Monday, January 9, 2012

13 What the February 18 Referendum means for Latvia.

The forces of stagnation in Latvia are on the campaign trail again. The head and chief supporter of a stagnant Latvian government no doubt is Arnis Cimdars, Chief of the Voting Commission.

At the time of the previous Referendum on the dismissal of the Saeima, I argued that next to “Yes” and “No”, there also ought to be a third window or box to mark with a “Not-Vote”’; in short, the voter is given the opportunity to opt out of the oligarch enclosed system that dominates Latvia.

Cimdars deemed any such suggestion as a betrayal of the system. He hardly has the smarts to perceive that the system he is supporting is a “Dead End”. The latest referendum—to be held on February 18th—illustrates just how Dead End the current Latvian government is.

While the origin of the Referendum is the successful campaign of the Russian population to gather signatures for the recognition of the Russian language as a minority language in Latvia, the Referendum does not mention the Russian language at all.
Instead, the Referendum is now formulated in a way that does not allows for changes in the Latvian Constitution. In other words, if one votes “For” (ostensibly recognizing Russian as a minority language in Latvia), one is also voting “Against” any changes in the Constitution.

Wnile the “no changes” in the Constitution are said to affect only the first four Amendments, a vote “Against” is a vote for a Dogmatic and closed system. An “Against” vote is building a dam, behind which will build up so much silt, that an eventual bursting of the dam is inevitable. This is as dangerous to the “renewed” Latvian State as was the near exclusive Right Wing original Latvian State (there was no Left Wing to mitigate the draconian changes instituted by the Soviets).

While, on the whole, I am a supporter of the original State system of Latvia, including the Ulmanis regime (I have condemned Ulmanis for his failure to sacrifice himself for Latvia, even as he presumed to seize monopoly power over the State), the “renewed” system of the government is no less closed than, the “pre-” and “in situ-” Ulmanis governments.

Though I have said that I will wait until the time when I am in the voting booth before deciding whether I vote “For” or “Against”, at the present, I believe that the necessity for changes in the Latvian Constitution are a question of do or die for Latvia. Therefore, the tilt that the Referendum (as is) invites is:

1.     a “For” vote;
2.     also a “not-vote”, because it increases the chances for changing the Latvian Constitution, with all of the Amendments for reconsideration;
3.     An “Against” vote will create a mute and zombie-like Latvian State.
One of the reconsiderations for the Constitution which I support is opting out of the European Union (now in the process of collapsing), and the reestablishment of Latvia’s sovereignty, which the “renewed” post-Soviet Latvian government surrendered to Brussels and the banks. This ought to be part of a changed 1st Amendment).

As for the Latvian language, I am sure it will stay the dominant language in Latvia, if only because it is also in the interests of Latvian-Russians that it remain so .

Incidentally, I have a new BLOGSPOT. See:
of course the "my" is used only because "the" was unavailable.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I have a new BLOGSPOT. See:
13 Traveling “To Be There”, but Not As A Tourist

The Romanizing virus or Wealth virus began in the West, and was also rife to spread through various other centers rife for “oligarchic civilizations”. In my previous blog, I wrote about its source as being the king’s relatives, whom the king, in order to rid himself of rivals, found “jobs” in “cultural and spiritual” institutions, which the king founded for his otherwise unemployed heirs.

Much of the naked aggression against the spiritual and cultural leaders of an earlier era has by now been covered by layers of censorship, many book burnings, many false historians. Though covered up fingerprints may on occasion be recovered by the application of certain chemical dusts or liquids, it is a tedious job. The job may also be delayed by design, by withholding funds for investigatory work. In a country like Latvia, history is a “well known unknown”. Such history of Latvia as was written during its nationalist heyday, is by now over half a century old, and history professors are by design kept political reactionaries, because the “worn out” histories they teach are kept such as they are by making a history professor’s tenure ever insecure and dependent of the largesse of oligarchs. Academics are, on the whole, intolerant of each other’s views, because the monies available to keep them in their job are scarce. If a view ever becomes established and “main-stream”, it is becomes near impossible to dislodge.
One element able to break down academic reactionism in our time is the availability of information on the internet. This permits laymen to replace the academic conformists. While never easy, such a displacement of academics is taking place today. This author, too, is happy to be bringing fresh ideas into the arena, where reactionism has been the rule for many decades. While breaking through academic resistance is no easy job, it does take place, if only because alternate theories of history and pathways that history took are as interesting as they are fresh describing new analytic possibilities of how these took place.

