Tuesday, October 25, 2005

For what it's worth

I was sad to hear of Rosa Parks’ death today, although I am sure she is one individual who got the absolute most out of her 92 years. It is a tragedy when these people who forged a path for equal rights in America die, because we lose a living memory of the way things were. Seemingly, Ms. Parks did a simple thing – she refused to move because she felt she had just as much right as any other human being to sit where she wanted. But her “civil disobedience” was a resounding cry heard around America, teaching us, reminding us, that people are people, no matter what race, sexuality, religion, culture, gender – the list can go on and on.

Recently, it seems I have been inundated from all sides with racial hatred. From the ubiquitousness of media and blog stories about the so-called Prussian Blue twins, issues of American immigration, and the concerns of Greek nationalists about the increasing numbers of immigrants and the decline of Greek blood (for examples of ongoing Greek arguments, read the posts and comments found on this link in Seawitch’s blog). It saddens me, this suggestion that some people are in some way better than others. That some bloodlines deserve propagation more than others. That the dying of the white, European race would mark the decline of mankind. That miscegenation is considered “anti-evolutionary”. That immigrants from certain areas of the world don’t deserve a better life, a better chance, in European or American society.

What dictated this white supremacist notion? What made the white man decide that he was better than anyone else? Is it because, seemingly, Europe flourished in civilization before Africa? That Africans and American Indians were trusting enough of the white man they allowed themselves to be enslaved and overtaken by him? That the white man was willing to forsake all semblance of humanity to conquer the world and take it’s resources?

I am willing to concede that immigration has taken its toll on America and European countries. The burden of these refugees should be a world problem, not beset on each individual country by decrees of the so-called “United Nations”. We should do more to advance and make peace in these suffering countries, so fewer people feel the need to flee. We should do more to prosecute the people who exploit the hungry and the desperate, taking all their money for a long journey across seas they may not survive. We should do more to provide countries with resources and funds to help house asylum seekers, instead of asking already cash-poor countries to do it on their own. We should work harder to find the best solutions, instead of publishing reports on what immigrant receiving countries are doing wrong.

In terms of evolution and anti-evolution, how can we be so sure that the blending of all races and peoples isn’t what is intended? Perhaps we need to mix the best and worse of the world all together to make the human race as strong as it can possibly be to face an uncertain future. We know, scientifically, that procreation within a family makes for weaker genes. Look at how weak some breeds of dogs get when constantly bred amongst each other. Perhaps, then, miscegenation makes for stronger genes. At any rate, how can we possibly know for sure? Perhaps the propagation of the white race will lead to our demise, not our strength.

For the white supremacists, who might call me a “Jew lover” or a “nigger lover” or a “chink lover”, why do you say that as if it is an insult? Since when has having love and compassion for another human being been a negative thing? It is love and compassion that will save the world, not hate. Your hate will destroy us all.

May we all remember the words and actions of Rosa Parks, and think, in turn, about how we treat others.

“Speaking in 1992, Mrs Parks said of her famous bus protest: "The real reason of my not standing up was I felt that I had a right to be treated as any other passenger. We had endured that kind of treatment for too long."


The SeaWitch said...

After reading nothing but posts full of hatred, xenophobia and paranoid delusions, it was such a refreshing change to read your tribute to a modern-day heroine. Someone who defied government and societal sanctioned oppression. The world needs more people like her. I'd like to think she left the world a better place than when she found it. Unfortunately, all you have to do is read the convoluted posts on my blog to see that there are still too many who wish to re-install racial hatred.

I can't believe there are still people out there whose only claim to fame is being born. Anyone alive or dead has already pulled that off that non-event. There's nothing "special" about it. It's what you do with your life after your first day on the planet that counts. And Rosa certainly made a difference with hers.

(I was about to highlight sections of your blog which I agreed with but then I realized I was copying the entire blog. LOL It was a pleasure to read.)

deviousdiva said...

To Rosa Parks and to all those who stand up to injustice. I wish I could be half as brave. Half as just. Half as wise.

Rosa Parks is part of American history, (of world history actually), not just black history,
She lived in a good and simple way, believing in the rights of all of us.She did more to change the way we think about human rights than any of us could ever hope to.

To an inspiration. I will hold you in high estemm, for simply doing something that some of us could never dream of doing.

Hi Sea Witch, You have opened a can of worms. I think that there has been a gathering of a tiny minority on your post. However, hatred can never win. it killed too many people but never won.

I am saddened and hurt, everyday, reading the comments on THAT post. (I in NO WAY blame you, BTW) But in a strange way, I get stronger. Knowing that I have to be more informed, actually, better, than those who would get rid of us if they could.

I get sad and angry and resigned and again angry, but Rosa never did stop. From that first act. And neither can we.

The SeaWitch said...

Diva...The posts on my blog have also offended me personally (for exactly the same reasons they offend you) but I believe in the adage that if you give someone enough rope, they will eventually hang themselves. And that's what's happening. With lucid posts such as yours, Mel's, Thanos', Ellas', Flux's and several others, these hatemongers will not assume the upper hand in any of their misguided quasi-debates.

