Adonis Diaries

Archive for February 22nd, 2010

“Harry Stott: Ancient black Greek philosopher”; (Feb. 20, 2010)

From one of the columns “Just be Simple” in the Chicago Defender

Simple said: “My wife took me to “Black History Week” and a black professor was giving a conference.  This hysteric professor…

Langston cut in: “You mean history professor?”

Simple seemed to let this correction pass and resumed: “This hysteric professor said we niggers are badly educated, badly led, and we are wasting our energy on having good time.  He wants us to work and gain a few cents instead of dancing and doing Jazz.

Langston: “A constructive criticism is not a bad thing.  We have got to tear down shanty homes to build newer ones.

Simple: “The professor got my wife all hot.  She said that the professor was describing my behavior.  She kept reminding me of what he said about this black Greek philosopher Harry Stott (Aristotle).  I told her that this black Greek philosopher must have lived before Booker T. Washington.  The professor insisted that black educated people played a large role in history since Adam and Eve.

Langston: Great!  Now is time to improving racial relationship

Simple: “I have got my idea that jazz, laughter, balls, dancing, and singing are better means to working out racial relationship.  I would suggest that, instead of beginning with high flatulent oration during conferences, better start with jam sessions and then the orchestra of Duke, Hampton, or Count Bessie brings the tempo to any conference.  We can take a break listening to Saint-Louis Blues to fill the gap between talks. It would be swell that a great artist sings “There will be change one day” and we all rejoin “Amen”.  By 5 pm, we re-start another jam session and the orchestra plays “Tea for two” while we drink tea. This is the right way to resolving racial problems: heart is high and higher than the sky.  Wheeee!”

Langston Hughes (1902-67) was a black author and poet.  He was a major activist in Harlem Renaissance movement between the two world wars.

Hughes studied at Columbia University and recalled the festive ambiance in Harlem in his autobiography “The Big Sea, 1940”.  His essay “Negro artist and the racial mountain, 1926” encourages black authors to express their emotions without shame or fear and to boldly critique cultured blacks and racist whites.

He published columns in Chicago Defender under the title “Just be Simple”.  Thus, Simple became the hero of his chronicles. Simple was convinced that art, music, and books could transform mentality and defeat discrimination tendencies. Later, Simple became more radical and demanded civil rights.  Simple is one of the most famous characters in black literature.  Simple is like the Uncle Tom of the 20th century.

“Go Moses; take my hand”

I was reading a special issue of a French magazine on slavery and black literature and was taken aback by this inevitable tendency of black intellectuals and black soul songs paying particular attention to the myth of Moses leading “his people” from Egypt to freedom.  This myth appears to form the cornerstone for what slaves in America wished to be a replica process to their emancipation.

Without any exception, all black authors, intellectuals, orators, preachers, political and social leaders, from Olaudah Equiano (1745-97), to Frederick Douglas, to Du Bois, to Loughton Hughes, to Frantz Fanon, to Martin Luther King, to Stokeley Carmichael, and even Malcolm X could not help but regurgitate the Moses’ myth to express their yearning for emancipation and human dignity:  They were all raised by Negro gospel songs and Negro spirituals that shaped their imaginaries and rhetoric.

I don’t mind that a culture resurrects a myth to build upon their set of values.  Actually, the basic characteristic of a myth is that it is beautiful, especially the awesome imaginative creations, expressions on life, and the good finally vanquishing evil.

I have problem when people fail to recognize a myth and take it at face value as real story in history.  I have problem when black Protestants and Baptists go beyond the myth into coinciding it with Zionist movement ideology.

This is very odd since Zionism chased out people from their land and ended up establishing an apartheid “homeland

It is important to recognize that the story of Moses is a myth, a fantastic and emotionally encompassing myth, where slaves flee to freedom and survive hardship of desert climate and the multitude of tribal revolts under the guise of worshiping other Gods and a variety of multiple semi-Gods.  It is a myth even though we may fabricate reasonable conjectures to constructing feasible occurrence.

One of the conjectures is that not all the fleeing people were slaves and not all were non Egyptians.  People fled when the ancient class of priesthood who adored God Amon overturned the only God Aton (the Sun) that King Akhenaton instituted.

The story of Moses is a myth since there are no tangible proofs either in writing (in any language) or existing artifacts that may shed any bit of reality. If we know that the Old Testament was written in around 200 BC in Alexandria, then what has been transferred as oral stories should not constitute factual happenings but smart stories reflecting customs, traditions, and set of values of people.

Faith in one God, creator of man and the universe, has nothing to do with considering stories and the sayings of assigned “prophets” to be adopted as act of faith.  You may like or dislike a few stories; you may adopt in actions and behavior what a few “prophets” said, but there are no harms admitting that these myths describe reasonable ways of living, attitudes, and behaviors.

I can understand why Malcolm X had to talk about Moses: he was a black Moslem and Islam combined the Jewish and Christian Books as intrinsic part of Islam faith.

I got into thinking. If it was not for Islam that sheltered and protected Jews from persecution of the Byzantium Empires, then the Jewish religion would have disappeared.  The Zionist movement is a scorpion that could not help but sting its benefactor and protector from extinction.

The Zionist movement through its racist and apartheid system has driven many Moslems into extreme tendencies to be freed from occupation and apartheid domination in Palestine.

I got into thinking that the limited and racist Neo-Conservative “Christians” in south USA got impressed by the beautiful and soul searching Negro soul songs and music referring to Old Testament stories. Those tight-assed conservatives revised the fantastic lyrics and rhythms into petrified ideology.

It is unfortunate that diamonds of Negro spirituals, more often than not, fall on pork’s ears.

Myths feeding on myths.




February 2010

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