October 20, 2009
NEW YORK–Cement barriers, stanchions, cop cars, motorcycles, black SUV’s, flashing lights, bullhorn warnings to move to the side or else, mean-looking dudes in dark suits, dark glasses and talking into their cufflinks, a hobbit named Sarkozy jogging in Central Park to the exclusion of the rest of us, African dictator kleptocrats emptying jewelry shops on Fifth Avenue, Netanyahu walking down Park after the residents of that tony street had been removed, that was the Big Bagel last week when the zoo that’s the UN Security Council came to town. The hate fest rolls on, fueled by the arrogance of our supposed leaders and the reluctance by the hacks to call a spade a spade. African dictators who murder their subjects and keep billions abroad have no right to police escorts in civilized societies, yet that’s what they got last week. Uncle Sam’s pet, the Israeli prime minister, brings Avigdor Lieberman with him, the latter having gone on record that he wants to ethnically cleanse Palestinians from their rapidly diminishing lands. The ex-night club bouncer was an eyesore, worse than the hobbit jogging in shorts. After the freak show, I did have trouble sleeping knowing the world is such a malevolent place. Yes, the hint was dropped. Israel might go at it alone, with a nod and wink from Uncle S.
So, being the historian that I am, I ask you: When was the last time Iran attacked a foreign country?
Answer: Around 480 B.C. I’d say, give or take a few decades, until the great Kimon cleared the Greek islands from their plague.
What about Israel? Around 2006 and as recently as 2008 would be an accurate assessment. Oh well, Iran talks tough for internal purposes so it should be bombed. Israel has hundreds of nukes but whines a lot so we should turn a blind eye. Go figure, as they say in Qum.
Kimon came to mind because of the murderers and crooks that made life impossible last week in the Bagel. Oppressors and bullies, as far removed from statesmanship as Stanley Mathews or Bobby Charlton are from Hadji Diouf, the man who spits on opponents as well as fans and was imported from Senegal along with his fine manners. Kimon was the aristocrat without equal. Son of the great Miltiades, the winner of the battle of Marathon, he was exiled by the ungrateful Athenians, just as his father was. The reason was envy. Kimon liked the Spartans and encouraged Athens to fight the Persians instead of their own kind. When his sister went on his behalf to see that bogus aristo and pseudo democrat Pericles, she bared her breasts in order to curry favour. “You’re much too old for it,” said the sham great man rather gracelessly.
Any Kimons around today? You’ve got to be joking. The closest are people like Robert E. Lee, Sir Philip Sidney, Don John, winner of Lepanto, and I guess that’s about it. Marlborough was too mercenary, Napoleon too bloodthirsty, Alexander too ambitious, Wellington too petty, Manstein too Nazi. Perhaps Guderian and Washington. No, Kimon was the knight “sans peur and sans raproche” who set the bar for moral grandeur, and was a hell of a ladies’ man to boot. In fact he was often accused of frivolity by those not as lucky as he was with the fair sex, but frivolous Kimon was not. He loved and adored his wife, but his great looks, charm and victories on the battlefield could not keep women out of his bed. Athens should have erected one hundred statues of him, but only one stands today. Instead we have tens of Venizelos, not to mention Harry Truman, a haberdasher who has a lot in common with neo-Hellenes.
Every culture had the Greeks—and I do mean the ancient ones, not to be confused with the rabble of today—to turn to for inspiration, except of course for the Greeks themselves. They had to make it up as they went along, a bit like our greatest playwright Sir Tom Stoppard, but at least he had communism, John Houseman, and rock and roll to help him along. Not to mention Shakespeare. Homer had nothing, yet the Odyssey is the greatest epic poem ever. If there is a greater play than Oedipus, it has skipped by me, or any greater philosophers than Parmenides, Socrates, and Aristotle—I leave that nervous doubting ninny Plato aside—I must have been asleep all these years. We Greeks—I’m so ancient I consider myself one—bequeathed to Christianity the tools needed to refute heresy and prepared the world for the “unknown God” to whom the Greeks had already erected an altar, thus making it easy for Paul to teach the gospel.
