“The Modern Greek Enlightenment and Revolution” – An original history research paper by rootsnwingz

Historical Background

On the 29th of May 1453, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, Constantinople, was conquered after a long siege by the Ottoman armed forces, led by the twenty-one-year-old Fatih Sultan Mehmed II. The siege of Constantinople by the Ottomans signified the fall of Byzantium and the end an era, that is its millennium-long reign in the Mediterranean region. In addition, it meant that most of the geographical area that is today known as Greece, fell under Turkish rule.   The Ottoman occupation of Greece lasted for the following four hundred years, a period commonly referred to as Tourkokratia (Τουρκοκρατία) (Cogg C 1992, 3). The Tourkokratia is usually considered an oppressive time, mainly due to the imposition of religious restrictions, heavy, unjust taxation and the practice of Paidomazoma (Παιδομάζωμα) or Janissary levy, which translates from Greek as the gathering of children. This practice refers to the enforced obligation of each and every Christian family to surrender their best looking and most intelligent children to be raised as Muslim; the corps of the Janissaries would then conscript these Greek-in-origin youths and train them to be elite soldiers (Clogg C 1992, 14). Significantly, because of the Paidomazoma, Greeks were forced to fight alongside Turks and, most often, against fellow Christian populations.

However, the outbreak of the Greek Revolution, also known as the Greek War of Independence, did not begin until March 1821, after nearly four hundred year of atrocities, economic decline and oppression. The outbreak is celebrated on March 25th every year by tradition not because the revolution actually began that day. In the 18th and 19th century, we observe in Europe the growth of certain liberal movements, including revolutionary nationalism, Philhellenism and the Diafotismos (Διαφωτισμός), i.e. the modern Greek Enlightenment. Furthermore, in 1814, a secret organization, Philiki Etairia (Φιλική Εταιρεία), is founded. Driven by the ideas of the Enlightenment, the goal of these Greek revolutionaries was to overthrow Turkish rule.

In 1828, following seven years of violent revolts and battles, both on land and at sea, the Ottomans surrendered and were forced out of the Peloponnese and Central Greece. In May 1832, the Convention of London takes place, where Greece is finally recognized by the Great Powers (Russia, France, U.K.) as a free, independent, but monarchical, nation. The Greek Kingdom’s initial territory after the end of the revolution solely included the limited territorial gains of the war. Interestingly, Greece did not have jurisdiction over the entire geographical region it controls today until as late as 1947, that is after World War II.

Introduction of Topic & Methodology

            In a nutshell, my project consists of using primary sources in order: a) to assess to what extent the Diafotismos was an anti-imperial and anti-colonial ideology and b) to gain an in-depth understanding of how the transmission of its radical ideas contributed to the successful Greek uprising and revolution in 1821 against the Ottoman rule. These were my central initial research questions. Therefore, my intention is to take advantage of my knowledge of modern Greek and use the writings of the key intellectuals of the movement, i.e. Adamantios Korais and Rigas Pheraios, with the goal of forwarding my central argument, mainly that the Diafotismos was vital to the Greek uprising. Since there is notable overlap between the Greek Enlightenment and the Philhellenism in Western Europe, I also intend to use the writings of second-generation English Romantic poets, especially Lord Byron. The aim here is to better comprehend the Western powers’ attitude towards Greek nationalists as well as the Turkish rulers. In effect, the literary work of these intellectuals, both the philhellenes and the proponents of the Diafotismos, prepared the grounds for an uprising and influenced the outcome of the revolution. Finally, I will attempt to determine whether one can rightfully speak, in general, of a subaltern, anti-colonial Enlightenment. Secondary sources on the Philiki Etairia and its role are also implemented. Moreover, some secondary sources are used on the humanitarian intervention at the battle of Navarino to better comprehend the Western powers’ a) sympathetic attitude towards Greek nationalists and b) their problems with the Turkish rulers.

