History

What fun

Bronze Woman is one of more than 120 monuments, plaques, murals, statues and artworks in a new pocket-size guidebook, Black London, compiled by Nanton and her co-author Jody Burton, and published on Windrush Day on Tuesday.

The oldest entry is Cleopatra’s Needle, an obelisk carved in Egypt more than 3,500 years ago and shipped to London in 1878 to be placed on the Embankment.

That’s not really black now, is it? Thutmose III would have been horrified if you’d called him black – that was those Nubians upriver. Mohammed Ali who gave it to us was Albanian. Cleo herself was Greek (or Amanda Barrie).

Come along now, we’re Europeans, we know a bit of geography. African ≠ Black.

Seriously, let’s not become American about this.

History, history…..

Blenheim gave a home to 400 evacuees during the war, but it is also a monument to an aristocratic and colonial past. How much of a student of English history have you been over the years?

Hmm, dunno really. Blenheim? Colonialism?

Not really sure what the subsequent Dukes did but the original grant, and the house, was for beating up on the French, wasn’t it? Which isn’t colonialism, that’s just the correct attitude to the European Union.

This is pretty good

But every night when she went to sleep, her father would recount stories of her grandmother’s life. Harriet Thorpe was born into slavery 100 years earlier, in 1860, and was the “property”, she was told, of one Squire Sweeney in Howard County, Missouri.

“He told me about her struggles and how she still thrived in the face of them – she became a role model for me,” says Hall. “I wished I could go back in time and meet her.”

She couldn’t, but Hall was so inspired by Thorpe’s bravery that years later she found herself delving back in time, determined to uncover the untold stories of enslaved African women, just like Harriet, who fought their oppressors on slave ships, in plantations and across the Americas.

How much fighting was she doing before freedom at the age of five?

Just a small thought

Olusoga is a Yoruba name. The Yoruba were not all slave traders, of course not, some of them became slaves. But it is true that some certain number of Yoruba were slavers, selling peeps from further inland to the ships.

Of course, go back enough centuries and we’re near all – certainly, people with any attachment to place are with the others of that place – tenth and twelfth cousins. But it is still true that as someone that one generation removed from Yorubaland that David Olugosa is more likely than I am – or perhaps you – to have a recent ancestor who was a slave trader.

The same would probably be true of Afua Hirsch with her Akan roots, of Nesrine Malik as an Arab Sundanese.

Wouldn’t it be fun if there were a “Who do you think you are?” investigation into those three sets of roots? You know, given how they do insist that slavery is the ineradicable sin upon an ancestry line?

Rick Santorum is in fact correct here

Not that I’m generally in favour of Rick Santorum but here he is correct:

The former US senator and CNN political commentator Rick Santorum has sparked outrage among Native Americans, and prompted calls for his dismissal, by telling a rightwing students’ conference that European colonists who came to America “birthed a nation from nothing”.

“There was nothing here. I mean, yes we have Native Americans but candidly there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture,” Santorum told the ultra-conservative Young America’s Foundation’s summit, entitled standing up for faith and freedom, and shared by the group to YouTube.

“We came here and created a blank slate, we birthed a nation from nothing,” he said.

Santorum’s comments, effectively dismissing the millennia-long presence of Native Americans and the genocide inflicted on them as the Christian settlers transformed and expanded their colonies into the United States of America, angered many within the Native American community, and beyond.

Now, whether what were to become Americans should have treated the place largely as a blank slate is another matter. So too whether current American society should pay more attention to, retain more of, Native American culture. But the fact is they did and currently it doesn’t.

In what he said he’s correct that is. Must be why it’s getting up so many noses……

If only we believed you

This could not be further from the truth. We don’t want to erase history. We want to tell it honestly. Until we are able to do this, we will be unable to properly understand the present.

The thing is Mr. Lammy we believe you want to mistell us history in order to make us misunderstand the present.

Wilful ignorance of Britain’s colonial past in part explains the refusal by Boris Johnson’s government to accept the existence of institutional racism in modern Britain.

See?

Umm, guys, really now

Perhaps just as significantly, the study allows scientists to peer into the past of the Americas prior to the horrors of European colonization — which, due to genocide, violence and forced resettlement, marred our ability to study human migration.

Europeans climbing all over the Americas is human migration. True, advances into terra nullius have happened. But other than that human migration has meant genocide, violence and so on.

The Neolithic inhabitants of England fell to the Celts, the Saxons to the Normans. The Twa and Khoi San to the Bantus in Central and Southern Africa. The Ainu to the Japanese, there are autocthones in Taiwan. The Hindu caste system sets in place the Aryan (?) conquering of the south of India. And on and on and on.

