I was rather surprised to bump into this blog about what is happening at the moment in Mali a huge North African nation that is witness to the latest depredations of Al Quaeda.
Much like the video We are the world which was taped with dozens of Western music artists this one shows the following video of Mali’s famous musicians singing against the incursions of the Islamists.
The thing I found interesting is the fact that the verse is being sung in at least four of Mali’s indigenous languages. This unity despite ethnicity reminded me of the message in the book I’ve been reading “Black Sea.” That message is that muti-culutural life can be so easily stamped out.
I’ve been thinking of a word for this or more generally the desire to make everyone the same for at least six years. I just checked and found that I first used “usism” back in 2006 near the beginning of this blog. I doubt that I coined the term. A quick Google search revealed that its not been used much by anyone in the way I mean it – as the veneration of us over others.
Mali will be another test of whether American media can make sense of what’s going on in this part of the world or whether politicians will seize on it to make unfounded and asinine allegations like they have in Benghazi, Libya.
The book Black Sea is one of the dozen or so I recently bought through Amazon because it was highly recommended. I’m about half done with it. It was written in the mid 1990’s just after the fall of the Soviet Union. I’m about half done with it.
Author Neal Ascherson loves the the multi-ethnic societies that thrived along the shores of the Black Sea and describes their forced homogenization by a succession of conquerors not the least of which was Joseph Stalin. In fact he seems resigned to the loss even today because as he wrote ethnic purging was going on in Serbia as the old Yugoslavia was splintering.
Back in my college years I began learning how western Europe’s great western nations rose up in large part through the quite dedicated harassment of minority populations until they became nations with mostly one national language. If some neighbor speaks Celtic and you speak Anglo-Saxon then in a hundred ways you can make it a hassle for them not to learn your language while you ignore theirs.
The US has lots of folks who have bemoaned immigrants who fail to learn English quickly enough or well enough to suit them. Shutting down immigration is one solution to this apparent threat. How appropriate that I’ve come up with this word usism as it begins US. As the situation along the Black Sea shows or Mali usism is a concern most everywhere.
I’m debating finishing the book because I want to get into writing my own book/books. Still, this book offers lots of interesting insights like what ethnicity the “Cossaks” are/were and why the Black Sea floor is such a treasure trove of pristine ship wrecks. It turns out that it is a small enough body of water that the huge deposition of fresh water from half a dozen large rivers dumps so much fertilizer into the Sea that algae uses up all the Oxygen so that nothing can live in the depths of the ocean. No wood worms – no ship decomposition. The same thing happens at the mouth of the Mississippi and has been aggravated by all the farming in the river’s drainage system. The result is dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico that have been the bane of shrimpers.