Saturday, January 31, 2009

Are you a Child of John Latvian?
The photograph on the right is the last picture of John (Jānis) in Latvia. It was taken on June 24 (summer solstice day), Johns Day, 1927, in the Daugavpils region. John is described as a beggar. John is very much in the role the God unrecognized. The photo is from the archives of the LNVM (Latvian National History Museum). The poor quality of the photograph is due to it being photographed off the page of a book [Jāņu foto albums, 2007, Norden AB].

The Latvian name for John is Jānis. John-Jānis was a traveling teacher, a man who in modern India is called a sadhu. John lived off the land. He was a respected teacher and his visits were much expected. Then times changed. A young John named Jesus was seized by a gleve* of barons in the early days of writing. The barons issued their writs, which overwrote Johns teachings, and told Jesus to distribute these at the peril of his life as the word of God.

The last Jānis-John in Latvia was photographed as a beggar on Johns Day at the Rudzētu estate (muiža), in the region of Daugavpils, on June 24, 1927. A woman and a man behind Jānis wear an oakleaf crown (her shoes suggest that she is from the city), while John himself stands barefoot with a walking stick in his hands, two over-the-shoulder cloth bags filled with edibles (probably), no crown, but a cap on his head. The photo is in the LNVM (Latvijas Nacionālais Vēstures Muzejs) collection, and appears in the “Jāņu foto albums”, page 37 (center), published by Norden AB Publishing, 2007. This writer along with others made a small financial contribution to have this book see daylight.

Though writing overwrote oral history in so-called Western Europe as early as the 14th century, it reached Latvia only in the 18th century with the Hernhuter movement brought by one Graf Zinzendorf. Zinzendorf brought to the Latvian peasantry not only the skills of reading, but along with reading, he displaced John with Jesus. Since my earliest recorded ancestor is one Andžs (whence my nom de plume Jandžs), born in 1740, who became a Hernhuter, I have a vested interest in turning written history back to what was told by oral history—to the extent that oral truths may yet be plucked from in-between the lines of written lies of the new mythology. The last photograph of John (Latvian) is, therefore, important evidence of what happened to Latvian native religion. This religion has little to do with what we today know as “folk Gods”—Dieviņš, Pērkons, Laima, Māra, and others. This is not to say that these Gods did not exist and had no circulation in folk memory. However, they were only polysporous house Gods, who ever remained totemic symbols, and today in no way transcend them beyond a part in fairytales.

Two Gods, however, Saule and Jānis-John, remain active on the periphery of Latvian communal consciousness. These peripheral Gods (malu Dievi) have not lost their importance to the extent that they could not again move to center stage, except for being kept from moving there by lies as if sanctified by the written word, neo-Christianity, and the Latvian home-grown God known as Dievs. The latter, a prop of not only neo-Christians, but the home-grown movement known as God-holders (Dievturi) are largely responsible for the spiritual vacuum that persists in the community and contributes to its shattering. In these days, when Latvia is governed by a fake democratic government, the aforementioned—no lesser fakes—find Latvians in a situation of do-or-die. Do means to return to self-sacrifice and Jānis-John, die means to stay with passive piety and Dievs.

I have raised the issue of Jānis-John in other “topics” at LOL, especially at the site of “Latvians on Faith”, my own blogspot at , and at this site. The Goddess Saule, in her secularized as well as spiritual context, is the special concern of the former President of Latvia, Vaira Viķe-Freiberga. I need only add that in the Latvian arch-Christian movement, the Sun, Saule, is mother, and Jānis-John is her son.

*gleve, much feared armed men on horse, knights on horse in the Middle Ages. From which the Latvian word “gļēvs”, a coward. Originally the word gļēvs suggested one who would not stand and fight with equal weapons, that is, on equal terms, therefore, cowardly.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Time for John over Jesus, or Love is
not Sex
The image to the right is an icon of John in its neo-Christian version. However, arch-Christian elements are still clearly visible. For example, the image in the opening in the sky is that of another John, both one preceding and the one after this particular John. The image of John's head at his feet in the holy grail, too, represents the fate of Johns. The scroll in John's left hand would have been (before the days of writing) a palm or oak leaf sprig.

Those who have read my “All About Johns Festival…” at the LatviansOnline site know that I have long argued that the Latvian Jānis (John) belongs to arch-Christendom. The word “Christianity” (Christ + Jahni) itself is an altered form of the words krusts + Jānis (in Latvian Krishjahnis). In short, Jānis-John is the focal point of a concept of religion that stresses love as self-sacrifice for the sake community, its building and maintenance. In the eyes of arch-Christendom, Jesus is John, one of many Johns.

Johns lived and continue to live on Earth, because arch-Christianity believes that it takes the presence of a self-sacrificial spirit to exert direct influence on the behavior of spiritually uneducated men and women. However, neo-Christianity, a religion created by princes and kings, took one John named Jesus and removed him (incidentally with much violence) from Earth to the Nevernever Land of heaven to sit on his hands. Spiritually uneducated men and women have been running riot on Earth ever since. The current financial and economic crisis is but a result of their having “run down” the Earth.

Last Friday (1.23.09) the newly elected president of the United States Obama ended a ban on giving US federal money to international groups that provide information about abortions as well as perform them. As expected, on Saturday a senior Vatican official accused President Obama’s act as “the arrogance of those who, being in power, believe they can decide on life and death.” Another Vatican official stated that the act amounted to “the slaughter of the innocents”.

There is no question that unwanted pregnancies must be prevented before they occur, because they are harmful to both individuals who caused it, and the accidentally created fetus. The only way to do this is through education about sex. Education about sex means the demystification of sex (sexual attraction has nothing to do with love). Among the last remaining Johns on Earth are the Indian sadhus. When an American visited a sadhu (also acclaimed as healers) and told him that he could not get over his addiction to sex, the sadhu began to masturbate and asked the American to join him.

The Catholic church is a neo-Christian sect that supports pyramidal power structures based on weaponry rather than charisma created through self-sacrifice. It ill behooves it to talk about slaughter. However, if it wishes to do so, let the Pope be to the public an example of self-sacrifice. It is time to abandon pomp and circumstance and teach by example as the arch-Christians taught.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The End of “The 3rd Asleep” in Latvia (6)

The picture at right is from the back of my "klēts", formerly a cow shed, and before that the traditional store shed of a Latvian farm. I have converted it to become my winter apartment. It is about mid-January, 2009, after the sunset. The picture makes me think of the Norvegian painter Nolde, who, too, loved the sun low on the horizon for what it brought forth.

In a blog at the site, Iveta Kažoka wrote (22.1.09) that “In many countries there are consultations [by the government] with the public on a regular basis. However, to realize this in Latvia, state institution will need to overcome their fear of direct communication with the people and their responses (the unpleasant ones, too) concerning their work. (Judging from accessible political party websites, the parties fear this approach as well, even though theoretically they should be interested in the views of the electorate!).” [My translation.]

I responded: “This identifies the great problem of the Saeima, the ministers, and other [government employees]. These have separated subjectivity from the law to such an extent, that the citizens of the state have come to believe that the law belongs only to the state. Courts of law with their [dramatically] long sentences increase this feeling and separate the state from the people yet further.”

What will rejoin the political institutions of Latvia, especially the Saeima and the various ministers of the state, to the people when 90 percent of the people have no faith in them?

Though I found the 90% statistic among the statements issued by Jaunais Laiks, a political party, other figures, allegedly originating with the EU, go as high as 95%. If these figures are a short-term aberration, perhaps one may dismiss them as irrelevant. Nevertheless, they have been heard bandied about for some time and are, thus, comparable to extensive 3rd degree burns (the most severe kind) to the body politic. Burns are not only difficult to treat, but require near perfect conditions for the healing treatment to succeed.

If the economic problems are a mirage, then we are caught in a nightmare and will wake from it unharmed. This is, however, impossible, except the body social is a science fiction writer. On the other hand, if the nightmare is real, then it must have its tithe of blood—if we are to awaken at all. Such tithes of blood usually are wars of liberation (sometimes civil wars) or a revolution. Both are costly in terms of blood and lives. Such a blood letting is very unlikely in Latvia for a number of reasons, but one reason is that Latvians are too demoralized as a social body to ever congregate in sufficient numbers to confront their exploiters, albeit be they their own. The only blood tithe under such conditions as are affecting Latvia is self-sacrifice. Only self-sacrifice can seize the day for a demoralized people, because it need begin with only one person.

