Book Review: Cogewea The Half Blood

Figure 1A: The cover of the book Cogewea by Hum-ishu-ma.
Figure 1A: The cover of the book Cogewea by Hum-ishu-ma.

I discovered this book at a charity bookshop and felt disappointed that I had not known of it before. Afterall, the author, Hum-ishu-ma (Mourning Dove) was from the Okanogan tribe and was written on the West Coast of the United States in Washington State. I had met members of the Okanogan but had no long term contact to establish relationships of friendship with them. So I was presently surprised to have found this book and that the author was the first known aboriginal author in the Western Hemisphere to bring her thoughts systematically into the English language.

Figure 2A: The author Hum-ishu-ma (AD 1888-1936), in a photo enclosed in her ground breaking work, Cogewea.
Figure 2A: The author Hum-ishu-ma (AD 1888-1936), in a photo enclosed in her ground breaking work, Cogewea.

Hum-ishu-ma, living as a migrant farm worker and after ten hour days in the hop fields and apple orchards, would type out this historical fiction text. The work, Cogewea, although not based upon an actual historical figure, is indeed based upon historical events and peoples at the time. The result is a catalogue of events that relate to American invasion of the continent, extermination attacks, pogroms, the use of disease in germ warfare and general damage levied against the aboriginal peoples that the invaders found upon arrival.

Cogewea is a half blood, a “breed,” a reference to the fact that she has an American father and an aboriginal mother. She is unable to mesh fully with either side and suffers rebuke from both parties. Her suffering is alleviated partially by growing up around other breeds such as her faithful friend Jim, who acts as a big brother figure. Their lives, the treachery of their invaders and the secret designs against them are aptly noted by the author.

Figure 2A: Hum-ishu-ma, The author of Cogewea,  who was also forced to take an English name. She was also described by her occupiers as "cold and unfeeling." My  query is how someone is supposed to be towards his or her captor.
Figure 2A: Hum-ishu-ma, The author of Cogewea, who was also forced to take an English name, Christal Quintasket. She was also described by her occupiers as “cold and unfeeling.” My query is how someone is supposed to be towards his or her captor.

Once can also see that much of what is related about the main character reflects the tribulations suffered by the author. The pain rings forth on every page and leaves the reader desiring more. I can say this with first hand experience as I finished the book in one day as it was such a page turner I could not put it down. It took two chapters to be able to fully acclimate myself to the slang and wild west vernacular used at that time.

Overall it is a great book and if one can get past the vernacular, great benefit can be derived. I also am in the process of trying to obtain her other works. Her great grand-daughter (engl. name Jeanette Armstrong) lives on and tries to keep her memory alive among the other Okanogans and the literary world at large. I strongly advise anyone with the time and effort to learn more about the Okanogans and also Hum-ishu-ma and her great grand daughter. You will not regret it.

 

Al-Hajj Abu Ja`far Al-Hanbali

Handguns and Faith

Figure 1A: Increasingly, more people in an unsafe world, are carrying firearms. This trend has been especially elevated among women.
Figure 1A: Increasingly, more people in an unsafe world, are carrying firearms. This trend has been especially elevated among women.

A revealing article by Breitbart has brought to the forefront again the matter of guns and self defense. This time there is a Catholic priest advising parishioners to obtain handguns in light of rising crime rates.

As I had said before in the article on guns, this is not a light matter. Self defense is of the utmost importance to defend the person, home and family. Let there be no doubt about this at all.

Al-Hajj Abu Ja`far Al-Hanbali

Book Review: The Portable Hannah Arendt

Hannah Arendt, one of the more important Jewish thinkers of recent years.
Hannah Arendt, one of the more important Jewish thinkers of recent years.

Hannah Arendt (AD 1906-1975)

I was introduced to this woman some time ago and was impressed by some of her writings. Then recently, I was blinded again by her portable anthology, not being able to purchase all of her writings at the time.

Her most hard hitting texts struck with such power as to represent a lightning bolt. Some of the most powerful exchanges that I have ever read were between herself and a detractor, politely dismissing her as a “philosopher.”

