Archive for the ‘China’ Category

Letter to Department of Education and Other Politicians Calling for Broader Teaching of Slavery

May 31, 2023

One of the issues that concerns me about the current debate over historic slavery is that the belief seems to have grown up that only White Europeans and Americans practised it, and only enslaved Blacks and other people of colour. Connected to this is a related belief that only Whites can be racist. There’s an image on the net of young man of colour waving a placard ‘The British invented Racism’. Neither of these ideas is true. Slavery existed in many societies across the world from ancient times. It existed in ancient Egypt, the Middle East, India, China and elsewhere. It was a feature of many Black African societies, dating back to 3000 BC, and the proportion of the enslaved population ranged from 30 to 70 per cent according to the individual peoples. Black Africans were also enslaved by the Muslim Arabs and then by the Ottoman Turks, as were White Europeans, who were also preyed upon by the Barbary pirates of Morocco, Algiers and Tunisia. The Islamic world also developed racist views of Black Africans and White Europeans, contrary to the explicit teaching of Islam. The Chinese have also developed their own racial ideologies and hierarchies. However, many people don’t understand this, and this leaves them vulnerable to woke racial ideologies, like Critical Race Theory, which view Whites as innately racist and requiring particular teaching and treatment in order to cure them of their prejudices.

I think part of the problem is that the school curriculum only teaches the transatlantic slave trade. Outside the classroom there is little discussion or mention of slavery elsewhere in the world, except in the case of ancient Egypt. As far as I am aware, there are no TV programmes about global slavery, with the exception of the occasional news item about modern slavery and people trafficking. I am also not aware of any museums which also cover the global history of slavery. This absence, I believe, is leaving people vulnerable to radical ideologies that explicitly demonise Whites and teach Blacks that they have and will always be the victims of White prejudice, maltreatment and discrimination.

Yesterday I emailed messages to Gillian Keegan, the Education Secretary, Nick Gibb, the minister for schools, and the shadow minister for education, Bridget Phillimon about this issue, recommending that the teaching of slavery in schools and universities should also mention that it was done across the world. As should museum displays about slavery and the slave trade. I doubt that I shall receive a reply from them, as the internet addresses, I used may have been solely for their constituents and MPs are forbidden to reply to anyone except them. I’ve therefore also posted the message to the Department of Education using their contact address. But I doubt I’ll get anything back from them either.

Here’s the message I sent them, which I altered a little according to the minister’s or shadow minister’s sex and official position. Please note: I am not advocating the teaching of slavery and racial prejudice in other societies in order to somehow excuse western slavery and racism. I am merely doing so to counter the very specific issue that some people seem to believe that it is unique to White Europeans.

‘Dear Madam,

I am an historian with a Ph.D. in archaeology. I writing to you to express my deep concerns about the teaching of the subject of slavery in British schools and universities and the historical falsehoods being promoted by radical left-wing ideologies such as Critical Race Theory. I understand that the school curriculum includes transatlantic slavery. This is entirely correct, and that dark page of British imperial history should be taught. However, I am concerned that the exclusive focus on British and White European and American enslavement of Black Africans is leading to the distorted view among many British young people that slavery is somehow unique to White culture and society, and is something that only Whites did to Black Africans and other peoples of colour. This is, I feel, being exploited by the advocates of Critical Race Theory to promote a distorted narrative which demonises Whites as perpetual villains while at the same time teaching Black and Asians that they are victims, who will be perpetually oppressed by White racist society.

The idea that only Whites practiced slavery is far from the truth. Slavery has existed across the world since ancient times, as was recognised by the 19th century Abolitionists and their opponents. White Britons were enslaved by the Barbary pirates of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia from the 16th century onwards. This was only ended by the French conquest of Algiers in the 1820s. The Turkish conquest of the Balkans from the 14th century onwards resulted in the White, Christian population being depressed into serfdom as well as slavery itself. Slavery in Africa existed from at least 3000 BC. It was practiced in ancient Egypt and in many Black African societies. In these latter, the proportion of the enslaved population could range from 30%-70%. Black Africans were enslaved by Muslim Arabs and later on by the Ottoman Turks. It also existed in India, where the slave class are recorded in the Vedas as the Dasyas, and in China and elsewhere.  There are some excellent books about these subjects, such as Jeremy Black’s Slavery: A New Global History (London: Constable & Robinson 2011), Robert C. Davis, Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast, and Italy, 1500-1800 (Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan 2003), and Sean Stilwell, Slavery and Slaving in African History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2014).

