The West still doesn’t understand
the evils that haunts mankind since the emergence of modern ideologies.
Although Burke criticised the development in France during the Revolution, we never learned the
lessons he wished to teach us. Instead we replaced his wisdom with forgetfulness of
the worst atrocities ever faced by mankind.
In the early hours of 17 July, 1918, the Romanov family, three
servants and their doctor were herded down into the cellar of the Ipatiev house
in Yekaterinburg. They had been told that they were going to take cover from
artillery from the approaching White Army. They put on their clothes and
gathered some belongings and the Tsar carried his sickly thirteen-year-old son,
Alexei, down the stairs.
They waited in the cellar for a while, before a group of
armed men came in and read their sentence. Death. The Tsar was then shot
several times in the chest and he fell down dead or dying. For the rest of them
the gruesome butchery had just begun. Alexei, Anastasia, Tatiana, Olga and
Maria were not killed by the first hail of bullets. Wounded and terrified they
cried out in agony before they were executed with bullets, bayonets and the
butts of pistols and rifles. One of the murderers recalled that the floor was
slippery as ice from brains and blood as they waded in to kill the children. It
took 20 minutes before they were all quiet, but as they carried the bodies out
it was revealed that two of them were still breathing. The children were then
stabbed until dead. The bodies were plundered of valuables and the soldiers cut
off the fingers of the Tsaritsa to remove rings. All of them were cut up, put
in acid and dumped in a mine shaft and a shallow grave.
Thus ended 300 years of
Romanov dynasty. But of course, for Russia, the slaughter had just begun. At
least 20 million people were killed by the USSR, and communism as a whole is
responsible for killing at least 100 million people. It is the single deadliest
ideology in the history of mankind.
The left gets away with murder
Here’s a death toll for communism around the world, according to the Black book of communism: 65 million in the People’s Republic of China 20 million in the Soviet Union 2 million in Cambodia 2 million in North Korea 1.7 million in Ethiopia 1.5 million in Afghanistan 1 million in the Eastern Bloc 1 million in Vietnam 150,000 in Latin America 10,000 deaths “resulting from actions of the international Communist movement and Communist parties not in power.”
The left also has a long history of domestic terrorism in the West. The Red brigades, Red Army Faction, Weather Underground, Symbionese Liberation Army to mention a few.
Exempt from scrutiny Unlike followers of revolutionary ideologies on the right, it
is quite possible to call yourself a communist without any repercussions in
your personal or professional life. It can even help you in your career, especially in Academia. Many famous Swedish people in politics, media, sport, and culture are un-repenting communists. Members of a Marxist-Leninist party even. Many more are just slightly reformed and constantly apologetic, often hiding behind a thin veneer of restraint which is let go as soon as something in society upsets them, and they immediately call for totalitarian and violent measures. The online world has proven a perfect outlet for their urge to purge, as they hound political opponents, engage in mischaracterisation, threats, and calls to violence. Western society has an inexplicable tolerance for these leftist views and ideas, even when it takes violent expressions.
It’s easy to think this is just something relating to communism or anarchism, but the above examples often come from liberals too. And they also have a history of getting away with murder. Between 1793 and
1794 the Reign of Terror raged across France. Robespierre and the revolutionaries
did what so many revolutionaries would do after them, they killed anyone who
they didn’t like. Most famously Robespierre and his thugs killed the
aristocracy, but in fact 72% of those executed were peasants and workers who simply disagreed with the regime. In modern day, another example is the Western liberal support of the Arab spring which has been pivotal in crashing the
Middle East into yet another violent rampage.
Remains of 20,000 poles murdered by the Soviet Union
We just want change.
And kill anyone who opposes it
Revolutionaries kill people. The revolution is in itself
almost always responsible for worse atrocities than the regime it seeks to
overthrow. Solzjenitsyn claimed that in the 80 years prior to the Russian
revolution – a period where one Tsar was
assassinated, there were many assassination attempts (one in my own country,
Sweden, in fact), and there were widespread revolutionary movements – only
about 17 people a year were executed. The Cheka, however, executed without
trial more than a thousand people a month in the first years after 1917. He
continues to tell us that if you would average the amount of executed a month
up until the height of executions by Stalin in 1937-38, about 40,000 people
were killed every month. He rightly wonders how the west could make an alliance
with such a horrible regime. How was the Soviet Union better than Nazi Germany?
