Category Archives: History

Lovecraft on Republicans


Better known for his fearsome works of horror, Howard Phillips Lovecraft also wrote many letters to fellow authors.

Occasionally he would discuss politics.  He showed a prescience in that field which I hope he did not show in his other writings.

H. P. LOVECRAFT wrote, in a letter to C. L. Moore, August 1936;

As for the Republicans—how can one regard seriously a frightened, greedy, nostalgic huddle of tradesmen and lucky idlers who shut their eyes to history and science, steel their emotions against decent human sympathy, cling to sordid and provincial ideals exalting sheer acquisitiveness and condoning artificial hardship for the non-materially-shrewd, dwell smugly and sentimentally in a distorted dream-cosmos of outmoded phrases and principles and attitudes based on the bygone agricultural-handicraft world, and revel in (consciously or unconsciously) mendacious assumptions (such as the notion that real liberty is synonymous with the single detail of unrestricted economic license or that a rational planning of resource-distribution would contravene some vague and mystical ‘American heritage’…) utterly contrary to fact and without the slightest foundation in human experience? Intellectually, the Republican idea deserves the tolerance and respect one gives to the dead.

Six years earlier on October 4, 1930, he had written, in a letter to Robert E. Howard, – – – ‘Bunch together a group of people deliberately chosen for strong religious feelings, and you have a practical guarantee of dark morbidities expressed in crime, perversion, and insanity.’

I have not found a reference to him combining the two thoughts.

Perhaps the rest of his work is a warning of what may happen if the Republicans and the Fundamentalists joined forces.

Is Donald Trump one of the Shoggoth?

Image

Shakespeare on Refugees


the-book-of-sir-thomas-more-act-2-scene-4

Image

The Lesson Our Leaders Never Learn


REVOLUTION AGAIN

Refugees and Vandals


Today I write about Vandals.

Not the ones who break windows and tag walls.

The original Vandals. The Germanic tribe who left Scandinavia around 200BC. Their name has been connected to Vendel, a province in Uppland, Sweden [1]

There is no agreed historical reason for them to have left although the adventurer/archaeologist Thor Heyerdhal had an interesting theory on the origins of today’s Scandanavians. Norwegian mythology tells that the Scandinavian god-king Odin moved with his people to Norway from a land called Aser, in order to avoid Roman occupation. A 13th-century historian’s description of Aser’s origination matches that of Azerbaijan: east of the Caucasus mountains and the Black Sea. [2] Other than a 300 year time difference, it is an interesting and ironic possibility. The Vandals moved on by a tribal army from Eastern Europe which was fleeing the Romans.

Click on this map to make it readable.

Click on this map to make it readable.

What is more certain is that those Vandals created much more of a stir across Europe than can be imagined.

Firstly they moved to the South and East, across the Danube into what had been the Roman Province of Dacia. [3] We now know much of that area as Romania with its wonderful Transylvanian mountains, forests and legends.

Here they found a settled group of tribes recovering from Roman rule but also being pressured in the North East by another famous group of travellers, the Goths, both Ostro and Visi. This conflict between the two groups occurred around the time of the Emperor Constantine. He granted the Vandals land in Pannonia, an ancient province of the Roman Empire bounded north and east by the Danube over the territory of the present-day western Hungary, eastern Austria, northern Croatia, north-western Serbia, northern Slovenia, western Slovakia and northern Bosnia and Herzegovina. [4]

Somewhat like the present-day Kurds who live in an area divided between southeastern Turkey, western Iran, northern Iraq, and northern Syria. [5]gallacia

Around 400CE the Vandals were pushed westwards again, this time by the Huns. Crossing the Rhine into Gaul along with other tribes in 406 and on December 31st, 409, the Vandals crossed the Pyrenees into the Iberian Peninsula, where their main groups, the Hasdingi and the Silingi, settled in Gallaecia (from Baeticawhere the dispossessed Gaels sailed north to conquer Ireland) and Baetica (now mostly Andelusia) respectively. [1]

The Silingi branch of the Vandals had been accompanied by the Alans, Iranians who had fled the Goths who had invaded their homeland east of the Caspian Sea.

It is worth remembering that in all of these migrations, people were left behind. Invading refugee women married into local families and stayed. Invading refugee men married local women and became new rulers, farmers or artisans.

The migrations of the Alans during the 4th–5th centuries AD, from their homeland in the North Caucasus. Major settlement areas are shown in yellow, Alan civilian emigration in red, and military campaigns in yellow.