Thesis & Original Contribution

Essentially, Greece’s successful revolution was not an isolated event but more of a seven year long process. It can be attributed to numerous anti-imperial factors, both internal (e.g. Philiki Etairia, Diafotismos) and external (e.g. philhellenism, the decline of the Ottoman Empire, military and navy assistance, other European intellectual movements, complex diplomatic relations, etc.). So how important was the Diafotismos really? Would Greece have gained independence regardless? In this essay, I will argue that, as a matter of fact, the Modern Greek Enlightenment’s most important accomplishment and contribution to the War of Independence is that it served as the awakening instrument, which laid down the intellectual foundations for the Greek struggle of independence by exacerbating nationalism and by planting the seed of freedom. Beyond that, other factors led up to the ultimate success of the revolution and Greece’s recognition as an independent nation. In this light, my essay’s original contribution to the subject of Empire is the challenge to the notion of a general anti-imperial European Enlightenment movement, whereas its chief goal is to delineate the roles of philhellenism, Diafotismos and intervention within the framework of the Greek revolution. Continue reading

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Steel Pulse – “Put Your Hoodies On [4 Trayvon]” (3rd Anniversary Edition) (Official HD Music Video 2015)

I was still in Amerikkka when the innocent 17 year old Trayvon Martin was shot down.  I had attended a candle lit vigil in his memory at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, where the violin was played and certain professors made speeches about injustice and racism.  The moving speeches aimed to remind us that brutal incidents such as this are not a new phenomenon (remember Amadou Diallo?) but neither a thing of the past.  Indeed, police brutality has been in the forefront these last couple of years all over the world. I take this opportunity to send my prayer for the end of unjust human suffering that plagues the earth today.  Big up David Hinds and Steel Pulse for paying a tribute to Travyon and spreading the positive message of unity and equality against injustice…

“Steel Pulse originally released this track and music video on the second anniversary of the death of Trayvon Martin, which occurred on February 26, 2012, in Sanford, FL. This is an updated version released to mark the third anniversary of his slaying. Gone, but not forgotten.

This song marks the first official contribution to a Steel Pulse studio track by Baruch Hinds, son of Steel Pulse lead singer David Hinds. Shot on location at the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington D.C., and in Sanford, Florida.”

Directed by Yonathan Gal // Cinematographer: Trishul Thejasvi // Editor: Rory Gordon // 1st AC: Raul Rivero // Camera Assistants: David Revenkov & Brandon Gordon

http://steelpulse.com/
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Steel-
http://www.myspace.com/officialsteelp
http://twitter.com/#!/steelpulse
http://www.driftwoodpictures.net

“Censorship and the Third Section: How thinking became dangerous in 19th Century Russia”, an original history research paper by rootsnwingz

Introduction

When Nicholas I succeeded his older brother Alexander and became the tsar of Russia in late 1825, the attitude of the state towards its subjects changed dramatically. Nicholas’s thirty year long autocratic rule is characterized by oppressive reforms aimed at maintaining the status quo and preventing dissent in a time of socio-political instability and uncertainty. Any kind of unconventional thought or criticism of the state had to be considered a threat to the tsar’s authority and, as a consequence, Nicholas sought complete control over what could be safely published. Strict censorship laws were enacted, while a secret police, which became known as the “Third Section”, was re-established in order to regulate the press. Writers who refused to obey the tsar’s guidelines and wished to be the sole authority over their writings’ style and content were ruthlessly persecuted.

But was Nicholas’s austerity paranoid? In fact, Nicholas had real reasons to be concerned about his position on the throne and to worry about dissent. First of all, when he came to power, he immediately had to deal with the Decembrist Uprising. This uprising is generally understood as the manifestation of the educated elite’s disappointment with Alexander’s liberal, yet ineffective, government. More notably, it “produced the first open confrontation between the autocracy and members of the intelligentsia.” (Shatz, 31)

Despite the fast suppression of the Decembrist Uprising, Nicholas was left convinced that he had to adopt stricter policies. Moreover, keeping in mind that at the same time in the 19th century, revolutionary movements were blooming all over Europe, he must have been terrified by the possibility of the creation of an influential movement of dissent. “The very foundations of autocratic rule were menaced by the changes in social thought brought about by the growth of revolutionary successes abroad and their influence on internal politics at home” (Squire, 48).

