Voices from Russia

Friday, 10 November 2017

The Civil War was About Slavery. Period. End of story. Deal With It.

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Slavery caused the Civil War. A failure to compromise had nothing to do with it. Yes, I know a thousand people have made that point in the days since White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s nonsensical assertion on Fox “News” that “the lack of ability to compromise” is what tore America apart. Allow me to be the thousand and first. There are things that need saying here, and I need to say them. It isn’t just that there is no “compromise” between slavery and freedom. It’s also that Kelly’s use of that word is painfully ironic in a nation that’s always been all too ready to bargain with the humanity of African-American people.

In 1776, in his first draft of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson condemned slavery. Southern states baulked, so he compromised. In 1820, North and South argued whether the new state of Missouri would permit slavery. Congress intervened, so they compromised. In 1877, there was a disputed election. Someone suggested giving the presidency to Rutherford B Hayes if he agreed to withdraw federal troops that protected former slaves in the South. The two sides compromised. In 1961, the Freedom Riders pulled into Mississippi. The federal government made a deal with the state that if Mississippi guaranteed no violence, it could arrest the riders, though they’d done nothing illegal. They compromised. And so on. Historically, America always seems to find a way to sell black people out.

Kelly is just the latest in a long line of those who lack the guts to face this straight-on. They hide out in textbooks where slaves become “settlers”; they flee from Roots because it’s “depressing”. Moreover, they insist on moral equivalence between people sellers and the people they sold, lynchers and the people they lynched, traitors who fought to destroy America and patriots who fought to preserve it. Kelly added in the Fox interview:

Robert E Lee was an honourable man.

That’s an interesting take for a military man on an enemy general in a war that killed more Americans than Hitler, Hirohito, and Bin Laden combined. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in defending Kelly:

All of our leaders have flaws.

As if Lee’s ordering two men and a woman stripped to the waist and whipped (he did say, “Lay it on well”) for the crime of seeking freedom was in the same moral universe as Barack Obama’s cigarette jones. I can anticipate how all this would land among certain people. They’d call it “racist”. They’d call it “divisive”. They’d call it everything but untrue. You see, they deeply invested in the myth that their struggles with poverty, mass incarceration, joblessness, and miseducation arise from something African-Americans chose or did, while the rest of the country, innocent as the dawn, did nothing to cause or benefit from any of it. They’ll be angry at the reminder that this is ridiculous… as if this was about them. As if we should give a damn about their anger.

This country stole from black people. It stole their bodies, their children, their names, their land, and their lives. Now, some of them seek to steal the very memory of the crime. Well, let them tell a thousand lies. Let them treat truth like the money card in a game of three-card monte. Let them salve history with the balm of false equivalence. However, let them know that some of us find strength for our own trials in knowing the trials of our mothers and fathers. We won’t be fooled and we won’t be robbed. We will remember… and demand they do the same.

No compromise.

3 November 2017

Leonard Pitts Jr

Miami Herald

http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/leonard-pitts-jr/article182630021.html

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Thursday, 11 July 2013

Does Being a Rubbish President Invalidate Democracy?

00 Egypt. Coup 2013. Anti-Morsi. 07.07.13

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I haven’t smoked enough crack in my life to believe that Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is a force for good in this world. Call me crazy, but I just can’t get down with that whole Jew/gay/woman/Christian/etc-oppressing vibe. Unlike the Brothers, I like the separation of religion and politics… I think that it’s one of the great ideas of Western civilisation. Even so, I felt a bit sorry for Mohamed Morsi last week, as he suddenly discovered, much to his surprise, that he wasn’t only an ex-president, but under arrest. I understand why the army locked him up… it’d be very dangerous to have the rightfully-elected President of Egypt running around, denouncing their coup. Nevertheless, try as I might, I couldn’t think of anything he’d done wrong… other than being a rubbish president, of course. Yet, that isn’t a crime.

There was always something hapless about Morsi. He wasn’t even the Brotherhood’s first choice, but rather a back-up president they wheeled out when their favoured candidate was disqualified from running for election. Once he was in power, he ruled like a back-up president, ham-fisted and stupid, doing all the usual authoritarian things… putting comedians on trial and banging on about ideology when millions of his people had no money, no work, and little food. Morsi didn’t seem to grasp that money matters, and that Egypt gets much of its cash from infidels coming over to lie half-naked on beaches, ride camels, and stare at triangular piles of bricks containing dead people. He was so oblivious… or indifferent… to this fact that, last month, he appointed a member of the political arm of a terrorist group responsible for the murder of 58 tourists in the popular tourist destination of Luxor in 1997 as governor… of Luxor. This was political incompetence as performance art.