At the same time, the West has not been the only civilisation to develop racial prejudice and hierarchies of race. Racial prejudices against Blacks, but also White Europeans also developed in Islam, as discussed in Bernard Lewis’ Slavery and Race in Medieval Islam, and similar racial ideologies have also developed in China. But I very much regret that many young people are unaware that other, non-western cultures have also developed such practices. The result has been that some people seem to believe that racism is, once again, unique to the west. There is an image on the internet of a young man of colour bearing a placard saying, ‘Britain invented Racism’ which illustrates this very well.

I am afraid the lack of knowledge of extra-European racism and slavery is being exploited by Critical Race Theory and its supporters to promote the view that only Whites can be racist, and that racism and historical slavery is something that Whites need to be particularly reminded of and feel guilty about as part of wider radical programme to promote restorative racial justice.

I am very much aware that racism needs to be confronted and erased, but I believe this doctrine to be itself hypocritical and racist. I would therefore like to see the teaching of slavery in schools and universities, and museums exhibits about it also include the existence of slavery throughout the world, including Africa. The intention here is not to demonise other societies and their peoples, but simply to make the point that slavery has never been solely practiced by Whites. At the same time, I would also like to see any teaching in schools about racism also include the fact that this too is not simply something that Whites have done to people of colour. I believe strongly that it is through an awareness of the ubiquity of slavery and racism across the globe that a proper understanding of these issues as both part of British history and a continuing problem can be gained.

I hope you as Secretary of State for Education, will consider this issue worth raising will work to introduce these ideas into the current teaching on slavery, and look forward to hearing from you about this issue.

Yours faithfully,

David -‘

Tomiwa Owolade States Salman Rushdie Was Right About Growing Threat to Free Speech

May 18, 2023

There’s an interesting opinion piece in today’s Evening Standard by the author Tomiwa Owolade. He was talking about the British book awards, which he attended on Monday, and the appearance there via video link by Salman Rushdie. Rushdie, remember, had suffered a near-fatal attack by an Islamist fanatic at a literary gathering in America back in August last year. Rushdie’s voice was hoarse, and the video accompanying the article shows him wearing spectacles with one lens blacked out, which were a result of his injuries sustained in the attack. But what impressed Owolade was that he didn’t talk about his own 30-year period hiding from murderous fanatics like his attempted assassin. He was receiving the Freedom to Publish Award, sponsored by the Index on Censorship. Rushdie didn’t talk about others who were suffering imprisonment and death for their writing, and didn’t mention authoritarian states like Russia, China, North Korea or Saudi Arabia. He spoke about the rising level of censorship in the supposedly liberal west, among nations that pride themselves on their tradition of freedom of speech.

“The freedom to publish,” Rushdie said, “is also the freedom to read. And the ability to write what you want.” But this conviction is now being weakened: “We live in a moment, I think, at which freedom of expression and freedom to publish has not in my lifetime been under such threat in the countries of the West.”

This is not a problem that’s confined to the political Right or Left. Rushdie mentioned the “extraordinary attack on libraries and books for children in schools” in the US. A recent report by PEN America has found that book bans are rapidly rising in the US.

Across the country, novels by distinguished authors such as Toni Morrison and Margaret Atwood have been banned in schools and libraries. Rushdie argued that this constitutes an “attack on the ideas of libraries themselves.”

But he also described as “alarming” the trend where “publishers bowdlerise the work of such people as Roald Dahl and Ian Fleming.” This is where editors are trying to ‘update’ novels by dead authors by removing or replacing offensive words or phrases. Rushdie argued that “the idea that James Bond could be made politically correct is almost comical.”’

Owolade concludes:

‘Rushdie viscerally understands the severe end of censorship; he has been nearly murdered for writing a book. But he is also rightly cognisant of, and opposed to, the milder threats. Because he recognises that the two ends are interlinked: once we accept that some books should not be allowed to be published, or read, or should have their content suppressed or bowdlerised in any other way, we accept the logic of those who think freely producing such books is a crime worthy of prison or death.’

