Perhaps the ultimate in prisons except for Devil’s Island in what used to be French Guiana was “Château d’If” off the coast of Marseille, France. Prisoners were arranged by class with the poorest sent to the dungeons. Immortalized by Alexandre Dumas in his novel The Count of Monte Cristo concerning the imprisonment of Edmond Dantès. The prison, now a museum, is seen here in 1956. Clearly, Alcatraz was patterned after Château d’If.
We acquired this photo without any accompanying documentation. Our initial conclusions regarding time and place were completely wrong. Only after we did our homework were we able to make a final assessment. We assess that this photo was taken in Port of Spain, Trinidad c. January 1942 following reaction to local labor issues which were compounded by British colonial policies in which the population did not receive adequate representation. Sound familiar?
“The Rebellion“; Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago c. January 1942
Sometimes good things come in small packages. While small in terms of pixel size, “Chinese Farmer” – China c.1918 is rich in its message. As you may know my field is International Relations. I cannot defend the policies of Communist China nor that of the PLA. But I will say that to understand some of the current actions taken by Communist China you really need to study the history of China. If you truly understand their past it will greatly help in comprehending their actions vs. Taiwan, Hong Kong and the South China Sea.
Here is a fine example of an occupational portrait: “Bamboo Man“; China/Malaysia? (March 9, 1961). We know the date but are unsure of the exact location. It is the occupational portrait rather than a studio or otherwise sterile portrait that gives meaning to the image. Showing the subject in his/her natural habitat so to speak.
A rare image by any measure is this photo of travelers on the road to Hei Long Tan (Black Dragon Pool) at Lijang to view the pagoda. Especially rare considering its source: Gouvernment Official Indochine (France). “Yunnan, China c.1906“.
“I want you do do me a favor, though….” Please explain to me how withholding foreign aid to allies makes the United States safer. I will answer in four words. No, it does not. Who is next? How can we be trusted by anyone? The only ones who benefit are our enemies.
You can’t make this stuff up. I’m sure that late night television will have a field day with this insanity. We have argued quite seriously in previous blogs that walls don’t work. History has proven this. If a wall on our southern border were to be constructed it would soon be breached one way or another so the Administration would have to take further measures. Perhaps guard towers with machine guns? How about a mine field? Why stop there? Create a demilitarized zone and thence a buffer zone. The absurdity is the product of disturbed thinking. The Statue of Liberty would be weeping if it is not already. This is not who we are as a people.
Approximately 15 miles southwest of Montpellier, France along the Mediterranean coast is Sete. The scene, “Sete, France (1968)“, screams French fishing village, and is easily identifiable as such as would be a photo of the Eiffel Tower. An invisible, diagonal line draws attention to the interaction between the dock worker on the left of the photo and the two men on the right. A classic photo in any conversation. The fact that these men are seen in primarily silhouette adds to the mystery of the scene.
In the film “Amistad” (2007) the Lomboko slave fortress located in modern day Sierra Leone played a major role. It was not the only trading post used by slavers in those times. Shown in this blog is “The Slave Fortress: Elmina Castle” (July 2009). It is located in the city of Elmina, Ghana. Worldwide visitors come to pay homage and to lay wreaths. Note the depiction of a skull in the upper left corner of the photo. Visitors are entering the dungeons where slaves were held. Let us not forget the role played by Jamestown in 1619 on this 400th anniversary. For a more complete understanding of the history and the role played by Elmina Castle see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elmina_Castle.
And these are the people that we’re supposed to be afraid of, the “invaders”? Are you kidding me? You can’t be serious. The United States was built by immigrants, refugees and those who came here unwilling in chains. Historically, the first generation has more difficulty in assimilating than their children and their children’s children. Eventually there is no longer any collecitve memory of the ancestral homeland. New arrivals, by whatever means they come here, need “stuff” as they arrive basically with their clothes on their backs. An economic argument against the newcomers fails as they will need jobs, housing, food, clothing, cars, cell phones, toothpaste, etc. By any measure this is win-win for retailers. They will learn the language and become citizens. They will serve in the military. And they will also vote. Our history shows that all newcomers face discrimination at first. Are we to turn away Central American refugees, and that is exactly what they are, as Jews were turned away from entering the U.S. during Hitler’s Germany? What kind of people are we? We allow children to be separated from their parents in refugee camps? No country operates refugee camps in that way be it Turkey, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia or anywhere else. The only example that comes to mind where this was done was in Nazi Germany. Incremental attacks on various segments of the population, particularly Jews, was the policy of Nazi Germany. The Nuremberg Laws institutionalized the persecution of Jews which became legal under German law. May I suggest that you read your history books of events of the 20th century in particular and make the appropriate analogy to our current situation.
Our photo in this blog is “Los Guatemaltecos (The Guatemalans)“; Chichicastenango, Guatemala (July 1936).