Tag Archives: Slavery

The Ballad of William Walker

This is a (mostly) true story, so listen up:

Born in a one room shack in Tennessee
Then poorest state in the land of the free
Sure he was hick but was smart as can be
He passed the Bar when he was only three
William, William Walker ’tis of him I sing!

In New Orleans he practiced law
Then headed West as an outlaw
His dueling record without flaw
He was the smartest bastard the Frontier saw
William, William Walker a true gentleman thief!

He met up with pirates in San Francisco
They headed down to Mexico
Annexing Sonora promised serious dough
Creating new for land for slaves to grow
William, William Walker the man who don’t know bounds!

His project lasted one brief time
‘Till Mexico deported him without a dime
And put on trial for his illustrious crime
Got acquitted and a song of freedom he did chime
William, William Walker should have learned something!

He looked to Nicaragua where he saw a prize
A potential canal of tremendous size
Many adventurers answered his plies
They boarded their ships and descended like flies
William, William Walker crossing a point of no return!

They raped and pillaged the Mosquito Coast
Something Walker would proudly boast
The Nicaraguans proved an unhappy host
Since it was them who suffered most
William, William Walker Nicaragua’s would be king!

Expansionism sure brought him much joy
Adding Costa Rica was his next ploy
And for him that was rather coy
But his base was torched by a Costa Rican drummer boy
William, William Walker will he learn his lesson yet?

Never one to learn from a mistake
Nicaragua was too lucrative a cake
In Managua he plotted the next move to make
And won an election that was surely fake!
William, William Walker never gonna give it up!

Naturally he wanted more
And dreamed of the riches he could store
Having no problems with blood and gore
He invaded Honduras which was just next door
William, William Walker living out Manifest Destiny!

Things didn’t go so very well
It was to the Honduran army that he fell
They tied him to a post and rung a bell
Then the squad fired and now Walker’s in hell
William, William Walker what a wasted life!



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Review of King Leopold’s Ghost

I have just finished reading King Leopold’s Ghost by Adam Hochschild. It tells about how Belgium’s King, Leopold II, managed to purchase the Congo as his personal estate. Many people are familiar with Stanley’s expedition of the Congo River, where he famously found Dr. Livingstone. What people do not know was that Stanley went to Congo in Leopold’s behalf, and that the duration of the journey was marked by monumental death and destruction. Torching villages, wiping out elephant herds, all of which laid a template for how Leopold would mismanage the Congo for the next several decades. What the book focuses on is how Leopold manipulated the global community into believing he was some great philanthropist (who took over the place simply to end bad things like slavery, female genital mutilation, and eating Pygmies), and how brave visitors eventually blew the whistle and led to his downfall. Congo’s resources have been proven to be more of a curse than a blessing, because the ample ivory, minerals, palm oil, timber, and rubber make it a very attractive place for exploitation. If Leopold didn’t take over someone else would have. Westerners have long viewed Africa as the Dark Continent, and this has proven to be a self fulfilling prophecy. Spreading lies that Africa was a savage place provided an excuse to exploit it, and as a result for the past three hundred years Africa’s history has been very Dark. The Democratic Republic of the Congo has been one of the worst places in the world, and reading King Leopold’s Ghost will help you understand how it got that way.

amputee snake tintin

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Review of Adanggaman

I have just finished watching Adanggaman, an indie film from Cote d’Ivoire. Adanggaman provides an unforgiving look at the slave trade as it existed in late seventeenth century West Africa. While countless Hollywood films have looked at slavery, very few have dared to touch the Transatlantic Slave Trade; a noted exception being Amistad, which depicted it in a completely anachronistic manner. There are many things about Adanggaman that make it very different from mainstream films. For one thing it was clearly shot on a limited budget, so it focuses far more on dialogue and characterization than it does on creating a visual spectacle. Still, the props, sets, and costumes are good enough, and the movie takes full advantage of the scenery of its film location (an American film with this budget could not afford to film in Africa). What I liked best about Adanggaman was is that the slave trade is portrayed in a matter of fact way without passing a moral judgment or making it painfully obvious what emotions we are supposed to feel. Showing this tragic era from a solely African perspective also makes it unique, even though White people are frequently mentioned none actually appear. Overall I would say that while it could be better, Adanggaman is definitely worth viewing.



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There and back again

The furthest I’ve ever been from where I live now is Japan, however when I was there that was where my home was located. Had I been visiting it would have been very far from home georgaphically, and culturally it would have been a world away. Especially since I would not be living on a US military base as I did, the bases are pretty much miniture American towns that drive on the other side of the road.

The furthest I have been from home is Costa Rica; the physical distance from home is much greater than anywhere in the US, Maine, Florida, and Hawaii included. All of the other distances, cultural, economic, social, etc., are even more substantial. Costa Rica is a nation obsessed with putting on an image for the rest of the global community. That image is of a nation that is very beautiful, biodiverse, eco friendly (all true), and consequently a wonderful place for everyone who lives there. They claim to be the “Happiest Nation On Earth,” something with Guiness perpetrates. Most of the people I met where indeed happy, but the claim is still obscene. I saw what the tourist brochures don’t show you, slums, poverty, people just trying to get by with more or less basic necessities and not much more. 

Oh, and it is also a huge destination for human trafficking in Central America.

Out of fairness, Costa Rica (along with Panama) is much better off than the neighboring countries. There commitment to saving their environment is wonderful, but I wish that they were more commited to everyday people.

I’m sure most people who visit do NOT experience the same things I experienced. I went there on a mission trip with the specific goal of doing charitible work. Most everyone else goes to see the waterfalls and national parks and ziplines, none of which I had the opportunity to see. I think the most important element of travel is not where you go, but why you go.


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The Love of Money is the Root of All Evil

Today is World Day Against Child Labor, which activists use to spread awareness about his important issue. It amazes me how many people honestly believe that slavery is over, that it’s something Lincoln ended. Sadly, that’s just not true and slavery is a fact of life all over the world; despite the fact is officially banned in every country except for a few in North Africa. World Day Against Child Labor focueses on what many experts call “wage slavery,” where workers are paid for their labor but its not adequate compensation for the ammount of labor done. Child labor hasn’t been legal in the US and most developed countries for decades, but there are still many third and second world countries which still do; as well as the fourth world nations that have some form of industry. 

What I find most alarming is that a huge chunk of these factories are owned by American business interests, because our captains of industry are greedy bastards who feel no guilt paying Bengladeshi or Honduran workers 50 cents an hour. Some people argue that if these kids didn’t work, their families would likely starve. Unfortunately there is some truth to that, but if adults in these countries got a decent minimum wage they would be able to afford having their kids go to school instead of work. But the lack of minimum wage and other basic regulations are what attracts Americans to set up factories in such places in the first place. Companies save untold money doing so,and wouldn’t be able to pull half that shit in America. Anyway, today is a day dedicated to raise awareness for an issue I think is very important, so please spread the news.

Here is an article with an informative slideshow and some links to useful sites:


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