Lately I’ve been having a nagging awareness hanging in the back of my head as I try to absorb so much of what’s going wrong in our world today. The title of this post is a short summary of that, but the longer version is the awareness that our actions and inactions have long term consequences that we just might not be able to fix. The poet David Whyte talks often of the “fiercness” of life. I think this is part of what he means by that.
I guess that for most of my life I’ve been priviledged with the white upper middle class kind of thinking that says all problems have a solution. And in these days of instant everything – that solution better be quick in materializing.
But as I look at the incredibly complex mess we’ve made of things in Iraq, and as I contemplate the insideous effects of racism and poverty, and as I see the impending doom that is global warming, I realize that even if we had all the answers right now, solutions might be generations in the making. And its a total laugh to think we are only an election away from nirvana!!!
So, our task is twofold. Not only do we need to craft solutions to these problems. But we need to develop the patience it would take to give them time to take hold. Its at this point that I keep coming back to the words of Ruben Alvez on hope:
Let us plant dates even though those who plant them will never eat them. We must live by the love of what we will never see. This is the secret discipline. It is a refusal to let the creative act be dissolved away in immediate sense experience, and a stubborn commitment to the future of our grandchildren. Such disciplined love is what has given prophets, revolutionaires and saints the courage to die for the future they envisaged. They make their own bodies the seed of their highest hope.
I want to add that I in no way see Alvez saying we should have patience the way our leaders told the civil rights movement to have patience, or the way women were told the same thing in fighting for the vote. Its the kind of patience that says, “I’ll lay down my life, knowing that my grandchildren will reap the rewards of my hopes.” Now that’s a fierce kind of living!!
find cheap generic viagra from online drugstore (“In 1258, the Mongol General Hulagu Khan marched on Baghdad. Unlike previous seiges, Baghdad was sacked even after it surrendered, and the once-shining city was torn apart, with a degree of ferocity so intense that, as the grafitto above (below- ek) reflects, his name has been synonymous with barbarity and mindless cruelty ever since.” – promoted by ek hornbeck)
follow Someone has scratched on a wall inside the National Library [Baghdad], “Hu-LA-gu Khan has returned and knocked on our door once again”.
As the LA Times reports today, the civilain death toll in Iraq may have topped One Million People. This is on top of the estimated 2.3 Million Iraqis who have fled the country as refugees (you can read an account by Iraqi blogger Riverbend, an educated secular sunni Baghdad resident here, as her family finally flees to Syria), and quite likely another million or two displaced as refugees within the country but without the means to leave Iraq. Nearly half of the once-proud Iraqi middle class have fled, and few of those who have stayed have any ability to put their educations and skills to work, since the American occupation prefers to hire foreign contractors rather than Iraqis, and nothing stands for long without getting destroyed at any case.
I get so sick of the talk about Iraqi “responsibility” by American politicians, as if all that stands between their current bombed out lake of fire and prosperity is their unwillingness to pull themselves up by their bootstraps or some such blather.
We bombed, starved, bombed, invaded and occupied their country. We divided them by sect and ethnicity in hopes of getting short term allies. We trained the Shiia death squads posing as police. We dissolved the Iraqi government and military and left nothing in its place. We encouraged the rise of sectarian militias to maintain order. We levelled city after city under the auspices of “counterinsurgency,” practicing collective punishment with on any city with citizens that dared to shoot back.
Now we talk about allying with the same sunni tribes in al-Anbar that form the backbone of the sunni insurgency, to try and gain a short term PR bounce and the image of progress. We form alliances with actual Iran-linked Badr brigades while trying to blame Iran for a sunni insurgency. We talk incessantly about “al-Qaeda,” as if that handful of hated foreign terrorists is anything close to a major player in a country with at least three major civil/sectarian wars (shiite v. shiite in Basra, sunni v. shiia in the increasingly ethnically-cleansed Baghdad, Kurds v. Arabs and Turcomans in Kirkuk) and multiple insurgencies targetting our troops. Madness and lies, ever pointing the finger at everyone but the country actually occupying Iraq, in vain hopes that noone will notice the other four fingers pointing back.
All of this has been done in our name.
And all the time, the Iraqi people got caught in the crossfire, and we let them die and flee in the millions. I could care less about the politicians and militia thugs, but what does a decent human being say to the beleaguered engineer abandoning his home and extended family for penniless exile in a foreign land, or the poor day laborer getting burnt out of his neighborhood because of his ethnicity? Sorry, but we are not responsible for the consequences of our actions, we meant well, buck up old chum? Is that all this country has to say in its defense?