Of course, the risk that any self-sacrifice takes upon him- or herself is that the act will go unnoticed. Such already was the case with Adolfs Buķis in 1993. Mr. Buķis chose the right place (the Monument of Freedom in Riga), but the government soon hushed up the event by calling Buķis “a disturbed person” and in place of the promised investigation offered silence. Today there is no shortage of tourists pissing on the monument. or news items all declaring such acts an outrage.

A couple of blogs ago, I suggested that the current PM of Latvia, Ivars Godmanis, may already have assumed the role of an unacknowledged dictator of Latvia, and cited Godmanis penchant to explain everything in detail and taking much time to do so as the “zemteksts” (uncercurrent) for such hyperactivity. While some readers may think such a suggestion ridiculous, I have argued at great length (over 30 blogs) at that self-sacrifice is an old tradition of Latvians (and all ancient people) and is focused on the figure of Jānis (John). No doubt, Jesus undid John if not personally then as a result of dead men becoming manipulable, and for all I know, PM Godmanis is a good neo-Christian Latvian with no objections regarding such manipulation.

However, it would hurt my ears to hear PM Ivars [Jānis] Godmanis tell me to go piss off at the Freedom Monument . But I would hear “Lihgo” and give him my qualified support, if he asked the police to publicize its investigation or get on with it—concerning the case of Adolfs [Jānis] Buķis, the one Latvian who gave his life being fully self-conscious that he did it so that Latvia may be.

(End of series.)

The End of “The 3rd Asleep” in Latvia (5)

The image to the right is of a private temple to Melnays Jānis (Black John) near my countryside home in Latvia. The eight tall post around Black John represent the innumerable Johns (Jāņi) who walked the countryside roads in the past (like the sadhus of India to this day) and taught the people--the Children of John, Jāņu bērni--how to maintain their community through all kinds of weather, so to speak.

In the previous blog, I suggested that the current PM of Latvia, Ivars Godmanis , may already have assumed the role of a dictator, albeit unacknowledged and perhaps even unconsciously. Godmanis penchant to explain everything in detail and to great length, and taking much time to do so, makes him something of a Latvian version of Fidel Castro of Cuba. The only trouble is that while Castro survived the baptism of fire, Godmanis is a liberal democrat building a greater swimming pool for government bureaucrats. Neither a communist, nor a capitalist, Godmanis appears to have designated the 7.5 billion euro loan to Latvia for a project that Latvians know to be 7.5 billion euros worth, but no one quite knows the nature of the project.

The German philosopher Martin Heiddegger (1889–1976) , wrote that if he were to become lost in the forest, his tactic of finding his way out would be to chose a direction and then follow it without deviation, even if the chosen direction was determined by chance only. This writer agrees that he most likely would chose to do the same. A problem arises, however, when another person makes the choice of direction. That is to say, I can live with Godmanis keeping secret his choice of how to spend the money (and lead Latvia into the sun)—even if it leads me to an early death—if there were something, an argument perhaps, that would enable me to agree to trust in Godmanis’ leadership.

It is clear that liberal democracy has an answer to my concerns, one that everyone has heard many times: trust me (us), because we will lead you to economic growth, full employment, a good income, which will enable you to afford a house and raise a family, and provide you a decent burial. We are for progress, for growth, and we cannot fail. We are the destiny of Latvia.

Notwithstanding 200 years of “progress” under its aegis, liberal democracy has however proven itself a failure. The next decade is not likely to return the world to “growth” as it was understood from about 1800 until 2008. While there are many who may be persuaded that the current financial and economic crisis is but one of the perpetual dips in capitalist up and down business cycles, there will now be many skeptics. After all, a dip that needs several trillion dollars (world wide) of money hot off the printing presses to interrupt the fall of liberal democracy is a phenomenon that has the force of nature behind it.

My own take of the current “Latvian picture” is that, yes, economic well being is desirable and is one of the goals. However, rebuilding the community of people who are now living within the administrative borders of Latvia takes precedent over economic development. Without a sense of community there is not and will not be a Latvia in the sense of Latvia as a singular community.

Latvia needs loyalty from its citizens that transcends “hockey nationalism”, even though rivalry has its place. While competition in may occasionally result in bloodshed between the fans and/or players of opposite teams, such bloodletting does not make a community, because such sacrifices are scoffed at and usually successfully repressed by the police. Nevertheless, as the infamous “football war” (1970) between Honduras and El Salvador illustrates , blood does indeed play a role in community forming and maintenance.

The ancient Incan, Mayan, and Aztec ball courts, where the losing team lost not only points but also their lives, nevertheless, hold a profound truth. That truth holds people to reality and does not allow them to drift off into dreams as the Latvian community with Saeima in the lead has done.

PM Godmanis, if he wishes to lead Latvia not as a herd of people, but as a singular community, will—after he is done leading the community out of the woods—offer the community his life. How the PM does the “offering” is his to discover, but if he discovers the way, it will not only hold Latvians to reality, but will regain their trust in Saeima and state as part of the community.

(More to follow.)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The End of “The 3rd Asleep” in Latvia (4)

The image to the right is of Melnays Jānis (Black John). John has a profound connection with Latvian mythology and religion. He is also a symbol of Latvia.

How does one build a nation? How does one build a nation that was asleep or, better, anesthetized by its leadership? To try answer the questions let us first take a quick look at the first two Asleeps.

One may argue that the first Asleep occurred after President Ulmanis coup in 1934. Ulmanis promised to rewrite of the obviously sputtering Constitution and new elections, but neither occurred. One may argue that the economic recovery took longer than Ulmanis had originally thought it would take and, thus, delayed fulfilling his promises. After all, the Soviet army entered Latvia in 1940, only five years after Ulmanis had seized the reins of power, which is not an abnormally long time to try bring order to a political system that permitted an almost unlimited number of political parties in the Saeima. Thus, the argument of what caused the first Asleep may tilt on the censorship the regime imposed on the media, which put the public asleep by inadequately informing it of the dangers from the Soviet Union.

The second Asleep followed the reoccupation of Latvia at the end of WW2 (1945) by the Soviet Union. By the end of the 1950s, there was a notable movement among a broad segment of Latvian society for an “adjustment [to the Soviet Union] from below”. There is debate of whether this “adjustment” meant collaboration with the occupant of Latvia or the final succumbing of the populace to fate. As the events from the mid-1980s on show, there were plenty of sparks left among the ashes to cause a third Awakening.

However, the splintering of the broad-based movement of the Peoples Front into numerous political fractions did not only result in political chaos that paralleled the 1920s and early 1930s. The lapsed experience of the Latvian people in political action permitted the political parties to be taken over by economic interests, which furthermore were aided by the ways of a parliamentary democracy. That is, the independence of the parties from the electorate once elections are over enabled a blossoming of corruption and a neglect of political responsibility.

The Latvian version of parliamentary “democracy” was yeast to Latvians-at-large. By the late 1990s there began to appear newspaper articles arguing that corruption had “stolen the nation” (or state). The dough, the population, grew increasingly cynical and, not least, demoralized. The example of behavior filtering down from the Saeima was a near total disregard of the interests of the community of Latvia. Distrust of their neighbors in the community became a phenomenon said to be specific to Latvians. The media furthered this disgust by not laying to rest the argument that “we are who we elect”, meaning that “the fault, dear Latvians, is not with Saeima, but with you”.

Not surprisingly, the rising yeast popped its first bubble on January 13, 2009. What the people discovered was that while they were coming awake, the politicians and the media slept. The politicians blamed the unrest that followed the demonstration on hooligans. The media opined that throwing eggs and snowballs was as aggressive an act as throwing cobble stones. The politicians and the media, both, claimed the demonstration to have been violent, but neither bothered to define violence. In the end, proof of violence was not forthcoming, unless one includes inert objects thrown against buildings and windows. No government ministers resigned, and parliamentary democracy turned into a virtual dictatorship continued on. Incidentally, the only serious injury at the demonstration came to a youth, whose eye was destroyed by a police rubber bullet.