Even the great Americans, Jefferson and Adams and Madison et al., relied on their studies of Athens’s failed experiment in democracy, something today’s clowns seem to forget. Democracy as practiced today stands for nothing, yet is the most overused word in the vocabulary of phonies. To hear politicians use it makes one’s skin crawl. I heard it one too many times last week by people who have sold their souls to corporations, by murderers like Qaddafi and by phonies like Gordon Brown, Netanyahu and Sarkozy. Time to change the wording. Korpocracy would be more appropriate, as they’re all full of crap in the first place!
October 16, 2009
"Jews also took an active part in the Dutch colonial slave trade; indeed, the bylaws of the Recife and Mauricia congregations (1648) included an imposta (Jewish tax) of five soldos for each Negro slave a Brazilian Jew purchased from the West Indies Company. Slave auctions were postponed if they fell on a Jewish holiday. In Curacao in the seventeenth century, as well as in the British colonies of Barbados and Jamaica in the eighteenth century, Jewish merchants played a major role in the slave trade. In fact, in all the American colonies, whether French (Martinique), British, or Dutch, Jewish merchants frequently dominated.
"This was no less true on the North American mainland, where during the eighteenth century Jews participated in the 'triangular trade' that brought slaves from Africa to the West Indies and there exchanged them for molasses, which in turn was taken to New England and converted into rum for sale in Africa. Isaac Da Costa of Charleston in the 1750's, David Franks of Philadelphia in the 1760's, and Aaron Lopez of Newport in the late 1760's and early 1770's dominated Jewish slave trading on the American continent."
Dr. Raphael discusses the central role of the Jews in the New World commerce and the African slave trade (pp. 23-25):
SEVENTEENTH AND EIGHTEENTH CENTURIES JEWISH INTER-ISLAND TRADE: CURACAO, 1656
During the sixteenth century, exiled from their Spanish homeland and hard-pressed to escape the clutches of the Inquisition, Spanish and Portuguese Jews fled to the Netherlands; the Dutch enthusiastically welcomed these talented, skilled husinessmen.
While thriving in Amsterdam - where they became the hub of a unique urban Jewish universe and attained status that anticipated Jewish emancipation in the West by over a century - they began in the 1500's and 1600's to establish themselves in the Dutch and English colonies in the New World. These included Curacao, Surinam, Recife, and New Amsterdam (Dutch) as well as Barbados, Jamaica, Newport, and Savannah (English).
In these European outposts the Jews, with their years of mercantile experience and networks of friends and family providing market reports of great use, played a significant role in the merchant capitalism, commercial revolution, and territorial expansion that developed the New World and established the colonial economies. The Jewish-Caribbean nexus provided Jews with the opportunity to claim a disproportionate influence in seventeenth and eighteenth century New World commerce, and enabled West Indian Jewry-far outnumbering its coreligionists further north-to enjoy a centrality which North American Jewry would not achieve for a long time to come.
Groups of Jews began to arrive in Surinam in the middle of the seven-teenth century, after the Portuguese regained control of northern Brazil. By 1694, twenty-seven years after the British had surrendered Surinam to the Dutch, there were about 100 Jewish families and fifty single Jews there, or about 570 persons. They possessed more than forty estates and 9,000 slaves, contributed 25,905 pounds of sugar as a gift for the building of a hospital, and carried on an active trade with Newport and other colonial ports. By 1730, Jews owned 115 plantations and were a large part of a sugar export business which sent out 21,680,000 pounds of sugar to European and New World markets in 1730 alone.
Slave trading was a major feature of Jewish economic life in Surinam which as a major stopping-off point in the triangular trade. Both North American and Caribbean Jews played a key role in this commerce: records of a slave sale in 1707 reveal that the ten largest Jewish purchasers (10,400 guilders) spent more than 25 percent of the total funds (38,605 guilders) exchanged.
Jewish economic life in the Dutch West Indies, as in the North American colonies, consisted primarily of mercantile communities, with large inequities in the distribution of wealth. Most Jews were shopkeepers, middlemen, or petty merchants who received encouragement and support from Dutch authorities. In Curacao, for example, Jewish communal life began after the Portuguese victory in 1654.
In 1656, the community founded a congregation, and in the early 1670's brought its first rabbi to the island. Curacao, with its large natural harbor, was the steppng-stone to the other Caribbean islands and thus ideally suited geographically for commerce.
