Harlem (NY) as I knew in mid 1990’s

This is Harlem in NY as I knew it in the mid 1990’s.

Now its so, gentrified.   My friends from upper Harlem (145th Street) are my family in the US.  I am no citizen or Green card holder of the US.  Hopefully, I will get my Social Security that I paid into with 3 H1B  Visa Employment.  I am not holding my breath for another  3 years.

With my wife Chandra Wimalasiri (RIP, 2018; we separated in 2004) in Stony Brook, NY, 1991.  USD 600 for the 1975 Ford LTD  station wagon with 150K miles.  Went to Louisiana, and another time to Florida.

Then got  Chevy Celebrity for free (Prof Akira Akubo thank you) with  160K and crossed the US three times.  Life and reminisces are great

A must watch

For those who like world/ethnic music + Rock. This is the entire movie, just saw clips 10 years ago. Something for all. WWF (wrestling), Child Birth, Travelogue, ethnic and rock music. My favorite clip is at 00:42, the Bauls.  Whats with the Afro of the Baul singer.  The young Baul kid is Paban Das Baul.  He is quite well known in Europe. (YouTube search here).   Maki Kazumi in the Baul Clip I posted a few days back is still a Baul performing/evangelizing, monar manush. (Dont understand the words except manush which I assume means man).

I think, just intellectualizing by reading books about the world does not cut it.  Travel (wish I could do more) and into the hinterlands.  I have crossed the US three times with a tent, in an old Chevy Celebrity (had 160K miles when a Professor (Akira Akubo) gave it to me.   Montreal/Toronto to Florida and New Orleans at least 3 times. The Bronx before it became gentrified.  Camden/Baltimore.
Plus Myanmar backpacking in 2005 when the county just opened.

Vagabunden Karawane: A musical trip through Iran, Afghanistan and India in 1979 (1 hr 28 mins)

Stolen Loot in British Museum

Any artifacts out in the UK that should be returned.

Gilded bronze statue of the Tara Bodhisattva, from the Anuradhapura period (8th century).

The Bodhisattva Tara. Gilded bronze, Sri Lanka, 8th century CE. With her right hand, the bodhisattva makes varadamudra, the gesture of charity or gift-giving, while her left hand may originally have held a lotus. The image is solid cast and would once have had semi-precious stone or crystal inlaid eyes. The niche in the head-dress would have contained a figure of a Dhyani Buddha. This sculpture was found on the east coast of Sri Lanka between Batticaloa and Trincomalee and is evidence of the presence of Mahayana Buddhism in the Anuradhapura period of Sri Lanka. These doctrines are generally more associated with the north of India. Given by Sir Robert Brownrigg.

I like the word “Given”.  Robert Brownrigg, was Governor of Ceylon who finally captured the Kandyan Kingdom

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhism_in_Sri_Lanka#/media/File:British_Museum_Asia_45_(cropped).jpg

Carbon Steel and Zinc in India

Inspired by a comment by bharata bharatavanshi.

Zinc: 
The production of zinc by conventional smelting methods presents considerable difficulties; instead of a liquid metal forming at the base of the furnace, zinc forms a highly reactive vapour (with a boiling point of 913°C) which exits the top of the furnace and promptly re-oxidises. Clearly, some method of containing and condensing the vapour out of contact with the air was needed
1217CW - Science in India - Plate 6.12
By the early second millennium AD, these descriptions had become more detailed. The retort was to be shaped like a brinjal, or aubergine, the condenser shaped like a datura, or thorn apple flower, and the zinc ore was shaped into small balls, still using the exotic organic ingredients.

Carbon Steel (Wootz)

The Carbon steel from India and Sri lanka are thought to be source for the famed Damascus Steel Swords, used by Saladin to defeat the Crusaders.

It is the pioneering steel alloy matrix developed in Southern India in the 6th century BC and exported globally. It was also known in the ancient world by many different names including Wootz, Ukku, Hindvi Steel, Hinduwani Steel, Teling Steel and Seric Iron.

