Europe the Martian Continent
Updated: Mar 3, 2022
Europa was a Phoneacian princess abducted by Zeus and who eventually died in Crete. Although Europa had an otherworldly abductor, she was not especially important herself. Altars for Europa were not the main attraction in Greek culture. Yet, many a people have been sacrificed in the pursuit of dominating Europe.
The cosmogony of our continents vary. Some honor a path, some nature, some ancestors Europe has historically honored Mars. Sacrifice and war dominate the European history books. From the Greek, Goths Carthagians, and Romans of old, to the more current Catholic, Conquistadors, Fascist, and Nazi. An allegiance to the God of war permeates the books that retell the history of the continent that grew around the former inhabitant of Crete.
History is inherently biased, flawed, and horribly vagrant. Its content looks more like chicken wire than Swiss cheese. Yet its retelling give us airs of a strong and well kept Gruyere. A full-bodied lie that we tend to remember as the solid truth of our civilization. Hindsight is 20/20 says the utterly false saying.
Alas, history is written by the victors and thus it lacks the experiences of the majority. A majority oppressed in the Martian drive for expansion. Mars being the European has filled history books with its conquests. We know more of Julius Caesar, Napoleon, and Hitler than of their more humane and peaceful peers. Being humaneness seems to be a weak motivators to those who write history books.
Sometimes the grim addiction of history towards martial conquest leads to trouble. Hitler orchestrated one of the more than a dozen genocides on the 20th century. But he made a mistake, as his dream genocide took part during a war. A war that he lost. Armed with a new villain victorious historians worked diligently and expanded their range of evil to include Hitler in the bottom of humanity.
Stalin, and King Leopold II perpetrated similar genocide but outside of war. And without Mars historians fail to write. Fewer library counters carry books with the names of these pestilent sons of Europe.
Similarly, history fails to be written when it's focus lies far from Crete. Mao by fate of being born outside Europe almost managed to erase the biggest genocide from history. Almost. Théoneste Bagosora, Paul Pot, and Talaat Pasha are names lost to our Zeitgeist but just as evil as the failed Austrian artist with a dream whose fall from riches story has bankrolled over 100 thousand macabre biographies.
It saddens me that to look into the past, our best instruments share the ting of red Martian glass. It saddens me because humanity and civilization are the most important contents of history and as Ursula K. Le Guin explains. If civilization has an opposite, it is war. Of those two things, you have either one, or the other. Not both. This tension is real and thus our Martian devotion has left us without a history of humanness.
I can only wish that as atheism enters the Zeitgeist of our time, the altar to Mars will lose adherents. Here is to the hope of a need to rethink who writes history in the absence of victors and war.
Update 3.3.22: Trevor Noah's take on the same idea: "You do realize that, until very recently, fighting crazy wars was Europe’s thing?"