For my final socials assessment, I created a symphony of sorts to go through my entire TALONS socials experience. My thesis statement is: “If we can look at both our successes and mistakes, not looking strictly at one or the other, we can learn to better ourselves for the future.”
A symphony is divided into four parts, and I used the four parts to represent the four terms of socials I had over the last two years.
The first movement portrays the first half-semester of year one. The chordal structure is quite simple, basically staying on the root chord for most of the piece. It has a sound of innocence and simplicity. The music has not yet developed into something too intellectual or thoughtful quite yet. It represents me as a new TALONS, unaware and unsure of much of what goes on in my life and in the lives around me. A very unassuming and simple outlook.
The second movement is a darker and more somber sounding piece. It is more developed and more complex than its predecessor, but it is still moderately basic. It follows the basic ii-V-i chord progression throughout and does not deviate from this progression. Granted, it is more interesting and has a lot more going on. This represents the second term of grade 9. It represents me, trying to present myself as knowledgable and wise to others as well as to myself. Creating sounds that on the surface seem complex (and are to a certain degree) but take no real risk or “out there” ideas.
The third movement is a step away from what has been going on previously in the piece. It uses only two or three instruments at a time and has them going as duets for the entirety of the piece. It’s a break from the instrumental set up previously used and is significantly more harmonically complex. It’s now the beginning of grade 10 socials and represents me trying something new. Trying to think differently and look at every perspective (or instrument) for their ideas and opinions and how they can shape the overall outlook on an idea (song).
The final movement is the conclusion of both the “symphony” and socials in TALONS. This is the most complex movement, taking ideas and building off of both the mistakes and successes of the previous movements. It is a piece that is more mellow and calm, not being too dramatic, cheesy, corny, or simple (or at least desperately trying not to be). It gives more instruments in the ensemble a chance to shine and express the beauty that lives within every instrument. This is really a metaphor for my current way of thinking and how I can learn from my mistakes and successes and build off of them to be continually creating a better version of myself.
Marching up and down for eons, Fleeing southward and reclaiming lost territory
So poorly understood
A single footstep is taken on the backs of the amniotic
Odysseys to their home Reaching From island to island The patient observer will stare you in the eye
For me, this poem was about nature beginning to reclaim its land. Using pages 10 and 11, I made a poem that speaks a little about how the natural world, both at home and abroad, has been brutally mistreated, miscalculated, and misunderstood, and how it would be to come back. I wanted to show the feeling of being upset or dissatisfied of the present situation, yet also giving the reader a chance to take a deep breath and imagine a way to overcome this with a higher sense of calm or settling despite the situation (as the second stanza I feel does).
These pages had a lot of vivid imagery that leaped out to me, with some really interesting and powerful sentences. Using as many as I could to fit with the idea that I constructed as I noticed phrases in the pages, I ended with the poem you see above.
The painting above is by Canadian artist, Forshaw Day. The title of the work is called On the Nouvelle River Bay of Chaleur. I chose this image as I thought that it would be important for the painting to come from a Canadian artist. The painting itself is a beautiful reflection of the natural world that lives in Canada. The tipped over canoe could be representative of man’s departure from nature, and the surrounding hills look prepared to engulf what humans have left and to carry on. As well, the gentle tones and textures present in the painting relate with the line “the patient observer will stare you in the eye”. When looking at this painting, the viewer (or observer), calmly and patiently observes the wondrous and majestic existence of nature and in doing so, stares life right in the eye.
In the year 1864, a form a representative government was established in British Columbia. 86 years prior to that, James Cook discovered the land that Aboriginal Peoples had been living on for over 8,000 years. And in 1867, Canadian confederation took place without British Columbia. As a Canadian, born and raised in the western-most province, I’m interested to discover BC’s involvement (or lack thereof) in confederation and I believe that the answers of my questions will prove to be interesting.
For what reasons did Confederation happen without BC, and why did BC not appear to make to big of an effort to be a part of this?
Why did British Columbia ultimately decide to join the Confederation of Canada?
British Columbia, Pre – Confederation
British Columbia was populated after the last Ice Age, with records of human habitation dating back at least 8,000 years. On the coast, several First Nations emerged, including the Tagish, Tsimshian, Haida, Tlingit, Kwakiutl and Nootka, while inland lived the Carrier, Interior Salish and Kootenay.
