Slavery doesn’t discriminate
Such an odd title, but it’s the truth. Here in America the most individuals hear about the topic is America’s own awful history when concerning the slave trade —historical inaccuracies aside, the one factor that remains the same, is the fact that white men found their way to Africa, bought Africans, and brought them home to use as servants or for labor, or to sell to be used as servants or for labor, to other white individuals.
Obviously, one of the lower points concerning American history, I actually consider the almost near eradication of Native American Indians and the pillaging of their land to make their own a tad bit more horrific but it’s hard to compare genocide and slavery. I digress, despite the fact that a number of white men uprooted a race of people and brought them back to sell like a commodity, slavery does not discriminate.
In fact, I’m white — a Caucasian I guess but I can trace my roots back so far I prefer Irish-American, and I do make it a point to explain why I feel there is a distinct difference (the diaspora, and that’s with a lower case “d” I often feel, the yearning I have to visit Ireland at least once, the reverence I feel for those I love, whether they still live or if they’ve passed, how I was raised, so on and so on, despite it being proven that race is only skin deep.) I could probably go on about the difference between your average Caucasian and an Irish-American but I’ve probably rolled enough eyes and I haven’t even made my point.
Most people who have taken any sort of course in history should already view Queen Elizabeth I with the same contempt as Hitler or even Stalin, yet, I feel not enough attention has been given to her atrocities. Maybe it’s because when she did what she did, it wasn’t in the 20th century, but this woman had a fierce passion concerning the genocide of the Irish. Her hatred fueled policies that only served to setup much more savage acts that followed her. Acts that were committed specifically to the end of the Irish race.
After Queen Elizabeth I it was James II and Charles I who continued Elizabeth I’s work, but a man by the name of Oliver Cromwell perfected the act of genocide as if it were an art.
The Irish slave trade began when James II sold roughly around 30,000 Irish to the New World. James II’s proclamation of 1625 made it so political prisoners that were Irish be shipped overseas and sold to English settlers in the West Indies. By the time the mid 1600’s hit, the only slaves being sold were the Irish, mainly to Antigua and Montserrat, so much so, that soon 70% of the population in Montserrat was that of Irish slaves. Then in 1641 began the Confederation revolt, which lasted until 1652, and in those twelve years, both during and following after 1652, over 550,000 Irish were killed by the English and another 300,000 were again, sold as slaves. At the time, this brought Ireland’s overall population down to 616,000 from 1,466,000.
In between those years, in 1649, Oliver Cromwell landed on Ireland’s shores and soon launched an attack on Drogheda. Cromwell’s siege laid waste to the city and left 30,000 Irish dead. In a report by Cromwell he says, “I do not think 30 of their whole number escaped with their lives. Those that did are in safe custody in the Barbados.” In 1650, a few short months later, 25,000 Irish were sold to planters who made their home in St. Kitt. During Cromwell’s Reign of Terror in the 1950’s, over 100,000 children ranging between the ages of 10 and 14, were ripped from their Catholic homes and sold as slaves in the West Indies. There were more Irish slaves sold to the American colonies and their plantations from 1651 to 1660 then there were Americans. There were more Irish slaves in the New World, then were were those who came over to inhabit it or who were born on the new soil.
It was in 1649 when in Barbados the Irish revolted against Cromwell, and for their participation in the upheaval, individuals were hung, then quartered and drawn, and beheaded with their heads being impaled upon large pikes which were put on display in Bridgetown. But Cromwell wouldn’t begin his campaign of ethnic cleansing on August 14th, 1652. Cromwell started by ordering the Irish be brought overseas, beginning with the 12,000 that were sold to the Barbados. In May of 1654, the now famous, “Connaught or Hell!” proclamation was made. The issued proclamation demanded all Irish were to be removed from their own land and relocated west of the Shannon or once again be sent overseas to the West Indies. Of course, the Irish were a tad slow in their reply, and this embarrassed Oliver Cromwell, seeing as most of his genocidal pursuits were financed through business investors, investors who Cromwell had promised estates torn from the Irish to, as dividends and Cromwell’s soldiers had been promised freehold land for their services.
