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Sunday, 14 March 2010

Cultures, War, Politicians and Western Societies ...

I was having a discussion with a friend on the differences between Native American, Asian and British culture; about the differences and generally about attitudes and my experience of those cultures.  What follows are my thoughts following that discussion:

You're right about the clash in cultures of Western, Asian and Native American societies when you look at the histories of those cultures. These are very general observations based on my experiences of meeting people from different cultures/tribes:


Most NA tribes, many years ago, lived with the Earth. They repected the Earth and only took what they needed to sustain themselves when it was needed. Much like a wolf pack. The idea of owning parts of the Earth was alien to them; the concept having been brought over to 'Turtle Island' (what some tribes called what is now the USA) by Europeans.

Their warriors were ferocious but balanced. Apart from healing and community issues, a lot of their ceremonies seemed to be aimed at personal development. Women were respected and listened to as an important part of the tribe and people seemed to understand that balance within required you to accept that you had both male and female energy inside of yourself. Some of the tribe's were ruled by women. Warriors were expected to be balanced within themselves with regard to the male - female energy too.

The whole tribe nurtured the children of the tribe. No one went hungry and everyone defended the tribe and their young ... again, like a wolf pack .

When the Europeans went over to Turtle Island (as you probably know) they sezied lands, killed off the buffalo to starve the tribes into submission (and also set up about exterminating the wolf) but the worst thing they did was imprison tribes that had roamed the lands to parcels of land that are, in the main, useless in terms of farming etc. You only have to visit the Rosebud and Pineridge reservations to see how bad things are for the people ... to this day. The Dakotas in the USA are comprised of three tribes: Dakota, Lakota and Nakota. There never was a tribe called the Sioux and I never use that word to describe their tribes. The term 'Sioux' was given to people of those tribes as an insult ... it meant something like snake in the grass ... but the traditional people of the tribe will never refer to themselves as the Sioux. It's a huge issue for elders and traditionalists and the people are trying to do something about it, but, as Jay White Hawk told me, 'Where do we start?' Websites like this one are a good place: http://www.dlncoalition.org/home.htm.

They were subjected to biological warfare: the blankets sold or gifted to them at certain trading posts contained smallpox. Their culture and language was lost to them, their children taken away and sold into slavery and alcoholism, abuse of women and drug dependency was what some of the tribes were perverted to.

It's a familiar cycle wherever the European nations went to conquer foreign lands.

For the Lakota, they have only recently been allowed to start learning their language again. In the Red Cloud school they're being taught about their nation's spirituality ... but only in the final years, having endured catholicism for the formative years.

The issues are still live for some of the tribes. When I was visiting the areas in 2002, the police in Rapid City were less likely to do anything about a dead Native American man or woman found in the street, passing them off as '...Just another drunk injun'.

The Navajo do much better for themselves but I feel that a lot of that has to do with the 'codetalker' issues of WW II. There are still tribes that have their lands confiscated (eg for the building of a dam).

These are all current issues by the deomocratic government of the USA; a land that wants to wave the stick of correction at other cultures and countries, when it hasn't even the decency to tidy up its own affairs for its own people. It brings a question into sharp relief for me: If you care so much about human rights and genocide, why haven't you tidied up your own back yard? And what are the real reasons for the current conflicts in other nations on foreign soils? Could it be that the real reason is that you're after their natural resources and that you want to bend the cultures of their lands to the will of western infuence?

I won't go into the ecological issues here ... but they're huge too and will need to be addressed properly and soon by all the Earth's nations as our current use of the Earth's resources is not sustainable. Will this lead to more wars? Probably.

On the issue of global terrorism, I have this to say: The USA were sending funds to help some of the terrorist parties achieve their objectives through NORAID. This is something that the US government knew about and didn't stop. Just like WWII, the USA only got involved when something happened on their land. How many British troops suffered as a result of that money passed through NORAID? How many Fathers, Mothers, Brothers and Sisters saw someone they love slip away in one way or another?

As for the Asians, my experiences are limited to India and Pakistan. I grew up with Sikhs, Muslims, Hindus and Christians. Most of the differences seemed to be over religion ... BUT... in the communities that I grew up in Leicester, I don't remember any divide when it came to Community issues. The Hindus were further ahead as they were better established in the area.

Both India and Pakistan have recorded incidents of current violations of human rights against people on grounds of religion: this being mainly that Pakistan persecutes hindus and India persecutes moslems. It's the old game of people killing on the grounds of religion differences, same as a lot of European countires, same as the USA. How many times have you heard senior military commanders mentioning their god in a statement preceeding war? It's been cleaned up more now under 'political correctness'.