Wootz steel originated in India. There are several ancient Tamil, Telugu, Greek, Chinese and Roman literary references to high carbon Indian steel since the time of Alexander’s India campaign. The crucible steel production process started in the 6th century BC,[citation needed] at production sites of Kodumanal in Tamil Nadu, Golconda in Telangana, Karnataka and Sri Lanka and exported globally; the Tamils of the Chera Dynasty (Kerala) producing what was termed the finest steel in the world, i.e. Seric Iron to the Romans, Egyptians, Chinese and Arabs by 500 BC. The steel was exported as cakes of steely iron that came to be known as “Wootz”. Wootz steel in India had high amount of carbon in it.

The Chinese and locals in Sri Lanka adopted the production methods of creating wootz steel from the Chera Tamils by the 5th century BC. In Sri Lanka, this early steel-making method employed a unique wind furnace, driven by the monsoon winds. Production sites from antiquity have emerged, in places such as Anuradhapura, Tissamaharama and Samanalawewa,

http://wilpattuhouse.com/MiscStuff/juleff-monsoon-steel.html

Steel

1900’s: Betrayal and change in China’s Perception of the West

To China: a few excerpts from a moonofalabama post.  Link is at bottom of post.  Short on words.  Read somewhere, Chinese appear to be rude and abrupt.  Apparently in China, it is rude to take up another’s time.  Once you know Chinese well they can be quite chatty. In Sri Lanka (and SA I assume) ask for direction, and they want have a long conversation on random stuff. Ahh, cultural differences.

I was under the impression the Chinese did not have westernized elite like South Asia (e.g Jinnah,Nehru, SWRDB). I had read about Sun Yat Sen, first President/Prime Minister and about his being kidnapped in the UK from one of my fathers book.  From the short article and little more digging, there was an Westernized Chinese elite.  However,  the west did not honor agreements (whats new) brokered by this Westernized Chinese elite.  I think as a result the influence of this Westernized Chinese elite was marginalized and repudiated.  Here are two examples of Westernized Chinese elite.  Wellington Koo, International law and diplomacy PhD (1912) from Columbia University. His wife Hui-Lan ‘Juliana’ Oei (Madame Koo) apparently was one of the first ladies to indulge in civilian flying and drove her own motor car about London…a little grey two-seater Rolls Royce.

http://www.moonofalabama.org/carlzha/cz02.jpg

To the excerpts
99 years ago, on May 4th 1919, the original Tiananmen student protest broke out. The students protested the Allied Powers’ betrayal at Versailles: The German Shangdong colony was given to Japan instead of returning it to China. This despite China’s sending of 140,000 men to work on the Western front.

Germany took the port city of Qingdao (Tsingtao) on the Shangdong Peninsula where they brought over beer tech giving birth to Tsingtao Beer.

In 1890 Germany played a leading role in attacking the Chinese capital Beijing to suppress the Boxer Rebellion together with the 8 Nation Alliance of Britain, France, United States, Germany, Italy, Russia, Japan and Austria-Hungary.

As World War I wore on longer than anybody expected, the Allied Powers faced acute labor shortages. Britain came up with a scheme to recruit Chinese labors. But China was neutral so she had to be persuaded to join the war.  China wanted to have the German Shangdong colony returned. Entered U.S. President Woodrow Wilson. Wilson asked China to join the war and promised support for China to gain Shangdong back after Germany’s defeat.

While the young republican China sees Britain and France as ruthless Imperial Powers, it has an enormous regard for the U.S. which it hopes to model itself after. Top Chinese diplomat was the American educated Wellington Koo. Madam Koo, an international style icon, popularized Cheongsam/Qipao dresses.

China did as Wilson asked, entered the war against Germany and send 340,000 men to help with the Allied war effort. 140,000 went to the Western Front, 200,000 went to Russia. Chinese comprised the largest non-European labor force on the Allied side during World War I. On the Western front, the 140,000 Chinese labor were know as the Chinese Labour Corp. They dug trenches, worked in timber yards, build steamers, repair railroads. 6,000 were even sent to Iraq to work in Basra.

