I have not quoted as you can read it at the link — has only, or mainly, focused on the colonies that would become U.S. states, and it is as clear that the average reader will focus on the U.S. as it is that the "historian of the African diaspora" fully embraces the New York Times's 1619 Project.

Again: The obvious question is if the United States is to be castigated for these sins, why on Earth is it the only, or the main, nation to be so described (and demonized)?  How about the Spanish, Portuguese, and British kingdoms?  How about the Kongo, Dahomey, Yoruba, Benin, and Asante empires? 

In any case, this is how the leftist journalist and/or historian operates: he or she camouflages his writing as straightforward facts-only-ma'am reporting, after a quick sting at the beginning, and then brings editorializing in, more or less subversively, at the end.

Leave it to the wider-angle lens of someone like The Federalist's to point out the true story of slavery in the United States is America's Story Is of Increased Refusal to Tolerate Slavery.
 … in 1775, there was no free soil anywhere in the Western hemisphere. Slavery was a universal law. While I cannot say for certain, it is possible there was no free soil in the entire world—that is, no society that categorically forbade all slavery. … In other words, Americans were early adopters of abolition.
More than that, adds Kevin Gutzman in Reclaiming 1619:
Virtually as soon as independence came, the abolition of slavery began.


Monday, November 11, 2019

Contrary to Gallic Claims About French-Bashing, Americans Are Quite Willing to Recognize French Heroics

An American citizen is among a group of four hostages who have been freed in western Africa following a French special forces military operation that resulted in the deaths of two of their own soldiers, the Elysee announced Friday.
When the news emerged of the raid in May 2019, Fox News decided to treat the news as the main story at the very top of its home page, which ought to help put to rest the French contention (the French paranoia?) that the United States, or at least that conservative-leaning Americans, are so hopelessly into French-bashing that they are never ready to even deign recognizing French heroism.

France said the hostages were rescued Thursday night following a battle in Burkina Faso.

The statement from France said President Emmanuel Macron "bows with emotion and gravity at the sacrifice of our two soldiers, who gave their lives to save those of our fellow citizens".

They were identified as petty officers Cédric de Pierrepont and Alain Bertoncello. A Facebook post by the French Navy added that both men received numerous awards and recognitions throughout their military careers, such as the Gold Level of the National Defense Medal.

The hostages who were rescued, according to France, were a U.S. citizen, a South Korean national, and French nationals Patrick Picque and Laurent Lassimouillas.

The Frenchmen were tourists who were kidnapped during a safari in Benin last week, Reuters reported. The circumstances surrounding the capture of the other two were not immediately clear. …

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Présidentielle américaine de 2020 : Donald Trump peut-il être réélu ?

On the RT France channel on Wednesday, two men leaning respectively Republican and Democrat held a heated debate about the 2020 presidential elections and about whether Donald Trump could be reelected to the White House. "On s'est bien amusé!" said Erik Svane — "It was a lot of fun!"

Présidentielle américaine de 2020 : Donald Trump peut-il être réélu ?

Christophe Mesno, avocat, et Erik Svane, membre des Republicans in France, échangent au sujet de la présidentielle américaine à un an du scrutin et alors qu’une procédure d’impeachment pourrait empêcher Donald Trump d’être candidat.

#EtatsUnis #Présidentielle #Trump

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

The Democrats have decided not so much that Trump committed a crime as that he is a crime; his very existence is criminal

The Democrats (and NeverTrump Republicans) have decided not so much that Trump committed a crime as that he is a crime
writes John Zmirak in a Stream piece entitled The Democrats Punish America for Voting Wrong. Bad Proles, BAD! (Update: thanks for the Instalink)
 … His very existence is criminal, but especially his success in politics.

 … The constitutional system that let absurd people in red baseball caps in flyover country decide to overrule their betters.