And then the outrageous nonsense about “we have to stay or things will get worse,” as if a million dead and four million driven to be refugees isn’t horrible? As if that disaster wasn’t the direct consequence, predicted by millions of protesters before the war began, of our bloody policy? As if the eventual consequence of our refusing to ever leave won’t make things that much worse down the road as well? As if our work to divide the country along sectarian lines for our own political benefit had no consequences? As if there is some magical option B of everything turning out OK if we just bomb more urban areas, kick more doors in and search families at gunpoint, switch sides in Iraqi civil wars yet another time, if we just shovel more dollars into military contractors and mercenaries’ pockets?
How stupid do they think we are, to think that one can make things better by doing the same damn thing for a longer time?
In 1258, the Mongol General Hulagu Khan marched on Baghdad. Unlike previous seiges, Baghdad was sacked even after it surrendered, and the once-shining city was torn apart, with a degree of ferocity so intense that, as the grafitto above reflects, his name has been synonymous with barbarity and mindless cruelty ever since. The Tigris and Euphrates were chokes with corpses, Baghdad’s legendary libraries were put to the torch, the cultural center of the Abbasid Empire never regained its former glory.
It is a source of great shame for this American that we are beginning to rival Hulagu Khan for historical legacy in Baghdad.
reposted from Daily Kos, where it was, in part, a reaction to a wonderful diary by Rena.
I commented that I would add my own diary, about my story and my politics. I do so here with three aims and hopes: 1) That others may learn about my own particular issues and about learning disabilities in general; 2) As a catharsis for myself and 3) To reflect on the connections between pain and politics.
I was born on July 2, 1959, 7 weeks early, with no sucking reflex and no nails on fingers or toes. Because I wasn’t that small, though, I was not given special attention in the hospital. My parents have since told me they considered suing the hospital. By the time I was 4 or so, it was clear that I was, in my father’s phrase “screwed up somehow, but not stupid” (in fairness to him, he only used that phrase with me when I was well into adulthood). I was asked not to return to the same school after kindergarten. A psychologist told my parents I would never graduate from college. I did, by the way, graduate at age 20. My mother started a school for me, the Gateway School of New York, because there were no schools for kids like me: I was what was then just beginning to be called learning disabled. But the diagnoses my parents got were more like `minimal brain damage’ or `mentally retarded’. My mother is, to put it mildly, a very determined woman. She found another very determined woman (Elizabeth Freidus – pronounced freed us, and what a great name for a teacher in special ed)! Elizabeth did everything that had to do with teaching, my mom did everything else. I have two stories that may have some relevance (or may not – but they’re good stories) regarding the founding of Gateway: One regards normality and the other regards rights.
One of the big tasks my mother had was fund raising, because running a school is expensive indeed. At one meeting, a woman said she did not want her son to attend such a school, because he would not be considered `normal’. Another woman, a Mrs. Napier-White, a very proper lady in gloves, turned to her and said “I don’t like normal people. I never have”. Another task was finding a location. One possibility was space in a very prestigious church in one of the ritziest parts of New York. My mother and Elizabeth went to meet the leader of the church. He asked “Will there be Negro children in the school?” (this was 1964 or so). Elizabeth responded “We will admit children who can benefit from what we offer, regardless of race.”. Rev. Hamsa replied “GOOD! Some of my parishioners won’t be happy. There are other congregations.”
Gateway was (and is) a wonderful place. But this diary is not about that school; if there is interest I can write another diary about that. I left Gateway when I was 8; I attended private schools in New York City. This is when the troubles really began. I was very small for my age, extremely skinny, highly nearsighted, uncoordinated in the extreme. I was socially retarded and academically precocious. I was a disaster waiting to happen, and I did not have to wait long. The first school I attended was Emerson, for 4th and 5th grade. This was bad, but not too bad. I did manage to make two reasonably good friends (one with, for what it’s worth, one of the few Black kids in the school). I wasn’t popular, I wasn’t much liked, but I wasn’t a pariah. But then came junior high and high school. I do not remember a single overwhelming incident, it was more a constant feeling of constant dread, constant teasing, and a total absence of friendship. I had no friends in school. Not few, none. I had no `group’ – indeed, because of my learning disabilities, I wasn’t even aware there were groups – and so, I was constantly a victim. Glue was poured in my hair. Glue was poured on my chair as I sat down. People cheated off me without telling me. I was always last picked on every team. I got stuffed into trash cans. And so on. For 5 years (grades 6 through 11, I skipped the senior year to go to college). During this time I was frequently suicidal, once sitting out on the ledge 8 floors up over concrete, thinking. I climbed back in, and wrote this poem:
Have you ever?