I've read parts of the Bible and the Quran and I never saw anything that condoned murder or genocide. They breach the teachings of their own religion. When I served in Northern Ireland I walked away from all organised religions, simply because I saw them as methods of control and domination over the sheep in society and I was sickened at what people will do others in the name of their religion ... but I'll tell you this much, the IRA were pussies compared to what a fanatical muslim extremist will do in terms of a terrorist attack.

I was very angry when we got involved with the USA in Iraq 2 and Afghanistan because for once in my lifetime, we had peace - Northern Ireland was over, our lads and lasses didn't have to be killed in theatres of operation anymore. The first gulf war was a righteous action - we responded to a request for assitance - did the job and got out. But then the politicans went and stirred a bigger hornet's nest than they'll ever know; One that's on our door step and has threatened to divide our country in the same way that Northern Ireland, India, Pakistan, Palestine and the Balkans have been or are currently subjected to.

India was huge, colourful, vibrant! Yet tinged with such despair by the issues of child labour, child prostitution and the antics of some impoverished people, who would walk around begging for money using a dead child as a tool. Yet India felt free and there's an air of optimism there swimming amongst the poverty of the nation. The caste system still has a hold on their society but it seems to have lessend a little. It has the same vices as any western culture, just cheaper.

When I visited Pakistan I saw a huge difference. A country under islamic law, with some punishments as severe as Saudi Arabia ... but the energy and feeling that you were in a controlled state was tangible ... I could taste it in the air. Yet even this country has vices available ... for the right price.

I haven't been to Israel but what's going on there? A nation is doing to another what history shows was done to it in the past? The term holocaust stirs up all kinds of horrors. What words would people use to describe what What Israel is doing to Palestine? England isn't that brilliant on the issues of Jews escaping Germany during WWII. A ship containing a few hundred Jews was turned away from our shores during the war ... only to return to mainland Europe where the occupants were interned in various camps. Every nation has its skeleton in the cupboard .., we just have to look is all ... and with an open mind.

What's the common denominator in the negatives of these countries? Materialism, greed and corruption. I would say that probably every govenrment in the world has an element of this. The only thing that differs is the scale and the individual country's ability to hide it. While recent events in the UK with regard to corrupt politicians may have bought the matter into the limelight for this nation, it won't be long before the British public will have forgotten about it and it'll start up again but in a more creative way, that'll be harder to detect.  If it had been a person in any other job that had been caught fiddling expense claims, you can bet anything that they would have been sacked on grounds of 'gross misconduct' as that act fits into the the term 'theft by deception'.  It's a simple demonstration how we have a class system in this country that DOES affect how the law is administered here.., justice isn't as blind as some would have you believe.

I worry for the UK when I see the different factions fighting against eachother. British people come in all shades, sizes, sexes, sexual preferences, religions and ethnic backgrounds. At a time when we should be celebrating our differences and sharing them to enrich our collective culture we're beaing subjected to the old rule of 'Divide and Conquer' ... and the people need to ask themselves why.

Some of it is that vine effect (passing on a bad experience to another) - it goes beyond families. There are people that truly hate people of other races, cultures, religions and nations - often from some personal experience that coloured their judgement. The British public must not allow anyone to think for them. They must learn to see the issues for themselves and make up their own minds and not be blindly swept into a frenzy of hatred based on ignorance.

As far as troop deployments go, the British public must all understand that the Armed Forces are not run as a democracy; we go where we're told and do the job we're told to do. However, I feel that no country should be allowed to make a decision to go to war as the USA and UK did against Iraq. That should have been a United Nations initiative. I also feel that it's unacceptable to deploy troops with the remit of carrying out an observation role only where they are clearly witnessing acts that breach United Nations International Law. The UN need to focus more on policing the issues effectively instead of hiding behind ineffective resolutions.

We have police in the armed forces for a reason: sometimes soldiers, sailors and airmen go overboard on their actions and the consequences can be dire. If someone shot someone illegaly, you charged the person that did it, not the pistol or rifle. By the same standard our troops are the weapon of a democratic society. Their role is to achieve the objective and stay alive, in sometimes lethal conditions. The British public should regard them as the pistol. If they feel that the action/engagement/battle was wrong ... they shouldn't go after the troops, (they're already policed) they should go after the politicans that pointed the gun.  I don't feel that politicians are always accountable for their actions, often hiding behind the 'spin' doctors.

Most people in any culture that I have experienced, want a peaceful existence and they tend to live that way ... and it's always possible, providing we encourage people to think before they act and then to act responsibly. We should all be sufficiently evolved as humans now to know that war is wrong ... but that sometimes we may need to step in as peacekeepers under the auspices of an International collective responsibitlity.

Ask yourself this:  Who benefits from war?  Do munitions have a shelf life or sell by date?  What happens to munitions that are about to expire date-wise?

Some military actions are necessary ... but not all of them. 

Later

Wolf

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