Let Them Eat Fentanyl

Elites are actually shocked that such voters themselves really exist, like some crazy aunt locked in the attic or a beaten dog chained in the yard. Let them eat Fentanyl, let them choke to death on lumps of their climate-poisoning coal. (If you don’t believe we face here genuine hatred, remember the lynch mob that gathered so quickly around the innocent teen Nicholas Sandmann.)

What provoked all this was simple. In the minds of our ruling classes, when Barack Obama got elected, that overturned everything. It was meant to be a permanent regime change in America, like the one the Democrats imposed on Libya.

 … Recall how Obama promised that his job was “fundamentally transforming” the country? He wasn’t kidding, and his promise set expectations high. Remember the messianic fervor among the mainstream media and academia that greeted his win? And the prolonged, irrational hysteria that greeted Trump’s? Those two phenomena go together.

Our bi-coastal elites, many schooled in the same post-colonial theory that formed his worldview in college, treated Obama’s defeat of lackluster neocon John McCain as if it were the first election in a post-colonial country.

And we all know how those mostly go: One man, one vote, one time. Had Obama declared himself king, or “President for Life,” and set up a throne surrounded by peacock feathers in the White House, Ivy League political scientists would have stepped up and defended it. Those who cited the Constitution they’d slap down for relying on that “piece of paper written by white male slaveowners.”

The Deep State and its Secret Police

Thankfully, Obama didn’t go quite that far. He did the next best thing, though, ordering surveillance of all opposition candidates by the FBI, which obeyed like a troop of Stasi officers. The crooked FISA warrants and the entire Russia hoax were the result. Trump got no honeymoon, no first 100 Days. Instead, he met “the Resistance,” and learned that it extended all through media, academia, and the Deep State over which he supposedly presided.

The left “resisted” in America the same way it did in Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall, by burrowing into institutions and using their levers to cling to power by any means necessary. …

Pavlovian Condition for the Subhuman Voters in Red States

What’s happening here isn’t politics. It’s vicious, old-fashioned dog training of the cruelest kind. Americans didn’t vote right, and now they will be punished. They refused to accept the regime change imposed on them. So now the Democrats will destroy the country’s government, so as to save it. They will obstruct every initiative, refuse any compromise, gin up every remotely plausible charge that can last for a few news cycles.

 … Every false charge refuted will give way to another. And then another. We’ll never have normal government or an end to this cold civil war, until we have learned our lesson.

Like Foreign Saboteurs

Our country’s establishment, both Democrat and NeverTrump GOP, will do to America what we see British elites doing to the United Kingdom, whose people disobeyed direct orders in voting for Brexit. That is, they’ll sabotage it and wreck everything in sight. They’ll behave like foreign saboteurs instead of fellow citizens. Not because they’re certain of winning in the short run. No, for a much darker reason they might not even admit to themselves.

They want to cause American voters pain, and make them associate that pain with having Trump, or anyone like him, in office. They don’t hope to convince us. That implies too much respect. These people want to condition us, like lab rats, to link conservatives and populists with stagnation and chaos. To flinch like mistreated pets, at the very sight of a newspaper, lest it smack us, HARD, on the nose. If we keep it up, they’re willing to beat us, lock us out, starve us.

What our elites won’t endure is being ruled by us, even when we outvote them. That indignity they will fight with every last milligram of malice in their cankered pagan souls.

Friday, October 11, 2019

The Abhorrent Double Standards of the Left in Sports As Well As in Every Other Aspect of Life

A few years ago, the removal of Confederate flags was proceeding apace when the valiant leftists' next heroic step got into high gear, the destruction or removal of Confederate statues — something that was inevitably praised across the leftist sphere.

Mentioning a slippery slope after the Charlottesville riots, President Donald Trump said (in a speech that was deceitfully reported to make the president sound racist) that this would eventually lead to objections to the American flag, as well as to the banishment of statues and depictions of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson — something that was mocked across the leftist sphere.

