Reblog of an Oxford University Letter on Removing an Historical Statue–FAKE NEWS!

Oxford_AlfredSt_RhodesMonument
I was taken in by fake news and I’m embarressed.  As several of you have pointed out in your comments , the tone of the alleged letter is snide, whether you agree with what it said or not.

That’s some serious burn there. I did some digging. The first request was made in 2016. But newer requests were made after the death of George Floyd.
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-52975687

According to Snopes, which is a pretty reliable fact check source, the letter is not real.
https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/oxford-letter-to-students/

 

Interesting read……………….
The lesson here is that one cannot change history.
Letter from the Chancellor of Oxford University England.
This letter is a response from Oxford to Black Students, attending as Rhodes Scholars, to remove the statue of Oxford Benefactor, Cecil Rhodes.
OXFORD – THE FIGHTBACK HAS BEGUN
Interestingly, Chris Patten (Lord Patten of Barnes), The Chancellor of Oxford University, was on the Today Programme on BBC Radio 4 yesterday on precisely the same topic. The Daily Telegraph headline yesterday was “Oxford will not rewrite history”.
Patten commented “Education is not indoctrination. Our history is not a blank page on which we can write our own version of what it should have been according to our contemporary views and prejudice”  Rhodes must fall ????
“Dear Scrotty Students, Cecil Rhodes’s generous bequest has contributed greatly to the comfort and well being of many generations of Oxford students – a good many ofthem, dare we say it, better, brighter and more deserving than you.
This does not necessarily mean we approve of everything Rhodes did in his lifetime – but then we don’t have to. Cecil Rhodes died over a century ago. Autres temps, autres moeurs. If you don’t understand what this means – and it would not remotely surprise us if that were the case – then we really think you should ask yourself the question: “Why am I at Oxford?”
Oxford, let us remind you, is the world’s second oldest extant university. Scholars have been studying here since at least the 11th century. We’ve played a major part in the invention of Western civilisation, from the 12th century intellectual renaissance through the Enlightenment and beyond. Our alumni include William of Ockham,Roger Bacon, William Tyndale, John Donne, Sir Walter Raleigh, Erasmus, Sir Christopher Wren, William Penn, Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), Samuel Johnson, Robert Hooke, William Morris, Oscar Wilde, Emily Davison, Cardinal Newman, Julie Cocks. We’re a big deal. And most of the people privileged to come and study here are conscious of what a big deal we are. Oxford is their alma mater – their dear mother – and they respectand revere her accordingly.
And what were your ancestors doing in that period? Living in mud huts, mainly. Sure we’ll concede you the short lived Southern African civilisation of Great Zimbabwe. But let’s be brutally honest here. The contribution of the Bantu tribes to modern civilisation has been as near as damn it to zilch.
You’ll probably say that’s “racist”. But it’s what we here at Oxford prefer to call “true.” Perhaps the rules are different at other universities. In fact, we know things are different at other universities. We’ve watched with horror at what has been happening across the pond from the University of Missouri to the University of Virginia and even to revered institutions like Harvard and Yale: the “safe spaces”; the? #?blacklivesmatter; the creeping cultural relativism; the stifling political correctness; what Allan Bloom rightly called “the closing of the American mind”.
At Oxford however, we will always prefer facts and free, open debate to petty grievance-mongering, identity politics and empty sloganeering. The day we cease to do so is the day we lose the right to call ourselves the world’s greatest university.
Of course, you are perfectly within your rights to squander your time at Oxford on silly, vexatious, single-issue political campaigns. (Though it does make us wonder how stringent the vetting procedure is these days for Rhodes scholarships and even more so, for Mandela Rhodes scholarships)
