I was intrigued and somewhat confused by a photograph and an article in the UK newspaper “Daily Mail” of Tuesday, 14th October. The British Prime Minister, David Cameron posed for a photograph with a group of local Morris dancers, who had (following centuries old tradition), “blacked up” by smearing their faces with a soot-like substance.
Should any readers be unfamiliar with the term “Morris” dancers, it is generally accepted that “Morris” is a derivative of “Moorish”, which was the nationality of a nation of Arab Berbers who swept through Northern Africa and the Iberian Peninsula during the 14th and 15th centuries. When they crossed the Mediterranean at its narrowest point, their leader was a man called Tariq. The Arabic word for “rock” is djerba”, which caused the Moors to name the geological feature “Djerbal Tariq”. This feature is what we now call the (Rock of) Gibraltar! Because the Moors came from Africa, although, like modern-day Arabs, they were “brown”, Moors were perceived in folklore as “black” people, as in Shakespeare’s play – “Othello, Moor of Venice”. Thus many “Morris” dancers have, traditionally, “blacked” their faces!
OK, let’s get back to David Cameron and his heinous crime of posing with “white” people who blacked their faces. (Good heavens Caruthers, does this mean that we will have to bring back hanging?) A prominent black playwright, Bonnie Greer has called Mr Cameron a “jerk” by posing for the picture. I accept that, whether she is black, white or somewhere in between, she is entitled to her opinion. However, she then goes on to say that she had no problem with the Morris dancers “blacking up”, as this was traditional, but that the Prime Minister should have shown more sensitivity, especially during Black History Month (?). She continued to say that “it isn’t about the people, it’s about the stupidity and insensitivity of Cameron, this is 2014, not 1914”.
Can you understand why I am intrigued and confused?
Firstly, a playwright, Bonnie Greer, (I thought playwrights had to be intelligent, erudite and lucid) says that a person is a jerk for posing with “blacked-up” people”. She then continues to say that she has no “problem” with the people who are “blacked-up”! So, if she doesn’t have a problem with the people with whom David Cameron posed, why does she regard him as a jerk? Why, if “it’s not about the people, it’s about the stupidity and insensitivity of (Mr) Cameron” where is his stupidity and insensitivity? Why does Bonnie Greer seem to believe that his actions would have been acceptable 100 years ago but not now? If any of my readers knows Bonnie Greer, please can they ask her to explain, if necessary, in words of one syllable or less, exactly what she means?
I was also interested by the mention of “Black History Month”, presuming that this is a celebration (?) that has been instigated in the UK after we left in 2006, as I had never heard of it. I was rather surprised to discover that the concept was imported from the United States in 1987 and is intended to remember and celebrate the achievement s of both present-day and historic “blacks”.
The concept of “Black History Month” began in America in 1926 when it was proposed to have an annual ”Negro Awareness Week” during the second week in February, which included the birth date of Abraham Lincoln, the American President who was in power when slavery was abolished. During the 1970’s the “week” was extended to the entire month of February and the name changed from “Negro” to “Black”.
Incidentally, America has a number of “history” or “heritage” months, including Filipino-American (October), Women’s history (March), Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transvestite (October) in addition to Gay and Lesbian pride month (June)! America also has Irish, Jewish, Hispanic, Puerto Rican and Tibetan history or heritage “months”, but not, as far as I can make out, a “Native American (Red Indian/Redskin) month”!
Meanwhile, in South America, Brazil has just one day for “Black Awareness” – 20th November!
Have I unwittingly stumbled upon something that Black activists should be vociferously protesting about? The United Kingdom has allocated a 31 day month (October) for “Black Awareness”, the United States (as well as Canada) only have 28 days to appreciate the achievements of the “blacks”. As for Brazil, well, should any other country want to test the accuracy of their nuclear missiles, what better target? Surely the discrepancies in these time scales call for questions to be asked in the United Nations?
Don’t get me wrong, I believe that all nationalities, sects, creeds and religions should have special or ceremonial occasions. Many, such as the American Independence Day (4th July) and the Christian Christmas and Easter that celebrate the birth and death of the founder (Jesus Christ) are intrinsic to the history or beliefs of the relevant country or organisation. But to have a whole month (whether 31 or only 28 days), “come on, get real”, as I think the modern phraseology goes!
I notice on “Black History (UK) Months” website that Nelson Mandela has been lionised. As it is obvious that the organisation has no objection to set black murderers up on a pedestal, I find it strange that the (black) Hutu leaders of parliament and the police as well as the army in Rwanda in the 1990’s, who were responsible for the genocide of between 500,000 and 1,000,000 (also black) Tutsis, aren’t mentioned! Funny old world isn’t it?!
I see that the Turkish Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu has said that it is time for the international community to accept that to resolve the “Cyprus problem” will be to recognise that there are two-states on the island. I have only done a quick “scan”, but I am confident that this has been the theme forming part of ramble numbers 14, 33, 35, 37, 38, 59 and 62! “Quod Erat Demonstrandum”, as I had to put at the bottom of my (proven) mathematical formulae when I was at school!
In my opinion Mr Davutoğlu bases this proposal on the situation regarding the existence of the offshore hydrocarbons around the island of Cyprus. South Cyprus, trading as the internationally recognised “Republic of Cyprus”, claims sovereignty over the whole island. Therefore, when South Cyprus laid claim to its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) for offshore hydrocarbon exploration it should have included areas in the sea around the entire island. However, the EEZ claimed by South Cyprus are all in the sea areas to the south of the island, or to the east and west of the island, but only to the south of the Green Line, were it extended into the Mediterranean. Therefore, by default, the Republic of Cyprus has recognised and admitted that North Cyprus, the TRNC, is a separate country!
Meanwhile the Greek Cypriot President, Nicos Anastasiades, is still sulking in his corner, probably waiting for the paint to dry sufficiently to allow him to walk back to the negotiating table!
Having mentioned South Cyprus, I understand that Britain, in the shape of the Royal Air Force, is continuing to use its Sovereign Base Area there to launch air-strikes against the IS jihadists in Iraq. These actions by Britain should worry not only the South Cypriots and tourists (of any nationality) as, in the eyes of the jihadists; South Cyprus is now a “legitimate” target for revenge attacks. However, despite still being a guarantor power theoretically meant to protect and care for the welfare of the people inhabiting the complete island, Britain isn’t worried. Why should she be? Decades ago she cowardly and treacherously “washed her hands” of any responsibility towards the people of Cyprus!
What the British tax payer must ask themselves, or more pertinently, their elected Member of Parliament, what is the cost to the public for these air strikes? I am not a military economics expert, but surely the cost of fuel (not to mention the weaponry used) during a single air strike would put half a dozen nurses onto the floor of a ward in an NHS hospital, or half a dozen policemen “on the beat”! Just a thought!
More next week folks