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For lovers of freedom all over the world
I began this book during the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020. Many of the
young protesters seemed to be focusing mainly on police killings of black
Americans, without much knowledge of the underlying historical roots that lie
behind much of the anger today.
At the same time, deep-rooted oppression of other vulnerable minorities has
exploded around the world in recent years. Having worked with minorities in many
of these countries and seen the similarities in the patterns of oppression, I
feel there is a need for education about how we as humans are bound together in
our common need to scapegoat others for our own failings. I have
many images from
many of these countries that show our common (in)humanity.
But traveling mostly in the African-American community and following my black
and white friends there for up to 50 years has given me special insight into how
people are shaped by oppression - universally. So, even though I have only
selected images from the 22,000 of (North) Americans in my photo archive for
this book, I hope that such a visual, allegorical, educational book - not least
because of the fascination people all over the world have with the United
States, for better or for worse - can also be an inspiration to freedom-loving
movements elsewhere in the world - in the common longing for freedom that unites
us as human beings worldwide.
In the first part of the book, I show how I experienced the vestiges of the
old-fashioned colonial oppression to which "we" subjected millions of Africans,
Asians, and Americans - even though it officially ended in North America with
the passage of the Civil Rights Acts only five years before I arrived.
In the important middle section, I describe the mistreatment of children that I
have seen time and again as a prerequisite for the creation of so many of the
worst oppressors among us - like Putin right now.
And in the second part, how we - the righteous and progressive among us, despite
all our good intentions and high ideals - tend to oppress our fellow citizens in
virtually every country I have visited on earth.
A good example is how I myself - with the best intentions of lecturing in 14
countries on such oppression ended up
flying 1.5 million km and driving more than 1 million km
- thus thoughtlessly contributing with my climate destruction to the
destruction of the future livelihoods of millions of children, not least in the
most vulnerable poor countries.
To compensate for this oppression, I am now putting this book online
and the slide show on which it is based
- online for free reading in most of the colonial languages with which we
"oppressed"/"enlightened" large parts of our former Babylonian world.
Anyway, while the book may be annoying in its teasing of the darker sides of
ourselves that we don't like to face, I promise it is also healing in that it
clearly shows that we are ALL oppressors and oppressed at the same time.
So, if you think this book might be useful in your oppressed/oppressor region of
the world, please help me edit it in your language and find publishers for it -
if you are lucky enough to still live in a country with the freedom to publish