(This is something I too had predicted, back in June 2015, just as I predicted in October 2008 that charges of racism against the United States, in spite of the (then-hypothetical) election of a black man, will never cease…) 

It didn't take long for the drama queens (i.e., the very people who had mocked Trump) to prove the Donald (and myself) right. Indeed, in 2016 (after eight years of a black president), a professional sportsman managed to unite leftists in awe, as the football player — one Colin Kaepernick — started kneeling during the national anthem, for the salutary reason to protest police brutality as well as racism in the USA. Since the Star-Spangled Banner ain't Dixie, isn't brave brave Sir Colin's virtue-signaling akin to protesting, if not (yet) demanding the outright removal of, not the Stars and Bars but the Stars and Stripes?!

In the meantime, Democrats lashed out at the Deplorables, past and present, renaming the Jefferson-Jackson Day dinnertwice — while the banning of statues, murals, tapestries, and other images of people with no relation whatsoever to the CSA were implemented or at the very least solemnly discussed, from Christopher Columbus to George Washington, with the epitome being a religious school removing a statue of… Jesus Christ. Meanwhile, the tch-tching of the flag continued apace in various places (not least on T-shirts in high schools) around the country, with Ol' Glory banned or at least frowned upon.

Victor Davis Hanson calls this waging war against the dead:
Not since the iconoclasts of the Byzantine Empire or the epidemic of statue destruction during the French Revolution has the world seen anything like the current war on the past. In 2001, the primeval Taliban blew up two ancient Buddha statues in Afghanistan on grounds that their very existence was sacrilegious to Islam. In 2015, ISIS militants entered a museum in Mosul, Iraq, and destroyed ancient, pre-Islamic statues and idols.
Bursting with valor, corporations were/are quick and eager to jump on the leftists' ban(d)wagon, introducing unisex bathrooms, banning the (legal) sale of firearms, or hiring Kaepernick as their spokesman — and obeying his dictates regarding their (US, not CS) flag-depicting products.

Let us swoon with admiration and praise to the high heavens the insight, the courage, and the activism of these outstanding individuals and of those first-rate institutions.

The praiseworthy institutions include, needless to say, members of the mainstream media such as the New York Times. As it happens, the newspaper of record has weighed in on historical matters three times in the past month or so: the 1619 Project, China's communist revolution, and the 9-11 attacks. (More to come on the NYT and its vision of world history in an upcoming post!)

From the Times, we learn that the Founding Fathers, who in any case are (despicable) racists, turn out to have little to no real hand in the actual founding. As Lyman Stone puts it,
the 1619 Project … isn’t mostly about helping Americans understand the role played by plantation agriculture in American history. It’s mostly about convincing Americans [and foreigners alike (!)] that “America” and “slavery” are essentially synonyms.
One should feel at least a little bit bad about being American, because, as several articles are reported to say, the United States, in its basic DNA, is not a liberal democracy, constitutional republic, or federation. It’s a slave society. 
Indeed, America is uniquely, demonically evil, we are taught by the drama queens.  This is reflected, moreover, in the death of every citizen, if black, at the hands of a policeman, if white, which deserves universal condemnation and shows that the nation of 300+ million deplorables is in fact a nightmare.

Shame, America! Shame! SHAME!

Regarding China and the Muslim world, on the other hand, there is not anything resembling a sh•thole in sight.

Indeed, writes the Times, Mao Zedong "began as an obscure peasant" and "died one of history's greatest revolutionary figures."  (By the way: don't forget that Trump ‘May Be Responsible for Many More Millions of Deaths’ than Hitler, Stalin, and Mao.) So, China's communist founder, who went out of his way to murder 45 million people, deserves nothing but praise and hagiography; while America's revolutionaries must be condemned irrevocably for having slaves (which was part of daily life at the time, including, yes, in Asia and in the Middle East).