See: https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/opinion-salman-rushdie-was-right-to-warn-us-about-a-slippery-slope-on-free-speech/ar-AA1bm5Wk?ocid=msedgdhp&pc=U531&cvid=b69b4d8033f74291ba9ae83adeb40dac&ei=26

I entirely agree with the article and Rushdie, which rather surprises me. I’m not a fan of his, and I honestly don’t think the Satanic Verses should have been published. There were three internal messages in Viking Penguin at the time advising against publishing it because it would upset Muslim opinion. I haven’t read the book, but people I know who have, including a lecturer in Islam, have assured me that it isn’t blasphemous. However, there’s something to about it in National Lampoon’s Book of Sequels that while it’s made clear that the book isn’t blaspheming Mohammed or the other principal figures of Islam on page 50, the book is so grindingly dull that no one ever makes it that far. The fatwa placed on Rushdie was a noxious piece of opportunism by the Ayatollah Khomeini, who wanted an issue he could exploit that would allow him to wrest leadership of the Islamic world away from the Saudis. The publication of the Satanic Verses came at exactly the right time, and so you had the rancid spectacle of mass book burnings in Bradford, Kalim Saddiqui telling his flock that ‘Britain is a monstrous killing machine and killing Muslims comes very easily to them’, and a demented Pakistani film in which Rushdie is a CIA agent, whose career undermining Islam is ended when God whacks him with the lightning bolt.

But we do have creeping, intolerant censorship in the west and it isn’t confined to either the left and right. I’m very much aware of the purging of radical authors, and particularly LGBTQ+ material from American libraries. I’m also not a fan of the Bowdlerisation of writers like Dahl and Fleming because they’re deemed to be offensive to modern sensibilities. The term ‘Bowdlerise’ is particularly interesting. It comes from the name of a puritanical Victorian publisher, who produced a suitable censored children’s edition of Shakespeare with all the Bard’s smut and innuendo cut out. I’m also concerned at the way publishers, students and lobby groups are trying to stifle the publication of works on such controversial topics as the trans issue and ban their writers from speaking in public or holding academic posts.

A recent example of this has been Oxford University Student Union’s reaction to gender critical feminist philosopher Kathleen Stock speaking at the Oxford Union. There were protests by the Student Union against her appearance as well as attempts to sabotage it by block-booking seats so that they wouldn’t be available to those who really wanted to hear her. She’s been denounced as hateful, people have declared they feel unsafe after her appearance, and the SU has cut its connection with the debating society. They therefore won’t be allowed to appear at fresher’s fairs and other Student Union sponsored events. The SU is also offering support to people traumatised by her appearance.

This is in response to a feminist intellectual who simply does not share the opinion that transwomen are women. Controversial, yes, but not hateful. What makes this affair ridiculous is that there have been real, noxious figures from the Fascist right who have spoken at the Oxford Union and suffered no such attack by the Student Union. People like Nick Griffin, the former head of the BNP, and the Holocaust Denier David Irving. If anybody deserves mass protests against them, and who really would make people feel understandably unsafe, it’s those two. I can’t imagine how Jews and non-Whites would feel in their presence, especially given the BNP’s history of violence against them. But they were allowed to speak at the Oxford Union, albeit to the surprise and disgust of many.

Rushdie’s right about free speech coming under attack in the liberal west. And the Tories, and particularly the Nat Cons are part of this. They’ve passed legislation severely restricting the right to protest and to strike, as well as the legislation providing for secret courts. And I don’t see Starmer changing this legislation, not when he said that laws like the Crime and Policing Act need time to bed in.

We really do need to wake up this threat, and that this isn’t a partisan issue if we’re going to defend freedom of speech and debate.

Liz Truss Calls for an Economic NATO Against the Rising Power of China

May 17, 2023

That’s the title of a video I found while perusing YouTube this morning. I didn’t watch it, because there’s only so much you can take of people like Liz Truss. But I found it highly ironic coming from Truss, as something like it was the original point of the EU. From what I remember from school, the European Economic Community, as it then was, was set up to protect Europe from economic domination by America and the Soviet bloc. Communism collapsed in eastern Europe in the 90s, but it wouldn’t have taken much to adapt the European Union to protect the continent and its industries from China. I doubt that this would have been quite what Truss would have wanted, as the mention of NATO indicates that the she probably wants it to include America and Canada and possibly other nations outside Europe. But it does seem to me that when the Brexiteers attack the EU, they are attacking the institution that could protect Europe from growing Chinese global power. This is clearly beginning to worry them, or at least Truss, but I don’t think they’re bright enough to realise this.