Unbeknownst to China, while China joined the war on the allied side at the U.S. urging, hoping to gain back Shangdong province, the U.S. and Japan signed the secret Lansing-Ishii Agreement in 1917 where they recognized each other’s special ‘interests’ in China. Japan’s interest is the German colony Qingdao. Fully believing Woodrow Wilson’s promise of self-determination, the top Chinese diplomat Wellington Koo, who won the Columbia-Cornell Debating Medal in his American school days, argued passionately for the return of the Shangdong Peninsula at the Paris Peace Conference.

The Soviets saw a chance to draw China away from the West and into their camp. They leaked details of the secret U.S.-Japan Lansing-Ishii agreement to Eugene Chen in Paris, who then leaked it to the Chinese press. Furious Chinese students took to street to protest at this betrayal especially by the U.S.

Japan then threaten to veto the League of Nations, which would not work without Japan, unless … the U.S. agreed to give Germany’s former Shangdong colony to Japan. Wilson dutifully complied and decide to honor the Lansing-Ishii agreement, selling the Chinese down the river.

Disillusioned with the West and seeking for an alternative political model leads some to look to the newly found Soviet Union. Two leading intellectuals of the May 4th movement, Li Dazhao (left) and Chen Duxiu(right), co-founded the Chinese Communist Party. While heading the Peking University library, Chinese Communist Party co-founder Li Dazhao would influence a young student working there. His name was Mao Zedong.

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/05/the-historic-background-of-chinas-perception-of-the-west-by-carl-zha.html#more

The Philippines Genocide: 3 million Filipinos Killed

I guess “Holocaust Deniers” all over the world.

Just the excerpts from the reports during the period (Spanish American War 1898).20 dead filipinos

General Bell himself, who said “we estimated that we killed one-sixth of the population of the main island of Luzon—some 600,000 people.” (There is another Bell, George who also fought in the Philippines ).  Also see Gore Vidals reply on comment questioning the numbers.

The Philadelphia Ledger November 1901 their Manila correspondent wrote “The present war is no bloodless, opera bouffe engagement; our men have been relentless, have killed to exterminate men, women, children, prisoners and captives, active insurgents and suspected people from lads of ten up, the idea prevailing that the Filipino as such was little better than a dog…

Our soldiers have pumped salt water into men to make them talk, and have taken prisoners people who held up their hands and peacefully surrendered, and an hour later, without an atom of evidence to show that they were even insurrectos, stood them on a bridge and shot them down one by one, to drop into the water below and float down, as examples to those who found their bullet-loaded corpses.”

Another Marine officer described his testimony.

The major said that General Smith instructed him to kill and burn, and said that the more he killed and burned the better pleased he would be; that it was no time to take prisoners, and that he was to make Samar a howling wilderness. Major Waller asked General Smith to define the age limit for killing, and he replied “everyone over ten.”

 

Mark Twain wrote

“…I have seen that we do not intend to free, but to subjugate the people of the philippines. we have gone to conquer, not to redeem… and so i am an anti-imperialist. i am opposed to having the [american] eagle put its talons on any other land.”

On 15th of October 1900 Twain wrote the New York Times.

We have pacified some thousands of the islanders and buried them; destroyed their fields; burned their villages, and turned their widows and orphans out-of-doors; furnished heartbreak by exile to some dozens of disagreeable patriots; subjugated the remaining ten millions by Benevolent Assimilation, which is the pious new name of the musket; we have acquired property in the three hundred concubines and other slaves of our business partner, the Sultan of Sulu, and hoisted our protecting flag over that swag. And so, by these providences of god — and the phrase is the government’s, not mine — we are a World Power.” Mark Twain

 Please read the whole Post.  Interesting pictures.  Also President McKinley ‘s Christian reasons for the war.

