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(In our age  nations are seized upon making hard decisions on their fiscal policy. Such was what US Congress passed recently. Is Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 fiscally responsible or irresponsible cannot be answered readily. A similar choice was before  France in the early 1783. Carlyle writes what they were up against and it no less true for the Americans in 2018.-b)

“And so, towards the end of 1783, matters threaten to come to

still-stand. Vain seems human ingenuity. In vain has our newly-devised
‘Council of Finances’ struggled, our Intendants of Finance, Controller-
General of Finances: there are unhappily no Finances to control. Fatal
paralysis invades the social movement; clouds, of blindness or of
blackness, envelop us: are we breaking down, then, into the black horrors
of NATIONAL BANKRUPTCY?

Great is Bankruptcy: the great bottomless gulf into which all Falsehoods,
public and private, do sink, disappearing; whither, from the first origin
of them, they were all doomed. For Nature is true and not a lie. No lie
you can speak or act but it will come, after longer or shorter circulation,
like a Bill drawn on Nature’s Reality, and be presented there for payment,-
-with the answer, No effects. Pity only that it often had so long a
circulation: that the original forger were so seldom he who bore the final
smart of it! Lies, and the burden of evil they bring, are passed on;
shifted from back to back, and from rank to rank; and so land ultimately on
the dumb lowest rank, who with spade and mattock, with sore heart and empty
wallet, daily come in contact with reality, and can pass the cheat no
further.

Observe nevertheless how, by a just compensating law, if the lie with its
burden (in this confused whirlpool of Society) sinks and is shifted ever
downwards, then in return the distress of it rises ever upwards and
upwards. Whereby, after the long pining and demi-starvation of those
Twenty Millions, a Duke de Coigny and his Majesty come also to have their
‘real quarrel.’ Such is the law of just Nature; bringing, though at long
intervals, and were it only by Bankruptcy, matters round again to the mark.

But with a Fortunatus’ Purse in his pocket, through what length of time
might not almost any Falsehood last! Your Society, your Household,
practical or spiritual Arrangement, is untrue, unjust, offensive to the eye
of God and man. Nevertheless its hearth is warm, its larder well
replenished: the innumerable Swiss of Heaven, with a kind of Natural
loyalty, gather round it; will prove, by pamphleteering, musketeering, that
it is a truth; or if not an unmixed (unearthly, impossible) Truth, then
better, a wholesomely attempered one, (as wind is to the shorn lamb), and
works well. Changed outlook, however, when purse and larder grow empty!
Was your Arrangement so true, so accordant to Nature’s ways, then how, in
the name of wonder, has Nature, with her infinite bounty, come to leave it
famishing there? To all men, to all women and all children, it is now
indutiable that your Arrangement was false. Honour to Bankruptcy; ever
righteous on the great scale, though in detail it is so cruel! Under all
Falsehoods it works, unweariedly mining. No Falsehood, did it rise heaven-
high and cover the world, but Bankruptcy, one day, will sweep it down, and
make us free of it…) Selected from the Chapter Parlement of Paris 1:3.1

Benny

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Louis XV is in his deathbed. Much has changed in France since he lay ill some three decades earlier and now he is dying and people go about as though they couldn’t care less. Thomas Carlyle examines the role of history,Belief,Pomp and Circumstance and the symbolic value of Power

“Realised Ideals.

Such a changed France have we; and a changed Louis. Changed, truly; and
further than thou yet seest!–To the eye of History many things, in that
sick-room of Louis, are now visible, which to the Courtiers there present
were invisible. For indeed it is well said, ‘in every object there is
inexhaustible meaning; the eye sees in it what the eye brings means of
seeing.’ To Newton and to Newton’s Dog Diamond, what a different pair of
Universes; while the painting on the optical retina of both was, most
likely, the same! Let the Reader here, in this sick-room of Louis,
endeavour to look with the mind too.