As for the anniversary of 9/11, the "newspaper of record" sent out a commemorative tweet ignoring the Islamist terrorists ("airplanes took aim") and managing to downplay the number of the victims (is 2977 closer to "more than 2000" or simply to "nearly 3,000"?).

It's good to know that there are places outside the horrific United States that are so much better to live in than in that Yankee nightmare.

From America's newspaper of record, therefore, we are happy to learn that there does not seem to be any (or much) racism in China or in the Muslim world, there does not seem to be a single slave among the Chinese nor among the Muslims (nor has there ever been one throughout their respective histories), while deaths at the hand of the authorities in communist countries and in Muslim countries are just about unheard of. No, there is nothing about China or the Muslim world to be offended about or simply agonize over.

No deplorables outside the U.S. of America, the superwoke drama queens assure us.

This is what our children in the West are taught in schools. No wonder so many of our kids protest against their own country while thinking kindly of foreign concepts like socialism.

This all brings us to the NBA and ESPN, along with a (growing) handful of other companies.

So: woke and superwoke drama queens are heralded for their fight against oppression (when it — allegedly — concerns American deplorables alone), but…

Not only do the brave sportsmen of the NBA who courageously vowed to boycott North Carolina for its "inhumane" transgender bathroom policies refrain from protesting the Chinese flag or the communist anthem, not to mention Chinese repression (regarding the NBA or just in general); they censor their (own) speech, they clamp down on spectators' free speech, expelling them in the process, and they shut down journalists (even MSM reporters).

Blizzard Entertainment bans a gamer for supporting the Hong Kong protests, Marriott Hotels fires an employee for liking a tweet by a Tibetan separatist group, Tiffany removes an ad that offends the Chinese, and to top it all, a University of Arizona honcho — naturally! — implies that China's human rights record (or lack thereof) cannot be condemned because of… America's Second Amendment. Oh, and let's not forget brave brave ("Oh goody, let's make another movie denouncing American society") Hollywood destroying the career of Richard Gere years ago for echoing the demands of his friend the Dalai Lama.

The assessment in the New York Post of Miranda Devine, who has more on Apple, Google , Mercedes-Benz, Qantas, Air France, Air Canada, and British Airways, is harsh:
The NBA’s kowtowing to China’s bullying is proof, if you ever needed it, that woke capitalism is a sick con job. It is the opposite of “standing for something.”
ESPN enters the fray by forbidding the discussion of Chinese politics during… a discussion of the tweet about Chinese internal politics. Not only is there no opposition to the Chinese flag or the communist anthem or the Chinese leader, there is not even any opposition to a depiction of China's map, i.e., to Chinese propaganda. It's nice when you get clarifying signs.

Regarding Ramona Shelburne's original tweet: In view of the fact that leftists' (self-serving) attitudes have "deeply offended many of [y]our friends and fans in [the United States]", how about referring to that as "regrettable" and showing just a little respect (not even great respect is demanded) "for the history and culture of [the United States]" while using sports "as a unifying force to bridge cultural divides and bring people together"?

Update: We’re Not Exporting Our Values to China — We’re Importing Theirs warns Jim Geraghty:
As of this writing, not a single player, not a single coach, not a single owner has spoken out in support of Morey. You couldn’t get all those guys to agree on any topic in domestic American politics. But for the first forty-eight hours of this controversy, the opinion of everyone associated with the NBA was uniform. Our relationship with China has not made them more like us. It has made us more like them.

Think about it: we have no shortage of professional athletes who are willing to publicly denounce American cops who they deem abusive and brutal. But everybody’s looking at their shoes as the cops in Hong Kong beat the hell out of anybody in a mask and shoot people at point-blank range.
Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr has plenty to say when the topic is mass shootings, Donald Trump, or Colin Kaepernick. But suddenly he finds the topic of Hong Kong just too complicated and “bizarre” for him to comment.
Update 2 (via Instapundit): Nike updates Kaepernick slogan, “Believe in something, unless it upsets the Chinese government”

Related: The Confederate Flag: Another Brick in the Leftwing Activists' (Self-Serving) Demonization of America and Rewriting of History (June 2015)
As We Predicted in 2008, Accusations of American Racism Would, and Will, Never Cease (January 2017)
To What Extent Is It Racist to Vote Against Barack Obama in November 2008? (October 2008)

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

By Being Forced to Walk Back Her Comments, Doesn't Marianne Williamson Prove the Veracity of Those Very Comments?