Europeans didn’t arrive on the Pacific coast in significant numbers until after the voyage of James Cook in 1778 and the mapping expedition of George Vancouver in the 1790s.
– Canadian Encyclopedia
1849 saw that over 50,000 indigenous peoples resided in the place we call BC, as well as a handful of european settlers who, the same year, established the colony of Vancouver Island. Up until 1858, the general location of BC was comprised of two fur trading districts, under the watchful eye of the Hudson’s Bay Company. However, that year, it all changed. Gold was discovered and hundreds upon hundreds of people came with every rise of the sun to try their luck and test their abilities in the hopes of striking gold. About 30,000 people rushed to the Fraser River and prompted Britain to establish to create a separate colony which they named British Columbia. This establishment of BC was one year after Galt, Cartier, and Ross proposed confederation with 33 articles in the Courier to Canada.
In 1984, word of Confederation had reached the west coast, and that got some of the people talking. Naturally, that year, the British made sure a form of representative government was formed in BC, and they were still a British Colony. Three years later, Confederation took place, and British Columbia was not a part of this new Dominion of Canada.
A journalist named Amor de Cosmos began a movement to confederation, which turned out to be quite popular. Forming the Confederation league in 1868, and in the spring of 1870, it was debated at legislation. The next year, terms were discussed between Canada and British Columbia, and so on July 20, 1871, British Columbia was a part of Confederation.
So now the question remains, why?
By making BC a part of Canada, that would make the economy more stable for BC, as the economy was slipping. It would also protect BC from potential attacks from both Alaska and the states below them. For Canada, it would build the transcontinental railroad, which was a huge factor for them. It would also allow Canada to have a vast hold on an enormous amount of land.
Now Canada was a nation that reached from sea to sea. Ahead was the monumental task of building a railway that ran across the continent.
Naturally, the Aboriginals were left out of this entire process.
My findings show that the reasons for confederation for BC is greatly similar to the Confederation that happened on the East Coast. It also shows just how quickly things came to be for the Province of British Columbia, and how swiftly the political, geographic, and population landscapes changed. My remaining questions revolve around exactly who was involved in making BC a reality, and how that might have effected how efficiently things got done.
When looking at negative occurrences in history, it is quite simple to create a verdict: “that was a bad event”. It is very easy to look down at the situation and believe that you could’ve done better, as well as simply dismissing the event from our minds as nothing more than an attack against humans. What is more challenging, is trying to realize exactly what happened, who was a part of it, and to try and understand the humanity and inhumanity of it. Was this person/these people just trying to achieve a seemingly noble goal that had some negative side effects, or were the intentionally trying to cause harm for no good reason other than to fulfill some misguided ideal? Looking at cultural genocide, trying to understand the reasons and outcomes of the event can be incredibly difficult, as we often don’t want to maybe take a lesson out of a negative.
I always find it a challenge to try to relate to “bad” people. When I watch the news or read history books, it’s incredibly easy to judge them and think that I wouldn’t do that. To my credit, I do not believe that I would ever enforce communism nor would I eradicate the entire Mayan culture. But, I often try to defend figures in history and just try to understand why. Why do people do what they do? Are bad things necessary to achieve a greater good?
In this post, I would like to make an attempt to understand and somehow relate to the people who committed genocide, and recognize that they too, are people. I would also like to see if genocide could be in any way, ultimately beneficial on a large scale (in the grand scheme of things), and how we currently benefit from the cultural genocide that occurred here not so long ago.
“It was a low-budget affair with a simplistic plot: politicians, soldiers, clerics, social scientists, and people of unexamined goodwill dash about North America, saving themselves from Indians by saving Indians from themselves”. Thomas King, from The Inconvenient Indian
Oh the humanity
In an attempt to try and understand the motives and actions of those who came before, we have to try and think their thoughts, and we can try to understand about them as a people.