Time was when men could (so to speak) of a given man, by nourishing and
decorating him with fit appliances, to the due pitch, make themselves a
King, almost as the Bees do; and what was still more to the purpose,
loyally obey him when made. The man so nourished and decorated,
thenceforth named royal, does verily bear rule; and is said, and even
thought, to be, for example, ‘prosecuting conquests in Flanders,’ when he
lets himself like luggage be carried thither: and no light luggage;
covering miles of road….

For ours is a most fictile world; and man is the most fingent plastic of
creatures. A world not fixable; not fathomable! An unfathomable Somewhat,
which is Not we; which we can work with, and live amidst,–and model,
miraculously in our miraculous Being, and name World.–But if the very
Rocks and Rivers (as Metaphysic teaches) are, in strict language, made by
those outward Senses of ours, how much more, by the Inward Sense, are all
Phenomena of the spiritual kind: Dignities, Authorities, Holies, Unholies!
Which inward sense, moreover is not permanent like the outward ones, but
forever growing and changing. Does not the Black African take of Sticks
and Old Clothes (say, exported Monmouth-Street cast-clothes) what will
suffice, and of these, cunningly combining them, fabricate for himself an
Eidolon (Idol, or Thing Seen), and name it Mumbo-Jumbo; which he can
thenceforth pray to, with upturned awestruck eye, not without hope? The
white European mocks; but ought rather to consider; and see whether he, at
home, could not do the like a little more wisely.

So it was, we say, in those conquests of Flanders, thirty years ago: but
so it no longer is. Alas, much more lies sick than poor Louis: not the
French King only, but the French Kingship; this too, after long rough tear
and wear, is breaking down. The world is all so changed; so much that
seemed vigorous has sunk decrepit, so much that was not is beginning to
be!–Borne over the Atlantic, to the closing ear of Louis, King by the
Grace of God, what sounds are these; muffled ominous, new in our centuries?
Boston Harbour is black with unexpected Tea: behold a Pennsylvanian
Congress gather; and ere long, on Bunker Hill, DEMOCRACY announcing, in
rifle-volleys death-winged, under her Star Banner, to the tune of Yankee-
doodle-doo, that she is born, and, whirlwind-like, will envelope the whole
world!

Sovereigns die and Sovereignties: how all dies, and is for a Time only; is
a ‘Time-phantasm, yet reckons itself real!’ The Merovingian Kings, slowly
wending on their bullock-carts through the streets of Paris, with their
long hair flowing, have all wended slowly on,–into Eternity. Charlemagne
sleeps at Salzburg, with truncheon grounded; only Fable expecting that he
will awaken. Charles the Hammer, Pepin Bow-legged, where now is their eye
of menace, their voice of command? Rollo and his shaggy Northmen cover not
the Seine with ships; but have sailed off on a longer voyage. The hair of
Towhead (Tete d’etoupes) now needs no combing; Iron-cutter (Taillefer)
cannot cut a cobweb; shrill Fredegonda, shrill Brunhilda have had out their
hot life-scold, and lie silent, their hot life-frenzy cooled….  They are all gone; sunk,–down, down,
with the tumult they made; and the rolling and the trampling of ever new
generations passes over them, and they hear it not any more forever.

And yet withal has there not been realised somewhat? Consider (to go no
further) these strong Stone-edifices, and what they hold! Mud-Town of the
Borderers (Lutetia Parisiorum or Barisiorum) has paved itself, has spread
over all the Seine Islands, and far and wide on each bank, and become City
of Paris, sometimes boasting to be ‘Athens of Europe,’ and even ‘Capital of
the Universe.’ Stone towers frown aloft; long-lasting, grim with a
thousand years. Cathedrals are there, and a Creed (or memory of a Creed)
in them; Palaces, and a State and Law. Thou seest the Smoke-vapour;
unextinguished Breath as of a thing living. Labour’s thousand hammers ring
on her anvils: also a more miraculous Labour works noiselessly, not with
the Hand but with the Thought. How have cunning workmen in all crafts,
with their cunning head and right-hand, tamed the Four Elements to be their
ministers; yoking the winds to their Sea-chariot, making the very Stars
their Nautical Timepiece;–and written and collected a Bibliotheque du Roi;
among whose Books is the Hebrew Book! A wondrous race of creatures: these
have been realised, and what of Skill is in these: call not the Past Time,
with all its confused wretchednesses, a lost one.