Greens’ Caroline Lucas Speaks Outside Tufton Street Think Tanks

April 23, 2023

Maximum respect to the Green politico Caroline Lucas for holding part of yesterday’s Green rallies in London right outside the lair of the beast itself, 55-7 Tufton Street. As she explains in this video, this is the home of the various right-wing think tanks telling the world that climate change doesn’t exist and that the fossil fuel companies aren’t damaging the environment. These are the same fossil fuel companies who made billions in profits, while ordinary people worry about whether they can afford to heat their homes and put food on the table. She issues a series of three demands for the government, the last of which is obviously that fossil fuels stay in the ground. She also wants people’s home properly insulated to save the environment and cut down on fuel bills. More controversially, she sees climate justice as part of racial justice and calls for the payment of climate reparations. I’m very sceptical about this, as although Britain has historically contributed most carbon dioxide to the atmosphere during our industrialisation, the worst offenders now is China and other developing nations. These are overtaking us in terms of wealth, but if climate reparations are accepted as a principle, we could nevertheless end up paying them reparations for historic ‘crimes’.

But I fully support Lucas for speaking about these issues right outside the headquarters of the Tufton Street think tanks, whose extreme right-wing policies have done so much damage to the British economy and impoverished working people. Liz Truss’ cabinet was saturated with them, and the result was that she nearly destroyed the economy. However, Truss has learned nothing. She was in America about a week ago, claiming that she was forced out by the left. I thought she was forced out by the Tory party suddenly having the shock of realisation about what her policies were actually doing, and where they would be heading if it carried on.

Truss really is utterly bonkers and shouldn’t be anywhere near government. And the contrast with Lucas couldn’t be clearer.

Someone Put A Submachine Gun on a Robot Dog

April 19, 2023

Very chilling video presented by Sophie Chong of the Technality YouTube channel. Here she comments on a video circulating of a robot dog with a submachine gun strapped to its back firing bullets. No-one knows where the video, though you can see a Russian flag in it, and the machine seems to be under human control. It’s probably not Boston Dynamics’ robot dog, Spot, as the company has said that it will not allow its machine to be sold for military purposes. But knock-off versions, like that of the Chinese company Unitree, are available for $5,000.

Chong’s not the only person worried about military robots. When these machines started appearing in the ’90s, a group of concerned scientists issued an open letter stating that they posed a real threat to humanity. This was in response to one company announcing they were going to make them. Kevin Warwick, a robotics scientist at Reading University, describes a horrifying future at the beginning of his book, March of the Machines, in which humanity has been all but exterminated with the survivors either enslaved or just barely managing to survive away from the machines. He sees this as a real threat. It was the reason he started to explore cyborgisation, as he felt that the only way we could stave off such a future was by upgrading ourselves through technology. He discusses how such autonomous war machines would go on killing in his book. One of the robots he had in his department has an infrared sensor and a fire extinguisher. It’s programmed to go towards and put out any fire that might break out. But he states that it could be easily adapted to become a killing machine. Replace the fire extinguisher with a gun, give it a neural net and teach it to recognise a particular set of targets, say people with blonde hair and blue eyes, and then let it go, and it’ll carry on killing people of that description until it runs out of bullets.

These machines are a real threat and there are calls for increased international regulation to control them.

The Conversation Posts Article on DNA Research Revealing Pre-Colonial African History

April 14, 2023

This might interest some of the readers of this blog, who are interested in the rich history of Africa. The Conversation has posted an article by Nancy Bird, a postdoc research assistant at UCL, ‘DNA study opens a window into African civilisation that left a lasting legacy’ about how she and her fellow researchers analysed DNA samples from Africa to reconstruct the movement and expansions of different ethnic groups in the continent before European colonisation. The article describes their methodology and talks about how the samples were collected and analysed, and that there had been little genetic sampling and research of this type previously in Africa. The article then goes on to discuss some of their findings.

These begin with the probability that two ethnic groups in what is now Cameroon, the Kanuri and Kotoko, are descended from three ancestral peoples in the Kanem-Bornu empire, which flourished for 1000 years after its foundation c. 700 AD and covered northern Cameroon, northern Nigeria, Chad, Niger and southern Libya. The study also revealed how African genetic heritage had been affected by the Arab expansion into Africa. This included Arab contact with the kingdom of Makuria in the Sudan. The signed a peace treaty with the Arabs in 700 AD, which allowed the kingdom to survive for 700 years. The genetic evidence revealed that the racial mixing occurred after the treaty was beginning to breakdown and the Arabs were expanding into the area. The study also examined the genetic legacy left by the southern Arab migration into Africa that resulted in the empire of Akxum, which covered what is now Ethiopia, Djibouti and part of Yemen and was considered one of the world’s four great powers alongside Persia, China and Rome. It also suggested that the expansion of the Bantu languages was the result of migrations from a part of Cameroon which began in 2,000 BC and had spread south and east over the next 2000 years. But the study also revealed that they had spread west as well. During their expansion, the Bantu met and mixed with other ethnic groups. No-one knows what caused this expansion, but it may have been climate change.