19th century English education was largely based around Christianity, and there were about as many Sunday Schools as there were clouds in the sky on a stormy day. To add to this, schools were only found in more developed areas, and those who lived in more rural areas were not presented with the opportunity to attend school. Most adults then suffered poor conditions due to the industrialization of Britain, so quality of life for workers dropped. At the beginning of the 19th century, poverty was the norm for common workers. Unpredictable harvests and the constant warring appeared to just be how the way things were, and had negative effects for the people of Britain. Support for the poor was minimal and riots were common, and the stigma that surrounded poverty like a disease continued to live. “Increasingly stringent controls, particularly after 1872, instilled in the poor the sense that they, not the state, were primarily responsible for maintaining themselves.” (Joanne de Pennington). Similar events transpired in France.
In New France, the educational system was largely based from home, and whatever other education was brought on by the Catholic Church. In Ontario, teachers were often Irish and were trained to teach with a Protestant and Catholic vibe. Quebec, at one point, had a schooling system that was apart form the church. The Ministry of Public Instruction lasted for seven years (1868-75), and was dismantled due to increasing pressure by the church. Similar educational events occurred on the west coast, but the predominantly white population of the time dealt with the incoming problem of Chinese and Japanese workers immigrating by the boatload every day, which caused the development of “intelligence tests”. In Canada, the religion was either Protestant or Catholic, and it was ingrained into the educational system. Standardized schooling didn’t really appear until the late nineteenth century.
The education of the generations that grew up enforcing cultural genocide was very minimal, and the line between facts and opinions was blurred beyond recognition. Kids from the era that immigrated to Canada knew not much but basic (yet horribly skewered) Christian beliefs and the ideals of their parents (who were generally unhappy and angry). Once in Canada, their kids still depended largely on the influence of their parents, and those who did attend school, had a very one-sided view to most issues and topics in the world around them. As children, the generations that contributed to the genocide of the Native Americans here had an unfortunate upbringing. And as numerous scientific studies show, the education and experiences you have as a young person greatly impacts how you think and act as an adult. ((For more reading on the effects of childhood events on adult life, read here. A paper by the American Academy of Pediatrics))
In the late nineteenth century, immigration was going strong and people were in a constant state of moving. Calm is not the first word that comes to mind when describing the late 1800s. The prairie provinces just became on the market, and when there is land to be developed, there are natives to be shipped away. People of a non-native heritage were moving about like water molecules in a pot of boiling water, jumping from here to there and always having to deal with new neighbours from various places (but also, First Nations people were being moved around to rather undesirable locations).
These things, plus the general struggles and stresses of living in a totally new and foreign country, can really add up on a person and can make living difficult, and can mess with the judgement a person has. I cannot say that I knew every person individually, in fact I can’t say I knew any of them at all. However, given the circumstances, its not hard to believe that people living in this era with their upbringing might commit these acts, though it is saddening and almost unforgivable.
Even now, a lot of people are still like this. They are angry and have never had the opportunity to a good education. A lot of these people exist in the states and a lot of them voted for Donald Trump. I’m not at all saying that these people would willingly participate in cultural genocide, but the fact that there are a lot of people who are confused and upset enough to so strongly believe in a politician with half a brain is really telling of how the world was, is, and could be.
The subjective necessity of cultural genocide
If events had transpired any other way, there is no telling what the outcomes would be. All that can be said with certainty is that we wouldn’t be here today, and from this, the course of the world would be altered. As regrettable and superbly horrific the effects of genocide were on the native americans, perhaps those things were necessary. And if so, to who?
(Spoilers ahead, however, this story is moderately common knowledge. Read on if you dare)
About two weeks ago, I saw the movie The Founder starring Michael Keaton. A full review can be found here. In the movie, Ray Kroc essentially steals the McDonalds Company from the two brothers who created the place, Dick and Mac McDonald. The brothers wanted to keep their restaurant a one-time local restaurant, as it had been their dream to do something like this. Kroc, a sad milkshake-machine salesman, comes along and witnesses the genius of the restaurant. He immediately wants to franchise it and make it national, opposite to the brother’s intent. However, they give in to Kroc’s persistence and allow him to work on franchising the company. Using incredibly intelligent business tactics, Kroc is successful, but is unable to operate at his full capacity due to a contract he made with the McDonald brothers. With the advice of a lawyer and some money-eyed friends, he decides to go behind the brothers’ back and create a new company, Franchise Realty, that essentially does what he’s been doing all along, but outside of the contract he made with the brothers’. By the end, he has taken McDonald’s away from the brothers, and changed it from the original way the brothers wanted it to be. In short, the film was about Ray Kroc’s rise to success, despite having to do some rather nasty things to achieve success in business. ““The Founder” is little more than a deflating reminder, as if we needed one, that the winner takes all, and integrity isn’t always the key to success.” (Stephanie Merry, Washington Post).