On the Wednesday evening (January 21) news show “What is happening in Latvia?”, the invited guests were not politicians, but a selection of individuals from various public organizations, including private citizens. The hour and a half show debated inconclusively over what should be done to about the Saeima and the economic crisis. Interestingly, none of the debaters suggested an authoritarian figure as an admissible solution. Nevertheless, at least one participant suggested that the current PM Godmanis by his tendency not to delegate power, but study all matters at hand in detail for himself, and give answers to questions that seemed endless had already made the first step toward a de facto dictatorship.

(More to follow.)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The End of “The 3rd Asleep” in Latvia (3)
The figure to the right is called Melnays Jānis (Black John) and is a stand in for Latvia, a country of northeast Europe standing tall, but almost limbless. John and Latvia are names become almost synonymouss. Jānis-John is a nearly forgotten holy figure, now relegated to folk mythology, while Latvia is a country believed to be dying. However, come Johns Eve (Jāņu vakars), Midsummer solstice, I place a wreath of oak leaves around the black limbs of this oak stump, place a skusts, a prayer shawl, around my shoulders and sing a "lihgo" song.

The greatest problem for the current government of Latvia is its lack of authority—if not de jure, then de facto.

The de facto factor arises from the “fact” that only 10% (I am unable to trace the origin of this figure, but it is widely mentioned and believed) of Latvians support Saeima as presently constituted. However that may be, the media puts the onus for the January 13th (2009) protests on the economy. Nevertheless, as I have pointed out in the two previous blogs of this series, it is not a question of economics alone.

The “Umbrella Demonstration” in November of 2007 was before the economic problems were anywhere near as prominent as they are now, but already resounded with calls “Atlaist Saeimu!”—dismiss the Saeima. Corruption in government, featherbedding government positions with professionally unqualified political supporters, nepotism, disregard of farmers, failure to support and develop industry and exports, low pensions, inattention to history, Brussels accept of former KGB officers as government representatives, failure to integrate the Russian speaking populace, and more, all contributed to the unhappiness of the demonstrators.

If Latvians by some lucky star were to experience economic well-being, there would of course be no protests. After all, the Western democracies stand and continue to convince the unwary as a supra political system because of full or nearly full employment, salaries sufficiently large to pay room and board, perhaps buy a house, government sponsored health care, and free education through high school. However, most Latvians receive a poor quality of these benefits. Moreover, most of the protesters believe that they are lacking the just mentioned goodies because the government is short-changing them, or as cynics may say, not paying them off to remain undemonstrative.

Are the cynics’ accusations against the Latvian government true?

If we take a deep look into the well of history, we discover something seldom mentioned, to wit, that democracy has its foundation in the exploitation of slave labor, colonialism, and—at a very late date—dependence on science and technology. The latter permitted the abolishment of slavery and colonies, because science had discovered a way to extract steel from rocks, margarine from coal, and cars from oil.

The arrival of the industrial age, quickly followed by the electronics age, gave people the illusion that the age of exploitation was over and all were to be free individuals. The illusion had its day, but is presently ending on a note of sober realization that it caused widespread, perhaps irreversible, damage and exploitation of our planet’s habitat, not to mention a return of universal poverty dotted with exceptions of extremely wealthy individuals.

The Latvian people regained their liberty from the Soviet Union at a late stage of capitalist development (1991), but fully convinced that the age that was ending was their future. Poorly educated—because the socialist system of the Soviets made sure that the masses living under their control were as dumbed-down as the masses in the capitalist system—Latvians did not question the delusions of the West. The rush to the capitalist through was such that no intellectuals or native political leaders emerged to give warning.

Those with political connections in the Soviet system had the advantage. Latvians living abroad rushed home to “dzimtene” (land of birth) to reclaim properties nationalized during and after World War 2 by the Germans and Soviets in turn. Economic “shock therapy” worked wonders and quickly turned those full of hope into cynics. After eighteen years under the new political system, there is speculation that the people are hoping for an authoritarian leadership figure.

No doubt, an authoritarian leader would spell the end of Latvia as a nation if only because not even an authoritarian leader can recover the economy in a country, where—according to the former PM of Russia, Putin—“there is only sand and mushrooms”.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The End of “The 3rd Asleep” in Latvia (2)

The image to the right is of Melnays Jānis (Black John) at my countryside home. The image stands not only for Jānis (John), a figure of long tradition in Latvia, but also Latvia itself. The image is made of the base of an oak tree and painted black. Its foreshortened limbs can only be made well again by wreaths of oak leaves and flowers. The image was photographed in January, 2009.

If we agree—if only for argument’s sake—that the Latvian people have entered on their 4th Awakening, we must take a closer look at the 3rd Asleep which preceded it. Why was the 3rd Awakening so short lived and so quickly followed by another Asleep period? Why did the great expectations of Latvia’s population in the late 1980s and early 1990s die with the self-sacrificial death of Adolfs Buķis in 1993?

Anyone who looks back at the 3rd Awakening with a critical eye will notice that it was a dream which expressed itself in rhetoric. While I did not make my first visit to Latvia until December of 1991, I remember the pleasure I experienced when I saw in my Arlington, Virginia mailbox a copy of Padomju Jaunatne. The name of the weekly newspaper translates in English as Soviet Youth, but it too, so it appeared, had joined the Awakening.

This is not to deny the reality of The Baltic Way , people of the Baltic countries linking their arms in peaceful demonstration of solidarity across their borders. Nor is it to belittle the Singing Revolution, a name coined by the Estonians , which revived the voice of song throughout the Baltics. Nor is it to ignore the fact that on January 13, 1991, the Popular Front (Tautas fronte) issued a call for the people of Latvia to gather in Riga and build barricades against possible attacks by OMON (Special Purpose Police Squad). Tens of thousands of people from all over the country, women and children including, participated in building the barricades, and providing food and shelter to those who had come from the countryside. In the ensuing days, OMON killed seven people and a number were severely beaten.

Still, the fact that the Soviet Union was falling apart of its own weight (the Baltics in and of themselves are not responsible for bringing it down), and because the rhetoric (and song) saw the Soviet Union fall dead before its eyes in return for relatively little effort, the 3rd Awakening never broke into an open flame. To be even blunter, it never bore the blood sacrifice that would have tested the people’s commitment and mettle.

What followed the gradual and nonviolent collapse of the Soviet Union was a mysterious time, a real enough time, but one that held a vacuum in the place of history. Some historians have called this time “a time when the Soviet regime reigned without Latvians”. The responsibility for this vacuum of history rests squarely on the shoulders of the Latvian government, which never revealed to the public the names of those who served the Soviet Union as KGB agents or who collaborated with the KGB. While the revealing of such names would have been relatively easy in the early days of reinstatement of “independence”, it became progressively more difficult to do. For one, those very agents burrowed ever deeper into the fabric of the renewed Latvian nation. Secondly, all presidents of Latvia—notably Vaira Viķe-Freiberga, because she was president during the years of Latvia’s financial and economic “bubble”—were against making the names public (such as the Soviets failed to take with them to Moscow), because they believed that it would result in more divisiveness than good.

Be that as it may, the 3rd Awakening was still-born because of this unusual alignment of various factors or, if you will, the stars. Which raises the question of whether the current economic crisis in Latvia is the result of this conjunction of forces?

I believe that the answer is both no and yes. It is no, because the financial and economic crisis is almost universal. It is yes, because corruption in the Latvian government is, at least to a significant degree, the result of—as mentioned above—“the Soviet regime without Latvians” or Latvians who collaborated with the Soviet regime who as if by magic have disappeared and made themselves well to do and sometimes wealthy.

Thus, if it was not the Latvian people who were asleep (they were too busy trying to survive on below survival level incomes), it was their government that did its best to avoid looking history in the eye and thereby begged disaster.

