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‘The Zuweyla Gate’
An Impression of Robert E. Howard’s Hawks Over Egypt
Hawks Over Egypt is an unsold novelette of 7 chapters, Howard’s best length, which was rewritten as the Conan story Hawks Over Shem by L. Sprague de Camp in a posthumous collaboration for the Ace series. It was not published on its own until 1979.
The story fascinates this reader in it’s depiction of Islam as a militarized faith of world rule, unlike the religion of peace, love and cherished multi-cultural bliss we know it to be. Set in medieval Cairo before The Crusades, the story takes some historical liberties. It shares with Howard’s oriental adventures, set in the later stage imperial era, a paranoia of the faith of submission, which suggests that Christian Europe might someday be home to teeming camps of Muslims.
What Howard really wrought well in his story, was the method by which Muslim rulers used multi-ethnic militaries to impose their will on the population. This was usually a three-armed military that was racially aligned and operationally specialized like so: “Men, brown, black and white fought hand-to-hand, Berber, Sudani, Egyptian, gasping, cursing, slaying and dying.”
-Sword Woman and other Historical Adventures, page 64
In Morocco for instance the infantry was black, the cavalry brown and the riflemen white, with no one group able to defy the other two should they combine.
In such faith-based states, and keep in mind that we now live in a faith-based polity which demands actual kneeling submission, the various hateful ethno-military factions were used as checks against each other. Generally, the arm of the military that was least racially aligned with the population, was used to maintain a reign of terror. In North Africa, from the earliest times, harkening back to Pharaonic Egypt, Sudanese Bantus were used as police, torturers, tax collectors and executioners to keep a large and impoverished Caucasian working class subservient. In fact, two dynasties of that nation would be ruled directly by Bantu warlords under a lion banner. 3,400 years later, the Sultan of Morocco used Bantu torturers to keep an enslaved European workforce in a constant state of terror.
Foolish Westerners generally assume that Bantu men are unfitted to wield the inflexible scepter of harsh rule. This is based on the myth that only Africans have been enslaved under Western Plantation systems, when those very systems were designed to exploit European slaves. The truth is that Bantu slaves were sought at 4 to 10 times the cost of European slaves by European elites for two reasons:
-1. As the Indian tribes were sharply reduced in the 1670s in New England, Maryland and Virginia, a new racial check was needed on the restive white slave population. This is being well-documented in American Spartacus, now over 700 pages long.
-2. The wildly more expensive Africans were habituated to cruel, brutal and tyrannical rule at the hands of their Bantu and Arab masters, with all African nations at the time consisting of mostly unfree and terrorized people. Hence the later stage plantation system in America, and particularly in French San Domingo, were actual attempts to transport African systems of governance and economics to North America and the West Indies. One black Muslim sultan sold 14,000 girls in Egypt to pay for his Haj. Life was cheap and ordered along harsh racial lines in Africa. And the European masters of Plantation America, thirsted to enjoy the fruits of such a racially polarized society. Indeed, it was not until the 1680s, after Christian and Heathen rebellions had been crushed in Virginia, Maryland and New England, and the African slave trade was started [with the African population in Virginia in 1675 being only 2,000 of 46,000 thousand] that the term white began to creep into the English language as a racial noun. It’s origin was North Africa, where harsh racial politics had been in play since antiquity and specifically under Islam began to include the term “white” as a designation for a European sex slave.
Hence the introduction of the term white accompanies the introduction of large scale African slavery in Plantation America and predicts in nascence our current age, an age in which white must kneel to black, an age I am predicting is going to see increased ebony over ivory policing. I did express this future in the novelette Ghost Snatcher. For now let Howard paint the timeless picture of racially polarized religious-military rule:
“With a clanking of weapons and a jingling of bridle-chains, a troop of Sudani horse, resplendent in gold-chased corselets and silk breeches, galloped out of the Zuweyla gate. The white teeth of the black riders shone in wide grins of glee; their eyes rolled, they licked their thick lips in anticipation. The stones of the mob rattled harmlessly on the cuirasses and hippo-hide bucklers. They urged their horses into the press, slashing with their curved blades. Men rolled howling under the stamping hoofs. The rioters gave way, fleeing wildly into shops and down alleys, leaving the square littered with writhing bodies.
“The black riders leaped from their saddles and began crashing in doors of shops and dwellings, heaping their arms with plunder. Screams of women resounded from within their houses. A shriek, a crash of glass and lattice-work, and a white-clad body struck the street with a bone-crushing impact. A black face looked down through the ruined casement, split in an empty belly-shaking laugh. A black horseman spurred forward, bent from his saddle and thrust his lance through the still quivering form of the woman on the stones.”
Minus the horses and antique weaponry, these scenes have been played out across America daily, for the entire length of my life. I have personally dealt with ebony behavior exactly as described above, the grins, the empty belly laugh, the rolling eyes and the licking lips. All of these seemingly outrageous fictional expressions I have faced many times in Baltimore as I have defied my ebony masters as they hunted me across the face of this city where I now type in contended disquiet, knowing that my sissy folk across the nation who have declared me insane or hateful for not kneeling before my dark masters or fleeing like a ghost rabbit, are now run to ground by the darksome hound.
For the first time in my sorry life, I am not violently alone.
Ivory reader, welcome to my ghostly-souled home.
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