Ferdowsi's Shahnameb: The Persian Book of Kings (c. 1000) Illustration Public domain. ?Miniature from the Berlin Manuscript of Firdausi's Shahnameh (1605)?

Ferdowsi

Imagine Goethe’s inner gaze marveling at majestic Mount Damāvand, the highest peak in the Middle East, immortalized in Persian literature through masterful works like Ferdowsi’s Shâhnameh. From its seemingly timeless lofty heights, Mount Damāvand, remains as unconstrained as the wind, in contrast with the social, political and historical changes unfolding all around it.

I was looking for the fertile, picturesque places with names like warm valley and seven creeks where the judge’s grandson grew up when I came across images of Mount Damāvand and learned of its history.

Illustrations inspired by Abolghassem Mansour-ibn-Hassan Firdausi Tousi (Ferdowsi)’s epic work entitled Shâhnâmeh (Book of Kings) (1010) were submitted by Iran for inclusion inclusion in the Memory of the World Register in 2007. They now host a gallery of illustrations.

“Abolghassem Mansour-ibn-Hassan Firdausi Tousi (Ferdowsi) was a prominent figure in Iranian poetry and the nationalist poet of the Persian Empire. He was born in the Iranian city of Tous in 941 and died in 1020, ten years after he finished his major epic work, the Shâhnâmeh (Book of Kings). This is one of the classics of the Persian-speaking world and is on a par with the ‘Iliad’ and the ‘Aeniad’ of the Greco-Romano cultural communities. An important feature of this work is that although during the period of its creation, Arabic was the main language of science and literature, Ferdowsi used only Persian and therefore helped to revive and maintain this important world language. Today Persian is spoken by over 65 million people in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Pakistan and diaspora communities. The Shâhnâmeh has also become an important text throughout Central Asia, India and the former Ottoman Empire. It has been copied countless times and three of these copies could be said to have universal value: the “Demotte Shâhnâmeh” made in the early 1300s for the Il-Khanid patron, Giyath al-Din ; the 16th Century “Houghton Shâhnâmeh” ; and the “Bayasanghori Shâhnâmeh”, which was made in 1430 for Prince Bayasanghor (1399-1433), the grandson of the legendary Central Asian leader Timur (1336-1405). Only the “Bayasanghori Shâhnâmeh” has survived and is kept under lock and key in the Imperial Library of the Golestan Palace in Tehran. The Shâhnâmeh represents the quintessence of aesthetic and literary values of the elite rulers of the Timurid Renaissance who dominated Central and Western Asia in the 15th Century.”

In the nineteenth century, Goethe considered Persian literature to be one of the four main bodies of world literature (Ferdowsi 2006) and his “Verstandnis des West-Ostlichen Divans” was inspired by Persian literature.

“When we turn our attention to a peaceful, civilized people, the Persians, we must — since it was actually their poetry that inspired this work — go back to the earliest period to be able to understand more recent times. It will always seem strange to the historians that no matter how many times a country has been conquered, subjugated and even destroyed by enemies, there is always a certain national core preserved in its character, and before you know it, there re-emerges a long-familiar native phenomenon. In this sense, it would be pleasant to learn about the most ancient Persians and quickly follow them up to the present day at an all the more free and steady pace (Goethe 1819 in Wiesehofer and Azodi 2001: Preface).”

For over 2600 years Persia has been at the geographic centre of trade and cultural exchange, friction If you draw lines from the Mediterranean to Beijing or Beijing to Cairo or Paris to Delhi, they all pass through Iran, which straddles a region where East meets West. Over 26 centuries, a blending of the hemispheres has been going on here—trade, cultural interchange, friction—with Iran smack in the middle.
 

“If we could realize that great works such as the Shahnameh [of Ferdowsi] exists in the world, we would not become so much proud of our own works in such a silly manner (Saint-Beuve cited in Wiesehofer 2001-08-18).”