It wasn’t exactly a crime to kill the Irish. Soldiers were even encouraged to. The Irish and Africans were housed together and both were considered to be property of the planter owners, but the Africans often received better treatment, housing and food. In the British West Indies, the Irish slaves were often subjected to torture for any little infraction committed. Some times, owners would hang the Irish slaves by their hands, and set either their hands or feet on fire as punishment. At the time African slaves cost between 20 to 50 pounds Sterling, compared to 900 pounds of cotton, but for an Irish slave? Only 5 pounds Sterling, could buy you an Irish slave. The most common thing to do to an Irish slave was flogging and if a planter accidentally killed their Irish slave in a flogging, it was not considered a crime.
If you ever glance over a West Indies phone book, you’d notice it’s littered with Irish names. Unfortunately none of them know much about the history of their ancestors. West Indie natives even spoke Gaelige up until recently. Of course they know they’re the survivors, strong survivors of black-white slaves but it’s only in the last few years anyone seems to have taken an interest in their heritage.
It wasn’t until 1839 until England passed a bill that forbid the trading of slaves, pausing the misery of the Irish until the following decade saw tons of butter, beef, grain and potatoes shipped from Ireland resulting in the starvation of 1 million Irish in what is known as The Great Famine, forcing a third of the population to flee to America or Australia. From 9 million strong Ireland only saw 3 million remain.
The point of this entire post is to make it known that there were, horrendous things done to both the Irish and to Africans. There have been much worse things done to the Jewish, to Native Americans, to women of ALL races and cultures, but because of White Privilege (yes, I agree with it and I know it exists) I can’t bring this subject up without looking racist. It doesn’t matter how I bring it up. Trust me, I know the privilege afforded to me because of the color of my skin I have never denied it nor would I have be so stupid as to suggest that it’s somehow “reverse racism.”
However, despite the privilege my skin color has have given me, that doesn’t mean I can’t relate to having ancestors who were treated with the same horrendous acts some of the other races have. The only difference is I’m in camouflage.
I stand by any person persecuted wrongly, for any reason, and would gladly defend any individual’s right to live their life afforded to them as a human being, free of prejudice and judgement. It is no one’s business how someone identifies, who someone decides to love, or how many individuals someone decides to love.
"All Hallow’s Eve Misunderstanding…"
I understand that during Samhain, that’s [sah-win] or [sow-in] that the veil, for those of you who believe, between this world and the other is very thin and the sídhe are open. So those of you who practice the art of magick, or magic, any and all Wiccans or individuals who want to perform a ritual — be safe in doing so.
Ensure you do all the research you can before committing to anything, know you’re way in and know you’re way out.
But most of all, instead of practicing the arts or observing any rituals, take time to instead read about what Samhain is all about.
First and foremost Samhain is the time of the year that marks the last harvest before winter, with a feast and a celebration. Put food and drink out for the aos sí and don’t forget to make a seat and leave a place during dinner for a loved one who has moved on. Tell stories and exchange tales that include your forebears.
Acknowledge this day as a time to revere the dead. This is not the time of the year to mess with power or spells.
Sit down and tell a story about your grandparents, or a sibling, or a parent, cousin, friend — anyone that’s gone from your life that you loved.
That’s what this time of the year is for.
Have a great, and more importantly, safe, Samhain and Halloween, what ever you choose to do.
"Why am I listening to Dethklok?"
I figured my first “official” post, I mean, officialish, post, should be on a band I enjoy listening to immensely, and I’m not the only one. It may come to no surprise that I am in fact, a huge metal-head. Now don’t get me wrong, not only do I tolerate a lot of other genres, I often listen to them more then I do metal. I was raised on Motown, Doo-Wop and classic rock, and would prefer The Yardbirds, The Beatles or The Temptations over All That Remains, Dragonforce, or Amon Amarth.
Being in the culture of metal, we make peace with a few things. For instance, there is definitely a stereotype. Some of us paint our faces, some of us get into the pits at shows or concerts and won’t stop until the band stops. More then often, we wear dark clothes and some of us take the music a little too seriously, and maybe a little too literally. Now, don’t worry, like all cultures, that lot makes up just a small sliver of us. I’m a rare case, rare as in I’m the only person I know who’ll admit that there are certain bands who paved the way and I respect those bands.
