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Re: assumptions ?
by kjkhoo
31 December 2001 18:57 UTC
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The author is English explorer Sir Samuel White Baker, not Sir Samuel 
W White who, historically speaking, never existed. Baker was 
appointed Governor of Equatoria in 1869 with a commission to annex 
the territory in the White Nile basin and to suppress slave trading. 
He was succeeded in 1874 by Charles Gordon, he of the Mahdi uprising 
fame or notoriety.

Perhaps someone on the list with knowledge of the Sudan can provide 
more information as to which of the many ethnicities did Commorro 
come from. Anyway, it would seem that the period covered by Baker's 
account was one of tremendous upheavals in the Sudan, still 
unravelling to the present day.

It appears that Baker learnt little or nothing about the religion of 
Commorro, which is what he apparently was attempting to get at.

Whatever, it seems to me that Mr Hale's point, from the several posts 
he's made, might be better made by reference to Darwin's Descent of 
Man in which Darwin, incidentally, quoted Baker. The passage I'm 
thinking of is the ff., with apologies to actual Irish and Scots, 
Celts and Saxons:

'The careless, squalid, unaspiring Irishman multiplies like
rabbits: the frugal, foreseeing, self-respecting, ambitious
Scot, stern in his morality, spiritual in his faith, sagacious
and disciplined in his intelligence, passes his best years in
struggle and in celibacy, marries late, and leaves few behind
him. Given a land originally peopled by a thousand Saxons and a
thousand Celts - and in a dozen generations five-sixths of the
population would be Celts, but five-sixths of the property, of
the power, of the intellect, would belong to the one-sixth of
Saxons that remained. In the eternal "struggle for existence,"
it would be the inferior and less favoured race that had
prevailed - and prevailed by virtue not of its good qualities
but of its faults' (1901 ed., p. 213).

Mr Hale can have his pick of the 'Scots' or 'Saxons', or the 'Irish' 
or 'Celts', although since it would appear that he much enjoys having 
the five-sixths of the property, etc., he would likely pick the 
'Scots'/'Saxons', and I sincerely hope he's not Irish or Celt (minus 
quotation marks)!

Still, there is that last sentence from which I take heart -- with 
hopes of prevailing not by virtue of any good qualities but by virtue 
of faults, by virtue of that "less-ness" that Wallerstein says 
characterises the American view of the Rest :)

Anyway, I do hope that Mr Hale and friends are appreciating getting 
some of this "less-ness", less civil liberties, less freedom of 
speech, etc. -- can't wait for the day of X-Files becoming reality, 
with trackable ID implants among American citizens. Can't say there 
isn't a technological edge there -- over here we just make do with an 
ID card, which can even be faked!

kj khoo

At 4:07 PM +0100 29/12/01, Anne-Marie.Jeay@univ-nancy2.fr wrote:
>You wrote that the English man (you do not give bibliographic references of
>the book why ?)
>  >had a long conversation with him (Commoro) on the customs of his
>>through my two young interpreters,
>Your long quote teaches us only one thing : the ideas of Sir Samuel W.
>White . We learn absolutely nothing about   Commoro and Sudanese ideas
>because we know nothing about the young interpreters. Do you think they
>were able to understand and analyse the words and their meaning in the two
>langages ?
>Why Commoro choose an ox to compare with man ? What is an ox in his culture ?
>For you what does mean something like  >"Do you see no difference in good
>and bad actions?" Commoro.--"Yes,
>>there are good and bad in men and beasts."
>>"Do you think that a good man and a bad must share the same fate, and
>>alike die, and end?"
>>Commoro.--"Yes; what else can they do? How can they help dying? Good and
>>bad all die."
>>"Their bodies perish, but their spirits remain; the good in happiness,
>>the bad in misery. If you have no belief in a future state, WHY SHOULD A
>>MAN BE GOOD? Why should he not be bad, if he can prosper by wickedness?"
>  >
>>Commoro.--"Most people are bad; if they are strong they take from the
>  >weak. The good people are all weak; they are good because they are not
>>strong enough to be bad.""
>For you it means
>>   Commoro is genius" because his mouth is a  "mouth of what could be
>>considered a primitive".
>I ask you this question : WHAT IS A PRIMITIVE ?
>PLEASE  answer in English and in "Sudanese" langage and because my mother
>tongue is French add also a French version of your answer.
>It is just an exercice, after  you should be able to understand the old
>fashioned "knowledge" of "primitive" colonialists travelling in savage
>countries in second half of the XIX° century.
>And the second part of work could begin : what is a "genius statement"
>written in a book by a colonialist in the 1860s and 1870s ?
>For that you need to study Anthropology Š and not Psychology.
>You will learn much more about yourself than last century travellersŠ And
>you will stop mix CNN LIVE and an academic study when you will watch tv
>because it is what you did with your unknown book.
>Anne Marie JEAY
>Professeur de Sociologie
>Responsable de la Maîtrise
>Université Nancy II
>BP 33 97
>23 Boulevard Albert 1°
>54015 Nancy Cedex

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