"What does it say that Fox News is nicer to me than the lefties are?" Marianne Williamson said. "What does it say that the conservatives are nicer to me? It's such a bizarre world."
Has anybody given a thought to the following point — especially… (wait for it…) Marianne Williamson herself?!

By walking back her comments in her interview with Eric Bolling about "the left [being] as mean as the right" — if not (far) meaner — what does the presidential candidate do if nothing less than… prove her own (ex-)point about "the left [being] as mean as the right" (if not — far — meaner)?

To quote Jim Treacher (thanks to Ed Driscoll and to Sarah Hoyt):
Lefties are awful, especially to women. No insult is too cruel. No lie is too insane. Anything goes. Then lefties project their own behavior onto their political opponents, and congratulate themselves for condemning it. They're lunatics. Whereas conservatives, who don't agree with Williamson's policies at all, are decent to her because she seems like an okay person. They're able to separate the person from the politics.

 … Marianne Williamson [turns out to be] just like the rest of them. She accidentally told the truth, and now she's walking it back because it's politically inconvenient. She's terrified that her own tribe will cast her out for her heresy. … she's afraid of alienating people who hate her anyway.
What is about this "serious leftie" — a spiritual guru, at that (e.g., A Course in Miracles) — that she does not understand
A) that such negativity directed at her, or at anyone, is in fact par for the course for the left and
B) that people on the right in fact are not mean at all (or certainly not as mean as has been reported) and
C) that the very fact that conservatives are — endlessly — accused of being heartless monsters by the left (including by their vassals in the media) proves point A while proving that leftists are in fact drama queens always looking to present their (alleged) adversaries as despicable deplorables while presenting themselves as the knights on white stallions ready to fight those barbaric neanderthals?

Hasn't the spiritual guru ever heard of such concepts as… "projection"?!
(Update: thanks for the Instalanche…)

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

The America-Bashers' Use of Symbolism on September 11

As Le Monde commemorated 911 on the tenth anniversary of the attacks, Plantu was back in his usual style, with a full page inside Le Monde Magazine bringing back 10 years of cartoons that belittle the human toll; or that suggest that Uncle Sam deserved whatever it had coming; or that compare the 2011 attacks of September 11, 2001, to Pinochet's coup d'état in Chile on September 11, 1973.
(This causes him to make —intentionally? — a colossal whopper, saying that 3,000 people died on September 11, 2001, just as 3,000 people died on September 11, 1973; in reality, 3,000 lives were lost during Pinochet's 17 years in power (not one day but close to 6,000 days) — nothing to be proud of, for sure, but facts need to be gotten right and in addition, whatever the toll is, it needs to be compared to those of neighboring régimes, like the 20,000 dead in Fidel Castro's Cuba.)

So No Pasarán is looking back at 15 years' worth of posts (six or seven posts, really) as well and checking out what it has been saying on the subjects so dear to the hearts of leftists everywhere.

1) Let's first take a look at the "legend", according to which,
in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 the US enjoyed the heartfelt sympathy of the world, only to see this capital of goodwill frittered away by the successive faux pas of an inept and arrogant Bush administration and then definitively exhausted by the launching of an illegitimate war on Iraq in defiance of “world public opinion.”

