Denying the humanity of other people has always been a way to justify oppressing and exterminating them, and science has a long, history of contributing to these atrocities"-Steve Olson, in his new book, Mapping Human History.
I ended last month's column by inviting readers to chew over why the only convertible currencies in the world are owned by "the nations of European stock" and a few of their anointed friends. Because of space constraints, I would now want us to discuss convertible currencies in Part 4 (next month), because I have just now unearthed some hidden truths in my press cuttings that I want to share with you hotfoot. Before then, a little correction.
In last month's column, I said Britain used chemical weapons in "southern" Iraq in the early 1920s. It was rather "northern" Iraq. I have just now been able to fish out the original Hansard (British parliamentary) report on the issue, It was the Labour MP, Jeremy Corbyn, who raised it in the House in February 1991.
He told Parliament: "We should also remember that the Royal Air Force took part in the bombardment of Kurdish villages in 1922 and used chemical weapons to bomb [the] Kurdish people who were fighting for their liberation in 1922 in northern Iraq.
"That is not very long ago in the mind of a historian or in the popular memory of the people of Kurdistan who feel bitter about what the RAF did in 1922 and about the damage caused to their community and their environment. We must recall those issues in our discussions about the war."
Jeremy Corbyn's words deserve to be flamed and put up on every living room wall. From my press cuttings, I see that he was supported on September 11, 1996 (please mind the date) by one Aidan Campbell of north London in a letter published on that (now fateful) date by the British daily, The Independent. Campbell wrote:
"Sir, I would like to see Arthur Speakman's evidence that the RAF bombed the Kurds in the 1920s because 'the country was plagued by inter-tribal raiding which it was our duty to curb' (Letters, 10 Sept). The reality is more squalid.
"Britain promised the French that they could have Kurdistan and its oil wealth at Mosul, in the Skyes-Picot secret treaty of 1916. By the end of [the First World] War, however, London decided it needed the oil for itself. During the summer of 1919, British troops were struggling to put down a rising led by the Kurdish hero, Sheikh Mahmud. Then in 1920, Kemal Ataturk threatened to seize the region for...