In fact, it wasn’t.
But the revolutionaries aren’t just to be rejected for their
blood lust. If we simply look at the murderous aspect they cannot be understood.
The question becomes a simple argument of “how could this happen?”. The really
important thing to understand is how mankind can develop and improve
society, without destroying itself in the process, and how we can maintain that
which serves us even when we have forgotten how it serves us. This is the point
of view that Burke argued in the Reflections on the Revolution in France. He meant
that the reason that the French Revolution would be so disastrous was that it
was founded on abstract concepts that ignored mankind’s complexity, the wisdom
which hides within tradition, and the intricacy of human society. It also
ignores the weakness of men and our inability to grasp everything, but our
willingness to think that we do. Herein lies the hubris of utopian thinking and
ideological fight for power of the societies that have grown more organically
over the centuries. The left is a living example of the Doning-Kruger effect,
if you will. Too stupid to understand that it doesn’t understand. I mentioned the liberal support of the Arab spring previously, and it is a prime example of how overthrowing functioning nation states for abstract ideas can lead to extreme problems. Remembering Burke commenting on the French Revolution, it is easy to see history repeating itself, but this time in the Arab world:
“Can I now congratulate the same nation upon its freedom? Is it because liberty in the abstract may be classed amongst the blessings of mankind, that I am seriously to felicitate a mad-man, who has escaped from the protecting restraint and wholesome darkness of his cell, on his restoration to the enjoyment of light and liberty? Am I to congratulate a highwayman and murderer, who has broke prison, upon the recovery of his natural rights? This would be to act over again the scene of the criminals condemned to the galleys, and their heroic deliverer, the metaphysic knight of the sorrowful countenance.” (Reflections on the French Revolution. The Harvard Classics)
Remember who we are. Or perish. The alternative to these modernist ideologies is a state based not around an ideology, but around fair and tested principles of law, and a people and their geographical location. In other words a nation state for each people created around the self interest of that people as a whole, and represented by themselves.
We have not yet managed to free ourselves from abstract utopian
thinking. And it is important to remember that it is not just the revolution that kills, that is just an eclipse in
the blood lust fed by the urge to kill that which does not fit the revolutionary world view. Man
has always killed, but when he kills for abstract ideals there is no limit
to the extent of the murder. The breech against the abstract idea can occur at
any time, in any generation, and in any person. No one is ever safe.
The limits of man’s wisdom should prevent us from any too
radical idea. Anything that changes society greatly in too short a time.
Today’s Western society is rife with abstract ideas that are said to improve
life for mankind. The ideas of globalism, open border, multicultural societies,
the dismantling of the family are obvious abstracts that are major changes to
our societies, that history repeatedly tells us could lead to disaster. But
beyond those things, we will be facing technological advances that are beyond
our current field of vision. We are facing these new challenges without having
understood anything from the violence of Modernity and the 20th
century. I believe that is a reason for concern and potentially the end of
I have held an 800 year old book in my hand. Do you know what that means? This is insanity! To think that pages can survive in these conditions for so long. This happened at the Ahmed Baba Center which is the major government run institute dedicated to the preservation and study of the numerous famed manuscripts of Timbuktu. The old center is a small cluster of sand colored buildings located close to the main hospital of Timbuktu complete with a large convention hall (which they were cleaning in preparation for the visit of Iran’s President) and numerous other bungalows that house reading rooms and preservation workshops. We started the day off in the library with director of research who gave us a complete history of the center and a run through of the manuscripts. I’m not normally one for museums or historical ramblings, but there is no way not to be fascinated by all that is captured in these books, some of the most beautiful of which were stored in glass display cases – their brown and yellowed pages still intact with Arabic scrawled across in perfect lines, some with student crib notes from four or six hundred years ago in the margins. The copies of the Koran had beautiful gold leaf illustrations and patterns on pages facing texts. The volumes of legal documents, or medicine had tables. The volumes of astronomy had star charts that though hundreds of years old still twinkled. These books are a living legacy of Timbuktu and to hold one as I did later in the restoration room is to feel absurdly empowered as a human, as an African. I shook. I smiled. I trembled. I have delivered babies – that is held a living being so precious because of it’s newness to the world – and who would have thought that to hold history would provoke the same nervous joy, the same protective instinct, the same awe. Indeed some of the private libraries only allow women to work in the restoration laboratories because it is thought that only a woman who has cared for a new born understands the delicacy required to manipulate these documents, this history. I’m not sure how to feel about that.
