Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Jon Schwarz

Is US National Anthem Celebrating Slavery?

No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Aug. 28 2016
Before a preseason game on Friday, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

When he explained why, he only spoke about the present: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. … There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”Twitter then went predictably nuts, with at least one 49ers fan burning Kaepernick’s jersey.

Almost no one seems to be aware that even if the U.S. were a perfect country today, it would be bizarre to expect African-American players to stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Why?

Because it literally celebrates the murder of African-Americans.

Few people know this because we only ever sing the first verse.

But read the end of the third verse and you’ll see why “The Star-Spangled Banner” is not just a musical atrocity, it’s an intellectual and moral one, too:

No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

“The Star-Spangled Banner,” Americans hazily remember, was written by Francis Scott Key about the Battle of Fort McHenry in Baltimore during the War of 1812. But we don’t ever talk about how the War of 1812 was a war of aggression that began with an attempt by the U.S. to grab Canada from the British Empire.

However, we’d wildly overestimated the strength of the U.S. military.

By the time of the Battle of Fort McHenry in 1814, the British had counterattacked and overrun Washington, D.C., setting fire to the White House.

And one of the key tactics behind the British military’s success was its active recruitment of American slaves.

As a detailed 2014 article in Harper’s explains, the orders given to the Royal Navy’s Admiral Sir George Cockburn read:

Let the landings you make be more for the protection of the desertion of the Black Population than with a view to any other advantage. …

The great point to be attained is the cordial Support of the Black population. With them properly armed & backed with 20,000 British Troops, Mr. Madison will be hurled from his throne.

Whole families found their way to the ships of the British, who accepted everyone and pledged no one would be given back to their “owners.”

Adult men were trained to create a regiment called the Colonial Marines, who participated in many of the most important battles, including the August 1814 raid on Washington.

Then on the night of September 13, 1814, the British bombarded Fort McHenry.

Key, seeing the fort’s flag the next morning, was inspired to write the lyrics for “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

So when Key penned “No refuge could save the hireling and slave / From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,” he was taking great satisfaction in the death of slaves who’d freed themselves. His perspective may have been affected by the fact he owned several slaves himself.

With that in mind, think again about the next two lines: “And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave / O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

The reality is that there were human beings fighting for freedom with incredible bravery during the War of 1812. However, “The Star-Spangled Banner” glorifies America’s “triumph” over them — and then turns that reality completely upside down, transforming their killers into the courageous freedom fighters.

After the U.S. and the British signed a peace treaty at the end of 1814, the U.S. government demanded the return of American “property,” which by that point numbered about 6,000 people. The British refused.

Most of the 6,000 eventually settled in Canada, with some going to Trinidad, where their descendants are still known as “Merikins.”

If those leading the backlash against Kaepernick need more inspiration, they can get it from Francis Scott Key’s later life.

By 1833, Key was a district attorney for Washington, D.C.

As described in a book called Snowstorm in August by former Washington Post reporter Jefferson Morley, the police were notorious thieves, frequently stealing free blacks’ possessions with impunity.

One night, one of the constables tried to attack a woman who escaped and ran away — until she fell off a bridge across the Potomac and drowned.

“There is neither mercy nor justice for colored people in this district,” an abolitionist paper wrote. “No fuss or stir was made about it. She was got out of the river, and was buried, and there the matter ended.”

Key was furious and indicted the newspaper for intending “to injure, oppress, aggrieve & vilify the good name, fame, credit & reputation of the Magistrates & constables of Washington County.”

You can decide for yourself whether there’s some connection between what happened 200 years ago and what Colin Kaepernick is angry about today.

Maybe it’s all ancient, meaningless history.

Or maybe it’s not, and Kaepernick is right, and we really need a new national anthem.

Andrew Bossone shared this link

“So when Key penned “No refuge could save the hireling and slave / From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,” he was taking great satisfaction in the death of slaves who’d freed themselves. His perspective may have been affected by the fact he owned several slaves himself.”

No one seems to be aware that our national anthem literally celebrates the murder of African-Americans.
theintercept.com

Guns and Hotdogs

How the U.S. Military Promotes Its Weapons Arsenal to the Public (July 9, 2016)

By Jon Schwarz

America’s wars take place far away — Kabul is 6,700 miles from New York or, traveling in the other direction, 7,400 miles from San Francisco.

They also involve fewer and fewer Americans — the Army now has about 475,000 active-duty soldiers, the lowest number since World War II.

This leaves the Pentagon free to promote itself to a country that largely has no idea what war actually entails.

 In addition to standard TV advertising and flyovers at the Super Bowl, the U.S. military spends tens of millions of dollars each year on live events that function half as recruitment pitches and half as visceral plugs for its spectacular high-tech weaponry. 

(Click for the pictures)

Andrew Bossone shared this link

The irony of propaganda: “A B-2 stealth bomber at Atlantic City’s Thunder Over the Boardwalk event in New Jersey in 2007.

Each B-2 costs approximately $1 billion; analysts now believe it is a “virtual certainty” that Atlantic City will be forced to declare bankruptcy.”

The U.S. military spends tens of millions each year on events that function as recruitment pitches and visceral plugs for spectacular high-tech weaponry.
theintercept.com

Photojournalist Nina Berman has spent 10 years traveling to Fleet Weeks and air shows to document the peculiar collision between the Pentagon’s idealized self-image and the people who pay for it but have little comprehension of what they’re truly buying.

U.S. Marines arrive on a light armored vehicle in New York City’s Times Square during Fleet Week in 2015. In the background is an ad for Shandong, China, where U.S. Marines landed at the end of World War II to intervene on the side of Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang in China’s civil war.

Civilians handle a pistol with a silencer during Fleet Week at Orchard Beach in the Bronx in 2007. Some of the young men had just signed up to join the Marines and potentially go to Iraq.

A U.S. Marine applies camouflage paint to a young woman’s face at an event at Orchard Beach in the Bronx in 2007.

A girl and boy dress up as Marines during Fleet Week at Orchard Beach in the Bronx in 2007. The boy is holding an M4 carbine, which is replacing the M16 as the Marine Corps standard rifle.

A young boy “shoots” a machine gun from a Vietnam-era helicopter at the New York Air Show in 2015.

There are no certain statistics for the number of Vietnamese casualties during the war, but at least 1 million died, and potentially 2 million or more. A 1991 survey found that Americans estimated that about 100,000 Vietnamese had been killed.

A B-2 stealth bomber at Atlantic City’s Thunder Over the Boardwalk event in New Jersey in 2007. Each B-2 costs approximately $1 billion; analysts now believe it is a “virtual certainty” that Atlantic City will be forced to declare bankruptcy.

The gift shop by the Battleship New Jersey in Camden, New Jersey, in 2015. The now-famous “We Can Do It!” poster was created by Westinghouse, and during World War II, it was seen only by workers in several company factories; it became nationally known after being rediscovered during the 1980s.

About 50,000 people attended the parade in Raleigh, North Carolina, during the April 2008 Salute to Our Troops event. It is said to be the biggest military appreciation event in the city’s history.

Nina Berman is the author of Purple Hearts: Back from Iraq and Homeland and is a member of the NOOR photo collective.


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