Tag: history

Q&A on Tibet w/poll

Original article, subtitled Elisabeth Martens interviewed in “Le Courrier”, by Bénito Perez via Dissidentvoice.org.

Elisabeth Martens was interviewed by Bénito Perez for Le Courrier in Geneva on 27 March 2008. Here is the entire interview in which she directly answers all questions on the history, recent events, repression, the Dalai Lama, and the social problems of Tibet.

Speaking of dissident voices, this is an article which sheds light on what’s going on in Tibet. Be warned…it does not take a pro-Tibetan independence position, which is what makes it interesting. We also get a view of Tibetan history we aren’t often told about.

A Beginner’s Research on Tibetan Buddhism and History

In one of those synchroncities that sometimes occur in life, shortly before I began to hear about the current unrest in Tibet, I had begun to read a book called The Essential Dalai Lama: His Important Teachings, edited by Rajiv Mehrotra and published by Penguin Books. The book is a compilation of essays and lectures on Buddhism by the Dalai Lama. It is a relatively thin book, under 300 pages, but I have yet to finish it a couple of weeks later, because each of the essays in the book is so full of meaning and deserving of further thought that I cannot read too much of it at once without stopping to absorb and ponder it.

I am not a Buddhist. I am someone who has a great deal of interest in spiritual questions about the actual nature of reality, but because of a questioning mind I have been unable thus far to accept any religion. As such, I am by no means an expert on this subject, but I want to convey some sense of what I believe is the deep importance of preserving the Tibetan culture. I have the impression that many Americans are unfamiliar with that culture and think of Tibet as far away and unimportant to them. I want to express why I think it is imperative that we support Tibet.

Apocalypse 2012!

or The Really Real Reason Why ’08 Is the Most Important Election Ever

I’ve been around this big orange block long enough to know that writing a conspiracy-theory diary ain’t a real good idea if you’re not hungry for donuts, but some things…well, they may be out on the edge of non-paranoid discourse, but don’t really fall under the category of “conspiracy.”  I’ve scoured the FAQ for any mention of “prophecy,” for example, and have found neither reference nor prohibition.  That makes me glad, because it’s to the arcane world of divination that I must now turn: it falls to me, it seems – your resident historioranter-cum-Cassandra – to alert our community to the most important hitherto-unmentioned aspect of the job facing whoever is elected in November.

The person we place in the White House this year will be the one sitting there, either as a lame duck or a president-re-elect, on December 21st, 2012.  This has special significance, since a great many prophecies seem to converge on that particular day – it’s been slated to be the End of the World by seers from Ancient Mexico to Renaissance France.

In short, the next President will be in office when life as we know it comes to an end.

Some Fun for Your Brain

Note: Originally posted at DailyKos.

I was inspired to post this by a little pun RiaD made in a comment earlier today.

It’s a bit long, and not topical at all. It is Saturday.

 

Medieval Persia

When last we looked in on the history of Iran, the dust of Battle of al-Quadissiyah was just settling, and Zoroastrian Persia had fallen under the dominion of the armies of Islam.  As she has done with every other of her would-be conquerors, however, the culture of the conquered soon became inexorably tied to that of the new overlords; from Persian minds sprang some of the greatest achievements of the Golden Age of Islam.  Even gold won’t glitter forever, though, and the forces of time and history exerted themselves on a succession of kingdoms and dynasties for several centuries before one proved strong enough to make the unification thing stick.

Join me, if you will, in the Cave of the Moonbat, for a whirlwind tour of nearly 1000 years of Iranian history, from the Abbasids to the Safavids, by way of the Ziyarids, if you will – plus an important announcement (he said grandiosely) from your resident historiorantologist.      

A Brief History of the Red Carpet

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Time to roll out the red carpet: It’s Oscar Night!

Let’s have a look at the red carpet in history — it’s more interesting than you might think! — and then have a fun night watching the awards.

Continuing “The Genocide of Matriarchal Societies”

I wrote The Genocide of Matriarchal Societies in April of last year (2007), and there is some additional information I want to share along those general lines now. We’ll pick up where we left off and the answer to “Where Are All Your Women” will be made chillingly clear as to why they are “Missing In Action” after we recognize that a woman is set to be beheaded for “practicing witchcraft.” First however, we will reread the words of Archie Fire Lame Deer and relish in the scholarship of Barbara Alice Mann.

