history is a weapon

Today is the Queens big Jubilee party day.

And I don't want to talk about it.

I don't want to see another Union Jack rammed into my direct or periphery vision. I don't want to play any more. The whole unadulterated spectacle of manipulating subjects into believing they are civilians, masking harsh austerity measures with another royal escapade, dressing the event up in nationalism and patriotism and passing it off as what the people want/ need /can't live without. A big pretense to unite Benedict Andersons 'imagined community'; bringing together the sovereign with the modern nation state. Binding the state, the queen and the subject-come citizen in some kind of politically motivated forced capitalist marriage.

However, I will talk about what Jubilee really means. See point 4. 

ju·bi·lee n.
a. A specially celebrated anniversary, especially a 50th anniversary.
b. The celebration of such an anniversary.
2. A season or an occasion of joyful celebration.
3. Jubilation; rejoicing.
4. often Jubilee Bible In the Hebrew Scriptures, a year of rest to be observed by the Israelites every 50th year, during which slaves were to be set free, alienated property restored to the former owners, and the lands left untilled.
5. often Jubilee Roman Catholic Church A year during which plenary indulgence may be obtained by the performance of certain pious acts.

So to celebrate I have been reading Howard Zinn's 'A Peoples History of the United States'. Sat here, with my eyes and ears firmly shut to the ringing imperialism of the royal family, I am reading horrific stories of massacre, of slavery, of racism. I am reading of the brutal and unrelenting acts of the 'pioneers' of the new world. Who, for Queen and country, transported Black African slaves from continent to continent, trading, abusing, branding, starving, suffocating and killing thousands upon thousands of human beings. 

"By 1800, 10 to 15 million blacks had been transported as slaves to the Americas, representing perhaps one-third of those originally seized in Africa. It is roughly estimated that Africa lost 50 million human beings to death and slavery in those centuries we call the beginnings of modern Western civilization, at the hands of slave traders and plantation owners in Western Europe and America, the countries deemed the most advanced in the world."

There is a lot to be said about slavery. There is a lot left unsaid concerning slavery. Coming from a city in the UK that reaped a substantial percentage of it's wealth from the slave trade makes me question the big gap we have in our historical education. The main trade of sugar cane, tobacco, rum and cocoa were all products of the slave trade. But slavery and empire are sidelined at school for a tempered history of the United States of America, the development of medicine and punishment and World War 2. Colonisation had barely entered my vocabulary until I started university aged 21. History is a weapon that can be used for many a purpose. And often, that purpose is to shield truth from the many, hegemonically blurring the line between subject and citizen until the current situation is accepted as truth. Common sense. What else could it possibly be?

History is a Weapon. Read more about it.

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