Oneness Does Not Apply To Borders

Wall of Beynac Castle in the Dordogne, France
Wall of Beynac Castle in the Dordogne, France – a border of sorts…

Very few countries today can say that they are one nation.

So many parts of our world have been screwed up by colonists creating “imaginary” boundaries that make no ethnic, linguistic or historical sense. Africa’s horrors have much to do with that.

Canada’s First Nations have been shamefully hard done by – experiencing a long, drawn out “drip drip drip” of painstaking genocide masquerading as “civilizing” missionary work combined with fraudulent treaties and the outright takeover or pollution of unceded land. Countries that simply exterminated their First Nations or chased them into neighbouring lands  stand out, but I am not sure which process is more cruel.

A Honduran child fleeing horrid local violence who ends up facing foreign persecution enroute northward to “safety” would not consider Central or North American borders imaginary.

Occasionally when one is traveling between culturally close countries with the same language the impression is received that the border is imaginary because the people seem the same and the neighbourhoods are similar. A naive visitor might make this mistake.

I remember a taxi ride in Caracas during the unrest in late 1966. Our small group – a few Canadians headed for a nightclub – was stopped. A policeman shoved a machine gun through the window and suggested, “Passaportes, por favór.” Glad we had ’em with us, like good foreigners.

In southern Ecuador in September, 1967 the group I was traveling with were forced to stay overnight in Huaquillas, a small border town, after entering from Peru. We strolled around the main square after eating supper and I took a photo of a statue dedicated to the Friendship of the People of Ecuador and Peru. Apparently there had been a “falling out” and a policeman took my camera, removing the film. Luckily I got the camera back.

These are minor things beside the very real problems people displaced (by those who disregard borders and land rights) and people-on-arbitrary-lists have, but they point out that borders (even arbitrary ones) exist and are something with which one should not trifle.

Or romanticize.

Egypt’s Treasures

Egypt’s ancient memes developed from even more ancient African roots. Virtually all of our forms of worship owe their genesis to prehistoric Africa – via Egypt.

Gerald Massey was a minor British poet and a major expert on Egyptology. He believed that the model for the Christian Jesus was the Egyptian god, Horus. Continue reading “Egypt’s Treasures”

In The Way Of Progress

Girl prepares to blow us a kiss at Cai Be farmers’ market in the Mekong Delta

My dander became elevated on reading an article by Doug Saunders of the Globe and Mail entitled “Frankenfoods” have moved on. When will opponents?  

In this article Mr. Saunders argues that genetically modified crops, GM crops for short, are what the world needs to feed itself. He mentions that recently the left-wing Guardian newspaper has written no less than three articles in support of GM technology and implies that those opposed to GM are dwindling in numbers and misguided or otherwise addle-brained, often right-wing, “fundamentalists”:

Opposition to biotech has been left to revanchist agrarian conservatives such as Prince Charles, a handful of fundamentalist green groups and people who believe what they read in the tabloids.

Mr. Saunders defends GM as the new way of doing things driven by altruism, not profit:

But today, the frontier of biotechnology is in the sphere of international development and public interest. The research lab facing protests last Sunday was Rothamsted, a non-profit, entirely government-funded, public-sector institute. What its scientists have created there is a strain of wheat that repels aphids, potentially ending the deadly developing-world problem of entire crops being destroyed by aphid infestation. It is one of hundreds of “pro-poor” GM initiatives designed to create a new range of crops that will allow Asian and African countries to eclipse the West in food production. That’s vitally important because the world has faced food shortages since 2008, for the first time in three decades.

This is, in my opinion, a naive argument. Continue reading “In The Way Of Progress”