Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Connecting Historical Dots

Hello Reader, 
Got a vaccination for preventing young terrorists?
Maybe Education?

Now, I myself DON’T say 
President Donald Trump is a “national oppressor,” 
but OK, now that I’ve got your attention: 
One thing national oppressors can always count on is support. 

Across the Muslim world, for people in the rural areas, it’s as if they can’t be educated. For urban dwellers, even the smart ones at university, it’s as if they won’t be educated. Such a pity: By ignoring history, they condemn themselves.

I recently heard on the CBC radio, from a woman almost young enough to be my daughter, how in Iran she and the other women were once free to show all their hair, and wear nice skirts and pretty dresses. If today that is not the case, and if today the Ayatollah dictates to the elected president, then all that is not by coincidence, and NOT from religion either. Too bad, how the average young person here in Canada doesn’t know that Muslim women used to have rights; so sad, how young male would-be terrorists, with their vested interest in testosterone, don’t connect the historical dots.

As for Iran, if the day ever comes around that somebody tells me women and men over there now have Human Rights, those worldwide rights the United Nations proclaimed after the war, then on that blessed day I won’t have any reason to ask whether the infamous Evin torture prison has at long last been levelled to the ground. 

Below are some historical dots to ignite a vaccination conversation. I have bold-faced some passages to make it easier to skim. The “long hair” referred to is not for women but for men.

As For Greece
Moderate and leftist politicians were arrested. Long hair was banned, along with the music of Mikis Theodorakis, of Zorba fame. King Constantine refused to support the military, and he was sent into exile. Civil liberties were suppressed. Censorship was instituted.

Papadopoulos won support from the pious rural poor, attracted by his opposition to atheism, his anti-Communism, dislike for 'hippies," his unpolished manner and simple way of speaking. Papadopoulos presented himself as a friend of common people and promoted economic development in rural areas neglected by previous governments. And some middle class urbanites welcomed what they saw as stable government.  

As For China
By 1982… Mao’s portrait was to look over Tiananmen Square, but elsewhere across China his portraits and his statues were being removed. And stockpiles of his writings were collecting dust.

The drab dress of Maoist times was gone. Chinese women were now dressing themselves in "bourgeois colors." The Chinese were now attending motion pictures, exhibitions of western art and attending plays from the West.…

Then on May 30, the demonstration in Tiananmen Square was revived by dissidents erecting a thirty-foot-high, plaster and styrofoam statue called "The Goddess of Democracy." … They claimed that the government would never speak to them unless they maintained the kind of pressure that they were applying.

Many in China's countryside – where eighty percent of the population still lived – viewed the demonstrations with dismay or disfavor.

As For Chile
Chile's military took no chances concerning opposition to its coup. It arrested tens of thousands of Allende supporters and others it labeled subversives, and for the sake of control it put thousands into concentration camps. Some leftist activists were hunted down, and some shot on sight. Many fled to Western Europe and elsewhere. The leader of the coup, General Augusto Pinochet announced that Chile, one of the first countries to have abolished slavery, had now "broken the chains of totalitarian Marxism, the great twentieth century slaver.”

Meanwhile a new constitution had been created that guaranteed eventual elections. In a plebiscite in 1988, 56 percent of the vote was opposed Pinochet continuing as president. Pinochet was furious. He had been in power fourteen years, but like many dictators he liked power and wanted to remain indefinitely. Pinochet summoned members of the military to his office to overturn the results. Air Force commander Fernando Matthel refused to go along, as did other generals, forcing Pinochet to accept the plebiscite results.

As For Sean Crawford
In the Arab world, I have read that many of the ruling class send their children to colleges overseas, to avoid student protests, to avoid having a critical mass of people ready to believe in Human Rights. (Which, according to an Arab taxi driver, can co-exist with religion) 

I envision Arab cities someday providing a critical mass for education; people could then be consciously reach out to the rural areas to reduce the oppressor’s base of support. 

The disposing of Mao’s “portraits and statues” reminds me of Nineteen Eighty-four. In that classic novel I remember a line suitable for anyone in any time and space—the fascist Pinochet, the communist Mao Tse Tung, and the Muslim Ayatollah:

“You do not seize power to make the revolution … you make the revolution to seize power.”

Sean Crawford

~The source is the web,,
Macro-history and world time-line

~I touch on someone’s life under communism, before and during the cultural revolution, in my essay Decent Democracy archived April 2010.

~Here is a link to a lengthy fictional account of some incidents of the cultural revolution, translated into English. 
It appears on the website for Tor publishing, as an excerpt of the Hugo award winning novel The Three Body Problem by Cixin  Liu. 

For anyone who reads to the end of the excerpt, let me say the three parts—cultural revolution, armed civil conflict and environmental devastation—are quite realistic, matching what I’ve read elsewhere, although the novel, of course, is fiction.

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