What is the purpose of including this story? McDonalds is one of the worlds most successful companies, and Ray Kroc is the man who made it that way. If it had been left to the brothers, McDonalds would have lived and died in the one, solitary location in San Bernardino. I think that most of us, if not all of us, have been in a McDonalds and had a burger, fries, or milkshake. The effect it has had on the world is enormous, and feeds about 1% of the worlds population on a daily basis. Overall, it’s a positive thing for the world, I think a lot of people would be sad to see McDonalds go. Which leaves us to wonder, was what Ray Kroc did necessary to achieve his goals? In short, the answer is yes. He was the driving force behind the expansion and success of the McDonalds brand. However, as successful as McDonalds became, the cost was to excommunicate the McDonald brothers from the business and go against their wishes. Over 68 million burgers sold in a day, or being genuine and a morally righteous person towards the two brothers. There is no in between.
Not to compare cultural genocide to a fast-food chain, but this is an example of how becoming successful and moving forward can often have great costs. To the Canadians of the time, the cost of genocide was necessary. In an attempt to justify it to themselves, people allowed the dehumanizing of native americans to take place, and let themselves believe that they were no more than animals. In an attempt to make it seem right, the Church proclaimed they were saving the aboriginals by saving them from themselves, so putting them into residential schools and breaking families apart. Aboriginals were an inconvenience to development and progress, and so had to be dealt with like dealing with a rodent in your lawn.
The necessity to be in Canada was huge, and going home wasn’t an option. In most cases, it was getting to be near impossible to live at home, wether it be war, economic crisis, diseases, anything. So, given the circumstances; the problems at home, the fact that now this new land was becoming a new home, and the fact that people are people, cultural genocide was the answer to fulfill their needs and achieve their goals. They had to live in Canada, and if First Nations were in their way, then they would have to be dealt with.
The outcome and today
Where would we be today if not for the events that happened in history. If anything had turned out differently, the course of the world would be changed. The same goes for Canada. Cultural genocide is a terrible, absolutely horrific thing that humans are capable of doing, yet if it were not for 19th and early 20th century Canadians, we would not be where we are now. We wouldn’t be at our school, there would not be a theatre to play films like The Founder, there wouldn’t be community hockey at 6:30 on Fridays. If the settlers had fully respected the aboriginal’s right to live here independently, then all of them would go back home. Yes, one could argue that there was a way to strike an agreement between Aboriginal people and settlers/expanding Canadians, and I firmly believe that this could have happened. In fact, the story of the island Hecla, which is situated on Lake Winnipeg, is a good example of Aboriginal people and Icelandic settlers co-existing and helping each other out (but this is a story for another blog post). Unfortunately, respectful and mutually beneficial agreements did not particularly happen often. Its easier to bulldoze a forest without a permit.
I would still like to learn and understand more to why people do things that they probably know are bad, and why we let things slide. I do think that my findings here are a start to understanding the why things happened on a personal level, not a group level, and I think that by understanding an individual you can get a better sense of understanding a group. As well, continuing to search for connections between then and now.
Where are we now? Canada is super inclusive, a global ambassador of human rights, a beautiful and natural country. We are also one of the wealthiest and a politically powerful country. We are here because of the great advancements our ancestors made, and because of the attacks against the aboriginal people across Canada. Without all of the historic events that transpired, we would not be the way we are. So, as opposed to looking down on our past and feeling shame, we should be asking for forgiveness and taking part in the process of reconciliation, which we have begun to. Instead of criticizing those who came before us, we can try to understand them because all of us are human, and learn from their mistakes. We are here now, talking about cultural genocide and reconciliation, and this is because of the cultural genocide that occurred.
We benefit from cultural genocide today by being able to live in beautiful British Colombia, formerly Tsleil-waututh territory.
We are here now, so do the ends justify the means?
