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Books and Remembrance

does anyone recall the kid on the tracks?

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, August 24, 1994.

I am halfway through writing a book that last week I was pretty sure I was nearly done with. It has been annoying, as all books are, and so I have to warn you this is not the usually sparkling breath of new life you are used to hearing at this time. I am, how to say it, crabby. Nay, well nigh incensed.

Partially, this is do to the fact that I have spent a lot of time finding that Native Americans are absolutely not particularly distinct from any other people, and that taken out of ridiculous time increments of 100 years people are often at the exact same rank of advancement as anyone else. In short, studying history and being honest does not lend itself to racist conclusions or chest thumping. But my research indicates that there are entities, all scholastic, who have lots of interest in making sure that people are kept distinct, apparently until all thesis topics are exhausted. I won’t bore you with the details, but just let's say that if all the graduate students and professors were, oh I don’t know, vaporized tomorrow, it would be difficult to contend that the world’s trove of knowledge was in significant danger.

That said, I have to say I was listening to NPR yesterday and the NAACP fiasco emerged. Benjamin Chavez, who compares himself with Christ and the Crucifixion, has been fired, partially because he panders to elements not terribly rational, like Louis Farrakan and the Nation of Islam, whose leaders periodically assassinate each other, by word or deed. The real reason he was shoved out is because he used hundreds of thousands of dollars of the NAACPs money to buy off a woman who was suing him for sexual harassment. With no hint of embarrassment, Chavez led an old style revival, complete with hallelujahs, to pat the situation into shape for those with no shame. Like so many of the traditional gatherings of Black Americans, his press conference might be mistaken for a male potency ritual.

I noticed that because I have been applying this observation to so many religious and political gatherings in the United States. Whether religious leader or Al Sharpton, black Americans have been in the unfortunate position for years of having to vote or pray according to public acclamation. Chavez, accused of sexual harassment, sees nothing the matter with a revival meeting with attractive women behind him yelling hallelujah and applauding his self service. It may be that the NAACP is nothing more than a bunch of black yuppies, but it paid its debts previous to Chavez.

In other news, or non-news, the WWII half century celebrations have been remarkably short of observance for the veterans of the Pacific war. Partly, this is because the war against the Japanese, now an important alley, was racist war, and it is quite difficult to celebrate in politically correct form such a war. However, just for comparison, when Iwo Jima was invaded more men were killed than on D-Day in Europe, and the battle for Okinawa was the bloodiest of the war in either Theater for the United States. The Kamikazes, for the record, started fifty years ago. They sank thirty ships, including a small aircraft carrier, and damaged 300 others, including major ships that had to be abandoned. As a weapon, it was the most effective naval weapon ever devised.

And while various nations celebrate their victory or observe their defeat, let's spare a moment for the victims of the greatest war, where more people were killed than any other. It is racist to say that WWII started in 1939 with the invasion of Poland. It started in 1933 with the invasion of China by Japan. How many millions died in that poor nation fighting for about fifteen years cannot be determined, although it could well be higher than any other nation, maybe over Russia’s 20 million. China received the first civilian aerial bombing, the first modern enslavement of civilians for rape, impregnation, and - separately - medical experiments until enough American pilots were available. How many millions of Asiatics were systematically slaughtered by the Japanese cannot even begin to be guessed at, but it must have been huge. Korea, Vietnam, China, Malaysia, each lost more civilians than the United States lost soldiers. Is anyone remembering them? Is a single flag at half mast somewhere for those people, while the US weeps over its comparatively minor losses?