The Philippines Genocide 3 million Filipinos Killed

Debt Cancellation, the Bible and Jesus

An interesting article, very pertinent for the current economic mess in the world. Maybe Zachary can weigh in.

Excerpts
Michael about his Forthcoming book Forgive Them Their Debts: Credit and Redemption that comes with an astounding  re-reading of the Bible and the true meaning of the life and persecution of Jesus. Based on scholarly breakthroughs in decoding ancient languages, it places a debt cancellation message inherited from Babylonian times at the center of Mosaic law and the Jewish Bible. And when it comes to Jesus, his message is revealed to be a social justice message. Through the lens of this reinterpretation, Jesus was actually an activist advocating for debt cancellation. He died not for the sins of the people but for their debts.

In Sumer, and Babylonia, around 2500 B.C., and every new ruler, when they would take the throne, would start his reign by canceling the debts. In Sumer, the word for that was amargi, in Babylonian the word during Hammurabi’s dynasty was andurarum.

Hebrew deror, is a cognate to Babylonian andurarum, and the Jubilee year was word-for-word exactly the same debt cancellation and freeing of the bond servants and restoration of land that you had occured for 1,000 years in the Near East, and was still occurring in the first millennium BC.

What I realized is that when Luke 4 reports the first speech of Jesus, when he goes to the temple and gives a speech, his first sermon, he unrolls the Scroll of Isaiah, and said he has come to essentially proclaim the Jubilee year …. The word he used, and that Isaiah used, the deror, was this Babylonian, Near Eastern long tradition that was common throughout the whole Near East.

Business debts were not forgiven. The debts that were forgiven were personal debts, agrarian debts, and the idea was to liberate the bond servants so that they could be available to perform the corvée labor, which was the main kind of taxation in the Bronze Age, and serve in the army. If you were a debtor and you were a bond servant to a creditor, you wouldn’t be available for corvée labor, you’d be working (for) the creditor, you wouldn’t be available for the army.

The Romans were the first society not to cancel the debts, and there was civil war over that. A century of civil war from 133 BC, when the Gracchi Brothers were killed by supporting the population, to 29 BC when Augustus was crowned. There was a civil war where the advocates of debt cancellation were put to death. Just as Cleomenes in Sparta, in the late third century, was put to death, and Agis, his predecessor earlier in the third century BC, were put to death for advocating debt cancellation. So there was three centuries of constant civil war over this, and ultimately the creditors won, largely by political assassination of the advocates of debt cancellation, who almost all came from the upper class. They were upper class reformers, they were not lower-class particularly. They were the scholars, just as Jesus was a rabbi.

Most debts did not occur from lending money. It’s easier today to figure if you have a debt, you must have borrowed it. But three quarters of the debts in Babylonia, for instance, where we have records because they were on clay, cuneiform records that were baked and have survived, most debts were simply unpaid bills. The debts were unpaid taxes, unpaid debts, unpaid rent, and unpaid obligation for services that had been supplied.

And so Judaism took the debt cancellation out of the hand of kings, where it had been in the Near East, and put in the very center of their religion. In Leviticus 25, again and again the prophets would say, “We’ve freed you from bondage, and if you’re going to maintain Judaism, you have to respect the debt cancellation.” And the Biblical prophets warned, if you don’t cancel the debts, you’re gonna be canceled. By Assyria, by Babylonia. And they blamed the capture and destruction of Judea and Israel on the fact that they had veered away from the law of God and did not cancel the debts.

Tribes: When does the concept of a general debt cancellation disappear historically?

Michael: I guess in about the second or third century AD, that was downplayed in the Bible. And you had, after Jesus died, you had first of all St Paul taking over, and basically Christianity was created by one of the most evil men in history, the anti-Semite Cyril of Alexandria. Who decided to gain power by murdering his rivals, the Nestorians, by convening a congress of bishops and killing all of his enemies. Cyril was really the Stalin figure of Christianity, killing everybody who was an enemy, organizing pogroms against the Jews in Alexandria where he ruled.

