Walls Of Common Lies

The legitimate kings were Henry V and Henry VI, kings of England and France, Paris and London. The contender a teenager was promoting was both illegitimate, and a public enemy. Such is the true history of Joan of Arc. Don’t expect one French out of a hundred to suspect it, six centuries later. Too happy, or so it seems, to have enjoyed another four centuries of war between Paris and London.

It is so easy to slip into propaganda, when brandishing history. Let me illustrate this further.

Century of Disaster Riddles, Lies, and Lives — from Fidel Castro and Muhammad Ali to Albert Einstein and Barbie By Eduardo Galeano

[The following passage is excerpted from Eduardo Galeano’s history of humanity, Mirrors.] In an aphorism Galeano imbues some “walls” with malfeasance, while insinuating that the Iron Curtain was not such a terrible thing. He vastly underestimates the unjustifiable length and lethality of the Soviets’ fascist contraption (by orders of magnitude). To trick us Galeano confuses the “Iron Curtain” (thousands of kilometers long) and the “Berlin Wall” (part of the preceding, but just inside a particular city).

The Almoravide Empire Justifies Several Contemporary Walls

The Almoravide Empire Justifies Several Contemporary Walls

Here is Galeano:

Walls

“The Berlin Wall made the news every day. From morning till night we read, saw, heard: the Wall of Shame, the Wall of Infamy, the Iron Curtain…

In the end, a wall which deserved to fall fell. But other walls sprouted and continue sprouting across the world. Though they are much larger than the one in Berlin, we rarely hear of them.

Little is said about the wall the United States is building along the Mexican border, and less is said about the barbed-wire barriers surrounding the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla on the African coast.

Practically nothing is said about the West Bank Wall, which perpetuates the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and will be 15 times longer than the Berlin Wall. And nothing, nothing at all, is said about the Morocco Wall, which perpetuates the seizure of the Saharan homeland by the kingdom of Morocco, and is 60 times the length of the Berlin Wall.

Why are some walls so loud and others mute?”

The answer is simple: different walls, different situations. The Berlin Wall was a thundering lie, for all to hear. Other walls can reveal very loud truths, whom nobody in position of intellectual domination wants others to hear.

Why, for example, if Europe is such an horrendous colonialist, and America such a terrible imperialist, are the multitude so keen to shred themselves upon rows after rows of ten meter high razor blades fences as in Ceuta and Melilla? We need truths to explain those facts. Why Africans such lemmings throwing themselves across the sea towards the land of their oppressors and enslavers? Why so suicidal?

To each offense, a defense. Tied up together by causality, offenses and defense are, nevertheless, exact opposites. Somebody’s unjust aggression is someone else’s just war.

I have never heard of Eduardo Galeano before Paul Handover and “Tomdispatch”. I will try to get his book, I love different perspectives, challenges, and, especially, questions I can answer.

Writing about history is a heavy fate. It’s indeed easy to slip into commonality, Common Wisdom, that is, most often, propaganda. Unknowingly.

For example, Galeano implies that Alan Turing committed suicide because of the victimization he was submitted to, as a homosexual. Sounds good on the surface, and it is Conventional Wisdom (so Galeano repeats it, like a good, book selling parrot).

However, a more refined knowledge of what really happened reveals that Turing’s death was probably an accident that befell the already-at-the-time hyper famous Alan Turing, MBE, Member of the British Empire. Verily, Turing had left well behind his condemnation for unwise relations with someone all too young in his employ, whom Turing had imprudently accused of theft.

Some will say: “Why are you so vindictive about the innocent lemmings who love to allege that Turing was forced into suicide, for his homosexuality? Is not that a pretty tale? Does not that help homosexuals? Even if it’s false? Can’t you leave pretty tales alone? What do you have against homosexuals and Joan of Arc?”

Well, truth is my religion. From history, lessons are to be drawn. Correct ones are best. Incorrect ones, and deliberately so, criminal.

I partly draw my uncommon morality from meta-history (that’s the history of the systems of thought that made history).

First, if Turing died accidentally, there is a moral to it: accidents happen. Turing had long played with dangerous chemistry. Since childhood. he went one game with cyanide too far.

Second: whereas Turing was legally harassed for homosexuality, it’s important to realize that, at the time, that was not perceived as an intolerable injustice (even by Turing himself!). There is a higher, meta-lesson in this: the intolerable can look sufferable.

Parrot, repeating history, often engage in Thought Crime. TC: Though Crime, or Terrible Catastrophe.