The Legend of the Squandered Sympathy

(October 10, 2004)
John Rosenthal's Transatlantic Intelligencer article ought to be mandatory reading for anybody studying September 11 and anti-Americanism. In The Legend of the Squandered Sympathy, John Rosenthal notably mentions the cartoon that Plantu saw fit to reproduce on the weekend of the 10th anniversary.
Such was the tenor of Le Monde’s coverage, in effect, just one week after the attacks. The monotonous drone of denunciations continued as the prospect of a military strike against Afghanistan materialized in the weeks ahead, with distraught “New York Jews,” Pashtun warlords and the estranged son of the “O’Dea,” the archetypal all-American family, all chiming in to register their protest and all sounding surprisingly like “third-worldist” Parisian intellectuals – or even indeed like the publisher of Le Monde. (Among other things, the legend of the squandered sympathy occludes the fact that even while a substantial majority of Europeans polled, including in France and Germany, showed spontaneous understanding for American military actions in Afghanistan, large swaths of Europe’s socialist and social-democratic intelligentsia opposed any American military response to the 9/11 attacks whatsoever.) The “boomerang” image went on to become the favored heuristic device of Le Monde and its affiliated publications in their treatment of 9/11. Thus the first issue of the monthly Monde Diplomatique to appear following the events bore the thematic headline “Boomerang Effect” [it also has an article by Maureen Dowd]. In a pictorial variation on the same theme, a special insert in Le Monde itself featured a cartoon depicting a little wind-up Taliban doll, “Made in USA” emblazoned across its back, carrying red, white and blue explosives and circling back toward Uncle Sam.
2) Now let's take a look at the state of democracy and human rights in Chile in 1973 by looking at the (very real) similarities between the overthrow of Manuel Zelaya and that of Salvador Allende

Notice the Similarities with That Other "Coup", the One That Overthrew Leftist Saint© and Martyr™ Salvador Allende?

(July 07, 2009)

In Latin America, José Piñera, armed with evidence including "the momentous Agreement of 23 August 1973 … widely unknown outside Chile", opines that because
President Allende became a tyrant when he broke his solemn oath to respect the Constitution and the Chilean laws [and because] his government [had] fomented the creation of armed militias … the origin of the Pinochet government is that of any revolutionary one, in which only the use of force was left in order to remove a tyrant [and to] "put immediate end" to these constitutional violations . It must be agreed that this was, in fact, an unequivocal call to remove by force the President who had initiated the use of force with the purpose of imposing a communist dictatorship.
…the truth demands recognition that former President Pinochet led a legitimate rebellion against tyranny and that the origin of Chile's civil war --and its victims-- lies with former President Allende and his marxist Socialist party. … The Economist said it clearly at the time: "The temporary death of democracy in Chile will be regrettable, but the blame lies clearly with Dr. Allende and those of his followers who persistently overrode the Constitution" (September 15, 1973).
Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God

Read also about Allende's purported suicide

And check out Romanticists Overlook Allende's Many Faults: Senator Ricardo Núñez Muñoz added in a NYT interview (emphasis mine) that
It’s wrong to say that the CIA, the armed forces, and the bourgeoisie alone brought down the Allende government. It’s obvious we need to admit we made critical economical and political errors that were as decisive if not more decisive
No less a figure than the president of the Partido Socialista, Núñez went on to conclude that
we know another Allende-like experiment would only be a collossal failure.
(Then again, that NYT report was back in 2001…)

3) … isn't it true that one of the most pervasive superstitious beliefs of the ever-so-rational leftists concerns the attacks on September 11?

Isn't One of the Left's Fundamental "Rational" Beliefs About the Events of 9-11 Closely Related to Superstition? 

(Part 3 of Devotees of Science Versus Followers of Religion — Are Only the Latter to Be Taken to Task for Their Alleged Superstitions?, October 25, 2016)

How many times did we hear after 9-11 that this was America's comeuppance, its punishment, notably for what happened in Santiago on September 11, 1973? Ils l'ont bien mérité!

This is what is referred to as poetic justice. But isn't it true that you have to wonder what poetic justice means actually, and not bring it out whenever you feel that argument can serve your designs?

