Learning a language is a great way to open a window into a different culture, to understand your mother tongue from a fresh perspective. The words you are presently reading are descendants of an ancient family of languages known as Proto-Indo-European (PIE). My first second language, German, is as ancient a member of PIE as Persian — Persian adopted the Arabic alphabet but it retains heritage in the PIE family. Persian did not adopt the root system, the engine that drives the Afro-Asian family. Farsi looks like Arabic but reads like Gellerese.
Taking a Safari — a post I published more than three years ago, examines how the root system operates in Arabic.
Russian gets along just fine without the aid of a definite article: “the” in English or “der, die, das, den, des… in German, for example. Arabic adds a definite article to noun modifiers as well — a dozen or so diacritical marks provide an absolutely extraordinary level of finesse, making the definite even more specific.
Two indispensable verbs in the PIE family are “to be” and “to have.” Arabic uses neither. That does not mean that existence and possession do not occur, the language just uses different means to express them.
Mi casa es su casa / بيتي بيتك (bayti baytik) / House-mine (=) House-your. Possession in Arabic is expressed by adding a suffix to a noun rather than a possessive pronoun.
Arabic nouns take on two genders, masculine and feminine. 99.9% of feminine nouns end in what they call a ta marbuta. German has three genders and four cases. Surprisingly, Arabic grammar is far (about a lightyear) more intuitive and logically structured than German. I became functionally illiterate in Arabic when I failed to realize that much of its grammar is contained in the script itself. English, Latin, and German (I learned them in that order) are members of the PIE family. I now consider Latin a language constructed with a chisel to stone in mind. Roman numerals are even more cumbersome. Fortunately, a marvelous mosque in my area is presently making the language available for recalcitrant learners (such as myself) to reinforce a much crumbling foundation. Zoom meetings allow us to carry on during a pandemic.
Become very familiar with the script and those dozen or so diacritical marks and you are 90% of the way there. IMO anyway.
Capitalism and fascism are two political vectors that get the job done, but they are as sausage, citizens do not want to know where it comes from. In case you hadn’t already known, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is now dictator of Hungary. Be assured that Viktor is still a friend of Donald (present leader of the American Empire and a brand accepted by tyrants the world over).
“Making matters worse, the only effective opposition to Orbán and Fidesz is the far right Jobbik Party, an often overtly anti-Semitic and anti-Roma movement that for years had a jackbooted militia that marched through Roma neighborhoods in uniforms evocative of those of the Nazi-era Arrow Cross, the group that murdered Jews on the banks of the Danube.”
The basics have not changed. The celebration of ignorance has been going on here since the 15th Century in the hemisphere of my birth.
Jeff Bezos is the de facto image of capitalism at play in a game, the face behind the treacle. The yoke is on his employees, but capitalism is not a game designed to entertain the worker, it is something to be endured. These are the successful spawners of imperialism — by those who had already perfected the art of Western Civilization. The founders of The American Empire would appreciate t he likes of Jeff Bezos — capitalism abhors anyone who abhors waste, whether it be billions of passenger pigeons, millions of bison, millions of human resources extracted from Africa, or the fossil fuels from the biomass of an earlier extinction event.
The US Empire assumes that every square millimeter on the planet may be subsumed under the foil of national interest. That “interest” includes the right to attack cultures and peoples who are standing in the way, their value gets determined by geopolitical players equipped with unimaginable military force looking to install a puppet regime by force or manipulation. The Monroe Doctrine declared the entire hemisphere a free-enterprise fire zone backed up by the company gunboats for corporations such as United Fruit Company. We come in peace, let us fit you with this here yoke.
White-Supremacists need feel no personal complicity in the devastation that they leave in their wake, the spoils go to the proudly arrogant and/or the abominably ignorant, history books make crooked paths appear straight. Nixon’s revenge came in the form of Fox News.
