At the very southernmost tip of Illinois, the pancake flat cornfields give way to the rolling, forested hills of the Delta.
Here, at the windy confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, it feels more southern than Midwest when you arrive at the old river port and factory town of Cairo, once made famous in Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
But Twain might not recognize Cairo today. In the past three decades, his hometown lost half its population. Alexander County is not only the poorest county in Illinois; it’s also one of the fastest depopulating counties in the United States.
From 1947-1949, Zionist paramilitaries and Israeli forces dispossessed more than 750,000 Palestinians, destroyed or depopulated more than 400 villages, and committed at least 24 massacres. Today, there are more than 7 million Palestinian refugees, globally.
Lying about Vietnam: it was now a Washington way of life. The lies started with the war’s ontological premise. We were supposed to be defending a ‘country’ called “South Vietnam.’ But South Vietnam was not quite a country at all. Vietnamese independence fighters had begun battling the French since practically the day they stopped fighting side by side in World War II. In 1954 they fought their colonial overlords to a final defeat at the stronghold of Dien Bien Phu. It was the first military loss for a European colonial power in three hundred years. Though these stalwarts, the Vietminh, now controlled four-fifths of the country’s territory, at the peace conference in Geneva they made a concession: they agreed to administer an armistice area half that size, demarcated at the seventeenth parallel (but for some last-minute haggling, it would have been the eighteenth). A government loyal to the French would administer the lands to the south. The ad hoc demarcation was to last twenty-four months, at which time the winner of an internationally supervised election in 1956 would run the entire country.
Instead, the division lasted for nineteen years. The reason was the United Sates, which saw to it the reunification election never took place. American intelligence knew that Ho Chi Minh, the Communist leader of the independence fighters, would have won 80 percent of the vote. The seventeenth parallel was read backward as an ordinary international boundary. If 'North Vietnam’ crossed it, they’d be guilty of 'aggression.’ Meanwhile, the CIA launched a propaganda campaign to depopulate North Vietnam, whose sizable Catholic population was shipped to 'South Vietnam’ via the U.S. Seventh Fleet. There, they found themselves part of a citizenry that had no reason for being in history, culture, or geography; even as the U.S. pretended- then came to believe- they were a brave, independence-loving nation of long standing. Actually the great city in the South, Saigon, had been France’s imperial headquarters. There, France had crowned a figurehead emperor at the tender age of twelve. During World War II, Emperor Bao Dai had collaborated with Vichy France and the Japanese. This was the man the South Vietnamese were supposed to venerate as the leader of their independent nation.
He was replaced by someone worse: a wily hustler named Ngo Dinh Diem. In 1952, Diem engineered a presidential election between himself and the emperor, with the help of U.S. government advisers, and 'won’ 98.2 percent of the vote. He then revived the guillotine as punishment for anyone 'infringing upon the security of the state.’ His favorite rebuff to an insult from a political opponent was 'Shoot him dead!’ His sister-in-law Madame Nhu, who served as his emissary abroad, told Americans the last thing her family was interested in was 'your crazy freedoms.’ This was the government to which the United States would now ask its citizens to pledge their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. Diem was not a Communist. And that, said America, made him a democrat.
Ho Chi Minh had no special beef with the United States. He liked to quote the Declaration of Independence; on the march to Hanoi during World War II, his forces called themselves the Viet-American Army; after the war, Ho sent telegrams to President Truman offering an independent Vietnam as 'a fertile field for American capital and enterprise.’ (Truman never answered.) The French reconquered Vietnam with what was practically an American mercenary force: 78 percent of the French army’s funding came from the United States. More hawkish Americans lobbied for direct intervention; Richard Nixon, after his visit in 1953, advised Eisenhower that two or three atomic bombs would do the trick. Ho Chi Minh’s supporters in South Vietnam began their guerrilla war in 1960. It led to a kind of Cold War nervous breakdown. Falter in Vietnam, Lyndon Johnson claimed in 1964, and 'they may just chase you into your own kitchen.
