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Fistfuls of Bloody Sand Printer friendly page Print This
By Mankh (Walter E. Harris III), Axis of Logic
Axis of Logic
Monday, Jul 25, 2016

Let's leave be, for now, who's responsible or rather irresponsible, and instead look at the lessons that may be learned.

When in my teens and learning some history about wars, it somehow seemed that they happen in contained areas or battlefields – the image of war as somehow separate from the rest of the sane world stayed with me. Later on, learning of the machinations that provoke and perpetuate wars broadened that spectrum, yet still it was 'arena war' as with Roman gladiators.

More recently learning of the prevalence of civilians being harmed, plus the toxic legacies affecting land, air, water, and all life forms further stretched that parameter.

Even more recently the 'arena war' image has been ripped asunder by various global shootings and explosions at malls, movie theaters, airports, and on city streets. It's freaky that there are sporadic war-like conditions in the societies of the world, though of course the word “terrorism” is what it's called – as if war is not a more elaborate form of organized terrorism.

Perhaps this is all somewhat naive, considering, for example, the history of battles between Native Peoples and the invading colonizers, yet having grown up in a 'modern society,' war-like activities in society are shocking and scary. And often they are allegedly geo-political blowback from those whose countries have been attacked, sometimes from twisted individuals, and sometimes from internal, karmic blowback from former military-trained personnel who have, as is said in the satirical film “Dr. Strangelove”: “Well now, what happened is, uh, one of our base commanders, he had a sort of - Well, he went a little funny in the head. You know. Just a little funny. And uh, he went and did a silly thing. Well, I'll tell you what he did. He ordered his attack your country.”

So maybe one lesson from current hysteria is to show humanity that war, in the broadest sense, does not happen in a fixed arena; if it happens anywhere, it affects Mother Earth and all Her children – so the war consciousness has to be diminished.

If the collective “we” can see the chickens, er, war hawks coming home to roost – whether with terrorism, unaffiliated crazies, or the Blue vs. Blacks Lives Matter street war – as an opportunity to turn the tide on global consciousness, to foster the unacceptability of wars wherever they are, then we can begin to transform the all hell breaking loose fears into positive, peaceful change.

Global protests and movements are a sign that there's something rotten with the global corporate empire whose wars are essentially nothing more than mafia-esque control of resources. Yet the networking of how those resources along with the manner of which they are acquired infiltrate our daily lives and purchases, and thus lifestyles, without us barely knowing it. The wars and their systemic trappings are not some 'thing' happening in an enclosed arena, rather they are insidiously connected with banking systems, blackmailing, deception, and blatant corruption.

Eduardo Galeano's “Open Veins of Latin American: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent” heart-wrenchingly conveys how the rich societies of Europe (and later the US) fed off the backs of the slave-wage and too-often Indigenous poor, along with the damaging and raping of Mother Earth, so as to satisfy their insatiable fixation on products, many buyers often having no clue as to how those products were acquired. Buddhists call it the hungry ghost. Lakota the fat-taker. Algonquin, wendigo (or wetiko) the cannibalistic monster or spirit.

Tom Burgis' award-winning book “The Looting Machine: Warlords, Oligarchs, Corporations, Smugglers, and the Theft of Africa's Wealth” focuses on Africa yet he clearly depicts how the 'machine' that drives the acquisition of resources from the so-called motherland is a vast global network of shady dealings and outright violence. The basic modus operandi:
“...the looting machine: the alliance between shadow governments and the resource industry that tramples over the people who live where oil and minerals are found”. (p.158)

“The resource industries are ripe for mispricing—it serves as the camouflaged conduit of the looting machine.” (P.168)

“Other transactions are structured in an effort to enrich officials without crossing the threshold of illegality.” (p.191)
From the mainstream media portrayal, Boko Haram is just a freak terrorist organization, yet Burgis reveals: “The corruption of the ruling class, as much as its bellicose interpretations of Quranic law, was Boko Haram's rallying cry.” And, [banker Lamido] “Sanusi understood that Nigeria's petro-politics lay beneath the violence that was mounting across the nation, including barbaric imagery in the north launched by the jihadists of Boko Haram. 'There's a clear direct link between the uneven distribution of resources and the rise of violence,' Sanusi said.” (p.206)

While on the surface many would think apartheid simply a racist thing, once again resources form the underpinning: “South Africa's gold and diamonds provided the financial means for apartheid to exist.” (p.211) [1]
Perhaps the best known phrase: blood diamonds.

