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Ghosts of Dixie

Well, I guess the south of Yemen isn’t really considered Dixie, but I also hate coming up with titles, so we’re going to stick with it.

Over at the BBC Adam Curtis has an interesting essay on the British in Aden in the 60s, on the rebellion that kicked them out, and on the effects that has today. I think he might be a little liberal in drawing parallels, but the essay is helpful and informative.

The main reason I linked to it though is the fascinating BBC footage he has of British military officers talking about a murder, the rebels, and the attitudes of southerners. There is arrogance, dismay, some humanity- basically the panoply of late-era colonialism. The videos are well-worth watching. They are, of course, entirely from the British point of view, but that is important.

My favorite moment is when the British officer- who is right out of central casting- is talking about finding illicit material in the homes of southerners, saying it is “propaganda, probably out of the Yemen, inspired by some Egyptian.” It is both dismissive of the real passion of the rebels but also has a weird kind of wit to it.

I am not going to get too deep into analysis here, but I think it is interesting to note that the footage seems to be from 1967. That is still fresh, even if it seems like the colonial era is a dusty relic. We are still fighting our battles from the 60s here in America, and those are pale compared to occupation, revolution, and terrorism.

(hat tip to reader Waleed for the link)


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