My last question, whether president Putin of Russia couldn’t see the despair in Greece, received a fast reply from the readers in the Kremlin. They hold that the Russian Orthodox Church has moved from Christianity into an independent religion – at least that is how The Interpreter magazine translates the words by Alfred Kokh, a former vice prime minister.
Before we look into the theology, there is another article that seems even more important.
The position of Russia in the G20 picture
President Putin has asked the Russian people to join him in his suffering from lack of respect.
Since lack of respect is a causa belli, it seems that Europe will see a bloody Christmas.
The Australian G20 under the leadership of incompetent Tony Abbott must be judged as another failure in international diplomacy. The meeting showed an older and tired president Putin, who had to depart early to catch some sleep before being back at the Kremlin this Monday to plan the conquest of Mariupol and Kharkiv.
Instead of a real bear to shoot, the Australians only offered a koala to cuddle. Instead of a trip to the outbacks with the opportunity to meet some flying doctors and take his shirt off and rescue some patients himself too, they locked Putin up in conference rooms where he was lectured by the David Cameron’s of the world who are just afraid of losing the next elections. Instead, president Obama received a hero’s welcome, and was allowed to give a speech to students who worship him for coming from the same general area of the globe as they do. Obama mentioned the Aboriginals but they weren’t much generally present in the lecture hall.
Readers who don’t understand essential “us versus them” psychology are referred to professor David Myers article in Politico.com. People focus on differences, classify people, read evidence only to support earlier prejudices, and unite against the common enemy or scapegoat. The G20 is no different than other groups. President Putin will have noticed that Xi Jinping of China was cooler to him than at the latest gas-deal. He had no friends here, he noticed, only people who were going to get him and Mother Russia. Even the “good cop, bad cop” routine wasn’t granted him, in a total lack of respect.
If we compare the G20 picture of 2014 with Putin (1st from left) and of 2008 with Medvedev (2d from left, with incompetent De Jager from Holland 1st from left, and not too far from Berlusconi), we find that the president of Russia is placed standardly on the fringe instead of the middle. This, however, cannot be taken as a sign of disrespect. In the middle in 2008 we find George W. Bush who lied over Iraq, and on the right we find Dominique Strauss-Kahn who had to retire from IMF. Thus you shouldn’t judge the world by the position in the G20 picture. Overall, though, it would have been a wise point in diplomacy to allow Putin a position between Angela Merkel and Tony Abbott, since it would have shown that not only Australia but also Russia lost dear lives in WW II fighting against Germany, Italy and Japan.
A strong undercurrent of religion
This weblog doesn’t look at crucial details only but also takes the long view. For example the site of Gunung Panang of 14,000 BC before the end of the last Ice Age at about 11,000 BC, causes a natural distance from the hustle and bustle of the G20. The big hall and the social judgement by the G20 over president Putin remind us of the Egyptian Hall of Maat, the goddess of Truth, who measured your soul on the scales – still our symbol of Justice – and who may be related to the Gospel of Matthew. See plate XI of p113 of The Egyptian Book of the Death, 1905, by P. Le Page Renouf. I consider this picture one of the important ones that have been recovered from Egyptian history.
When you die the god Osiris oversees judgement. Your soul is balanced with a feather. When you are too heavy with sin, then you are sent back to life as a pig – which explains why pig meat is not considered kosher / halal. Ages before Christ, Osiris already has the mitre and staff of bishops of the Church of Rome. He is already assisted by other gods in the pantheon – who we now see as Black Peter in the (Dutch) celebration of Sint Nicholas. One of the Black Peters carries St. Nicholas’s big red Book that records how the kids have been behaving and whether they deserve presents or punishment. This is the folklore remnant of the Egyptian god Thoth, who recorded above session on the judgement of your soul and who of course had his papyrus archive covering your life. More about these origins are in my book The simple mathematics of Jesus (2012).
Santa Claus and Black Peter
Last year, almost to the day, I reported about the debate in Holland about Santa Claus and his black helpers, who remind many people of the Dutch colonies and slavery. Holland had conditions that were close to slavery also for white people still around the 1900s, notably in de “veenkoloniën”. But the issue of racism apparently has stronger roots to linger on.
The debate is rather confusing, since Osiris / Wodan / Santa goes back to neolithical times. The Black Pete are the other gods in the Egyptian pantheon. The Black Pete are the ghosts of the night who eat the Sun and who have to be scared away with a lot of noise – nowadays firecrackers. Tony van Renterghem is the proper reference for the book. Arnold-Jan Scheer has a very amusing video of the original fertility rites all across Europe with the beating up of nubile women.