As a result, the priority of Nicholas’s reforms was to ensure that public opinion agreed with the government’s views and thus, censorship and persecution on the grounds of crimes of thought reached unprecedented heights in Russian history. The success of the French revolution was also the reason why Nicholas denounced French philosophy and the Enlightenment ideas, which had been propagated in the 18th century by Catherine the Great. In the 19th century, however, such ideologies were considered dangerous. Nevertheless, Nicholas was not afraid of all Western thought. In fact, he was particularly fond of German philosophy, such as Hegel and the other “Idealists”. Therefore, the cultural shift from France to Germany reflects that the tsar had carefully observed the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars and had thus witnessed the double risk of overexpansion and fall of autocracy, which were probably his two biggest fears.

The Decembrist Uprising played a vital role in ascertaining the divide between the government’s interests and the interests of the people, especially the educated elite. In this sense, Nicholas’s adversaries were now identifiable; they were the writers, poets and playwrights who dared to challenge –either directly or subliminally- the state’s authority over the people. Therefore, perhaps for the first time, the intelligentsia was recognized as the most influential threat to the existing order in Russia. The fact that Nicholas now regarded the intelligentsia as the state’s visible internal enemy explains the abundance of repression that freethinking intellectuals faced in the second quarter of the 19th century. In other words, the absurdity of the censorship laws and the birth of the secret police affirm Nicholas’s fearfulness of the intelligentsia.

Therefore, the present research paper is an examination of Nicholas’s censorship laws and the “Third Section’s” activity. I primarily aim to demonstrate how the intelligentsia had a real effect on the society they lived in and belonged to, which in turn became a serious cause of concern for the authorities and has led to atrocious and oppressive government responses. In addition, I intend to look into the ways “intelligenty” overcame or eluded national policing, as well as the cases where they were less fortunate and paid a heavy price for their mental freedom. Specifically, illustrative examples from the lives of Alexander Herzen and Mikhail Bakunin will be provided to help the reader get a clearer idea of the limitations and sufferings they endured due to Nicholas’s repression. The fact that poets and novelists were exiled or sent off to mental asylums suggests that, historically, Russian authorities have been deeply troubled by the intelligentsia’s activity, especially its capacity to change sociopolitical structures and express dissent from the autocracy. This is why I believe that an inquiry into the censorship laws and the “Third Section” will serve to contextualize the intelligentsia’s experience under the rule of Nicholas I.

Continue reading

“Le Métèque” – Live Acoustic Reggae Cover of Georges Moustaki’s classic song , by Alpha Blondy

The Egyptian / French / Greek / Italian musician, Georges Moustaki released this in the late 1960s and is one of my personal favorites, both lyrically and musically.  The Ivory Coast artist, Alpha Blondy, did a great job covering this classic in a reggae style and tweaking it appropriately.   Watch & Share the original official music video by Moustaki, the live acoustic reggae version on TV5MONDE as well as the studio version off Alpha Blondy’s latest album, “Mystic Power”.  A song of love and suffering, the lyrics are so good, check them out below the videos!

http://tune.pk/player/embed_player.php?vid=1836351&folder=2014/01/11/&width=600&height=350&autoplay=no

Avec ma gueule de nègre métèque
De Juif errant, de rasta grec
Et mes dreadlocks aux quatre vents
Avec mes yeux tout délavés
Qui me donnent l’air de rêver
Moi qui ne rêve plus souvent
Avec mes mains de maraudeur
De musicien et de rôdeur
Qui ont pillé tant de jardins
Avec ma bouche qui a bu
Qui a embrassé et mordu
Sans jamais assouvir sa faim
Avec ma gueule de nègre métèque
De Juif errant, de rasta grec
De voleur et de vagabond
Avec ma peau qui s’est frottée
Au soleil de tous les étés
Et a tout ce qui portait jupon
Avec mon cœur qui a su faire
Souffrir autant qu’il a souffert
Sans pour cela faire d’histoires
Avec mon âme qui n’a plus
La moindre chance de salut
Pour éviter le purgatoire
Avec ma gueule de nègre métèque
De Juif errant, de rasta grec
Et mes dreadlocks aux quatre vents
Je viendrai, ma douce captive
Mon âme sœur, ma source vive
Je viendrai boire tes vingt ans
Et je serai prince de sang
Rêveur ou bien adolescent
Comme il te plaira de choisir
Et nous ferons de chaque jour
Toute une éternité d’amour
Que nous vivrons à en mourir
Et nous ferons de chaque jour
Toute une éternité d’amour
Que nous vivrons à en mourir