It has been this way since the first “white man” brought report of plunder to their respective monarchies. Machiavellians stole the land, killed the former land-dwellers, and brought slaves from Africa to man the fields. New Europe “needed” the free labor that a cultured and polite white society enjoys.
Voter-Suppression schemes deliberately exclude Blacks from casting ballots. Trump’s SCOTUS appointments have already tipped the balance in favor of further marginalization. Those two justices have already cast their weighty ballots to create an ever more racist union, gerrymandering is now the law of the land.
This country’s white-supremacist system is steeped in insatiable greed and anchored in unassailable law, it is a colonial/capitalist engine designed to extract ever more from non-whites and to direct the profits into a white-controlled oligarchy that is 100% homogenized. Trumpism = Imperial US White Fascism, a form of racism that prefers to take no prisoners.
Treacle trickles slowly, but the billionaire class sucks up like a Hoover.
Productivity gains should accrue to persons working the longest and the hardest, but those enormous gains flow rather to the self-same coffers of the few and the mighty. For a capitalist, “creating wealth” is like taking candy from a baby — something that only a sociopath would do, not a person with a soul. To the sociopath it’s only the treacling that matters Treacle-down Economics in a treacle-down system.
The history passed on to every generation is whitewashed into that very color and has been since day one of this God-bless-the-whites society; wealth by stealth is the abnormal-normal: the multi-billionaire class. How many billionaires are Black?
The white-written history of this place is filled to the brim with lies and delusions of grandeur, passed on from one generation of white thieves and liars to the next. Telling the truth is unAmerican activity.
Gentrification is colonization.
Colonization and gentrification have run the entire hemisphere since the 15th Century, they had established slavery by the 16th Century, and desire to continue at an ever-increasing rate into the 21st Century. They displace entire tapestries of cultures with breathtaking brutality and rapidity. Gentrification (‘people of gentle birth’, ‘landed gentry’). To ‘colonize’ better describes the dynamic, to ‘settle’ always denotes a white-supremacist narrative. ADOS (American Descendants of Slaves) are systemically marginalized. To gentrify a neighborhood is a radical act that separates Black culture from roots — it had already started in 1519 — on any square millimeter that whites wish to reseed.
As many historians have pointed out, one of the reasons the South was able to exercise a stranglehold on race relations in national politics was the supervention of the famous three-fifths clause, once the focus of abolitionist attacks on the Constitution. When the former slaves were counted as full persons, the former slave states gained twenty congressional seats, a twenty-five-per-cent bump. They also gained votes in the Electoral College. They suppressed the votes of their African-American residents, then got full representational credit for them.
Both conservatives and neoliberals rely upon tight voter-suppression measures to keep Blacks disenfranchised in perpetuity. This is criminal activity made sacrosanct at every level of government — no taxation but over-representation. What gives with that?
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
Bashir Muhammad Akinyele is a history teacher who recognizes the profound gulf between remembering the past and remembering history class lessons. Mr. Akinyele recounts how ineluctable facts of the past are washed white by design to destroy truth.
Remembering falsehoods of history blames the innocent for the crimes of their tormentors.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr
Brother Malcolm X (Omawele El Hajj Malik El Shabazz), the Black nationalist freedom fighter and human rights leader of the 1950s and 1960s, said that the oppression of Black people and people of color are due to a world-wide conspiracy of White supremacy. I have spent almost a year preparing to go back to college to finish my masters and PhD graduate studies in history. Because of Malcolm X’s lucid critiques of the world’s movement to dominate and subjugate Black people, and people of color, I want to compete my studies and research on…
I have been an iconoclast since first discovering that word; a nonviolent anarchist by nature; a veganist because it’s only genuine avenue to peace, enlightenment, and reality. Life outside the asylum.
IMPERIALIST, n. A political thinker to whom neither a kingdom nor a republic offers the hope of political preferment or other substantial advantage.