Notes
1. This UNESCO site entitled Memory of the World hosts digital images like this 1430 illustration from the “Bayasanghori Shâhnâmeh” for Prince Bayasanghor (1399-1433). It illustrated one of the stories in Ferdowsi’s Shahnameb (1010) showing the tyrant Zahhak, nailed to the walls of a cave in Mount Damavand.

2. Some Poems in English

3. “FERDOWSĪ,ABU’L-QĀSEM (329-410 or 416/940-1019 or 1025), one of the greatest epic poets and author of the Šāh-nāma, the national epic of Persia. See also ŠĀH-NĀMA. [...] The sum of such heartfelt, mature, and eloquently expressed views and ethical precepts regarding the world and mankind have led to his being referred to, from an early period, as ḥakīm (philosopher), dānā (sage), and farzāna (learned); that is, he was considered a philosopher, though he was not attached to any specific philosophical school nor possessed a complete knowledge of the various philosophical and scientific views of his time. [His sobriquet or pen name], Ferdowsī means “[man] from paradise” (Khaleghi, 1988, p. 92). From Encylopedia Iranica

4. The concepts of freedom and human rights allegedly originated in the first Persian Empire, as early as the c. 539 BC with the Achaemenid Persian Shāhanshāh Emperor Cyrus the Great (c. 600/576 BC – c. 530/29 BC). His successors including Darius ruled over a stable global superpower, the world’s first religiously and culturally tolerant empire administrated with the first human rights charter (Farrokh 2007:44, Robertson and Merrills 1996:7, Lauren 2003:11, Xenophon and Hedrick 2007:xiii) with a central government in Pasargadae for more than a thousand years. The borders of the Persian Empire ultimately extended from the Mediterranean to the Indus River, encompassing 23 different peoples and including nations and regions that by 2008 were called Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Jordan, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, and the Caucasus region (Del Giudice 2008-08:5).” It was Emperor Cyrus the Great who freed the enslaved Jews of Babylon in 539 B. C. providing them with necessary funds to rebuild their in Jerusalem through the Edict of Restoration. (Del Giudice 2008-08:5)”

5. Cyrus the Great Cylinder, The First Charter of Rights of Nations: (Farrokh 2007:44, Robertson and Merrills 1996:7, Lauren 2003:11, Xenophon and Hedrick 2007:xiii)

“In short, the figure of Cyrus has survived throughout history as more than a great man who founded an empire. He became the epitome of the great qualities expected of a ruler in antiquity, and he assumed heroic features as a conqueror who was tolerant and magnanimous as well as brave and daring. His personality as seen by the Greeks influenced them and Alexander the Great, and, as the tradition was transmitted by the Romans, may be considered to influence our thinking even now (Frye 1963).”

6. Richard N. Frye (1920- ), now a professor emeritus at Harvard devoted more than sixty years to teaching, learning and research on Persian history. He founded the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard and is the Aga Khan Professior of Iranian history at Harvard University. Frye’s books entitled the Nation of Archers (1954) and The Heritage of Persia (1962) The Heritage of Persia (Bibliotheca Iranica, No 1). Islam and the West. Proceedings of the Harvard Summer School Conference on the …
His mentor and predecessor, Arthur Pope was director of the Asia Institute in Shiraz.

“Thus, to refer to the Sasanian period of Iran’s history, Vahram-i Varjavand, seems to me to be a greatly heroised example of the millenary tradition, for he is a truly messianic personality, even though probably a greatly heroised form of the historic Bahrám Chobin. As I have frequently stated, in the past of Iran, for the people, history was not what really happened, or even what they thought had happened, but what they thought should have happened. This is a fundamental characteristic of the view of the past among a people who have a strong epic tradition and a messianic tradition of time speculation (Frye, 1974:57-69 1964: 36-54 cited in Buck 1998).”