Have you ever been out on a ledge, looking down? Have you ever felt fear and hate all around? Have you ever seen warfare inside your own soul? Have you ever known that you’d never be whole?
And yet, for some reason, you crawl on back in Like Hamlet from Shakespeare, but which is the sin: To jump, fall and die, and thus to be free, Or to be a coward, like Hamlet and me?
Much later, I lived in Israel for a few years, and learned Hebrew. The word for `to commit suicide’ in Hebrew, is, literally, `to lose oneself’ (it is the reflexive form of `to lose’, as in the opposite of `find’). I lost myself. I lost myself in reading (not the books assigned…..but lots of science fiction, history, biography, math, science, almost anything). I lost myself in math. In fifth grade, I had a math teacher of the old school, who thought that if you could not do a whole sheet of multiplication without error, you were not ready to learn division. I was given remedial math over the summer. She taught me 2 or 3 years of math. Then, in sixth grade, I had a wonderful teacher who skipped me to his ninth grade class when I took the book home and did the whole thing in one night). I lost myself in poetry, but found myself there, too. And I found myself in therapy (many years of it).
Gateway to myself
I dwelt alone, in misery, a shroud of hate lay over all. Too alone, and far too fearful, to let a friend within my wall.
A castle tall and strong I built And locked myself within its walls. With my ego bruised and hurting From a slew too many falls.
I was alone, king of my castle; Lord of all that I surveyed. And if others didnt’ want me, I with hate their hate repaid.
I called myself a better person Than anyone that I could see But, deep within, I knew me lying For deep within myself was me.
With the help of years and teachers (Many of each, I am afraid) I began to see that I Could see my castle be unmade.
My first reaction, dim and fearful Was to build walls higher still. But I knew myself unhappy And, somehow, I knew my own will.
Those walls remain, they’ll never vanish Too much pain remains in me Soon though, they will be made smaller And let in a friend, or thee.
College was much, much better, and life since better still. Not that there haven’t been challenges, but I have a PhD and a good job; I’m married and have two wonderful kids.
I am still learning disabled, and always will be. I give lectures about it now, both to teachers and to kids. I am writing a book about it, as well (tentative title – Screwed up somehow, but not stupid). I wrote a little more about my particular difficulties in my diary On Being Weird, and would be glad to write more, either in reply to comments here, or in a separate diary; if you want a label for what I have, the best is probably nonverbal learning disability. It doesn’t make for an easy life.
What has all this to do with politics? I can’t say for sure. I’d like to think that my own victimhood has made me more sensitive to others. I do know that I have a visceral dislike for those who take advantage of those less fortunate, and that I have a visceral fondness for the `other’ the `different’ the `odd’. Naturally, these traits make me a Democrat and a progressive. Did my progressive views spring from my pariah status in adolescence? I don’t know. It could easily have come from my parents, both of whom are progressive. But, I’ve been on dailykos and docudharma for a while, and enough people have posted about their trauma to make me wonder if there is not some connection.
Was Nietzche right when he said “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger?” I don’t think so. What doesn’t kill us makes us wounded. Some of the wounded show up here. Some do commit suicide. Some wind up racist, homophobic, and horrible; people who feel badly about themselves sometimes need to find others to feel better than, and sometimes the only way they can think to do that is by finding some whole group to denigrate.
On the morning when I woke up without you for the first time
I felt free and I felt lonely and I felt scared
And I began to talk to myself almost immediately
Not being used to being the only person there
The first time I made coffee for just myself, I made too much of it
But I drank it all just cause you hate it when I let things go to waste
And I wandered through the house like a little boy lost in the mall
And an astronaut could’ve seen the hunger in my eyes from space
And I sang
Oh, What do I do? What do I do? What do I do?
What do I do without you?
On the morning when I woke up without you for the first time
I was cold so I put on a sweater and I turned up the heat
And the walls began to close in and I felt so sad and frightened
I practically ran from the living room out into the street
And the wind began to blow and the trees began to pant
And the world in its cold way started coming alive
And I stood there like a buisness man waiting for the train
And I got ready for the future to arrive
And I sang
Oh, What do I do? What do I do? What do I do?
What do I do without you?
The ultra-left / ultra-progressives among us seem to believe that the protesting left of the web-blogs, the moveon.org’s, et al will combine to form a working majority capable of electing a president of the United States. Elementary mathematics says otherwise.
