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"So let it be written... so let it be done."
"Where's your Moses now?"
"Bring this deliverer to me!"
"Egypt shall fall."

Like most Americans, I grew up watching Charleton Heston free the people of Israel from Pharaoh. Every Easter, like clockwork, buncha slaves freed.

Why is it we are all taught to love Moses when he curses the innocent first born children of Egypt to death, that his righteous vengeance is okie-dokie even if it means babies are going to bite it because his people are victims of slavery, but you don't hear so many admiring mentions, or see any De Mille extravaganza about Nat Turner? Didn't he say God was talking to him, too? Weren't his people in slavery, too?

Instead of a overblown film with Gentiles playing Jews, we can't even talk about that anger in our own churches. That's messed up.

Now, forget the inaccuracies of the movie - in the Bible Moses was never a Prince of Eqypt - but the thought that strikes me is how Americans cheer the righteous anger of the Israelites, as well we should. When the slaves are whipped we are angry, when the "Children of Misery" are abused and starved, we want for justice, and Aaron attacking the overseer, saving his beloved from rape, brings righteous satisfaction. We cheer. Grab that whip and kick that guy's ass! We absolutely understand the anger, frustration, rebellion that stirs in the hearts of the Israelites, and even now, several thousand years later,  still we understand the abiding anger that bubbles just beneath the surface.

One has to wonder... would America feel the same why if the Israelites were Black? Their overseers White Americans of 200 years ago? Would we understand the anger, the frustration? Would we cheer them as they clubbed the overseer to death? And if over four thousand years aren't enough to soften the feelings of a TV audience toward Pharaonic Egypt, shouldn't the anger removed a mere 160 years from bondage burn that much fiercer?  

Cinematic Israelites screaming "God Damn Egypt!" for a history of oppression is okay. Blacks... perhaps if we wait a few thousand years it will be okay, too.

Originally posted to Michael Gene Sullivan on Sun Mar 23, 2008 at 11:07 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I agree with your point on Wright (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JonBarleycorn

    but I don't see what the point of bringing the Jews into this whole situation was.

    Full Disclosure: I'm an Obama Supporter

    by smash artist on Sun Mar 23, 2008 at 11:13:08 PM PDT

    •  They were held captive as slaves in Egypt. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      object16

      There's a definite parallel.

      However the diary made me wonder, if the other parallel were also accurate, you would have to be an Egyption today crying "God Damn Egypt" for the sins of the Pharoahs, or something like that.

      I think it's safer to do that sort of thing here than it is there...

      I have a lifetime of experience. It took every moment of my life to get that experience too. It was hard work, believe me.

      by spotDawa on Sun Mar 23, 2008 at 11:18:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Extremely doubtful (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pariah Dog

        They likely migrated to Egypt during the rule of the Hyksos and then migrated away, generations later, when political conditions were less favorable to them.

        Myths abound, such as the myth that Jewish slaves built the pyramids. Surprisingly, it turns out that the Egyptians actually built the pyramids.

        Feed the babies who don't have enough to eat / Shoe the children with no shoes on their feet / House the people living in the street / Oh, there's a solution

        by dconrad on Mon Mar 24, 2008 at 01:16:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Probably (0+ / 0-)

          assuming there is anything other than mythology involved in the story at all, but that's kind of irrelevant to the point the diarist who is obviously referring to the story in the Bible, not whether it's historical.  If you dislike the diary that's fine, but why the nit-picky irrelevancies?

          Your political compass Economic Left/Right: -4.88 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.15

          by bythesea on Mon Mar 24, 2008 at 01:38:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  LOL, I think the whole book is made up myself. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dconrad

          I was only referring to the myth.  You just the story to make an analogy, not "history."

          I have a lifetime of experience. It took every moment of my life to get that experience too. It was hard work, believe me.

          by spotDawa on Mon Mar 24, 2008 at 02:49:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  The comment is not about Jews. (0+ / 0-)

      It's about America's feelings toward our own history of slavery as opposed to our attitude toward other enslaving regimes.

      Have you seen or heard of the movie? That's what I'm talking about - the movie, which I know has nothing to do with actual Jewish traditions. But it's kinda hard to talk about that movie without at least mentioning the involved parties.

      Don't try to make this a Black vs. Jews thing. It's not.

  •  It Wouldn't Matter to the Plutocrats... (0+ / 0-)

    ...as long as they still headed the major Central Banks of the world.

    One has to wonder... would America feel the same why if the Israelites were Black?

    As for the American people -- they do what they are programmed to do. They elected a monkey to the White House.

    Twice.

    In a row.

    (You certainly can't trust Americans with your children's lives.)

    __________________
    Fascism ought to more properly be called Corporatism since it is the merger of state and corporate power. - Mussolini

    by Pluto on Mon Mar 24, 2008 at 12:14:03 AM PDT

  •  Did you know that the 10 Commandments... (0+ / 0-)

    are actually 12.  Go read Exodus: 20 and count 'em up.  Technically, there are 14 but two are variations on a theme.  

    "Why don't presidents fight the war? Why do we always send the poor?"

    by o really on Mon Mar 24, 2008 at 12:59:50 AM PDT

    •  The 10 Commandments aren't in Exodus 20 (0+ / 0-)

      Also, there are over 600 commandments in the Bible.

      Feed the babies who don't have enough to eat / Shoe the children with no shoes on their feet / House the people living in the street / Oh, there's a solution

      by dconrad on Mon Mar 24, 2008 at 01:21:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Forgive my very late reply... (0+ / 0-)

        I was talking specifically when the King James Bible version states "The 10 Commandments"  There are actually 12 underneath that heading.  