Because our own day is so filled with violence, it is easier to persuade people of how violence “worked” in days gone by. This state of affairs allows for the suggestion that “violence” is an artifice of oligarchies. This is why it is possible for violence to suggest that “non-violence” must play a greater role in combating violence, the violent ones then arguing with so much more energy that their doings are  “non-violent”.

It cannot be denied that the Baltic and Old Russia regions experienced a major episode of violent intimidations at about the 9th to 11th centuries OE. The mass graves of this experience have not been found or located, which is one reason why the present system, built on the “good news” violence claims to be bringing, escapes a direct challenge and makes possible for the establishment to argue that ill effects of such violence left no long-lasting ill effects, and that the present government is, therefore, healthy.

So what was the actual violence brought against proto-Latvians and proto-Russians like? I will go for an example of what the Real role of violence is to Central America at about the 15th century. Because the Aztec civilization is so far from Europe, the violent elements of our own civilization are not as repressive about the information of how violence works at far-away places.

Writes David Carrasco in his book “City of Sacrifice”:

“From this campaign, 2,300 warriors were brought to Tenochtidan and, reflecting the two quotations [One here: “More can be said for the thesis that all orders and forms of authority in human society are founded on institutionalized violence.—Walter Burkertk Homo Necans.”] that opened this chapter, they were sacrificed while the king initiated the ritual killing.” (p. 76)

In short the “wealth” or “oligarch” virus marches on.

No lesser violence took place in Eastern and Central Europe, as the cousins of Aztecs from the European West mistook Byzantium for Jerusalem, and because their mythology did not recognize either Jersika or Byzantium as their imaginary Jerusalem, they could and did slaughter the people of Jersika and Byzantium at will. They only let up, when the indigenous people agreed to the removal of activist John and his replacement with passivist Jesus.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

12 Traveling “To Be There”, but Not As A Tourist

When I began about the “wealth virus” and claimed it was introduced about the 9th century, at least one reader refused to believe that the first oligarchs were the brothers and cousins of the kings in the 9th century or that the oligarchs of today could have inherited the virus—or have been colonized by it—from the king’s favored. It seemed unbelieveable to the reader that compulsion to amass wealth could be at least 11 centuries old and as deadly and worse than the H5N1 bird flu virus.

I am tempted to write this blog my favourite anthropologists (Michael Taussig) and his interest in contrasting the colonial violence practiced by the British and the egalitarianism of the natives of Tierra del Fuego. What makes Taussig’s interest interesting to me is how the “distance” of London from Tierra del Fuego helped exterminate the natives of that land.

The “distance” that I have in mind is immediately accessible to everyone who reads these words. It exists between the viewer of this screen and the screen itself, or the viewer of any news on television and the screen the news comes from. The screen may present us with bodies thrown about a market place, where a terrorist has blown up himself and those about him. The “distance” protects the viewer from any contact with the violence, and whatever he-she may think of the event, he-she has no effect on either its origin or denoument of it.

Professor Taussig does not use “distance” in quite the same sense that I am using it. His example of “distance” is by way of an example that is more direct, a first encounter, in which the distance is “the space between”—“a colonial space par excellence”—on one side of which space a dancing British tar is pulling faces and on the other side of which the natives imitate his every movement. Since Taussig’s expertise is mimesis, Taussig insists that mimesis may persist through myth and is true to tradition.

While discussing mimicry in native ritual dances, Taussig presents us with a story first recorded by ethnographers Spencer and Gillen (students of the Arunta people in Australia):

“…at the close of the nineteenth century when Spencer and Gillen were writing their account of Central Australia, a young man born and bred in Tierra del Fuego, E. Lucas Bridges, saw the spirit of Hachai come out of the lichen-covered rocks. He was painted all over with red and white patterns. Grey bird’s down was stuck over him, and he wore a horned mask with red eyeholes. No horned animal is indigenous to Tierra del Fuego, noted Bridges, yet a hunter of wild cattle would have admired the actor’s performance. ‘His uncertain advances, his threatening tosses of the head, his snorting and sudden forward thrusts of one horn or the other—all were most realistic. The part he was playing came from legendary myth and had doubtless been enacted by the Ona [Selk’nam] for countless generations.’”

