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September 10, 2005



"Then again, perhaps what underlay the slow and inept response and the accompanying outburts of inanity isn't so much stupidity as the cold political calculation that those most affected just don't matter electorally."

No one in Louisiana counts at all in that calculus, whatever their color. And then this was my next thought when Kanye West blurted out the obvious; I wanted to ask him if he had figured that out all by hinmself and why it had taken so long, and also why he expected Bush to care about black anymore than black people cared about Bush(as if Bush were the president of the whole nation rather than a very effective political machine). It must be wonderful to be young and trusting enough to be so disappointed.

As for your other points, I agree that nostalgia is no substitute for whorish business sense in deciding where a city should be built or rebuilt, since cities are by nature creatures of the markets they serve. It will be a million personal decisions that decide where NO is rebuilt. Speaking of the Dutch, let's kype some Dtch terminology - NO needs to build on a terp rather than in a polder when they rebuild.

Quibble - it depends perhaps on what you call jazz, but Chicage means more to the kind of jazz I call jazz.


Indeed, it does not make sense to rebuild NO at the same place. Though, perhaps, it's considered insensitive to make such a comment right after the disaster as it sort of puts some blame on the citizens of NO to live where the lived.
Chirac argued in his MA thesis in the 50s that NO is a dangerous place. But then again, we could still blame the French since they built this city in the 18th (?) century... It's always the French who are fault... ;-)


"as it sort of puts some blame on the citizens of NO to live where the lived. "

Not really. There's no blame. They lived where they lived because it was there. Now it's not. That's all. And it may comfort them most to hear that the city is going to rebuild, wherever it does end up. One possibility is Baton Rouge will become the new New Orleans. Oops. It exists already, it's on high ground, and a lot of the real New Orleans, the people, is gathered there already.

I am very familiar with living in a disaster prone area, the earthquake zones on the West Caost, so I truly do have some insight into the situation of New Orleans. It is not some kind of antisocial sin to live in San Francisco.


This is freaking hilarious. Just how clueless is the WH?

[...One of Mr. Bush's prominent African-American supporters called the White House to say he was aghast at the images from the president's first trip to the region, on Sept. 2, when Mr. Bush stood next to Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi and Gov. Bob Riley of Alabama, both white Republicans, and praised them for a job well done. Mr. Bush did not go into the heart of New Orleans to meet with black victims.

"I said, 'Grab some black people who look like they might be preachers,' " said the supporter, who asked not to be named because he did not want to be identified as criticizing the White House...]

"Grab some black people who look like they might be preachers" ? Lord God, talk about cold political maneuvers.


"Grab some black people who look like they might be preachers" ? Lord God, talk about cold political maneuvers."

This is about their level. Sadly, the maneuver might have worked. That is about our level.

Abiola Lapite

"Sadly, the maneuver might have worked."

Indeed. Why so many African-Americans remain susceptible to the bleatings of all these "men of the cloth", despite the frequency with which they are exposed as frauds and hypocrites, is beyond me.


And the rest of us too. I am not African-American, and the same trick almost always works on white people. recently here in seattle some preacher led a march out onto a freeway and blocked rush hour traffic. If it has been a crowd of whites the city would have been as flacid but at least the mosve would have been condemned as something other than a childish stunt. This crap got a big boost during the Civil Rights era, and then it made sense and was a good thing. I guess a junkie keeps looking for the same fix of feel-good-about-myself. it goes back a lot further to the structure of racial relationships in the South - rich, whites, blacks and poor whites. For about ninety years or so there has been a cultural alliance between rich whites and blacks, and it finally began to pay off in disassemling (at least we see some initial steps) truly heinous caste system. Note who opposed it most vigorously, becaus ehtey knew they were odd amn out.

Anyway, "men of the cloth" get a pass because for historical reasons they were the only leaders available. Mobs in the South were just slightly more reluctant to hang "clergy".

I wish we could take a lesson from recent events in Northern Ireland about the dangers of marching Protestants and politically active Protestant "clergy". We won't. African-Americans? They put up with this crap because it works on the powers that be.


There is a simple reason and it is historical: Leadership. African American leaders originated in religious movements. The intellectual culture of Black America is a product of Christianity more than any other influence.
This is not suprising given that African slaves were allowed legal congregation for religious reasons.
This is an interesting issue - my familiarity with Nigeria leads me to doubt that Xtianity had a significant influence on many of the Country's independence and post-independence leaders - who, BTW, matured at the same time as the Civil Rights Leaders of African Americans (and often attended the same Universities as they did). The same is true for Ghana and for quite a few East African countries.
Ojukwu was no serious Xtian, Ahmadu Bello was a Muslim and Awolowo was a nominal Christian and quite possibly a Rosicrucian. His Protege, Bola Ige was a nominal Anglican and a Rosicrucian. Obasanjo became born again only while he was in Prison in the last decade.
Indeed, a reaction against Religion informed a huge swathe of the anticolonial movements.
The situation is different today though. Social collapse has created a void in Africa that Christianity is filling. African Churches are building private Universities, Schools, Hospitals, Banks and generally interpreting the world to their Members. This is almost entirely a Pentecostal phenomenon.


