The Charlotte News

Friday, May 19, 1939


Site Ed. Note: In "The Gentle Arab", Cash backtracks to his previous day's comments regarding the "barbarian" Arabs, after a visit from some local Arab-Americans to The News, and ensures that he was only speaking of a small subset of Bedouins in the desert. No, he assures us, the visitors were not there to slice his throat, but were quite gentlemanly in their remonstrance. We would hope it possible still that such conviviality would be the case today, despite recent events and not a little racial and religious profiling occurring in the country in the last three and a half years. They were only nineteen crazy men, all of whom died in their murderous conspiracy; it does get old. There are at least nineteen crazy men in the news every week in this country who are quite Anglo-Saxon, after all.

There were nineteen white Mississippians, for instance, who killed in cold and brutal blood on a June night in 1964. They were quite crazy, too. But that is not an indictment of the entire state of Mississippi or the South, you see. It is to say that we can do better as humans to our fellow humans.

As to the latter case, we note that in January, 2005, "Preacher" Edgar Ray Killen was indicted, the first of the nineteen to be so indicted by the State of Mississippi, for the 1964 murders. That, we posit, is a good start toward justice. And justice for murder never gets old.

Our Hair Shirt

We Make Our Morality A Means Of Punishing Ourselves

On June 1 pin games and slot machines (not the pay-off kind in either case) will again become legal in North Carolina. And so, in preparation for the day, a slot machine operator proposed to the County Commissioners of Gaston County that his contraptions alone be licensed. The consideration he offered was that he would set up only so many machines and would help the County to keep others out.

The Commissioners turned him down cold, as they certainly should have. A local government has no right to license this man's business and refuse to license that man's. But what a shame it is that the lucrative slot machine and pin game trade, which is more or less anti-social, can't be turned to a social account. Monopolized for county's poor fund, say, or its Community Chest. Or for benefits to under-privileged boys, since they appear to be the largest group of customers for this so-called amusement.

The trouble with our morality is that we make it so unprofitable. We outlaw liquor, and turn the profits over to the bootleggers. We finally permit slot machines to return under protest; and disdain to grab the slag. And for the raising of money for virtuous purposes, we have to rely either upon taxes or campaigns, both of which are painful.

The Gentle Arab

In Which We Hastily Retire From A Sagging Limb

Yesterday, masters, we climbed out on a limb. In the course of our editorial on the British plans for Palestine, we remarked that nobody can live with the Arab, who was "one of the most unpleasant barbarians of the world," and cited old Charles M. Doughty's "Arabia Deserta" in proof. We thought, peacefully, that we were talking about somebody on the other side of the world. But we soon found out better. There were Arabs in this Charlotte town itself, and what is more they were coming to see us--which stirred up a little uneasiness. But no. No scimitars, no bearded gentlemen whispering pleasantly of slitting the Nazrany's (Christian's) throat. Merely two mild-mannered gentlemen who plainly were not barbarians.

Ah well, we knew that in the first instance, if we had troubled to set it down. The Arabs we were talking about, the Arabs of Doughty, are the Bedouins of the desert--and they are barbarians. But full twelve centuries ago the Arab spread all over the Near East and developed a very notable civilization. In fact, historians of the Middle Ages have lately taken to saying that it was the most highly developed in the Western World at that time--and one of them has gone so far as to suggest that it might have been a very good thing if Charles Martel had lost and the Arabs won that battle at Tours in the eighth century. Certainly, our own civilization owes much to the Arab. Our algebra is his invention. He preserved Aristotle for us when Europe had forgotten him, and many of the other Greek philosophers and writers. And the descendants of these Arabs in Asia Minor, including Palestine, are of course a civilized breed--many of them of great learning and distinction. There are Bedouins in Palestine, too. But it is no more just to judge the civilized Arab by them than to judge a civilized Southerner by a lyncher.

Next time we take to throwing epithets, we mean to pick on the [indiscernible word], who can't read. Or--[indiscernible words].

Going Home?

Now That Franco's Parade Is Staged, Italy's Promise Is Up Again

Franco seems at last to have gotten around to holding that famous parade in celebration of the famous victory which made his country a satrapy of Rome and Berlin. Nobody in Madrid will fail to cheer his head off today, of course, as El Caudillo rides majestically through the streets with his Italian and German troops at his heels, for the simple reason that it is highly unhealthy in a Fascist country not to cheer when the dictator parades. But it would be interesting to know exactly what is going on in the hearts and minds of the thousands of the cheering crowd who have had their women and children butchered by this man and his alien masters.

But even more interesting would be the answer to the question as to whether Italy is now going to get its troops out of Spain. It has promised to, of course--just as quickly as the parade is over. But then it has promised the same thing over and over again ever since the grotesque non-intervention agreement was invented by an English Government so bemused as to think that a Fascist victory in Spain was desirable. And there are many reasons why Italy should still hesitate to fulfill the promise. The loyalty of Franco's troops to himself is questionable, and revolution might possibly break out once the protection of the Italian troops is withdrawn. Moreover, Italy and Germany are busily exploiting the economy of Spain--and if the pressure of the presence of the troops was taken away, Franco's people might decide to take instead to flirting with the British money so temptingly held out to them. And then, and if war should come--it would be very desirable for the Axis to have the Italian troops in Spain for an attack on Gibraltar and France. The withdrawal may happen, of course, but, altogether, it does not seem likely.

Kicked Out

The Little Brown Brother Takes A Licking At Amoy

The little brown man has been floating vaguely around in our ken from time to time, but we hadn't paid much attention. And neither had most of the other editors in the country. We had, indeed, planned to write a little piece about his brave exploit in landing troops to take over Kalangsu, international settlement at Amoy. But Hitler or Mussolini or Stalin did something about that time, and we forgot about it.

But yesterday we sat up and rubbed our eyes. For there he was, on the front pages again--and this time taking a licking. Apparently Washington and Downing Street and the Quai d'Orsay had been paying a great deal more attention to him than the editors. For, without much advertisement, all of them had steamed fighting ships to Amoy and landed troops in Kalangsu in their own turn. And yesterday they delivered to the Japanese commander on behalf of the municipal authorities of Kalangsu a great loud "No!" to the little man's demand that he should have absolute authority there. And there he was, amazingly, pulling his troops back to his ships.

Fuming and biting his nails, oh, yes. And with reason. For it appears that his action in Kalangsu was only a trial balloon to test out the possibilities of his being able to take over the international settlement at Shanghai without a fight. That he means to swallow the defeat for good is unlikely, for it is a fearful blow to what he calls his "face." But at least he is likely to proceed with more caution at Shanghai and to wait until he thinks the European situation is such as to give him a better chance of getting away with it.


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