What I am trying to suggest makes possible that the existence of the “wealth virus” is akin to the spirit of Hachai emerging from the Australian rocks to a young man born in Tierra del Fuego. Though one may still discover Latvians who know to tell at which phase of the moon it is best to cut certain trees (certainly a remembrance from times, when  Latvia was covered by forests), it is also possible that through the acts of violence and implanting of fear by torture (the spirit of Hachai?), the Latvian culture bears the burden of a distant remembrance of torture, which causes it to try escape a similar encounter by attaching itself to the “wealth virus” as readily as children are fooled (and fascinated by) by a dish known as “viltotais zakhis” (Falscher Hase / False or Welch rabbit), that contains no real rabit meat, but ground carp or in times of war your favourite cat (Dachhase in German). The name probably originated among soldiers marching across Eastern Europe, who had no qualms about cooking a cat, while the poor peasants were left to go catch carp and tell their children a believable lie. It is likely the same dish that in Yiddish language is called “Gefilte Fish” . Today such humble origins are difficult to believe when the same Welch rabit appears as Welch rarebit on the menu as Hors d’oeuvre at parties hosted by Wall Street brokers. The same incongruity attaches itself to Latvian-Americans born in America trying to tell Latvians how it is their history came about.

Rather than make all humankind guilty of being s carrier of the “wealth virus”, it is possible to narrow the carriers down to men, violent men especially. I will touch on this phenomenon in my next blog. 829

Sunday, January 1, 2012

11 Traveling “To Be There”, Not To Look At It.

I had an interesting dream once. I was in Boston, Copley Square, in front of the Boston Public Library. It was night. I know the area well, having lived in close proximity to
Copley Square for fifteen or more years. I used to cross the square every day on my way to work about three or four miles in the direction of the centre of Boston.

It is possible that in the dream, I was unconsciously repeating my daily routine of days gone by. Out of the dark there emerged a man and came towards me. I was quite shocked to recognize him as my grandfather, the AB, who I mention in a number of preceding blogs. Though I know my grandfather from my childhood and the family photo album  (AB died before WW2 broke out), I had not seen him in a dream ever before; nor did my imagination of him behold him in corporeal form. Yet, here he was in Copley Square
, Boston, as real as he could be.

We greeted each other as familiars, and I offered to show AB a little of Boston. He turned to me and said; “Thanks. But I have seen it already”. With that he picked up an object, which had apparently been beside us on the darkened sidewalk. I caught but a quick glimpse of what the object was. It was the upper half of an oblong clay saucer, somewhat like the half a bathtub that the Irish catholics of Boston sink into the ground before their suburban homes, then fill the hollow part with a statue of Virgin Mary or Jesus. In this instance, the saucer contained two eyes, both were protruding like >> spear points from the inner depths of the tub. AB took put his hand on the edge of the bowl, picked it up, and then walked back into the darkness whence he had come.

At this point I awoke, the dream still clear before my eyes, but I was rather puzzled about the answer I had received from my grandfather: “I have seen (Boston) already”.
I surely knew that AB had never been to Boston. So, what did the answer mean? Was it a brush-off? Or was it a statement that I needed to contemplate during my waking state?

The answer came just a few days ago, when someone at the internet portal, where I often post my blogs, wrote how impressed he was with Istanbul, Turkey. He mentioned several well known tourist attractions as especially noteworthy.

Since I, too, have been in Istanbul, and have mentioned it in a blog or two, another reader, remembering this, wrote and asked what it was that impressed me about the city. Since the question suggested (to me) that I give the reader a personal run-down of my favorite touristy sites, the answer that popped into my mind was the one AB had given me regarding Boston: “I have been here before and have seen it already. No thanks, I do not need a tour of it.”

Indeed, when I visited Istanbul , centuries ago known as Byzantium, which name has been immortalized (for me) in W.B. Yeats famous poem “Sailing to Byzantium ”, this poem alone informed me that I should never find there my body in its natural form, but as an artifice of eternity.

One of the artifices of eternity may be found in “The Alexiad of Anna Comnena” , a book written by the daughter of Byzantine Emperor Alexius I. Anna Comnena describes in Chapter 15, under ‘The Heresy of the Bogomils’ the death of Jesus in a fiery pit, the Inquisition’s favorite manner of execution. .

If the reader reads the pages about the execution, he-she will note that the “crucifixion” is the result of a later rewriting or, better, revisualization of what happened. The cross “set up” by one of the two fiery pits that were lit, later serves as the cross from which Jesus-cum-Basil is hung, though if that was so, he (removed from the fiery pit) was hung there as a charred corpse.

A similar misplacement of time and events occurs in Latvian history. While Latvians have no Anna Comnena, there are enough such pretending to love the country so much, they are ready to become martyrs on Latvia’s behalf. “I love this country too much to ever really leave. Why that is—I dunno.

Well, we shall see who the brave are. Are they of those Latvians, which their elites have driven (and are driving still) from Latvia to seek jobs abroad, or are they of the them who make declarations such as above, and put Latvia in American-Latvian care--a Romanizing tactic if there ever was one.