The migrations of the Alans during the 4th–5th centuries AD, from their homeland in the North Caucasus. Major settlement areas are shown in yellow, Alan civilian emigration in red, and military campaigns in yellow.

The Alans, together with the Silingi Vandals, chose to move further south across the Straits of Gibraltar into Northern Africa. From where they invaded what was to become known millenia later, as “The Soft Underbelly of Europe”. Their travels and destinations are shown here as well. [6]

Italicised Paranthetical Note

Something I have just noticed is that so many of these invaders cum refugees originated in Scandinavia. The Vandals, the Goths, the Huns, the Vikings. All around 2000 – 1500 years ago. I wonder if there was some sort of climate change which forced so many groups from their homes.

SKIPPING TEN OR FIFTEEN CENTURIES

FILLED WITH THE FALLOUT FROM THOSE TIMES

WE COME TO TODAY.

WHERE NOW YOU ASK, “So what has all that got to do with the price of eggs in China?”

NOTHING!

Except that those Vandals and the Alans and even the Goths were all refugees. Fleeing for their lives from the threat of death, the threat of invasion. The threat of dispossession. The Domino Theory of the 1960’s in a different part of the world not only happened in Europe but it continues today! The “Eurozone” is simply a way of sweeping history under the carpet to avoid yet another Eurowar.

So what has all this to do with today’s mass refugee movements from the Middle East and Africa?

Not a lot.

Unless you have some Irish ancestry in which case those ancestors were refugees from the Vandals.

Unless your ancestor were from Southern or Northern Spain, in which case they originated in Scandinavia or Iran and were refugees from the Romans and the Goths.

Unless you are of Italian or Greek descent. The mixture is unbelievable there but includes both the Vandals and the Alans. In fact the Vandals and the Alans arrived twice. Once from Northern Italy into the Po valley and secondly from Africa into Sicily, Sardinia, Malta and central Italy. Probably into Corsica as well. *hat tip to the ‘little Corporal‘*

Unless you are proud of your Viking forebears. Those Azerbaijani who fled Rome and moved to Scandinavia, in the process creating the refugee Vandals from their own refugeeship.

Unless you are a simple Anglo-Saxon whose ancestral tribe fled those pesky Franks who were on their way to Paris. Or a Norman who was merely a land-going Viking who had moved to France.

The lesson is that we are all descendants of refugees. We are proud of a host of different refugees we only know of as victors in their assorted battles. We conveniently ignore just why those battles were fought.

Just how poor would our civilisation be without the admixture of all those refugees?

Now we have another refugee crisis.

Our future depends on all the small and smaller nations* finding a way to humanely treat the current groups of fleeing humanity. For most of them are from the places our ancestors originated.

If we treat them humanely we will be enriched and en-nobled. If not, we will be reduced to the barbaric habits and attitudes which motivated our ancestors.

Our choice is to accommodate or to exterminate these people.

  • yes, I include Great Britain, Germany and France here.

The Burrup Desecration


ISIL and Colin Barnett

YES, there IS a connection.

Earlier this year we were horrified to learn that ISIL, in its barbarous rampage across parts of the Middle East had destroyed the ancient cities of Ninevah and Nimrud. They burnt the library at Mosul which contained 8,000 irreplaceable ancient manuscripts. The UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova called the destructions in Mosul a violation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2199, and the destruction of Nimrud a war crime.

Now Colin Barnett, Premier of Western Australia, has decided that the Burrup Peninsula Rock Art should no longer be afforded the protection of being a Sacred Site. “Burrup Peninsula ‘deregistered’ as sacred site“. The first step in degrading and destroying this irreplaceable site of world-wide importance. All in the name of Industrial Development.  Once the thin edge of the wedge is allowed in, there will be gradual encroachment onto wider areas, destructive vandalism and many “Mia Culpas” from those who should be caring for this site. Yet a million mia culpas will not restore damaged art works to their pristine condition!

Colin Barnett is Australia’s ISIL!

What is “the Burrup”?

The “Burrup” is an ancient site, possibly six or eight times the age of Ninevah. A place where indigenous people recorded the world around them. It is still unknown whether this work was done as a religious duty, a record for future generations or simply for the joy of creating something as simple as ancient graffiti.