Sluggish Schizophrenia in the Soviet Union , an original short essay by rootsnwingz

From its very early stages in the 18th century, Russian psychiatric theory viewed mental disorders as the result of “functional changes in cerebral activity or brain injuries” (Miller, 15). Although Stalin’s social reorganization condemned and politicized psychoanalytic theory and practice, the 1930s saw vital development in psychopathology, especially in the field of clinical symptomatology thanks to the work of P.B. Gannushkin. One of Gannushkin’s successors, G.E. Sukhareva, suggested an alternative classification model for the diagnosis and treatment of schizophrenia, rejecting Kraepelin’s original system (Miller, 16).

Essentially, the new model suggested that by examining the lifelong course of schizophrenia, as opposed to simply the symptoms, the disorder could be divided into two distinct types: ‘sluggish’ or ‘chronic’ on the one hand, and on the other, ‘acute’ or ‘periodic’. Sluggish schizophrenia referred to the continuous form, “which developed at varying levels of severity with periodic remissions during the life history of the patient”(Miller, 16). Soviet psychiatrists believed that there is usually a biogenetic, biochemical, neurological and physiological etiology for schizophrenia, which is triggered by the environment and manifested as a psychotic episode. The patient’s realization of his disorder’s facets and roots was considered critical to Soviet psychotherapy and, as a result, therapies aimed to be “short-term, supportive and very specific” (Miler, 17).

Critics have argued that this classification system of schizophrenia often leads to misdiagnosis or overdiagnosis because genetic inheritance with physiological manifestation is assumed more often as the etiology than cultural or individual causes (Miller, 20). Furthermore, Soviet psychiatry is often criticized for labeling its patients by “imposing an unsubstantiated diagnosis on a patient which will itself have negative consequences, both on the patient’s conception of self and in terms of the suspicious way he will then be regarded at home and at the workplace” (Miller, 20). This is largely due to the fact that any Russian, who was politically oppositional to Soviet authority and power, was in general deemed insane. Therefore, sluggish schizophrenia was thought to be manifested as a distortion of political reality by minds that were slow to realize the perceptions of Soviet reality. Substantial evidence is found for this in the establishment of special psychiatric hospitals for their ‘re-education’.

Patients were thus often regarded as political adversaries on top of being looked down upon for being insane by both the public and doctors, when they were not even mentally ill. In my view, this is what is insane. When the general population accepts that standing up or questioning political authority is always a sign of madness, then the population has evidently been tricked by those whose wealth would be threatened by any exposure of the existing established system’s injustice. This is what leads me to believe that the labeling impact of sluggish schizophrenia was merely an immoral scare tactic employed to condemn any act of resistance  as madness and to label any person unsatisfied with the political structure as mad. Fear and prevention of political dissent or an uprising could well be the underlying factors behind the phenomenon of labeling discussed above.

Nevertheless, it is unfair to condemn the entire profession even though it was abused to a certain extent, for one must keep in mind that a lot of propaganda was in play at the time, and consequently people were mostly exposed to one-sided and exaggerated portrayals of what was actually going on. Moreover, despite its drawbacks, it is undeniable that Soviet psychiatric theory & practice made some genuine and fruitful attempts to explore numerous explanations and treatments for mental illness.

Works Cited:

Miller, Martin A. The Theory and Practice of Psychiatry in the Soviet Union. 1985.