It has become a popular pastime for net based organizations and many blogs to attack anyone who dares vary a single degree from their respective ideologies. Friends, with slightly out of step views are castigated. Those who express left-of-center views that are not hard left are hammered. Friend flashes the “bird” at friend while the right-of-center crowd churns along pretty much in lock-step. The Right politely debates in public. The Left as individuals select their favorite personality and declare war on everyone else. Friendly fire erupts and the casualties become all Americans.
Is the far Left so committed to their cause that no level of compromise is acceptable? If true, it is a recipe for failure in 2008.
I don’t know what to say. I read a diary over at Daily Kos by Robert Naiman saying that the death toll in Iraq has reached one million. One million dead. One million dead.
What can anyone say about that? The number is too big. Who can grasp the death of one million people? It would take years merely to hear the names of the dead said aloud. And for what? For what did they die?
This is too big for politics. I think we all have begun to see the unreality of what is going on in Washington, D.C., and around the country as politicians campaign and speak and try to persuade people to vote for them. This is too big for politics.
Little by little the veil is ripped away and people around the country and around the world are seeing the complete picture. The veil is ripped away and the horror has only begun to sink in. No American will be able to avoid this for much longer, no matter how busy with the accoutrements of life, the car, the job, the home, the family, the social activities, the community work. No American will be able to avoid this for much longer.
There’s a big rally going on this weekend. OPOL and pico, to name just two of our Dharmaniacs, will be there. I think that rally is going to be important — not because of politics, no. Not because of politics. But all those people know this, know the horrible human destruction that has been wrought in our name, paid for by our money. They are aware of the unreality of the messages by the politicians and the pundits. And they will be together, hand in hand, together confronting this monstrous misAdministration. They will help rip away the veil.
This is too big for politics. This is a human tragedy on a large and terrible scale. This is no longer about nations and armies. This is humanity itself, and the veil is being ripped away.
And when we see it entire, when Americans can no longer look away, it will be a terrible thing.
May the Iraqi people have peace. May they have peace and time to mourn their dead. May they have peace.
Welcome. Glad you’re here. Consider this a virtual office visit. I have all the time in the world for you.
What brings you here today?
How do you feel?
What are your pressing health concerns?
Are you aware of what you should be doing to keep yourself healthy? Do you have the resources to do those things?
How’s your relationship with the professional who care for you? Do you have a primary physician or nurse practitioner? Are you happy with the diagnostic services available to you?
Instead of my daily dharmaceutical (thanks, homo neurotic, for that fabuloso name)outrage rant, I’d like to open this up as a free-for-all about the issues you would like to have explored about health, health care, health policy and progressive action.
I’m a health wonk who used to work on the inside of the industry. I now just observe, investigate and blog about it. There are so many reasons to be outraged that I will be able to blog ad nauseum and not cover all of the issues.
So help me out.
What do you want to discuss?
What are the issues that progressives need to understand?
What are the issues that progressives need to move forward?
How can I help?
How can you help?
I wrote a couple of links fest posts, and if you need to get your imagination jogged, please take a look at my previous posts and see if there’s anything in them that’s near and dear to your heart.
For starters, here are some stats to help your blood pressure rise.
28,000 preventable deaths each year in the US from regular influenza (36,000 total deaths)
47 million uninsured Americans
75 million more under-insured Americans
Medical expenses constitute the leading cause of personal bankruptcy.
Medicaid reimbursement rates are below cost incurred by physicians; a child died from a brain abscess as a result from a simple tooth infection; no dentist could be found who would accept the patient, and his mother had repeatedly applied for Medicaid eligibility for him – the paperwork was lost.
There is a provision in the S-CHIP reauthorization that may cut Medicare physician reimbursement up to 10%; thousands of physicians will cut back the number of Medicare patients they see.
Over 50% of all inpatient psychiatric care is delivered in prisons.
OK – enough from me. Tell me about yourself. I’ll hold your hand, hand you tissues if you need to cry, and I’ll be here listening and caring….
As Buhdy says, let’s be excellent to each other. Now it’s your turn.
I should have know. Israel has created the perfect storm for the Palestinians, yet again (remember the start of the first Intifada –Sharon at the Temple Mound). I said in my first diary….the Israelis provoke….the Palestinians respond. Palestinians should take more advise from Iran…they should learn to play chess.
What is the perfect storm I think the Palestinians are falling into: Ramadan.
Obviously, now that Bush wants some kind of legacy….”the creation of a Palestinian State” before he leaves office; he is now pushing and pressuring the Israelis like never before(he has not signed the 30 billion foreign aid bill yet and aipac is not happy)…..and Israelis don’t like it. They want war with Iran and Bush wants a Palestinian state….will they trade?