(More to follow.)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The End of “The 3rd Asleep” in Latvia (1)

The image to the right is that of "Melnays Jānis", a symbolic figure for Latvia. Jānis (John) is an arch-Christian Latvian figure--sometimes a traveling teacher, sometimes a self-sacrificial God--who was displaced by the neo-Christian Jesus. This author believes that with the displacement of Jānis, a similar displacement occured with proto-Latvians, the people who preceded the contemporary state of Latvia.

The Latvian people speak of having gone through three periods of “Awakening”. The first period was the national awakening from about the mid-19th century until about 18810, the year of Tsar Alexander II’s assassination in Russia. The 2nd Awakening came with the 1905 Revolution and ended about 1918, the time of the declaration of Latvia as an independent nation. The 3rd Awakening began before the collapse of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s and ended in 1991 with Latvia restored to nationhood.

For reasons of national pride, Latvians do not appear to have thought that “Awakening” may be preceded by an “Asleep” period. Another reason for the omission of an Asleep state may be due to failure to be self-critical, which is a common failing among nations with small populations. It is obvious that they fear self-criticism, because they fear an outside power may take unfair advantage of what such criticism may reveal.

Related to the January 13th (2009) peaceful demonstration, followed by a not so peaceful (nevertheless nonviolent) pelting of the Saeima building with snowballs and eggs, we hear mention a 4th Awakening. In spite of the fact that the nonviolent demonstration was followed by acts of hooliganism by drunken youths, the demonstration did indeed succeed in moving a previously immovable object, the Latvian government, to enact a staged reaction. This is why the all too optimistic mention of a 4th Awakening. The question this raises is whether the latest awakening was preceded by a period in which the citizenry of Latvia was Asleep.

An interesting link to the argument may be an article in The Lancet, a medical journal in England. Authors David Stuckler and Lawrence King from Cambridge University, and Martin McKee from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, argue that the economic “shock therapy” advocated by Harvard professor Jeffrey Sachs as the quickest way to make the leap from a socialist economy to capitalist economy, resulted in more that a million deaths in post-Soviet countries, Latvia among them. The authors argue that alcohol poisoning was the most direct explanation for the deaths.

However, the economic “shock therapy” which introduced capitalism probably also caused the Latvian government to be corrupt from its inception. Latvians only need remind themselves that already in 1993, one Adolfs Buķis from Jelgava, went to the Freedom Monument in Riga and shot himself in the head as a gesture of protest against corruption in government. At that time, Buķis was said to be not in his right mind, but today, sixteen years later, little has changed, and Buķis could be forgiven if he staged a repeat of his death.

Why was Jeffrey Sachs “shock therapy” so readily accepted and implemented in Latvia? The explanation comes in two parts.

One. Soviet Latvian officials, when they saw that a regime change was inescapable, but at a time they were still in power and could manipulate that power to their advantage, opted for quick privatization, that is to say economic “shock therapy”. Whether they did this consciously or unconsciously is not the question. What is clear is that by accepting Sachs economic “shock therapy”, the officials of Soviet Latvia were able to “legally” (when no one knew what was “legal” and what was not) acquire considerable parcels of private property, mostly real estate and forest lands.

Two. One can understand that Latvians living under the Soviet system had little in-depth understanding of Western economics; however, Latvians living abroad should have been more knowledgeable and concerned. Unfortunately, Latvian exiles were almost as uneducated in economics as they were about the “real” political situation in Latvia. Because of this, they turned into unwitting collaborators with former Soviet officialdom. While such innocence may be forgiven the ordinary Latvian exile, the so-called “ruling circles”, the various “trimda” organizations should not escape blame so lightly. The latter were caught, as the saying goes, with their guard down.

The exile organizations had spent nearly fifty years in exile in single-minded pursuit of “freedom” for Latvia from the Soviet Union. The organizations and their members were so intend on pursuing a policy of “kissing up” to the governments of their host countries as a way of courting favor, that when freedom for Latvia did arrive, they were intellectually unequipped as critics of capitalisms, let alone capable of understanding the consequences that capitalism unleashed on a previously oppressed people can do.

In short, the corruption and chaos and dissatisfaction of the Latvian people with their government during the last eighteen years is home made. The demonstrations on the 13th of January broke what this writer believes to have been the 3rd Asleep period.

(More to follow.)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Non-Violent Direct Action

The following blog was first published at . The object is to urge the public to educate itself about nonviolent action and its potential as a political tool.

The image to the right is that of Melnays Jānis (Black John) at the author's private temple at "Celmalnieki", his home in northern Latvia. Melnays Jānis translates as the image of Latvia, that is to say, what has become of the God John and Latvia.

The following is a quote from Wikipedia (above link) on non-violent direct action:

Nonviolent direct action (NVDA) is any form of direct action that does not rely on violent tactics. Mahatma Gandhi's teachings of Satyagraha (or truth force) have inspired many practitioners of nonviolent direct action, although the use of nonviolence does not always imply an ideological commitment to pacifism. In 1963, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. described the goal of NVDA in his Letter from Birmingham Jail: ‘Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored.’

“One major debate is whether destruction of property can be included within the realm of nonviolence. This debate can be illustrated by the response to groups like the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front, which use property destruction and sabotage as direct action tactics. Although these types of actions are often viewed as a form of violence, supporters define violence as harm directed towards living things and not property.”

The peaceful January 13th demonstration in Riga—which began at 5:30 p.m. and ended at 7:00 p.m.—was followed up by youths marching to the Saeima building and pelting it with snowballs and raw eggs. Cobble stones torn from the street followed.

Up to this point—if we go by Wikepedia and the exclusion of damaged property as a sign of violence as argued by ELF and ALF (see above quote)—one may argue that the police acted right by leaving the Saeima building door guarded by only eight policemen and leaving support forces out of sight.

If I heard the news right, the police say that at some point “later” there appeared a gang of provocateurs in black leather jackets, who started throwing cobblestones in all earnestness, which is when the police intervened in earnestness.

Whichever act one understands to be the limit of non-violent direct action, the discussions of the protest in the Latvian media make clear that the Latvian media and the public have little idea what non-violent direct action is—which makes the discussions in the media of the event a muddle, uninformative, and potentially disruptive of peace.

Monday, January 12, 2009


The following are posts to Truthdig sent in the last few days.

Philip Stephens, Financial Times, January 8 2009: Israel will never turn armed might into strategic security. If need be, it could win a war against all its enemies combined. But if it wants peace it must face the decision it has avoided for 40 years: withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territories. Military victories and land grabs are futile. Security will come only with political resolution.
Stephens fully reflects my opinion. I would only add that Jerusalem, too, must be shared with the Palestinians. However, there stands a huge obstacle in the way of compelling Israel to give in to world opinion. 1) That world opinion is all emotion; 2) both it and its leaders do not know the history of how their world came about.

As mosts of the posts at this site illustrate, Americans are woefully uninformed about the history of the world. Even if most posters here do not agree with my taking Anatoly Fomenko’s view, one cannot get away with Biblical myth as history. As long as the ladies and gentlemen at this site believe that Biblical myths reflects the history of Israel, they are on the side of Israel.

Yes, I know, the Arabs, and Christian Orthodox, and others have bought into the ecclesiastical chronology of history as set in place by the Catholic Church in the 16th century. All the same, it is impossible for there to be peace until the unstated policies of the West--i.e., to control the economical and political future of our planet--are shown up to be anything but raw power play. That is what the myths support, and therewith MF us.

ALL our foreign politics are geared toward control of the Earth by the West. That is why so few speak up for Gaza or the Palestinias: they fear demolishing a false myth.

Why are we so indifferent to the death and destruction in Gaza?--The headline question by Robert Sheer.
Who here addresses the question? I have tried to argue that the answer is to be sought in a false history that is threatened to be revealed if the "real" answer were to be sought. The answer has obviously to do with digging up the real history of the West. That real history involves the West changing history and using the false story as a weapon against the East. The answer is as simple and complicated as that.

Israel currently serves the interests of the West. Gaza is the corner where the Palestinians have been driven into, and when their slaughter calls forth desperate measures as we see Hamas take, we call them barbarians.