I have to say the major disappoint for me is not being able to read Arabic script. A book is a scared thing, but even more so when its meaning is understood. Perhaps most remarkable is what I can only term as the amazing fusion of cultures that these texts represent. Before leaving for Timbuktu, I remember commenting to a friend about my unsure feelings due to the fact that these celebrated African written texts are actually written in Arabic. Are they really an example of the African written word? Can’t somebody easily say that we sub-Saharan Africans don’t have our own record of our own languages? I am so glad I came to this place for the questions it has answered and the numerous questions it has stirred inside my thick thick skull. As the director of research for the Ahmed Baba center explained to me so many of the texts are Arabic script, but indigenous languages. Imagine that! I thought about it and thought about it and I guess the best comparison I can come up with is the fact that French, German, English etc. are all written with Latin letters though none of these languages is actual Latin. Chinese and Japanese use similar scripts but are two very different languages. My conclusion: the script isn’t so much what matters as the language that’s written and the ideas. And then, what a fabulous exercise in cultural exchange.
That is Timbuktu encapsulated – nothing is what it seems – everything is a reflection of everything including identity. As such you are forced to see yourself in the other in a way the wider world may not allow and your mind opens. I guess this is the purpose of books – even if you can’t read them.
I don’t know that there’s all that much for me to say now that I’ve seen these libraries – at some point the boredom sets in and leather bound volumes that you can’t read cease to be exciting but wow that initial rush.
We decided to turn to other aspects of life in the city and being a medical student, high on my list of priorities was the Timbuktu hospital which is conveniently located just behind the Ahmed Baba center. Behind a high tower and blue gates is a series of one story bungalows situated around a dusty courtyard in which patients and their family’s sit and wait for care or cook food for the sick. It reminds me of many a hospital I’ve been to in Nigeria – the same structure, the same stillness in the courtyards, the smell of Detol disinfectant along the open corridors and in the doorways of rooms. I got the chance to see patients with the chief of medicine – a youngish man who was the first person in his family to attend school. There in each of the rooms, we push through cases holding plain films that show pleural effusions and enlarged hearts, bone infections and tuberculosis up to light streaming in through windows. It is a far cry from the “state of the art” medicine that I am learning in New York City, but because of this I feel better about myself as a potential Doctor. Medicine in Timbuktu, is like other things in Timbuktu, about people and connections between them, not machines, not academic journals and articles, not prestige and recognition. I’ll explain further. When learning medicine in the States, so much is focused on technology and protocols, on the precision in memory and diagnostics that will allow us to treat anybody who comes in the door. It often feels like the reason why I wanted to become a doctor (why most people what to become doctors) is lost in the mix, that ability to lay on hands and heal. Healing may not mean curing a disease but it does mean making a person feel more human. As we walked down the halls, between the beds, I would whisper to Lauren that this patient with the liver cancer or that patient with the enlarged heart probably has less than a year left in the absence of treatments readily available in the west. And that bothers me a lot. I want that to change. But what I don’t what to change is the way the Doctor must connect differently with a patient in the absence of these life saving treatments. Medicine cannot be practiced by handing over a prescription for a series of tests and then a series of drugs after twenty minutes of speaking. The conversation is extended. The doubts tendered and expelled and if it’s loss of life that one must face, the coping practiced together with the provider of care instead of in private. This is be a simple minded rendering of this situation, but I never claimed genius.