Smug, greedy, well-fed white people have invented a language to conceal their sins. It’s as simple as that. The CIA doesn’t kill anybody anymore, they neutralize people, or they depopulate the area. The government doesn’t lie, it engages in disinformation. The Pentagon actually measures nuclear radiation in something they call sunshine units. Israeli murderers are called commandos, Arab commandos are called terrorists. Contra killers are called freedom fighters. Well, if crime fighters fight crime, and firefighters fight fires, what do freedom fighters fight?
لفتا، بوابة القدس الغربية | Lifta, the western gate of Jerusalem
لفتا قرية فلسطينية محتلة عام 1948 تقع غرب وشمال غرب القدس ،على ارتفاع 700م عن سطح البحر. ويمر الطريق العام الممتد بين القدس ويافا جنوبي غربي القرية مباشرة, كما تربطها طرق ترابية بمجموعة من القرى المجاورة.
تعتبر لفتا من القرى الاولى التي اخلت العصابات الصهيونية المسلحة سكانها منها عام 1948، واسكن فيها اليهود الشرقين من بداية الخمسينات وحتى الاعوام الاولى من الستينات.
الصور: ما تبقى من لفتا.
تصوير: عيسى غريّب
Lifta was a Palestinian Arab village on the outskirts of Jerusalem. The population was driven out during the Palestinian 1948 Nakba. The village, which is mainly intact, is located on a hillside between the western entrance to Jerusalem and the Romema neighbourhood.
Lifta is the last remaining Palestinian village that was depopulated to have not been either completely destroyed or re-inhabited.
Photos: Lifta, all that remains.
Photography by Essa Grayeb
This is Escape from Innsmouth, by Kevin A.
Ross, the culmination of the Lovecraft Country sourcebooks detailing fictional
locales made famous in Lovecraft’s stories (the preceding volumes tackle
Arkham, Dunwich and Kingsport). Each describes a town practically house by
house – its residents of note, its landmarks, its secrets (and endless
adventure hooks). Each captures the town’s unique atmosphere - Kingsport’s
dreaminess, the isolated forelorness of Dunwich, the tension between the modern
world and the superstitious past in Arkham. As great as those books are, none
accomplish their goal as clearly as Escape from Innsmouth.
Based on Lovecrafts masterpiece “A Shadow Over
Innsmouth,” this is a fishing town in decay, largely abandoned, with half its
xenophobic residents actually half-human hybrids of the fish men – Deep Ones –
that live beneath Devil’s Reef of the coast. The deal between the two groups
was made generations ago through sorcery and lingers on as a curse of the
Because the town is so depopulated, there’s
room for a short two-part campaign that ranks among Call of Cthulhu’s very
best. The first part takes place after Lovecraft’s story and partly reenacts it
– investigators visit the town looking for a disappeared grocery clerk and wind
up having to escape when the hybrids come for them at night. The second acts
out the raid mentioned in Lovecraft’s story, where the federal government takes
military action against the town and its Deep One allies. The raid has multiple
objectives (with players shifting roles from their investigators to stock
soldiers) that occur concurrently, with the action cutting cinematically back
and forth. In terms of construction alone, it is a masterpiece.
The book’s art is fantastic as well, if
subdued. Jason Eckhardt has a special talent for drawing gloomy, abandoned
buildings. Those drawings provide much of the rich atmosphere for the first
half of the book. Meanwhile, John T. Snyder’s line work creates evocative
portraits and horrific action moments. It is one of Chaosium’s best looking
One final note – if the plot of the adventure
sounds familiar, you probably played the Dark Corners of the Earth videogame,
which draws heavily on this material and is one of the best horror videogames
today at work the forty five year old homeschooling dad who says barack obama wasnt born in the US and that george soros is trying to depopulate the earth said if we get up to two hundred parts an hour on the assembly line we will get a raise and he was like you know what i mean? and i said i have no clue what you mean its actually the opposite wed be giving the boss a raise by making the same number of parts in fewer hours
A few weeks back I promised @poorquentyn that I’d write up that comparison between the English heretics known as Lollards, their connection with the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381, and the Sparrows of ASoIaF. It took a bit longer than I’d hoped, but as promised, and for your reading pleasure, the case for why the Lollards and the Peasants’ Revolt is the strongest parallel we’ve got here, and their similarities - theological and political.
I’d also like to thank @meddlingwithdragons for her assistance with this essay.