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For 20 interminable minutes in "Amistad," Steven Spielberg lingers over scenes of whites torturing black slaves with the lurid attention of a pornographer. The rest of the film--the fine courtroom oratory, the black & white solidarity, abolitionist "idealism"--is all window-dressing to persuade the liberal intellectuals in the theatre audience to feel good about Spielberg's anti-white horrorshow.
But the core message of "Amistad" can be summed up in two words from the ghetto: Hate Whitey.
With Amistad, Steven Spielberg, hailed as a latter-day secular Jewish saint, has set the cause of harmonious race relations back decades.
He perpetrated a similar ruse in "Schindler's List." His stratagem in that flick was to demonize the German people but to do so within the framework of a humanist gloss. So the putative hero, Schindler, is a German and nominally, a Christian.
From there, Spielberg was able to mount a demonic stereotype that no one but a Jew could get away with in these hyper-sensitive, "human rights" times. Spielberg stereotyped the entire German army--every one, to a man--as black-jacketed minions of Satan.
Amistad is equally pathological. If we shed the window-dressing, it's a sado-masochist ritual. Sadistic whites torture noble blacks. Noble blacks retaliate, and we watch them dismember trembling and quivering white villains who are shown on their knees begging for mercy.
An honest film about slavery is needed, but Spielberg will never be the one to furnish it. Such a film would entail three components, all of them forming the critical element missing from Amistad--context.
1. Cameras would detail the horrors of the black-on-black slave trade on the Dark Continent itself, where black chiefs captured, shackled, tormented and sometimes massacred their fellow Africans. The survivors of this terrible ordeal were sold to the Europeans.
2. Cameras wouild detail the horrors of the white on white slave trade emanating from Britain. Court historians like to pretend that the phenomenon of the "press gang" (armed men who kidnapped whites by force) was chiefly an activity of the British navy. In fact, the naval press gang was made possible by the precedent established by gangs of 17th century kidnappers (originally called "kid nabbers") who stole ("nabbed") children (kids) by guile or with a blow on the head, for shipment to the colonies for sale as slave labor. The very word kidnapping has its origin in this white enslavement.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, whites were whipped to death in the Continental Army and the US Navy (where the lethal practice was known as "flogging through the fleet"). This was an age of cruelty and to suggest that only blacks experienced cruel treatment or that they were singled out for it, is the sort of subversive mendacity that can only heighten black racial paranoia.
3. Where in 19th century Africa could a slave receive the kind of hearing that white Christians gave Joseph Cinque and his little band? Ours was an extraordinary civilization, deeply flawed, but incomparably just and humane compared with what prevailed in Asia and Africa at the time.
Moreover, Spielberg's Amistad hoax is defeated by a solitary historical fact: Joseph Cinque was himself a slave trader, selling his fellow blacks into this horror after he himself was set free by a US court.
Amistad producer Debbie Allen calls this destabilizing fact a "rumor." She'd better. If the thinking public, black and white, discover that "noble" Cinque later sold his own people in the very manner he condemned, then there will be a second mutiny, this time against Spielberg and his shameless hoaxing.
Here is Samuel Eliot Morrison, one of the most distinguished of American historians, writing in his "Oxford History of the American People," (New York: Oxford Univeristy Press, 1965), p. 520:
"The most famous case involving slavery, until eclipsed by Dred Scott's, was that of the Amistad in 1839. She was a Spanish slave ship carrying 53 newly imported Negroes who were being moved from Havana to another Cuban port. Under the leadership of an upstanding Negro named Cinqué, they mutinied and killed captain and crew. Then, ignorant of navigation, they had to rely on a white man whom they had spared to sail the ship.
"He stealthily steered north, the Amistad was picked up off Long Island by a United States warship, taken into New Haven, and with her cargo placed in charge of the federal marshal. Then what a legal hassle! Spain demanded that the slaves be given up to be tried for piracy, and President Van Buren attempted to do so but did not quite dare.
"Lewis Tappan and Roger Sherman Baldwin, a Connecticut abolitionist, undertook to free them by legal process, and the case was appealed to the Supreme Court. John Quincy Adams, persuaded to act as their attorney, argued that the Negroes be freed, on the ground that the slave trade was illegal both by American and Spanish law, and that mankind had a natural right to freedom.
"The court with a majority of Southerners, was so impressed by the old statesman's eloquence that it ordered Cinqué and the other Negroes set free, and they were returned to Africa. The ironic epilogue is that Cinqué, once home, set himself up as a slave trader."
(End quotation from historian Samuel Eliot Morrison)
Any time German-Americans or white Southerners try to advance a truthful historical thesis that happens to be revisionist we are wrongly smeared as being "just like Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels."
Now that we know Hollywood director Steven Spielberg is advancing fraud in Amistad and calling it history, he ought to be rightly compared with another highly skilled Jewish illusionist, next to whom "Jupp" was a paragon of veracity. Spielberg's Amistad movie is reminiscent of nothing less than the poisonous Communist lies of Stalin's propagandist, Ilya Ehrenburg.
--Michael A. Hoffman II Copyright©1997
Hoffman's illustrated, 137 pp. paperback history book, "They Were White and They Were Slaves: The Untold History of the Enslavement of Whites in Early America," is an ideal antidote to "Amistad mania."
$9.95 single copy. Two for $18. Three for $25. Plus shipping.
Book rate shipping: $2.00 first book. 75¢ each additional book. Priority (first class) shipping: Add $5.00 Overseas add 30% in US funds/bank. Orders accompanied by cash and money orders shipped immediately. Personal checks must clear the bank before books will ship.
Order from: Independent History & Research, Box 849, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83816
Hoffman is available to debate, on talk radio or online, the subject of white vs. black enslavement in early America. Producers may e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for scheduling.
To view black novelist Barbara Chase-Riboud's lawsuit against Spielberg concerning his theft of her thunder (and her made-up story), locate Chase-Riboud v. Dreamworks, Inc. at: http://www.law.cornell.edu/amistad/complaint.html
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