Observe, however, that of man’s whole terrestrial possessions and
attainments, unspeakably the noblest are his Symbols, divine or divine-
seeming; under which he marches and fights, with victorious assurance, in
this life-battle: what we can call his Realised Ideals. Of which realised
ideals, omitting the rest, consider only these two: his Church, or
spiritual Guidance; his Kingship, or temporal one. The Church: what a
word was there; richer than Golconda and the treasures of the world! In
the heart of the remotest mountains rises the little Kirk; the Dead all
slumbering round it, under their white memorial-stones, ‘in hope of a happy
resurrection:’–dull wert thou, O Reader, if never in any hour (say of
moaning midnight, when such Kirk hung spectral in the sky, and Being was as
if swallowed up of Darkness) it spoke to thee–things unspeakable, that
went into thy soul’s soul. Strong was he that had a Church, what we can
call a Church: he stood thereby, though ‘in the centre of Immensities, in
the conflux of Eternities,’ yet manlike towards God and man; the vague
shoreless Universe had become for him a firm city, and dwelling which he
knew. Such virtue was in Belief; in these words, well spoken: I believe.
Well might men prize their Credo, and raise stateliest Temples for it, and
reverend Hierarchies, and give it the tithe of their substance; it was
worth living for and dying for.

Neither was that an inconsiderable moment when wild armed men first raised
their Strongest aloft on the buckler-throne, and with clanging armour and
hearts, said solemnly: Be thou our Acknowledged Strongest! In such
Acknowledged Strongest (well named King, Kon-ning, Can-ning, or Man that
was Able) what a Symbol shone now for them,–significant with the destinies
of the world! A Symbol of true Guidance in return for loving Obedience;
properly, if he knew it, the prime want of man. A Symbol which might be
called sacred; for is there not, in reverence for what is better than we,
an indestructible sacredness? On which ground, too, it was well said there
lay in the Acknowledged Strongest a divine right; as surely there might in
the Strongest, whether Acknowledged or not,–considering who made him
strong. And so, in the midst of confusions and unutterable incongruities
(as all growth is confused), did this of Royalty, with Loyalty environing
it, spring up; and grow mysteriously, subduing and assimilating (for a
principle of Life was in it); till it also had grown world-great, and was
among the main Facts of our modern existence. Such a Fact, that Louis
XIV., for example, could answer the expostulatory Magistrate with his
“L’Etat c’est moi (The State? I am the State);” and be replied to by
silence and abashed looks. So far had accident and forethought; had your
Louis Elevenths, with the leaden Virgin in their hatband, and torture-
wheels and conical oubliettes (man-eating!) under their feet; your Henri
Fourths, with their prophesied social millennium, ‘when every peasant
should have his fowl in the pot;’ and on the whole, the fertility of this
most fertile Existence (named of Good and Evil),–brought it, in the matter
of the Kingship. Wondrous! Concerning which may we not again say, that in
the huge mass of Evil, as it rolls and swells, there is ever some Good
working imprisoned; working towards deliverance and triumph?

How such Ideals do realise themselves; and grow, wondrously, from amid the
incongruous ever-fluctuating chaos of the Actual: this is what World-
History, if it teach any thing, has to teach us, How they grow; and, after
long stormy growth, bloom out mature, supreme; then quickly (for the
blossom is brief) fall into decay; sorrowfully dwindle; and crumble down,
or rush down, noisily or noiselessly disappearing. The blossom is so
brief; as of some centennial Cactus-flower, which after a century of
waiting shines out for hours! Thus from the day when rough Clovis, in the
Champ de Mars, in sight of his whole army, had to cleave retributively the
head of that rough Frank, with sudden battleaxe, and the fierce words, “It
was thus thou clavest the vase” (St. Remi’s and mine) “at Soissons,”
forward to Louis the Grand and his L’Etat c’est moi, we count some twelve
hundred years: and now this the very next Louis is dying, and so much
dying with him!–

