martes, diciembre 18, 2007

El Churchill antropólogo

A mi edad Churchill escribió The river war: an acount to the reconquest of Soudan, relatando la experiencia de haber estado allí en la unión de los Nilos, donde lo llevaron la vida, la aventura y la vocación de servicio. La crónica que quedó es de una descripción minuciosa y precisa, si bien etnocéntrica como eran los cánones de la época, de la campaña militar y sus prolegómenos. Creo que más avanzado en edad abjuró de la pretensión de acudir a preceptos raciales -negroid, mongrel- como base de estudio de otras culturas.
La siguiente cita pertenece a las primeras páginas de la edición de 1902.

Although the negroes are the more numerous, the Arabs exceed in power. The bravery of the aboriginals is outweighed by the intelligence of the invaders and their superior force of character. During the second century of the Mohammedan era, when the inhabitants of Arabia went forth to conquer the world, one adventurous army struck south. The first pioneers were followed at intervals by continual immigrations of Arabs not only from Arabia but also across the deserts from Egypt and Marocco. The element thus introduced has spread and is spreading throughout the Soudan, as water soaks into a dry sponge. The aboriginals absorbed the invaders they could not repel. The stronger race imposed its customs and language on the negroes. The vigour of their blood sensibly altered the facial appearance of the Soudanese. For more than a thousand years the influence of Mohammedanism, which appears to possess a strange fascination for negroid races, has been permeating the Soudan, and, although ignorance and natural obstacles impede the progress of new ideas, the whole of the black race is gradually adopting the new religion and developing Arab characteristics. In the districts of the north, where the original invaders settled, the evolution is complete, and the Arabs of the Soudan are a race formed by the interbreeding of negro and Arab, and yet distinct from both. In the more remote and inaccessible regions which lie to the south and west the negro race remains as yet unchanged by the Arab influence. And between these extremes every degree of mixture is to be found. In some tribes pure Arabic is spoken, and prior to the rise of the Mahdi the orthodox Moslem faith was practised. In others Arabic has merely modified the ancient dialects, and the Mohammedan religion has been adapted to the older superstitions; but although the gap between the Arab-negro and the negro-pure is thus filled by every intermediate blend, the two races were at an early date quite distinct.

The qualities of mongrels are rarely admirable, and the mixture of the Arab and negro types has produced a debased and cruel breed, more shocking because they are more intelligent than the primitive savages. The stronger race soon began to prey upon the simple aboriginals; some of the Arab tribes were camel-breeders; some were goat-herds; some were Baggaras or cow-herds. But all, without exception, were hunters of men. To the great slave-market at Jedda a continual stream of negro captives has flowed for hundreds of years. The invention of gunpowder and the adoption by the Arabs of firearms facilitated the traffic by placing the ignorant negroes at a further disadvantage. Thus the situation in the Soudan for several centuries may be summed up as follows: The dominant race of Arab invaders was unceasingly spreading its blood, religion, customs, and language among the black aboriginal population, and at the same time it harried and enslaved them.

The state of society that arose out of this may be easily imagined. The warlike Arab tribes fought and brawled among themselves in ceaseless feud and strife. The negroes trembled in apprehension of capture, or rose locally against their oppressors. Occasionally an important Sheikh would effect the combination of many tribes, and a kingdom came into existence --a community consisting of a military class armed with guns and of multitudes of slaves, at once their servants and their merchandise, and sometimes trained as soldiers. The dominion might prosper viciously till it was overthrown by some more powerful league.

La edición de 1899 incluía estos párrafos, removidos en la 1902.

“How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen: all know how to die but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome.”

3 comentarios:

hugo dijo...

churchill tenía "great expectations about himself" de ahí esa necesidad imperiosa que tuvo durante su vida de destacarse.

personalmente creo que mucho tuvo que ver en eso su desazón cuando comprendió que por ser el hijo de un segundón, había perdido nada menos que el título ducal de marlborough y el castillo de blenheim, que quedó en manos de su tío el primógénito, quien también, curiosamente, como el padre de churchill, se casó con una norteamericana, "la" belleza y "la" heredera de su época consuelo vanderbilt.

no lo puedo juzgar como militar por desconocer el tema.

como economista, con su desastroso regreso al patrón oro a la paridad de antes de la primera guerra, llevó a inglaterra a su mas feroz recesión, lo que le valió la crítica de keynes en su conocido ensayo "las consecuencias económicas de mr churchill".

como pintor fue por lo menos tan malo como hitler, sin embargo he visto por estos días que se remata una de su obras por un valor que evidentemente guarda más relación con su firma que con sus méritos artísticos...

como escritor, su "historia de la segunda guerra mundial" y sus "memorias" fueron tenidas en cuenta para darle el nobel de literatura, decisión más "políticamente correcta" que literaria...

finalmente, como estadista, creo que con más tenacidad que visión de estadista, gano la segunda guerra mundial pero a un costo tal que dejó exhausta a inglaterra y con menor gravitación en los asuntos mundiales que la que tenía en 1939.

a propósito de libros antiguos,por si te interesa, hoy vi uno de un tal jean caltier (desconozco su valor historiográfico) en el banco ciudad,en francés, titulado, historia de la guerra mundial (1a), los orígenes y consecuencias secretas. se vende a precio fijo, o sea no es remate, a $112,10.-, si queres verlo esta en el edificio de esmeralda entre tucumán y viamonte, en la planta baja, en las vitrinas del extremo izquierdo, preguntá por el señor palma de 11 a 15 hs (una pequeña tip es agradecida por el)

CLAUDE dijo...
Este comentario ha sido eliminado por el autor.
CLAUDE dijo...

Interesantísimo, Marcos, y muy afirmativo, quizá demasiado para el lamentable gusto desorientado y dubitativo de nuestro tiempo