Saturday, January 26, 2008

More Motes, more Beams

Some years ago I was riding home on the train back in Devil Bunny City, standing up squashed in among a bunch of other people in the way that can either induce a Whitman-esque enthusiasm for the energy and drive of the denizens of the great metropolis- or claustrophobia. Just to my left a young lady of Middle-Eastern appearance was cheerfully talking to a friend, and she had a little silvery pendant shaped like a dagger on a chain around her neck. It was a kind of misshapen, amateurish-looking dagger, I remember thinking, and then it hit me with a thwack that it was not a dagger at all, but a map of mandatory Palestine, like so:

Now, there was a much less justifiable pre-emptive war fought 161 years ago, rather than 41 years ago, after which the victors embarked on a much more enthusiastic program of settlement building. And they annexed a vastly larger territory. If you wanted to show your support for your ancestral homeland by wearing a pendant showing its historical boundaries, on the same scale you would have to be one of those ganger types given to extravagantly vast medallions, like so:

“Generally, the officers of the army were indifferent whether the annexation was
consummated or not; but not so all of them. For myself, I was bitterly opposed
to the measure, and to this day regard the war, which resulted, as one of the
most unjust ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation. It was an instance
of a republic following the bad example of European monarchies, in not
considering justice in their desire to acquire additional territory.”
-Ulysses S Grant



“The United States will conquer Mexico, but it will be as the man swallows the
arsenic, which brings him down in turn. Mexico will poison us.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson



“It is a singular fact, that if any one should declare the President sent the
army into the midst of a settlement of Mexican people, who had never submited,
by consent or by force, to the authority of Texas or of the United States, and
that there, and thereby, the first blood of the war was shed, there is not one
word in all the President has said, which would either admit or deny the
declaration. This strange omission, it does seem to me, could not have occurred
but by design.”
-Abraham Lincoln


The American ‘Apartheid Wall’ in Alta California:



An illegal American settlement on the West Bank of the Colorado:



I wonder if there is any statute of limitations on these things? If it was right for the French to get out of Algeria, and for the Russians to get out of Kazakhstan, it can't be right for the United States to continue to enjoy the fruits of a aggressive 19th century war of conquest.

2 comments:

Dr. Clam said...

And the best analogy, which is the British and Hong Kong Island. Here you had the same legal but unfair treaty imposed by the powerful on the weak, the same vast economic development, and (presumably) the same understandable reluctance to be handed back. Only the scale is different!

Dave said...

I agree.

...do you think Mexico would *want* Vegas back?