But of those decadent ages in which no Ideal either grows or blossoms?
When Belief and Loyalty have passed away, and only the cant and false echo
of them remains; and all Solemnity has become Pageantry; and the Creed of
persons in authority has become one of two things: an Imbecility or a
Macchiavelism? Alas, of these ages World-History can take no notice; they
have to become compressed more and more, and finally suppressed in the
Annals of Mankind; blotted out as spurious,–which indeed they are.
Hapless ages: wherein, if ever in any, it is an unhappiness to be born.
To be born, and to learn only, by every tradition and example, that God’s
Universe is Belial’s and a Lie; and ‘the Supreme Quack’ the hierarch of
men! In which mournfulest faith, nevertheless, do we not see whole
generations (two, and sometimes even three successively) live, what they
call living; and vanish,–without chance of reappearance?

In such a decadent age, or one fast verging that way, had our poor Louis
been born. Grant also that if the French Kingship had not, by course of
Nature, long to live, he of all men was the man to accelerate Nature. The
Blossom of French Royalty, cactus-like, has accordingly made an astonishing
progress. In those Metz days, it was still standing with all its petals,
though bedimmed by Orleans Regents and Roue Ministers and Cardinals; but
now, in 1774, we behold it bald, and the virtue nigh gone out of it…

Who is it that the King (Able-man, named also Roi, Rex, or Director) now guides? His own
huntsmen and prickers: when there is to be no hunt, it is well said, ‘Le
Roi ne fera rien (To-day his Majesty will do nothing). (Memoires sur la
Vie privee de Marie Antoinette, par Madame Campan (Paris, 1826), i. 12).
He lives and lingers there, because he is living there, and none has yet
laid hands on him.

The nobles, in like manner, have nearly ceased either to guide or misguide;
and are now, as their master is, little more than ornamental figures. It
is long since they have done with butchering one another or their king:
the Workers, protected, encouraged by Majesty, have ages ago built walled
towns, and there ply their crafts; will permit no Robber Baron to ‘live by
the saddle,’ but maintain a gallows to prevent it. Ever since that period
of the Fronde, the Noble has changed his fighting sword into a court
rapier, and now loyally attends his king as ministering satellite; divides
the spoil, not now by violence and murder, but by soliciting and finesse.
These men call themselves supports of the throne, singular gilt-pasteboard
caryatides in that singular edifice! For the rest, their privileges every
way are now much curtailed. That law authorizing a Seigneur, as he
returned from hunting, to kill not more than two Serfs, and refresh his
feet in their warm blood and bowels, has fallen into perfect desuetude,–
and even into incredibility; for if Deputy Lapoule can believe in it, and
call for the abrogation of it, so cannot we. (Histoire de la Revolution
Francaise, par Deux Amis de la Liberte (Paris, 1793), ii. 212.) No
Charolois, for these last fifty years, though never so fond of shooting,
has been in use to bring down slaters and plumbers, and see them roll from
their roofs; (Lacretelle, Histoire de France pendant le 18me Siecle (Paris,
1819) i. 271.) but contents himself with partridges and grouse. Close-
viewed, their industry and function is that of dressing gracefully and
eating sumptuously. As for their debauchery and depravity, it is perhaps
unexampled since the era of Tiberius and Commodus. Nevertheless, one has
still partly a feeling with the lady Marechale: “Depend upon it, Sir, God
thinks twice before damning a man of that quality.” (Dulaure, vii. 261.)
These people, of old, surely had virtues, uses; or they could not have been
there. Nay, one virtue they are still required to have (for mortal man
cannot live without a conscience): the virtue of perfect readiness to
fight duels.