We are well used to seeing undergraduates – or, in your case – postgraduates, making idiots of themselves. Just don’t expect us to indulge your idiocy, let alone genuflect before it. You may be black – “BME” as the grisly modern terminology has it – but we are colour blind. We have been educating gifted undergraduates from our former colonies, our Empire, our Commonwealth and beyond for many generations. We do not discriminate over sex, race, colour or creed. We do, however, discriminate according to intellect. That means, inter alia, that when our undergrads or postgrads come up with fatuous ideas, we don’t pat them on the back, give them a red rosette and say: “Ooh, you’re black and you come from South Africa.
What a clever chap you are!”  No. We prefer to see the quality of those ideas tested in the crucible of public debate. That’s another key part of the Oxford intellectual tradition you see: you can argue any damn thing you like but you need to be able to justify it with facts and logic – otherwise your idea is worthless.
This ludicrous notion you have that a bronze statue of Cecil Rhodes should be removed from Oriel College, because it’s symbolic of “institutional racism” and “white slavery”. Well even if it is – which we dispute – so bloody what? Any undergraduate so feeble-minded that they can’t pass a bronze statue without having their “safe space” violated really does not deserve to be here. And besides, if we were to remove Rhodes’s statue on the premise that his life wasn’t blemish-free, where would we stop? As one of our alumni Dan Hannan has pointed out, Oriel’s other benefactors include two kings so awful – Edward II and Charles I – that their subjects had them killed.
The college opposite – Christ Church – was built by a murderous, thieving bully who bumped off two of his wives. Thomas Jefferson kept slaves: does that invalidate the US Constitution?* Winston Churchill had unenlightened views about Muslims and India: was he then the wrong man to lead Britain in the war?”
Actually, we’ll go further than that. Your Rhodes Must Fall campaign is not merely fatuous but ugly, vandalistic and dangerous. We agree with Oxford historian RW Johnson that what you are trying to do here is no different from what ISIS and the Al-Qaeda have been doing to artefacts in places like Mali and Syria. You are murdering history.
And who are you, anyway, to be lecturing Oxford University on how it should order its affairs? Your ?#?rhodesmustfall campaign, we understand, originates in South Africa and was initiated by a black activist who told one of his lecturers “whites have to be killed”. One of you – Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh – is the privileged son of a rich politician and a member of a party whose slogan is “Kill the Boer; Kill the Farmer”; another of you, Ntokozo Qwabe, who is only in Oxford as a beneficiary of a Rhodes scholarship, has boasted about the need for “socially conscious black students” to “dominate white universities, and do so ruthlessly and decisively!
Great. That’s just what Oxford University needs. Some cultural enrichment from the land of Winnie Mandela, burning tyre necklaces, an AIDS epidemic almost entirely the result of government indifference and ignorance, one of the world’s highest per capita murder rates, institutionalised corruption, tribal politics, anti-white racism and a collapsing economy.
Please name which of the above items you think will enhance the lives of the 22,000 students studying here at Oxford. And then please explain what it is that makes your attention grabbing campaign to remove a listed statue from an Oxford college more urgent, more deserving than the desire of probably at least 20,000 of those 22,000 students to enjoy their time here unencumbered by the irritation of spoilt, ungrateful little tossers on scholarships they clearly don’t merit using racial politics and cheap guilt-tripping to ruin the life and fabric of our beloved university.
Understand us and understand this clearly: you have everything to learn from us; we have nothing to learn from you.
Yours, Oriel College, Oxford
*Jefferson was the author of the U.S. Declaration, not  the Constitution