Israelis have not even gotten their missile defense $$$$, and of course now some some politicians (Netenyahu) are claiming: no pullout from West Bank, before they have their missile defense ready, (against Gaza militants rockets) right…ooooh, the tangle.
About two weeks ago the IDF killed 5 children in Gaza, not wounded…killed. (Yes, they always have a good excuse) but you don’t even hear about in the MSM….where do you find it, in the Israeli press….but then when the militants in Gaza respond, it’s all over the news 24/7: 60 IDF soldiers hurt! But elsewhere you learn most of the soldiers had shellshock as if only Israelis suffer shellshock, not acknowledging the Palestinians have lived with shellshock for over 40 years/multiple generations…..and what’s the biggest part of the storm that could really create a Palestinian meltdown:
IDF blocks West Bank Palestinians trying to reach Al-Aqsa Mosque
By The Associated Press
Hundreds of Palestinians thronged two major West Bank checkpoints, trying to reach Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque on the first Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, despite tight Israeli restrictions.
Israel Defense Forces troops turned back many of the West Bank faithful. Only men above the age of 45 and women above the age of 35, who had also obtained special permits, were allowed to enter Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque – the third holiest shrine of Islam – said police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby.
This year, the start of Ramadan, a month of fasting and religious observance, coincided with the Jewish New Year. As customary, Israel imposed a blanket closure on the West Bank during the Jewish holiday, barring virtually all Palestinians from entering Israel. http://www.haaretz.c…
I HOPE I’M WRONG. I HOPE the Palestinians keep their cool.
…meanwhile….Israel invades Lebanon, AND Syria airspace flying through Turkey while Bushco and the Arab states are trying disparately to re-engage the Palestine/Israeli peace process. So why doesn’t Israeli just back off??
Well, there is some good news:
‘Rice trip must set conference’s agenda’
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit expressed hope Thursday that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s upcoming visit to the region will result in an agenda and location for a planned US-sponsored peace conference.
US President George W. Bush in July called for a new conference to break the deadlock in the Mideast peace process, but the lack of an official agenda, location and timing for the meeting has been a cause for concern in the region.
“We hope that we will have a clear idea over the American assessment of the situation and when and where the meeting will be held and what its agenda will be,” said Aboul Gheit about Rice’s visit, during a joint press conference with his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner.
Rice’s trip to the Israel and the Palestinian territories set for Sept. 19, will focus on urging Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to build on recent positive steps and lay the groundwork for the Mideast conference, tentatively scheduled for November, a spokesman for the State Department said Wednesday.
The meeting, however, has run into skepticism from Washington’s Arab allies who have noted that the lack of firm agenda risks turning the event into just an empty photo opportunity.
Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said Wednesday his country would probably not attend the conference if it did not tackle substantive issues, while Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak expressed his fears that the conference would amount to nothing if there was not proper preparation.
Aboul Gheit, for his part, warned of “adverse consequences” if the gathering failed to revive the peace process.
“If the meeting was held without achieving its goals of pushing forward the peace process to set up a Palestinian state, there will be adverse consequences,” he said.
Hamas government urged Gaza terrorists Thursday not to attack border crossings with Israel in order to ensure the flow of basic goods into Gaza during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
“The government calls on the Palestinian factions to avoid shelling the crossing points, in the interest of our people, especially during the holy month of Ramadan, and to keep commercial traffic going and protect security and stability in Gaza,” the statement said.
The call by Hamas came shortly after a terrorist group in Gaza threatened to intensify rocket and mortar attacks on Israel during Ramadan, which began Thursday.
Al-Qaida commander slams Hamas for abandoning Jihad
An al-Qaida commander who escaped from a US prison in Afghanistan criticized Hamas in a new videotape Sunday and other Islamic groups that he said prioritized nationalism and electoral politics over Jihad, or holy war.
Hamas is focused on the creation of an independent Palestinian state rather than al-Qaida’s vision of a worldwide Muslim community ruled by Islamic law. Like al-Qaida, the Palestinian movement advocates violence to achieve its goal, but has also participated in elections alongside the moderate Fatah group. http://www.jpost.com…
Hamas leader asks to meet with Abbas
The head of the Hamas government in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, proposed Monday that he meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Saudi Arabia, Haniyeh’s office said.
Since Hamas’ forcible takeover of Gaza in June, Abbas has rebuffed repeated offers by the Islamic militants to resume contacts. Abbas has said Hamas must first apologize and withdraw its forces from Palestinian security posts in Gaza.