Recently, some important guy from Hamas was saying something about Jewish children being bathed in blood (an old lie from Middle-Age Christian fascism). Common leftists and other vulgar intellectuals did not protest… Another Thought Crime.

I was listening the other day to a very educated French teacher, a biologist, telling a swarm of little French children, aged five to nine, the beautiful history of the victimization of Joan of Arc. Except that, as taught in France for the last 200 years, it’s sheer propaganda.

The bad “Anglais” were actually themselves French… The would-be French king, later Charles VII… was not the legitimate French King, and thus he was not keen to be sacred king…  The Queen of Four Kingdoms manipulated Joan and Charles behind the scene, fatally opposing the legitimate kings, Henry V and Henry VI, kings of England and France, Paris and London.

Thus history is not joke, and nationalistic pitfalls, let alone plutocratic ones, everywhere.

Telling false history to little children teaches hatred.

I do view my activities as those of a historian, because I interpret history. I take some facts that are generally ignored, and point out that they demolish Conventional Wisdom, or the Politically Correct, let alone their vicious embrace. (Nietzsche did nothing different, and most philosophers have, indeed, re-interpreted history. Some of these reinterpretations have become Common Wisdom.)

Yet, I try to exert maximum honesty: when I say something, however controversial, it’s backed up, by serious logic and facts, to the best of my knowledge.

And I avoid historical salad: putting together obviously unrelated things, as if there was a logic to it.

Interrogating all these walls, as Eduardo does, is an excellent question. Yet there is an obviously huge difference between walls that keep people in, and those which keep them out. Blame is pointing out in directions opposite. One of them is right, not both.

The very fact that Europe and the USA have to build walls around themselves, as Rome did for five centuries, is a testimony to their success, not to their failure. And those walls are also a testimony to the failure of more general systems of thought (anti-“colonialism”, global plutocracy, pseudo-leftism, over-exploitation of the planet, crazed demographics, etc.)

Another example: I detest the Moroccan regime (supposedly directly descended from Mahomet, actually just a full blown plutocracy). Yet, one has to visualize the local conditions before crushing it with blanket blame.

And the EU will get some of the blame: the EU haughtily decreed that “Morocco was not European“. That is insulting. Moreover, it is false geographically, genetically, and according to deep history. To boot, it’s not wise, economically self-defeating, politically stupid and strategically dangerous.

All this, because European leaders are arrogant twerps with not much knowledge where it counts.

Knowing long term history (last 1,000 years), shows that the area claimed by the “Polisario” was long Moroccan (for want of a better word, as past empires, extending all the way to Spain, wore different names).

One such empire was that of the Almoravides, true founders of the present Moroccan regime. The Almoravides empire extended from Senegal (where a founder of the empire was killed by a poisoned arrow), to Alger, Lisbone, and the Baleares islands.

Thus the long grudge of Algeria’s FNL (or whatever it wants to call itself) against Morocco becomes something nine centuries old. It explains the FNL’s hostility against Morocco, its support of the Polisario… And the Moroccan wall does not sound as silly, and outrageous anymore.

Empires are not always wrong in all ways. By definition, they order (imperare), and they can order, because they can defend themselves. The best defense being, often, of course, attack. Thuse when Hannibal had taken residence in Italy for more than a decade, the Patrician who came to be known as Scipio Africanus, suggested to the Roman People to attack in Africa itself, and that audacious strategy was entirely successful: precipitously recalled to Carthage, Hannibal hastily gathered forces were soundly defeated just south of the Punic capital, soon to be punished.

With Mexico, the USA has two choices: build a wall, or impose order (imperare), all over Mexico. The latter was tried a bit in the past, more than once. Next time it could well be more thorough, and definitive.

For the USA, letting 100 million Mexicans in, is not really an option

As it is Spanish is already the second language of California, and, extrapolating some trends, could become the first someday. (I do speak Spanish a bit, BTW, so I am no rabid Spanish hater.)

However, as they are immigration flows in Europe and the USA are sustainable… As long as the dominant European and American civilization is successfully imposed. In France, by some estimates, 95% of anti-Judaic attacks are attributed to persons of Muslim ancestry. This is symptomatic of borderline dangerous assimilation situation (more than ten people have died because of it, some little children, directly targeted in an elementary school, for being Jewish, and other French people… including at least one Muslim French paratrooper… a natural victim of anti-Semitism!)

What was particularly grotesque about the Iron Curtain is that it was to keep in workers who were supposed to be living in a paradise made for them. In other words, it was a lie.

