Monday, October 30, 2006

The Pocahontas Myth

Frederic W. Gleach, Ph.D. (Senior Lecturer and Curator, Anthropology Collections, Cornell University) wrote a fascinating feature in this month's issue of Natural History Magazine. His argument runs as follows:

The Powhatans (the American Indians encountered by the Jamestown colonists in 1607) adopted the English into their social and political world. While they could have easily exterminated the English in a sustained campaign, the Powhatans instead made the colonists part of the collectivity. The English could not understand this and viewed it as a sign of weakness. They continuously broke the compact they had forged with the Powhatans which provoked the occasional punishment from the Powhatans.

Captain John Smith was an integral part of the contract forged between the Powhatans and the English since the latter viewed him as the English "War Chief." This explains the change in relationships after he returned to England.

Pocahontas was acting in a traditional role as a cultural mediator in symbolically saving Smith's life so that he could be reborn into the Powhatan world. In other words the execution of Smith was staged as part of the ritual the Powhatans performed when welcoming outsiders into their social body and Pocahantas was just playing her role in the ritual as the chief's daughter.

In short -- the Pocahontas story is a myth to dress up the reality of theft and genocide in the pretty garb of an insipid love story that establishes the superiority of Anglo-American Masculinity. The only love in reality is that which the Powhatans showed the English when they greeted them at the Coast while they could have massacred them. Love the English viewed as weakness and reciprocated with continuous attempts to seize more land than they needed. And the only explanation for the English conquest is not their intellectual, military or moral superiority but their willingness to lie, murder and rob the very people who saved their miserable lives from starvation and death.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Israel Is A Racist White Supremacist State

Chinese Jews?! Chinese food in the Holy Land! You'd think any Jew would be thrilled. Not so. Of the 600 or so families in Kaifeng who claim to have been Jews for generations, only one of them (the Jin family) has been able to make the so-called "return" (Aliyah) to the Holy Land. And they had to undergo an Orthodox conversion to do so. And even then they were not granted legal status as Jews by the State. You see the members of the ancient Jewish community of Kaifeng (established in at least the 10th Century), like the rest of the communities in the Jewish Diaspora, look like their neighbors (i.e. they look Chinese). Here's a picture.

In Israel, "Jew" clearly equals "White," although they can't say it. But this is ridiculous. According to Israeli law, I could make the Aliyah without a problem because I am White and can prove that all of my ancestors for many generations have been Jewish. Yet a recent DNA test my father took revealed that none of my paternal genetic markers can be traced to the Middle East. In fact on my father's side I have more in common with an Irishman or a Spaniard than an Ancient Hebrew. In other words, Judaism is not a race! It's a religion. And a Jew can be African, Arab, Chinese, European or what have you. But what the example of the Chinese Jews shows, as well as the experiences of all people of color in Israel, is that the Zionist State has nothing or very little to do with religion. The Jin family produced official Chinese documents showing that they were descendants of Jews. But that was not sufficient (as it would have been in say, my case). So they underwent an Orthodox ritual conversion. But that still wasn't sufficient. So if the Jew angle isn't about religion then what is it about? It's a con. How else do you justify the establishment of a new colonial entity based on White Supremacy after the whole world recognized the right of the formerly colonized people to independence after World War II? But that's another story.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Nobody Ever Wacks The Fascists!

Okay so the Columbia University student Republicans invited the leader of the Minutemen to speak at the school last week and the audience shouted him off the stage (<>). Not a huge deal but commendable nonetheless and a feel-good moment for decent-minded citizens considering no one got hurt. Unfortunately the university administration doesn't see it that way. They want to discipline the students. Now, for those who may not know, the Minutemen are an armed militia that patrol the southern border of the U.S. and kill people who try to cross it from Mexico. Now if my last blog post sounded crazy to you then consider this: Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcom X -- men whose only crime was fighting for equality, freedom and justice -- were assassinated and their murderers went unpunished. Jim Gilchrist, who is guilty of inciting racist murders, was prevented from giving a speech and those responsible have been targeted for punishment (they might not if you sign this petition). And have you noticed that fascists like Gilchrist and his ilk hardly ever seem to pay for their crimes? Most die of natural causes. What the fuck is that?!