Carol Myers (spouse of David Myers mentioned above) runs a website on Saint Nicholas, from Holland, Michigan. I always wondered when this present site of Boycott Holland (the country) would meet with the city of Holland in Michigan, but apparently here is the connection. Carol Myers doesn’t buy into the pagan origins of Saint Nicolas. Pre-islam Egyptians would argue that she doesn’t respect the theological reverence of those ancestors for the supernatural.
Slavery is horrible of course, and the West has something to account for. One point however is that Santa Claus in Holland got culturally entangled with black servants from Suriname, and this is causing needless hardship for kids in Holland who want to celebrate Santa Claus. White kids can do name-calling of non-white kids by calling them ‘black pete’, and then a celebration for kids turns into a nightmare for some kids.
Last weekend, while president Putin of Russia was suffering the disrespect of the G20, the mayor of Gouda – where you get your cheese from – incarcerated 90 people over a protest pro and contra Black Pete. The national TV broadcast is here. I selected some scenes.
Recognize Osiris with his hat and shepherd staff.
The helpers of Osiris (with some novelties, like a yellow “Cheese Pete”).
The arrest of the protesters and the anti-protesters.
The mayor of Gouda might have decided that the protest should be heard, but he decided to another location where it would not be heard by the people who are affected. He decided that merely voicing the different opinion would amount to a disturbance of the public order. His background is the “Party for freedom and democracy” (VVD). Apparently “freedom” means the freedom to put your head in the sand and forget about the history of colonialism and slavery, and the current discrimination that black kids may be subjected to. When the protesters didn’t agree with his closed mind, he got them arrested. Afterwards, he made a phone-call with Vladimir Putin asking whether he couldn’t become mayor of Mariupol of Kharkiv.
The NOS TV team also asked Prime Minister Mark Rutte on the arrests. As you might recall, Rutte in 2010-2012 ran a “minority cabinet” with political support from Geert Wilders, where the term “minority cabinet” is a political phrase to hide the truth that the cabinet relied on the support from Geert Wilders. How else are 50% + 1 majorities created ? While Rutte is in favour of such political “minorities” he is less in favour of true minorities in Dutch society. Rutte lied on camera that Santa Claus is only intended as a celebration for children. He neglected the racism in the issue and he neglected that he has failed miserably in managing the issue.
Some more information is here. To repeat: the point is that white Dutch (children) may make fun of non-white Dutch (children) by calling them “Black Pete”, and this phenomenon is so ingrained that it is better to adapt the appearance and name of that character.
- Kickstarter on a film about Black Pete
- St. Nicholas around the world
- The importance of St. Nicholas for Russia
- The NY Times recent update on the Dutch debate on Black Pete
- Some Dutch people who call for moderation (in Dutch) – here and here – but who aren’t listened to
- My suggestion of 1992 of Kidda Claus and Claudia that isn’t listened to (Dutch: Kinderklaas en Malle Piet, which looks at the behaviour rather than the outward appearance)
- Dutch fashion model Doutzen Kroes is against Black Pete and former minister Jan Pronk accepts it, apparently with the argument that the people in Jamaica also have Mardi Gras en voodoo that he doesn’t seem to care for
- Prime Minister Mark Rutte at the Nuclear Summit in The Hague uses the fallacy: “Black Pete is black, because that is how he is called, and I cannot change that”, and then refers to “friends from the Dutch Antilles” – who haven’t stepped forward and corroborated his story. Dutch people would enjoy this story in Dutch by Roy Evers from the Antilles but the point is not that some black people somehow accept Black Pete, the point is that some don’t.
A point in economics is that everything hangs together. We have seen that people can abuse each other, as the G20 might do against Vladimir Putin, but Putin against the Ukraineans, the Dutch against the minorities, and the minorities against the Dutch (without racist intentions), the mayor of Gouda against his protesters, and so on. A stable figure is Osiris / Wodan / Santa Claus and his helpers. It would be very interesting what the archeology of Gunung Padang would recover. Perhaps such findings might help mankind to focus on more fundamental questions than the “us versus them” psychology.
Addendum November 18
I had never realized this: England too has its morris dancers with black-up faces – where “morris” derives from “moorish”, but my impression is that such black-ups already existed ages earlier, and people only adapted to the arrival of the moorish fashion. Some festivities also have the hobby horse reminiscent of Wodan on Sleipnir. I saw this after the report that David Cameron went on a picture with some morris dancers, see here and here. So I join Adrian Hart on the point that we shouldn’t call things racist that aren’t, but I propose: (1) to tackle unemployment and poverty, see the About page, and (2) adapt Santa Claus and Black Pete since those are so omnipresent that it is close to impossible to avoid some kids getting hurt by abuse and stereotyping. Changing this is an extremely simple thing to do so why not ?