7. Some useful translations
Shâhnameh Shahnameh (Farsi) Emperor
Kūrošé Kabīr or Kūrošé Bozorg Kurose Kabir or Kurose Bozorg (Farsi) Emperor Cyrus the Great
Koresh (Hebrew in Bible) Emperor Cyrus the Great
Dhul-Qarnayn (Arabic in Qur’an) possibly referring to Emperor Cyrus the Great.
Damāvand – Damavand
West-Ostlichen (German) West-Eastern

Webliography and Bibliography

Buck, Christopher. 1998. “Bahá’u’lláh as Zoroastrian saviour.” Baha’i Studies Review. 8. London: Association for Baha’i Studies English-Speaking Europe. pp.14–33.

Farrokh, Kaveh. 2007. Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War. History.

Frye, Richard N. 1963. The Heritage of Persia: The pre-Islamic History of One of the World’s Great Civilizations. World Publishing Company: New York.

Ghasemi, Shapour. “The Cyrus the Great Cylinder.” History of Iran. Accessed February 24.

Knappert, Jan. Ed. 1999.Encyclopaedia of Middle Eastern mythology and religion. Longmead, UK.

Robertson, Arthur Henry; Merrills, J. G. 1996. Human Rights in the World: An Introduction to the Study of the International. Political Science.:7.

Lauren, Paul Gordon. 2003. The Evolution of International Human Rights: Visions Seen. Political Science. p.11.

Xenophon; Hedrick, Larry. 2007. “Xenophon’s Cyrus the Great: The Arts of Leadership and War. History. p.xiii.

Del Giudice, Marguerite. 2008-08. “Persia: Ancient Soul of Iran: A Glorious Past Inspired by a Conflicted Nation.” National Geographic. PP. 34-67.
Ferdowsi, Abolqasem. 2006. Translated by Davis, Dick. 2006. Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings. Viking.

Goethe. 1819. Noten and Abhandlungen zu besserem Verstandnis des West-Ostlichen Divans.

Levinson, Von David; Christensen, Karen. 2002. Encyclopedia of Modern Asia. Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Wiesehofer, Josef; Azodi, Azizeh. 2001-08-18. Translated by Azodi, Azizeh. “Preface.” Ancient Persia: From 550 BC to 650 AD. I. B. Tauris. New Ed Edition.

Nurian, Mahdi. 1993. “Afarin Ferdowsi az Zaban Pishinian [The praises of Ferdowsi from the tongue of the ancients].” Hasti Magazine. 4. Tehran: Bahman Publishers.

Effendi, Shoghi. 1991. “Buddha, Krishna, Zoroaster.” The Compilation of Compilations.Volume I. Baha’i Publications Australia.

Effendi, Shoghi. 1944. God Passes By. Wilmette: Bahá’í Publishing Trust.

Frye, Richard N. (1992), “Zoroastrians in Central Asia in Ancient Times.” Journal of the K. R. Cama Oriental Institute. 58: 6–10.

Richard Frye, 1974. “Methodology in Iranian History,” in Neue Methodologie in der Iranistik. (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1974): 57-69 [66]. Cf. idem, “The Charisma of Kingship in Ancient Iran,” Iranica Antiqua 6 (1964): 36-54.

http://www.traveljournals.net/explore/iran/map/m5119241/garmabdar.html

http://maps.nationalgeographic.com/map-machine#s=h&c=35.6907639509368, 52.032623291015646&z=9

http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Damavand


Imagine a new global financial order, the shape of capitalism to come . . .

“In many cases, economic activity is as much a function of creativity, imagination and sentiment as is the act of writing a poem or painting a picture (Bronk 2009).”

This layered image, a digitage, was inspired by Richard Bronk’s The Romantic Economist: Imagination in Economics (2009). It includes fragments from German Romantic artist Friedrich’s paintingVoyageur above the Clouds, the Merryl Lynch bull and a scene from the film Pandemonium about Romantic poets Coleridge and Wordsworth.Maureen Flynn-Burhoe 2009

“The histories and political economy of the present and preceding century partake in the general contagion of its mechanic philosophy, and are the product of an unenlivened generalizing understanding (Coleridge 1816 cited in Bronk 2009). Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Statesman’s Manual (1816)

“In weakness we create distinctions, then Believe that all our puny boundaries are things Which we perceive and not which we have made.” William Wordsworth, Fragment (c. 1799)

“Standard economics assumes that economic agents are perfectly rational; that is the basis of its predictive equilibrium-based models. Modern versions generally allow for certain types of information problem and market failure, and recognise that institutions and even history play a role; but they still assume that these factors do not call into question the underlying model of agents as rational utility maximisers within those constraints (Bronk 2009).”