Reblog: Alexandria Public Library 1939 Sit-in

National Library Week 2020Alexandria Library wins American Library Association’s
2020 ‘Excellence in Library Programming’ Award

ALEXANDRIA, VA — Alexandria Library has been named the 2020 winner of the ALA Excellence in Library Programming Award for its program “We Are the Alexandria Library Sit-In.”

The award, supported by ALA’s Cultural Communities Fund, recognizes a library that demonstrates excellence by providing programs that have community impact and respond to community needs.

“We Are the Alexandria Library Sit-In” was a year-long celebration of the 80th anniversary of a historic protest at the library.  This 1939 protest of the city’s whites-only public library was one of the first sit-ins of its kind in the nation.

Library Executive Director, Rose T. Dawson, states “It is very important for the community in Alexandria to recognize the history of its Library system. During this yearlong celebration, the Library’s goal was to highlight the 1939 Sit-In that was led by Samuel W. Tucker and the five brave men that sparked major change in our community. If it wasn’t for the actions of these men, Sgt. Wilson, and others like them, the Library would not be the welcoming place that it is today – for people of all colors – and for that, I am very grateful.”

In the 1930’s, like most libraries in the Jim Crow South, African Americans were not allowed library access. In 1939, after an ongoing effort to convince officials to establish equal access to community resources, 26-year-old resident and attorney Samuel W. Tucker organized five other African American residents to participate in a sit-in protest.  On August 21, 1939, William “Buddy” Evans, Morris Murray, Edward Gaddis, Clarence Strange, and Otto Tucker each asked to register for a library card. After being turned down, each sat silently at a different table and began to read a library book. Police officers arrested the group and charged them with disorderly conduct.

The program series, “We are the Alexandria Library Sit-in,” involved family members of protest descendants in the planning for this anniversary event.  Library staff engaged the community through a variety of programs, including school visits, a yearlong film festival, anniversary week events, posters, commemorative library cards, pins and postcards. The events, which also involved Alexandria city leadership, drew standing room only crowds and truly served as a model for programming for other libraries across the nation.

More information about the ALA Excellence in Library Programming Award, including how to submit a nomination, is available on the ALA website (www.ala.org).

Rebog: Merriam-Webster Quiz: Where did that Word Come from?

Sometimes, if you stare at a word with your eyes squinted just enough, and spend a long time thinking about it, you can figure out where that word might have come from. Other times there is really no way to tell. The words in this quiz are a combination.

This one is difficult.  See how well you do.

Merriam Webster Word Origina Quiz
This was my results.  How well did you do?

10 Tips for Reading Picture Books with Children through a Race-Conscious Lens – from embracerace

How do you discuss the current racial tensions with small children? Children aren’t born knowing these things They often to no notice differences unless they are pointed out. For 10 helpful tips check this out.

Platform Number 4

~by Megan Dowd Lambert

“How can caregivers and educators best guide children to and through picture books with positive racial representations? How can we also support kids in resisting or reading against racist content? These tips draw on the Whole Book Approach (WBA, which I created in association with The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art) and other resources to highlight how picture books can provoke meaningful, transformative conversations between children and adults that embrace race.”

Great ideas and additional links here! I hope you find something helpful or ideas to pass on to others.     Take care!   Becky

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Reblog: USS Barb – SS-220

Have you ever heard of a submarine blowing up a railroad train?  If you are a literalist like me, you may be wondering how a sub got its torpedo out of the water and upon a track.

Youtube re-enactment of the Barb blowing up the train

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywf8iwmCyMQ

GP Cox of Pacific Paratrooper describes the last war mission of the USS Barb and how the captain figured out how to use a submarine’s weapons in the only landbased battle on Japanese home soil.

via USS Barb – SS-220

Reblog: Walking from Harvesting Hecate

Andrea Stephenson, a librarian in the UK, has written the blog I wished I had had the eloquence to write.  She loves walking in nature; it grounds her.  She expresses how it might feel if she were not white.

English Woods

From her post (not the beginning)

I take it for granted that I can walk where I want to walk without needing to have an explanation. I take it for granted that I belong in this space, that I belong in nature and should have a relationship with it. When I walk, I draw on memory, history, past and present to find my place in the world. Very occasionally I’ve felt vulnerable, as a woman alone, but in general I don’t think twice about my safety. Somehow I feel no harm will come to me among nature.

To read more click here.

Reblog: Battle of Midway Torpedo Eight Survivors

Today marks the 78th anniversary of the Battle of Midway, which was fought 4-6 June 1942.  It was the turning point in WWII in the Pacific.  In April, the United States and Japan had fought an inclusive battle in the Coral Sea.  The Japanese hoped that the Battle of Midway would serve as the knockout punch for the American Navy.

One of the many factors that helped the  American Navy win the Battle of Midway was the attack of Devastator torpedo bombers

Meanwhile, a wave of U.S. Devastator torpedo bombers from the U.S. carriers Hornet and Enterprise arrived to attack the Japanese ships. Unescorted by fighter planes, nearly all of them were shot down by Japanese Zero fighters. But about an hour later, as the Japanese refueled and rearmed their planes, another wave of U.S. carrier-launched bombers struck, hitting three Japanese carriers—Akagi, Kaga and Soryu—and setting them ablaze.

Popular culture has ENS George Gay Jr. as the sole survivor of that attack, but two other naval personnel also survived.

battle_coral_sea_midway

Reblog: An OverWhelming Week

A fellow blogger from Australia, Celia of  Fig Jam and Lime Cordial,  eloquently articulates how difficult and complex a year 2020 has been so far.  None of us could have had 20/20 vision on New Year’s Day to see how wretched this year has become.

