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Tonka Trucks and Imperialism

Tonka Trucks and Imperialism

When I was a pre-schooler, my beleaguered mom dropped me off at some church nursery. I guess she wanted to go shopping without chasing my adventurous fanny down the street. I was content because the church had a room full of toys, including a Tonka truck, those glorious metal beauties.

As I sat rolling my Tonka truck back and forth, minding my own business, a scrawny, pasty-faced little boy walked up, snatched my truck, and growled! I watched in disbelief as he marched across the room and began playing with my truck. Disbelief because I was well-trained in protecting my resources by having four brothers. This kid just wrote a check his arse could not cash.

I walked across the room, grabbed the truck back and swung it like a baseball bat at his head. Now, I could swing a bat and blood immediately gushed from a cut over his eyebrow. I resumed playing while pasty-face screamed like a sissy. This summoned the church ladies who soon summoned my mom and I was exiled from that nursery. I never defended myself, felt guilty nor resentful. I had handled it.

I was thinking about this in relation to imperialism: invading another land and snatching their stuff. I think that’s wrong, don’t you? The Nazi war crime trials hung the perps for the war crime of aggressive war (not killing Jews.) The idea was that aggressive war starts all the other war crimes. Aggressive war is invading another land and snatching their stuff, whatever the pretext. Colonialism is staying in that land and taking it over as your own.

I think that’s wrong, don’t you? We humans are still doing it and I hope we grow up someday. You may really, really want that Tonka truck. You could buy it, ask for it, trade for it-you could do a lot of things besides snatch it and growl, because it’s wrong and…you just might be writing a check your arse cannot cash.

International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, which followed World War II, “War is essentially an evil thing. Its consequences are not confined to the belligerent states alone, but affect the whole world. To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”