By Mankh (Walter E. Harris III). Axis of Logic
A procession of the damned.
By the damned, I mean the excluded.
We shall have a procession of data that Science has excluded.
- Charles Hoy Fort, 19191
Some of the recently damned have moved on.
East Indian farmers committing suicide, sometimes because the insurance money helps their families. Corporate agri-businesses with their Frankenfood science, agrarian monopoly, and forcing farmers to buy seeds annually are, however, the main instigators.2
Tibetan monks self-immolating.3 The Chinese government does not consider foreign monasteries sacred.
More USE (United States Empire) soldiers committing suicide than are dying in battle4 because . . . the statistic speaks for itself, a present and post traumatic stress disorder. Or, as the old saying goes, "War is hell."
Some of the damned are still here.
We all deal with bureaucratic "red tape" but American Indian tribes who have lived with the land for thousands of years are often forced to do huge amounts of paperwork to prove they have existed, and still exist, so as to receive federal recognition, which typically means benefits and services.5 Even a victory of "recognition" can be bittersweet.
A procession of Indigenous worldwide, stop-and-frisked minorities, women paid less for doing the same work as men, LGBTs ("may also include additional "Q"s for "queer" or "questioning." Other variants may add a "U" for "unsure"; a "C" for "curious"; an "I" for "intersex"; another "T" for "transsexual" or "transvestite"; another "T", "TS", or "2" for "Two‐Spirit" persons; an "A" or "SA" for "straight allies"; or an "A" for "asexual". Some may also add a "P" for "pansexual" or "polyamorous", an "H" for "HIV-affected", and/or an "O" for "other."6 Make that: LGBTQUCIT2SAAPHOs.
The procession continues with whistleblowers and the outspoken: Julian Assange, Bradley Manning, Ehren Watada, Retired Philadelphia Police Captain Ray Lewis, Sgt. Shamar Thomas, Col. Ann Wright, Cindy Sheehan, Katharine Gun, Thomas Drake, Sibel Edmonds, Coleen Rowley, Sherron Watkins, Cynthia Cooper, Valerie Plame and Joseph C. Wilson, Brooksley Born, Francisco "Pancho" Ramos Stierle . . . a procession of the soft, hard, and the elements: dandelions (an herbicidal industry has brainwashed people into annually slaughtering this edible yellow flower), throughout the world ancient stone phallic markers in places like South America, India, and perhaps best known in ancient Greece as good luck and guides for travelers, also used, symbolically, for agricultural fertilization . . . too much of the Air, the Oceans and Rivers, the Earth . . . damned by history, damned by modern society.
The Sky IS Falling
Charles Hoy Fort's detailed research exposed a flaw, a gaping crack in the insular logic of the science that informed the general populace. He helped to expose voluminous multitudes of oddities, often called paranormal and later dubbed, "Fortean phenomena." Two examples: "That Aug. 14, 1888, there fell at the Cape of Good Hope, a rain so black as to be described as a 'shower of ink.'"7 & "It is in the records of the French Academy that, upon March 17, 1669, in the town of Chatillon-sur-Seine, fell a reddish substance that was "thick, viscous, and putrid."8
The damning of this type of information allowed for generations to be educated to the point where such stories, often reported by farmers and common folk, would be considered odd, strange, or weird. Fort's thesis, however, was that this very information must be considered, must be acknowledged so as to embrace the full spectrum of reality. Or, as the Bard of Avon quilled: "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio/ Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
Along with bits of data (often researched at the NY Public Library and stored in shoeboxes), Fort showed how our perceptions get divided and conquered by scientific classifications. He explained the overlooked obvious. With regard to the color spectrum: while red and yellow are distinct colors, to consider them as separate is to deny the orange that rubs its shoulders with both ends of its immediate spectrum friends.
Or in Fort's words: "Or that red is not positively different from yellow: is only another degree of whatever vibrancy yellow is a degree of: that red and yellow are continuous, or that they merge in orange. So then that, if, upon the basis of yellowness and redness, Science should attempt to classify all phenomena, including all red things as veritable, and excluding all yellow things as false or illusory, the demarcation would have to be false and arbitrary, because things colored orange, constituting continuity, would belong on both sides of the attempted border line."9 This was no sound-byte. It's ok to pause and think it over. This writer did.
As with each spectrum color, so too are we, humans of various colors, all connected.
Today's pseudo-Science is Media and its cohorts of education, public relations, propaganda, dis-information, superstar culture, indoctrination by incessant repetition of falsities and lies, ad nauseam (oh yeah, forgot to mention advertisements) — all together making for an ideological arsenal of weapons of mass distraction.
A recent article, "Who Stole Helen Keller?" by Ruth Shagoury10, highlights how the courageous woman portrayed in schoolbooks is not the complete Helen Keller. As the article quotes, in 1912 Helen Keller wrote: "Why in this land of great wealth is there great poverty? Why [do] children toil in the mills while thousands of men cannot get work, why [do] women who do nothing have thousands of dollars to spend?"
