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Wake Up!

August 18th, 2017 No comments

You see how it works? Heavily armed nazis marching through the streets with torches spewing hate against Jews and Blacks and you guys are all defending Confederate statues. Wake up people!

“We understand justice very differently…”

August 18th, 2017 No comments

Text of a letter from the Great-Great-Grandsons of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson concerning the removal of a statue to their progenitor in Richmond, Va.

“Last weekend, Charlottesville showed us unequivocally that Confederate statues offer pre-existing iconography for racists. The people who descended on Charlottesville last weekend were there to make a naked show of force for white supremacy. To them, the Robert E. Lee statue is a clear symbol of their hateful ideology.”

“The Monuments Must Go”: An Open Letter From the Great-Great-Grandsons of Stonewall Jackson

Dear Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and members of the Monument Avenue Commission, We are native Richmonders and also the great-great-grandsons of Stonewall Jackson. As two of the closest living relatives to Stonewall, we are writing today to ask for the removal of his statue, as well as the removal of all Confederate statues from Monument Avenue.

The “Lost Cause” should not be glorified

August 16th, 2017 No comments

Statues are not erected to educate, they are erected to glorify. Taking down statues that glorify a lamentable past is not erasing history. It is claiming the present. In a way, it represents the best outcome of a critical understanding of history, because it indicates we have learned that who we once were is not who we want to be. The mythos of the “Lost Cause” is historically inaccurate. It is an invention. The Confederacy did not come into existence to defend liberty but to perpetuate slavery.[1] There was nothing glorious about it. And it’s about time we accepted that.

Analysis | How other countries have dealt with monuments to dictators, fascists and racists

The waning days of the Confederacy did not look so different from the last hours of Nazi Germany. As Matthew Schofield of McClatchy Newspapers explained: “Flags were torn down while defeated cities still burned, even as citizens crawling from the rubble were just realizing that the governments they represented had ended.”

[1] Please don’t take my word for this; read the words of those who moved to destroy the nation: The Declaration of Causes of Seceding States

The Poetry of Tragedy

August 15th, 2017 No comments

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the independence and partition of India. Most Americans know little about Indian history and the struggle for independence from British colonial rule. If you only know the movie Gandhi, then you will believe that the British and indigenous peoples (Hindu, Sikh, and Muslim) shared common liberal values (i.e., a secular state based on popular sovereignty and individual freedoms). But liberalism, a European invention, did not dominate Indian politics.

Before the independence of India, there had never been a unified Indian “nation.” What we call India was a collection of states and districts that eventually came under the direct control of the British Crown. At the time of partition, there were approximately 1600 different dialects spoken on the Indian subcontinent, in other words, 1600 different ethnic identities. The idea of a unified liberal state, championed by Gandhi and the Indian National Congress, was a Western invention.

Islam entered the Indian subcontinent beginning in the 8th century. The tragedy of Indian history is that Islam, with its insistence on the one-ness of God, is antithetical to the dominant religion of India, Hinduism, with its multitude of Deities. This antipathy led to conflict and violence between followers of the two religions.

When India came under the rule of the British, religious tensions faded to the background, but conflicts remained. The Sepoy rebellion of 1857, which eventually led to direct British rule, was sparked by resentment of Indian Hindu and Muslim soldiers (Sepoys) against the British use of either pork of beef fat in its ammunition. When the country moved toward independence in the 20th century its major proponent was an alliance of Hindus in the Indian National Congress led by Gandhi and Muslims in the Muslim League led by Mohammed Ali Jinnah.

It was Gandhi’s goal to unite all of India into one new liberal state. But when the prospect of independence became real after World War II, the old animosities between Muslims and Hindus resurfaced. Fearing persecution, Jinnah insisted on a separate Muslim nation. The British eventually conceded to allow the creation of two states: India, with a majority of Hindus and Sikhs, and Pakistan, with a majority of Muslims. The plan was hastily drawn up and the border (the Radcliffe line) defined just five days before independence.

The problem with the line was that, while it was true that there were a majority of Muslims in the area designated Pakistan and a majority of Hindus and Sikhs in the area designated India, there were Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims in every district of the subcontinent. Fearing discrimination by the majority, religious minorities in both regions were displaced, seeking homes in the country dominated by their religion. The resulting suffering during the mass migration of millions led to mob violence and brutal attacks on both sides. An estimated million people died.