Such are the shepherds of the people: and now how fares it with the flock?
With the flock, as is inevitable, it fares ill, and ever worse. They are
not tended, they are only regularly shorn. They are sent for, to do
statute-labour, to pay statute-taxes; to fatten battle-fields (named ‘Bed
of honour’) with their bodies, in quarrels which are not theirs; their hand
and toil is in every possession of man; but for themselves they have little
or no possession. Untaught, uncomforted, unfed; to pine dully in thick
obscuration, in squalid destitution and obstruction: this is the lot of
the millions; peuple taillable et corveable a merci et misericorde. In
Brittany they once rose in revolt at the first introduction of Pendulum
Clocks; thinking it had something to do with the Gabelle. Paris requires
to be cleared out periodically by the Police; and the horde of hunger-
stricken vagabonds to be sent wandering again over space–for a time.
‘During one such periodical clearance,’ says Lacretelle, ‘in May, 1750, the
Police had presumed withal to carry off some reputable people’s children,
in the hope of extorting ransoms for them. The mothers fill the public
places with cries of despair; crowds gather, get excited: so many women in
destraction run about exaggerating the alarm: an absurd and horrid fable
arises among the people; it is said that the doctors have ordered a Great
Person to take baths of young human blood for the restoration of his own,
all spoiled by debaucheries. Some of the rioters,’ adds Lacretelle, quite
coolly, ‘were hanged on the following days:’ the Police went on.
(Lacretelle, iii. 175.) O ye poor naked wretches! and this, then, is your
inarticulate cry to Heaven, as of a dumb tortured animal, crying from
uttermost depths of pain and debasement? Do these azure skies, like a dead
crystalline vault, only reverberate the echo of it on you? Respond to it
only by ‘hanging on the following days?’–Not so: not forever! Ye are
heard in Heaven. And the answer too will come,–in a horror of great
darkness, and shakings of the world, and a cup of trembling which all the
nations shall drink.

Remark, meanwhile, how from amid the wrecks and dust of this universal
Decay new Powers are fashioning themselves, adapted to the new time and its
destinies. Besides the old Noblesse, originally of Fighters, there is a
new recognised Noblesse of Lawyers; whose gala-day and proud battle-day
even now is. An unrecognised Noblesse of Commerce; powerful enough, with
money in its pocket. Lastly, powerfulest of all, least recognised of all,
a Noblesse of Literature; without steel on their thigh, without gold in
their purse, but with the ‘grand thaumaturgic faculty of Thought’ in their
head. French Philosophism has arisen; in which little word how much do we
include! Here, indeed, lies properly the cardinal symptom of the whole
wide-spread malady. Faith is gone out; Scepticism is come in. Evil
abounds and accumulates: no man has Faith to withstand it, to amend it, to
begin by amending himself; it must even go on accumulating. While hollow
langour and vacuity is the lot of the Upper, and want and stagnation of the
Lower, and universal misery is very certain, what other thing is certain?
That a Lie cannot be believed! Philosophism knows only this: her other
belief is mainly that, in spiritual supersensual matters no Belief is
possible. Unhappy! Nay, as yet the Contradiction of a Lie is some kind of
Belief; but the Lie with its Contradiction once swept away, what will
remain? The five unsatiated Senses will remain, the sixth insatiable Sense
(of vanity); the whole daemonic nature of man will remain,–hurled forth to
rage blindly without rule or rein; savage itself, yet with all the tools
and weapons of civilisation; a spectacle new in History.

In such a France, as in a Powder-tower, where fire unquenched and now
unquenchable is smoking and smouldering all round, has Louis XV. lain down
to die. With Pompadourism and Dubarryism, his Fleur-de-lis has been
shamefully struck down in all lands and on all seas; Poverty invades even
the Royal Exchequer, and Tax-farming can squeeze out no more; there is a
quarrel of twenty-five years’ standing with the Parlement; everywhere Want,
Dishonesty, Unbelief, and hotbrained Sciolists for state-physicians: it is
a portentous hour.

Such things can the eye of History see in this sick-room of King Louis,
which were invisible to the Courtiers there. It is twenty years, gone
Christmas-day, since Lord Chesterfield, summing up what he had noted of
this same France, wrote, and sent off by post, the following words, that
have become memorable: ‘In short, all the symptoms which I have ever met
with in History, previous to great Changes and Revolutions in government,
now exist and daily increase in France.’ (Chesterfield’s Letters:
December 25th, 1753.)