Of course, the only real weapon the Palestinians have is non-violent direct resistance by way of self-sacrificial acts in public places. Unfortunately, this tactic due to the zeitgeist of violence was not considered and may be too late now to impliment. It takes great courage to do and to organize such a thing. But it ought to be tried nevertheless. It might change the East and give it the moral upper hand again.

In previous posts, I suggested that the key to Middle East violence must be looked for in the use the West makes of history as a tool of war. That is to say, the West changes history and then imposes its interpretation on the rest of the world. The West does the same with words. For example:

Yaroslaw = Jerusalem;
Yaro in Russian = the spring
Slawa in Russian = honor
Thus Yaroslav = Jerusalem = Spring of Honor

Those who are curious might want to use their Search buttons and see why in 1829 so many Russians made pilgrimages to the City of Honor and why before this date no one made pilgrimages to Jerusalem.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

What happened to the past in the past? [4]

This is a mini-series of blogs embedded in a greater series of blogs that concern the self-sacrificial religion known as arch-Christianity (as opposed to present-day neo-Christianity.

Beside the attempts at internal subversion of Russia via the Romanovs, the subversive activities of the West were insufficient to bring Russia under its control. The failed attacks of the Poles-Lithuanians (1608, 1617, etc.) and Swedes (1707) gave the tsars time to wage wars of their own, until Napoleon (1812) and Hitler (1941) renewed the West’s attempt to conquer Russia and/or gain unencumbered access to Russian resources.

Because Russia is an heir to the Eastern Empire and the European West was made up of breakaway princes from that Empire, the borders of Russia fluctuated wildly at times, especially with regard to Belarus and western Ukraine, which were annexed a number of times by Poland (the last time in 1920). The current attempts to have Belarus and Ukraine tilt toward the West thus have centuries of precedent. These are the early stages of Western attempts to encircle the territories of the former Great Eastern Empire.

The above is not the end of the list of wars between the contenders. There is the French, British, and Ottoman led Crimean War (1853) and the conflict that led to it—the dispute over who is in charge of the Holy places in Palestine. This conflict can trace its origins to 1829, when the Russian tsar decided to best the Latin Church by establishing Jerusalem—Yaroslav in old Russian—in Palestine, a territory heretofore claimed by France and/or the Ottomans. Thousands of Russian pilgrims traveled to Jerusalem-Yaroslav and by the actions of their feet established the geographical location of the town. [When Napoleon invaded Egypt (1799), his map did not yet show Jerusalem to be in Palestine.]

In 1843 the Russian Orthodox patriarch of Jerusalem takes the next step. He obtains from the Ottomans permission to separate his authority from that of the patriarch of Istanbul—formerly Constantinople-Jerusalem—and thereby establishes in Palestine a town named Jerusalem. After the Russian pogroms of 1881, two million Jews migrate to the United States, while many thousands settle in Jerusalem, Palestine. Thus, while the neo-Christian Russian Orthodox Church founds Jerusalem, the Jews give its location a sense of irreversibility.

However great the interest of Israel in the land that it has taken from indigenous Palestinians—even to the point of wishing the Palestinians gone (those living in the concentration camp of Gaza especially)—this is one wish its politicians cannot allow realization if they are not suicidal. Even when Israel has the backing of millions of fellow Jews in the United States and is able to tie politically the hands of an U.S. administration, it cannot be certain the U.S. will back it when Russia intervenes.

In what way will Russia intervene, we do not know. We may think of the ways, but only whoever has a direct interest in the outcome knows what he will do to prevent a “call” of a hand he is not sure is a winner. The world does not wish to see the resolution become one often chosen in the barrooms of a Western movie.

What happened to the past in the past? [3]

This is a mini-series of blogs embedded in a greater series of blogs that concern the self-sacrificial religion known as arch-Christianity (as opposed to present-day neo-Christianity. This blog first appeared as a letter to

After the Romanov coup, a succession of tsars not only destroyed much of Russian history, but began to impose on native arch-Christians a state version of religion, re neo-Christianity. The tsars followed the process developed some centuries before by the neo-Christians of the West when they eliminated the Cathars among the Albigensians. Johns Children among the Balts, and did their best to eliminate the Jews. Though the latter suffered grievous attacks, they were able to give the neo-Christians the slip because neo-Christian kings and princes were of a divided mind about Jewish expertise as tax collectors and with money.

Up to the time of the Romanovs, the Turkic and Slavic people had pretty much been practicing the same religion. Russian arch-Orthox Christians attended the mosques of Islam and Muslims attended Christian churches. It was the Romanovs who by imposing a Western chronology and exclusivist interpretation of what happened to Johns (they were turned into Jesus) that started the wars between Slav and Turk and divided the Eastern Empire even further.
What does it mean when I write “the Johns were turned into Jesus”?

Those who have been to India will no doubt have run across the sadhus, the holy men walking the dusty roads of India, bathing in the Ganges River, sitting cross legged in marketplaces, wherever. Once such men were ubiquitous not only in India, but throughout the world, Europe including. While Europe has forgotten these traveling teachers—for that is what they ultimately were—they were known in Europe by the name of John. The Irish knew their Johns as Ian, the French as Jean, Juan, Gean, the Spaniards as Huan, the Italians as Giovanni, the Germans as Johann or Hans, the Balts as Yan, the Russians as Ivan, etc. While all of these names remain popular as given names, they are also still be found in derivative names such as gendarme, genealogy, gentlemen, and so on and on. To be a sadhu or john, one did not have to be called John, one could as well be known as Bob, or Jesus, or Johammed.

But then Johns were prescribed a death sentence: you either bake in the fires of auto-da-fe, convert to Jesus—the only John who will save you—or run for your life to the swamp. Why was it desirable to eliminate the Johns? Answer: all holy men are down to the bones of their souls egalitarians. The Johns preached a message hateful to the ears of the secular princes then coming to the fore: economic equality, economic fairness if not down to the last detail, then at least commonsensical.

The first John whose death is marked in a history book was called Basil and he was thrown into a raging fire pit at Constantinople by the Byzantine king Alexius I (12th century?). The Byzantine king insisted that he knew more about divine matters than John-Basil. In the West we know this king better by the name of Herod.

The news of Alexius I outrageous act reached the ears of most European Johns and their charges. It was relatively easy task for the secular princes to take advantage of the wrath of the populace and lead a march on Constantinople-Jerusalem. Of course, the princes of the West did not have the slightest interest in Basil, except that his death gave them a pretext to attack a king of the Eastern Empire.

What happened to the past in the past? [2]

This is a mini-series of blogs embedded in a greater series of blogs that concern the self-sacrificial religion known as arch-Christianity (as opposed to present-day neo-Christianity. This blog first appeared as a letter to

According to the Russian mathematician and historian Fomenko, Jesus was killed in 1185 of our era (see “History: Fiction or Science”, Vol. 2., Delamere Publishing). This makes the event 824 instead of 2009 years old as presumed (directly or indirectly) by not only the “major religions”, but by almost everyone living today. The death of Jesus (the details described by Anna Comnena in her “The Alexiad of Anna Comnena”) also happens not in Jerusalem (known as Ilia to the Arabs), but Constantinople.

If Fomenko is correct, it makes sense that the 1st crusade (Fomenko doubts if there were any crusades before this, though there were a number in the West later—against the Albigensians, the Balts, and Slavs) took place in 1204, nineteen years after the death of Jesus. Not surprisingly, the Crusaders attacked Constantinople, not Jerusalem.

It is doubtful whether Jerusalem existed as Jerusalem before Napoleon. Early maps of the Middle East used by Napoleon do not show such a city in Palestine. Fomenko points out that after the fall of Constantinople, also known as Jerusalem in its time, was an idealized name for a number of cities after it fell into the hands of “new” Rome in the West.

In any event, after the plunder of Constantinople-Jerusalem (in 1453 the Turks only finished what the neo-Christians had begun 249 years earlier), the West—motivated by economic expansionism—began a war against the East and the rest of the world. The “rest” of the world fell to colonialists from the West easily. However, the East (the lands coinciding with those of the Eastern Empire) was not so easily gained.