Any event with the word ‘Terror’ in the title is generally not a good thing. In fact, the event might even be terrifying. Needless to say, during the reign of terror, I experienced a little bit of terror, in the way that I saw heads literally roll at the sight of my bread prices. But then again, I’m don’t know what the word literal means because I’m too poor to even know proper words. I’m not even sure how yeast works! And I’m a baker! Well anyways, those people deserved it, ruining the French revolution for us, making fun of all my bread puns…
The point is, bread prices are still bad, no matter what the government tells us, because guess where the taxes go? It also doesn’t help that farmers are being killed and I can’t make bread without, y’know, wheat. The revolution changed nothing for me. Life still sucks. However, only one good thing happened. One fantastic thing. The king is dead! You butt!
My life as the primary breadwinner (or in my case, breadloser) of my family.
because bread in french in Pain hah i laugh (rolls on the ground laughing)
After a while, bread becomes tasteless. And I know. I have eaten bread for a long time. Some days, even the word yeast brings an unsettlement to the stomach. This is not how the population of France feels however. The word yeast does bring an unsettlement to the people, but an unsettlement of hunger, not disgust. I must admit, though water and flour can be boring, it keeps you going. It keeps you alive. Food keeps people going. More than hope, I think. And for better or for worse, bread is the currency of the time. Not loyalty, not friendship. However, bread prices have become too high and I regret having to raise my prices. But I can only buy so much grain. And with only so much bread, I have to charge more so I can pay my BAGUETTEY TAXES (baker swear word. Sorry). You would think, that being a grain farmer, they might have a bit more than two bags of grain for me to buy. Ah well. Not really my place to say anything. It’s good buisness, I guess. Keeping the supply low and demand high. But then again, I NEED THE GRAINS TO BAKE THE BREADS YOU SILLY FARMER. (kidding farmer I know your life is hard and same)
You know what else has become tasteless? The people of Viva la France, that’s who. Even our own beloved National Assembly, the pride and joy of the 3rd Estate, has goofed up a bit. As in, paying people who killed some of our own. Even fellow bakers died in the bloodshed at Champ De Mars. Do you know how hard it is to have a stable bread economy without people to bake the bread? Very, that’s the answer. The outcome of today’s events (to put it in the least) made people very croiss(ant).
What has become of our once glorious France? Why has the quality of life crumbled faster than a stale slice of sourdough? I believe I have an answer. MADdamoiselle Antoinette and her cracker-brained husband, Louis. People have been calling me as mad as they, but they don’t know that. i’m perfectly fine.
Ever since I started listening to that Robspierre guy, my life has taken a turn for boththe worse and to greener pastures. My taxes have gone up and now I have resorted to paying with bagels. Bagels!! But at the same time, I now am aware and understand I can do something about my life and not be a brainless cheesecake, waiting for it’s fate to be decided for it. But then again, life for the farmer and I is now becoming increasingly difficult, thus forcing us to raise our prices to feed our poor souls. It’s incredibly difficult and tantalizing. Living in a shack with bread, none of which you can eat becacuse you need money to buy the wheat to make the bread and you get money from people who buy it and people cant buy it if there’s no bread or if its too expensive and it has to be expensive because TAXES and if no one buys it then I have to pay taxes with literally the crumbs off the ground cause tax collectors are hungry too and then I’m poor and then I will not be a baker and then I’ll live on the streets and I shall never find love and will die alone and hungry because I couldn’t buy wheat to bake my bread and even so it’s still too expensive and basically all that money goes like directly to taxes and AUGH life as a French-Bread Man (sstruggles). AND with the recent news of the bloodbath at Champs De Mars, I really think I’m just about done with the tyranny of the people on the top of the bread pile. It’s time for the 98% percent to rise up to the 2% and bake them pay for thier mistakes.
At dawn, we ride in from the yeast. I will twist those royals into pretzels.
I mean, if someone else is doing it. And, like, it doesn’t have to be me to do the actual pretzeling. And if I don’t get blamed. And if I don’t have to do it. Actually, someone else do it. I’ll just be… here. But Someone had better do it!
(title to be said in the voice of an angry New Yorker whom you just bumped into on the subway, spilling his Snapple and dropping his pizza. The words “fo get about it” and “yo Adrian” would be good to get you in the mood for talking in a New Yorkian accent.)