End of the selection.

“History repeats itself, not exactly from a script man may draw up from the past but what moral laws Justice and Equity demand. It is God-ordained. Heaven and Earth belong to God so for those in positions of trust, who carelessly mete out injustice because the color of man is wrong and he cannot defend himself if he is defrauded by some unjust laws or by brute force he is a disgrace. Deny Justice and make the nation bleed itself to insignificance is what History teaches-benny”

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In order to indicate how time distorts we have an expression ‘rose-colored glasses’ we tend to look with emotions that are ‘let-us-pretend’ kind. Thus we look back at our youth with nostalgia however miserable it may have been actually. What has been ‘American dream’? Was it not one such? When all that  honest- to- God hard work can be wiped out and LBJ’s Great Society with it, was it not because our dream tells a lie? A lie conveniently sold by those who stand to benefit from it.

Yesterday’s quote from Ernest Dowson was also a dream, a poetic expression farther from truth.

Let us look at history. Remember the movie Enemy At the Gates? It is based on the life of one man. Vasily Zaytsev as a sharpshooter in the siege of Stalingrad looms large  whenever that crucial battle is recalled. But in the history of WWII his name may not even figure. It is thus history is a distortion of actual events so any incident recalled after sixty years or more would require footnotes. Naturally you are swallowed up by narrative on larger events . Neither you or I am a dream but represents something. Time however finite is only set against timelessness that envelops all. Shall I call it Truth since our actions and what we represent is in context of it and not in context of some continents or nations which themselves change shapes?

It is in this context we need to speak we are an idea, considering how we are preoccupied with our rational mind than anything else. Mother Theresa would devote her whole life for an idea as John Rockefeller or Carnegie for something else. It comes up for comparison against Idea into which all ideas must come up for comparison.  I call it God. (God is truth)

benny

 

 

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God as Omnipresent and Omnipotent. His sovereignty over the earth is evident in his creation.

The river from Eden branching into four heads (Ge.2:10) is an illustration. The creation account clearly states that God had not caused it to rain upon the earth (vs.5). The Spirit clues us that not natural causes but God is the Prime Mover. We read in the last book of the Bible :there was ‘a pure river of water of life proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb(Re.22:1)’ and it goes like straight as an arrow. The river from Eden forms four heads compassing different lands.

The number four has significance to which I shall come by and by.

God sets his Will in a series chains of events where man and his actions do count. Adam’s disobedience in eating of the fruit informs us nature is also a component or divine instrument. ‘Cursed is the ground for thy sake.’ Weirder climate and one-percenters of today did not spring out of nothing but are the result of accumulated effect of chains of cause and effect.

In fulfilling divine Will nations of the world are the living canvass wherein man is placed and chains of events are the means to build up his faith or correct him. His individual life shall bear the lights and shadows cast by the immediate context in which he is placed. The example of Ruth amply bears out this truism. During the time the Judges ruled Israel there was a famine. Although Ruth being a Moabite and outside the promise of God made to the House of Israel, she was predestined to glory. She is the matriarch from whose womb the Messianic Promise would stream forth.

The eternal verity of Mercy is unchangeable but His authority is affixed in the many chains of events, too complex for any man to control. In its working we only need compare the role of volcanoes. These are upheavals of the earth causing many hiccups but renewing the face of the earth. God’s sovereignty assures His children the greatest good not according to any time frame of man but in his Time. Sorrows are like the birth pangs a woman undergoes before the birth never thought of once she holds the baby to her bosom. A child of God bonded with God through the redemptive work of the Son never need concern of whatever happens. Ruth suffered her share of misfortunes but when God had put these under the heading of Mercy her case was unlike anything that she had imagined. What does Isaiah say? “Sing, O barren that thou didst not bear;… (Is.54:1)

In the Will of God nothing is created for itself. The earth is not singly created but in context of the heaven. If we examine the earth in detail we shall see the Lord God first set up whatever appurtenances needful for the wellbeing of Adam.