The Jews were the recipients of favorable charters containing generous economic privileges granted by the Dutch West Indies Company in Amsterdam. The economic life of the Jewish community of Curacao revolved around ownership of sugar plantations and marketing of sugar, the importing of manufactured goods, and a heavy involvement in the slave trade, within a decade of their arrival, Jews owned 80 percent of the Curacao plantations. The strength of the Jewish trade lay in connections in Western Europe as well as ownership of the ships used in commerce. While Jews carried on an active trade with French and English colonies in the Caribbean, their principal market was the Spanish Main (today Venezuela and Colombia).
Extant tax lists give us a glimpse of their dominance. Of the eighteen wealthiest Jews in the 1702 and 1707 tax lists, nine either owned a ship or had at least a share in a vessel. By 1721 a letter to the Amsterdam Jewish community claimed that "nearly all the navigation...was in the hands of the Jews."' Yet another indication of the economic success of Curacao's Jews is the fact that in 1707 the island's 377 residents were assessed by the Governor and his Council a total of 4,002 pesos; 104 Jews, or 27.6 percent of the taxpayers, contributed 1,380 pesos, or 34.5 percent of the entire amount assessed.
In the British West Indies, two 1680 tax lists survive, both from Barbados; they, too, provide useful information about Jewish economic life. In Bridgetown itself, out of a total of 404 households, 54 households or 300 persons were Jewish, 240 of them living in "ye Towne of S. Michael ye Bridge Town." Contrary to most impressions, "many, indeed, most of them, were very poor." There were only a few planters, and most Jews were not naturalized or endenizened (and thus could not import goods or pursue debtors in court). But for merchants holding letters of endenization, opportunities were not lacking. Barbados sugar-and its by-products rum and molasses-were in great demand, and in addition to playing a role in its export, Jewish merchants were active in the import trade.
Forty-five Jewish households were taxed in Barbados in 1680, and more than half of them contributed only 11.7 percent of the total sum raised. While the richest five gave almost half the Jewish total, they were but 11.1 percent of the taxable population. The tax list of 1679-80 shows a similar picture; of fifty-one householders, nineteen (37.2 percent) gave less than one-tenth of the total, while the four richest merchants gave almost one-third of the total.
An interesting record of interisland trade involving a Jewish merchant and the islands of Barbados and Curacao comes from correspondence of 1656. It reminds us that sometimes the commercial trips were not well planned and that Jewish captains - who frequently acted as commercial agents as well - would decide where to sell their cargo, at what price, and what goods to bring back on the return trip.
(End of excerpt)
Tony Martin is African studies professor at Wellesley College and has taught at Wellesley College, Massachusetts since 1973. He was tenured in 1975 and has been a full professor of African Studies since 1979. Prior to coming to Wellesley he taught at the University of Michigan-Flint, the Cipriani Labour College (Trinidad) and St. Mary's College (Trinidad). He has been a visiting professor at the University of Minnesota, Brandeis University, Brown University and The Colorado College. He also spent a year as an honorary research fellow at the University of the West Indies, Trinidad.
Professor Martin has authored or compiled or edited eleven books, including Literary Garveyism: Garvey, Black Arts and the Harlem Renaissance, and the classic study of the Garvey Movement, Race First: the Ideological and Organizational Struggles of Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association.. His most recent book is The Jewish Onslaught: Despatches from the Wellesley Battlefront. Martin qualified as a barrister-at-law at the Honourable Society of Gray's Inn (London) in 1965, did a B. Sc. honours degree in economics at the University of Hull (England) and the M.A. and Ph.D. in history at Michigan State University.
Martin's articles and reviews have appeared in the Journal of Negro History, American Historical Review, African Studies Review, Washington Post Book World, Journal of Caribbean History, Journal of American History, Black Books Bulletin, Science and Society, Jamaica Journal and many other places. His work is to be found in several anthologies and encyclopedias. He has received a number of academic and community awards.
Martin is well known as a lecturer in many countries. He has spoken to university and general audiences all over the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and England, and also in Africa, Australia, Bermuda and South America. In 1990 he delivered the annual DuBois/Padmore/Nkrumah lectures in Ghana.
Professor Martin is currently working on biographies of three Caribbean women - Amy Ashwood Garvey, Audrey Jeffers and Trinidad's Kathleen Davis ("Auntie Kay"). He is also nearing completion of a study of European Jewish immigration into Trinidad in the 1930s.