It was obvious, then, that neither Morsi nor his advisors in the Brotherhood were very wise. Their goal was to Islamise Egypt, but they were going about it entirely the wrong way. They’d read too much Sayyid Qutb, and not enough Lenin. The Bolsheviks didn’t leap to collectivism overnight; they lied, obfuscated, and advanced gradually. Lenin even allowed limited capitalism for a few years; he knew that if you boil a frog slowly enough, it wouldn’t jump out of the water. The Brothers, they just blundered about, pushing for a massive cultural revolution overnight, but without the requisite willingness to butcher their opponents and terrify the masses into submission. Indeed, it was almost as if… as if they really meant to give this democracy thing a go, as if Morsi really did believe that the most important qualification in a governor was his devotion to God, and, after that, the rest would take care of itself.

Meanwhile, his supporters are justifiably appalled… the Brotherhood won the vote honestly, and, now, men with tanks cancelled the results. Morsi really was a duffer, but so was Jimmy Carter, so was Britain’s Gordon Brown, and they were only ever overthrown at the ballot box. That’s how you do it in a democracy. Of course, the USA under Carter and the UK under Brown weren’t tumbling into the abyss as Egypt is today, so, the comparison’s moot. Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, but there’s no saying that these particular extraordinary measures will fix Egypt’s problems. The army’s already talking about holding new elections soon, but what if a sadist wins next time instead of an incompetent? On the other hand, what if he’s a raving lunatic? Germany was a democracy, yet, the Nazis came to power.

When I was a student, I’d get angry when I read economists argue that some countries aren’t ready for democracy. They were usually talking about China. The simple fairness of allowing people to choose their own leaders was self-evident to me. Twenty years later, and increasingly uncertain about many things I used to know for sure, I see their point. After all, it’s not as if democracy appeared in Europe overnight. It emerged over a couple of thousand years, mixed up with lots of other good ideas such as freedom of speech, the separation of church and state, the rights of man, etc. Therefore, I wonder if extracting one of these ideas and inserting it suddenly into a radically different context is really all that clever. I mean, Egypt is about 5,000 years old, and until last June the country never had a freely-elected leader. Maybe, it would’ve been good to think and plan a bit first, rather than rush into a vote when the only functioning organisations in the impoverished country were the army and a few groups of radical beardy types.

I’m not going to pretend I have all the answers. Nevertheless, although he was clearly wrong about many things, I still can’t help but feel a bit sorry for Morsi. He played the game, he tried his best; he just wasn’t any good… we’ve all been there. However, very few of us wound up under house arrest as a result.

10 July 2013

Daniel Kalder

RIA-Novosti

http://en.ria.ru/columnists/20130710/182168546/Transmissions-from-a-Lone-Star-Does-Being-a-Rubbish-President.html

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Putin sez Egypt on Verge of Civil War

00 Egypt. Coup 2013. Anti-Morsi. 07.07.13

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On Sunday, President Vladimir Putin said that Egypt is on the verge of a civil war, as tensions continued to escalate in the North African country between the supporters and opponents of deposed Islamist President Mohamed Morsi Isa al-Ayyat. During a working visit to Kazakhstan, Putin said, “Syria’s already engulfed in a civil war; no matter how sad it may sound, Egypt’s also moving in the same direction. It’d be good if the Egyptian people avoided this fate”. On Wednesday, the Egyptian armed forces deposed Morsi and suspended the country’s constitution, Egyptian Defence Minister Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi said in a televised address to the nation. He said that the head of Egypt’s Constitutional Court, Adly Mahmoud Mansour, would be interim president during a transition period until there’s an early presidential election. Reportedly, since Morsi’s ouster from power, clashes between Morsi supporters and opponents across the country killed dozens and injured hundreds more.

7 July 2013

RIA-Novosti

http://en.ria.ru/world/20130707/182106993/Egypt-on-Verge-of-Civil-War–Putin.html

 

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

2 July 2013. A Picture IS Worth a Thousand Words… THIS is Why Russians HATE War

00 Destroyed Russian Village. VOV. World War II. 02.07.13

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This was an all-too-typical scene in Russia in the VOV. There was a massive amount of rebuilding necessary after the war; it was why Russians had “lower” living standards than Americans did. When you factor in the damage from World War I and the Civil War, why, what the Soviets did was nothing short of miraculous. They did beat the loudmouthed crapitalists into space, didn’t they?

THIS is why Russians hate war. Since the American homeland didn’t suffer in its foreign wars, the Republicans LOVE war. One attitude is human and understandable; the other is demonic and twisted. One wonders why Southerners vote Republican… their land was the only part of the USA ravaged by a major army… is racism and greed that important and central for them?

Oh, one last thing… the USA and the USSR were allies in World War II… both had socialistic systems that allowed them to mobilise society’s resources (human, economic, patriotic, and spiritual) to win the war against Hitler. Don’t attend to Republican historians… they lie… with malice aforethought. Never cease to ask “cui bono“…

BMD

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