And it was Cyril that really introduced into Christianity the whole idea of the Trinity. That’s what the whole fight was about in the third and fourth centuries AD. Was Jesus a human, was he a god? And essentially you had the Isis-Osiris, ISIS figure from Egypt, put into Christianity … The Christians were still trying to drive the Jews out of Christianity. And Cyril knew the one thing the Jewish population were not going to accept would be the Isis figure and the Mariolatry that the church became. And as soon as the Christian church became the establishment rulership church, the last thing it wanted in the West was debt cancellation.

Tribes: Has any modern society declared a Jubilee without a revolt of the creditor class?

Michael: Yes. There was a wonderful debt cancellation, the major debt cancellation of the modern era was in 1947 and 48, the German monetary reform, called the German economic miracle. The Allies canceled all German debts, except for debts owed by employers to their employees for the previous month, and except for minimum bank balances. It was easy for the Allies to cancel the debts, because in Germany most of the debts were owed to people who had been Nazis, and you were canceling the debts owed to the Nazis, the Nazis were the creditors at that time. And that freeing Germany from debt was the root of its economic miracle. So that is the prime example of a debt cancellation in modern times that worked.

More at https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2018/04/michael-hudson-bronze-age-redux.html

 

Bi Kidude, Sri Lankan Baila and Traditional Drums

Cross posted from blog.

Recently saw a music video by Bi Kidude (Little Granny) from Zanzibar.  I was struck by the similarities to Sri Lankan Kaffiringha or Manja music and old traditional music as in Panama Vannam and Yak (as in Yakkha) Thovil.  (Panama is pronounced Paanaama, its a small village on the SE coast at the edges of the jungle).

Bi Kidude (Little Granny)
Fatma Baraka Khamis was Taarab singer from Zanzibar who was born around 1910. Bi Kidude won several awards including a WOMEX
Award for her role in the culture of the Zanzibar Island.  The iconic artist sadly passed away on April 17th, 2013.   She very well might have been a century old. (see more here and video documentaryAs old as my tongue – The Myth and Life of Bi Kidude” by director Andy Jones). In Bi Kidude’s words, I smoke, drink and sing.  Not bad for a life to a hundred years.

So here is one music video by Bi Kidude. A few other links, DancingTraditional Drums, and her Voice range (Alminadura).

Manja Music of Sri Lanka
Its the music of the Kaffirs (not a derogatory word in Sri Lanka). They were brought mainly by the Portuguese from Angola and Mozambique. The Tabbowa/Sirambiadi community in the west coast is a mix of African descendants and Sinhalese.  Their music is now very much part of the Sri Lankan tradition.  Below the group Ceylon African Manja performing in their village.  This is youtube clip of the same group in a more formal setting.

Portuguese Burgers (Creoles) of Batticoloa (East Coast)
The Portuguese Burgers too sing and dance Kaffiringha music.  Its is unknown if they have African roots.

Sri Lankan Traditional Music
A gravel voice and rhythms (as against melody) define traditional music. Immediate below women playing the rabane,  a instrument played by women at village events, specially Sinhalese New Year.  This particular video is from a five star hotel !!.

Second below the traditional Gajaba Wannama (dance of the King’s Tuske) with a modern dance ensemble.  More Wannamas here.

Unheard of a couple of decades back, upper middle class girls/women playing the drums, or for that matter a traditional instruments.  Now we have and all girl/women traditional drumming (watch it is good, their website http://www.thuryaa.lk/). The times are a changing.

note: Traditionally (at least the last century) dance for festivals, processions (perahera, eg. the Kandy Perahera) was done almost exclusively by men.  One rarely saw women dancing, unless it was associated with Hindu Kavadi also part of the Perahera procession

Also see
http://sbarrkum.blogspot.com/2013/03/music-papare-video-angola-or-brasil.html
http://sbarrkum.blogspot.com/2011/01/galle-heliwela-exorcism-and-yak-natum.html

Thanks Mohamed Rizwan for linking the Bi Kidude video, Anton James for identifying Bi Kidude.