According to Fomenko, Russia, was part of the Eastern Empire, but survived its fall to become its heir. Russia was attacked by catholicized Poles and Lithuanians (not to mention the Catholic Teutonic Knights at an earlier time and the Swedes later), and while the attackers did not succeed in conquering Russia, a consequence of their destructive activities made possible the implantation of a dynasty of tsars willing to become the West’s collaborators. This was the Romanov dynasty. It ruled over Russia for over three hundred years—1613-1917.

Though the Romanovs did not always collaborate with the West and even exhibited a will of their own, they did (most important for the imposition of western culture on Russia) force its ecclesiastical authorities to adopt the Western calendar. They also imported a historical chronology that had nothing to do with the Eastern Empire, but was the creation of the West.

Thus, while the Russian Orthodox Church continues to hold that it is the direct heir of “early” Christianity, it has forgot that “early” may also mean “arch”, that is to say, that many of the territories that the West today says were formerly “pagan”, actually were part of arch-Christendom. The Jews, as noted in my post at 12:19 a.m., were part of that arch-Christendom.

Friday, January 9, 2009

What happened to the past in the past? [1]

This is a mini-series of blogs embedded in a greater series of blogs that concern the self-sacrificial religion known as arch-Christianity (as opposed to present-day neo-Christianity. This blog first appeared as a letter to
The Guardian has an article this morning (re above) that president-elect Barack Obama is expected to adopt a more even-handed approach to the Middle East conflict when in office. Among those approaches—low level contact with Hamas.

IMO such a move is to be welcomed, but will not go anywhere unless Russia is consulted as well. One of the obvious reasons why this must be is because Russia is a great power in the immediate vicinity. The other reason, more subtle—even unknown to some—has to do with the history of the region, which “power” does not wish to acknowledge because, for the most part, it is brainless.

The reason history is important is because the true stream of history of the region (and one may say for the world) has been repressed by naked power. However, this is like throwing a cardboard box over a fire and saying that there is no fire. At this moment, the fires of history are curling up the cardboard box, smoke is coming through the blackening cracks, and fire will follow in a moment.

The long (and often seemingly confused) version of history is explained by the Russian mathematician Anatoly Fomenko in his many volumed series “History: Fiction or Science” (Delamere Publishing). The “nut”, as many believe Fomenko to be, nevertheless has not only an interesting take on history, but even a compelling one. Hopefully, Fomenko and his school will manage to publish their theory in an essay, rather than spread it out over seven volumes with no indexes.

In short, there exists a version of the history of the world that takes the view that the continuous attacks of the West [the U.S. and Europe (re NATO)] on the East originate in the Crusades and the collapse of an Eastern Empire. In which case, a Holy Land located in the Middle East is nothing more than a myth being perpetrated by the body politic of the West as a whole. One of the difficulties in resisting the West stem from the East’s acceptance of the West’s version of history in the 17th-18th centuries, which version is now difficult to slough off.

Even so, the process of sloughing the myths perpetrated by the West has begun, and we may thank Israel’s presumptuous violence for being a major lubricant to the question: What really happened in the past to the past?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

61. Latvia’s Profound vs Shallow Traditions [11]

The following series (not exactly serials) concern the importance of self-sacrifice in the creation and maintenance of a community. Do not be put off by the name "Latvia", the name of the country where I live, because you can probably replace the name with that of your own country. I believe self-sacrifice is "religion" without you or me necessarily having to believe in God.

If one gives credibility to Anatoly Fomenko’s historical chronicle, which involves the projection of past events closer to our time (to counter the self-antiquitization of the Catholic Church and neo-Christendom as a whole), the politics of Russia soon are seen as contradictory, ambiguous, and conflicted. This is because—as Fomenko argues—the history of Russia was not written by the Russians themselves, but was rewritten by the hirelings of the Romanov tsars, who—as implants of the West—destroyed much of Russia’s real history. Whether one agrees with Fomenko’s take on history or not, his views must be taken into account for the reason that it offers not only another perspective, but makes current events more understandable.

In a world where literacy is limited to the court and its outposts, the rewriting of history is an obvious tactic for anyone who defeats and displaces the previous court or the “Old Believers”. When the Original Empire was largely illiterate, with literacy limited to the court and its circle, it was possible for the usurping Romanovs to remove the old history and change it to a new one. This is how the “good news” of “new times” (and a new calendar starting with the year 1) came about. As we know, the Western calendar came to Russia late indeed. “In the old days Russia used the Byzantine calendar which counted years from the ‘creation of the world’ in the year of 5509 BC (JU). In the year of 7208 AD (1699 JU) the Russian Emperor, Peter I Alexejevitsch (Peter the Great) announced the adoption of the Julian calendar and that the nearest 1 Januar will be 1 Januar 1700 JU and the Julian calendar remained in use until the revolution in 1918.” Quote from

While the rewriting of the old chronology and of the history of the West began with Scaligeri (1540-1609) , according to Fomenko, the new chronology was completed by Dionysius Petavius (1583-1652) . In Russia, Gerhard Friedrich Miller (1705-1783), a German scholar, on orders of the tsar, rewrote its history. Even before Miller did his rewrite, Peter I had reset the Russian calendar.

Indeed, the Russian Orthodox Church lost its independence and became subject to the dictates of the state—as it had always been in the West. This is why not only the Romanovs, but the Russian Orthodox Church is complicit in the profound insecurity within the Russian peoples psyche. Somehow, the Russians feel they ought to be crusading against the West, but ever since the fall of Constantinople (1204), the West has been on a Crusade against the people of the East, against the lands of arch-Christendom.

This is not to say that the reforms of Peter I, the Great were not necessary to keep Russia abreast of technological innovations of the West. However, the introduction of technology came with an introduction of historical chronology according Scaligeri, who—hired by the Catholic Church—did his best to please the Catholic Church. Though Russian resistance to these changes was fierce and involved millions of people, the methods of the tsars’s court were brutal and prevailed.

The chronology of history introduced by the West and forced upon the people of the Original Empire, confused not only its secular authorities, but—in the long-run—spiritual authorities as well. A sense of antiquity lingered long (even today) in official, church, and folk memory, but the arrows of the future penetrated deeper into the past than the arrows of the past penetrated the future. Many Russians, who insist that Russia is the home of a “third Rome”, are ceding to Catholic Rome what never belonged to it. It is only through the bloody victories of western Rome that it advanced from third rank to second.

Moreover, what Catholic Rome brought was not only neo-Christianity to the “early” Christianity of the Russian Orthodox Church, but both have pretty much wiped out any memory of arch-Christianity, the Children of John including. Indeed, the latter are still remembered by Latvian folk-songs, but no longer by its people. One ought not to be surprised that these changes in theological perspectives also had a detrimental influence on the Balts. One of the world’s 10 least patriotic countries (2nd—according to Forbes magazine) is Latvia.

[More to follow.]

Monday, January 5, 2009

60. Latvia’s Profound vs Shallow Traditions [10]

The following series (not exactly serials) concern the importance of self-sacrifice in the creation and maintenance of a community. Do not be put off by the name "Latvia", the name of the country where I live, because you can probably replace the name with that of your own country. I believe self-sacrifice is "religion" without you or me necessarily having to believe in God.

As we see from previous blogs and will continue to note in the future, men labor hard to kill history. The reason for killing history is rather simple: it permits those on top of the pyramid of power to enrich themselves and stay in power. By killing the history of the community about them, they
1. sow incredibility, disbelief that anyone would really wish to do this; and
2. propagate dissention in the community as to who to believe, the rulers or their critics, which is the first step in the process of divide and rule.
3. sow fear.

The necessity to kill history results from murder and/or lies, which brought those in power into power.

Because of the violence that brings and maintains certain groups in power, all history so far is pseudo history or what is known as mythology. Mythology masks the abyss that is our past. As French philosopher Georges Bataille says: “…[It is] living-dying for an abyss without walls or floor ….” The Latvians, too, have their abysses. The Latvian abyss without walls or floor expands from a within that knows itself not. This results in a dying that does not know why it is happening.