The article concludes

‘It’s vital that scientists analyse more DNA from genomes of African people. As we do so, it will undoubtedly reveal an intricate picture of the continent’s rich past.’

For further information, go to: https://theconversation.com/dna-study-opens-a-window-into-african-civilisations-that-left-a-lasting-legacy-202490

Clown Planet on New York’s Police Robots

April 12, 2023

Clown Planet is a YouTuber who puts up short videos about the weird, bizarre and stupid happening around the world. I think he’s a man of the right, as much of his content is about some of the daft, nonsensical and dangerous stuff uttered or done by the extreme gay rights and trans crowd. In this video, however, he covers the reintroduction by the NYPD of their Digidog and K5 robots. The Digidog is a version of Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot dog, equipped with an artificial arm. It was first put on the streets by New York’s finest two years ago, but was subsequently taken off following complaints that it represented a science fictional, aggressive style of policing. As you can hear from the audio in one of the excerpts, the cops state that it will only be used for situations like terrorism and hostage negotiations,

The K5 robot looks to me like a giant pepper pot, a bit like a Dalek shorn of gun, sink plunger and eyestalk. This machine is intended to police the subway and Times Square.

This is getting close to some of the dystopias in science fiction in which machines patrol the streets keeping criminals and the general public in their police. One of the first SF stories about the dangers of this kind of mechanised policing was Ray Bradbury’s The Pedestrian. This was a short tale about a man stopped and arrested by a robot police car, which judges him suspicious simply for going for a walk. With these machines now patrolling New York, this is starting to look more than a little prescient. The video is bookended with Alex Jones looking amazed and horrified. Which he may well be, as this is precisely the kind of SF scenario he kept banging on about. When he wasn’t ranting about ‘the globalists’, Barack Obama planning to incarcerate everyone in emergency camps and declaring himself totalitarian overlord of the US, Hillary Clinton being an alien, or a cyborg, or possessed by demons, and stupid and dangerous nonsense about the Democrats operating a child abuse ring out of a Boston pizza parlour.

At present I don’t think these robots present a serious threat to humanity. Their own intelligence and autonomy is very limited, and it doesn’t look as if there’s going to be many of them hitting New York’s streets. So at the moment it’s still going to be human police officers keeping citizens safe from the bad guys.

The situation in China, on the other hand, may be very different. A year or so I found another video on YouTube showing what the Covid lockdown was like there. It was very restrictive over here, but this video showed drones flying through the sky and one of the Spot robots patrolling the ground making sure that everyone kept to their apartments. A very chilling, totalitarian sight, from a state that is using facial recognition technology to track and monitor its dissidents.

I think we’ll have to watch this very carefully. At present it’s a harmless gimmick, but if American politics becomes authoritarian, it’ll easily become something much more sinister.

Sociology Professor Shows that Beauty Ideal of Pale Features Doesn’t Come from Europeans

April 11, 2023

This is also interesting and riposte to some of the claims made about whiteness and white privilege. In this video a sociology professor argues that the notion of pale skin as the ideal beauty standard does not come from Europeans. The idea that it does is based on the idea that as Europeans expanded throughout the world, other races wanted to be us. But this was not the case. He gives the example of Korea, showing a Korean picture of a group of aristocrats. These all have pale or white skins. He states that this was down to class. The aristocrats marked themselves off from the peasants in the fields by being paler. He also states that when Europeans entered Korea in the 17th century, the Koreans didn’t call them ‘white’. Instead they referred to them as ‘people with coloured eyes’ or as ‘red’.

I’ve read before that the Chinese referred to Europeans as ‘hung mao’, ”red heads’, and I think Black Africans also used to refer to us as the red men, rather than White. I’ve also heard that in the west, the historical preference for pale skin came from the same basis in class. The peasants and rude mechanicals got tanned through working out doors. Therefor the middle classes and leisured aristocracy showed off their status by having pale skin. This only changed so that tans became fashionable in the 1920s when the western rich and famous started going to the south of France.