I took my time reading this selected collection of her writings and if any of this is anything to go by, at my next opportunity I will attempt to collect all of her writings. There are a number of reasons why I believe this author has such an appeal to someone such as myself:

  1. she is an immigrant and the child of immigrants.
  2. she suffered racism in school and on the street.
  3. challenges that she faced forced her to re-evalutate herself.
  4. she attempted to join the wider society and integrate, an idea thrust upon her by her family.
  5. upon receiving even more severe racism in spite of trying to integrate, she realised that she had to be who she was and revert to the original model.

These things appeal to me greatly as an immigrant, a child of immigrants and an outsider in every culture that I have lived in so far. The ability of Miss Arendt to articulate her ideas and then argue them cogently, sometimes anticipating opposing arguments and demolishing them as well, is one of the most endearing qualities in a thinker and writer.

Introduction and Unit 1

Despite severe disputes that I have with some of her points, I thoroughly enjoyed reading her selected writings. Let me give a layout of some of them. Her brazen daring in this following statement gains my respect:

“I continue to use my old name. That’s quite common here in America when a woman works, and I have gladly adopted this custom out of conservatism (and also because I wanted my name to identify me as a Jew).” [1]

That is just plain guts. Remember she continued to use her maiden name before entrance into America, at the time she was in Germany.[2] She witnessed Hitler’s coming to power, [3] fought against it politically[4] as well as the fact that she was able to get herself smuggled out of Germany on the run. [5]

That is bravery in the extreme.

Unit 2

In the chapter, The Perplexities of the Rights of Man, [6] she expertly and with the precision of a surgeon’s scalpel, begins her thesis by stating that human rights are insufficient for a people that have no national identity. [7]

Immediately following this point, she then asserts that the first thing that was done to prepare the Jewish people for extermination was to deprive them of national rights, meaning recognition as a people. There would then be no need to discuss human rights because by depriving them of a national identity and recognition as a people, excluding them from the human family then becomes a perfunctory exercise. [8]

This immediately brought into my mind the Night of the Broken Glass (Kristallnacht) and all the other statutes that were brought to bear against Jews when they were deprived of “peoplehood” in Germany. The same thing happened when Kurdistan was erased from maps and banned in schools in Iraq and Turkey.

The Turkish government this day continue to oppress the hell out of the Kurds as well as Iraq’s government. This would explain why for Kurds, the fight against Saddam and ISIS was and is not just a fight for victory. This is a fight for national survival.

Then you come to notice that they are fighting for a separate homeland. Remember also the Berber uprisings and add to that the Palestinian situation. Then examine the Negro, black and coloured statues in the United States that were incorporated in the 13th-16th Amendments that spelled out a coloration of law and a whiteness in law and then eliminated the people called “blacks” from having a national identify.

Then when you look at the Dred Scott case you understand why the Judge ruled on the documentation, “Plaintiff in Error.” This had nothing to do with racism but the fact that he came into the court room using the name of his master and not any other name that he could have chosen for himself or a national identity.

Seeing that he had the name Scott, which was gifted to him by his mater in the same way that one gifts a surname to their pet when they go to the veterinarian, the case could go no further as property in law has no rights and property cannot own property. Dred was legally invisible in the court, just as in the same way that the chair or bench would be invisible.

(in fact, surnames were brought in to destroy national identities in Europe when people were identified with their tribes. So all the bakers were called Baker. Ask yourself why every baker you meet is not related. Most likely for the same reason that every Smith you meet is unrelated; due to the fact that they were all blacksmiths.

Every one bearing tribal affiliation to the Ala Rasheed and Ala Khalifa is definitely related to me. It’s not a surname, it’s a tribe and family designation. In reality, Arabs have no last names, just tribal designations. This has both positive and negative impact, but just consider the implications of what Miss Arendt has brought to bear in the chapter).

In the Jewish Army – the Beginning of a Jewish Politics? [9] Arendt has to deal with her reservations about a creeping Jewish extremism but at the same time balancing this with the fact that human rights are impossible when you have no national identity.