        Umm, in my King James bible its in Exodus 20.  Right at the start.  Which one is it in yours. Check it out.  hmm?

        "Why don't presidents fight the war? Why do we always send the poor?"

        by o really on Sat Mar 29, 2008 at 12:22:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The death of the first-born (0+ / 0-)

    Moses ... curses the innocent first born children of Egypt to death, ,,, even if it means babies are going to bite it

    Babies? What babies?

    It was the first-born who died. Of all ages. So, if there was another death of the first-born today, my 65-year-old brother would die, because he was the first-born child of my parents. 65 years old.

    It has nothing to do with babies.

    would America feel the same why if the Israelites were Black?

    Why what?

    Feed the babies who don't have enough to eat / Shoe the children with no shoes on their feet / House the people living in the street / Oh, there's a solution

    by dconrad on Mon Mar 24, 2008 at 01:20:13 AM PDT

    •  Okay (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dashound

      your first point is pretty much irrelevant and your second is obviously a typo and the diarist meant "way".  Are you trying to be an ass to the diarist, or is it just unintentionally coming across that way?

      Your political compass Economic Left/Right: -4.88 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.15

      by bythesea on Mon Mar 24, 2008 at 01:35:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My first point is pretty much (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bythesea

        correct. Not irrelevant. The word you're searching for is "correct". I'm tired of seeing the same misconceptions over and over and over again, and, yes, I'm tired of typos, too. It's pretty easy to proofread. If that makes me an ass, so be it.

        Feed the babies who don't have enough to eat / Shoe the children with no shoes on their feet / House the people living in the street / Oh, there's a solution

        by dconrad on Mon Mar 24, 2008 at 12:45:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Correct can be irrelevant (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dconrad

          to the issue under discussion.  If I compare someone to the witch from Hansel and Gretel and you point out that she didn't exist, your point would be correct, but irrelevant to the discussion.  I didn't mean that you are an ass, I was just asking if you were trying to be one to the diarist.  The debate about the historical basis or lack thereof in the story s/he cited seems an aside.

          Your political compass Economic Left/Right: -4.88 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.15

          by bythesea on Mon Mar 24, 2008 at 12:58:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Um... what? (0+ / 0-)

      And if a young couple had a two day old baby, their first born son, it would be killed, too.

      Sorry to hear about your brother, but just because he's 65 doesn't make it right to kill him either. Nor does his impending death by God imply in any way that no babies would be killed. There is no baby exclusion in the curse.

      "...even if it means babies are going to bite it." And they do, your brother not withstanding.

      Have you seen the film?

      And I am not talking about faith! I'm talking about America's attitude toward slavery! Ours versus somebody else doing it.

      •  Sorry to hear about my brother? (0+ / 0-)

        What, being 65? I didn't know that was something to be sorry for.

        I understand there's no baby exclusion, but about 99% of people who read that think it's just about babies, because it talks about being born, and they forget that young people, adolescents, young adults, middle aged people, and old people were all born, too.

        I am trying to get that point across, which seems lost on everyone. And you were transmitting the same old misconception.

        Seen the film? With Charlton Heston? I may have, many years ago. I honestly don't remember.

        Feed the babies who don't have enough to eat / Shoe the children with no shoes on their feet / House the people living in the street / Oh, there's a solution

        by dconrad on Mon Mar 24, 2008 at 12:43:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Because that's the sort of thing Yahweh does (0+ / 0-)

    Why is it we are all taught to love Moses when he curses the innocent first born children of Egypt to death

    Killing the Egyptian innocents, bombing the  cities on the plain flat, giving Joshua a free hand to rape, pillage and "ethnic cleanse" in the land of Canaan, that ancient  Bedouin sky-god has always been one mean, vicious son of a bitch. And don't even get me started about the story of Abraham and Isaac; if we every stopped to think about it, we'd classify Abraham  with Andrea Yates, another person who heard a voice in her head telling her to slaughter her offspring.

  •  identification with protagonists (0+ / 0-)

    Movies are created from the protagonist's point of view to purposefully create identification of the viewer with the main character, so the diarist's point, "that we are taught to love Moses and hate Egypt" is sound. Old Hollywood also used white gentiles to play the Isrealites to facilitate the target audience, white Americans, identification with the Isrealites. Had the Isrealites been Black, or Brown as they probably were is reality, the movie might not have worked considering the time period it was made.

    I think it also helped that white Americans had no reason historical, religious, or racial, to identify with the Egyptions (though they were also played by whites).

    "Roots" is the first thing I remember seeing on TV as a child that caused me (a so-called-white-person) to identify with African American protagonists. Remember how revolutionary that series was at the time?

    Roots was a carefully created story that played out for weeks and weeks to create the improbable result of "white" people identifying with black protagonists. And even so, I wonder how many adults white people thought it was drivel and didn't bother watching at all.

    The 30 second group of clips of Rev. Wright played over and over by the major media outlets are designed to NOT give whites a chance to identify with him. They were chosen for their inflamitory language and attacking posture toward whites. They are quick and fast with no background given at all. Because I have a great deal of education, I have a background that allows me to understand where he is coming from. But 90% of white people do not share my educational background, so all they hear is reverse racist angry ranting directed at them and it turns them off. Most people respond to attack by feeling defensive. It takes a mature person to hear attack and stop and think, "Hey, maybe I (or my group)deserve that."

    I think it helped that Barack gave some background in his speech, but I think for most whites, it will take a lot more background to neutralize the Rev. sermons.

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