Class, however, is only one aspect of the story here. Certainly the global influence of the west has led some other races to adopt White ideals of beauty. Back in the 1980s I can remember reading an article somewhere that said that some Japanese women were having cosmetic surgery so that their eyes appeared round, like westerners. And there is a problem in that some Blacks use skin-lighteners to make themselves paler. These are terrible, as they work by destroying the upper layer of the skin to reveal the lighter flesh underneath. There was a nasty incident reported in Private Eye’s ‘Funny Old World’ column of a Ghanaian boxer, who’d been using these creams. Part of his skin peeled away after he was struck by his opponent. Akala, the Black British writer and activists, describes Black Brits using these creams in one of his books. However, this doesn’t alter the fact that there is clearly another side to the argument and that some extra-European peoples had paleness as their beauty standard long before contact with Europeans.

Wahan Ke Log: The Indian Bond-Style Spy Film with Invading Martians

April 9, 2023

Okay, here’s something a bit different for this Easter Day. I was looking through the genre film site, Teleport City, yesterday when I came across a review of the 1968 Indian movie Wahan Ke Log. As well as covering western films, Teleport City also has excellent reviews of Asian genre cinema. Much of this is about the various Hong Kong martial arts epics, but it also deals with other countries like India. I’ve no idea what the title means, but the review was fascinating in what it said about the influence of James Bond on Asian cinema at the time and also how the UFO phenomena had reached Asia and influence popular culture over there, at least in the form of this movie. Apparently the success of the Bond films led to the release of a number of similar flicks in Asia, as countries like India sent their suave, elegantly dressed superspies after nefarious villains intent on world conquest. In this case, it was a UFO invasion from Mars. Among the suspects was an Indian scientist, who has invented a laser gun, which his criminal son has gotten hold of and is using for his evil purposes. And yes, there are song and dance numbers as the hero goes into nightclubs to see the female lead sing while knocking back cocktails. In the end it is revealed that the Martian invasion is a hoax, perpetrated by one of India’s Asian rivals, though the review wouldn’t tell you whether this was Pakistan or China. The only hint they gave as to who was responsible was that it wasn’t Burma.

It’s a long review, and I admit, I did no more than skim it. What interested me is what the film says about the global nature of the UFO phenomenon. It first arose in America in the 1950s and so can appear very much as a western phenomenon even though there have been sightings all over the world. The sceptical UFO magazine, Magonia, used to complain that UFO researchers had a simplistic view of non-western cultures when it came to interpreting UFO encounters. They assumed that witnesses from regions like Africa could not be faking their experiences or mixing it up with material from the global UFO culture because, living in such distant parts of the world they were somehow untouched by western popular culture. That this was not so was shown in one UFO documentary where an African UFO witness wore a Michael Jackson T-shirt.

I’d also assumed that there was little in the way of Science Fiction in India. One of the anthologies of SF stories I read in the ’90s included one Indian short story, but stated that there wasn’t much of it. I read elsewhere that when it came to fantastic cinema, the main genre was the ‘Theologicals’ about the Hindu gods. These satisfy the need for the fantastic and cosmic that in the west is catered to by Science Fiction and Fantasy movies. It certainly seems that the majority of science fiction cinema and television from Asia comes from Japan, although China might be starting to catch up with its television adaptation of the Three Body Problem.. I also found it interesting for what it also showed about the nationalistic tensions in Asian cinema as well. Some of the 1950s SF movies have been seen as metaphors for the Communist threat, like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, or otherwise informed by Cold War paranoia. One of the clearest examples of this is the B-movie The Angry Red Planet, in which the voice of God appears on people’s radios from Mars denouncing Communism. I think. Wahan Ke Log shows that the theme of invasion from outer space could also express the same national and political fears in Indian cinema of covert foreign plots to take over the country.

Not all Indian SF cinema may be so grim, however. A couple of decades ago our local multiplex had posters up for the Bollywood epics it was also showing as well as the latest Hollywood releases. One of them appeared to be about an alien family with large, high craniums landing and living in India. One of the pictures was of the family on a bike trip, their cycle helmets suitably shaped to cover their peculiar noggins. It was only when thinking about it a little later that it occurred to me that this could be India’s answer to the Coneheads. There’s a whole world of SF and space related cinema out there, which takes themes and tropes from the west and adds its own unique experience and views, as countries around the world industrialise and start to explore the High Frontier for themselves.

To read the Teleport City’s review of the film, go to: https://teleport-city.com/2019/08/28/wahan-ke-log/