Rosicrucians? You have said before that this is a funny old world! The Rosicrucians were very active at Heidelberg University back when it was a hotbed of Calvinist subversion in Europe. Louis XIV went in and crushed the place to keep revolution from spreading into France. And now you say it was linked to liberation movments in areas in Africa.

You are right about the make-up of leadership. Things were differnt for Irish Catholics in this country, for a number f reasons. What deeveloped was a split leadership of civic government on one side, eprefectly corrupt and prefectly efficient, and the Church, which the Irish still basically control, with non-Irish bishops few and conspicuous. This was in Northern cities and the arrangement suited the national business oligarchy, the so-called Episcopacy, because it kept the labor movement from getting too radical. It was different in the South, where the existence of an overt black leadership would have upset the power relationships I mentioned above.


Yes, quite a number of the Nigerian elite are Rosicrucian. In the Yoruba SouthWest, many of them are connected to regional "Ogboni" fraternities also. This would be something great for some young Graduate student to do a thesis on - I havent quite seen any literature or social History tackling elitism in Nigeria, its beliefs, its clubs, its fashion etc.
I am not quite sure about the origins of the Ogboni society. Usually it is traced back to Oduduwa, the Monarchial unifier of the various Yoruba peoples who instituted it as a secret society closely connected to the Priesthood and holding the reins of Government. In Nigeria, one hears about members etc in hush hush talk.

There is some info:

The Ogboni are generally held to wield a lot of power in Yoruba politics etc.
Interesting stuff. They so completely penetrated the Anglican Church in Yoruba Land that one of the reasons why many Anglicans left and joined Pentecostals was because they believed that Xtianity in the South West Anglican Church had been corrupted by the local secret societies and hence had no moral authority. Think of Pastors and Vicars consulting the Ifa Oracles and you get the idea.
The result was that the Anglicans issued wide ranging bans on all forms of secret societies - targeting the Ogboni and Rosicrucians especially. The Federal Government also adopted a similar ban.
The result was that the Ogboni adopted a new image and started refering to themselves as the "Reformed Ogboni Fraternity". But there is still something of an aura of mystery attached to membership. It is quite possibly the oldest secret society in West Africa.

An interesting side note: When the Attorney General of Nigeria was killed some years ago, his folks tried to arrange an Anglican funeral for him - upon which it was revealed that he was a Rosicrucian. The Anglican Church in Nigeria promptly refused to accord him any funeral rights.

Obasanjo also used to be Rosicrucian. I am not sure if he has renounced his affliation now that he has become born again.

I guess the Ogboni would be analogous to the Masons or their supposed Templar forbears. They certainly have a rich patrimony, are well connected and shall we say "possess" the "secrets" of the Yoruba - being a very ancient society. Much of the literature on the Ogboni in Yorubaland focuses on the ritual art associated with the society.

How such secret societies affect the surrounding cultural and political milieu is something I would really like to see some non David Icke-ish work done on. But if that were possible, they wouldnt be secret societies then, would they?

Here is an interesting paper about the Ogboni:

Its really fun and exciting stuff to peruse if you have the time and if you are into cloak and dagger historical scholarship.

P.S: Nigerian Xtians do have a lot of animosity to this kind of thing. It is common theme among Nigerian Pentecostals that the reason the Country is not progressing is because the Independence leaders covenanted the country to the Devil, by virtue of being Rosicrucians, etc.

[...Nigeria is a nation whose early leaders were occultic, and who covenanted this nation to the devil. We discovered from newspaper obituaries at their deaths, that Independence President Nnamdi Azikiwe and Independence opposition Leader Obafemi Awolowo were members of the dreaded Ogboni fraternity and Rosicrucian order respectively. Evidently, two other founding fathers, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and Ahmadu Bello were Muslims with undis guised intention to islamise the entire nation! The powerful Ahmadu Bello categorically told Billy Graham in 1965 that he would deep the Koran in the Atlantic Ocean, a euphemism for his intention to spread Islam throughout Nigeria, up to and including Southern Nigeria whose border was the Atlantic Ocean...]


Thanks for those articles. Secret societies are fascinating. I have a passing fmailiarity with them in Europe/America and in China, and there they share some interesting similarities. They tend to attract people from the commercial classes, they tend to counterbalance the power of overt government, and they tend to get religious overtones. I wonder how this would comapre to the situation you describe. Thanks for those articles again

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