Well, we’re halfway there. We got through Socials thus far. We got through Eminent, ZAP, and INS all in one. As well as successfully “taking care of” James King Charles I. Of course, all this is great, but what’s the point if we didn’t learn from it? Which begs the question: what DID we learn?
I’m sure at comes at little shock to us that emerging ideas and ideologies profoundly influence societies and events. When humans realized America was a thing, we all jumped aboard that boat and slaughtered as many natives as we could. When Christianity came out, a whole bunch of stuff happened and still is happening today. Heck, even the snapchats is influencing our youth and our media. Steve Jobs, Beethoven, and Gandhi all had one thing in common. Their emerging ideas, whether it be on technology, music, or otherwise influenced many people in both good ways and bad. For example who doesn’t have a smartphone now? And what classical pianist hasn’t studied the works of Beethoven? And the good works and teachings of Gandhi is world renowned.
In the socials curriculum however, this [emerging ideas and ideologies profoundly influence societies and events] has come up several times. Christopher Columbus, and eminent just to name two. Focusing on eminent, there are several areas of content in which this has shown up. One of them being Revolutions.
Each of our eminent people were part of a revolution, whether it be social, political or otherwise. My eminent person, Bill Evans, was part of a revolution that is perhaps not necessarily political or really that social, but it really huge impact on the music industry and music listeners. As can be seen in my Bill Evans posts (use eminent link above to see), his playing influenced generations of pianists (not limited to jazz) by what he played and how he played it. So in a way, he revolutionized the genre of jazz. And by revolutionizing something that’s so social, he in a way had a social revolution. During his life, Bill Evans also dealt with racism, because he was white. This is an interesting thing; that racism transcends color. Because jazz at the time, was nearly an entirely black dominated department of music, and a lot of blacks felt that since Bill Evans was white, he shouldn’t be allowed the opportunity to play jazz with other black, or even play jazz at all. It was, after all, music belonging to the black people of America. At least that was what they were convinced was the case.
Within this big idea and content, there are a few curricular competencies that I accomplished well. One of them being the Social Studies inquiry process The entire eminent study was very much inquiry based. I had to learn what I had to, and then learned much more than I anticipated. Another competency is Significance. Again tied in with eminent, we had to figure out whether our eminent person was eminent, therefore significance. This also ties in with my inquiry process. I had to sort my information into what was important and what isn’t. Sure its great that so-and-so could touch his ears with his feet, but isn’t the fact that he built the first (insert notable thing here) a bit more important? A final competency that I feel I am competent at would be perspective. For the trial of the king, I had to see other viewpoints to make my character more accurate. For me, I had to see how the laypeople of the time felt about their king. Not only that, but I had to find what specific people thought about the king (in my case, a lower-class woman). I also did a bit of research on how more upper-class people felt about the king so I could have comebacks/roasts/and anything of that sort to say to anyone who thought my character was wrong.
One of three curricular competencies that I could work on would be ethical judgments. How ethics work and how different people distinguish right and wrong really intrigues me. We didn’t get too much time in class to really talk about it to length, but its something I could have done on my own. Which is one way I could improve my level of competence on this curricular competency. Another way would be to take what we learn in class even farther. Basically, learning more at home. Another competency that I wish I could improve is continuity & change. There is a certain level of both continuity and change that needs to exist for a society to move forward. For example, if a country changed its name every other weekend and had a random lottery to decide who its president of the hour would be, no one would get anywhere. However, if a civilization stayed working with wood and stones to make a fire and dinner was decided by whatever dad killed earlier, when other places are instead playing as a dad killing squirrels in a video game, they haven’t gone anywhere. So it’s a level of both continuity and change societies and even people in general have to have. This topic also interests me and its something I wish we could have spent more class time discussing. Again, I could look into it more on my own time if something really intrigues me. A final competency that I could improve on is Cause & Consequence. We did work on this one in class more than the previous two, but I didn’t find it as interesting. To improve this, I will find something about it that interests me and learn more about that, and see what connections in class I can make to that. For all of these competencies, I can always learn more about them at home.
Here is a mind-mappy kind of thing that might help explain my thinking.