Timeline of the Shape of Capitalism to Come

1933 Keynes, in 1933 “in his lectures on his General Theory, said that current yields of firms exercise an “irrational” influence on estimating future worth (Whimster 2009-02-20).” Whimster is associated with the Global Policy Institute (GPI) [1]. 

1971 The foreign currency market arose when the United States went off the gold standard creating a huge market whose volume exceeded the combined trading of the New York, London, Frankfurt, and Tokyo stock exchanges, affecting “every aspect of economic and social order in the U.S. and the other nations of the world (Krieger 1992).” 

1980s Former graduates of the Wharton School of Business, Michael Milken and Donald Trump thrived in the 1980s through junk bonds and corporate takeovers (Portnoy 2003).

1987  Currency trader or derivatives abuser? Andrew Krieger thought New Zealand currency was overvalued so he began betting that the kiwi would fall. He bought then sold hundreds of millions of dollars, triggering a dramtic drop in the kiwi’s value, making a fortune for himself and for Bankers Trust, earning fame or infamy as the best speculative attack in history (The Economist 2004 12:18:108) and creating havoc for a national economy. 

1988-06-07 “Andrew J. Krieger, the successful young currency trader whose departure from the Bankers Trust Company in February set the Wall Street rumor mill buzzing, is quitting his second job this year. Mr. Krieger, who joined Soros Fund Management Inc. in April as senior portfolio manager, announced yesterday that he would form his own trading company, Krieger & Associates (Deutsch 1988).” 

1988-07-21 “Bankers Trust had earned $338 million in foreign exchange trading in the fourth quarter, which at the time was widely believed to be attributable to the complex trading strategies of Andrew J. Krieger. The 32-year-old star trader left the bank in February, complaining that his $3 million bonus was inadequate. At the time of Mr. Krieger’s departure there were rumors that the bank might have to restate earnings, but bank officials denied it, believing then that any impact would be immaterial. Mr. Krieger was known in the markets for taking large, billion-dollar positions in currencies and for trading currency options using highly complex strategies that even his colleagues did not pretend to understand (Bankers New York Times).”

1988 Derivative abuser Andy Krieger of  Bankers Trust mismarked $80 million of currency options. Krieger was also a graduate from the Wharton School of Business where he had studied international finance and trading in foreign-currency options (Portnoy 2003).   

1992-03-03 Andrew Krieger’s book entitled The Money Bazaar : Inside the Trillion-Dollar World of Currency Trading was published. He explained how he manipulated New Zealand currency in the 1980s.  

2002-06 Frank Partnoy’s book (2003) entitled Infectious Greed: How Deceit and Risk Corrupted the Financial Markets examined financial chaos caused by derivatives abusers during the period 1988- 2002 starting with Andy Krieger at the Bankers Trust. Partnoy profiled Nick Leeson “who bankrupted Barings Bank; Robert Citron, who did the same for Orange County; and Joseph Jett, whose “forward recon” trades helped end the independent existence of Kidder Peabody and Long Term Capital Management.” Partnoy blamed Alan Greenspan and Arthur Levitt and other credit rating agencies and federal regulators. Partnoy analysed the collapse of Enron, WorldCom and Global Crossing (Reed Business Information 2003).

2008-10-20 European leaders, like French President Nicolas Sarkozy, favor greater international oversight of markets, and U.S. officials like U.S. President George W. Bush, prefer the current model of national regulation. Mr. Sarkozy repeated his call for a new global financial order. “This is a world-wide crisis and therefore we must find a world-wide solution,” he said. The answer “will be all the more effective insofar as we find it together, we speak with one and the same voice, and we build together the capitalism of the future.” Shape of Capitalism to Come, Finance, Economy, George W. Bush, European Union, Financial Crisis, Capitalism, World Economy, Nicolas Sarkozy, Business News (McKinnon 2008-10-20) 

2009-02 Richard Bronk’s book entitled The Romantic Economist: Imagination in Economics was published [2]. Bronks is an Oxford scholar and Visiting Fellow in the European Institute at the London School of Economics and Political Science. (Elliott 2009-02-16, Whimster 2009-02-20).” 

