Tag Archives: communism

Write!

That’s what this whole blog is about. Write! String words together, make them constructive, make them sensical, make them more than a thought, give them attitude, admit they are me; they are my thinking.

We are at the end of January. I’ve written. I’ve read. I’ve revised. I’ve submitted. I’ve followed. I’ve commented, on politics, on free speech, on the economy, on policy issues, and probably more if I was to break it down. The importance is that I write. I write every day. Maybe not here, maybe not on my stories, but I do write. I seek to explain, entertain, inform, and defend.

I find this past eighteen months instructive in understanding the imperative that Memory Is Tyrannical. Oh. Yeah!  Let me amend for the current century: [ apologies to Rosenstock-Hussey] Raw facts are  tyrannical. They can be bullying. Why? Because there is no time!  In today’s world of instant blogging, posting, tweeting and messaging there is no time beyond the blur of information, no time to verify facts.

So,for the sake of my blood pressure and for my sanity,  I’m back in time. From this perspective the past looks quiet. Calm. Unassuming. There is the meme going around Facebook I’m glad I grew up before social media. Most of which claim the giddy feeling because they grew up in the 70s or 80s. Ha! No, before that, back when there were only two, maybe three channels on the TV and they the pictures were black and white. Back when we were informed via newspapers via teletype. When phone calls across the US were a big deal, never mind from continent to continent. Not quite the covered wagon, pony express, not quite.

It’s 1954. The Congo. The more educated black part of the population is beginning to understand that it is not enough to ‘act’ white, or more, correctly, Belgian. It is not enough to be educated the way the Belgian government allows. Now is the rise of the evolue, the most prominent is Patrice Lumumba.

It is 1954. The United Nations. Dag Hammarskjöld is the second Secretary General. He is considered a technocrat, an administrator. He takes over a demoralized organization, traumatized by the ‘red scare’, the McCarthyism in the US, the clash of communism versus capitalism.

The turmoil, politically and culturally,  in Congo, over a hundred plus years,  is a story of personal gain oppressing a native people, of national interests obscuring sovereignty, and of  the willingness of world to allow it all to happen.

 

Living History

I’ve always read, and I like reading history. I thought I would be a historian, someday, but no. I had a great aptitude for business [and little patience with academics and academicians] and that’s where I spent my time, but I read. History could be anything from the where paper clips came from to the journey of mankind, and just about everything in between. My favorite history is biography, maybe it is because I grew up on all the lives of the saints books at Villa Cabrini, that small library off the quad, right next to the fifth grade classroom, or history is personal for me, we all have our story. The origin of history, late Middle English (also as a verb): via Latin from Greek historia ‘finding out, narrative, history,’ from histōr ‘learned, wise man,’ And, because it is our stories, together, that make up who we are and what we are.

When we first moved to North Carolina I read the just published Taylor Branch series about Martin Luther King. I knew the MLK story, but this time I was struck by where I was during the story, a freshman in high school while civil rights were being challenged in Greensboro, North Carolina. And it felt a lot like living that history and I understood how memory works, the whats and whos and hows of history can be funneled through a lens not of your making, but of your living.

And, on Saturday I read a recent review in the WSJ of Isaac and Isaiah, about the back and forth of what followed the World War II: East versus West, Capitalism versus Communism, and Freedom versus Oppression. It dawned on me how much we’ve been losing in the decades since the mid-twentith century. We lost the intellectual battlefield, the high concept discussion about philosophical difference, the ability to shape cogent arguments about our belief systems, be they religious, political, economic or ethnic. We’ve sunk to invectives, slurs, name-calling, rallies and protest.

A powerful article is a case in point to one side of the argument of the issue of race.  Shelby Steele on The Decline of the Civil Rights Establishment  points to the how much progress has been made and yet how many victims still exist, and not necessarily the victims you suspect you know.