The Islamic State (ISIS) video graphically shows the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians by knife-wielding Muslim believers on a Libyan beach, soaking the sands with blood. The adult human body contains on average about 5.5 quarts of the life-giving fluid, so here went another 23 gallons of the red stuff wasted in the name of religion and Muslim testosterone. It has been ever thus. The Roman Colosseum built by the Flavian Dynasty between 70-80 AD had a wooden floor covered with about a foot of sand so the blood of humans and animals sacrificed in the name of religion, entertainment, and crime prevention would be absorbed. The “Grand Opening” of the 80,000-seat stadium lasted over one hundred days and featured 3,000 gladiator fights. On the first day alone over 5,000 animals were slaughtered. The gladiators fought to the death or to the point where one was unable to fight. Then the audience — with thumbs up or down — determined whether the wounded would survive or die that day. The sands of the killing fields must have been soaked with many gallons of blood from the first day. And it kept pouring down throughout the world.
The stage of Shakespeare’s Globe Theater wasn’t covered with sand, but the 16th Century stage was often covered with “blood” by the plays Shakespeare wrote to entertain a rather bloodthirsty audience. When Lady Macbeth is wiping and washing her hands in her famous sleepwalking scene after the murder of King Duncan and saying: “Who would have thought the old man had so much blood in him?,” a spectator immediately knew the Macbeths had been up to no good. After the murder Macbeth sums up his life: “For mine own good all causes shall give way. I am in blood stepped in so far that, should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o’er.” Shakespeare knocked off dozens on stage and thousands off stage — and wrote magnificent dialogue to describe the bloody action. Shakespeare’s London was a bloody place. Beheadings, disembowelment, burning at stakes, and drawing and quartering drew large crowds. Attaching four horses to four limbs and yelling “Giddyup” created spectacular results.
President Obama said at the National Prayer Breakfast not long ago that ISIS is “a brutal, vicious death cult” but had no monopoly on violence. Then he seemed to upset a whole gaggle of politicians with these truths: “Lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.” Republicans pounced with all their ignorant glee. Allan West declared Obama was “the Islamapologist in chief. Another member of the ignoranti yelled Obama had stated “stupid, left-wing moral equivalency.” Former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore tried to say it all: “Obama’s remarks are the most offensive I’ve ever heard a president make in my lifetime.” My, my, he must lead a protected life. We have no body counts from a dozen or more Crusades, but hundreds of barrels of blood had to be spilled in the streets of Europe and the Middle East. Historians in the 12th Century said so many Muslims were killed in cities that the streets were ankle-deep in blood. Body counts are very hard to come by for these days of bloody intolerance, but even Catholic Church records indicate that the Spanish Inquisition’s leader Torquemada boiled the blood of 10,200 heretics at the purifying stake. The French heroine Joan of Arc at age 19 was burned at the stake by the Catholic Church on May 30, 1431. She was later named a saint by the Vatican.
Obama also jerked racial and religious intolerance into our time by saying: “In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.” Christians used the Bible to justify slavery, segregation, beatings, and lynchings. Billy Graham’s son Franklin wrote that “Jesus taught peace, love, and forgiveness. Mohammad, on the contrary, was a warrior and killed many innocent people.” That’s funny. Evangelist Franklin teaches there is only one true religion (his) and everybody else is going to Hell. I guess Christians have not absorbed Christ’s lessons. The Vatican says the Roman Catholic Church is the only true religion so everybody else is going to Hell. I predict Hell is going to be a helluva busy place.
Between 1882 and 1968 there were 4,743 recorded lynchings in the US. That’s a rate of more than one a week. About a fourth of them were white, but most whites were hanged because they supported black people. Bill Moyers described the death of Jesse Washington in Waco, Texas in 1916. Young Jesse was accused of killing a white woman. At his trial the jury took four minutes to declare him guilty. A courtroom mob dragged him out of the court and cut off his testicles. A bonfire was built and a live Jesse was raised and lowered by ropes over the flames for two hours. Soon a crowd of 15,000 was taunting, cheering, laughing, and “shouting in delight.” When the fire died his body was torn apart and sold for souvenirs. Pictures were taken of smiling whites next to the charred body and were turned into postcards mailed home by participants. One read: “This is the barbecue we had last night. My picture is to the left with a cross over it. Your son, Joe.” This lynching occurred in the very heart of the Christian Bible Belt.
Many Southern newspapers printed the story of the murder of Sam Hose, accused of raping a white woman. Sam was caught in a Georgia town and his punishment was advertised. Over 2,000 people gathered for this event, many of them taking a “special” excursion train from the big city of Atlanta. Sam was stripped of his clothing, chained to a tree, and soaked with kerosene after wood was stacked around him. The mob cut off ears, fingers, and genitals and then peeled skin from Sam’s face. Then the fire was started. A newspaper reported that Sam’s veins ruptured from the heat and that his blood “hissed in the flames.” Sam spoke only five words as he was chained: “Oh, my God! Oh, Jesus!” When he finally died, some members of the mob cut out his heart and liver and distributed the parts to the crowd. They later sold bone fragments and tissue to people who could not attend. We are certainly “exceptional” aren’t we?