MurujugaKnown by the local indigenous peoples as “Murujuga” it is a petroglyph or rock engraving art gallery which dates back to before the last Ice Age. To a time when the living was relatively easy because there was time to spare from survival which was spent creating these labour-intensive works. To a time which included a period when the coastline was many kilometres to the West.

To comprehend how long ago that was, the Noongar peoples of South-West Australia have important oral tales of the Nyitting Times which means ‘cold,’ ‘cold time’ or ‘ancestral times.’ Noongar people know it as the Creation time. Tales dating back to the last Ice Age which ended some 13,000 years ago when there was good hunting on the land between the current coast and Rottnest Island.

The Australian Geographic reported in 2013, “One group of petroglyphs showing land-based animals, is thought to date from a time during the last ice age, when sepetroglyphsa levels were lower and the area was far inland. “

By measuring levels of Berylllium 10, a radioactive isotope that accumulates in the surfaces of rocks because of radiation from space and indicates how long they have been exposed to the elements, (results) support the idea that some of the rock art predates the last ice age, which occurred around 22,000 years ago, says Dr Ken Mulvaney, an archaeologist with Rio Tinto who produced the most recent age estimates based on the style of the art and weathering patterns.

The erosion “is such a slow process that the petroglyphs could remain visible for 60,000 years,” says Ken, who adds that neither he nor Brad (Professor Brad Pillans) think the rock art actually is that old.  Based on current evidence people only arrived in this part of Australia sometime between 35,000 and 42,000 years ago”, he says.

SAVING THE BURRUP

There have been a number of efforts to preserve the Burrup for posterity.

  •  2002; The National Trust of Australia (WA) and the Hon. Robin Chapple MLC nominated the Burrup Peninsula to the National Trust Endangered Places List
  •  2003; the World Monuments Fund added it to its list of Most Endangered Places-the first time an Australian place had been included.
  • 2004; the National Trust, the Native Title Claimants and Robert Bednarik, President of the International Federation of Rock Art Organisations, nominated the Dampier Archipelago to the National Heritage list, under the new Commonwealth heritage legislation.
  • 2007; Australian National Heritage listing. (in 2009, Jenny Gregory wrote
  • 2009 ;  This cultural landscape continues to be threatened by industrial development. Rock art on the eastern side of the archipelago, on the Burrup Peninsula, was relocated following the discovery of adjacent off-shore gas reserves so that a major gas plant could be constructed. Work has now begun on the construction of a second major gas plant nearby.) So much for National Heritage!
  • 2012; the 2012 Report by the Australian Heritage Council, reported that the The Dampier Peninsula meets UNESCO Outstanding Universal Values criteria for World Heritage listing.

 

This Burrup petroglyph may be one of the oldest carved faces in the world. (Credit: Ken Mulvaney)

This Burrup petroglyph may be one of the oldest carved faces in the world. (Credit: Ken Mulvaney)

 

TRUST GOVERNMENT PROTECTION?  

SURE CAN’T!

Claims have been made that since 1963, 24.4 percent of the rock art on Murujuga has been destroyed to make way for industrial development. (Robert G. Bednarik, Dampier Fact Sheet, October 2006)   The Western Australian government, responding to a question in parliament, has argued for a much lower figure, suggesting that approximately 4 percent of sites, representing approximately 7.2 percent of petroglyphs, have been destroyed since 1972. . Hon. John Ford, answer to question on notice, Western Australia Legislative Council Hansard, 16 August 2005.
A classic apples and oranges response.

Still, as the Western Australian government has noted, there is no complete inventory of rock art in the region,(WA Department of Industry and Resources, Burrup Peninsula, Frequently Asked Questions,) making assessments of current and future impacts on the site a challenging task.  (How convenient)   Even more interesting is the fact that none of the online references used in the above quote from Wikipedia is still online. Cue deserved conspiracy theory!

BURRUP’S FUTURE

Western Australia has a culture of tearing down its history. Whenever a city building is old enough, it is torn down and replaced with a modern concrete and glass monstrosity and pristine bushlands are cleared for industrial sites.

This does not bode well for a site which is in the way of short-term industrialisation.

There is no financial benefit to having those petroglyphs. Certainly not in a time of the dumbing down of Australia. Some may well be placed in museums around the country. the rest will be moved, rearranged, graffitied and any excess will be dumped,destroyed or reused as building fill!

On the East Coast we are seeing the ISIL-like destruction of the Great Barrier Reef.

On the West Coast we will see the ISIL-like destruction of the Great Burrup Art Gallery.

