". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr + The Whitney Plantation + Daily Life a/k/a We're Still Busy

In an article for the Daily Beast, noted investigative journalist, Jason Berry, explores:
"Removal of Confederate Monuments Compared to ISIS: Facing comparisons to ISIS militants, the Nazis, and a random white guy complaining about urban crime, the New Orleans city council voted to remove Confederate statues deemed offensive. But the fight is far from over."

Berry begins his piece with the Whitney Plantation Slave Memorial Museum created and financed by local New Orleans attorney, John J. Cummings III, with which to discuss monumental sites, and whom they honor and memorialize.  In every way, located in Louisiana, Cumming's Whitney project to memorialize the slaves -- children, women and men -- who worked and died there, is the anti-Lee Circle monument.

Toward the conclusion of Berry's article, cites The American Slave Coast about certain information concerning antebellum slavery.

As well, Friday, Counterpunch listed The American Slave Coast as one of the top ten best books of 2015.  It opened the reasoning behind placing the book on a top ten list that includes not only Greg Grandin's Kissenger book (GG shared the Bancroft History Prize for 2014) and Mary Beard's history of Ancient Rome, with this statement:
"This sprawling and unsparing history of the American slave-breeding industry may be the most important book of the last decade."
That's a Christmas gift that warms the heart, after all these years of work to make The American Slave Coast!

Last night the winds were so high night that the They Say People warned us other people to have food and water and heat sources in case the power lines went down. Where we are though, our wires are below ground. But it's cold enough all right. Which is reassuring, as it is the Winter Solstice. Do not like climate change!

Currently however, I'm wearing wool sox and the Icelandic reindeer sweater el V brought me last summer. (Meaning the traditional woven design of the sweater not that, you know, real reindeer were harmed in the course of the mission to keep mz constancia warm in winter NYC, of course.) Though by the time we go uptown for Christmas Eve (same day biz meeting uptown re upcoming event for Slave Coast -- bad scheduling, MEN -- I have things to do for Christmas dinner, which you MEN never think about because your wives do these things). But today, as per usual every year for D's Christmas party, it's going to be a cold trek to her place.

So chilly in the apartment this morning that as soon as we'd emerged from warm, comfy fluffy bed, I asked el V to put on some hot Cuban music to at least warm up the audio atmosphere.

Cold as yesterday was I needed to shop. I managed to bargain down the price for a backpack I need for the Cuban trip. Pick pocketing has gotten so rife in Havana I don't dare use the comfortable-to-carry-in-the-heat open top cloth bags (temps there will be ranging into the 80's it looks like, and not getting much cooler at night). I'm certainly not taking my very expensive, exquisitely fabricated handbag, purchased for the book tour -- which, btw, has stood up beautifully to being dragged all over the place, stuffed with everything from books, a raincoat and another pair of shoes, sitting for weeks on end on the dirty floor of The Car, dragged through the rain, etc.

Sensing I'm going to use this backpack thing only once -- I'm not the sort who does backpacks -- I didn't want to Spend Money. $25 tops. I went up and down Canal Street this week twice, looking at what is available, getting prices. Everybody wanted between $45 and $80. Almost all of them looked to be what they are: cheap Asian / African knockoffs. As well, they mostly looked as though they'd fall apart within a day or two of being on the floor of the bus, shoved behind me to support my back, etc. There was a single exception to all of these. The guy insisted he had to have $50.  No, too much for something I'm using only once. But I got him down to $30, which from checking out up and down Canal, I understood I wasn't going to get under, not in December, with hordes of foreign tourists handing out U.S. cash as if they were USians in Iraq back in 2003.  But still, $30 was better than $50 and higher.

In the meantime have the retailers on Canal Street changed, aggressive in the way Middle Eastern souk vendors are, or those in Southeast Asia, almost, though this being USA, not quite physically grabbing you and pulling you into their holes-in-the- wall. Interesting experiences. This is the first time in my life I've set out with the idea that I wasn't going to pay asking price and bargained. With African trips scheduled for 2017 I'd better practice.

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