Sunday, February 04, 2007

Mark Twain, or, Do The Right Thing

Today is Sunday, 4 February 2007.

The Sunday which is known as SuperBowl.

On this day in 1938, a play, which in the estimation of HH, is tied for the prize of Greatest American Play, debuted on Broadway.

Our Town, by Thornton Wilder.

"EMILY
Does anyone ever realize life while they live it, every, every moment?

STAGE MANAGER
No. … Well, saints and poets, they do some."

In December 1898, the USA/USE “purchased” the Philippines from Spain.

Does this seem odd? Buying a country, and all the folks in it?

[HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE: ca. 1900, the Tsar of All the Russias, Nicholas 2 [let’s postpone comparison of Nickie 2 and Bushie 2, shall we?, but ain’t that a caution!], listed his occupation, on his census form, as “Owner of Russia”.]

Yesterday, 3 February 2007, as a result of the disorder and carnage unleashed upon Iraq by the Bush Junta conquest, more than 130 human beings were killed in a truck bombing in a Baghdad market.

Hey now, hey now.

On this day in 1899, formally began the resistance of Filipinos to conquest by the United States. The war lasted, in its most ferocious phase, until 1902, with the mop-up lasting until 1913.

During the course of the “conflict”, The Army of the United States, by bullet and disease, exterminated ca. 1,000,000 Filipino civilians.

Mark Twain, a notable opponent of the Conquest and Genocide in the Philippines, wrote:

"There is the case of the Philippines. I have tried hard, and yet I cannot for the life of me comprehend how we got into that mess. Perhaps we could not have avoided it -- perhaps it was inevitable that we should come to be fighting the natives of those islands -- but I cannot understand it, and have never been able to get at the bottom of the origin of our antagonism to the natives. I thought we should act as their protector -- not try to get them under our heel. We were to relieve them from Spanish tyranny to enable them to set up a government of their own, and we were to stand by and see that it got a fair trial. It was not to be a government according to our ideas, but a government that represented the feeling of the majority of the Filipinos, a government according to Filipino ideas. That would have been a worthy mission for the United States. But now -- why, we have got into a mess, a quagmire from which each fresh step renders the difficulty of extrication immensely greater. I'm sure I wish I could see what we were getting out of it, and all it means to us as a nation."

Aint’ it a caution if one repeats those words, with slight change, which I venture to suppose Twain would approve:

"There is the case of IRAQ. I have tried hard, and yet I cannot for the life of me comprehend how we got into that mess. Perhaps we could not have avoided it -- perhaps it was inevitable that we should come to be fighting the natives -- but I cannot understand it, and have never been able to get at the bottom of the origin of our antagonism to the natives. I thought we should act as their protector -- not try to get them under our heel. We were to relieve them from tyranny to enable them to set up a government of their own, and we were to stand by and see that it got a fair trial. It was not to be a government according to our ideas, but a government that represented the feeling of the majority of the IRAQIS, a government according to IRAQI ideas. That would have been a worthy mission for the United States. But now -- why, we have got into a mess, a quagmire from which each fresh step renders the difficulty of extrication immensely greater. I'm sure I wish I could see what we were getting out of it, and all it means to us as a nation."

Mark Twain. A pen name, from a Mississippi River phrase, meaning two fathoms, or 12 feet, of water depth beneath a boat’s keel.

The majority of people of this United States have, through intent and/or neglect, allowed and empowered the Bush Junta to bury the people of Iraq, HUMAN BEINGS, far more than two fathoms, mark twain, down.

Which is to say, the Bush Junta has buried the people of Iraq under such mountains of debris as: of ethno-religious cleansing [i.e., genocide], of destruction of the physical infrastructure we Americans take for granted, etc.

I’m not surprised most of my fellow Americans could care less.

I’m 54 years, so I have experience that cruelty and indifference are essential hallmarks of my fellow Americans. (Not, to be sure, that this makes us/US different from the people of any other nation. And, just to be clear, and to stir the pot, I believe the cause lies more in nurture than in nature.) Ethical responsibility rests upon me, and all my fellow Americans.

I am reminded of a photograph I saved from The New York Times, from the 1st anniversary of the Massacre at Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

It was of the lone protestor, an elderly male, with the compassion and courage to show up at the Square that day, being taken into custody by fascist police thugs.

His crime: he unveiled a banner, and shouted, as he was hauled away: “Rise up! Rise up!”

What's difficult is not realizing The Right Thing To Do: what's difficult is choosing to Do The Right Thing, and doing same.

My Fellow Americans:

Rise up!

1 Comments:

Anonymous RtR said...

In response to your lonely cry, I sadly offer the following:

panem et circenses

Juvenal wrote: "Two things only the people anxiously desire -- bread and circuses." With this statement, Juvenal displayed his contempt for the declining heroism of his contemporary Romans.[1]

In fact, after Juvenal's time, the system of free or heavily subsidized food distribution was limited to a minority of Roman Citizens holding a special token (tessera) entitling them to a monthly supply of grain and olive oil from the reign of Septimus Severus. The rations were probably too small to feed a family and the receivers were not necessarily poor or in need of free food. This does not change the fact that the food supply to a city the size of Rome was of primary concern to the emperors in order to avoid popular unrest.


From: Wikipedia

1:24 PM  

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