I turned to my friend Lauren – an engineer by training who dutifully traipsed around with us striving to understand medical jargon delivered in French – at one point at told her “I can do this. I can be a Doctor. I like this!” She laughed because she is so used to my enumerating the various reasons why medicine is just not for me as a profession. To think I had to venture a thousand miles from anywhere to see healing (as opposed to treating) and hear that still small voice that says yes you do care about people and how they feel.
They say Timbuktu is a city of mysteries.
History has many cunning passages, contrived corridors
Truth is we aren’t all beautiful but why do we like it so much, why do value beauty of face and body to the level that it over powers us,
The truth is we are ugly at heart that’s what makes it difficult to unlearn. Aimndoc
When we think of African American popular music, our first thought is probably not of double-dutch: girls bouncing between two twirling ropes, keeping time to the tick-tat under their toes. But this book argues that the games black girls play —handclapping songs, cheers, and double-dutch jump rope—both reflect and inspire the principles of black popular musicmaking.
The Games Black Girls Play illustrates how black musical styles are incorporated into the earliest games African American girls learn—how, in effect, these games contain the DNA of black music. [book link]
The Negrito are several ethnic groups who inhabit isolated parts of Southeast Asia. Their current populations include Andamanese peoples of the Andaman Islands, Semang peoples of Malaysia, the Mani of Thailand, and the Aeta, Agta, Ati, and 30 other groups of the Philippines.
The Negrito peoples show strong physical similarities with some African populations, but are genetically closer to south-east Asian populations. They may be descended from ancient Australoid-Melanesian settlers of Southeast Asia, or represent an early split from the southern coast migrants from Africa.
The appropriateness of using the label ‘Negrito’ to bundle together peoples of different ethnicity based on similarities in stature and complexion has been challenged.
Some studies have suggested that each group should be considered separately, as the genetic evidence refutes the notion of a specific shared ancestry between the “Negrito” groups of the Andaman Islands, the Malay Peninsula, and the Philippines
We have, however, recently investigated the position in the global mtDNA phylogeny of complete genome sequences of eight haplogroups found primarily in the Malay Peninsula, showing that most of them branch directly from the Eurasian mtDNA ancestor lineages ~60,000 years ago and are indigenous and unique to the Peninsula (Macaulay et al. 2005)
Current genetic evidence is beginning to highlight more recent relationships between negrito populations and other, non-negrito populations in the same region, while maintaining some evidence for deeper genetic roots of these populations (Barik et al. 2008; Chaubey and Endicott this issue). These deep lineages may not reflect a common ancestry concurrent with the dispersal out of Africa, as predicted by the negrito hypothesis, but a degree of long-term genetic isolation from neighboring populations. The first study to integrate genotype and phenotype data of a negrito population (Migliano et al. this issue) suggests that, based on genetic variation, the Aeta, Batak, and Agta cluster with other South Asian populations and that their small body size evolved independently of other pygmy populations in Africa or Papua New Guinea.
Four Y chromosome haplogroups C, D, O and N, accounted for more than 90% of the East Asian Y chromosomes, are suggested to have Southeast Asian origins, carried by three waves of migrations
I find it interesting that liberals so often cite the “100 million deaths in a century” figure from The Black Book of Communism or wherever, but completely ignore similar death tolls traceable to capitalist countries and capitalism itself. One could justifiably say that the United States killed 100 million people in its first hundred years through conquest, genocide, the slave trade, etc. One could point out that, in our current era of unprecedented global plenty, approximately nine million people die of starvation every year (meaning that, every five years, global capitalism matches the highest commonly estimated death toll of the Great Leap Forward). It’s funny how liberals hold that preventable deaths in a capital-C Communist regime are 100%, unquestionably the fault of that regime, yet preventable deaths directly traceable to capitalism or the policies of capitalist countries are miraculously nobody’s fault (or, if somebody is at fault, it’s those who died).