The walls between Europe and Africa are not a lie. At least 50,000 have already died trying to cross them in the last ten years (the EU officially says 35,000 drowned in the Mediterranean alone). If one includes the Algerian Harkis of 1962, one speaks about hundreds of thousands dead… trying to get to Europe.

This is testimony of another lie: the standard anti-colonialist discourse. According to it, colonialism, whatever that was, depicts the ultimate evil. Clearly, the regimes that succeeded have been worse, by many measures. And that was entirely predictable: removing the colonialist administrations was equivalent to removing most of the anti-plutocratic safeties.

So walls there are. Contemplating them is good. But the hardest walls to remove are in those erected with the minds which harbor them.

Patrice Ayme’

 

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12 Responses to “Walls Of Common Lies”

  1. Dominique Deux Says:

    Battle of Castillon, 1453. Ultima regium ratio, as was later engraved on Louis XIV’s artillery. The decisive kick in the butt of what was very clearly and universally identified, at that time, as “the English” (or more often, les Godons, because these supposed French speakers said “Goddamn” where we said “Sacrebleu”). No less a fount of “legitimacy” than Hastings was. Granted, it is not much known, even less celebrated. It just so happens that, contrary to their image, the French are not much inclined to ages-long chest pounding, a la Trafalgar. In the great many battles which are re-enacted every year by history buffs, smart French uniforms mostly clothe foreigners… like the US’ Regiment de Saintonge.

    Of course, one is always permitted regrets about the way actual history happened. See how angry a few powerful sheiks still are about the loss of Andalusia – and doing something about it, too. But you fail to demonstrate how the everlasting peace you claim would have ensued from a British victory would have been any kinder to the French than the iron-fisted religious and economic enslavement of Scotland and, especially, Ireland. Thanks no thanks!

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Dominique: Hmmm…. I have read your comment, and pondered how to answer it. I mentioned in past essays that it was indeed the development of field artillery, with more explosive powder by Jean Bureau and his associates, that settled the first 120 years of the 1320 CE-1815 CE war between Anglois and Francois, or, more exactly, the French civil war between Paris and London.

      https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2013/05/18/joan-of-arc-roasted-too-late/

      Castillon is famous, but there was Formigny (?) before. Even more crucially, the Long Bows had been surprised by knights fellow to those massacred at Agincourt, and were in turn massacred (circa 1430 CE). I mentioned all this before.

      The fact is, it was French on both sides. The Duke of Bedford (regent of Henri VI) was actually called De Lancastre, etc. Paris and London were unified by the time the Queen of Four Kingdoms, Yolande of Arago decided to strike a fire with her flammable pucelle.

      BTW, the war against Scotland was started by Edouard III, grandson of Philippe Le Bel, son of Isabelle de France. He also started the military effort (“100 years war”) to recover his legitimate rights and those of his mother, according to Salic Law.

      To turn what was a civil war into a nationalistic war is no virtue. Joan of Arc was clearly an abominable character, somewhere to the racist right of Adolf Hitler (see quote of hers about Hussites in the essay above)
      PA

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      BTW, Louis XIV was clearly a monster, Hitler in colorful tights. Noble predecessor, in the way monstrosity has to view nobility, to Napoleon, Kaiser Wilhem II, and Hitler… Louis XIV was also a disaster for France, which finished with millions dead, and amputated of serious territory, and populations, plus millions who had to flee (including some of my ancestors)… All the way to South Africa and America…
      PA

  2. Paul Handover Says:

    Very interesting essay, Patrice.

  3. EugenR Says:

    To speak about colonialism as one historical event is maybe in fashion (mainly among the lefties) but it is far from truth. You have to differentiate among different kinds of colonisations. To start from the beginning, the Portuguese started their colonisation for commercial reasons, and remained so quite long until the Dutch overtook them. This kind of colonisation I would call the soft colonisators. The Spanish on the other hand from the very first moment exposed their cruel and arrogant intentions. As said first they come to plunder with sword and cross, but very understanding the richness they have in hand, they abandend the cross and stayed with plundering. The English and French started to colonise other countries as a by product of the war between themselves. Their intentions were not always criminal as in case of the Spanish. The best prove is that the British wanted to protect the American Indians, and created border between the settlers and the inland territories. This was one of the reasons that the settlers started the war of independence ( not the tea tax as many may suggest). The very worst colonial power was the Russian empire, and also the most prolonged. It started with Ivan the terrible in 16 century and was partly dismantled 20 years ago. The Russian colonialists built on brute power, brought to the occupied lands all the ills of their own criminal regime.
    Yet the very worst colonial power of all were the Muslim occupants, whose policy of enslavement of local non Muslim people was maybe even more cruel and devastating than that of the Belgians. They imposed not only their discrimination based rule on the occupied nations, but have done all in their power to annihilate the local culture and faith. As a result of it you have almost no Christian population in any of the previously Christian Arabic lands, no Zarathustrians in Iran, no non Muslim population in East Africa, no Budhists in India, no Hindu or Budhists in Bangladesh and Pakistan, or even Indonesia etc. (As contrary to it in India thrive 200 million Muslims).