Tags: credit crisis, credit system breakdown, financial crisis,  shape of capitalism to come, analysis, subprime, bailout, trust, capitalism, European Union, Nicolas Sarkozy, new global financial order, credit chaos, multiple modernities,  Friedrich, Romanticism, Pandemonium, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge,

impassioned melodrama from the relationship between the 19th-century poets William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Coleridge had a fondness for opium. Linus Roach plays him as visionary and naïve in equal measure, sour-faced, dull Wordsworth, latched vampirically onto the other man in search of inspiration.

Categories: Business, Economy, Politics, Finance, Economics,  World Economy, Business News, 

Notes

1. The Global Policy Institute (GPI) website explained their work in light of our entry into a second wave of globalization that will change the face of capitalism. The current stage of emergent, self-organising globalisation will not strictly adhere to Western consumerist values or even adopt Western democracy. The EU, US and China, who embrace differing values and views, now share status as super-powers (along with a handful of lesser powers). This has shaken certitude in previously held ideas of economics, cultural and political globalisation. The shape of capitalism to come will likely include rational decision-making criteria, political self-determination, and cultural creativity but may change along the way before a global order is stabilized. GPI predicts that

“By 2020-25 it is expected that some 50% of global capitalisation will be in emergent markets. Also by 2020 (on present projections) the euro, the yuan, and the rupee will have achieved reserve currency status and the US$ will no longer remain the default value standard (Global Policy Institute (GPI).”

2. “Summary of Bronk, Richard. 2009. The Romantic Economist: Imagination in Economics.

“Since economies are dynamic processes driven by creativity, social norms and emotions, as well as rational calculation, why do economists largely study them through the prism of static equilibrium models and narrow rationalistic assumptions? Economic activity is as much a function of imagination and social sentiments as of the rational optimisation of given preferences and goods. Richard Bronk argues that economists can best model and explain these creative and social aspects of markets by using new structuring assumptions and metaphors derived from the poetry and philosophy of the Romantics. By bridging the divide between literature and science, and between Romanticism and narrow forms of rationalism, economists can access grounding assumptions, models and research methods suitable for comprehending the creativity and social dimensions of economic activity. This is a guide to how economists and other social scientists can broaden their analytical repertoire to encompass the vital role of sentiments, language and imagination. Educated at Merton College, Oxford, Richard Bronk gained a first class degree in Classics and Philosophy. He spent the first seventeen years of his career working in the City of London, where he acquired a wide expertise in international economics, business and politics. His first book, Progress and the Invisible Hand (1998) was well received critically, and anticipated millennial angst about the increasingly strained relationship between economic growth and progress in welfare. Having returned to academic life in 2000, Bronk is now a writer and part-time academic, [Visiting Fellow in the European Institute at the London School of Economics and Political Science] (Cambridge Biography and Summary).”

Webliography and Bibliography

1988-07-21. “Bankers Trust Data on Restatement.” New York Times

Bronk, Richard. 2009. The Romantic Economist: Imagination in Economics. Cambridge University Press. 

Bronk, Richard. 2009. “The Romantic and Imaginative Aspects of Economics.” The Romantic Economist: Imagination in Economics. Cambridge University Press. 

Deutsch, Claudia H. 1988-06-07. “Top Trader Quits to Start Own Firm.” New York Times

Elliott, Larry. 2009-02-16. “We are on the brink: perhaps it is time to look to the Romantics for what lies ahead. The mechanistic approach to economics has failed. We need to embrace creativity.” The Guardian.

Hutton, Will. 2008-09-28. “I’ve watched the economy for 30 years. Now I’m truly scared.” The Guardian. UK.