America is different in details but not in kind……

Something I look forward to

“I wanted to prove them wrong, that in fact they are the origin story and that United States racism is just the continuation of a long history of Eurocentric domination,” he told the Guardian via phone from Paris. “If Baldwin’s words are not sufficient to understand what it is about, what else can? I felt the need to even go to a broader scope of the story of racism and white supremacy.”

His new HBO series Exterminate All the Brutes is a sweeping journey back through some of the most horrific moments in civilization over the past half-millennium to trace the roots of humanity’s worst impulses: genocide, slavery, fascism, white supremacy, colonialism. Written, directed and narrated by Peck, the four-hour series (pruned down from 15 episodes) is scaffolded by the ideas of three cornerstone texts: Sven Lindqvist’s Exterminate All the Brutes (examining Europe’s genocidal colonization of Africa), Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States (the first history of the country told from the perspective of indigenous peoples) and Michel-Rolph Trouillot’s Silencing the Past (an analysis of power and silence in history, focusing on Haitian history). The work of the three authors, who are credited in the opening titles, serves as a lodestar in the same way Baldwin’s writing did in I Am Not Your Negro.

The documentary looking at the Bantu expansion out of West Africa. With a certain concentration upon the experiences of the Khoi San, the Bambenga and so on. Wouldn’t that be interesting?

The story of an Iron Age and farming people taking over the lands of the previous Neolithic inhabitants?

D’ye think Channel 4 might fund it?

David Olusoga needs to be a bit careful here

It is the fact that the histories of slavery and empire are becoming mainstream, and that young people are entirely comfortable with the reality that “profit and suffering” were at the centre of both, that appears to disturb the authors and the government whose agenda they have so faithfully served. Determined to privilege comforting national myths over hard historical truths, they give the impression of being people who would prefer this history to be brushed back under the carpet.

The historical illiteracy and internal inconsistencies do not stop there. The report argues that young black people should reclaim their British heritage. Which is exactly what black British people have been doing, by recovering the contributions of their ancestors to British history and culture. Yet the report crudely characterises those struggles to bring marginalised black figures and communities into the mainstream of British history as “token expressions of black achievement” – a poisonously patronising phrase.

Well, yes. Except “black britons” are, roughly enough, 3% of the current population. Given that in 1945 the black population was some 8,000 to 10,000 people the current number is roughly equally divided, 1.5% of total population each, between afrocaribbeans and black africans – all of whom are British.

Meaning that the ancestral connection with slavery for black britons is roughly equally divided between those whose folks were selling peeps to the wipipo and those peeps who were sold to the wipipo. It’s gonna be difficult to have a single experience out of that really.

There’s a certain stirring under St Paul’s

A long standing tradition – which I’ve just invented – is that in the country’s hour of need Nelson will rise again, take Victory to sea and smash the French.

Again.

Bit like Arthur under that hill just more specific and necessary.

British taxpayers have invested millions of pounds into a Dutch vaccine factory at the centre of a threatened blockade by the European Commission, The Telegraph can disclose.

The Halix factory in Leiden was equipped to produce doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine after Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, approved a major investment last April.

The money – reported to be in the region of £21 million

Not only do we have a contract to gain access to the vaccines built at that factory we actually paid to build the factory itself.

But Thierry Breton, the EU’s internal market commissioner, warned that “zero” jabs would be sent to the UK until AstraZeneca had fulfilled its commitments to Brussels, even after Germany suspended routine use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for people aged below 60 because of fears of rare blood clots.

“If [AstraZeneca] does more, we don’t have any issue, but as long as it doesn’t deliver its commitment to us, the doses stay in Europe,” Mr Breton said. “There is no negotiation.”

That black marble sarcophagus is moving, the spectral sailors are arriving in Portsmouth.

We have faced problems with the French before of course, matters that could have been solved by the return of the Horatio, but he never did. Why?

Well, if you’d been pickled in brandy for a couple of centuries you’d make sure your return and passage through that hangover was damn well worth it, wouldn’t you?

Umm, what?

Ever since Oliver Cromwell gave his troops no quarter at the Siege of Drogheda in 1649,

Do you give your own troops no quarter? Or offer no quarter to the other lot? The second, I think, no?

God’s wonders in mysterious ways

The money raised by the order will be funnelled into a new foundation, the Descendants Truth & Reconciliation Foundation, which was founded in partnership with a group of individuals whose enslaved ancestors were sold by the Jesuits in 1893 to finance the establishment of Georgetown University, America’s first Catholic institution of higher learning.