 

 

Remembrance Day


A detail from the Australian War Memorial

Poppies are found there all year round

For the sacrifices were not just a one day thing.

Remembrance1

 

My much younger Dad in the second world war

In a jungle and sucking on a straw

While he couldn’t survive the peace,

He survived the war at least.

Wish I could have known you better.

remembrance2

Money is Diseased Barter


I used the title to this post in a tweet and was asked to explain myself. So here goes.

From the start I will say that I am not an economist and I am not a political scientist. I am, however am amateur social historian. So don’t expect to many sources. Just opinions gained from a study of mankind.

In the beginning, as all second-rate tales start, there were hunters and gatherers. The only way they could survive was to act as a group. Everything was shared. the only sin was doing something which would harm the group. Traditionally men hunted, often unsuccessfully for meat while women gathered, luckily with much more success, fruits, roots, garin and any little critters which could give a mouthful of protein to a hungry tribe.

Then women discovered that settling down and cultivating plant foods gave a much better return. So the first villages were developed. The first known was around 12,000 years ago at M’lefaat in Iraq

The range of skills needed to live in a village grew as did the available food.. There had to be house builders, and potters. Yet all produce was still shared. As the nomadic hunter gatherers of the region began to see how well these strange “villagers” lived, they decided to drop in and take a share. They became the first conquerors and took over the running of the settlement. And took a share of the produce in return for their role as “Protectors”. The first criminals and the first taxation. and the first cells of the money cancer grew on the barter system

Over the millenia, villages grew into cities and the idea of communal

Many ancient Egyptian writings were accounts of "gifts" to the Pharaoh

Many ancient Egyptian writings were accounts of “gifts” to the Pharaoh

sharing disappeared into a golden age of myth. Instead there were kings who took a share of the produce to redistribute it to the non-producing protectors. Somewhere along the line shamans became important and used their persuasive powers to convince the common people that they had to support their King who was a representative of the God who provided the water and the good crops the city depended on.

What has happened now is that a producer; grain, fruit, animal or manufacture, had to present a proportion of their production to the Rulers, both temporal and spiritual. It meant that differeing values were put on different items. One gazelle might be worth ten baskets of wheat. A basket may be two baskets of wheat. A basket of chick peas may be two baskets of wheat.

money3The beginning of the end, the end we are seeing now, was when traders began to move goods between cities. They would take a small part of the proceeds as payment. A form of currency had to be invented to allow the new system to work. Kings loved the idea. they no longer needed large buildings to house their tax gatherings. Traders loved it because they could skim off a little more than they needed to live and so build themselves a bigger house or keep a second wife.

Some smart nomads discovered they could make a very good living by ambushing trading parties and taking their currency. Bandits were an important step in the growth of the money cancer. The created a need for secure movement of money from one city to another. Since there were money movements each way and they more or less balanced out, a smart group of people started to keep accounts instead of moving physical money. They became the first bankers. By  now barter was forgotten and everything had a money value. The bankers were able to skim small percentages off each transaction and so created quite large holdings of ready money. So much they were able to lend to Kings who wanted to make expensive war.money2

Bankers became the defacto rulers and in the past couple of centuries have set about gathering more and more of the available money. They now own the  Governments and Churches. The cancer keeps on growing. Those bankers are almost a hereditary group of hidden families who are the true rulers of the Earth. Their reason for existence has become the gathering in of more and more of the wealth created by the “little people”. They now fund both sides of wars, take a high proportion of money meant for disaster relief and tell Governments how much they can spend.

The removal of the “Gold Standard” in the 1930’s took away the last connection money had with reality and the end became inescapable. Even the Bankers have forgotten that money is but a repressentaion of the value of a real thing.

With computerisation, it has become ever easier for the bankers to accumulate more. And there is no longer anything real about money. It is just electrons in a mainframe.  This leaves ever less for the vast mass of humanity. Some of those “little people” have been deluded into thinking that running a gold mine or an iron ore mine means that they are important and rich. They do money1not see that their few billions are small change to the bankers trillions.

The money cancer has almost completely taken over human society and the sickness can only result in the death of that society. Only a world-wide revolution and a massive thinning of humanities numbers will allow a healthy society to return.

It will be brutal and many will be lost but it is now inevitable.

Money is diseased barter and must be cut out if we, as a species, are to return to a healthy way of interacting. When we again become hunters and gatherers.