The next chapter, Jewish and Shlemihl (1771-1791), [10]  is a fictional account prepared by Arendt that summarises her experiences as Jew and also the Jewish experience in the European ghetto. After this came a reply to a critique on the draft on the book that she read from Karl Jaspers. [11]

Units 3 and 4: The Vita Activa and Totalitarianism (respectively)

This entire unit and its chapters[12]  the Jews and Society, Expansion, Total Domination, Organized Guilt and Universal Responsibility, A Reply to Eric Voegelin, Labor, Work, Action, The Public and the Private Realm, Reflections on Little Rock, the Social Question, and the Concept of History: Ancient and Modern all underline the following points:

  1. The Jews were a recent and flagship group to see if one could remove a national identity from a people and destroy them publically with little or no interference and do so under the guise of law
  2. Totalitarianism goes through a number of phases.
  3. One of the most well argued essays against integration that I have ever read under the section on Reflections on Little Rock.

She gave an academic feel and strong historical and administrative thrust to an argument that my maternal grandfather made years ago that now has me going back and re-examining his arguments

(I previously had been strongly in favour of an integrated society and gently disputed with my grandfather, but now after reading this and also reconsidering his points, may be inclined to retract this position).

  1. Examination of history is crucial in order to grasp what has occurred, what is occurring and what shall occur.
  2. History leaves tracks and impacts on current trends and sets the stage for the future.

Unit 5: Banality and Conscience: The Eichmann Trial and Its’ Implications  

In this text, Arendt now applies a very controversial tone to the Eichmann trial by Israel. This war criminal from the Nazi era was taken to Israel and tried in court.

In her incredible bravery, she discusses and puts forward her supposition about how Eichmann was not the seething, savage Nazi war beast (people made similar arguments for Albert Speer),

but rather a worker within the system that was not necessarily completely  fervent in his desire of the Final Solution but rather following orders.

Immediately following this is her reservations about casting Eichmann and the Nazis as necessarily “pure evil.”

This again brought home reflections on how Americans cast the 9/11 hijackers after the event. There could be no discussion about mental illness or Salafi missionaries using them.

They had to be completely evil and despicable without question or reflection. She was roundly condemned but as is her method of operation, she just kept right on moving anyway.

This attitude in particular is what gains my respect.

Units 6 and 7: Revolution and Preservation and Of Truth and Traps  

My advice is to grab onto this text any of her other writings and given them a read. Whether or not you agree with it is not the important part.

Rather, the brilliance in the writing should make you think of your position in a different way and either re-inforce it or force you to re-evaluate at the very least if not change it. Always be ready for examination.

There is a reason why I recommend this text. Someone coming outside of Europe and narrowly escaping the Holocaust (Heb. HaShoah) and then emigrating to the United States would justifiably be expected to strongly advocate integration, assimilation and also greater involvement in secular human legal philosophy and the like;

But instead, this woman advocated for national identity, confederacy and national sovereignty and personal autonomy. This is what was done rather than the expected response.

Knowing that this woman was sane should then lead to the question of why would she swung on a pendulum to the other side of the clock rather than going the direction expected of an émigré from one of the great genocides of recent years?

This question cannot satisfactorily be answered by the writer of these words in a book review but can be mulled over and examined by a thorough and sober reading. I invite you to be one of those with the works of Hannah Arendt. Stay focused and always learning.

Al-Hajj Abu Ja`far Al-Hanbali

 

***NOTE***: I was asked to clarify what I meant regarding the statement that I made with reference to integration and segregation and may shifting opinion on the matter. What I was referring to was my shifting position regarding integration in the United States, rather than discussing the issue of integration among people the world over. The discussions between myself and my maternal grandfather centred solely around the issue of the United States. 

[1] The Portable Hannah Arendt: That “Infinitely Complex Red-tape Existence”: From a Letter to Karl Jaspers, pp. 25-26.

