My great-great+++great grandfather, Edward Sharp, sailed on the ship Henry and Frances in 1687 from League, Scotland, and disembarked at Perth Amboy, New Jersey. He had received a land grant from William Penn and was fleeing Presbyterian persecution in Scotland, looking for religious freedom offered by the Quaker Corporate entity that was Pennsylvania. I’m not at all certain that he really wanted to leave his native home for the New World, but apparently, he felt that the New World was a better place for him than his native Scotland, and he and many of his fellow Scottish Presbyterians made the journey. They certainly would not have traded home for something they knew to be worse, so we must acknowledge that they had the hope of something better. His great-great grandson, also Edward Sharp, fought in the American revolution, helping to throw off the yoke of English oppression.
The Mayas were displaced by the Aztecs, or ran out of steam all on their own much prior to the arrival of Europeans, and the Aztecs and Incas were displaced by the Spanish conquistadors, and the resulting race in recently former times referred to themselves as Castillians, not Mestizos. They were insulted if they were called Mestizos. The Aztecs and the Incas perpetrated horrible crimes against those they conquered, participating in human sacrifices to bloodthirsty gods. Those who were not sacrificed were carried off as slaves.
Such is the nature and history of human conquest.
Another grandfather of mine, the great Choctaw Chief, Pushmataha, said that he had never raised his hand in anger against the white men, but had slain hundreds of members of rival tribes without a second thought, taking their land, their women, and their property. Pushmataha could not understand why the great White Father would treat his people badly. It was the great fault of the great chief. He understood conquest and its fruits, but for some inexplicable reason thought that it did not apply to himself and the rest of the “civilized” tribes. Though the Choctaw, Chickasaw and Cherokee were called the civilized tribes, they seldom displayed civil behavior towards each other, but a fierceness and a proud warrior tradition, asking no quarter from each other and expecting none.
The large plains tribes of the Sioux thought that they were naturally superior to others, and the Cheyenne referred to themselves as “human beings,” indicating that other tribes were not equal with them, or even to be considered to be human beings.
The history of human civilization is the history of human conquest and the rapine, pillaging, and enslavement of the conquered. If reparations are to be made, to whom are they to be made? There is no stopping point unless one advocates one that favors their own ethnicity. When they do that, they fail to think of those from who the land was earlier taken.
African tribal leaders looked forward to the profits they received from Muslim and Portugese slave traders. Of course they never sold people from their own tribes, but those from tribes they had conquered. The English profited from this too, but stopped it long before the Portugese. Muslims still engage in it though it has become unfashionable to point this out. Muslims enslave their own women and treat them as chattels, though this, too, is unfashionable to point out.
The Koran indicates that Muslims are superior to all others, and non-believers, even people of the book (Jews and Christians) are to be subjugated and taxed, and to assume an inferior position in society and business. Jews and Christians are even named as those for whom their blasphemy is cause for them to suffer at the hands of the righteous soldiers of Allah.
The Bolsheviks conquered the Czars and their rival Mensheviks, who had conquered the Tatars, who had conquered the Mongols, who had conquered nearly everyone, including the anciently civilized Chinese, of whom Northern China had subjugated the backwards Southern Chinese, and the more southerly Indo-Chinese, and the Japanese relied on the Kamikaze winds to protect them from invasion and conquest, all the while they invaded China and subjugated millions of Chinese to slaughter, sexual slavery, and starvation.
The world has not been a kind place except for the victors. The losers took their place in line for slavery, subjugation, and confiscation.
If you ask me, I’d rather fight to be a winner and lose, than roll over and become subjugated without firing a shot. Would you choose Neville Chamberlain or Winston Churchill? Would you be subjugated or free? Do you know that it is blood that pays for freedom, and blood that results from subjugation? There is blood either way.
If you can find something in history that I have overlooked, please let me know. Human memories seldom last longer than one or two generations, then for some inexplicable reason, we think that a repeat of history cannot happen to us, as if war, oppression, subjugation, and slavery were like Smallpox, a disease wiped out that no longer plagues mankind, though we have some suspicions that it may not be as defunct as we hope: if not smallpox, then H1N1,Ebola, or some other pestilence is likely to visit us….history tells us so.
As surely as smallpox nearly annihilated Native Americans, as surely as Bubonic Plague nearly annihilated Middle Age and Renaissance Europeans, as surely as treachery caused countless fratricides among European and Asian monarchs, as surely as one dictator displaces another, as surely as subjugation of one people by another has proved profitable, and as surely as one country covets that which another country has, or one man covets that which another man has, history is destined to repeat itself, in spite of our lack of memory of it, or worse because of it.
Even Adam coveted the one thing he could not legally have. He traded paradise for it.
You can make up your own mind if you have one. And if you do, you should study history and ask of yourself, “What makes me think I am different?”
Perhaps you think you’re different because you have the internet.
We’re all just passing through here. God help you! God help me! God help us all!
©2014 Mississippi Chris Sharp