Editorial — 15 March 2013

“Despite pleas from Iran, the Shiites of Iraq did not rally to Iran. Religion was not able to overcome nationalism and state control. On the other side, the ethnic Arabs living in the areas of Iran adjacent to Iraq did not rally to the Iraqi case. Ethnic identity, like religion, proved weaker than nationalism and state police control.”

– pg. 82, WAR, PEACE, AND INTERNATIONAL POLITICS, David W. Ziegler, Addison-Wesley Longman, 2000

“From the 1490s on, an additional factor was added to this potent mix: the experience of the Discovery and Conquest. The result was an ideology of empire that made the Discovery and Conquest not only noble and justified endeavors but also the duty of the faithful. This ideology consisted not just of abstract ideas concocted for the benefit of the crown; it was supported by official statements that came both from the papacy and the Spanish monarchy. In the wake of Columbus’s first voyage, the pope presided over a Castilian-Portuguese treaty that divided the Americas, still a largely imagined region, between the two kingdoms. Thus, in effect, Spaniards were the recipients of a divine grant of lands and peoples they had yet to find and see, let alone subdue. This permitted claims of possession to be seen as synonymous with possession itself. Through the simple acts of arrival and declaration, Spaniards placed lands ‘under the lordship’ of the Spanish crown. Everything that followed, the entire business of Conquest and colonization was the consolidation of that possession.”

– pg. 68, SEVEN MYTHS OF THE SPANISH CONQUEST, Matthew Restall, Oxford University Press, 2003

It only took the Honorable Louis Farrakhan a day in Belize on his third visit to realize that an extraordinary institution existed here which he intended to acknowledge and endorse publicly. Minister Farrakhan acknowledged and endorsed Kremandala in his keynote address to the Belizean nation last Friday night at Bird’s Isle.

No religious leader in Belize has ever acknowledged and endorsed us in this fashion, and the reason is that the power structure here, of which these religious leaders are functional parts, maintains a status quo to which Kremandala is opposed. The foundation beam of the Belizean power structure is the educational system. The majority of the schools are owned by religions, and where our African and indigenous American ancestors are concerned, the Christian religions still insist that the Europeans who invaded Africa and America did so because they wanted to civilize and Christianize us. We reject this church insistence as a lie.

As it stands in this year of 2013, the republic to the west of Belize claims half of our land and sea. Guatemala’s argument is that she inherited rights to Belize when she became independent of Spain in 1821. Okay. So where did Spain, imperial Spain, get her rights? The answer, and it is a spurious one in the third millennium, is that Spain received these rights from the Pope’s “Castilian-Portuguese” Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494. So, who is the Pope? Is he God? Was he God in 1494?

Well, let us say that in Europe in 1494, the Pope was God-like. Forty years after Tordesillas, in 1534 King Henry VIII of England declared himself the supreme head of the Anglican Church. To this day, whoever is the king or queen of England is the head of the Anglican Church, which is very much similar to the Roman Church in rituals, ceremonies, and beliefs. In effect, Henry VIII declared that the Pope was not God.

The Pope had made Spain rich by granting Spain most of the so-called New World in Tordesillas, and during the reign of Henry VIII’s daughter, Elizabeth I (1558 -1603), English pirates on the high seas did everything in their power to reverse Tordesillas. Roman Spain and Anglican England were both Christian nations, but they were in a state of constant war for centuries. Nationalism over all.

Where the settlement of Belize, the only Anglican territory in Roman Central America, was concerned, conflict between Spain and England supposedly ceased in 1798. The interesting thing about the history of the settlement of Belize is that in the years during and following the Caste War in the Yucatán, which began in 1847, Anglican Belize began accepting refugees, both Maya and Mestizo (mostly Roman), from both sides in the Caste War, and as the nineteenth century came to a close, the so-called church/state education system, which represented an agreement between Anglican Canterbury and Catholic Rome, settled into place in British Honduras. The history of the Caste War is not taught in Catholic and Anglican schools in Belize. This is truly remarkable, because the Caste War is so important in the history of Belize.

The original sin of Kremandala, in its first incarnation as the United Black Association for Development (UBAD) in 1969, was to call for the history of that said Caste War, among other African and indigenous matters historical, to be taught in the schools which Rome and Canterbury controlled. This is the bone in the throat of the religious leaders of Belize: for whatever reason(s), the history must not be taught, and therefore those who demand it must be declared anathema.

We have a new pope as of Wednesday, March 13, 2013. He is from Argentina. There is a serious dispute between Roman Argentina and Anglican Britain where the Falkland Islands are concerned. One supposes that the new Pope will plead religious neutrality and avoid the Malvinas argument. Will the new pope also be able to denounce Tordesillas, that act of supreme papal arrogance in 1494 which is, at the end of the day, the reason for the dispute between Guatemala and Belize in 2013?

Nationalism above all. Power to the people.

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