And what was gained? Take a step back in your mind and marvel that millions of people suffered and many died trying to cross an imaginary line because of fear and mistrust based on ideological differences. All of this suffering was created out of fabricated disunity, and all of it could have been avoided by political leaders recognizing the “other” as neighbor.

History does not repeat itself. But it does rhyme. And here we sit in the United States in 2017 tapping our feet to the rhythm of this tragic ode.

Indian Independence Day: everything you need to know about Partition between India and Pakistan 70 years on

70 years ago, Partition came into effect, dividing British India into two new, independent countries: India and Pakistan. At midnight on August 14 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of independent India, gave a famous speech which hailed the country’s decades-long, non-violent campaign against British rule: At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom.

Enough

August 13th, 2017 No comments

This country was born with an open wound. The pain of this open wound caused so much division that eventually the nation tried to commit suicide. Then the wound was closed but the infection remained. That infection festered until it burst the skin, and the nation covered it with a band-aid. With the band-aid it looked like the wound was healed for a time but it continued to fester.

The election of a black President exposed the putrefying sore, and eventually the band-aid was completely ripped away, leaving a mass of stinking bloody pus.

Covering it over never really helped. In fact, it just allowed the wound to get worse, continuing to cause damage to the whole body. Now it is completely exposed.

Racism is not a political issue. Do not be confused or distracted by apologists for hate pointing fingers at the “other side.” It is not a left vs. right issue. It is a right vs. wrong issue. We do not have to agree on anything else to agree that the symbols of the hateful ideology Americans sacrificed to vanquish have no place in our public discourse. If you are not willing to condemn them, you are with them.

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor” – Desmond Tutu

“The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict…[an individual] who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it” – Martin Luther King Jr.

“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented” – Elie Wiesel

Oh look! A squirrel!

August 12th, 2017 No comments

Wonder why there’s been so much war talk lately? Dictators will find an enemy when they need a distraction.

By opting for military action, the Galtieri government hoped to mobilise the long-standing patriotic feelings of Argentines towards the islands, and thus divert public attention from the country’s chronic economic problems and the regime’s ongoing human rights violations of the Dirty War.[15] Such action would also bolster its dwindling legitimacy. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falklands_War)

Analysis: Trump ‘military’ talk on Venezuela unnerves LatAm

President Donald Trump’s talk of a “military option” in Venezuela risks alienating Latin American nations that overcame their reluctance to work with the Republican leader and had adopted a common, confrontational approach aimed at isolating President Nicolas Maduro’s embattled government.

“Tragic Prelude”

July 27th, 2017 No comments

Most of us in my generation are familiar with this image as the cover of rock band Kansas’ first album “Kansas.” (1974). It is a mural on the second floor of the Kansas State capitol titled “Tragic Prelude” by John Steuart Curry. (1942) It depicts the abolitionist struggle known as “Bleeding Kansas” that preceded the Civil War in the 1850s. I cannot imagine a more quintessentially American image.

Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism in the USA: A surprising ecumenism

July 15th, 2017 No comments

Which feeling underlies the persuasive temptation for a spurious alliance between politics and religious fundamentalism? It is fear of the breakup of a constructed order and the fear of chaos. Indeed, it functions that way thanks to the chaos perceived. The political strategy for success becomes that of raising the tones of the conflictual, exaggerating disorder, agitating the souls of the people by painting worrying scenarios beyond any realism.

Religion at this point becomes a guarantor of order and a political part would incarnate its needs. The appeal to the apocalypse justifies the power desired by a god or colluded in with a god. And fundamentalism thereby shows itself not to be the product of a religious experience but a poor and abusive perversion of it.

 

LA CIVILTÀ CATTOLICA

Editor-in-chief of Antonio Spadaro S.J. La Civiltà Cattolica , Presbyterian pastor, Editor-in-chief of the Argentinian edition of Marcelo Figueroa L’Osservatore Romano In God We Trust. This phrase is printed on the banknotes of the United States of America and is the current national motto.

The Car of History by Franzoni. Clock by Simon Willard*

July 8th, 2017 No comments

How can we know who we are and where we are headed if we don’t know where we came from? How can we call ourselves patriots if we know little of our country’s past?[1]

[1] David McCullough, 1776, [E-book] 1st edition (Simon & Schuster, 2005), chap. 1.

*Clio, the godess of history. In Statuary Hall, US Capitol, Washington, DC. This was the first chamber of the House of Representatives.

God Save Our American States

July 4th, 2017 No comments

“A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”

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