knowledge knocks but once

Thu, 23 Jun 1994 05:37:37 EDT


Classical formulations of *ubuhake* are by now useful primarily in
comparative-historical comparisons of cattle-serfdom in, say, Ireland
in the tribal society through Christian Ireland to the ninth century.
(Which I mentioned before, B. Graber thought it worth taking up, nobody
took it up.)

Rwandans and Burundians have now assimilated <ugh> Modern Western racism,
fascism, and genocide. Hutu racist-fascists in Rwanda, where the race-caste-
hierarchy fell in the Revolution of 1962. Burundi's version, not as rigorous
at the time as Rwanda's, survived. One political scientist in 1962 told his
class, back in 1962, that Ntare V of Rwanda was in effect a Bad King, while
Mwami (King) Mwambutsa IV of Burundi was a Good King. Preemptive genocide
against Hutu who might have got Ideas - those who could read, for example -
occurred in Burundi in 1967, 1973 (300,000 dead), and November-December 1993
(100,000 dead). Monarchies gave way to military coups and officer cliques;
these, in turn, to civilians with merely nominal control of expensive
military (Burundi got Chinese aid for a while, forget who's the bankroller
now; Rwanda had a French-trained army of 40,000 which ran from RPF, Tutsi
guerrillas - trained and supplied by Uguanda's Yoweri Museveni who was
paying off a politcal IOU for Tutsi exiles, 2,000 of them, supporting his
liberation war against Milton Obote, and after the later fell, against Tito

Hutu, the dominant people in Rwanda, of course, had the luxury of dissatis-
faction with the racist-fascist bunch of thieves in power, who used racism
to stay where they were. That the presidents of both Rwanda and Burundi both
died in the same plane crash April 8 let loose Paranoia that must be imagined
to arrive at an underestimate.

Tutsi genuinely, seriously accept - generalizations about whole peoples
holding racist stereotypes should be caveatted to death of course - that
they are taller than Hutu (height is a biological dominance signal, and
is more "natural" - whatever "natural" means if Brown Rice is also Natural -
is a racist superiority legitimizer than skin color, a matter of opinion if
you haven't been conquered by, or better never heard of, the whiteman. (King
Saul was "head and shoulders above the people." That's why he was elected in
an admittedly rigged election as King of Israel. All power to the New York
Knicks, then. You don't like the way this is going, *you* say something
sane, rational, reasonable, and Serious about racist craziness.) I've seen
no recent statistics on respective mean heights, t-tests on means, or
such. Tutsi also affect that their noses are pointier, Hutu noses are flatter;
they were Nilotics who migrated south in the seventeenth century (First I
heard of their mythic conquering past, it was the fifteenth century.), carved
out conquest states which brought Serious Government to the Hutu.

Upon looking at a photo of what was captioned as a mixed crowd of frantic
Tutsi and Hutu, I could not perceive any obvious basis for the racist
stereotypes, though there was frantic fear across ethnic lines for sure.

Our current ignorance is symptomatic of the deterioration of Africa
as a whole, even oil-exporting countries, during the moving-in-for-the-kill
phase of the Cold War, under Reagan, and post-Cold-War, under Bush, continuing
under the present incumbent, Bush with a human? no, anthropoid, face. The
one, you know, who wants to revive the Peculiar Institution for black women
screwing without a licence; but not applicable to himself. Equal Injustice
Under Law as promised by the Statute of Limitations in New York Harbour, I'm
incredibly sickened tonight.

Knowledge is the suit of new clothes of power. Our ignorance has social
and political-economic roots. Where the powerful have no interests, those
interested in Learning and Truth find more interesting things to be interested
in. With no other superpower, who needs Area Studies, at least in the former
Volume. There is so much to be cynical about.

I wouldn't bother burning the flag by this time for lack of interest. In
effect This Is Our Fault in that, given the history of capitalism and its
coexistence with a state system, each state having an Empire of colonies
official and otherwise, the Imperialism of One Empire, like the sound of
one hand clapping, is Undefined. It should have been predictable, but wasn't,
the theorists were and still are Out To Lunch, that the collapse of the rival
Empire would result, not in any New World Order, but the end of the internal-
disciplining of the ex-Free World, the US no longer concerned to have its
weaker states shape up. And bereft of a rival ruling ideology, lousy as the
old one was though not as bad in principle as in execution, those who in
former days of yore would have been socialists and revolutionaries reverted
to the System Default, which is Nationalism, including its less pleasant
variants, fascism, racism, militarism, genocidal hate.

De Fault is ours. Worse is to come. There are lots of little countries
nobody really cares about who isn't there. Creepy horror without end. Use
your imagination, see how much worse the observed results are. (Hands off
Korea, we did that place already.)

Daniel A. Foss <as senseless as the outside world>