  4. EugenR Says:

    Sorry, the previous one slipped me.

    To speak about colonialism as one historical event is maybe in fashion (mainly among the lefties) but it is far from truth. You have to differentiate among different kinds of colonisations. To start from the beginning, the Portuguese started their colonisation for commercial reasons, and remained so quite long until the Dutch overtook them. This kind of colonisation I would call the soft colonisators. The Spanish on the other hand from the very first moment exposed their cruel and arrogant intentions. As said first they come to plunder with sword and cross, but very soon understanding the richness they have in hand, they abandend the cross and stayed with plundering. The English and French started to colonise other countries as a by product of the war and competition between themselves and with the Spanish. Their intentions were not always criminal as in case of the Spanish. The best prove is that the British wanted to protect the American Indians, and created border between the settlers and the inland territories. This was one of the reasons that the American settlers started the war of independence ( not the tea tax as many may think). The very worst colonial power was the Russian empire, and also the most prolonged one. It started with Ivan the terrible in 16 century and was partly dismantled 20 years ago. The Russian colonialism built on brute power, brought to all the lands they occupied all the ills of their own criminal regime.
    Yet the very worst colonial power of all were the Muslim occupants, whose policy of enslavement of local non Muslim people was maybe even more cruel and devastating than that of the Belgians. They imposed not only their discrimination based rule on the occupied nations, but have done all in their power to annihilate the local culture and faith. As a result of it, you have almost no Christian population in any of the previously Christian lands of north Africa and very few leftovers in the Middle East, no Zarathustrians in Iran, no non Muslim population in big parts of East Africa, no Budhists in India, no Hindu or Budhists in Bangladesh and Pakistan, or even Indonesia etc. (As contrary to it in India thrive 200 million Muslims). And this happened out of power off sword and not the power of submission a peaceful persuasion.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Agreed about (most of) Islam, Eugen. We just made nearly 4 billion enemies (many Muslims, plus one billion Christians trying to please the Muslims, plus hordes of PCs…)

      Yet, I don’t think I have Islamophobia. Actually I loved the forms of Islam I enjoyed as a youth.

      What you say about the British versus the USA, I have talked about many times, in the past, and it’s entirely correct. It was not about Tea, it was about empire.

      The story of Ivan is perhaps slightly better: it was propelled by potatoes (a gift from the Incas). Potatoes allowed the Russians to acquire demographic superiority in Siberia.
      PA

      • EugenR Says:

        In today’s overpopulated world if civilization loses its instinct of self protection it will be doomed. As many times I wrote in the past, Europe after WWII, when realizing the horrible crimes it’s civilization is capable of, intellectually turned against its own civilization. It’s today’s intellectual position is rejection of its right to impose on others its humanistic moral values. It means, sometimes if necessary, reacting to anti human cruelty by force. I would call European today’s policy, “pouring the baby to the sueige with the dirty water”

  5. gmax Says:

    @ Dominique Deux: That the British rulers were terrible is not in doubt. But they were French for at least the first four centuries. Henri VI was a very nice guy, very wise and calm. His father was immensely popular in Paris. He died of a bad belly at 36.

    You say we were saying Sacrebleu, but most French on the continent did not talk French

  6. Dominique Deux Says:

    Excellent Krugman piece today (The Fall of France), to which you responded (and were published btw). Interesting is how this piece, which fits neatly and brilliantly in the economic debate now being – at loooong last – brought up in the open in France, is completely ignored by the French media. I’m no conspirationist but I do believe in knee-jerk, uncoordinated plutocratic cronyism.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      True I was published, but my comments on Putin recently were censored. Krugman is, at this point, by far the one who publishes me the most at the New York Times. That’s an improvement I appreciate
      Others have weird agendas. Or pretty transparent ones, like Friedman: censor and steal, an old stand-by of the peer review system in academia….

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