Krieger, Andrew. 1992-03-03. The Money Bazaar : Inside the Trillion-Dollar World of Currency Trading. Crown Publishing. 

McKinnon, John D. 2008-10-20. “Rethinking Capitalism’s Contours: Summits Will Address Financial Crisis, but Divide Looms Between U.S. and EU.” Wall Street Journal.com. 

Partnoy, Frank. 2003. Infectious Greed: How Deceit and Risk Corrupted the Financial Markets. New York: Times Books. 

Thurow, Lester C. 1996. The Future of Capitalism: How Today’s Economic Forces Shape Tomorrow’s World. New York: Penguin Group. 

Whimster, Sam. 2009-02-20. “To understand economics, we have to consider emotions too: We need to reassert human values as being superior to those of the market.” The Guardian.

Speechless

December 11, 2006


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home| about | key concepts | theorists | timelines | Opinion pieces | Web 2.0

Somewhere on the Pacific a small lifeboat shared by two unwilling and unlikely passengers rolled with the waves. Pi knew he could do more than just survive once he realized that Richard was dependent on him. Pi could fish. A Bengal Tiger, king of his own ecosystem, would die at sea without the help of the seventeen-year-old. The book really ended there; it didn’t matter after that what was truth or fiction. Pi’s understanding of power in everyday life was his new reality.

Speechless refers to both the writer and reader. At one level it’s about a writers’ block being blogged. At another level is refers to deafening silence that occurs when one speaks with too much feeling or mentions an uncomfortable idea in a nice place, a unpleasant reminder in polite company, a divergent idea in a space of group think, another perspective than the Renaissance perspective. But it also refers to robust conversations among political philosophers who understand the power of language and everyday life. Socrates, Plato, Derrida called for renewals in philosophy. They examined what we do with words, the role of memory. Speechless alludes to Derrida’s urgent appeal for a renewed democracy, for a revitalized philosophy from a cosmopolitical point of view.

The human eye can distinguish 16 values of grey but that’s not including the subtle differences in the colours of grey. We just don’t have the time to see the variations.

I began speechless on October 16, 2006. Two months later I have learned what a permalink is and how to make one. It’s the equivalent to the old web page’s index.html. Now I have to learn where to use it.

https://oceanflynn.wordpress.com/index.php/2006/12/11/speechless

The cloud of tags below has grown organically since I first began using WordPress as my main blog host on October 16, 2006. I am building my customized clouds of folksonomies by working on and learning from a number of Web 2.0 feeds. This includes a Flickr account for photo blogging which attracts alot of viewers. I have only a couple of dozen images but one image alone uploaded on October 22, 2006 was viewed 1,179 times over a period of 64 days! I reworked this image again and posted it on speechless under “Wave Algorithms.”

Featured folksonomy:

Benign colonialism is a term that refers to an alleged form of colonialism in which benefits outweighed risks for indigenous population whose lands, resources, rights and freedoms were preempted by a colonizing nation-state. The historical source for the concept of benign colonialism resides with John Stuart Mills who was chief examiner of the British East India Company dealing with British interests in India in the 1820s and 1830s. Mills most well-known essays (1844) on benign colonialism are found in Essays on some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy. Mills’ view contrasted with Burkean orientalists. Mills promoted the training of a corps of bureaucrats indigenous to India who could adopt the modern liberal perspective and values of 19th century Britain. Mills predicted this group’s eventual governance of India would be based on British values and perspectives. Those who adopt benign colonialism as a truth claim argue that education, health, housing and employment possibilities improved conditions for indigenous peoples as settlers, merchants and administrators also brought new industries, liberal markets, developed natural resources and introduced improved governance. The first wave of benign colonialism lasted from c. 1790s-1960s. The second wave included new colonial policies such as exemplified in Hong Kong (Liu 2003)), where unfettered expansion of the market created a new form of benign colonialism. Political interference and military interference (Doyle 2006) in independent nation-states, such as Iraq (Campo 2004 ), is also discussed under the rubric of benign colonialism in which a foreign power preempts national governance to protect a higher concept of freedom. The term is also used in the 21st century to refer to American, French and Chinese market activities in countries on the African continent with massive quantities of underdeveloped nonrenewable envied resources. Literature that challenges the assumptions of benign colonialism claiming colonialist project as it actually unfolded placed First Nations, Inuit and Métis at higher risks of vulnerabilities to catastrophes, to social exclusion and human rights abuses, have not been as widely publicized.

