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Red Shoe and the Lone Date Palm
Notes on Non-European and None-African Martial Culture in Plantation America
Taken from The French Quarter: An Informal History of the New Orleans Underworld by Herbert Asbury, 1936, NY, Perseus, 462 pages
The greatest fiction about so-called “Colonial America” was that there were only one racial actor with agency, that only the mythical “Whiteman” used force and wielded power in these “new” lands and that the peace-loving Indians who somehow lived by the hunt and yet did not practice war and the POWs from the Congo wars sold into bondage here, were all peaceful victims of the Whiteman’s superior will and had no agency, just being the sad canvas upon which the toxic will of the Whiteman was painted in Red White and Blue.
Over and over in this series the reader will be treated to the usual military course of events, which was decided by Amerindian warrior action, on behalf of European allies or against them.
In their wars against the Natchez and Chickasaw, the French, in the 1730s were unable to accomplish much without Choctaw allies. One of these allies, a certain Red Shoe [such non-Indian names usually indicating that he is at least half European] decided that he, and his tribe, under his English name, would ally with the English instead of the French. Go figure.
In 1736, a force led by an officer named Diron, the younger brother of a certain D’Artaguette, was slaughtered, with all but two either killed outright or burned at the stake. The governor would be further humiliated by Indians and virtually hounded from office over the inability of French soldiers to deal with Indian warriors, even when augmented by Voyagers [Frenchmen who lived like Indians and married Indian women] and Indian allies.
This will not surprise any serious student of the Plantation Era or military history. However, the following tale not only shocked this reader, but better explained the breath of Islamic slavery of Europeans reaching as far into the Atlantic as Iceland.
A lone date-palm stood in a lot on Orleans Street between Dauphine and Bourbon Streets. It was often wondered how it got there.
In early 1727, a French warship delivered a fugitive from the wrath of the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, who demanded of the French government that the fugitive be turned over to him. This request was denied.
Late, in the cold months at the end of 1727, a Turkish vessel was seen off the coast and on a stormy night the dogs barked more fiercely than usual and onlookers claimed to have seen between flashes of lightning murderous men skulking towards the house of the fugitive, which was later to be found empty. In the yard of his domicile was found a grave, with an Arabic inscription on a gravestone that was sent back to Paris for translation. The gravestone read:
“The justice of heaven is satisfied and the date-tree shall grow on the traitor’s tomb. The sublime Emperor of the faithful, the supporter of the faith, the omnipotent master and Sultan of the World has redeemed his vow. God is great and Mohamed is his prophet. Allah!”
Sometime after this event the date-palm began to grow.
Only a deluded people who had been weaned on the lies of Colonial America, who believed that only Christian Europeans ever held men in cruel bondage or invaded foreign lands, could have been surprised enough by the 9-11 attacks to surrender to their rulers the freedoms that remained to them without so much as a whimper.
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