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Reflections on a Royal Funeral.



I happen to believe that the only threat to the human community that we haven't solved is violence. We know what to do about everything else - disease, global warming, hunger. We may not have the political will to solve these problems, but we know how to solve them if and when we choose.


We don't know what to do about violence, either personal or state-organized violence, and the latter promotes the former. Most of the state-organized violence we have is occasioned by racism which was basically invented by the British Anglicans when they looted half the world and created the modern colonial system now referred to as the 'Commonwealth.' Isn't that nice? The Commonwealth.


More times than I can count, Elizabeth visited the Commonwealth countries where she would be greeted by the local political toadies as some kind of saint, with all the bowing, scraping, and kneeling which goes along when we greet a saint. Most of these local leaders were Black, Elizabeth was White. So, there we had it every time - the Black kneeling to the White.


England wasn’t the only European country to go around the world to see what goods and resources could be robbed and taken back home. Spain stole gold from Peru, Portugal plundered Africa’s West Coast, Germany set up a colonial regime on Africa’s East Coast, France stole rubber from Southeast Asia, the Dutch took Indonesia, and everyone grabbed a piece of China where they could.


But no Western country pillaged the world the way the British went about doing it, including the way the British Crown divvied up the territory which later became known as the United States.


I happen to live ten miles away from a large, wooded area known as the Montague Plateau, a 1,750-acre preserve near the town of Turners Falls. It was first settled by the Nipmuc Indians who hunted, fished, and raised corn. The Indians developed a burn-over practice for keeping the land fertile but burning was disallowed once the area was opened up for private land ownership by the colonial regime.


At some point an Indian delegation actually showed up in a colonial court and asked that their Plateau land be restored to them because they had been depending on it for sustenance for God knows how many years. The court asked them to prove their claim by producing a property deed which of course the Indians didn’t have. So, the judges told the Indians to go f**k themselves and that was the end of that.


Sorry, but I just don't buy the sainted portrait of the modern British monarchy. I have been in former British colonies in Africa where people come to the local hospital and try to pay for medical treatments by trading a goat and where sutures are washed after they are removed from someone's skin so they can be used again.


I once walked into a country club in Rhodesia (as it was then called) and was offered a seat next to the swimming pool while some Black waiter came scurrying up with lemonade for me to drink. Of course, no Blacks were allowed anywhere near the pool except to clean it out after the White country-club members went for their daily swim.


I was in an Arab village on the West Bank where the villagers were living in one room, cinder-block shacks which still had the UNRRA initials on the outside walls. This was in 1997, only 50 years after these people were thrown off their farms and relocated on the West Bank because the British drew a line through Palestine and decided that Jews should live on one side of the line and Arabs on the other side.


Around the time he was trying to get Reagan not to go to Bitburg, I asked Eli what he thought was the reason why an educated, literate people like the Germans could have fallen for Hitler's racist nonsense and here was his response: "People are always afraid of 'the other.' They can always be made to fear people who aren't like them."


That’s what racism’s all about. We are different from ‘them’ because we are superior to ‘them.’


I had a friend, now deceased, named Erica Jesselson. She was married to Ludwig Jesselson who was one of the founders of the trading firm which eventually became Salomon Brothers. The Jesselsons were donors to Eli Wiesel's foundation. Erica was one of a group of Jewish girls who were allowed to leave Germany in 1940 after their parents paid a premium to the Nazi Government for their release. She never saw any member of her family again.


Erica was raised by a British-Jewish family, somehow emigrated to the USA when she was in her early 20's where she met and married Luddie and had a very nice life. Know why her story was so remarkable? Because this little group of Jewish girls were the only Jews allowed into England after Hitler came to power in 1933. Was there one peep out of the British royal house questioning this exclusionary policy while it was being enforced?



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