So now, when that angry New Yorker begins to ask you what the big idea is, you tell ’em its emerging ideas and ideologies profoundly influence societies and events and this is why.
How Alice in Wonderland relates to the story of Charles I
In 1865, the world first read the now-famous line, “off with his head”. The notorious queen of hearts, screamed it again and again, over and over. Off with his head, off with her head, he smells funny so off with his head too! The senseless and maniacal phrase was said so much it astounds me that she has a population to rule [but then again this was a story on how logic is needed in the world]. The evil red queen said those words without reason, and without a second thought.
At a point in the story, there are 3 or 4 cards deperately painting some roses red, so not to lose thier heads. They had mistakenly planted white roses, instead of red roses. In a last-ditch effort, they pull out a can of red paint and frantically painted those white flowers. They of course knew the punishment, should the red queen discover thier [fatal] mistake.
Now, jump back some 200 years prior to Alice’s adventures in wonderland. Make a hop, skip, and a jump to not-so jolly old England. Charles I was being a bit of a goof (here we hear the hundreds of 17th centruy English citizens crying out in sarcasm A BIT?!). We all know of his attempts to abolish parliament, and then re-establish it, then on tuesday abolish it again, then next friday bring it back… So they killed him. That’s one way to deal with the problem.
But now, I think I am going to side with the victim here. What if he was just, in a way, trying to paint the roses red?
What if this once king, was in fact just trying to do what was right for his people? Could he have just made a simple error, and everybody blew it out of proprtion? Since histoy is written by the winner, how do we know King Charles’ side of the story?
The british population at that time (could be analagous the queen of hearts) was against Charles I (the painter of the white roses). The masses were demanding he be put to death, and said something probably along the lines of “off with his head”. Chales I had abolished parliament then re-established it time and time again. Eventually the analagous red queen’s demands were met, and Charles the first no longer had a head.
Perhaps it was his constant alterations of power that drove the people over the edge, and would thus change society forever.
Were the british people just as bad as the queen of hearts for what they did to Charles? Perhaps not. But is all killing equal? By that question I mean this, is killing ever justified?
Does it really matter how or why one kills another? Like the comparison between Alice in Wonderland and the happenings of the English civil war. Is killing on a whim that much different from killing out of anger? Is killing the same, no matter the circumstance?
To answer these questions we could turn to many sources. A lawer might have an extremely differnet opinion than monk. The bible for one, says Thou shal not kill. Period. Others say it is acceptable if its for your country or in self-defense. Others still, say it is acceptable in the form of severe punishment.
Nowadays, murder is slightly more frowned-upon than it was then. Of course, killing for fun didn’t win you the ‘citizen of the year’ award either. But using death as a form of capital punishment was much more common then. It was also a form of entertainment. Instead of having people come from different towns to see the Canucks play, people came from all around to see the Lewis Brothers hanged or to see that horrid witch burn. This begs the question, why? Why did we enjoy watching our fellow men and women be excecuted? What dark part of the human soul longed to see thier neighbour burn before their eyes?
The English civil war itself, may be due to Charles I inability to decide a medium of ruling. It was just a huge mess for the English people. But the people’s excecution of thier own king was as surprising for me as it was the king in question. As for my questions, I do not know if they should ever reveal an answer. We would have to travel to the innermost and darkest parts of the human mind and soul. It would be an interesting experience, but one that may not yield an answer.
So did Charles follow a small white rabbit down a hole, through a tea party, and into a deadly game of croquet? Probably not. However the collective identity of the English people at the time, may have reflected the idedntity of the malicious queen of hearts. And though it has been said before, I pray we won’t hear masses of peole chanting the same words the red queen so infamously exclaimed: OFF WITH HIS HEAD!
The governmental structure of continetal Europe was generally the same. From the Vasa kings of Sweden, to King Charles VII of France. The main form of government at the time was having a monarchy, usually hereditary, in which sons (and occasionally daughters) who were born in the same bloodline as the current ruler, were crowned king (or queen) at the passing of their parents, even though the heir may not have been the greatest possible candidate to the throne. Examples of countries that participated in the hereditary monarchy system of government include Norway, Monaco, Spain, France, and many others.
