Sunday, April 3, 2016

Lest we forget—lest we forget!

I become frustrated and jaundiced with the constant ideological focus of authoritarians who seek to deprive others of their liberties, often under the auspices of critical race theory and its ilk. The constant manufacture of fake outrage and race hoaxes is simply a surfeit of cognitive pollution. It is easy to become so jaundiced as to discount all racial injustices, throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

The horrors of slavery past become easy to gloss over owing to the advocacy excesses of today. Those past accounts rendered in words are often simply not read. They are too jarring. Fortunately there are those such as J.M.W. Turner with his Slavers Throwing overboard the Dead and Dying—Typhon coming on, 1840 who can serve to keep the awareness and horror of that past institution alive.

From Wikipedia:
J.M.W. Turner was inspired to paint The Slave Ship in 1840 after reading The History and Abolition of the Slave Trade by Thomas Clarkson. In 1781, the captain of the slave ship Zong had ordered 133 slaves to be thrown overboard so that insurance payments could be collected. This event probably inspired Turner to create his landscape and to choose to coincide its exhibition with a meeting of the British Anti-Slavery Society. Although slavery had been outlawed in the British Empire since 1833, Turner and many other abolitionists believed that slavery should be outlawed around the world. Turner thus exhibited his painting during the anti-slavery conference, intending for Prince Albert, who was speaking at the event, to see it and be moved to increase British anti-slavery efforts. Placed next to the painting were lines from Turner's own untitled poem, written in 1812:
"Aloft all hands, strike the top-masts and belay;
Yon angry setting sun and fierce-edged clouds
Declare the Typhon's coming.
Before it sweeps your decks, throw overboard
The dead and dying – ne'er heed their chains
Hope, Hope, fallacious Hope!
Where is thy market now?"
The refrain from Rudyard Kipling's much later poem, Recessional, from 1897 seems oddly fitting, "Lest we forget"
God of our fathers, known of old,
Lord of our far-flung battle line,
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies;
The Captains and the Kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

Far-called our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe,
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the Law—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard,
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding calls not Thee to guard,
For frantic boast and foolish word-
Thy Mercy on Thy People, Lord![

No comments:

Post a Comment