The Jewish Onslaught
Despatches From The Wellesley Battlefront
By Tony Martin
"...a polemic of the highest order... the best example of an African answering critics since David Walker's Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World." - Molefi Asante, Journal Of Black Studies
"Professor Martin at long last deals with the Henry Gates/Cornel West attacks on Afrocentricity.... Martin provides a solid analysis of the historical use of Blacks by whites to discredit original Black thought deemed unacceptable by non-Blacks....
"I compare The Jewish Onslaught to the classic third chapter of DuBois' The Souls of Black Folk entitled 'Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others....' Martin has written a book that years from now will be considered a classic.... It is simply a must reading on a controversial subject that needs greater airing than some of the more timid political attempts of recent years." - Raymond Winbush, The Voice Of Black Studies
" Tony Martin has been forced to delve into the relationship between the Jews and Blacks and in the process, he has distilled a work that is informative, fascinating and one which will heighten the consciousness of Black people everywhere." - Carl Wint, The Sunday Gleaner
(Your Black Books Guide)
Best Book Of The Year
(Black Literary Awards, 1994)
1993. vii+137pp. ISBN 0-912469-30-7.
Subject: Who owned the slaving ships?
Name Of Slave Ships And Their Owners:
The 'Abigail-Caracoa' - Aaron Lopez, Moses Levy, Jacob Crown
Isaac Levy and Nathan Simpson
The'Nassau' - Moses Levy
The 'Four Sisters' - Moses Levy
The 'Anne' & The 'Eliza' - Justus Bosch and John Abrams
The 'Prudent Betty' - Henry Cruger and Jacob Phoenix
The 'Hester' - Mordecai and David Gomez
The 'Elizabeth' - Mordecai and David Gomez
The 'Antigua' - Nathan Marston and Abram Lyell
The 'Betsy' - Wm. De Woolf
The 'Polly' - James De Woolf
The 'White Horse' - Jan de Sweevts
The 'Expedition' - John and Jacob Roosevelt
The 'Charlotte' - Moses and Sam Levy and Jacob Franks
The 'Franks' - Moses and Sam Levy
A video, "The Jewish Role in the Black Slave Trade," a speech by Prof. Tony Martin with an introduction by Hoffman, remains online at Google, as of this writing. Viewers who wish to see it before it, too is censored by Google, can access it here:
by Thomas Fleming October 9th, 2009
Humility is the great moral skandalon (stumbing block) of Christianity, in much the same way that Christ—the God who became man, suffered, and died a humiliating death—was the skandalon to the Jews. Thus it is a little amusing to read the complaints of so many uneducated neopagans—most of them anti-Semites—against Christian humility. Their reaction is exactly that of the well-bred Jew of Jesus’ time.
The virtue of humility is praised throughout the New Testament. The texts of the Gospels are studded with admonitions, parables, and tales, all designed to inculcate this teaching: the banquet at which we are not to take a seat of honor, the Pharisee who thanked God he was not like other men, Christ’s washing the feet of his disciples, the Roman centurion, used to giving orders, who thought himself so unworthy that it was not fitting that the Lord should enter his house. St. Paul’s epistles constantly warn against getting puffed up or people who think they are something—a marvelous phrase in Greek, where the word for something is the monosyllabic unaccented word ti.
The natural man, the old Adam—whether Christened or not—rebels against humility. What, am I supposed to put myself on par with a Third World savage or an effeminate neopagan? In one sense, yes. None of us is perfect as Our Lord would have us perfect. We all fall short, not just of the glory of God but of the human glory we were created to enjoy. If we wish God to forgive our failings, then we must not be too proud to forgive the failings of others: “Forgive us our debts/trespasses, as we forgive our debtors/those who trespass against us.”
This is, admittedly, a different moral universe from what is portrayed in most pagan literature, Homeric (though not Vergilian) epic in particular. Homer’s heroes are passionate and self-willed men, worthy even of some respect from the vastly more powerful gods. Yet this contrast is somewhat misguided, as it is sometimes stated, if it is intended to be a contrast of civilizations. In the first place, Homer is rather like the Old Testament of the Greeks, and the code of the Homeric warrior—”always do the best”—undergoes a good deal of refinement at the hands of poets and philosophers. Euripides and Menander, no less than Aristotle and Epictetus, would have had a good deal to say about some of the behavior of Homeric heroes—the lying of Odysseus, for example, the cruelty to captives.