Much of the death of the Latvians (and the Balts) is related to the death of Russians. Russians, too, are a people spinning in a vacuum—because they know themselves not. The myths of their rulers tell them that they are a people that lost an Empire, when in fact, they and the Balts were once a people that were part of an Empire. When the Empire of which they were a part fell, they were intimidated by sword and myth. The myth was the same as elsewhere: that a new and more effective savior had replaced the old and less effective Savior. The new savior was Jesus. The old Savior, Yan/Ionn/Ivan, was turned into a common name, thus, to be forgotten. So, the people of the fallen Empire began to fight among themselves, and while all of them lost, the Latvians lost more—relatively speaking.

Somewhere within the psyches of the Russians and Balts there still lingers a memory of the Empire that they were once part of. For an evening and a day—come midsummer solstice—the Latvians remember themselves as the Children of John, which was their name when they were part of the Empire. As for the Russians, their rulers destroyed their history by burning the records. I am using Anatoly Fomenko’s book “History: Fiction or Science” as my source here. A.I. Soulakadzev (1771-1832) was a well know collector of Russian book and chronicle collector (much of his work burned or otherwise destroyed), still called by many academics a “malicious” faker and hoaxer. Among the alleged fakes is the “Hymn to Boyan”, a song also known as a song “Boyan’s Song of the Slavs”.

As to the origin of the name “Boyan”, see (you may have to copy and google) . But among the possibilities mentioned in the encyclopedias is yet another one, re: Bo + yan (jan), where Bo = [Boga=God; Bo-lshoi=Big; Boi=heroic] + yan (John, Jānis, etc.), thus, BigJohn, or GodYan, or MightyJohn; or as Latvians might say: Lielais Jānis, Gudrais Jāhnis. We may also see that “bajahrs” (a Baltic lord) and “boyar” (a Russian lord) may derive from the same source, with “ba” being just another way of saying “bo”, but “jārs” standing for “yan/jan” as in many Latvian placenames ending in “jahn” or “ahn”, re Murjāņi, Varaklāni, etc. Interestingly enough, the name has an echo as far as Indonesia, re Bawean.

I have been tracing the nooks and crannies for the name of John/Jānis/Jan/Yan for one reason and one reason only. It is my sense that at its origin the name stood for one who sacrificed him or herself. The reason why this is so important is that self-sacrifice is the only route by which we can stop perpetual carnage, violence, and lies. In the space that turns into an abyss without walls or floor due to perpetual violence, a self-sacrifice, a man of the stature of Boyan, may instill peace.

[More to follow.]

59. Latvia’s Profound vs Shallow Traditions [9]

The following series (not exactly serials) concern the importance of self-sacrifice in the creation and maintenance of a community. Do not be put off by the name "Latvia", the name of the country where I live, because you can probably replace the name with that of your own country. I believe self-sacrifice is "religion" without you or me necessarily having to believe in God.

The Financial Times (FT) recently had an article from its correspondent in Moscow about a police raid on the offices at Memorial, a Russioan human rights group based in St. Petersburg. What interests this blogger about the raid is the anxieties of the Russian authorities as perceived by the FT correspondent.

According to the correspondent: “Gleb Pavlovsky , a Kremlin-backed political scientist, [recently] attacked Memorial as ‘an [organization that had made an] unsuccessful attempt at political memory’ and complained that Russia was vulnerable to ‘foreign’ conceptions of its history.” Pavlovsky reportedly also said: “Russia, not having a memory policy, has become defenseless before defamatory projections and aggressive phobias. Not having become a subject with its own memory, Russian society stands before the threat of becoming an object of foreign projections.”

Regardless of Pavlovsky ultra-right political reputation, his phrasing, re “…not having a memory policy, [Russia] has become defenseless….” is of use also to Latvia.

Let us rewrite the last sentence and put the name of “Latvia” in place of “Russia”: Not having become a subject with its own memory, Latvian society stands before the threat of becoming an object of foreign projections. In the case of Latvia, however, the “foreign” projections (Mr. Pavlovsky’s including) are less an external threat, but more a threat from internal sources.

As pointed out in blog 55, even the president of Latvia has little idea of the real history of Latvia, especially when it comes to the remnants of the relics of its folk religion. Instead, President Zatlers presumes to proselytize on behalf of the neo-Christian church. In short, the policy of the Latvian government appears to aim to facilitate its citizens to forget their past. I am particularly thinking of the past that arrived in Latvia centuries before by way of the terror of the Teutonic knights, who forced Latvians to accept neo-Christian ideas and to dismiss John, their native God, from Earth and send him away to heaven. If Russians still kiss their icons , the Latvians would not think of kissing their first unofficial flag and icon of John the Vaidelotis . That custom has long been undone in Latvia. Instead, the President of Latvia V. Zatlers proselytizes on behalf of neo-Christians. This is not the job of the president of a presumed democratic country.

By not becoming a subject to its own memory, Latvians are at risk of losing their identity even more than Russia is, because of its people’s ever so smaller numbers (about 1.5 million out of Latvia’s total population of 2.5 million). The 1.5 million Latvians are in danger because of not only their government’s failure to subject them to the memory of their history, but also a failure in terms of not informing its non-ethnic population of the history of the nation they live in.

The FT correspondent reports the director of Memorial to have said (with regard to the police raid on the offices of the organization): “It is a war over memory”. Indeed, so it is, and may it ever remain a non-violent war, but one in which people use their wits. We can only wish that the people at Memorial (yes, a Memorial with regard to the victims of Stalin) win over the Kremlin’s fears that criticizing Stalin’s violence somehow, to quote Russia’s PM Putin, “impose[s] a sense of guilt on us”. If I remember right, it is the Russian Orthodox Church, which is among Stalin’s severest critics. Is PM Putin and his allie, the political ideologist Pavlovsky, picking a fight with the heir to the icon of Ivan?

[More to follow.]

58. Latvia’s Profound vs Shallow Traditions [8]

The following series (not exactly serials) concern the importance of self-sacrifice in the creation and maintenance of a community. Do not be put off by the name "Latvia", the name of the country where I live, because you can probably replace the name with that of your own country. I believe self-sacrifice is "religion" without you or me necessarily having to believe in God.

There is a complicated history behind the friction between the Roman Catholic and the Russian Orthodox churches , but the one that interests us here is that before the Russian Orthodox Church became what it is today, its predecessor was the Church of John of The Great Original Empire.

Why do we not hear of the Church of John? The answer is simple: because of its ubiquity, it had no name. John the Holy Man (Hindu sādhu may also be read sā-dju, sa-jew or sa-john ) was everywhere. That is why the Latvians know their midsummer festival as Johns Eve. Latvians write “Johns” in plural, because once upon a time there were many Johns and Janes or Joanns. Unfortunately, few Latvians name their sons John (Jānis) anymore.

This (2008) winter solstice, for example, the neo-Christian church in Riga claims to have discovered that Martin Luther started the Christmas tree tradition in Riga (about 1500). The truth is that Luther saw the Latvian peasants decorate their rooms during the summer solstice Johns Days with birch tree saplings and during the winter solstice with spruce trees. In the 16th century and earlier, Riga was a German city, and Latvians were but artisans living in hovels. Since the tradition of cutting birch and spruce tree saplings arrived with Latvian woodsmen and women leaving the forest to become farmers and artisans, the new tradition of bringing spruce trees into the room at winter solstice arrived at the same time—at the farm and at the urban hovel, both.

This is a good moment to reclaim for Christmas its original name. If in English (Anglo-Saxon) speaking countries the name that precedes Christmas is Yule or Yule’s Day (still remembered by the Yule log), the Latvian name for the winter solstice most probably was Y(J)andahls, the Great (Sun-)Dance. The word “Y(J)an” is from John (Jānis), which long ago could mean “giant”. To trace the etymology is a complex undertaking. Nevertheless, let me try: if we assume that the Slavic vel- (meaning large, earthy) leaves its trace in such words as William (Wil+yan, in Latvian Vilis + Jānis), then the Yan of Yan-dahls is to be read as “great” + dahls. Dahls is another way to pronounce diet, to dance (to turn in circles). Thus Yandahls = the Great (Sun) Dance, a fitting name for the winter solstice. This does not preclude dahls being related to the word dial.