Mathematics and counting of numbers hold relevance only for man. The Alien shall have his own system of counting. When the Spirit uses numbers it with the intent of sharing the divine Will in a manner man can find use for. So what is the significance of the number 4? In the Book of Zechariah we read of four chariots (Zec.6:1) four artisans, four horns(1:18,21) These are instruments appointed by God. It is clear from so many clues how God establishes his sovereignty of history of nations.

This is adapted and modified for this blog.

Marginalia, a concise guide to the Bible is available in print and as e-book/Kindle from Amazon.com

Benny

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At the 1938 Evian Conference, a convening of the leaders of 32 nations and numerous private organizations to discuss the hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees fleeing the rapidly spreading Nazi regime, Dominican dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina was the only world leader who stood out to take the Jews.

However his purpose was political and not based on any humanitarian reasons.

Trujillo had massacred tens of thousands of Haitians over six days in October 1937, an event English speakers call the ‘parsley massacre’, Dominicans call el corte (the cutting) and Haitians remember as kout kout-a (the stabbing). Regardless of name, it was a vicious attempt at the same sort of ethnic cleansing that was happening in Europe, and Trujillo was in serious need of a positive public relations boost.

Trujillo was obsessed with whiteness. He saw the island of Hispaniola as a physical polarisation between light and dark, and his mission was to keep the darkness at bay. Known for powdering his own skin to appear whiter, Trujillo saw the exodus of Jewish people from Eastern Europe in the time between Hitler’s rise to power and the closing of the borders as an opportunity to further his racial agenda. At the conference, Trujillo agreed to accept up to 100,000 Jews into his country, hoping that they would procreate with Dominican women, who would then give birth to lighter-skinned babies.

Despite these dark motives, his offer was an opportunity to survive that couldn’t be passed up. The DR issued approximately 5,000 visas to European Jews between the Evian Conference and 1944, but due to travel issues, political tensions and some uncertainty about relocating to the Caribbean nation, fewer than 1,000 Jews ever made it to the DR. Those that did were given land and livestock, and the opportunity to start rebuilding their lives.

By pooling their expertise and bringing in consultants from Europe, they were able to create high-quality European-style cheeses, butter that was voted the nation’s best, award-winning sausages and salamis that were sold around the country under the name Productos Sosúa (Sosúa Products).

A mixture of beef and pork, the salami made at Ganadera was by no means Kosher, and many of the Jewish families who settled in Sosúa raised pigs. “They didn’t stay Kosher,” Schwarz said of her parents. “After you almost died of hunger, whatever you can find to eat you eat, and you don’t care if it’s Kosher or not.”( This reminds me of the lost son in the parable of the Prodigal Son who was reduced to eat husks given to the swine. A dismal prospect of diaspora-b)

Although Productos Sosúa was sold to Mexican multinational Sigma Alimento in 2004, the Dominican staple’s roots in the small Jewish cooperative and the flavours they popularised can still be tasted in almost any kitchen in the country.

(Ack:bbc news/travel june1,17/Pippa Biddie)

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It is said lightening never strikes the same place twice. The Woodstock festival of 1969 and 2009 bear proof to this adage.

The Woodstock festival of 1969 was one of the pivotal moments in popular music history. It was a three day gathering held in a dairy farm in the Catskills near the White Lake in the town of Bethel, New York. Woodstock was designed as a profit-making venture, aptly titled “Woodstock Ventures”. It famously became a “free concert” only after it became obvious that the event was drawing hundreds of thousands more people than the organizers had prepared for. It resonated with the idealistic hopes of the 1960s; Woodstock satisfied most who had assembled for the event. There was a sense of social harmony, which, with the quality of music, and the overwhelming mass of people, an electrifying influx of spontaneity that swept through the youth gave hint to spirit of the times. The Beat generation of the Fifties could jell with the flower power as though there were no schism. Integration principle had laid the groundwork for the Anti-Establishment subculture to express itself in manifestations as varied as Eastern spirituality, hedonism, anti-establishment drug culture and Marxism and music made it all seamless. Forty years on in 2009 there was replay of Woodstock festival and it was evident that spirit of the times felt at that time had gone.