Ernst Mayr on questioning ‘eternal truths’

ernstmayr“The study of the basic philosophies or ideologies of scientists is very difficult because they are rarely articulated. They largely consist of silent assumptions that are taken so completely for granted that they are never mentioned …..[ But] anyone who attempts to question these ‘eternal truths’ encounters formidable resistance.”
– Ernst Mayr

One of the 20th century’s leading evolutionary biologists, taxonomists, tropical explorers, ornithologists and historians of science.

Guest Post by 420randomness

1845 – Frederick Douglass in Ireland

frederick_douglass_mural_on_the_solidarity_wall_belfast

Tribute to Frederick Douglass on the Solidarity Wall in Belfast , who escaped slavery in 1838 and visited Ireland for a 4 month lecture tour in order to present his autobiography “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave”.

“Perhaps no class has carried this prejudice against colour to a point more extreme and dangerous than have the Irish and yet no people have been more relentlessly persecuted and oppressed on account of race and religion” – Frederick Douglass.

Stair na hÉireann/History of Ireland

In 1845, as Ireland was descending into the despair of the Great Hunger, Frederick Douglass arrived for a four-month lecture tour of the island. Douglass had escaped slavery in Maryland seven years earlier, and had recently published his autobiography Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave. Douglass was greeted in Dublin, Belfast, and Cork by enthusiastic crowds and formed many friendships on his trip, most significantly with Daniel O’Connell, a figure still revered in Ireland today for his role in Catholic emancipation and his fierce opposition to slavery. O’Connell and Douglass shared the stage just once, in September 1845 at a rally in Dublin, but retained a mutual respect and affection until O’Connell’s death less than two years later – and Douglass acknowledged O’Connell’s influence on his philosophy and worldview for the rest of his life.

Belfast media published an article on a speech given by abolitionist…

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“Riddimguide” – The Essential Tool for Reggae Enthusiasts

riddimguideI discovered this handy website a few years back, and it has since become indispensable. riddimguide.com is the world’s largest music database for Reggae music and is a must for anyone with an interest or involvement in the genre.

Riddimguide effectively provides information such as artist, record label, producer and release year for (at the moment of posting) 57793 songs and discographies for 5905 artists, 4867 riddims and 2555 record labels. Just search for the song, artist, riddim name or record label and Riddimguide instantly shows you all the relevant results.  This is ideal if you listen to a song and know the riddim but don’t know the song’s title or artist.  For example, a search on Riddimguide for the “Real Rock” riddim will result in an alphabetical list of all versions of the riddim, with artist, song, year of release and record label info.  I find this to be a unique and amazingly useful feature.  Reversely, one can search for the song title and find out the riddim, artist, year of release and record label, as well as all other songs on the same riddim!

Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 12.42.14 AMCheck it out now at: www.riddimguide.com

“Hallucination and Madness”, an original history essay by rootsnwingz

Note from the author: The present academic paper focuses on the way hallucinations have been perceived and treated by societies from a historical perspective.  As it was originally written in the summer of 2010 for a university class, entitled Madness and Society in Historical Perspective, I would like to take the opportunity to thank my classmates and professors for one of the most interesting and inspiring trips I’ve ever taken academically.

Hallucination and Madness

“I’m not completely sure we aren’t all living in a hallucination now”,
–           Marc Maron

“It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.”
–           Phillip K. Dick

“And how do you know that you’re mad? ‘To begin with,’ said the Cat, ‘a dog’s not mad. You grant that?’ I suppose so, said Alice. ‘Well then,’ the Cat went on, ‘you see a dog growls when it’s angry, and wags its tale when it’s pleased. Now I growl when I’m pleased, and wag my tail when I’m angry. Therefore I’m mad.’”
–           Lewis Carroll

Examining hallucination from a historical perspective is not a pleasant task. Although hallucination is an ancient phenomenon, most societies throughout history have condemned those who courageously admitted to and talked about this sort of experience, be it auditory, as in hearing voices when no sound source exists, or visual, as in seeing things that are not really there. On the other hand, certain cultures accepted hallucinations as meaningful to the individual or the society in whole. But, generally, hallucination was considered a sign of insanity, i.e. a symptom of mental illness, or even the devil’s work and anyone who would claim having such experiences would be labeled mad or possessed.

