congo Listen to mainstream media newscasts or Bush regime spokesmen and you get the impression that outside Washington, Hollywood, Jerusalem & Baghdad, there is no news. But in the real world, events make the overblown, skewed and fabricated stories that most Americans take for complete and impartial reporting look myopic and shallow. Two examples:

Afghanistan : David Hayman reports for the Herald:

Wasn’t this the country that Tony Blair and George Bush pledged, in the same breath that announced war, that the people of Afghanistan would not be forgotten? Well, I can say after two visits to Afghanistan that they are not only forgotten but well and truly betrayed. The country is on its knees: roads, bridges, tunnels, schools, homes, hospitals, and farmlands are reduced to rubble and dust. It is one of the most heavily land-mined countries in the world. Only 5% of the rural population have access to clean water, 17% have access to medical services, 13% have access to education, 25% of all children are dead by the age of five. Life expectancy is 43. An estimated three million people are still in refugee camps in Iran and Pakistan, let alone the hundreds of thousands of internally displaced peoples. This country is in a mess and if anyone tells me that millions of dollars worth of aid is getting into this country then I will gladly take them to Afghanistan and point out the brutal truth. The people are dying! And we are turning a blind eye.

Congo :  Someni Sengupta for the NYT:

They call the machete a weapon of mass destruction here. Its ghastly wreckage can be found inside what passes for this town’s only functioning hospital. On a thin foam mattress lies a wide-eyed old man who has survived an attempted decapitation. Nearby, a mother with black moons around her eyes nurses two wounded children back to health and mourns for another two, freshly killed. It is estimated that more than three million people have died in Congo’s four-year war as a dizzying array of rival rebel armies and their patrons from nine neighboring countries have fought over Congo’s enormous spoils. Gold, diamonds and coltan ? a mineral used in cellphones ? are among the precious loot in this northeastern province called Ituri, and peace deals so far have done nothing to stanch the bloodletting. The latest massacre took place over several days this month, as militias belonging to rival Hema and Lendu tribes battled for control here in Ituri’s largest town. Today, the death toll stands at 350. Most have been buried in unmarked graves since their remains offered few details about who they were, let alone which of the warring ethnic groups they belonged to. As many as 17,000 people are huddled inside the tent cities that have sprung up in a United Nations compound, at the airport and in the heart of town.

Millions killed in genocide in Sudan, resurging famine in Ethiopia and Somalia, political instability, corruption and economic collapse in South America, tens of millions displaced and homeless due to wars in Asia and Africa, guerrilla movements and brutal, corrupt dictatorships in Central Asia, environmental holocaust accelerating everywhere, dozens of countries governed by madmen and criminals. But no mention of any of this in most of the American press or government speeches.

A few weeks ago I discussed Jack Kent’s children’s story There’s No Such Thing as a Dragon , where a once-peaceful ignored dragon keeps growing and growing until it gets so large that it starts to create havoc, and then devastation. On 9/11, one Middle Eastern dragon got so large its flailing tail was felt on this side of the Atlantic. Our response was to declare war on green tails (since there’s no such thing as a dragon we couldn’t declare war on dragons). When a green tail couldn’t be found, we attacked some other animal that we persuaded ourselves looked kind of like a green tail, though unfortunately when we killed it, it turned out we were mistaken. But we declared green tails to be in retreat, since we haven’t seen one around here lately, though we’ve been screening for them at all the airports and arresting anyone that we think looks like they might have a green tail or be a green tail sympathizer.

Meanwhile, across the globe, the army of dragons is growing ever larger. In Palestine, Afghanistan and Congo they’re larger than life. And although we’re still calling them green tails, since there’s no such thing as a dragon, we know they’re coming.