Desmond Tutu

Click here to read her powerful message.

Some of the crises we’ve faced so far are:

  1. Coronavirus
  2. Severe racial inequality
  3. Climate catastrophes
  4. Economic collapse
  5. Political extremism
  6. Lots of finger-pointing.

 

What Would Hoover Think?: Another Attempt to Slow Down Enterprising Squirrels

Since we moved to Central Virginia,  we have had an ongoing struggle making our bird feeder more squirrel proof.  We are on our third feeder and the squirrels have outwitted us every step of the way.

Jean Marie Oliviere sent me a link to the Ninja Warrior  Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder.  Mark Rober put a lot of thought and effort into building his squirrel proof feeder and documenting the success or lack  thereof of his attempts.

If you enjoy watching cheeky tree rats  engage in a battle of wits with humans, then you will love the four squirrels in this Building A Perfect Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder.

 

Reblog: Lexophile

“Lexophile” describes those who have a love for words, such as “you can tune a piano, but you can’t tuna fish”, and “To write with a broken pencil is pointless.” An annual competition is held by the New York Times. 
writing-in-greece
 
England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.
 
Haunted French pancakes give me the crepes.
 
This girl today said she recognized me from the Vegetarians Club, but I’d swear I’ve never met herbivore.
 
I know a guy who’s addicted to drinking brake fluid, but he says he can stop any time.
 
A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.
 
When the smog lifts in Los Angeles U.C.L.A.
 
I got some batteries that were given out free of charge.
 
A dentist and a manicurist married. They fought tooth and nail.
 
A will is a dead giveaway.
 
With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.
 
Police were summoned to a daycare center where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.
 
Did you hear about the fellow whose entire left side was cut off?  He’s all right now.
 
A bicycle can’t stand alone; it’s just two tired.
 
The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine last week is now fully recovered.
 
He had a photographic memory but it was never fully developed.
 
When she saw her first strands of gray hair she thought she’d dye.
 
Acupuncture is a jab well done.  That’s the point of it.
 
I didn’t like my beard at first.  Then it grew on me.
 
Did you hear about the cross-eyed teacher who lost her job because she couldn’t control her pupils?
 
When you get a bladder infection, urine trouble.
 
When chemists die, they barium.
I stayed up all night to see where the sun went, and then it dawned on me.
I’m reading a book about anti-gravity.  I just can’t put it down.

Largest Book in the World

This is a reblog from Anika Perry’s Writing Blog entitled Not One to Read in Bed

Weighing 1,420 kilos (3,130 lb) and measuring a ginormous 4.18 m x 3.77 m (13.71 x 12.36 ft) this colossus book needs six people and special machine to open the pages.

Not surprisingly, the book gained the Guinness World Record at the time for being the largest book in the world.

In its 364 pages, the book explores the flora, fauna, caves and architecture of Szinpetri in northern Hungary.

I guess it does not come in paperback….

On the Run

running spoonWhen someone runs off at the mouth, do you feel like time has stopped while you wish you could just run away?

Has time run away from you while you are having a good time and maybe running up your credit card?

Do you check to see if your Fitbit is running while you are on your morning run?

From The Most Complex Word in the World:  If asked to pick the most complex word in the English language, what comes to mind? Maybe something long and intricate like “antidisestablishmentarianism” or “honorificabilitudinitatibus.” Maybe it’s a medical word, or one with silent letters like “pneumonia.”

Chances are you wouldn’t automatically pick out a three-letter word that you use in everyday conversation. But that’s just it — the richest word in English is “run.”

Niche Libraries

This link is courtesy of JeanMarie of JeanMarie Writes.

Persian Manuscript
Excerpt from classical Persian poetry. The Rare Persian-Language Manuscript Collection includes beloved poems of the Persian poets Saadi Shirazi, Hafez and Jami, along with works of the poet Nizami Ganjavi.

Did you know that there are libraries for:

  • sourdough starters
  • centuries of Persian manuscripts
  • Samandal, ” a comic collective that publishes an eclectic zine in various shapes and sizes, and has incubated a new movement of young Lebanese artists and graphic talent”

To read about these and four other odd or different libraries, click here.