Allow me to give you a personal example of poetic justice. In a plane waiting on the runway one day years ago, I witnessed a passenger who loudly demanded, in no uncertain terms, to be allowed to change seats immediately. The flight attendant was busy for preparing the plane for takeoff, and to wait until the plane was in the air, but the youngish man said he could not stand crying babies, there was one a few seats behind him, and he wanted a change of seats — now. Finally, she gave in and placed him in another seat. What she hadn't realized, as the plane was preparing for takeoff, was that another baby would start crying just then — far louder and far closer to the man than the other toddler had been. And as the flight attendant walked down the aisle, she couldn't help it, she was grinning from ear to ear. As were I and all the passengers who had witnessed the exchange.

This is poetic justice. Poetic justice is not the passenger's sister happening to sit next to a crying baby five months later. Or the passenger's son missing a flight five years later. Nor is it another, totally unrelated in any fashion, passenger from the same city as the arrogant young man, albeit neither family member nor friend or acquaintance, being forced to sit next to a vomiting fatso 20 years after the fact.

For the question needs to be asked, then, who, or what, is/was behind this revenge, this poetic justice?! This is the question you are not supposed to ask! Or even think about!

Was it Osama Ben Laden?  Is there any reason to think the leader of Al Qaeda thought any better of the Chilean unbelievers than of the American unbelievers (whether the Chileans were/are Allende followers or whether they were/are Pinochet supporters or whether they were/are apolotical) and didn't treat them all as the infidel dogs the whole bunch of 'em were/are?

Besides, September 11 holds no meaning for Muslims as not only do they not live under the West's calendar year, they don't even live according to the same type of calendar, the solar year.  They live according to the shorter lunar year — meaning (besides the fact that over the course of several years [both lunar and solar, take your pick], a given month will end up falling during a totally different season), the chances for the equivalent of September 11 for 2001 (1422 for the Muslims) falling on the same day for 1973 (1393 for the Muslims) are extremely low (not 1 in 365 but 1 in 354) and indeed turn out to be, as expected, unfounded. (9-11 in the "year of our Lord" 1973 turns out to be 8-13 in the year of the Prophet 1393 for the Muslims while 9-11 of 2001 turns out to be 6-22 of 1422.)

Who, then, or what, is this entity that wished to punish America for 9-11?

I ask this of people, remember, who scoff at the existence of (a) God and of the Devil.

Is it Mother Nature? Gaia?

Alright, if Gaia and/or Mother Nature is/are so wise: answer me this: Why use Muslims in the four planes?  Why Muslim fundamentalists? Why not Chileans? Or at least Hispanics?

Why wait 28 years?  Why not bring vengeance two years later?  Or 28 minutes later? Or 28 days later?  Or 28 weeks later?  Or 28 months later?  Or 280 years later?

Why punish people in the World Trade Center, the vast majority of who probably knew little to nothing about South American history (recent or old)? 

How about this, Gaia?  Why not punish… (wait for it) General Pinochet?! That same year?  Or, if you insist on punishing Americans, why not punish… Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger?  Or, if you insist on a plane crashing in the Pentagon, why wait for 2001 instead of… 1973 or 1974?

As you can see, to call the 911 attacks the revenge, or the poetic justice, of Gaia or of Mother Nature — or even to call them (why not?) the vengeance of God the Father as described in the Bible — doesn't make much sense when one spends some time thinking about it.

4) Finally, we have this similar post for Plantu:

The America-Bashers' Use of Symbolism on September 11

(September 12, 2005)
When confronted with the tragedy that occurred on September 11, 2001, it has become a tradition for some to recall another event that occurred on another September 11.

On that date, in 1973, General Pinochet overthrew Chile's President Allende.

This is supposed to make us think. Hard.