In my essay, by showing that endogenous etiologies, such as trauma and abuse, have been discovered for hallucination, I will argue that considering it a disorder that could be explained supernaturally was wrong. Further, I will show that as a result of ignoring the physical basis of hallucination, its treatment was immoral, in the sense that people who had hallucinations that they did not understand and that they were scared of, were often deemed insane, whereas a genuinely moral and actually effective attempt to heal them would have aimed at helping them recall the traumatic experience that triggered the hallucinations, accept it as real and face up to it. Obviously, my overview of the history of hallucination and its treatment throughout history cannot be 100% comprehensive. However, I will use a variety of historical cases to forward my argument and to portray the multifaceted nature of hallucination as best as I possibly can. Ultimately, though, the central message I want to impart the reader with is that due to misinformation concerning hallucination and how it worked, serious problems arose in its treatment that persist, to a certain extent, even in modern societies. Continue reading

Video of Aldous Huxley discussing female bosoms !!

Watch the genius philosopher and writer of “Brave New World”, Aldous Huxley, briefly discuss female bosoms from a historical and social / cultural perspective during an interview.  In this rare footage, Huxley makes some insightful and witty points on the subject.   Educational and hilarious at the same time; notice how he’s struggling not to laugh.  I loved how he was smiling good-humoredly as he analyzed the issue…

Can’t believe this only has 100 views on YouTube…

3 Reggae Music Videos with Powerful Images and Lyrics Pertaining to the Slave Trade

Junior Reid – “Same Boat” (2012)

Stephen Marley featuring Capleton & Sizzla – “Rock Stone” (2014)

Chronixx – “Capture Land” (2014)

Watch, Listen and Learn!

To read more on the subject, check out my research paper “Mutiny Aboard the Slave Ships in the 18th century: Implications for the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Gingerbread: The History

Interesting and unique article on the history of gingerbread. Excerpt / Amazing Fact: “The first known gingerbread recipe is from Greece 2400 BC.”

Mediterranean diet

Christmas season is always about cheer. Each family has their own way of celebrating. However, christmas cookies are always involved. Many people make ginger bread cookies and houses during this time of year. But do you know why?

gingerbread_man_ahero

The first known gingerbread recipe is from Greece 2400 BC. In the 10th century and middle ages, gingerbread recipes could be found around China and some places in Europe. Monasteries were one of the first places to make this tasty treat. In German, English, Dutch, and French Medieval fairs, gingerbread was shaped like kings, queens, and animals. Festivals came to be known as Gingerbread Fairs because gingerbread was always served. The gingerbread cookies at this time were called ’fairings.’ In the 16th century, it was sold at farmers’ markets and pharmacies. Ginger is thought to have healing properties such as curing a sick stomach. Queen Elizabeth I is credited with the first…

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Mutiny Aboard the Slave Ships in the 18th century: Implications for the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Original Research Paper written by rootsnwingz 3 years ago on the historical significance of mutiny during the slave trade.  Many thanks to my professor, classmates and the librarians who helped me with my research. 


Mutiny Aboard the Slave Ships in the 18th century: 
Implications for the Transatlantic Slave Trade

mutinyMural painted by Hale Woodruff.

“The trade of slaves is in a more peculiar manner the business of kings, rich men, and prime merchants, exclusive of the inferior sort of Blacks.”
– John Barbot, European Slave Trader (1682)

The present research paper primarily deals with the phenomenon of resistance onboard ships by Africans against their enslavement during what is commonly referred to as the “Middle Passage”, i.e. the voyage across the Atlantic from the West Coast of Africa to the Americas. Insurrections of this kind flourished in the 17th and 18th centuries and had an undeniable impact on numerous aspects of the slave trade, including the slave traders themselves, who were forced to adapt to these new conditions of the transatlantic slave trade.