[2] Ibid., pp.vii-xlv; pp.3-24

[3] Ibid., pp.vii-xlv; pp.3-24

[4] Ibid., pp.vii-xlv; pp.3-24

[5] Ibid., pp.vii-xlv; pp.3-24

[6] Ibid., pp.31-45

[7] Ibid., pp.31-36

[8] Ibid., pp.37-42

[9] Ibid., pp.46-48

[10] Ibid., pp.49-67

[11] Ibid., pp.68-72

[12] Ibid., pp.75-278

Muslims and Infrastructure

Figure 1A: As Masjids fall further into obscurity, some Muslims are still trying to accurately grasp what to do about the situation. (Photo courtesy of fineartamerica.com)
Figure 1A: As Masjids fall further into obscurity, some Muslims are still trying to accurately grasp what to do about the situation. (Photo courtesy of fineartamerica.com)
This was a question sent to me about an earlier lecture I had given in February.
wa ‘Alaykum us-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh
He stated that the only way to retain Islam, or one of the methods to keep Orthodox Islam pure and undefiled by Saudi Wahhabi money is to separate from global groups or groups with global reach and to live locally.
 
No, I actually said that Muslims should stay united with Muslim Orthodoxy worldwide, but the necrotic masjid barns that have been built will soon be unmaintanable and as we are entering a post masjidism phase, we have to create more tightly knit structures to accommodate this situation and build real communities. Infrastructure is required.   
 
Community building as its called. The dilemma in this is that when one chooses to become an isolated group one tends to expose oneself to the infamy of the larger majority.
 
The assumption being made is that one will be living exactly alongside the majority group and inhabiting the same space. This is what is happening now and has created the enclaves. This is not what I have stated at all. 
 
That is to say that the group, in attempting to form a local identity, becomes prey to the worldviews of the majority civilization. 
 
Jews experienced such a phenomenon when they immigrated to the United States. They found themselves a small minority amidst the larger American Secular Christian population. What they had to do was to tailor themselves to the local community else risk ostracism. 
 
This is erroneous from a number of points: 
 
1) Jews did not come to the United States under the same conditions that Muslims came to the Anglosphere and here is why: 
 
a. Jews coming to the United States came in two waves, the first being those that emerged from the shtetl system of ghettos in Europe. They had not went and established these ghettos. They were put there, starting with the first in Italy for Jews. These Jews that came to the United States were then first sent to the Lower East Side of NYC, not due to the fact that they wanted to but because they were made to do so. As in Europe, they were prevented from being involved with most activities, which led to them changing their names. People such as Kirk and Michael Douglas were precisely in this situation, which is why they had to change the family last name. The same goes for Dean Martin, Woody Allen and countless others. 
 
The second wave of Jews came during or just after the Holocaust. This would include such people as Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud and Anna Freud, Hannah Arendt and countless others. These same people would inherit the vaudeville tradition and wide ranging political and religious expressions that had already begun under the first wave before them. The second wave had not only left from the shtetl environment, but had also fought in uprisings against totalitarianism and some of the end results of the Holocaust. 
 
The clothing of the Jews has nothing to do with arriving in the United States. The change in clothing and morays was a result of the Jewish Haskalah, a reform movement having its’ strongest influence in Germany in which Jews either converted to Protestantism or moulded Judaism to fit the Protestant culture. One of the best examples of a product of this system was Karl Marx, the son of external converts to Protestantism from Judaism. This had not been done for the religion, but for the step up in society from the ghettos, which had no future. 
 
This cannot be compared to Muslims, who came from majority Muslim countries and then chose to move into ghettos of their own making. Muslims were not coming as a minority and then coming into a minority status somewhere else. Most Muslims did not come as stateless persons, which the Jews did. Even Palestinians, some of whom that arrived in the United States, had passports from Panama, Nicaragua and other places. How would this compare with Jews who had no passport, travel documents and many of whom had to be smuggled out of Europe?
The Muslims that have created the ghettos from themselves in the Anglosphere have to disengage with that ghetto culture and form autonomous structures for themselves. These autonomous structures then produce confederacies.
 