FORK, n. An instrument used chiefly for the purpose of putting dead animals into the mouth. Formerly the knife was employed for this purpose, and by many worthy persons is still thought to have many advantages over the other tool, which, however, they do not altogether reject, but use to assist in charging the knife. The immunity of these persons from swift and awful death is one of the most striking proofs of God’s mercy to those that hate Him.
In the land of the blind, enucleation is corrective surgery.
I draw your attention to rogue journalist Caitlin Johnstone, a touchstone source for independent thinkers. She is tenacious enough to separate truth from the spewing firehoses of propaganda, misinformation, disinformation, and conventional wisdom: How To Be A Mentally Sovereign Human.
My mother believed that Hindus would not be a starving lot if they would just partake of the sacred cows lording it up in India. She was hardly the only person to arrive at such solution, many meaters will tell you that releasing animals from a slaughterhouse would precipitate incredible confusion for the animals and for all the commuters prevented from bringing home the bacon by enormous traffic jams, such as all those chickens crossing the highway. More realistically, a scan of animal parts at the checkout lane electronically initiates a replenishment order.
The Wild West myth is whitewashed to sanctify wanton lust for land and riches, justified as a divine right in Holy Lands myths. In some cases at least, the pig receives more than a Thanksgiving-Day pardon: a stake in the Middle East (itself a Eurocentric term) with a white visage geographically located in “The Holy Land.” A holy place that deliberately excludes one of the three Monotheistic faiths, Islam, as an eternal enemy
White-centric history books thoroughly propagandize the role of animal “agriculture,” the fencing in of the plains for “livestock”, the cowboy drives of cattle to market, the railroad cowboys who would stop to slaughter bison for the sheer sport of it. To tell the truth is to share the obvious, to follow the conventional wisdom is to justify the protracted torture and slaughter of highly sentient creatures for appetite and fashion. A single field trip to any factory farm is unthinkable, it really is incomprehensible what occurs there, yet a single trip to a supermarket should suffice to inform a customer that something very wrong happened, and not just in that single marketplace.
Here is an account of someone’s “insight” into the connection between the cuddly farm animals brought to your table, and how it all wonderfully comes together full circle to become a perfect moment for delivering a life-lesson at an idyllic family-friendly farm.
Samantha told us how a lot of the reasoning behind these visits is due to how much misinformation there is in the world, especially in social media, regarding what she referred to as “animal agriculture,” the literal farming of animals. We turned a corner to see some cows happily grazing at a trough as they waited to be milked, and learned about the economics of the situation. In particular, it currently costs more to milk a cow than it does to sell the milk itself, which makes the business a little difficult. We would later learn that the farm sold some cows in the past to help make ends meet due to this pricing crisis.
Heutzutage kennt sie fast jeder, die kleinen Bildzeichen oder Piktogramme oder Symbole oder Smileys, die längst nicht allein Gefühle ausdrücken. Dies ist der weltweit wohl verbreitetste Star dieser Zeichen:
Der in Deutschland nur wenigen bekannte chinesische Künstler Xu Bing, bisher jedenfalls existiert auf der deutschen Wikipedia noch kein Eintrag, hat fast zehn Jahre, von 2003 bis 2012, an einem Roman gearbeitet, der 2013 vom Massachusets Museum of Contenporary Arts in Kooperation mit dem Massachusets Institute of Technology publiziert wurde und nur aus Emojis besteht – so heißen diese kleinen Zeichen. Und dies ist das Inhaltsverzeichnis des Romans:
Das erste Kapitel des Romans beginnt so – und es ist ziemlich einfach, den Inhalt zu verstehen:
Und so geht es weiter (Ein Klick auf die Abbildung führt zu einer vergrößerten Ansicht):
Das ist das Cover des Buches:
Ausführlichere Informationen über Xu Bing und seinen Roman Book from the Ground sind hier
Whites, more specifically “wypipo,” are the beneficiaries of the settler-colonialist system that created the American Empire — the exceptionalist wing of the “special relationship” that a kinship with British imperialism taught to their former colonies in North America. The colonized learn how to become colonizers. Wypipo permeate every cell of that imperial body politic.