Therefore, I will make use of primary accounts of mutiny aboard the slave ships from the 18th century with the hopes of gaining a better understanding of its impact on the slave trade. In short, I intend to argue that the slave traders generally considered mutiny as merely a financial setback and thus the adoption of measures to prevent or restrain insurrections became a priority for the management and organization of slave ships. The ultimate point this paper hopes to make is that mutiny had a real effect on the slave trade, in the sense that it made the business of trading slaves more costly and risky for the European traders, which consequently reduced shipments to the New World. Continue reading

“Critical analysis of the concept of the witch”, original essay by rootsnwingz

What is a witch? Most people imagine witches as evil, ugly, old and dangerous women; others associate the word “witch” with magic and depictions of witches as shown in the popular media, e.g. Bewitched, Harry Potter, etc. Regardless of whether the word “witch” has a positive or negative connotation in today’s language, culture and understanding, when one examines witches and their persecution in historical perspective it becomes evident that these stereotypes are misconceptions. In reality, the witch-hunts were a very sad story of injustice and cruelty, involving the vilification and torment of countless innocent women.

The witch hunts took place over many centuries and over both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Therefore, the witch hunts were not uniform; they happened for different reasons and in different societies. Furthermore, the true nature of the witch hunts has been masked by the misinformation, biased superstition and propaganda that has been fed to the public by those groups who were in power and responsible for these massacres. In my view, this is why the word “witch” has a negative connotation in the modern English language. Calling someone a witch is rarely meant as a compliment. Consequently, I hope to demonstrate that it is not analytically sound to generalize about witches and witch hunts for that is what has led to the majority’s confusion about what these women actually were and about what really happened to them.

So were witches real? Yes, that is to say witch beliefs and practices indeed existed. However, not all the people who were killed during the witch hunts were witches. As mentioned above, most of them were innocent of the crimes they were accused of.  This brings us to the meaning of witchcraft.

Witchcraft is a kind of explanatory system –not based on science- used by society to explain natural misfortunes. In other words, witches were the scapegoats , i.e. they were blamed for undermining the world and their sacrifice was not only considered just, but also beneficial for the rest of society. Continue reading

‘Are women treated “egalitarianly” in egalitarian societies?’, an original essay by rootsnwingz

nisa

Members of an egalitarian society are, by definition, considered to be equals, i.e. they have the same status despite their diversity in terms of race, social class, income, or in this case, gender. Therefore, in principle, women in egalitarian societies have an equally important social role and responsibility as men do, or there is a general semblance of equality. In an egalitarian society, both men and women have equal influence and thus have equal opportunity to assume positions of authority. Nevertheless, although hunter-gatherer societies were more egalitarian than today’s segregated socioeconomic cultures, one may still observe differences between men and women’s roles, and even some degree of inequity.

The experiences of women in egalitarian foraging societies as described by Marjorie Shostak in her book, “Nisa, the life and words of a !Kung woman”, testify to a higher degree of gender equality in bushman societies than in non-egalitarian modern ones. However, they also shed some light into why men still managed to assume greater authority in some instances and why their contribution was often valued more than women’s. In spite of these slight gender differences, the author argues that foraging societies were a lot less stratified than today’s market-based societies, where gender hierarchies are prevalent. In other words, she suggests that:

Perhaps the extremes of subordination of women by men found in many of today’s more socioeconomically ‘advanced’ cultures are only a relatively recent aberration in our long, human calendar.” (Shostak 2000, 214)

In my view, the emergence of gender hierarchies is directly related to the shift from hunting and gathering towards a settler’s life and the development of market economies. Continue reading

“Cannabis: Mesopotamia & Egypt”, essay by Conner North

mesopotamia1
Published by the online magazine INITY, this essay explains how ancient hieroglyphics record the medicinal use of cannabis by ancient civilizations. The well written article presents some very informative and important evidence. Here’s an interesting excerpt:

Mesopotamia (3000 BC) & Egypt (2000 BC)

Trickling from ancient China, cannabis made its way to Mesopotamia and Egypt, and only recently, in the 19th and 20th Centuries, has ancient hieroglyphics been deciphered along with cannabis’ medicinal use. As with the ancient Chinese, Mesopotamians and Egyptians overstood and embraced the significance of natural remedies, including cannabis, and were in harmony with their environment and the cosmos.

