Movie: The Other Conquest (La Otra Conquista)
The movie spans the years 1520 to 1531 in Mexico - from the death of Montezuma to the apparition of the Virgin of Guadalupe. If the first conquest was the military conquest of the Aztec Empire by Hernando Cortés, the "other" conquest is ostensibly the religious conversion of the native population. But this movie makes its case that the real "other conquest" was the intellectual backwash of the New World on Old World culture. When two cultures clash, neither wins, but both are altered. The theme is struck early, when the brutally realistic Spanish officer tells the priest, "The only result of the Crusades has been that Muslim ideas entered the Christian world." The priest - who is one of the two central characters of the film - thinks this verges on blasphemy. "And if you insist on converting the Indians, the same story will be repeated here in New Spain," says the officer.
"And what is that?" asks the priest.
"A conversion that is never complete." (Source)
Controversial Article that Rejects the Claim that White People are as "Oppressed" as Black People
Written by Assed Baig (UK)
I was recently discussing Black history month with a fellow student along with establishing a position for a Black Students officer. I was shocked by the response. "Do we have a white history month or a white students´ officer?"
From the outset I must declare the definition I am using for `Black´ is that of the NUS Black Students Campaign. This definition is for students of African, Asian, and Caribbean descent. The ignorance of many other students amazes me. Do people not realise that this is a white country where history in schools is white history? Black history is largely ignored and rarely taught at educational institutes.
The position of black students´ officer is for a guaranteed representation of a minority group so that they can have representation. Democracy is not only about the voice of the majority but is also about ensuring a voice for the minority.
However I think we need to look into this further in an attempt to explain where the roots of this thinking lie.
The reason why white people point fingers at black people is because that they need an enemy, a `bad guy´. As long as there is an external entity to which you can shift blame, it stops you looking at yourself. The term `black on black´ crime is an example. We never hear white on white crime, is this to say that white people do not commit crime against white people. Crime is not committed on the basis of colour.
In reality it is the white ruling elite which are responsible for much of the problems that we see today. Nuclear weapons, AK47´s and M16´s are all invented and made by white people. Fighter Jets, tanks and land mines are a white invention and largely made in the white dominated Western World. Terrorism has been perpetrated by white states. The terrorism that we are told to fear in the so called `War on Terror´ was initially funded and terrorists trained by our governments.
The artificial and unnatural lines drawn on maps from Africa to the Middle East, were drawn up by the colonialist white ruling class. The biggest crimes perpetrated in this World are carried out by the white ruling class; take for example the theft of Iraqi oil.
Yet if we look at our society, our media and film industry it is black people that are seen as the criminals. It does not stop there we are given an image that the black people cannot help themselves. It requires the white man to step in and help black people help themselves. This kind of thinking is prevalent in many white people and has its roots in racist imperialist colonialism. In many people it is sub-conscience. You only need to pick up The Sun newspaper to read the racist undertone that runs through it.
In the films that we watch the main protagonist is always white. Even in films based in Africa and the Middle East. Blood Diamond, the main character is white, played by Leonardo De Caprio. In Rambo III, where Rambo goes to Afghanistan it is Rambo that is instrumental in the Russians defeat, not the Afghans themselves. Even if we are to look at Tarzan, where we see a story set in the African jungle. It is a white man that is protecting the jungle and its animals.
Some of you may think this is all nonsense, but this has real life consequences. This kind of thinking is why people think that Britain and America are justified in invading countries to bring them so called `democracy´. This is why people think it is acceptable for `liberal interventionalism´ to remove dictators. Dictators, incidentally, that our countries funded and supplied with weapons before we decided we wanted the oil in their countries.
Let us take the example of the recent release of kidnapped BBC journalist Alan Johnston. There was outcry in this country over his kidnap and celebration when he was released. However there was no such outcry over the US military´s imprisonment of Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein or Al Jazeera camera man Sami al-Haj. Al-Haj has been held at Guantanamo for five years and Hussein has been detained in Iraq since 2006. Neither man has been charged. In a field such as journalism that claims to work for justice it seems that the life of one white journalist is worth more than those who are not.
We must take a long hard look at ourselves and root out the deep-rooted, sub-conscience racist ideas if we are truly to see the world for what it is. I´m still working on it. A lot of people haven´t even started and even more people don´t want to start.
His Response to Criticism
Since the publication of my comment piece in GK News there has been a furore of comments and accusations against me, culminating in myself being called a racist. These have been balanced by statements of support from lecturers and students alike.
My intention was to get people to think about racism towards black people and to think about the world we live in. It did not need to be a "balanced article" since the "other side", i.e. that black people are the problem in society, is constantly perpetuated by politicians and the mainstream media – rampant Islamophobia since the start of the "war on terror" being just one example.
Some of the response to my article has itself been bigoted and racist. I have seen messages saying I should be killed, deported and burned by Jesus. Others have called my article an attack on British culture. If I mention the ruling elite it is seen as an attack on this country and British culture. I would argue that real "British culture" is one that unites black and white people in opposition to war and racism – issues we have seen millions marching and protesting over in the past few years.
