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Richard Reineccius <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 12 Aug 2010 09:14:03 -0700
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I sent this to the mail list of Democrats Abroad, to which I belong:
(quotes copied from TwainQuotes and Poems by Miller Williams)
Date: Thursday, August 12, 2010, 6:59 PM 

Post to Americans everywhere...

2010 is the year of the 175th anniversary of the birth of Sam Clemens, 
who later adopted Mark Twain for his "plume" name. Most Americans have 
been force-fed his two famous books about boys, but he had a lot to say 
about Americans abroad. It's about time to remind ourselves of his 
socio-political writings, says I.

Today being RAMADAN (U.S. time zones), it is therefore worth noting his 
feelings about our country's obsession with insisting others accept "Our
 Way" in both religion and political matters.

from Richard Reineccius, DA Poland ("citizen ambassador" [missionary?] in diplo-speak)


First, a poem by Bill Clinton's favorite poet, from HOPE, Arkansas:


  A traveler spreads a paper, removes his shoes,

  bows, kneels, and touches his forehead to the floor,

  lifts his head and touches it down again.

  Another catches it on his camcord.

  Some do what they must, some what they can.

(Miller Williams, "Adjusting to the Light")


Twain on Imperialism: (from 'A Pen Warmed Up in Hell' - not published in his lifetime)

  "I am an anti-imperialist. I am opposed to having the eagle put its talons on any other land."

And on Missionaries:

   "I do not know why we respect missionaries. Perhaps it is because 
they have not intruded here from Turkey or China or Polynesia to break 
our hearts by sapping away our children's faith & winning them to 
the worshop of alien gods. We have lacked the opporutnity to find out 
how a parent feels to see his child deriding & blaspheming the 
religion of its ancestors.

   "We have lacked the opportunity of hearing a foreign missionary who 
has been forced upon us against our will lauding his own saints & 
gods & saying harsh things about ours. If some time or other, we 
shall have these experiences, it will probably go hard with the 
missionary ...

   "The missionary has no wish to be an insulter, but how is he to help 
it? All his proposition are insults, word them as he may ..."

      - unpublished editorial sent to Charles Frederic Moberly Bell of 
the London Times, July 1900. Published in "The Missionary in 
World-Politics" in 'Who Is Mark Twain?' (HarperStudio 2009).

Another: (more in Barbara Schmidt's

  "We are all missionaries (propagandists of our views.) Each of us disapproves of the other missionaries."

- Notebook, 1905