INDIGNATION Beyond the Pale
S. Brian Willson / Facebook
(November 17, 2021) — Bartolomé de las Casas, a Spanish priest who arrived in Hispaniola in 1502, became known as the “Apostle of the Indians”. He was shocked witnessing the unspeakable terror inflicted on the peaceful Indigenous inhabitants. He described the Spaniards’ behavior: vicious search for wealth with “dreadful . . . unlimited close-fisted avarice” inflicting “inhumanities and barbarisms . . . as no age can parallel” in “a continuous recreational slaughter, cruelty never before seen, nor heard of, nor read of”. The Indigenous, he said, possessed no vocabulary to even describe such bestiality. (Note: Las Casas did not possess the same affinity for Blacks)
I am a formally educated, privileged working class White male. I learned lots of shocking truths from my Viet Nam and other military experiences, and many subsequent experiences around the world. And with great angst and frustration, I confess such intense indignation at the behavior of the country of my birth and conditioning — the United States of Atrocities (USA) — I struggle to discover ANY word in the English language that can even come close to describing it. That many of the empires in history exhibited similar shameful history is just a footnote for me.
The USA, we were told was different – born and living on a golden hill. My Christian White ancestors utilized an incredibly successful denial trick of claiming exceptionalism. Puritan John Winthrop’s 1630 sermon, “A Model of Christian Charity”, has become an axiom for US American Exceptionalism: “For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill, the eyes of all people are upon us”.
Living with a supreme view of the world, hiding from the shame of two gruesome genocides, has endowed us White folks with a totally fake identity. Mine collapsed very quickly in Viet Nam, where despite memorizing the US Rules of War in my training that prohibited the targeting of civilians or civilian infrastructure, I witnessed such barbarism of civilians and their infrastructure, that when all was said and done, an average of 1,700 Southeast Asians were being murdered EVERY DAY. And more than 60 percent of all villages (13,000 of 21,000) in North and South Viet Nam were DESTROYED by bombing, artillery, or ground operations.
Could I have possibly been part of such insanity and cruelty? Yes, of course, I was a typically brainwashed good “American” boy. Thankfully there were may others who could see through the propaganda and became resistors.
What is striking is that for 20 generations of de facto or de jure apartheid White Eurocentric arrogant rule, the cultural behavioral characteristics of the USA have been consistent – savage and sadistic, violent and vindictive, destroyer and deceiver, cruel and crooked. What?! How can this be? Fake identity.
I have been living in Nicaragua for five years, a beautiful and revolutionary country, and now I am able to study and personally experience the latest forms of demonic US imperialism — incredible lying through a carefully controlled narrative spread in lockstep by social and mass media about the repression and authoritarian rule in Nicaragua. And economic sanctions on top of punitive sanctions. But life on the ground in Nicaragua is exactly the opposite of the tightly controlled narrative. Not repressive and not authoritarian. But defiant of US requirements to cry neoliberal US Uncle.
But much of the US and European population, including the Left — scholars, historians, activists, clergy — have succumbed to the constant Goebbels principle that if a lie is told often enough, it becomes accepted as the “truth”. Just amazing.
I am sick in my stomach for periods of most days in my 81st year. My dreams of a popular consciousness revolution in the USA have never come to pass. Soon, I will join the Earth’s micro-organisms very sad, but happy to be nourishment for the little creatures that are the foundation for life on the Planet.