As for the calls for me to be deported or "fuck off" to another country, where do these people expect me to go? I was born in this country and have as much right to be here as a white person. Would this be said if I was white? I think not.
I believe the origins of racism today lie within the capitalist society we live in – it is used as a tool by the ruling class. Ever since slavery gave birth to modern day capitalism, racism has been an inherent part of the system. It has been used to both scapegoat and coerce minorities, and to divide those wanting to fight back.
From slavery to the war in Iraq, minority groups were demonised, in the former case to justify free labour, and in the latter to justify the destruction of a society for its natural resources.
Iraq was occupied by the British in the 1920s, and when the Iraqis resisted they were gassed, not by Saddam but by the British occupation. Winston Churchill at the time commented "I am strongly in favour of using poison gas against uncivilised tribes". Another example of racist imperialism.
I believe racism in many people is sub-conscious, evident in many of the hostile responses I received, fostered by the media, education system and other institutions, notably the police force. In this way, racism is used to divide the working class, distracting them from recognising the actual oppressors: the ruling class. The majority of people in this country, regardless of the colour of their skin, face the same poor job prospects, the same cuts in wages and pensions, the same lack of decent public services subjected to the mercy of private enterprise. Our response needs to be to unite and fight back.
Those that seem to be jumping to the defence of the ruling elite can only be likened to the slave jumping to the defence of their slave masters, except today people are not bound by physical chains but mental ones. People are suffering from mental slavery, as they seek to protect and defend the people and system that oppresses millions and lives off the exploitation of millions. And the ruling class responsible would far rather have black people fighting white than working people of all colours resisting their common enemy – that tiny, largely white clique that controls the world's most powerful governments and resources.
Some criticisms of the article claim that it is racist. The suggestion has also been made that if the term 'white' was substituted for the term 'black' the article would be considered racist. This is correct because the article would not be true or accurate, and it would be targeting a group that is oppressed not only in modern times but throughout history.
Racism is not just a word – it is the systematic oppression of a people that is carried out by individuals and the system as a whole. There are many examples of intuitional racism, the Macherson report into the police's institutional racism following the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence being an important example. This does not mean that individual people within the institution are necessarily racist, rather it means that the institution's structures and procedures systematically discriminate against black people, and influence individuals within that institution to act in such a way.
If we look at society as a whole, African-Caribbean boys are three times more likely to be permanently excluded from school than white children for misdemeanours of similar severity. Within five years of leaving college black students can be expected to be earning 9% less than their white peers for the same standard of work. These are just a few examples of institutional racism.
In schools it is not that there is no history about black people taught, it is rather there is no "Black history" taught. There is a difference. The history taught is history taught through white people's eyes, and two modules on slavery is not black history. I am talking about informing people of the struggle of black people themselves breaking the chains of slavery, the contributions to society made by Black people. Black poetry, art and culture. Britain has history of imperialism and colonialism yet this is ignored in schools. Are students taught about Britain's involvement in Iraq in the 1920s? Or how cities in Britain were built off the money from the slave trade?
By and large, the big business owners of our media outlets perpetuate these same stereotypes and racist ideas. All one needs to do is look at the portrayal of Arabs in Hollywood over the years. Are black people supposed to be satisfied by the fact that Morgan Freeman played God in a movie? That makes it ok, for all the years of oppression and racism, a black man plays God, so all black people should be happy and grateful and thank Hollywood for such an honour. This suggestion is absurd.
And just because a tiny handful of black people have jumped in bed with the white ruling elite, does this make things alright? I don't believe that Condoleeza Rice's position in the US government is a real step forwards for black people, just as Margaret Thatcher's election as the first woman Prime Minister wasn't a victory for women's liberation. By being part of the ruling class, these people preside over the same racist and sexist society as there white counterparts. And a black worker who experiences poor wages and conditions has far more in common with a white worker in the same position than with Condoleeza Rice. The black worker, however, faces racism on top of everything else too.
I would urge those who are up in arms about my first article redirect their anger in more productive ways. There is real, viscous racism in our society – those who set up facebook groups to denounce me did not set up any facebook groups against the five BNP councillors in Stoke on Trent.
To conclude, the working class in this country are exploited, and the working class across the world are exploited. And the working class in this country are of all colours. But black people face racism on top of the exploitation suffered by the working class. We ultimately have the same enemy, it is just that I recognise that enemy and it seems some people love their slave masters and cannot imagine a life without them. People think that their prosperity and safety in life is dependant on the ruling elite.
I stand by everything I have said and the response from some has been nothing short of racism. However those responding in this way have made two major mistakes. First, calling me a racist with no idea about my anti-racism work and second, thinking I will back down in the face of an ignorant mob.
"If you tremble indignation at every injustice then you are a comrade of mine."
What Abraham Lincoln Taught Me about Email—Thoughts on How Lincoln's Electric Communications Came to Affect Mine
I began writing Mr. Lincoln's T-Mails based on the thesis that Abraham Lincoln's telegrams made him the first online president. As I watched Lincoln's use of the telegraph evolve and read and re-read his messages I began to discover that I was thinking of his t-mails as I wrote my own emails. Here is how Abraham Lincoln's t-mails ended up having an effect upon how I use email.