b. Jews that came to the Anglosphere came for reasons of safety and fleeing possible extermination, so they were motivated to succeed. This is not the case for those who come as economic migrants and might only be looking for a better standard of living. Once they obtain such a goal, then they level out. This then produces mediocre scholarship, below standard students in school (Pakistani children consistently rank behind Jamaican children in league tables), along with cynicism towards religion. Jews have not ceased their climb to upward mobility. 
 
c. There is perhaps no other group of people (bar Sri Lankans and Palestinians) who are so small and at the same time are disproportionately represented in every profession on a global scale. Many of these people attended Yeshiva school, which had both forms of teaching and upon coming to university were actually ahead of other students. This has not happened with people graduating from Muslim schools in the Anglosphere. In fact, Muslims tend to be more behind, so the comparison between a Jew and a Muslim in this regard is not fair to the Jew. 
 
d. Jews, inspite of their despised status, have and continue to contribute in a massive way as they realised that the only way that they could be free was through self determination and not through human rights and the governments under which they reside. This is why after the Holocaust, their statement, “Never again,” was realised. When they enter any conflict it is always with the Holocaust in mind. This is not how Muslims in the Anglosphere think, so this can breed laziness. 
 
e. Jews do not lobby Congress or have an AIPAC that approaches politicians. Politicians seek them out and ask if they can attend the AIPAC. Why? Jews are autonomous and also have a confederacy. Muslims are seeking authority through government means and not as the Jews have done. Again, Muslims and Jews in the Anglosphere cannot be compared as the conditions that brought about these two groups’ arrival and establishment is nowhere near the same.  
2) Jews that came in the second wave did not tailor themselves to the dominant community, which was every bit as strongly opposed to Jews as Europe had been previously. Instead, they created structures to try to lift themselves out of the ghetto and produce the community they wanted to see. Thus Louis Mayer purchased/merged a movie theatre and created Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer. Groucho Marx created his own variety comedy show. This paved the way for large numbers of Jews, such as Gene Wilder, who probably would have never been exposed to the wider world, to be introduced to the wider society, but on his terms. 
 
He would not work on the Sabbath, kept kosher and still adhered to Orthodox Judaism. The same thing is the case for a famous convert to Judaism, Sammy Davis, Jr. These Jewish people created a niche for themselves and created a community that was autonomous. This autonomous community’s first loyalty is to the Jews, so it is no surprise that Ari Flischer would have dual Israeli/American citizenship but would be loyal to Israel first. That is his community. This in turn leads to confederacies. These confederacies then make it possible to build a wider influence not just for the wider community but also for other Jewish people in the world. 
 
Thus when the State of Israel was built, Jews from the United States sent people to assist with the kibbutz and so did a large number of other places. These people, along with a developed intelligence community (which was planted in each country they resided by their confederacies that had been formed from autonomous communities) could get advanced warning of Arab attacks and be able to stop them in the wars of 1948,1956,1958,1967,1973,1982 while the Arab World was paralysed in trying to understand how this had happened. 
 
Muslims have not done this at all. They have instead imitated some other immigrant groups, attempting to join the dominant culture while pruning the branches and leaves of their religion. By the time some of them have reached the level where they could have made change, they no longer view themselves as part of that smaller community or they work against them. This did not happen with Joseph Lieberman, who is still a faithful Orthodox Jew. The same can be said of Allison Josephs. 
 
3) Due to the ubiquitous nature of their scholarship as well as their far flung confederacies, they often have conspiracy theories attributed to them. It is not due to accomplishment and confederacies that Muslims have conspiracy theories attributed to them. We know why this is the case. You also have to remember the quality of converts that Jews have and the mechanics that they use to care for them so that they are stable and grounded in their religion. 
 
In the Anglosphere, this does not exist at all for converts to Islam, so you will find a large number of people like 7/7 Attackers, Woolwich Attackers and countless others as there is no quality control mechanism among Muslims in the Anglosphere. And this will continue for the foreseeable future as the foundation is rotten. This is why I have advised people to flee a burning house. 
 
Do the majority of Jews in the US and UK wear their traditional and religious clothing? 
 
This was already addressed above. 
 
