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Date:11/21/2014 4:16:55 PM
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The Hoe, Part IV
You will forgive me is I dwell on the subject of subjugation. I was going on about the plight of the peasant. I am, and always will be, a paysan. The French word for country (as in nation) is pays. The Spanish word is pais. A peasant is a countryman or countrywoman. It has always been the plight of the peasants to see themselves subjugated by the elites of their culture. In Japan and in Korea, the peasant class were not allowed to have military arms. Swords, spears and bows were restricted for the use of the warrior elite. Now any of you who know anything about farming can see where this was a rather unrealistic law. Any tool that a peasant needs to work the soil can readily be used as a weapon of defense, especially in the calloused hands of a work-hardened countryman (and countrywoman).

The Koreans had (and have) the ho-mi. (I posted a photo on the Facebook note about this blog) The Japanese use the "hori-hori", a serrated knife that I wrote about last year. The linguist in me notices that the ho-mi, the hori-hori and the hoe are all related phonetically. I do not pretend to have the expertise to explore all this but a quick check of the etymology of Websters is that the word hoe comes from the same Germanic word for hew, to cut. Regardless of the linguistic similarities, a sharp-edged tool is still a weapon in the hands of a determined peasant.

Throughout history, the peasantry of all nations still strove to retain the ability to defend themselves and their families. In Korea and Japan, Tae Kwondo (hand-foot art) and Karate (empty-hand) was passed on to students, often in secret. Capoeira, a Brazilian martial art, "was invented by slaves and disguised as a dance in order to prevent its capoeiristas from punishment or execution for learning how to fight and defend themselves, which was forbidden to those who were legally defined as property." (Wikipedia)

The peasant cannot be blamed for wanting desperately to maintain some level of dignity and security for himself and his family. The American Experience enabled, for the first time since the early Roman Republic, the existence of the small farmer who could work his own land, free and independent, and who had a legal say in the politics and government of his country. Once having earned these rights, a Countryman is not about to give them up without a fight. --Gary
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