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Islam Comes to Persia

At the conclusion of our last historiorant, we left off with the Sassanids in pretty dire straits.  It was 636 CE, little more than a decade after they had had their sasses handed to them by the Byzantines in a series of battles across Mesopotamia, and only four years removed from the passing of the Prophet Muhammad.  Now fierce men bearing the star and crescent had appeared on the Euphrates; to Yazdgerd III, the last Zoroastrian king of the Persians, fell the task of defending Ctesiphon and the gateway to Iran.

So join me, if you will, in the Cave of the Moonbat, for a look at the beginnings of a clash of civilizations that continues to the present day, as well as the many Iranian contributions to what would become known as Islam’s Golden Age.  Along the way, we’ll also be taking a contextual side-trip to the Founding of Islam – but only after pausing to read the sign about how, imho, we should be approaching historiographic minefields.

Classical Persia

Would-be imperialists beware: You gotta be careful when you go to pick a fight with a country possessed of a 5000-year history, for such a nation will inevitably have in its historical record an example of every kind of victory and every kind of loss, and every kind of human triumph and failing in between.  In these countries, ideas like a Declaration of Human Rights aren’t imports; they’re the original products of ancestors and fellow countrymen. Been through a few golden ages, followed by periods of decline and ruin?  Check.  Dealt with foreign aggressors and internal revolt?  Check. Been led by people that history remembers as “the Great,” as well as by guys so incompetent that they make George W. Bush look adequate?  Check.

Join me, if you will, in the Cave of the Moonbat, where tonight we’ll take a look at Persia in the Classical Age – and find out that Iran’s willingness (and ability) to go toe-to-toe with the West’s greatest superpowers is not something that first emerged in the Era of Petroleum.  As a courtesy to the neo-imps among us, I should give fair warning: We may also find that the Iranian contemporaries of Rome influenced the makings of our modern world far more than might first seem apparent.

Ignorance and Education in America

Originally posted on ePluribus Media as Education For The Common Good: We’re All Out Of Our Minds.

People in the United States of America have been “asleep at the wheel” while their airwaves, traditional media, education and political discourse have been perpetually “dumbed down” to the point where the average citizen is often unaware and indifferent of major people, places and events of the world and from history.

If you don’t think education matters, and that news like the latest pop-glam scandal are more important than knowing what goes into our food, our environment, our foreign and domestic policies and what’s happening around the world, then you’ll probably fail to grasp the significance of the following video:

Note: suspected spoof video

Waterboarding: Those Who Cannot Remember The Past

cross posted at The Dream Antilles

Waterboarding (read: torture) is nothing new.  It’s been around since the 15th century, and has a long, well documented history.  That history was briefly summed up by Ted Kennedy for Democracy Now:

It’s an ancient technique of tyrants. In the fifteenth and sixteenth century, it was used by interrogators in the Spanish Inquisition. In the nineteenth century, it was used against slaves in this country. In World War II, it was used against us by Japan. In the 1970s, it was used against political opponents by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and the military dictatorships of Chile and Argentina. Today, it’s being used against pro-democracy activists by the rulers of Burma. When we fail to reject waterboarding, this is the company that we keep. /snip

   Make no mistake about it: waterboarding is already illegal under United States law. It’s illegal under the Geneva Conventions, which prohibit outrages upon personal dignity, including cruel, humiliating and degrading treatment. It’s illegal under the Torture Act, which prohibits acts specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering. It’s illegal under the Detainee Treatment Act, which prohibits cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. And it violates the Constitution. The nation’s top military lawyers and legal experts across the political spectrum have condemned waterboarding as torture. And after World War II, the United States prosecuted- prosecuted- Japanese officers for engaging in waterboarding. What more does this nominee need to enforce existing laws?

This essay isn’t about rehashing the many legal arguments about how waterboarding is torture and in violation of US and international law.  Instead, this essay recalls two recent, prominent instances in which the US itself prosecuted the use of waterboarding as a crime, as torture.  It raises this simple question: how can anyone who acknowledges this relatively recent history argue that waterboarding isn’t a crime and isn’t torture.  And how is it that our learned congresspersons haven’t forcefully confronted Bushco’s minions with this history?

Please join me below.

The Panic of 1837, Climate Change, & Hoping for Peace


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Martin Van Buren was better at acquiring presidential power than using it for himself. Van Buren was elected president in 1836, but he saw financial problems beginning even before he entered the White House.

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