Old empires never die, they just pass their skills on to their progenitors. Today, the sun never sets on the American Empire. Are they blessed by a god who just seems to like them better than peoples of another color?
“Reverse racism” is con artistry, a notion that whites are being victimized by non-white populations, a conceit held by many whites — wherever they place their boots on the ground.
Western Civilization is a story of how European empires ruthlessly plundered darker-skinned “savages” who had been living for countless centuries in a give-and-take balance with neighboring tribes — a fine tapestry of diverse cultures. Colonialism is thievery, those who benefit from its system are receivers of stolen goods. Slavers are thieves whose crimes are cast as virtues. They provided their logistics expertise and the venture capital to seed the dreams of ambitious white power brokers — those from the right (white) families, and the right (white) schools, and the right (white) European ancestry.
Technologically more advanced imperial forces use an imbalance of might to waste at will for advantage, to subdue and conquer, to claim every available plot of land in the name of various European states, to load ships with plunder, to drop off the wealth back home, then to proceed clockwise along favorable ocean currents to the coast of Africa, where they could take on valuable human resources for the advancement of white destiny. Complete the circular trade route and repeat, ad nauseam.
Who are the ADOS?
American Descendants of Slavery are uniquely branded peoples. They did not immigrate to the Americas, they were absconded by the usual thievish characters who knew how to get a return on investment. Free hard labor does wonders for a bottom line if you can live with Faustian bargains. What matters is what you can get away with, not whether you redress injustice as deep as centuries of slavery. How much of an ROI did that accrue to ADOS? A trick question, because injustice continues unabated at all levels of society. From neighborhood to nation.
Justification for the white-supremacist system — the deathblood of our body politic — were set into law by the framers of the Constitution. a legal instrument written by wypipo for the preservation of proper cultural traditions and values. It defines blacks as fractional citizens — sworn upon a Bible that justified the corporations favored by the framers. SCOTUS contains its share of self-proclaimed “Originalists” — those who decide legal precedents based upon what the all-white framers of the Constitution had in mind when their “justice” system was created. Originalists such as Antonin Scalia and his replacement justice Neil Gorsuch lock their focus on the days and ways of the 18th Century. Not surprisingly, those decisions have always kept ADOS subservient citizens who are always thwarted if they are not willing to part with their soul. Each Constitutional Amendment that ostensibly purports to redress injustice contains language that offers a recourse clause for hegemonists of one color.
Learning language is a gentle art that opens entire universes in return for mere study, it is a means for breaking barriers that lead to separation, misunderstanding, and the brutality of endless war. Mistranslation is inevitable because translations are always approximations; however, deliberate contortion for the sake of a hidden (or open) agenda befouls all sides. Propaganda deliberately twists words to serve political purposes, it engenders mistrust in exchange for self-serving advantage.
Any religious institution that seeks to subdue others by force serves a dark hegemony loosely cloaked in words of false love. Ascribing innate evil to the very existence of a faith’s traditions and customs is false witness of a most devious kind. But uniting that evil with political motivations to sanctify wanton bloodletting of innocents has become the tone of our times. Islamophobia is one such creation, white supremacism is another. Both are forces of systemic hate.
Climbing Language Walls
Complex sets of cases and genders convey the presence of various parts of speech — a tool set not available in uninflected languages such as English. The Saxons who conquered the British Isles brought complex grammar paradigms with them. Then the Vikings arrived. The tool set got tossed in short order — they selected the Gordian solution, cutting that knot asunder and degendering each thing, place, and person while they were at it, thus reducing and replacing each nuance with something we now know as “the.” The resulting language revision led to an enforcement of meaning through word order.