For more see Flynn-Burhoe (2007).

There is a widespread Canadian mythology that First Nations, Inuit and Métis are among those who benefited from settler colonies prempting, improving, managing and governing aboriginal lands, resources and educating, training, developing, serving, monitoring and governing its peoples. Those who adopt benign colonialism as a truth claim argue that education, health, housing and employment possibilities improved conditions for the indigenous peoples since the arrival of settlers. Literature that challenges the assumptions of benign colonialism claiming colonialist project as it actually unfolded placed First Nations, Inuit and Métis at higher risks of vulnerabilities to catastrophes, to social exclusion and human rights abuses, have not been as widely publicized. The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) addressed these claims but the term benign colonialism is still a convenient truth for many. Celebratory and one-sided social histories of the Hudson’s Bay Company, the RCMP, and various government leaders such as John A. MacDonald or civil servants such as Indian Agents, northern adventurers, when viewed through the lens of settlers while ignoring the perspective of First Nations, Inuit and Métis contribute to on-going dissemination of distorted histories. Museums, maps and census contribute to these distorted histories by grave omissions.

Related citations:

“Today, Mill’s most controversial case would be benign colonialism. His principles of nonintervention only hold among “civilized” nations. “Uncivilized” peoples, among whom Mill dumps most of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, are not fit for the principle of nonintervention. Like Oude (in India), they suffer four debilitating infirmities – despotism, anarchy, amoral presentism and familism — that make them incapable of self-determination. The people are imposed upon by a “despot… so oppressive and extortionate as to devastate the country.” Despotism long endured has produced “such a state of nerveless imbecility that everyone subject to their will, who had not the means of defending himself by his own armed followers, was the prey of anybody who had a band of ruffians in his pay.” The people as a result deteriorate into amoral relations in which the present overwhelms the future and no contracts can be relied upon. Moral duties extend no further than the family; national or civic identity is altogether absent. In these circumstances, Mill claims, benign colonialism is best for the population . Normal relations cannot be maintained in such an anarchic and lawless environment. It is important to note that Mill advocates neither exploitation nor racialist domination. He applies the same reasoning to once primitive northern Europeans who benefited from the imperial rule imposed by civilized Romans. The duties of paternal care, moreover, are real, precluding oppression and exploitation and requiring care and education designed to one day fit the colonized people for independent national existence. Nonetheless, the argument also rests on (wildly distorted) readings of the history and culture of Africa and Asia and Latin America. Anarchy and despotic oppression did afflict many of the peoples in these regions, but ancient cultures embodying deep senses of social obligation made nonsense of presentism and familism. Shorn of its cultural “Orientalism,” Mill’s argument for trusteeship addresses one serious gap in our strategies of humanitarian assistance: the devastations that cannot be readily redressed by a quick intervention designed to liberate an oppressed people from the clutches of foreign oppression or a domestic despot. But how does one prevent benign trusteeship from becoming malign imperialism, particularly when one recalls the flowery words and humanitarian intentions that accompanied the conquerors of Africa? How far is it from the Anti-Slavery Campaign and the Aborigine Rights Protection Society to King Leopold’s Congo and Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”?

Here Doyle is referring to John S. Mill cited in “A Few Words on Nonintervention.” . 1973. In Essays on Politics and Culture, edited by Gertrude Himmelfarb, 368-84. Gloucester, Peter Smith.

See also WordPress featured blogs Benign colonialism.