Haniyeh, who was deposed as prime minister by Abbas in June, proposed the meeting with Abbas in a phone call with Saudi Crown Prince Sultan Ibn Abdel Aziz, Haniyeh’s office said in a statement.
Abbas is scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.
Haniyeh’s office said in the statement that Hamas is ready to “return to dialogue without conditions.” The statement described the factional fighting that preceded the Hamas takeover as a “disagreement among brothers.” http://news.yahoo.co…
Senate letter presses Rice on Mideast
Two U.S. senators will urge Condoleezza Rice to press Arab nations to work for Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) are soliciting colleagues’ signatures for a letter to the U.S. secretary of state. The letter has the support of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
“Your ongoing efforts to work with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud are critical, but so is the support these efforts receive from those Arab countries,” the letter says.
It urges Rice to demand that Arab states take part in a November peace summit, recognize Israel, help fund Abbas, stop support for anti-Israel terrorism and incitement, end the Arab League boycott of Israel and pressure Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group, to recognize Israel and end its terrorism.
Indian genocide is a controversial subject on the internet and on this site. Genocide and Holocaust are words that are easy to throw around, often to grab a reader’s attention, but proving them is something else. What one group calls genocide, another group may call progress. This statement is used in the same context as the saying…one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.
The argument for Indian genocide is based primarily on letters written by General Jeffery Amherst during the French and Indian War.Letters by General Amherst and Colonel Bouquet mentioning spreading smallpox to Indians does not mean that this was ever carried out. Assumptions derived from letters and oral traditions are not proof of anything.
Those who condone the above statement must also believe that such indigenous tribes as the Mandan-Hidatsa are liars and incorrect in their oral histories, but what they cannot deny is the intent to commit genocide was in fact there (all bold print is mine).
By the second half of the century, many of the combatants in America’s wars of empire had the knowledge and technology to attempt biological warfare with the smallpox virus. Many also adhered to a code of ethics that did not constrain them from doing so. Seen in this light, the Amherst affair becomes not so much an aberration as part of a larger continuum in which accusations and discussions of biological warfare were common, and actual incidents may have occurred more frequently than scholars have previously acknowledged.
“Fort Pitt is in good State of Defense against all attempts from Savages,” Bouquet reported, but “Unluckily the small Pox has broken out in the Garrison.”3 By June 16, then, from sources unknown, smallpox had established itself at Fort Pitt. It is likely that Amherst knew of the situation by the end of June.
Dr. John Bartlett filled in for Peter Jahrling of USAMRIID for a segment devoted to one of the likely potential bioterrorist agents, smallpox. The use of this agent to intentionally cause human disease dates back to 1754 during the French and Indian War, when infected blankets were given to Native Americans as a “token of good fortune.”
In 1779, George Washington sent orders to General John Sullivan concerning the need to attack and destroy the Iroquois Nations.
“The immediate objects are total destruction of their settlements, and capture of as many prisoners of every age and sex possible -“
Washington was also an advocate of germ warfare, first introduced by Sir Jeffery Amherst after whom the town of Amherst, Massachusetts, and Amherst College are named. The idea of germ warfare with smallpox was suggested to Colonel Henry Bouquet, after which Colonel Bouquet wrote back:
“I will try to inoculate the [Indians] with some blankets that may fall into their hands, and take care not to get the disease myself. As it is pity to expose good men against then, I wish we could make use of the Spanish method, to hunt them with English dogs, supported by rangers and some light horse, who would, I think, effectually extirpate or remove the vermin.”
About 60 years later, Andrew Jackson took Colonel Bouquet’s advice in his war against the Seminoles.
During the Seminole War the Federal Soldiers used germ warfare weapons, such as leaving small pox infected blankets for the Seminole to take and catch the disease. This was a tried and true tactic of warfare in the Americas. The British attempted this against Washington’s troops at Yorktown and Europeans used germ warfare against native Americans in New England. At Yorktown, the National Park Service explains the role of Slaves as germ warfare weapons in the plaque reproduced here. I guess the incentive for slaves was ‘you’re free if you go cause small pox among American forces … if you survive.’
The fact that Europeans brought the deadly diseases with them, through ship rats who found their way to the indigenous tribes for example, is well established.
Historical Viewpoints. “American Indians And European Diseases.” Alfred W. Crosby pp. 48-49
Whether plague or typhus, the disease went through the Indians like fire. Almost all the seventeenth-century writers say it killed nine of ten and even nineteen of twenty of the Indians it touched –
In short, one does not necessarily have to accept a 90 percent death rate for a given village or area to accept a 90 percent depopulation rate.