The German language is a major tree branch derived from Proto-Indo-European (PIE). Learning of it’s very existence required reverse engineering, a backward-looking process. The commonalities of scripting systems point to a common geography of origin near present-day Ukraine.
There remain a few isolated non PIE languages in Europe, such as Basque, Hungarian, and Finish but they are few in number anfluence outside their circle of speakers is tiny in scope.
I had not realized it at the time, but the inflections I memorized in high school Latin classes offered me some insight into the nature of inflected grammar. They are a tool that works to eliminate ambiguity. Prepositions of relative position do just such a thing, as the case may be. Accusative, ablative, dative…
Of course, language trees can range in character as much as a boab differs from an oak. Farsi does resemble Arabic but is actually a fellow piece of PIE — the Persians adopted Arabic script, but without the root system that is a characteristic of Arabic language. Farsi may look like Arabic but it is really quite different — a false friend for language learners. For example, “das Gift” is German for “poison”. It appears as an apple in Snow White (Schneewittchen), one offered as a “gift” perhaps.
Arabic is the largest language in Afro-Asiatic, a disparate set of languages that extends from the northwest coast of Africa through Palestine and covering much of southwest Asia. Climbing a different tree as you look at your home tree is what I call a lot of fun.
I liken this experience to extending a tin can from one tree to the other and conversing with a fellow traveler who is climbing onto a branch of PIE. YouTube offers many opportunities for the language learner. For example, you can find someone who also learned German as their second language. The ability to communicate across two very different frames of reference, without the crutch of English. Large fun.
I have found that most Arabic-language learners study it for military and/or fossil-fuel purposes. In both of these cases the object is geopolitical hegemony that continues to shorten the time available to address the catastrophe that is climate nakba (the Arabic word for catastrophe).
Veganism is a way of being that threatens the biosphere the least while threatening the destroyers of the biosphere the most.
The largest contributors to climate collapse are fossil-fuels, the consumption of sentient-animal body parts, consumption of sentient-animal byproducts, and their related purchases in the marketplace — including the fuel exhausted to get you there or the fuel exhausted to bring those purchases to you.
My suggestion to replace the familiar cacophony of beeps at the checkout lane with bleats, oinks, moos, clucks … no bites so far. Kroger headquarters are in a town just north of us, perhaps they could set up a trial to test my modest proposal.
Part of a serenity prayer : changing the things you can — do not consume the flesh, non-human breast milk, or the eggs of a sentient being and you cast one vote for preventing catastrophic climate change. It’s not just a concern expressed for creatures living near a coastline. See Humpty Dumpty for more on this principle.
I’ve been a climate watcher since the 1960s and have had the privilege of teaching climate vagaries back then. Nixon approved creating of the EPA in a political swap, he was never anything wiser than a consummate politician. Our current POTUS is a climate-change denier, doncha know.
When you encounter an article on climate change, search for the word “vegan.” It usually does not even get mentioned.
I had been meaning to assemble a piece about the Kurdish people for some time now. Fortunately, Henry Lewis has written a piece the keenly brings his personal experience to the fore. Actually, it is the best article I’ve yet encountered on the amazing Kurds. I think my readers will quite agree.
This week, following the Trump Administration’s betrayal of a long-time Middle East ally, I received a message containing these words from one of my former students in Iraq’s northern Kurdistan Region.
We as “Kurds have no friends but the mountains“ history repeats itself!
Over the past 100 years, the Kurdish people–whose territory includes northern Iraq, northern Syria, southeastern Turkey and northwestern Iran–have been repeatedly lied to, stabbed in the back, gassed and violently murdered by successive regimes from both the West and the Middle East.
The US Government has called on the Kurdish people repeatedly for help and these loyal allies have at all times capitulated to Washington’s requests. In 1972, they were asked by the CIA and US-placed Shah of Iran to rise up against the Ba’athist Party-led government in Iraq. The Kurds were used and then left alone to suffer the wrath of the Iraqi military when…