A Short Disquisition on the Use of Bullets Dipped in Pigs’ Blood

“Trump said, “[Pershing] took 50 bullets, and he dipped them in pigs’ blood. And he had his men load his rifles, and he lined up the 50 people, and they shot 49 of those people. And the 50th person, he said, ‘You go back to your people, and you tell them what happened.’ And for 25 years, there wasn’t a problem.” ~ CNN News, August 17, 2017

“… this is not the country of the Americans, but is the country of you Moros…” ~ Gen. John J. Pershing, transcript of May 29 and 20, 1911 meeting with leaders in Marawi (papers in the Library of Congress)

How easy to lie, to take from history
in order to serve one’s dirty purpose—

How typical. To look at old wars
and think their details all but forgotten;

then take liberties. To cast the figures of the long
dead on either side as puppets in roles

they would themselves not recognize,
having spoken differently. For instance,

in General John J. “Black Jack” Pershing’s
documents: a transcript of his meeting

with leading sultans, datus, and headmen
in Lanao, Marawi, in May 1911 (the same area

over which President Rodrigo “P-Duts” Duterte declared
Martial Law in May 2017, and which has since become

a wilderness of bombed-out homes, its people turned
into refugees overnight). In the transcript, he calls them

“friends.” In the transcript, Datu Noscalem tells of how
the general gifted him with a copy of the Quran.

Pershing responds that The Moros should live
     according to the teachings of the Quran, because… it is

the best book that they can follow. There would not
have been any pork served at the meal, if they shared any.

No scrunchions or chicharones, no salt-cured ham,
no cochinilla roasted in an open pit while the men

conversed. In the throes of that war at the turn of the previous
century, some attempt at decorum, if not recognition. No fables

yet of bullets dipped in pigs’ blood, no enemy heads sewn into pig
carcasses as warnings for “the infidels.” How interesting that pork

barrel means the use of government funds for projects designed
     to please voters or legislators and win votes. General Black

Jack’s wife and children, save for one son, perished in a fire
in California. That son, Francis Warren Pershing, served in WWII

then went on to found the brokerage firm Pershing
& Company, which was bought in 2003 by Bank of New York/

Mellon. It’s probably located on Wall Street—but did you know
that the financial district in lower Manhattan, revered by all

the priests of high profit today, was named after a long
wall erected to keep out hordes of rampaging pigs

rapidly reproducing through the colonies after their introduction
in Jamestown in 1607? Everyone in the south loves their ham

and biscuits. The Chinese bought up the Smithfield ham company
three years ago, but local residents and employees grudgingly

admit the quality hasn’t gone down, and more jobs were created.
Around these parts, a favorite side is some red or green

pepper jelly—a little sweet heat to offset the metallic tang
of the meat from brining. During the Civil War, the typical

American soldier’s rations included peas or beans, hardtack, and salt
pork— described as a stinky kind of blue extra salty meat, with hair,

skin, dirt, and other junk left on it. Of course they ate it. It was
probably one of their only sources of protein. It isn’t just

Muslims who don’t eat pork for religious reasons. Jewish religious law
has also historically banned the eating of pork, perhaps in part

from fear of disease. There are Muslim and Jewish bankers, farmers,
soldiers. Not far from Charlottesville, where white supremacists

chanted “Jews will not replace us,” is Jefferson’s Monticello. Culinary
historian Michael W. Twitty will speak there about how slaves built

a cuisine, a region, and a country. Since he’s African American,
gay, and Jewish, he can say “I am the target, the bogeyman,

the enemy.” Some pig farmers think the tastiest pork comes
from smaller varieties of dark-colored pigs. How even

do pigs get such names? As in immigrant swine and capitalist
pig. And also that spiel about it being The Other White Meat.

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