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Exchange of Values

Exchange of Values
acrylic on board 48'X96'

"Structure of Color Perception"

"Structure of Color Perception"
48'X96' acrylic on board

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Israelis watching the bombardment of Gaza

Massacre of the Pequots

Mystic Massacre:

Before the massacre the devout Reverend John Stone spent the night in prayer.  In the morning he announced to his Pilgrim flock that ‘God was going to clear the land of its savage inhabitants and gift it to his chosen people’ (that is, give it the pilgrim invaders and their corporate masters and joint-stock holders in Europe).  The next day armed colonists led by captain John Mason and a few of their Mohegan allies attacked the sleeping Pequot village at Mystic (Connecticut) and slaughtered nine hundred men, women and children  (+/-).  “Thus was God seen crushing the enemies of his people, burning them up in the fire of his wrath and dunging the ground with their flesh.” Wrote Mason. “It was the Lord’s doings and it was marvelous in our eyes.”  So ferocious and unrelenting was the fiery massacre that the colonists few native allies withdrew from the fight, unable to participate in this revolting type of genocidal massacre.  The few Pequot women and children who were able to escape the burning town were found hiding in a swamp and were circled by colonists and all were murdered.  Captain Mason proclaimed, “We must burn them. God was above them, He who laughed his Enemies and the Enemies of his People to Scorn, making them as a fiery Oven.  Thus did the Lord judge among the Heathen, filling the place with dead bodies!”  Rev. Cotton Mather of Boston heartily agreed stating that the massacre was “the just Judgment of God that In a little more than one hour, five or six hundred of these barbarians were dismissed from a world that was burdened with them” (btw, the jubilation about the Mystic Massacre is probably the actual inception of the holiday americans today celebrate as “Thanksgiving”).

Of course this is a very biased account of this incident, one that privileges the deaths of the Native American women and children.  I could just as readily told this story from the perspective of the corporations and share holders who financed virtually all of the early american colonial enterprises.  These corporations/persons continually harangued settlers to occupy and clear more land in order to grow more tobacco and other exportable commodities, often causing them to neglect their own food crops. Unfortunately, when winter came the settlers often ran short of food which then caused them to justify raiding any nearby Native villages to steal their stored grain and dried meat.  These invasions and occupations would incite the surviving Natives and others to retaliate against these assaults.  The colonists would then use the excuse of Indian raids for further violent military reprisals and occupations.  This pattern was repeated over and over again until the entire continent was occupied and it’s Native inhabitants killed or concentrated into reserves. Occasionally a few of the more squeamish colonists would question the morality of these slaughters and would ask, “shouldn’t Christians have more mercy and compassion?” To them Captain Mason responded:  “I would refer you to David’s wars. Sometimes the Scripture declares that women and children must perish. We had sufficient light from the Word of God for our proceedings.”

On the other hand.....

As one who manufactures way too many hollow words I need to start taking this saying to heart (plus a little Buddhism might help distract me, I’m getting so sick of so-called Christians, Jews, and Muslims and all of their god-damn killing and wars right now).  And yet, against all reason I cling by my fingernails to a tiny measure of hope and something that might be called a christian faith.  This poem by David Scott helps a bit:

“Ibn Abbad Woke Early*

All three went to Paradise,
Ibn Abbad, Rabbi Shmelke of Nikolsburg,
and Father Louis, and sat to eat
at the same table. They drank the water of life
and ate the meat of friendship. Whenever
their cups ran dry or their plates were empty
a little Nazarene came by and filled them up.
Who are you? they said.
I am Jesus, son of Mary. Can I sit awhile?
Be our guest, they said.
As they sat, the ground beneath them shook,
their faces paled and their eyes were filled
with knowledge, and with grief. Today,
said Jesus, they will hate more and
love more, than on any other day since
the world began. Hold hands,
and ask our God to speak to us
in Spirit. And there they sat
in love and prayer, all day, all day,
Ibn Abbad, Rabbi Schmelke of Nikolsburg,
Father Louis, and Jesus, Mary's son.
and their silence was more profound than words
and their communion was most eloquent
and they willed the world to peace

Blessings, and much obliged.


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