Our knowledge of ancient medicine is derived almost exclusively from the great library of clay tablets gathered throughout history. Roughly 30,000 fragments of ancient Mesopotamian and Egyptian clay tablets exist, which may have well numbered over 100,000 when complete.


papyrus
Throughout Mesopotamian tablets and Egyptian scrolls, similar references are made to the medicinal use of cannabis as a remedy for:

Acute pain
Fever
Trench foot/gout/sore feet
Inflammation
Gynecological disorders
Colorectal illness
Serosity
Bacteria

It’s interesting to note some of the ancient medicinal uses of cannabis are the same as today’s conditions that enable eligibility to get a red card (in Colorado and some other states) and become a legal MMJ patient, like acute, or chronic, pain.

While medical technology and philosophy has evolved leaps and bounds and epic discoveries have been made, as we technologically advance, it’s hard to ignore the detachment from the environment and nature that comes with these advancements. Granted, we shouldn’t be heading back to the Stone Age anytime soon, medically speaking, but in retrospect and in comparison to ancients, we have lost touch with naturalness. Plants and other natural elements were used by ancients to combat medical issues that we still face today.

For the full article go to: http://inityweekly.com/mmj-mesopotamia-egypt/

To view an original Assyrian tablet with a translation listing cannabis as a natural remedy for treating bruises and swelling click here: http://antiquecannabisbook.com/chap2B/Assyria/K6261.htm

“Can Jamaica still claim reggae music as its own? “, opinion article by Shereita Grizzle from the Jamaica Gleaner

midnite2

Excerpt:
Midnite and I-Grade Records have built upon the foundation of roots reggae a truly authentic and more evolved sound that is all their own. They are an absolute original and their music is on a much higher level intellectually than reggae. Dermot Hussey explained in ‘Midnite In The Belly of The Beast’ “I think lyrically they have changed the form of the reggae song. Intellectually they are way in advance of the mostly simple messages of traditional reggae.” They are also the most prolific band in reggae and have been for at least the past 15 years.

So no, Jamaica can no longer claim reggae music as its own. I agree with Professor Carolyn Cooper who says “[s]o we’ve given reggae music to the world. But sometimes we act as if reggae was stolen from us.” Jamaica should stand proud for they gave the world a very soulful and spiritual music which continues to touch the lives of people all over the world. But reggae music now belongs to those who choose to be caretakers of the music, wherever they are.

Read full article, by clicking on the link below:

Can Jamaica still claim reggae music as its own?.

To read the full researched historical account of the band Midnite, entitled ‘Midnite In The Belly of The Beast’, visit: http://inityweekly.com/midnite-in-the-garden-of-good-and-evil-part-1/ and http://inityweekly.com/midnite-in-the-garden-of-good-and-evil-part-2/

Gentleman ft. Marlon Roudette – “Big City Life” (MTV Unplugged)

German reggae singer Gentleman and British / Vincentian Marlon Roudette of Mattafix sing the 2005 hit song “Big City Life” by Mattafix on MTV Unplugged. Amazing version of a timeless song performed by a full string and wind instrument orchestra, featuring the legendary Dean Fraser on the sax. A big collaboration!

Check it out here:

Joseph Hill, Culture interview, West Indian World Newspaper, 1982

Yesterday I wrote a bit on Joseph “Culture” Hill and his son Kenyatta. Here’s an awesome, rare interview with Joseph Hill in 1982 I just found on the midnightraver blog!

Midnight Raver

Give thanks to MIDNIGHT RAVER’S Peter van Arnhem for this most crucial contribution.

The article finds Joseph Hill in London in September 1982. Joseph talks about the split in the group, about the death of Bob Marley, about the song “Tribute to the O.M.” (album Lion Rock) and about Rasta.

After the album Lion Rock 4 years went by before Joseph Hill reunited with original members Kenneth Dayes and Albert Walker and recorded the album Çulture in Culture.

culture article

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