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Quotes of the Day for 6 February 2012 – Waitangi Day

Today is Waitangi Day in New Zealand, although planetary geometry means that my Kiwi friends will consider that to have been yesterday by the time they see this mail. On this day in 1840 the first 45 Maori chiefs and representatives of the British crown signed the Treaty of Waitangi, establishing British sovereignty over the new nation of New Zealand in return for protection of the Maori people, status as British subjects, and recognition of their ownership of the land. By the end of the year some 500 chiefs had signed. Over the years the treaty has been honored to varying levels, the legal system has varied on how binding the treaty is, and it turns out there were significant errors in the Maori and English versions. Overall the partnership has been far more successful than relationships between Europeans and natives here in the US. Having no directly applicable quotes for the occasion, I salute my friends and readers in New Zealand with these quotes drawn from the North American experience.

Van's signature



The quotes:

Had there been no difficulties and no thorns in the way, then man would have been in his primitive state and no progress made in civilisation and mental culture.
     - Anandibai Joshi, 1865 - 1887

When we are in partnership and have stopped clutching each other's throats, when we have stopped enslaving each other, we will stand together, hands clasped, and be friends. we will be comrades, we will be brothers, and we will begin the march to the grandest civilization the human race has ever known.
     - Eugene V. Debs, 1855 - 1926

We owe the Aboriginal peoples a debt that is four centuries old. It is their turn to become full partners in developing an even greater Canada. And the reconciliation required may be less a matter of legal texts than of attitudes of the heart.
     - Romeo LeBlanc, 1927 - 2009

Western society has accepted as unquestionable a technological imperative that is quite as arbitrary as the most primitive taboo: not merely the duty to foster invention and constantly to create technological novelties, but equally the duty to surrender to these novelties unconditionally, just because they are offered, without respect to their human consequences.
     - Lewis Mumford, 1895 - 1990

If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans.... We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet.
     - Stephen Hawking

If the aborigine drafted an IQ test, all of Western civilization would presumably flunk it.
     - Stanley Garn, 1922 - 2007

 

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