US History of Slaughter

Mary Lynn Cramer

Reflections on the 73rd commemoration of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki while reading Murder Inc, by Mumia Abu Jamal

What kind of people plan and carry out massive genocidal slaughter of other human beings? What motivates them to believe they have a mission to repeatedly rid the world of undeserving others–predominantly innocent children, the elderly, women and men of all ages–deemed lesser beings?

As, Mumia Abu Jamal notes, after the Trinity test, and after bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki,

the US continued setting off nuclear explosions–1032 or more detonations to date. (pg. 90)

Twenty-one days after the first atomic test in the desert, the Japanese industrial city of Hiroshima was leveled by nuclear blast–at least 130,000 died from that single explosion.

Just twenty-one years after Columbus first landed in the Caribbean, nearly 8,000,000 people Columbus called “Indians” had been killed by violence, disease and despair: that is the equivalent of more than fifty Hiroshimas…and it was only the beginning of the Spanish and English conquest and slaughter of the inhabitants of the New World. (pg. 101)

By the end of the 16th century, there were 200,000 Spaniards living in the Indies, Mexico, Central America, and further south. Somewhere between 60,000,000 and 80,000,000 natives of those lands were dead…more carnage followed. (pg. 105)

Pocahontas did save the life of John Smith. Her father, Powhatan, later asked Smith “why should you take by force that from us which you can have by love? Why should you destroy us, who have provided you with food? What can you get by war? …[I] exhort you to peaceable councils; and, above all, I insist that the guns and swords, the cause of all our jealousy and uneasiness, be removed and sent away.” (pg. 105)

Both Spanish and English conquerors, settler-colonialists noted how beautiful and clean-smelling were the cities of the New World (Tenochtitlan was as large as Manhattan today, with 350,000 people); and how naïve, sweet, accepting, physically beautiful and healthy were these “Indians” they had “discovered.”   Columbus’s deficits as a navigator were less important than the skills he had acquired in his earlier career as a kidnapper and trader of African slaves.

The above comments are summarized from the well researched, historical accounts presented in the new book by Mumia Abu-Jamal and Stephen Vittoria (with forward by Chris Hedges) entitled Murder Incorporated: empire, genocide, manifest destiny; Book One: Dreaming of Empire (first of three books); published by Prison Radio, San Francisco, 2018.

The authors continue,

“In the space of days, hundreds of Lakota would be set upon by US Hotchkiss guns (more cannon than gun) and their “miserable” existences soon ended. When the smoke cleared, over two-thirds of the dead were Lakota women and children. Wounded Knee would mark the bookend of the last chapter of so-called Indian wars. It would be the harbinger of a century of such bloodletting that the world would regard it as an era of nightmare…

“But long before Verdun, before Dachau, Treblinka, Manchuria, Nagasaki, or Hiroshima were massacres like Wounded Knee for five centuries, blessed by priests and promoted by politicians.  The tormentors, genocidaires, rapists, and torturers were Spanish, English, Portuguese, and Danish. They were Europeans sent by a crucified Jew to vanquish paradise and bring Hell to this green earth. They purified this new space with fire, blood, dung, and bones, and called it holy before the Lord. Of the people they met, who once radiated beauty and health like demigods in a terrestrial heaven [according to the European invaders written accounts], they left a bare remnant, less than one half of one percent. Their job done, they celebrated the death of estimated 100,000,000 people by pronouncing them savages, and praising Christopher Columbus–the “discoverer.” (pg. 129)

Many of these  “adventurous” Europeans were fleeing jails, workhouses, and cities in their own countries that were described as filthy, decaying, crime-infested and subjected to diseases and sicknesses infecting entire populations. Their amazement at the health and cleanliness, open welcoming and peaceful governance of these “Indian” cities and villages was set out in their initial writings before they found it necessary to portray the natives as savages and sinners, in need of extermination.

Then, they “killed with a fury that would have made Nazis blush. They enslaved, they slew, they massacred, they raped, they burned, they starved and they broke the Indians on the wheels of hatred like old glass.  They killed and killed…and then killed some more. They made the good old American saying, “The only good Indian…” into a motto that yet lives in the American soul, a motto of internalized massacre.” (pg. 110)

I got my copy of this important new text from my local library: ask yours to purchase this book now. After just a hundred pages into this investigation of American historical amnesia and white supremacist ideology, I recommend it to all those willing to dig deeper into that history and investigation into the questions I posed above in the first paragraph, regarding “who” and “how” do Americans continue to deny and justify these kinds of actions in their name by their government and military: economics, religion, culture, ethnicity, class, gender, politics, ideology–and how to break the mold!?

Mary Lynn Cramer, MA, MSW, LICSW has degrees in the history of economic thought and clinical social work, as well as over two decades of experience as a bilingual child and family psychotherapist. For the past 12 years, she has been deeply involved in “economic field research” among elderly women and men dependent upon social security, Medicare, and food stamps, living in subsidized housing projects. She can be reached at: mllynn2@yahoo.com

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