But even within the context of Homer, there is a moral code that condemns excessive self-assertion. The quarrel between the equally arrogant Agamemnon and Achilles, with which the Iliad begins, is not a good thing for the army that suffers untold casualties as a result. Agamemnon, at least, comes to his senses, but Achilles is implacable, as his friend and comrade Ajax points out in the Embassy scene. In fact, he has become a monster, who hopes that the Greeks and Trojans will kill each other and leave only himself and Patroclus to sack Troy. Even the gods are afraid to interrupt his bestial mistreatment of Hector’s corpse.
Achilles temperament is characterized by hybris, an overweening self-confidence and self-importance that treats social equals with contempt. This is the great sin of Greek popular morality, the subject of countless tragedies. A man who behaved this way on the streets of Athens—slapping a citizen or pushing him—might be taken to court for hybris, as Demosthenes did to an enemy.
For Aristotle, who is one of the best guides to Greek folk wisdom, the proper attitude is a mean between self-effacing meekness and strutting arrogance. His student Theophrastus brilliantly portrays what the Greeks disliked in this quality of arrogance in his character sketches of men who are obnoxious, ambitious in petty matters, ungenerous, arrogant, and oligarchic, that is, domineering. Such types are simply not gentlemanly, what the Athenians called kalos kai agathos, fair and brave.
Later schools of philosophy went further in the direction of Christianity. The great Neoplatonist Plotinus sometimes sounds like a Christian saint, in his understanding and forbearance. It is arrogance—the arrogance of the Gnostics—that gets him angry. The Epicureans, who strove for untroubled peace of mind, avoided self-assertion, while the Stoics, whose morality so often anticipates Christianity, reminded themselves and their listeners and readers of how unimportant even the most lofty and powerful men are. The Stoic code is seen to best advantage in the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, who did his duty completely and spent most of his adult life in the field against the savage Germans, when he would have vastly preferred to be at home with his books. This superb man, nonetheless, tells himself over and over both to be worthy of his family and his job and not to let his position as divine ruler go to his head. The most nearly Christian Emperor was also a persecutor of Christians, whom he believed to be stubborn and arrogant.
There are differences, albeit not vast, between the highest pagan understanding of humility and the Christian teaching. For Plotinus, the Epicureans, and the Stoics, the point to humility is that it frees the mind from unimportant distractions, to gain wisdom and understanding, and to live a philosophical life. In this, they were perhaps a bit freakish by ordinary standards, and it was even more bizarre for ordinary Christians to practice the extraordinary virtues of the philosophers—the point that Justin Martyr makes in his apologia addressed to Marcus Aurelius. The Christian is humble out of his love and gratitude to his God and saviour whose virtues he wishes to emulate and with whom he wishes to spend eternity. Still, serious decent pagans and good Christians outwardly behaved in much the same way. The late 4th century aristocrat Paulinus of Nola, was a very saintly man but, even after his conversion, he also remained every inch a gentleman.
By the time of Constantine, as pagans and Christian moralities converged, the more obvious contrast was with the northern European barbarians. In the Greco-Roman view, Celts and Germans acted like children. Livy portrays the Celts as strutting and boasting and threatening great deeds before a battle, but when they are stoutly resisted by more disciplined Romans, they flee in disarray. Caesar, admittedly disingenuous, portrays Ariovistus the German as boastful, and this is a constant theme of ancient writers, There is, admittedly, an element of propaganda in this, but since the barbarian nations did not learn to read and write, it is their own fault if we only hear the Roman side of the story. The Germans were bigger and generally stronger than the Romans, but the civilized discipline of the Romans prevailed against the German berserkers time after time. Even in the sixth century, Justinian’s armies eliminated the Gothic Kingdom of Italy. When the Goths surrendered to Belisarius at Ravenna, they apologized to their women, claiming that the vastly larger Roman army was made up of huge warriors. When the the small army of Eastern runts marched into the city, the women reviled their brave German husbands, brothers, and sons.