The ones that do are a minority in the minority that is the Jewish community. Furthermore the shaykh intimated that he wanted to build a space where Muslim and non-Muslim children could gather to do their homework and have a bit of fun. 
 
No, I did not say that I myself wanted to build a space. Rather, a said such a space should be built and the structure should be in place. 
 
Not necessarily a religious space but something along the lines of a community center. Who influences who is the question. When those non-Muslim children enter they enter with their non-Muslim culture, and it is this culture that our Muslim children will be exposed to and learn from. 
 
This is also erroneous, due to the following points: 
 
The first place built in Makkah for Muslims was Dar ul-Arqam, which was on the outskirts of the city. This was attended by Muslims for learning and praying and such, but even people who were not Muslim arrived there and there were banquets, such as the case when Quraish elders were invited to have a meal there and listen to a short discussion on Islam from the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and this can be gleaned from As-Sirat un-Nabawiyyah,vol.2 by Imam Ibn Hisham. 
 
Some got up and left immediately while others stayed behind. The same thing happened in Al-Madinah when Al-Masjid un-Nabawi was built. Muslims would be present but even non-believers would sit in the back and ask questions (source cited the same as above). The only problem was when they were disruptive, in which case they were asked to leave. Furthermore, if the children of unbelievers enter, Muslim children are not going to be exposed to something completely alien to what they know. 
 
Secondly, among Muslims in the Anglosphere, a large group have mobile phones, internet, unfiltered television and cable access, attend public schools that have all the vulgarity that one might fear. The difference between children coming to a public school and coming to a place that you run is that in the former example, the public (which is largely not Muslim) is in charge while in the latter you are in charge and control the environment.  
 
More importantly the matter of a global identity versus a local or national one: It is a matter of global resource allocation. If, for instance there is a national identity cultivated the Muslims would naturally have a greater affinity to the Muslims and non-Muslims of that particular cultural set. 
 
Why would that be the case? Muslims in Malaysia and South East Asia fly to Egypt and study at Al-Azhar first before studying at other institutions of the same calibre in China and these people look similar to them. 
 
Now supposing there is a need for resources elsewhere in the world, the Muslim response would not be to send their boon over to them when their non-Muslim counterparts may be needing said charity. 
 
You are actually making my point. The Muslims that live in these current ghettos that they have constructed with their own hands, send money to their constituents that look like them and not to themselves and others as well, which would be a confederacy. Have you heard of Muslims in the Anglosphere (masjids in particular) collecting for Ethiopia, Central African Republic, Congo, Angola, Mexico based indigenous Muslim communities to build their infrastructure? Of course you have not as there is nothing here…
 
This presentation considers two phenomena, the breakup of global Muslim solidarity and exposure to the influence of the larger non-Muslim culture and sensibilities. How does the Sheikh address these concerns? 
 
Global Muslim solidarity is nothing to do with masjidism, ghetto Muslim enclaves and feudal culture from the 18th century that then is transmogrified into 19th century salafism that leads to vigilante street murders and bombings. If you are not autonomous and/or with some sort of confederacy, you are already part of the non-Muslim culture and sensibilities as you live within and function within their institutions. I am still waiting for a detailed Muslim archaeologist discussion on the equus finds in Neakhanie Bay which show no stratification at all and actually show that there has not been sedimentation laid over the large period of time mentioned in the text books. 
 
Again, you would need autonomy and infrastructure to discuss these matter and have a platform. As none of these exist, the question itself becomes little more than an academic exercise. Please feel to read through the works of Hannah Arendt to get a picture of what I discussed above about Jewish immigrant communities, self determination, autonomy and other affairs. 
 
Was-Salamu ‘Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
 
wa `Alaikum us-Salaamu wa Rahmatullah, 
 
Al-Hajj Abu Ja`far Al-Hanbali

***NOTE:*** I had mistakenly mentioned Henry Cohn as the merger and creator of Metro-Goldwyn Meyer, but I had mixed this up, when it was actually Louis Mayer who was behind the merger of MGM while Henry Cohn was the one behind Columbia. I apologise for this oversight.