A woman like Rosa stuck up for her rights as a human being and she faced certainly a lot more discrimination than I will ever know. If she could do it, we all can. When my son came home one day from school after his first bout with 10 year old racists last year, I sat him down and showed him just how much ordinary people can do. Rosa's name was the first one I told him about. She embodied the spirit and heart of the civil rights movement in the US. Although my son never met her, he thinks she was, in his own words, a 'very brave lady'.

Paul Revere said...

Rosa Parks is a heroine.

I am living in a good area, good balance, blacks whites and mixed black white. However my concern reaches outbounds. Some hispanics have moved next door and a few houses down below. I was visited by a Mr Elizario Villaverde, a Salvadorean with a nice ( nice looking broad, pesky and orotund with a well rounded base) wife and after an introductory exchange Don Elizario made an offer for my home. He blustered in paltry English, or Spanglish that if I don't sell, I'll feel crowded because the hispanics have targeted the neighbourhood as being an excellent venue for them to bring other families from El Salvador. Don Elizario claimed that La Reconquista is taking place and that is a short while before the entire area becomes huspanic.

I am at a loss of what to do. At the same time some propaganda by antimmigrationist lobbies are raining in our neighbourhood.

I find myself encrusted in a pincer movement. The Reconquista lobby pressuring me to leave, and the anti immigrationist lobby pouring their advertisement advising me to stay put and on how to protect our neighbourhoods.

The way I see it is that I'll move. I hope that I'll find places to move. It is begining to feel as if I am running away from hurricanes and tornadoes.

BallAndDust said...

Diva, Mel, and Seawitch,

I've been watching that trainwreck on Seawitch's blog for quite some time.

I wonder when did philoxenia morph into gamoxenia.

I am disturbed by the hatred exhibited my a number of Greeks towards the immigrants. Being Greek Orthodox, I question their devoutness to our Church, as the Church does not preach this kind of hatred. But that is a place I do not wish to go, as I have already done it in the past with "hellenicnationalist", a true anti-semitic, xenophobic, hypocritical misogynist. That argument started by one of his posts criticizing women where I stated that as an Orthodox Christian, I found the tone of his post disturbing. That certainly did not go well! But I digress.

We all know that Greece has a lot of problems. But Greece has always had a lot of problems, none of which (even today) can be attributed to immigration, both legal and illegal. Looking back at modern Greek history (i.e., since independence), I see few leaders who have left Greece in a state better in which they found it. Illegal immigration is a problem, as are asylum seekers. These are additional financial burdens on the Greek state, though they pale in comparison to the defence spending (if I'm not mistaken, Greece is #5 in terms on the list of military loan recipients from the US) and the debt assumed from the Olympics, and quite simply poor/irresponsible financial policies and scandals that have plagued almost every regime.

All too often in Greece, nationalism has been used to distract the masses against the bigger problems. While I feel that the legal immigration should be reduced in numbers and asylum seekers should be sent to the countries of their former colonial occupiers (after all, Greece is not responsible for the instability in the Middle East or Africa), I will freely criticize Greece for its lack of humanity in dealing with these people. Greece must also get its finances together and stop playing numbers games with the EU. Knowing my people, I know they are capable of doing this, but I wonder what it will take for them to have to will to actually do it. The Greeks must solve their own problems, come to terms with the past, and build a brigher future by themselves, period.

And finally, to all three of you, I would like you to know that I welcome to my mother's country.


BallAndDust said...

last paragraph should read "I welcome you to my mother's country."


melusina said...

Thanks Kosta. This type of nationalistic supremacy bothers me no matter where it comes from. It just seems I got too big of a dose between America and Greece for the last week. It is rather hard to bear.

I actually WAS wondering about the Greek Orthodox opinion of this type of behavior. It seems extremely anti-Christian to me.

Greece has a lot of potential, and a lot of problems. Obviously, it seems the same can be said for most of the rest of the world. I hope all the problems can be overcome, somehow, some way. I hope that Greece, and Europe, can prosper. But hatred is not the way.

BallAndDust said...

Hatred is certainly not the way.

Those who tout the supremacy of the Greeks do not know their own history. Yes, in ancient times, our ancestors made some of the most significant contributions to the world (of course, other civilizations contributed as well).

Let us focus on the Civil War for a moment. My papou was tortured simply because he was against the oppression under the rightist regime (I belive I inherited the "big mouth" gene from him). He almost paid with his life for exposing a rightist who was embezzling funds from a road project (he was arrested since he had socialist views and the man found out that he was in the prison. This man said openly that he was going to kill my papou, and the word spread quickly enough for him to hide).

Some of the violence during the Civil War had nothing to do with the alleged fight between communism and "freedom" (the Communist movement was largely driven by a desire for change from the oppression that existed under Metaxas). In the part of Greece that was occupied by the Italians, a woman turned down a marriage proposal. Angry at being rejected, this pathetic excuse of a man then lied to the Italians, telling them that her family was hiding weapons for the resistance, for which they were severely punished. This started a vendetta that went back and forth with each side killing members of each other's family, INCLUDING children.

I wonder how these abominations can make any claim to being a descendant of Pericles, Socrates, Leonidas, Plato, etc. when this is how we behave. We have committed countless atrocities against our own Greek brothers and sisters. And we call others "Barbarians"?

For a period of time in ancient Athens, there existed a society not dictated by the pursuit of riches, but rather wisdom (true philosphia). It is this society in which Greeks and non-Greeks alike should draw inspiration to solve our complex problems.