The Germans are a great nation, and they have made very important contributions to our common civilization. Some of their accomplishments must be due to their robust vigor and native talents, but they did not learn to put those talents to good use until they were civilized by the Roman Church and Roman civilization. Even crazy Nietzsche, a Lutheran pastor’s son whose hatred of Catholicism knew no bounds, confessed that Luther had unleashed the Germans from classical civilization and given them license to return to their native swinishness. This is much too harsh, both on Luther and on the Germans, but that was the opinion of the leading guru of neopaganism.
As Christian moral theology was developed, it had to take account of the nuances of situations–and of our barbarian ancestors’ propensities to self-love and arrogance. St. Thomas, in his discussion of humility in the Summa Theologiae, takes up the argument that humility is not a virtue because it is not recognized as such by Aristotle. He points out that Aristotle’s account of the virtues has to do with civic life, which concerns man’s subordination to man, while Christian humility is the subordination of man to God. This is a brilliant and concise way of making an important statement. Insofar as Christians hold important social or public positions, whether as Pope or Emperor or as officer or father, they have a duty to maintain a position that we have a duty to respect. What could be more lordly than the procession of Pope and cardinals in St. Peter’s, and yet those same princes of the Church are supposed to humble themselves to their confessors. A father may not think himself “better” than his sons, but he is in a position of authority and must insist upon his sons’ respecting that authority. In this way, it is entirely possible to maintain a complex hierarchy—and no hierarchy was more complex than what developed, East and West, in the Christian Roman Empire—while celebrating humility as one of the main virtues of Christian life.
St. Alphonsus has a fine treatment of superbia (pride) in Book V of his Theologia Moralis. Here is a crude summation of some of what he says, Alphonsus defines pride as “an inordinate (that is disproportionate) appetite for one’s own preeminence (excellentia)” of such a sort as does not wish to be subject either to God or to one’s human superiors. Pride is not complete so long as it does not reject property authority, divine or human. HeSD distinguishes between venial and mortal acts of pride. Mortal sins include expressions of pride aimed at harming our fellow men or are directed against the love of God. (Neopagans take care!) . Pride is a mortal sin when someone laps up praise for something that is a mortal sin. When someone introduces new customs or fashions into a commonwealth, foreseeing that by his example he would be imposing a moral necessity on others that they make expenditures beyond their ability and later would be unable to feed themselves or satisfy their creditors, he sins gravely, but it is only a venial sin if someone dresses extravagantly out of mere lightwittedness. It is also a sin to pretend, out of pride, to vices that one does not actually practice (such as the neopagan metrosexuals who claim to be playboys.)Humility remains a stumbling block for even the most virtuous of pagans, but it is by no means an insurpassable obstacle to a pagan appreciation of Christian civilization. Even Gibbon admired great Christians like the last Constantine or Pope Leo IV, who defended Rome against the Saracens. What I suspect is really going on, when young neopagans—mostly urban metrosexuals—attack Christian humility is that that they are yearning to escape from their position as peripheral males and think that in the Wagnerian myths that can embrace a manhood they will never attain. In any event, their attack on Christian humility is as ill-informed as it is malicious, and there is a serious question whether it is useful to do any business with people who, without taking the trouble to learn anything, insist on reviling the religion of their supposed allies
The Guardian newspaper reported Wednesday that Peter Martland of Cambridge University discovered that Mussolini was paid 100 pounds a week by Britain in 1917 - equal to about 6,000 pounds ($9,600) today.
The late Samuel Hoare, in charge of British agents in Rome at that time, revealed in his memoirs 55 years go that Mussolini was a paid agent. Martland found more details in Hoare's papers, including that Mussolini also sent Italian army veterans to beat up peace protesters in Milan, a dry run for his fascist blackshirt units.
"The last thing Britain wanted were pro-peace strikes bringing the factories in Milan to a halt. It was a lot of money to pay a man who was a journalist at the time, but compared to the 4 million pounds Britain was spending on the war every day, it was petty cash," The Guardian quoted Martland as saying.
The salary detail also was in historian Christopher Andrew's newly published history of the British intelligence agency MI5, to which Martland contributed.
In 1917, the future Italian dictator was editor of the Il Popolo d'Italia newspaper, which campaigned to keep Italy on the allied side in the war.