So, the European settlers (not all were vicious like this) and General Jeffery Amherst knew what smallpox and the deadly diseases were already doing:depopulating the indigenous people.
The following is an excellent example of their racist mentality in action. In July 1763, General Jeffery Amherst, the Commander-in-Chief of British forces in North America, sent a memo to Colonel Henry Bouquet, a Huguenot in the service of England, asking:
“Could it not be contrived to send the Smallpox among the disaffected Tribes of Indians?”
Bouquet replied: “I will try to inoculate the Indians with some blankets that may fall into their hands, and take care not to get the disease myself.”
General Jeffery Amherst and those settlers who thought likewise must have asked themselves some very disturbing questions –
Bouquet agreed, writing to Amherst on 13 July 1763: “I will try to inoculate the bastards with some blankets that may fall into their hands, and take care not to get the disease myself.” Amherst responded favorably on 16 July 1763: “You will do well to inoculate the Indians by means of blankets, as well as every other method that can serve to extirpate this execrable race.”
As it turned out, however, officers at the besieged Fort Pitt had already attempted to do what Amherst and Bouquet were still discussing.
Maybe they asked, “How can we help speed the process?”
General Amherst and Germ Warfare. Bernhard Knollenberg:
The Europeans wanted land, gold, silver, coal (in the future), and slave labor.
Since using the indigenous people’s inability to cure themselves of the onslaught of disease didn’t work as well as they wished it would have worked –
A People & A Nation. 4th Edition. p.38
In the pursuit of their conversions, the Jesuits sought to undermine the authority of the villiage shamans (the traditional religious leaders) and to gain the confidence of leaders who could influence others. The Black Robes used a variety of weapons to attain the desired end. Trained in rhetoric, they won admirers by their eloquence. Seemingly immune to smallpox, they explained epidemics among the Native Americans as God’s punishment for sin, their arguments aided by the ineffectiveness of the shaman’s traditional remedies for illness against that deadly disease.
– perhaps they hoped that death would solve all of their “problems.”
See the reason of my bemusement is that I am a full blooded Oneida “Indian” (I will use that term for simplicity’s sake although “First nations is our prefferred term). For us first nations our heritage and being is well documented and it is imperative to have been listed on a government listing of Indians called the Dawles Rolls?
That the ones of us they couldn’t kill with smallpox infected blankets they packed away on a reservation, robbed of our traditions, language and land.
He (Ward Churchill) then pawned his lies to other scholars.
First, the army wasn’t even posted around our villages at the time Churchill claims. And no proof exists, orally or in text, to show blankets came from a hospital.
But our tribal people have long said the spread of smallpox was intentional.
I recently talked with Gerard Baker, a Mandan-Hidatsa and leading oral historian for our tribes. Baker, park superintendent at Mount Rushmore, is a fluent Hidatsa speaker and comes from a traditional family. He’s also lived and worked at many of our historical village sites along the Missouri.
Baker has talked with tribal elders and spent countless hours looking at the journals of the fur traders. He’s convinced traders deliberately spread smallpox to eliminate us as middlemen in the trade network.
Only an informer saved the garrison at Detroit, but Forts Niagara and Pitt were surrounded and isolated. In desperation, Amherst wrote the commander at Fort Pitt, Captain Simeon Ecuyer, suggesting he deliberately attempt to infect the Shawnee, Delaware, and Mingo besieging his fort with gifts of smallpox-infected blankets and handkerchiefs. Ecuyer took this as an order and did exactly that. It proved particularly effective because the Ohio tribes had little immunity having missed the 1757-58 epidemic among the French allies contracted during the capture of Fort William Henry (New York). The Shawnee were fighting the Cherokee in Tennessee at the time, and they carried the disease to them, and then the Shawnee living with the Creek Confederacy. From there it spread to the Chickasaw and Choctaw, and finally the entire southeast. Before it had run its course, the epidemic had killed thousands, including British colonists.
To end this, history is written by the victors and one of the “victor’s” techniques for hiding truth is hiding evidence, as it was in the case of theSand Creek Massacre.
Furthermore, to say “Assumptions derived from letters and oral traditions are not proof of anything” is calling those indigenous people who tell those oral traditions liars. So, I’m grateful for artists who have something to add to this “debate” (the following video does not specifically mention infected blankets).
Stories of disease-infected blankets deliberately given to Native Americans surfaced after the first European contact and continue to circulate. The vitality of the “smallpox blanket” story is ensured by documented examples of germ warfare but also by its resonance with the classical Nessus shirt and other poison-garment/deliberate-contamination themes. The moral tension embedded in such tales derives from ambiguous definitions of the Other and boundaries of ethical behavior toward enemies.