Related tags: Tom Kent Royal Commission on Newspapers, Hackett and Zhao, economic efficiency, Power and everyday life, ethical topography of self and the Other, teaching learning and research, wealth disparities will intensify, C.D. Howe, Cannibals with Forks.Selected annotated webliography

Campo, Juan E.  2004. “Benign Colonialism? The Iraq War: Hidden Agendas and Babylonian Intrigue.” Interventionism. 26:1. Spring.

Doyle, Michael W.  2006. “Sovereignty and Humanitarian Military Intervention.” Hoover Institute.

Falk, Richard. Human Rights Horizons: the Pursuit of Justice in a Globalizing World. New York & London: Routledge.

Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. Benign colonialism. >> Speechless. Uploaded January 14th, 2007

Liu, Henry C. K. “China: a Case of Self-Delusion: Part 1: From colonialism to confusionLiu 2003.” Asia Times. May 14, 2003.

Kurtz,Stanley. 2003.”Lessons from the British in India.” Democratic Imperialism: A Blueprint. Policy Review.Mill, John Stuart. 1844. Essays on some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy.
Of these Essays, which were written in 1829 and 1830,

Current debates on colonization and human rights (Falk 2000) raise questions about the notion of benign colonialism. The dominant language, culture and values of colonizers imposed on colonised peoples is often narrated as salutary. Dominant social and cultural institutions contributed to faciliating the entry of indigenous peoples trapped in unsustainable subsistence economies. Previously colonised peoples claim that the colonization process resulted in a parallel process of the colonization of the minds of indigenous peoples. The process of decolonization of memory (Ricoeur 1980), history and the spirit is crucial for the social inclusion (OECD) of indigenous peoples and nations within nations, such as Canada.

 


Attar Conference of the Birds This image of this painting by Habib Allah (c.1600) “The Concourse of the Birds” is available from the Wikimedia Commons. The original is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This is an illustration of the Persian mystic, Faridu’ud-Din Attar’s allegory (c.1100?) “The Conference of the Birds” which I believe is also called Mantiqu’t-Tayr Language of the Birds. This work may have inspired Herman Hesse’s “Journey to the East.” It describes the seeker’s parallel journey to self-discovery, self-actualization, self-realization through the elusive search for God.

Tag clouds, Head in the Clouds, Love and Cyberdelirium

Attar is said to have met Jalálu’d-Dín Rúmí (1207-1273 A.D.) when the latter was still a child enkindling (sp.) him with the insatiable longing for the illusive and unknowable divine essence of all things. (I believe both these Persian mystics, who of course had great impact on Persian literature, also influenced European writers such as the German Romantic poets? Their work is important to me in terms of its philosophical, political and ethical implications during the period of colonization. But that’s another tag cloud.)

And I know she and I share a deep love for the Seven Valleys Haft-Vádí (1860). The Seven Valleys includes references and/or citations from Attar, Rúmí and Layla and Majnun.
According to Wikipedia, Kurdish poet Nezami (1100s?)’s famous adaptation of the story of Layla and Majnun (Leyli and Madjnun) from Arab folklore reads astonishingly like Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. I believe that Layla and Majnin are to the East what Romeo and Juliet are to the West? There is even a suggestion that Eric Clapton’s song Layla was inspired by this Arab-Persian-Turkish-Kurd classic.

My Favourite citations-within-citations from Seven Valleys – Haft-Vádí (1860)

In the ocean he findeth a drop, in a drop he beholdeth the secrets of the sea.

Split the atom’s heart, and lo! Within it thou wilt find a sun.

From the Wikipedia entry on Seven Valleys – Haft-Vádí (1860)

the path of the soul on a spiritual journey passing through different stages, from this world to other realms which are closer to God,[1] as first described by the 12th Century Sufi poet Attar in his Conference of the Birds. Bahá’u’lláh in the work explains the meanings and the significance of the seven stages. In the introduction, Bahá’u’lláh says “Some have called these Seven Valleys, and others, Seven Cities.” The stages are accomplished in order, and the goal of the journey is to follow “the Right Path”, “abandon the drop of life and come to the sea of the Life-Bestower”, and “gaze on the Beloved”.

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