Mississippi has always been an “exceptional” state for racism. About a month ago one of the two black federal judges in the state recently sentenced three young white men for the death of James Anderson, a 48-year-old black. They beat him severely and then ran over him with a truck. Judge Carlton Reeves gave a long speech about race during the sentencing. All Americans need to read it. He reviews Mississippi’s lynchings and murders of civil rights workers, both white and black in the last 100 years. A paragraph containing statements by whites and blacks about racial violence stands out: “To kill a Negro wasn’t nothing. It was like killing a chicken or killing a snake. The whites would say, ‘niggers jest supposed to die, ain’t no damn good anyway -- so jest go an’ kill ‘em.’ They had to have a license to kill anything but a nigger. We was always in season. Said one white Mississippian, “A white man ain’t a-going to be able to live in this country if we let niggers start getting biggity … It’s about time to have another when the niggers get so that they are afraid of being lynched, it is time to put the fear in them.”
Obama has the intelligence to know our history and was right to review a tiny part of it at the prayer breakfast. Heck, we kill and wound 100,000 of our neighbors with firearms each year. We need to recognize our modern history, too. When Senator John McCain invited Henry Kissinger to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, evidently he didn’t realize why putting a war criminal on public view would be upsetting to certain people. When the anti-war and feminist CodePink group protested Kissinger’s appearance, McCain reacted to the signs reading “Arrest Kissinger for War Crimes” by calling the protest “disgraceful, outrageous, and despicable.” He yelled, “Get out of here, you low-life scum” as the police escorted them out.
But the fact is, Kissinger is a war criminal. Kissinger’s involvement in policies in Vietnam, Cuba, Latin America, East Timor, and other countries should label him a war criminal in any federal, international or world court. I will use his work with our CIA in assisting another war criminal Augusto Pinochet in a coup removing the democratically-elected Salvador Allende from the presidency of Chile. Nixon and Kissinger did not want any Latin or South American country to turn leftist or communist while they were in power. Neither did the Dulles boys under Eisenhower want any Southeast Asia country to turn communist. They came up with the “Domino Theory” that if one country would turn communist, others would follow—like dominos. That’s how we got into the Vietnam mess.
But McCain probably didn’t know about Chile, Pinochet, and Kissinger’s support for the horrible consequences of the overthrow of Allende. McCain was at the bottom of his class at the Naval Academy. According to a UN report Pinochet directed gang rape and sexual torture of female detainees, using snakes, water torture, and waterboarding on prisoners, the mutilation of women’s sexual organs, inserting batteries in vaginas, burning nipples and genitals with cigarettes. Pinochet and his right-wing torturers in the short span of 17 years developed 17 major torture centers and 1,132 minor detention and torture areas. They tortured over 28,000, executed 2,279, “disappeared” 3,200 who have never been found, and forced 200,000 into exile. One of their favorite ploys was to take five detainees up in a helicopter to 5,000 feet over the ocean, pick one of the five and throw him or her out of the aircraft, and then interrogate the other four.
The favorite “enhanced interrogation technique” of the Pinochet-Kissinger mob was the “Larilla,” or the grill. The naked prisoner was tied on a metal bed frame and bedspring and was wired to an electric control box that ran wires to his chest and testicles. Then the electric shocks were applied. Sometimes the torturers used a set of metal bunkbeds and placed children or relatives in one bunk and the prisoner in another. In these situations they would wire up the child or relative and shock them in an effort to get the prisoner to talk. Water boarding was extensively used. It was called “the Submarine” in Chile. And Kissinger knew all about the torture centers and the methods used and did nothing. This is just one chapter of his many war crimes committed from East Timor, Vietnam, to Indonesia.
Obama attempts to claim that ISIS does not represent the Islam religion. He tries to split the crucifiers and the beheaders from “moderate” Muslims. Nice try. They are Muslim nutcases. We have plenty of our own religious nutcases raising hell in the U.S. We have the snake handlers who wind water moccasins and rattlers around their necks, tempting fate—and sometimes losing. We have pro-life nutcases who kill abortion doctors in the name of God. We have the David Koreshes who use Bible verses to screw little girls. We have the Jim Joneses who serve poisoned Kool-Aid to a thousand true-believers. We have conservative Roman Catholics and evangelical Christians who want us all to live in either the 13th Century or the 19th Century—before contraception, homosexuality, and Darwin’s theory of evolution.
We are now faced with a 1,400-year-old religion that wants to return the world to the Seventh Century. All Americans should read Graeme Wood’s article in the March Atlantic “What ISIS really Wants.” That article could keep us out of another stupid war. But it probably won’t. Going to war is just another pandemic like ebola to humans.
By Greg Carlsongregcarlson1@gmail.comThe many media attempts at Frank Herbert’s epic space fantasy “Dune” speak to its lasting appeal and its potent impact. David Lynch’s movie, defended by the filmmaker’s most ardent…
By Sarah Noursacha1689.email@example.comOn Sunday, November 7th, the Spirit Room will hold a reception for “Contaminated Nightmares,” their current exhibition of mixed-media pieces by local artist and musician Adam Bursack. This…
by Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comAdam Quesnell's last show at The Cellar beneath the Front Street Taproom in Fargo was in early September of 2018. He was embarking on a seminal move from Minneapolis to LA. As always, his comedy was…
By Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comSpring is here (mostly), and our area is buzzing with people eager to get back out and about -- many newly vaccinated and feeling a bit safer. Partnering with Jade Events, Fargo Brewing is just…
By Theresa L. Goodrichsubmit@hpr1.comIt was day ten of our epic southwest road trip and we’d made it to Arizona. After camping in Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle, and New Mexico, we were exhausted, but fortunately our night in…