History is made by events happening at random; but each event does not owe to the other for its  power. Vietnam War owed nothing to Eastern culture; neither did flower power draw from the fashion trends prevailing at that time.  Chains of events have spontaneity as if certain other worldly agency has had a hand in completing some jigsaw puzzle in that time and place. Never shall these come together; nor history repeats itself. When I see some noise about Caliphate and mindless bloodshed I know the fools are at it. It is the Tower of Babel again over the blood of innocents and persons far greater than them.

benny

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“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man”. Heraclitus

Great ideas are the children of so many parents both of low and noble bloodline. These are called chains of events. Christianity was the pariah at the time of Nero and Domitian. But times changed and the Imperial Rome was somewhat like Ottoman Empire in 1916, sick and lacking in fresh blood.

Constantine the Great legitimized his shifting the capital of the empire to Rome from Constantinople as continuation of the old. This came to be called as New Rome. Giuseppe Mazzini, Italian nationalist and patriot found it useful to promote the notion of the Third Rome. He said, “After the Rome of the emperors, after the Rome of the Popes, there will come the Rome of the people”, and it had to do with the struggle of Italian unification with Rome as the capital. Benito Mussolini also in his speeches referred to Fascist Rome as Terza Roma and here was proposing expansion of Rome towards Ostia and the sea.

There were many such attempts at reviving the vanished glory of the old. One such attempt was to retake Constantinople after the Ottomans had captured it in 1453. Historical process that went into shape the Church of Rome after the collapse of the Empire brought out its backlash in the form of Reformation and Counter-Reformation and it deflected much of the force to prevent recapture of Constantinople a reality. France had once espoused the Crusades and in these cross currents of religious movements it allied with the Ottomans thereby preventing a concerted war effort. Constantinople remained in the hands of Ottoman Empire. After the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in WWI Greek armies invaded Turkey during the Greco- Turkish War of 1919-1922 but their dream of reviving the old glory of Rome did not realize.

Large forces that rake up past lessons in history and pass on as in the case the Fall of Constantinople led to Renaissance and liberal thought all across the globe keep only way forward. Pax Romana did not either repeat itself in the Pax Britannia or in the Pax American. Integration principle sees to that the lessons in history impact collective experience of mankind so evolution of man’s attempt to recreate a New Canaan in the New World would fail as much as the Great Leap Forward by Republic of China in a Soviet Model would lead to altogether new. In fact China would strike a different path forward different from that of Soviet model.

ii

As history moved on, Islam spread over a vast region, encountering and adjusting to numerous other societies, faiths and cultures. Inevitably in practice it mutated in different ways, often becoming more pragmatic and indulgent, often given second place to the demands of power and politics and temporal rulers.

For hardline Muslim traditionalists this amounted to deviationism, and from early on, there was a clash of ideas in which those arguing for a strict return to the “purity” of the early days of Islam often paid a price.

The eminent scholar Ahmad ibn Hanbal (780-855), who founded one of the main schools of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence, was jailed and once flogged unconscious in a dispute with the Abbasid caliph in Baghdad. Nearly five centuries later, another supreme theologian of the same strict orthodox school, Ibn Taymiyya, died in prison in Damascus.

These two men are seen as the spiritual forefathers of later thinkers and movements which became known as “salafist”, advocating a return to the ways of the first Muslim ancestors, the salaf al-salih (righteous ancestors).

They inspired a later figure whose thinking and writings were to have a huge and continuing impact on the region and on the salafist movement, one form of which, Wahhabism, took his name. Now the biggest underwriters of Wahhabism, the Saudi Regime whose petrodollars under the guise of charities in the late Eighties went on to spread their own brand of Islam. Are they safe in the way the religion has morphed into a religion of hate? (ack: Jim Muir/IS Group,-the full story/BBC)

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