We all pluck information in some form or another but the type of character sketching put forth in the Media and educational system reflects the divide and conquer mindset — divide up the information and conquer the perception.
Each year on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day a parade of quotes and encouragements that, we, too, can dream big. Yet, to further quote the civil rights leader: "Many of the ugly pages of American history have been obscured and forgotten. A society is always eager to cover misdeeds with a cloak of forgetfulness, but no society can fully repress an ugly past when the ravages persist into the present." & "There are certain things in our nation and in the world which I am proud to be maladjusted and which I hope all men of good-will will be maladjusted until the good societies realize — I say very honestly that I never intend to become adjusted to — segregation and discrimination. I never intend to become adjusted to religious bigotry." & "There is little hope for us until we become tough-minded enough to break loose from the shackles of prejudice, half-truths, and downright ignorance."11
Damn and Dam
"Nearly 90% of the books reviewed by The New York Times are written by white writers."12 American Indians and other Indigenous Peoples are not even listed in the 10% of the chart.
First Voices Indigenous Radio's "Skywaves"13 recently reported that: "Since 1992, natural disasters have affected 4.4-billion people worldwide, killed 1.3-million people and cost $2-trillion in damages, according to the United Nations. Earthquakes, storms, extreme temperatures and floods were the biggest killers."
It would, of course, make more sense to focus on damage control, birth control, emergency readiness, and taking care of people's actual needs -- rather than putting all the money in one war basket: war on drugs, war on terrorists, war on foreign countries, war on Mother Earth and her stewards.
To "damn" is, in effect, to block or ignore the flow. In the wild this can have positive or negative effects. Beavers know how to build dams naturally but in Brazil a dam construction site, Belo Monte, is threatening the environment and hence the survival of Amazon tribal peoples.14
The article "'Shock Doctrine' in Action: Vital Freshwater Resources Under Attack by Privatization Capitalists" by Scott Thill, includes an interview with director Brian Lilla who spells out the downsides of dams (or in "marketspeak," hydroelectric power plants). While Pakistan and the US are trying to recover from the adverse effects of dams, Chile, South Africa, and Turkey all face potential environmental troubles if current dam projects go through, and there are plans to build more in Pakistan.
Brian Lilla, who directed the film Patagonia Rising, states that ". . . the companies behind the building of dams in developing countries are mostly from Europe and China." & "It took me a long time to realize rivers are the arteries from which humans and thousands of other species are dependent. Dams are a slow suicide going unnoticed. If we want to sustain our place on the planet, we need to reconsider our relationship to water and how we treat it."15
The Long Procession
Sins of omission. Artistic negative spaces that continue to go unnoticed. The beautiful shadows of Yin overlooked by the bright lights of Yang. Reading between the lines.
Why damned? Because the damned threaten the business as usual status quo, the progress at all costs economic totalitarianism of taxes, surcharges, nickel-and-diming (adjust for inflation), under the radar rip-offs of the common folk via fine print illegal legalities, and the outright belligerent treatment of the Earth and its People.
If the procession of the damned is to be heard, let it be whistles blowing & soft voices of truth, let it be clichés "you are not alone" & ancient original instructions, let it be a Fellini circus parade & tea, cookies and conversation with a grandparent.
The sounds of prison bars unlocking and the footsteps of the innocent walking free. The chants of saffron-robed monks gracing Himalayan airs. The squish-squish of the boots of the farmers in the damp soil as they survey their crops after a rain. Amazon tribes hearing the voices of the river spirits. A soldier singing neither a dirge nor a victory song.
READ MORE OF MANKH'S POEMS
AND ESSAYS ON AXIS OF LOGIC
Mankh (Walter E. Harris III) is an essayist and resident poet on Axis of Logic. In addition to his work as a writer, he is a small press publisher and Turtle Islander. He recently edited and published the book, The (Un)Occupy Movement: Autonomy of Consciousness, Practical Solutions, Human Equality.
You can contact him via his literary website.
- The Book of the Damned
- "'Bitter Seeds' film exposes epidemic of Indian farmer suicides"
- "'Suicide protests surge among Tibetan monks'"
- "More US Soldiers Committed Suicide Than Died in Combat"
- Governors Office of Indian Affairs
- The Book of the Damned, chapter 3
- The Book of the Damned, chapter 4
- The Book of the Damned, chapter 1
- "Who Stole Helen Keller?"
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
- "Where Things Stand"
- First Voices Inidgenous Radio
- "Amazon Indians Occupy Belo Monte Dam Site in Brazil"
& "Lawful Belo Monte Protestors Threatened With Imprisonment"
- "'Shock Doctrine' in Action: Vital Freshwater Resources Under Attack by Privatization Capitalists"