In any case, the name of the Slav folk epics byliny (from byl, a word which signifies a story of real happenings), may perhaps also be pronounced bilyini and reconstructed as vil-yini or vil-yani. In this event, vil means real (earthy) and iny is not only an inflection that gives us the plural, but suggests endearment, thus great + (dear short) tales.

To return to the present and politics of religion. At this time, there is no real difference between the Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches, except in terms of who has the last word in the space under its sway. This is so at least since the Orthodox Church accepted the Scaligerian chronology of history introduced by the Vatican, which necessarily puts its interpretation on events. On the other hand, the schism between the two churches is so deep in terms of underlying traditions, that it gives rise to the suspicion that something far more profound hides behind the seemingly superficial conflict. What might this be?

This is where the Latvian Children of Johns, Byzantine Bogomils, and Albigensian Cathars come in. Though we know nothing about the theology of Johns (except as suggested in these blogs) and scholars believe the Bogomils to have been Manicheans, we know that neo-Christian (Catholic) theology turned the Johns (by way of the written word) into one individual. The neo-Christian story then had John killed, had the successor John-Jesus also killed, but then had the latter resurrected and sent from Earth into the Beyond. The removal of John-Jesus by the Catholic Church from Earth constituted an existential theological change. While it left the Johns (the Bogomils, Cathars and others) on Earth, the militarily powerful neo-Christians, backed by secular kings and princes, were free to call the arch-Christian theology heretical.

[More to follow.]

57. Latvia’s Profound vs Shallow Traditions [7]

The following series (not exactly serials) concern the importance of self-sacrifice in the creation and maintenance of a community. Do not be put off by the name "Latvia", the name of the country where I live, because you can probably replace the name with that of your own country. I believe self-sacrifice is "religion" without you or me necessarily having to believe in God.

As traditions are destroyed by histories that never happened or did not happen the way we are told they happened communal subjectivity (the embodiment of tradition) was replaced by the mindset created by formal education.

While formal education was a gain, it also brought loss. While the gains may seem obvious, the loss should be equally so. It introduced a different kind of ignorance, i.e., the teachers did not tell their students that what they were taught was from the perspective of the ruling class, a history without historical veracity, a perspective desired by the rulers, because it enhances their wealth and control over the economy.

The ruling class was overwhelmingly secularist in its outlook, and imposed it in the form of a new religion—neo-Christianity. Up to the invention of writing, the arch-Christians had been able to maintain their perspective. Arch-Christendom was based on what the community perceived to be the essence of a community—self-sacrifice, the forms of it depending on the occasion and its needs.

With the arrival of writing self-sacrifice became a word beyond the pale, where it is to this day. “Good news” replaced tested traditions and told the commons that it was not responsible for and was forgiven its failures. Images of plenty replaced images of want. Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz! (Joplin) New words replaced old ones. A new word introduced was “suicide”, which demonized “self-sacrifice”. The written word became a tool for engineering the mind long before Stalin and ad agencies thought of it. After all, self-sacrifice is not only more difficult (actually impossible) for princes to control, but is the essence and guarantee of the sovereignty of the individual.

While writing began with The Great Original Empire—Alexandria and Constantinople may have been centers where the johns and sadhus once met to exchange their views—it met its greatest success in the West, because it was there that old stories had not yet become part of the mindset. The alphabet is easy to learn, facilitates writing, and sequences events almost permanently. In the Middle and Far East, writing remained an “art” (calligraphy), while in the West it became utilitarian and a weapon for the authorities to exploit. The success of the European West is analogous to the success centuries later of American capitalism over European capitalism. Newly discovered America had not inherited any of the elements of resistance to capitalist ideology that were still possible in Europe and elsewhere.

Nevertheless, several items in recent news remind us that the friction between ancient tradition and newly created history and its chronology continues.

The recent death of the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, Alexiy II (Estonian born), brought a spate of news articles (Time, BBC, etc.), which emphasized the patriarch’s work in unifying the Russian Orthodox Church at home and abroad. The articles pointed out that in spite of a number of invitations by the Kremlin to the Pope to come visit Russia, nothing came of it, because Alexiy II opposed such a visit. Alexiy II was sure that the Vatican’s interest in such a visit was to resume proselytizing in Russia.

It is interesting that Pope Benedict XVI agreed with Marcella Pera, the author of Why We Must Call Ourselves Christians , that “…an interreligious dialogue in the strict sense of the term is not possible…”, though he agreed that an intercultural dialogue is possible and necessary.

This raises questions. If the “major religions” once had a common root:

1. What made the root split apart?
2. Is a dialogue impossible, because the Catholic or Neo-Christian Church was created by Western powers to impose on the East values that serve the interests of the West only?
3. Did the patriarch not see the Pope because he wanted their dialogue to be an “intercultural dialog”, because an “interreligious” dialogue was not possible? (Thus, admitting that there had been a civil war between the two over history.)
4. Which version of history will Russia turn to?
5. Will the Russian Orthodox Church admit that its first leader was called John, and that Jesus is Johnny-come-lately?

(More to follow.)

P.S. The Latvian political elite did not miss out on their year end bonuses. Do not expect “patriotic” self-sacrifice from this quarter. [Y]anno 2009!

Friday, January 2, 2009

56. Latvia’s Profound vs Shallow Traditions [6]

The following series (not exactly serials) concern the importance of self-sacrifice in the creation and maintenance of a community. Do not be put off by the name "Latvia", the name of the country where I live, because you can probably replace the name with that of your own country. I believe self-sacrifice is "religion" without you or me necessarily having to believe in God.

At the time when the Spirit was in the care of the self-sacrificial Church of John, the Muslim nations, too, were part of the Original Empire. This fact reflects in the Russian name Ivan, the Muslim Mohammed (Johammed), the Jewish Hannukah (Jannukah), the Latvian Jānis, and the English John.

The Muslims will have to come to terms with their history on their own. The Hannukah War of 2008 at the time of this writing has claimed 384 Gazan dead and 1400 maimed and wounded. As for the Christian people, they have not yet finished fighting their civil war. That war is yet waiting to end on terms of the arch-Christians, that is, he-she who self-sacrifices most are the victors. Neo-Christendom continues to dream of Armageddon come by the sword, and for some the Israeli War on Gaza 2008 is the opening gambit. It suits them that King John at Khan Younis be a ruin. )

I have had friends ask: “What do you mean by ‘arch-Christian’ and ‘neo-Christian’? Is it not but one Christianity?”

The answer is a hidden Yes. The Yes comes by way of Georges Bataille, who quotes Nietzsche (Visions of Excess, Selected Writings 1927-1939, p. 194):

“Our ancestors were Christians who in their Christianity were uncompromisingly upright: for their faith they willingly sacrificed possessions and position, blood and fatherland. We—do the same. For what? For our unbelief? For every kind of unbelief? No, you know better than that, friends! The hidden Yes in you is stronger than all the Nos and Maybes that afflict you and your age like a disease; and when you have to embark on the sea, you emigrants, you too are compelled to this by—a faith!” [Nietzsche, conclusion of section 377, The Gay Science.]

After he gives the above quote, Bataille goes on to write:

“Nietzsche’s teachings elaborate the faith of the sect or the ‘order’ whose dominating will creates a free human destiny, tearing it away from the rational enslavement to production, as well as from the irrational enslavement to the past. The revalued values must not be reduced to use value—this is a principle of such burning, vital importance that it rouses all that life provides of a stormy will to conquer. Outside of this well-defined resolution, these teachings only give rise to inconsequential things or to the betrayal of those who pretend to take them into account. Enslavement tends to spread throughout human existence, and it is the destiny of this free existence that is at stake.”

I submit that our ancestors—whether Balts or anyone else—never were “pagans”. Those whom the neo-Christians insult thus were, in fact, arch-Christians who self-sacrificed their lives for the sake of a free existence that they were being deprived of by the “use value” of a John decapitated and dismissed through the figure of Jesus to heaven. Heaven is the last resort, because greener pastures are no more. However, as an arch-Christian, I vote for “greener pastures” still.

Great Ring Dance: [Y]anno 2009!