Revenge Strategy: Wasting the power of your hate on the guiltless (VI). Are opium poppies really gone?
The word revenge goes beyond emotional competency. It is a modus operandi that we must eradicate as we treat cancer. We need to extirpate this concept from our brains, because it is not desirable for our emotional health, for our economies and our future destiny. Revenge Strategies only cause triggers for wars, more wars, and more wars. There is an insane revenge spirit inside us that inevitably must be tamed, incessantly as much as when we pray “Our Father” daily. This prayer is all about forgiveness and therefore to counteract the feelings of vengeance.
In our daily life since kids, we will live different situations, and people will hurt us. It is a fact. The damage may be done with treachery and purpose; deliberately to cause us pain. But there are times where we will be hurt by others, and their damage actions towards us are not conceived as such, but by accident or fortuitously.
Good people don´t mean to offend, or to search for situations to hurt us; but “poop” occurs, accidents happen… and innocent or not, the result is that we have been randomly scathed, damaged or discredited. The action of harm or damage is tied to our existence. If we are lucky to live in a lovely family, we will be inspired to become lovely. And little by little, their kindness will help us to stop revenge whenever we get bothered, but be sure that we will be injured in one way or another, not just by our enemies, but sometimes by our own closest relatives, friends, acquaintances too. How to deal with this reality?
Once we accept that damage is part of our life. The cognitive content of a revenge strategy is the reaction to it. What do we do when we are wounded? Either emotionally, physically, economically, spiritually or through despotically or unpredictable words, actions or thoughts. First, we naturally try to get even. And that is not satisfying either. The best solution: Jesus taught us to let it go and I will add, we need to learn how to protect ourselves to don´t get damaged.
To don´t hold resentment neither the desire to get even is tremendous. It only happens when you hold Jesus in your own spirit. But OMG, that is really hard. Try it. It takes years and years of learning to forgive. However, in the process, we also require to discover how to protect us without causing damage to third parties. How to build and use an armour to survive the natural damage that we will be confronted one day or another in life? Christianity advises: we need to put ourselves the armor of God.
Let´s refresh what is the Armor of God given by Him to all of us in the Universe (the armor of God was a metaphor utilized in Ephesians 6:10-20, as a representation of how to live in Christianity when “fecal matters” happen.
- The belt of truth,
- The breastplate of righteousness,
- The shoes of the gospel of peace,
- The shield of faith,
- The helmet of salvation, and
- The sword of the Spirit
To finish this introduction, it is crucial to teach our kids how to defend themselves, how to put an armor to avoid harm. We are not going to educate them on how to fight, but how to use and wear an armor to defend themselves, which means to speak the truth immediately and expose it to the light, to live with rectitude (righteousness), to walk by all means with peace, to have faith and trust those who can help to diminish the injury, to trust in Jesus with all their heart and pray with the Bible. Kids must learn to pray. Pray as much as a daily action of waking up or going to sleep. Prayers are like a sword to our enemies. Prayers are powerful.
Now let´s shift to the Opium Wars, our theme of today.
Opium wars are just a symbol of what happens when one nation decides to set up limits against the negative effects of something they don´t like, and the revenge reaction from the nations who were altered commercially by the decision-makers of China in those contextual events. The rulers of China at that time were the Qing dynasty, from 1644 to 1911/12.
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the First Opium War (1839–42) was disputed between China and Britain, and the Second Opium War (1856–60), also known as the Arrow War or the Anglo-French War in China, was fought by Britain and France against China. Both wars were won by the western countries, and in both cases, Britain and France gained commercial privileges and legal or territorial concessions in the main coastal trading city ports of China. Both wars triggered the weakness of the Qing sovereignty and ultimately pushed the Qing dynasty in favor of republican China in the early 20th century.
