Folkekrig i grænselandet

The_Death_of_Jane_McCrea_John_Vanderlyn_1804_crop

Jeg har just færdiglæst The Winning of the West: From the Alleghanies to the Mississippi, 1769-1776, første bind i Theodore Roosevelts mammutværk om den hvide races erobring af Nordamerika. En bog, som jeg for et stykke tid siden fik foræret af kær ven.

Roosevelt dedikerede The Winning of the West til historikeren Francis Parkman og han deler tydeligvis dennes fremskridtstro på, at den hvide races erobring af Amerika var civilisationens sejr over barbariet.

Trods Theodore Roosevelts fremskridtstro, så var han af den overbevisning, at ved mødet med en grusom og barbarisk fjende er det kun naturligt, at den hvide races urinstinkt bliver vakt i den rå kamp for overlevelse:

Not only were the Indians very terrible in battle, but they were cruel beyond all belief in victory; and the gloomy annals of border warfare are stained with their darkest hues because it was a war in which helpless women and children suffered the same hideous fate that so often befell their husbands and fathers. It was a war waged by savages against armed settlers, whose families followed them into the wilderness. Such a war is inevitably bloody and cruel; but the inhuman love of cruelty for cruelty’s sake, which marks the red Indian above all other savages, rendered these wars more terrible than any others.
For the hideous, unnamable, unthinkable tortures practiced by the red men on their captured foes, and on their foes’ tender women and helpless children, were such as we read of in no other struggle, hardly even in the revolting pages that tell the deeds of the Holy Inquisition.
It was inevitable – indeed it was in many instances proper – that such deeds should awake in the breasts of the whites the grimmest, wildest spirit of revenge and hatret.

Medens Theodore Roosevelt nærede respekt for indianeren, så synes han ikke at have haft meget til overs for negerne. Om “different European races” og deres import til Amerika af negerslaver til Amerika skriver han:

They also, to their own lasting harm, commited a crime whose short-sighted folly was worse than guilt, for they brought hordes of African slaves, whose descendants now form immense populations in certain portions of the land.

Om Sydafrika skriver Roosevelt profetisk:

It is not likely, but it is at least within the bounds of possibility, that in the course of centuries the whites in South Africa will suffer a fate akin to that which befell the Greek colonists in the Tauric Chersonese, and be swallowed up in the overwhelming mass of black barbarism.

Om erobringen af Australien:

Australia, which was much less important than America, was also won and settled with far less difficulty. The natives were so few in numbers and of such a low type, that they practically offered no resistance at all, being but little more hindrance than an equal number of ferocious beasts.

Første bind af The Winning of the West blev udgivet i 1889 og i sit efterskrift gør Theodore Roosevelt det klart, at bogen blev skrevet som led i den kulturkamp, som historierevisioniser igangsatte i 1880’erne med bøger som A Century of Dishonur og Our Indian Ward, skrevet af henholdsvis Helen Hunt Jackson og George W. Manypenny.

Theodore Roosevelt kalder disse revisionister for “sentimentalists”, men i folkemunde blev de kaldt Indian lovers og de har sikkert svaret nogenlunde til dem, som vi i vore dage kalder fremmedelskere. Over for dem stiller Roosevelt bl.a. historikeren J.P. Dunn og hans Massacres in the Mountains (da. Rødhuder og Blegansigter) som jeg tidligere har nævnt her på RR.

Læs Uri Elitzur om (folke)krigens moral

***

(Illustration: The Death of Jane McCrea, John Vanderlyn 1804.)

Dette indlæg blev udgivet i Bøger. Bogmærk permalinket.

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