(CBS/AP) LEHIGHTON, Pa. Sheila Drummond didn’t need to see her hole-in-one. She heard it. Drummond, blinded by diabetes 26 years ago, experienced the highlight of her golfing career Sunday, recording an ace on the 144-yard, par-3 fourth hole at Mahoning Valley Country Club.
Drummond is a member of the board of directors of the United States Blind Golfers Association (USGBA), and the organization believes she is the first totally blind female to record a hole-in-one.
“We’ve looked everywhere, and haven’t been able to find anyone else,” she said.
Drummond took up golf about 15 years ago, and three years later qualified as the first female member of the USGBA. She carries a 48 handicap.
enter site . . . go ahead, play, talk, and be excellent to each other. oh and whatever you do, DO NOT push the recommend button for Pony Party cause this is all about you (so you can even do some essay pimping and whoring here, really go ahead)… we don’t want to take up space on the recommended essay list…
The Closet is a scary place, filled with gremlins and goblins and things that go bump in the night. I lived there until I was 44. Or maybe I didn’t.
Maybe it’s all a matter of point of view.
Recently I have been expressing my displeasure about people talking about “self-loathing, in the closet gays.” Sure, they have couched it in terms of Republicans, but political party doesn’t change the adjectives which have been used. They still hurt.
They still have displayed how much little understanding there is of people who are different in fundamental ways from others.
So do the gay jokes. Or rather, the anti-gay jokes. My ears don’t hear any difference.
When I was small, there were no gay people. They didn’t exist. Gender was inflexible.
Then there was the bogeyman. This creature would steal children and rape them. And everyone knew he was homosexual. At least that’s what we were told as children, regardless of our sex. And here I was, unsure about who I really was. Was I going to grow up to be a bogeyman?
In junior high and high school, they were queers. And I lost some friends because it was not okay to be friends with queers. And I lost respect for who I was, since I knew that I was all of those things my friends rejected: a cry-baby, a sissy, and a wimp. If there was any word for a useless male, it described me. Except queer. I was adamantly not queer.
Except maybe I was. However much I didn’t want it to be so, I kept wondering if maybe I was. Maybe my thoughts meant that. I insisted to myself it was actions, not thoughts that mattered.
When I first went to college, I learned what a life could be…and that I didn’t have that sort of life. I tried to end it. But I didn’t loathe who I was. Hating one’s life is not the same as hating one’s being. I liked me. It’s just that I was positive that nobody else did. And it was obvious that if people knew my secrets, they would like me even less. So why should I go on?
When I fled to the Haight, I discovered that the free love people were not as open to people being different as it had been portrayed…or maybe that was “as I imagined.” Maybe it was all a fantasy. My life, though filled with incredible adventures, was not pleasing to me. I was oh, so lonely. Being asexual didn’t help.
And then one day I wasn’t asexual any more. And someone didn’t tell me that I should go away.
Fear does incredibly harmful things to all of us and to the people around us. I was afraid of being alone. Finding someone we care about and trying to hang on for dear life is something that regretfully many of us do. Except I don’t really regret it. I’m who I am now because of what happened in my past.
So I committed for the long haul…at least 18 years, I figured. I got married. And I tried as best I knew how to adapt to that life. I didn’t loathe my life. I was doing my duty, the best I knew how. Happiness was for other people.
And one day, when she was in 4th grade, I discovered that my daughter liked girls…that she was probably going to grow up to be a lesbian. And I was okay with that…except maybe somewhat jealous. And through the years she became comfortable with herself. And that was good. And I was proud.
For me, I had been bending my gender a little through the years, but I was still too frightened to act.
On September 30, I will have been out for the past 15 years. Just like I did not really choose to be in a closet, I didn’t really choose to be an openly lesbian transsexual woman. I chose to remain a professor at a public university in Arkansas. And I chose to have my sex reassigned. Everything else that happened about me being out was beyond my control.
I wrote something in a comment the other day:
Coming out has a lot to do with coming to grips with the knowledge that one was different from others in ways that at one time one didn’t even know it was possible to be. When I grew up, there were no gay people. They didn’t exist. Then they became the boogie man. Then they became queers. Then they became gays and lesbians because my daughter is a lesbian. And all alongside that were the uncertainty of whether or not that was ever going to be me.
Coming out isn’t when you cross that boundary, but when you turn around to look back at the other people.
Maybe this means something. Maybe more understanding will occur. One can hope.