The Popes at the time could also be considered heads of government. Most countries at the time were god-fearing states, and who had the most control over religion? The Pope. He was a large factor in the way countries were run and how society functioned. And even though the line of Popes isn’t hereditary, there was always a successor.
The way this government worked was key in the influence on everyday life. The social system was worked by wealth, much like it still is today. The kings and queens were of course on the top of the pyramid, while lower class, poorer citizens were dumped at the bottom. The middle-class was not very large, not nearly as strong as it stands now. The situation in most cases, is that you were rich, or you were poor.
As for crime and punishment. Well. If there’s one thing we can all feel good about is that we have improved a lot in regards to not killing people in the slowest, most painful way possible. I’m sure at one point in our lives, we have all stumbled upon one of those historical ‘fun facts’ that told us about all these revolutionary and new ways to punish a human being in a way worse than death. The law enforcement in continetal europe had a real knack for that. Crimes could range anywhere from espionage to murder to thievery to witchcraft. Depending on the victim’s social status, the punishment could be severe.
However, none of this is 100% accurate for every situation in continetal europe. The place was so incredibly immense and stock full of so much history, the way the government and social systems worked varied in every country. The specifics on the government in Norway is much different than that of Spain. However they have many aspects that are the same, and those similarities are the facts I am attempting to relay to you now.
Discoveries. When you’re just a wee lad, one of the most amazing discoveries of all time was the fact that ants could crawl up your arm, or finding out balloons made a silly sound when they deflated. As you grow and mature, your discoveries become larger and more thoughtful. Like discovering what you do could make a difference. In some cases, people’s discoveries have led them to new lands. However in my case, my most recent discovery was the real story of a certain Spaniard named Christopher Columbus.
We all now know of the inhumanities from the exposed telling of Columbus’ tale [which included but is not limited to the slaughter and annihilation of an entire people, incredible lack of humanity, and an infamous sense of greed] and that leaves us with a question: Why? Why did they do it, and how did they justify it to themselves?
Perhaps the answer lies in one of the most sacred parts of the human soul, the part of religion. At the time of the conqueror’s arrival, Spain was an entirely Christian state, thus was the Roman Catholic Columbus. So of course it was only natural to proclaim that his grand expedition was in the name of God. Which meant, the mass murder and near eradication of an entire culture and its peoples, was in the name of the Christian God. He showed his belief in God and was convinced he had his lord’s blessing over him as he continued the barbarous treatment towards the Arawaks. An example being that he stated “In the name of the Holy Trinity, go on sending all the slaves that can be sold”. He had a strong faith in God, but for all the wrong reasons.
Columbus’ acts against basic humanity itself was not an isolated event. Other conquerors and groups of people justified the means of achieving their ultimate goal, by claiming it to be for God. For example, the Puritans called upon the bible to justify the fact they were taking over native lands, the Roman Catholic Charlemagne believed had had God on his side in all his conquests, even holy wars between Muslims, Christians, and Jews all called upon their respective gods for justification. And using a god for justification of your doings is not only applicable to Christianity in the past. Nearly every other religion has had a leader or follower that has done nearly unspeakable things in the name of their god, when in fact, their religion’s aim is to be the exact opposite of who Columbus was. It was almost like calling upon their god was an excuse. Any excuse that could be found to make their actions seem pure and just would be taken, and that even included their own faith. It is truly disappointing, that for leaders of their religion and states, that they would firmly believe that committing acts of modern-day terrorism could even be possibly looked upon with approval by their god.
Despite all the horrific deeds committed by this ‘hero’, a fact that cannot be disputed, is his ingenuity as a sailor and, for lack of a better word, his bravery [but only for the time before he crossed the Atlantic]. At the time, with all the uncertainty on just how vast our earth is, it would have taken a massive amount of courage to even attempt an expedition so far into the unknown. If he, for whatever reason, never made it to ‘the new world’ he would have without doubt perished at sea, along with his crew. The bravery of both the crew and captain is commendable, however, does not at all justify the method for his progress, nor does it allow his god to reconcile him for his sins against humanity.
And perhaps, nothing can ever justify his doings.
“No one should fear to undertake any task in the name of our Saviour, if it is just and if the intention is purely for His holy service.” – Christopher Columbus