Being able to sell slaves 28 years after the abolition of slavery is pretty good, as is doing so to finance a university started what, a century, before?

But then omniscience, omnipotentiality, omnipresence……

Occam’s shaving kit

Now researchers from the Universities of Cambridge, Exeter and York have found that, of 477 British legal documents dating from the 16th to 20th Century, most were written on sheepskin.

The researchers also found passages of text in 12th and 17th Century documents which indicated that the high fat content of sheepskins may have enabled the detection of fraudulent changes to legal documents.

Dr Doherty said: “Removing fat during the parchment-making process can cause the layers within sheepskins to separate more easily than those of other animals.

“To make fraudulent changes to documents after signing, the original text would have to be scraped off. This could cause the layers within sheepskin parchment to separate and leave a visible mark on the document, resulting in the fraud being easily detectable.”

The higher prevalence of sheep compared to goats and calves in Britain and the resulting low cost of sheepskins compared to goat and calf skins may also have been a factor, the study, published in the journal Heritage Science, said.

Umm, yes. Simplicity would argue for the cost and prevalence first, the non-tampering being a useful but possibly even unknown addendum….

That Middle East Plan

This report was commissioned by Woodrow Wilson to investigate how the Middle east could be carved up… er I mean effectively administered after the Ottoman Empire dissolve. It did not gain much traction with GB or France.

https://wwi.lib.byu.edu/index.php/The_King-Crane_Report

From J Barrett, to inform Diogenes and Dearieme

That Middle East Plan

This report was commissioned by Woodrow Wilson to investigate how the Middle east could be carved up… er I mean effectively administered after the Ottoman Empire dissolve. It did not gain much traction with GB or France.

https://wwi.lib.byu.edu/index.php/The_King-Crane_Report

From J Barrett, to inform Diogenes and Dearieme

That Middle East Plan

This report was commissioned by Woodrow Wilson to investigate how the Middle east could be carved up… er I mean effectively administered after the Ottoman Empire dissolve. It did not gain much traction with GB or France.

https://wwi.lib.byu.edu/index.php/The_King-Crane_Report

From J Barrett, to inform Diogenes and Dearieme

That Middle East Plan

This report was commissioned by Woodrow Wilson to investigate how the Middle east could be carved up… er I mean effectively administered after the Ottoman Empire dissolve. It did not gain much traction with GB or France.

https://wwi.lib.byu.edu/index.php/The_King-Crane_Report

From J Barrett, to inform Diogenes and Dearieme

What is this bird whingeing about?

Abaleful silence attends one of the most talked-about figures in British history. You may enthuse endlessly about Winston Churchill “single-handedly” defeating Hitler. But mention his views on race or his colonial policies, and you’ll be instantly drowned in ferocious and orchestrated vitriol.

Err, the general view – absent his grandson, Nicholas Soames – is that he was a man of his times. Or even, held views which even in them were more than a little archaic. Possibly not archaic enough for British India would almost certainly have been vastly better if the Memsahibs, the Fishing Fleet, had never been able to turn up and the Company Men had remained with their concubines.

But silence isn’t the right word to describe it all.

What is this bird whingeing about?

Abaleful silence attends one of the most talked-about figures in British history. You may enthuse endlessly about Winston Churchill “single-handedly” defeating Hitler. But mention his views on race or his colonial policies, and you’ll be instantly drowned in ferocious and orchestrated vitriol.

Err, the general view – absent his grandson, Nicholas Soames – is that he was a man of his times. Or even, held views which even in them were more than a little archaic. Possibly not archaic enough for British India would almost certainly have been vastly better if the Memsahibs, the Fishing Fleet, had never been able to turn up and the Company Men had remained with their concubines.

But silence isn’t the right word to describe it all.

What is this bird whingeing about?

Abaleful silence attends one of the most talked-about figures in British history. You may enthuse endlessly about Winston Churchill “single-handedly” defeating Hitler. But mention his views on race or his colonial policies, and you’ll be instantly drowned in ferocious and orchestrated vitriol.

Err, the general view – absent his grandson, Nicholas Soames – is that he was a man of his times. Or even, held views which even in them were more than a little archaic. Possibly not archaic enough for British India would almost certainly have been vastly better if the Memsahibs, the Fishing Fleet, had never been able to turn up and the Company Men had remained with their concubines.

But silence isn’t the right word to describe it all.