The First Opium War
Let´s see what was the problem. Foreign traders, mainly from Britain saw in China a golden opportunity to trade Opium. Opium was illegally introduced to the Chinese market from India since the 18th century. The Chinese were addicted to Opium. Not great eh!. In spring 1839, the Chinese government confiscated and destroyed a significative amount of Opium that was warehoused at Canton (Guangzhou) by British merchants. The antagonism between the two sides escalated to the point that the murder of a Chinese citizen in the hands of British sailors triggered the beginning of more hostilities. The British government sent a fleet, progressed up the Pearl River estuary to Canton, and, after months of negotiations, attacked and occupied the city on May 1841. The Chineses Qing troops counterattacked in Spring 1842. The British held against that offensive, however, and captured Nanjing (Nanking) in late August, which put an end to the fighting.
Peace negotiations proceeded quickly, resulting in the Treaty of Nanjing, signed the same year. By its stipulations, China was required to pay Britain a large indemnity, cede Hong Kong Island to the British, and increase the number of treaty ports where the British could trade and reside from one (Canton) to five. Shanghai was one of them. The British Supplementary Treaty of the Bogue (Humen), signed October 8, 1843, gave British citizens extraterritoriality (the right to be tried by British courts) and most-favored-nation status (Britain was granted any rights in China that might be granted to other foreign countries). Other Western countries quickly demanded and were given similar privileges.
The Second Opium War
In the mid-1850s, while the Qing government was involved in trying to quell the Taiping Rebellion (1850–64), the British, seeking to extend their trading rights in China, found an excuse to renew hostilities. In early October 1856, a British warship sailed up the Pearl River estuary and began bombarding Canton, and there were skirmishes between British and Chinese troops. Trading ceased as a stalemate ensued. In December Chinese in Canton burned foreign factories (trading warehouses) there, and the tensions escalated.
The French decided to join the British military expedition, using as their excuse the murder of a French missionary in the interior of China in early 1856. After delays in assembling the forces in China, the allies began military operations in late 1857. In May 1858 allied troops in British warships reached Tianjin (Tientsin) and forced the Chinese into negotiations. The treaties of Tianjin, signed in June 1858, provided residence in Beijing for foreign envoys, the opening of several new ports to Western trade and residence, the right of foreign travel in the interior of China, and the freedom of movement for Christian missionaries. In further negotiations in Shanghai, the importation of opium was legalized.
After subsequent certain hostilities, the Chinese consequently refused to ratify the latter treaties. In August 1860, as a retaliation act, a considerably larger force of warships from British and French troops destroyed the Dagu batteries, proceeded upriver to Tianjin, captured Beijing, plundered and burned the Yuanming Garden, the emperor’s summer palace. Later that month the Chinese signed the Beijing Convention, in which they agreed to observe the treaties of Tianjin and also ceded to the British the southern portion of the Kowloon Peninsula adjacent to Hong Kong.
I started today´s post writing about the armor of God. Why? Because it is the only way to forgive and protect ourselves from harm. After reading about drugs, battles, treaties, treacheries, disloyalties, surrendering and concessions of ports for trade in China, let me ask you, who were the initial offenders in both wars? Were the Qing Rulers only defending themselves? Or were the Chinese retaliating against Britain and France? It is interesting to observe that both wars were occurring in the context of a drug, the opium. In reality, a channel for expansion to Asia from Britain and France, to establish the claim for a certain amount of logistics infrastructure (ports and coastal cities) for the trading interests of Britain and France in China. What do you think?
I would cherish you to think about how drugs (opioids) have always been a fountain of illicit or illegal easy money, regardless of who was behind the trade. Particularly, it seems to me, the Opium Wars are a piece of history, that needs to be shown to the world. This same history has been repeated in Latin America, under different circumstances, leaders or territories. But it is the same “drug” motif which has caused the civil conflicts in several countries in the region. If you see things with detail, trading of illicit sources requires the control of a crucial piece of the value chain, the logistics infrastructure pondered in ports, airports, highways, roads, customs, etc.
I would stop here. Be your own judge, please. And remember to think! And teach your kids to pray.
See you next time with The Banana Wars (1898–1934). Thank you for reading to me. Blessings!
Sources of reference used to write this publication:
Disclaimer: Illustrations in Watercolor are painted by Eleonora Escalante. All the presentation slides shown on this blog are prepared by Eleonora Escalante. Nevertheless, all the pictures or videos shown on this blog are not mine. I do not own any of the lovely photos or images posted unless otherwise stated.
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