This is different from some individuals who can’t help but listen to all metal, all the time and music, like all art is truly subjective. One person may listen to the music you listen to and find it awful, but you don’t, and hey! That’s great, really, I’d never begrudge someone’s taste. When my girlfriend visits we often drive her car everywhere, and while our musical tastes do blend together a little (folk or indie bands like The Civil Wars, Ed Sheeran or Mumford and Sons) she isn’t exactly chomping at the bit to hear the latest track from Sonata Arctica or Cannibal Corpse. We’re usually listening to Katy Perry or Justin Timberlake (and while I don’t listen to these artists when I am away from my girlfriend, I’d never offend or insult her for doing so.) They’re decent, and proficient in their craft and making more money then I can count to on a lazy day so who am I to judge?
Anyway, this post is more about my love for a band, that came from when art began imitating life so well that it kind of found it’s way into talent. So here is this band, Dethklok, the subject of a cartoon show on Adult Swim called “Metalocalypse” written and created by Brandon Small and Tommy Blacha. Brandon Small is of “Home Movies” fame, known for his many voices but on the show “Metalocalypse” he shreds, and he sings. The man does so well in depicting some of the more extreme metal heads. In the show, the band is described as the world’s seventh largest economy where fans often endanger themselves to get even a tiny glimpse of the band while they perform.
I came for the satire, and sarcasm, even the comedy (it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but I find it hilarious) but I stayed for the music. Which was the last thing I thought I was going to do considering the music is made to support the satire, the sarcasm, the music is there to help support how metal sounds (often certain types of metal will have growlers, or screamers, and if you don’t have a well-trained ear you may not be able to make out half of the lyrics that are sung, if any at all but to growl or scream in key takes talent, man.)
Well, in the beginning Dethklok released an album, mainly just a print of the music featured in the fifteen minute show. Yet, I sit down, put my headphones on, and I listen. I listen to the entire album, enjoying the fact that I can listen to the music without having to watch an episode over and skip to the particular song (I like the show, I really do, but you can only watch something so often before it wears down on you before you have to take a break.) I was so thrilled by the music that when a second album was announced I couldn’t wait to download it. It was just as amazing as the first, and so was the third. Each album is simply titled “Dethalbum I,” “Dethalbum II” and “Dethalbum III.”
I was honestly taken aback by how much I loved this band, who also tours (in the style of the Gorillaz.) It was metal, it was melodic death metal and it was good melodic death metal. Every season and album showed the bands steady evolution and now, we’re upon a season special premiere “Doomstar Requiem: A Klok Opera.” The preview was amazing, I nearly found myself drooling over it. This band, a melodic death metal band, has evolved into, if only for a single album, into a symphonic death metal band. Now this band, has become one of my favorites.
If you haven’t listened to metal, I don’t blame you, it’s not for everyone. If you haven’t listened to any metal, I feel sorry for your ears, because you are depriving them of some truly epic music. When I say epic I mean the literal definition of epic because most of the epic metal bands are viking or folk metal, their songs are just grand tales or poems set to symphonies and wailing guitars and double pedal bass drums. Not all metal is sung by men who are growling or yelling so much that you can’t make out any lyrics. Some times some of the best metal bands are fronted by gorgeous women who take the genre of opera by the balls and don’t let go until they’re done singing in your face. By then opera’s all blue in the cheeks, which are tear stained and their delicate genitalia are bruised but it isn’t over, and these women light opera on fire while they lie on the ground in the fetal position because of the pain. Even then opera can’t hit some of the falsettos these ladies can.
So, I can only implore you to give “Metalocalypse” a try, and if the show isn’t for you, at least try and open your heart to their music. If neither is for you, then all I can do is it opens the door enough for you to hear all of the other great bands that are playing on the other side. If I get just one person to listen to something other than the cookie-cutter pop that’s playing today then I’ll consider this a success.
By the way, for the fans of the show, “Metalocalypse” airs, “The Doomstar Requiem” on October 27, 2013.
So, a reimagining..
A relaunch, I guess would also be a good word. As I endeavor into the world of writing and increase my efforts, my blog will now be used as a blog for all things horror. Be it the movie genre, music, animation or games, if it’s paranormal or bleeds in some fantastic way, odds are I’ll be reviewing it. That goes for old material as well. So please bear with me while I fix up the graphics of the theme and try and get everything sorted. I appreciate the patience, as always.