Dan Brown: A history of violence
June 13, 2018
After reading Mr. Fabersunne's May 26 "Other Voices" column about the need for Americans and Israelis to seek atonement for misdeeds to Native Americans and Palestinians, I took up his challenge to investigate.
Good news. No need for Mr. Fabersunne to atone and give his house to a tribe or Elizabeth Warren.
The Native Americans were violent, brutal, genocidal, kind, peaceful, compassionate. In short like everyone else but more warlike. Prof. Lawrence H. Keeley found that only 13 percent of the Native Americans did not engage in wars with their neighbors at least once per year.
War Before Civilizations: the Myth of the Peaceful Savage. Pre-Columbian massacres were common. The Dogrib Indians slaughtered almost the entire Yellowknives tribe in Canada. The Iroquois slowly tortured to death enemy warriors. Settlements in the Southwest were violently destroyed. In South Dakota, archaeologists found a mass grave containing the remains of more than 500 men, women and children slaughtered, scalped and mutilated.
1492. The more peaceful, but not by much, Europeans arrive but with their terrible new diseases. Initially the natives welcomed Columbus as their liberator from the fierce, cannibalistic Carib Indians. Cortez's conquest of the powerful Aztec empire in Mexico was made possible by the thousands of Mexicans recently conquered by the Aztecs who joined him. The Aztecs practiced human sacrifice on an unparalleled scale specializing in tearing the hearts out of living victims killing at least 20,000 annually.
Pocahontas saved John Smith from beheading by her father, Powhatan, leader of an Algonquian speaking tribe or may not have. Smith told the same story about his Turkish captivity. What is certain is that Powhatan was an aggressive leader attacking and destroying neighboring tribes.
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When Custer marched into the Sacred Black Hills of the Sioux, he had Crow scouts. A few generations before the Sioux had stolen the Sacred Hills from the Crow. The scouts told him not to attack.
Unlike the Native Americans, the Europeans did purchase some land. In 1775, Richard Henderson bought 20 million acres in Kentucky and Tennessee from the Cherokees for trade goods. It wasn't a bad deal for the Cherokees. They didn't own the land.
Mr. Fabersunne's Middle East history is similarly muddled. In the 19th century Jews began purchasing land in Palestine from Arab and Turkish landowners. As the Jewish population grew, the Arabs responded with violence and the Jews formed militias.
When Israel became independent in 1948, it was invaded by armies from Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, Iraq with contingents from Yemen, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Sudan. The Palestinian leader was the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem who had spent World War II in Germany making speeches advocating the extermination of the Jews and recruiting Muslims for Hitler's armies.
The Arabs conquered the Old City of Jerusalem and ethnically cleansed all Jews, prohibited Jews from visiting their most sacred shrine, the Western Wall, wrecked or demolished all Jewish synagogues and desecrated over 30,000 Jewish graves on the Mount of Olives. When the Israelis liberated the Old City in 1967, Arab institutions were respected and Arabs allowed to worship at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, built on site of the Second Jewish Temple, where they throw rocks at Jewish worshippers below. Today 35 percent of Jerusalem's population is Arab.
Arabs weren't the only refugees. Over 600,000 Jews fled Muslim countries settling in Israel and were absorbed into Israeli society and not held for generations in squalid refugee camps.
The Israeli blockade of Hamas controlled Gaza is not a Crime Against Humanity. Israel allows food, medicine, supplies and electricity but Hamas diverts them for its own purposes. Israel allowed in gas until Hamas blew up the pipeline.
Hamas is a terrorist group firing rockets and mortars into Israel, sending suicide squads to kill Israeli civilians, advocating for the destruction of Israel and calling for the raising of "the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine."
Mr. Fabersunne faults Israel for defying a U.N. General Assembly resolution on refugees. U.N. resolutions have the legitimacy of POTUS tweets. An Israeli U.N. ambassador, observed: "If Algeria introduced a resolution declaring that the earth was flat and that Israel had flattened it, it would pass by a vote of 164 to 13 with 26 abstentions."
It is easy to find fault with the United States and Israel. They have sinned but on the scale of history they have done more good than harm and do not deserve to be demonized by those rewriting the narrative of history to fit their political biases.
Dan Brown is an attorney living in Grass Valley.