The Parthenon Marbles

I became fascinated by this project.  And inspired.  It was as though I had infused wisdom and skill from the warrior goddess, Athena.  I could feel it in the air.  I understood why the ancients worshiped her.  Her attributes were divine.  She was a goddess of war.  But also Justice.  She held the scales in her hands.  And she was passionate.  Those are divine ideas and worthy of worship.  Anyway, it inspired me to do a project on her behalf.  And fight for the Marbles.

This war, however, did not see bloodshed.  Rather it was a war of ideas.  Making it clear that what they were keeping there were stolen artifacts, and demand their return to Athena’s temple, a place of worship, the marble glyphs and statues that were sawed off by Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin, in the early 1800s while ambassador of the British Empire while Greece was under Ottoman occupation.  So the British were actually allies — or partners — in this theft.  And Britain proper should admit what they bought from Elgin was stolen artifacts of a country oppressed.  But anyway, he managed to leave Greece and bring back with him almost all the glyphs that surrounded the Parthenon.  One ship even sank.  And they had to go back to extract their loot.

And I said:

Let’s not be coy about this and call it what it is: Cultural Vandalism.  Better yet, let us define the very act through the name of this perpetrator and call it, Elginism.

Let’s not pretend you are doing the world a service by making these artifacts available in your museum.  As though you’re doing civilization a favor.  Your countrymen looted a civilization that was oppressed for over 300 years by the Ottomans.  This was the tail end, for in 1821 the Greeks revolted and fought a revolution that extricated them from their oppressors.  So during these times, you thought you could just get whatever you wanted to, since who cares about those Greeks anyway?  Sensitive guy.  Bruce.

However he was mistaken.  Because the Greeks have always fought to preserve their history regardless of being a favorite stomping ground for invaders.  But the Ottomans were insidious.  Like a disease.  Trying to wipe out their culture.  Women were raped.  People prayed in secret.  And important texts spread by word of mouth.  The Bible, perhaps.  And in the end they survived.  So someone ought a tell the custodian of Stolen Artifacts to do the decent thing and return them to Athena.

She is waiting for them.

My Friends… Pictures of Them.

Someone Close To Me
NOTES FOR FUTURE REFERENCE
OOPS! Almost forgot this one. OOPS! How silly of me! OOPS!

Bernal On Amazon

I like to move about, as you will, no doubt, notice.  This morning I decided to post the review I wrote here about “Black Athena” on amazon.com.  Once I had done that, I went back to the site to read what others had written, and that is what inspired to following piece.

WHOOSH!

One must make sure they have cover when roaming the comments of this section—
What with all the spears being hurled into the air, there is a real danger of being struck down, and who wants that?
Not me.

Originally I published the review that follows, prior to reading the comments.  Then I went about my business, shopped at the Farmer’s Market in my neighborhood, before returning to this page to read the comments of others.

I found myself saying…

“You know, there are a few more things I could add to the discussion here—
Especially after taking in the shots being exchanged by certain individuals.”

Let’s talk about racism first.

Now while most people who think of the word instinctively spring to the conclusion that it is exclusively associated with those who are of African descent,  the overall concept can apply to other cultures and races, as well.  And since, Martin Bernal has started this kick of Let’s Attack The Greeks, why don’t we begin there.

If anybody knows anything about the History of Modern Greece, following the Classical period—If I may be allowed to nurture such a classification… Not sure with all the experts here—through today, one will see that Greece is not merely favored for its warmth as a vacation spot, it is also highly favored for invasions by other cultures, and attempted domination, which in the end usually fail.

One will recall the near 400-year occupation by The Ottoman Empire, lifted by rebels in 1821, during which attempts to squash the civilization altogether ultimately failed, and its freedom as a country was once again assured—for a while, at least.  If one cares to look closely they may find that what Greeks experienced during that occupation was similar to the Slave movement in the United States.  Limited rights, limited access to education, furtive access to religious freedom, and an overall imposition of hush, hush.  In other words, no right to defend their country or culture against whatever deals the Ottomans made with other cultures, the most vivid example being the looting of the Parthenon Marbles by Elgin, a British subject.  Powerless, in other words.

And now that Greece has become the Poster Child of Monetary Ills Today, and once again fashionable, one can hop over to nytimes.com comments section and find plenty of epithets hurled at Greeks of today, following their coverage of the economic crises in Greece.  That, too, is racist.  It is part of the public domain, documented there.

So racism is not the exclusive territory of people of African descent, although they have no doubt bore the brunt of it, and therefore are closely aligned to the word.

Next, there is someone here who has not yet published a review of their own—but perhaps I just haven’t gotten to it yet, since after reading 4 pages of reviews, I found I had reached my quota for conflict today, and decided to take a break—who has gone to a great deal of trouble to analyze the statistics of the reviews here, who published what, and most importantly, the value of the “thumbs-up” people gave reviews that rated the book as deserving no more than 2 stars. In addition, this person has lashed out at people for their ignorance and insensitivity and has somehow determined that people who only publish a few lines about the book are mere charlatans, and not worthy of any recognition or merit for what they think.

I find this highly disturbing.
And a bit elitist, if I may say so.

While it is one thing to point out flaws in people’s arguments or positions, it is quite different to lash out at them for not being “learned.”  As though that is some special territory which depends on a foundation based on academic consumption, and only those who possess it are worthy of saying anything valuable, or being recognized.  A bit strange.  Because as it is quite evident here, there are plenty of schooled and learned people who have their own interpretation of history, etc., and there is still plenty of conflict and confusion present.  So there seems to be nothing wrong with saying what you think, and as far as I know, there are no space requirements to be met before your thoughts are determined to have any value.

About Bernal…

As I’ve already mentioned below, I have not completed the volume, and I stopped by here, simply to post my impressions thus far.  And I just want to add a few more here, especially now that I am inspired by the lively conversation on these pages.

Bernal, indeed, seems hasty to trash the contribution of Greek culture, and at every turn I’ve seen so far, he makes no bones about it.
However, let us think this through more carefully.

Linguistics is not my field, so whatever he does there with his magic wand, I follow only somewhat.
What he says is plausible.

That one commenter also mentioned several times that the origin of the Greek language is 50% of another language(s).
What exactly is the point, however?
Is it recognition, illumination, acceptance, knowledge?

At the risk of tampering with Bernal’s model, is there nothing constructive to be said about the development of a language (regardless of its origins) that produced works that many believe valuable?  And furthermore, although I am not a linguist—nor do I think one needs to be, to see this—there is an ample supply of words embedded in the English language that are directly borrowed from Greek.  No escaping that fact, boys and girls.

So, okay.

Greek came from such and such dialects and cultures.  Curious though.  Why did Bernal not choose to write his book using hieroglyphics?  If he really wants to demonstrate the significance of the Egyptians, then he should use the language they used.  But he does not. In fact, many of the words he uses to describe his position are directly borrowed from Greek.  And in order to maintain coherence, he uses names traditionally associated with Greek divinities, for example, while explaining the source of their origin and inspiration.  This further makes me question his motives. He seems somewhat duplicitous in his management of information.  In addition, when you employ as your scholarly device the trashing of one civilization to bolster your argument, it seems your credibility is diminished.

And, finally, Mr. Bernal seems to be suffering from a good old case of hubris!

Anyway, I am going to shell the peas I bought at the Farmer’s Market today, and prepare a sumptuous vegetarian meal.
I’ve had enough meat for one day.