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The Editor's E-mail Update
by IndiaStar readers

E d i t o r :
c. j. s. wallia
Subject: Queen's visit to Amritsar
13 Oct 1997

Dear Editor,

          I was horrified as an Englishman and a human being when I learned on the Internet that Queen Elizabeth is planning to visit Amritsar, the site of the infamous massacre by British troops of 379 unarmed civilians and the wounding of 1200 others in 1919, without uttering even one word of apology.

          Mr. Gore-Booth, Britain's envoy in New Delhi, is quoted by Associated Press as saying: "The queen is not going to apologise, but she is going to lay a wreath. Those of you who recognise the subtle distinction will see it as a very special gesture." (October 7th, 1997)  These cold, patronising, unclear words show that while the British Empire is mercifully dead, the attitude that led to it is very much alive. I have learned from the great American educator and poet Eli Siegel, founder of the philosophy Aesthetic Realism, that the greatest enemy of man, the cause of all cruelty and of war, is contempt, the "disposition in every person to think  he will be for himself by making less of the outside world."

          My own desire to feel superior, to have contempt, is the reason why while I attended Oxford University I shamefully agreed with the accepted view in England of the British Empire, that we had brought needed civilisation to lesser peoples, and were in fact doing them a kindness. The truth is the British Empire was based on contempt, on the ugly, wrong, completely unscientific idea that other people, looking different, speaking different languages, did not exist to be known, as having meaning, hopes and fears as real as any Englishman, but were inferior beings  who existed instead to be used for Britain's own power, glory, and wealth; and this centuries-old government policy caused horrors, including in Amritsar. I think it was barbaric, and I am grateful to be learning now as a history teacher at Norman Thomas High School in New York City about the rich history and culture of the people of India, and to know that my purpose is to see meaning and use them to have  more respect for the world.

          I want to apologise, as a representative Englishman, to the people of  Amritsar for what my country did to them.

          For the way of seeing that led to the British Empire to end, "for there to be good will between people and between nations" this kind, urgent question by Eli Siegel needs to be asked and honestly answered: "What does a person deserve by being a person?" Thinking about this question, British representatives could never go to India, let alone Amritsar, without beginning their visit with a sincere expression of regret.


          Christopher Balchin
          New York City

Also appeared in The Hindu, Gujarat Samachar / Asian Voice, The Times of India, Hindustan Times, India Abroad, Chandigarh Tribune

Further Resources:

arrowMartin Luther King / The King Center
arrowAnti-Prejudice Pledge / Anti-Defamation League
arrowAesthetic Realism Versus Racism



Christopher Balchin writes:

I was horrified as an Englishman and a human being when I learned that Queen Elizabeth is planning to visit Amritsar, the site of the infamous massacre by British troops of unarmed civilians without uttering even one word of apology.

Aesthetic Realism vs. Racism


Button image
"On Racism & How to End It"  by Nancy Huntting

Button image "A Muslim Woman's Life" by Ruth Oron

Button image "Poems by Eli Siegel about Martin Luther King and America" by Alice Bernstein

Button imageAesthetic Realism and the Answer to Racism

Button image"Genome & Equality" by Alice Bernstein.

Button image"Words, Truth, & the Confederate Flag" by Alice Bernstein

Button image "Fascism, Understood At Last!" by Ruth Oron

Button image John Singer Sargent's Madame X, an Aesthetic Realism Discussion

Button image Essays and News Pieces about Aesthetic Realism

Button image"Aesthetic Realism: The Solution to Racism" by Arnold Perey, PhD

Button image"Contempt, the Cause of Racism" by Edward Green

Button image"Queen's Visit to Amritsar" by Christopher Balchin

Button image"In Contempt the Root of Racism Lies" by Allan Michael

Button image"Prejudice Changes to Respect" by Barbara McClung

Button image"Students Learn, Prejudice Is Defeated!" by Patricia Martone

Button image"Mathematics vs. Prejudice" by Lori Colavito

Button image"Aesthetic Realism and the Anthropology of Africa" by Edward Green

   Further Aesthetic Realism Resources

Aesthetic Realism Foundation
Eli Siegel Collection
Aesthetic Realism Theatre Company
Nationwide Links about Aesthetic Realism
Aesthetic Reaiism vs. Prejudice
Friends of Aesthetic Realism--Countering the Lies
Barbara Allen: Flutist, Consultant
Aesthetic Realism & Self-Expression
Nancy Huntting, Consultant & Essayist
Towards Middle East Peace: Articles by Ruth Oron
Photography Education
Alan Shapiro, Aesthetic Realism Associate Jazz Pianist, Music Educator
Aesthetic Realism In the Press 


To the educational foundation where the philosophy founded by Eli Siegel is taught

Aesthetic Realism Foundation

141 Greene Street
New York NY 10012