The problem with this, of course, is that there have occurred 500 September 11s in the past 500 years (to take the first round number that came to my mind), with varying occurrences on various continents, in various countries, in various regions, in various cities, in various neighborhoods, and in various personal homes around the world, and just about any one of those occurrences could have been picked to make a comparison with (and provide matter for reflection on, and some kind of metaphysical lesson for) September 11, 2001 (or September 11, 1973, for that matter).

As I have written elsewhere,
If looking down their noses, [America-bashers] ask "Do you know what other event occurred on September 11?", answer "Yes, a terrible tragedy." Pause while they nod approvingly, then add "George Washington lost the battle of Brandywine" (in 1777) or even "Brian De Palma was born on that date" (so was Ferdinand Marcos, by the way), although I'm not sure to what extent that counts as a tragedy. If they object that they are referring to something more recent and more tragic than that, agree and say "you must be talking of Hitler ordering reinforcements to Romania" (1940) or "FDR ordering any Axis ships in U.S. waters shot on sight" (1941) or even "wasn't it the first TV broadcast of a Miss America beauty contest?" (1954). How about, "that was the date (in 1962) that the Beatles recorded their first single at EMI Studios (you know, 'Love Love Me Do')".
This symbolism makes as much sense as noting with alarm that our 40th president sported three names with six letters each, supposedly marking the alleged number of the beast.

(If any association with September 11 should be made — with regards to the 2001 attacks, that is, not the 1973 coup — as several readers have pointed out to me, it would perhaps make more sense to call up the 1669 defeat of the Muslim armies besieging Vienna, bringing an end to the Ottoman advance into Europe.)

But what it all boils down to this: for symbolism to have any kind of meaning, it needs to stay close to its subject and, in my opinion, reflect on the better angels of our nature. What it should especially avoid is collective guilt, not least because that collective guilt is necessarily one-sided, i.e., used exclusively against Americans and their allies (or, historically, by any group against any group's alleged enemies).

For instance, it would probably not be too difficult to search through Chilean history and find some kind of tragedy (nation-wide or otherwise) on a September 11 that proved that the 1973 coup d'état was the Chileans' punishment for the earlier disaster (notwithstanding the fact that many believe that Pinochet's coup averted a far worse catastrophe for the country). In another example, which is actually far more coherent than simply noting a similarity of dates, many state that every setback by Bush or by a Bush ally amounts to (well-deserved) punishment for sending troops to Iraq, but because members of the Coalition of the Willing keep winning elections, this symbolism is discretely ignored. (I call this the wait, wait, wait syndrome.)

The use of symbolism says far more about those who wield it than about those the symbolism is meant to describe (and judge).

So, anyway: we know the date that Pinochet grabbed power in 1973.


But what was the date that he relinquished power?

What was the date in 1990 that Pinochet handed power back to a civilian government?

The answer is: March 11.

Now, we all remember what happened in Madrid on March 11, 2004, don't we? Coordinated bombings in Spain's metro system killed 193 people while injuring some 2,000.

So what is that supposed to mean? What is that supposed to symbolize?

Somehow, we are led to believe, the wholescale murder of 3,000 people in New York and Washington would not, or might not, have occurred had a strongman with no link to (and probably wholly unknown to) the perpetrators not grabbed power on that same date 28 years earlier.

What is the wholescale murder of 193 people in Madrid supposed to mean? That it would not have occurred had that same strongman not handed power back and had he remained in power 14 years earlier?

Your guess is as good as mine…
Le Monde's 911 Commemorations

• Looking Over TV Shows Inspired by 9-11, Le Monde Discovers (Surprise!) "a Culture of Fear"

• Hubert Védrine: Castigating Bush and the Neo-Cons, Former French Foreign Minister Says that the War on Terror Should Have Been Carried Out "With Discretion"

• André Glucksmann: Bin Laden Is Gone, Not The Strategy of Radical Hatred Without Quarter

The French Will Never Forget

The Legend of the Squandered Sympathy