Lineage of Empires
The word “arena” signifies a “'place of combat,' from Latin harena, originally 'sand, sandy place,' perhaps from Etruscan. The central stages of Roman amphitheaters were strewn with sand to soak up the blood.” [2]

The corporate media and war-machine that is the twisted back-bone of USEmpire's so-called foreign policy has thus far not dared to embrace, let alone shake the hand, of Green Party Presidential Candidate, Jill Stein.

In a 5-minute video (“Making the wars for oil obsolete - Jill Stein Green Party Presidential Candidate”) Jill Stein sums up, quite intelligently, courses of action to diminish wars and then some.

In sum:
“Making the wars for oil obsolete - Green Party Presidential Candidate, Jill Stein talks about the Foreign Policy of the Green New Deal, making the war for oil obsolete. [Such wars have] resulted in Failed States, Mass Refugee Migration and, worse terrorist threats. It's time to stop a foreign policy which is essentially a marketing strategy for the weapons industry. We need a Peace Offensive. A weapons embargo in the middle east. a freeze on the funding on our allies funding and training terrorists.”
Along with a shift in the consciousness of what war is, and where and how it takes place, we can also look to our ancestors from whence our bloodlines. A wonderful example comes from a Lakota high school commencement speech, (and I highly recommend reading it in its entirety):
“When they sent smoke to the sky, it was you the ancestors prayed for. You are the ones we have been waiting for. Do not take the importance of this day, your responsibility, and your achievements lightly.

For you to have a successful, healthy life in the future, however, it is my job as a historian to remind you where our people came from — however boring that may be! You cannot know where you are going in this world unless you know where you came from.” [3]
Truly getting along with people is about preserving bloodlines and not the so-called spilling of blood.

Yet, another lesson, from the Akkadian poem, “Epic of Gilgamesh,” considered one of the first great works of literature:
“I know your pain too well to lie,
Said Utnapishtim.
I will tell you a secret I have never told,
Something to take back with you and guard.
There is a plant in the river. Its thorns
Will prick your hands as a rose thorn pricks
But it will give you new life.

He heard these words and tried to speak
But rushed instead to the old man and embraced him,
The two men held each other for a moment
Then Utnapishtim raised his hands
As if to say: Enough.
And Gilgamesh looked back at him
Then hurried off to find the plant.

He tied stones to his feet and descended
Into the river. When he saw the plant
Of rich rose color and ambrosial
Shimmering in the water like a prism
Of the sunlight, he seized it, and it cut
Into his palms. He saw his blood flow into the water.

He cut the stones loose from his feet and rose
Up sharply to the surface and swam to shore.
he was calling out, I have it! I have it! [4]
In light of current mining issues, this could be considered as messing with nature, but the interpretation generally given, as the line “it will give you new life” suggests, is that the plant restores youth, gives life-everlasting aka allows for a spiritual rebirth. The blood is the price one pays for getting along in this beautiful yet jagged physical world. Working in a garden or woodworking, one is bound to cut one's self and to give a little blood so that the new creation may live.

That there is too much blood being spilled in the world attests to a hungry ghost level of attempting to achieve life-everlasting by living high off the hog at the expense of those who become sacrificial lambs for such temporary nirvana.

The more you try to hold sand, the more it eludes your grasp. But we are past the time for mere philosophical metaphors – how can we diminish the amount of blood-drenched sand?


1.  The Looting Machine: Warlords, Oligarchs, Corporations, Smugglers, and the Theft of Africa's Wealth – Tom Burgis, Public Affairs, 2015.
3. “Education is Liberation: 2016 Lower Brule High School Commencement Speech
4. Gilgamesh: A Verse Narrative – Herbert Mason, New American Library, 1972, pp.84-85.

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. His new book of genre-bending poetic-nonfiction is “Musings With The Golden Sparrow.” You can contact him via his literary website. 

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