This entry was posted in How the World Really Works. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to AN ARMY OF DRAGONS

  1. PI says:

    After reading your post, I see an analogy between how liberals have treated the center in America, and how America has treated the impoverished populations around the world. American liberals have not given the center what they need rhetorically. American foreign policy has not given the poor of the world what they need. American moderates become alienated from the liberal point of view because they see no American flags on the left. They hear only criticism of America, and no praise and pride for America. They turn towards those who offer them those things. They turn, I imagine with some trepidation, towards the jingoist ultra-patriots of the right. The poor of the world become alienated from America because they see no real commitment or compassion from America. They get liberated and left to fend for themselves; their foreign aid is predicated on their family planning policies and the corruption of their leaders which is beyond their control. They turn towards those who offer them education and money and help on the ground. They turn, again I imagine with some trepidation, towards the Al Qaedas and Hamases of the world. We, all people of good will in America, must remember that the world of ideas is a capitalist world. There is a free market out there, and we must make our brand of civilization desireable to the undecided if they’re going to buy what we’re selling. If that means carying American flags to our protests, how hard is that? Aren’t we out there in support of traditional American values like democracy, freedom and inclusion? If that means spending the money we currently spend bombing and occupying Iraq on on-the-ground, hands-on foreign aid in the desperately poor areas of the world, how hard is that? We’re already spending the money. Let’s spend it on something that will demonstrate our moral strength over our military strength. As I’ve said before, we’ve got to see the real patterns and relationships below the surface if we’re going to have any hope of making things better. You can’t fix anything until you understand what’s wrong.

  2. Susan says:

    Might I add to your list Aceh, where 200 schools just got torched by rebels and government troops, and schoolboys have been executed by the government. Now the Indonesians are talking about moving 200,000 Acehns into internment camps. This is about to get extremely ugly.

  3. Dave Pollard says:

    PI, you sound even more idealistic than I am. You’re correct, the challenge being to agree on ‘what’s wrong’. The neocons see the problems as a breakdown of law and order and respect and ‘values’. Liberals see them as poverty, corruption, lack of education, environmental degradation, lack of freedoms, inequity. We each see one set of dragons but deny the other. It’s just possible that the neocons were as distressed and outraged during the Clinton administration as we are during the Bushes’. If that’s true, there is no common ground, and we’ll just lurch from one set of solutions to another as each group’s president alienates the other group’s supporters and the moderates with their zeal to undo what the last regime did, until finally the country cracks under the strain. Very disturbing.

  4. Dave Pollard says:

    Susan the Human: Aceh is a déjà vu replay of the violence in nearby East Timor, or for that matter the violence in the Balkans or Rwanda. Perhaps we need to understand the madness that causes people to butcher each other with such savagery. If we don’t, as North American politics gets more and more polarized, we might find ourselves falling into a similar nightmare of endless violence, retribution and excess.

  5. Doug Alder says:

    I don’t know if you’ve been over my way yet today Dave but I highly recommend reading The Paradox of American Nationalism – also if you’re not on the emaiil list for Forein Policy Alert I also highly recommend it too.

  6. Dave Pollard says:

    Thanks, Doug, I’m a couple of days behind in my reading, so I hadn’t seen this. Interesting to see patriotism equated with nationalism, and to see the schism between the US and Europe on the utility of the American model of democracy and capitalism. Once again we see two incompatible worldviews: an American one that sees Europeans as resentful and jealous of America’s ‘superior’ model, and a European one that sees Americans as doctrinaire, ideologically short-sighted and naive.

  7. Doug Alder says:

    Yes. I thought it appropos to your post today. If the US gets involved, even on a strictly humanitarian basis, in other disputes etc it needs to understand not only how it is perceived elsewhere but why it is perceived that way. It is too simplistic for people, like the administration, to state that anti-americanism is simply bad people bad mouthing the US out of jealousy, trying to stir up trouble for their own nefarious purposes.

  8. Dave Pollard says:

    Alas, George seems quite fond of simplistic things. I heard the other day that as a child he used to put frogs in plastic bags and blow them up with firecrackers. Psychologists claim that childhood animal cruelty is an excellent predictor of adult psychopathy, and psychopaths are known to like oversimplifications, everything black & white, so maybe Vonnegut’s diagnosis of Bush is correct, and we have a madman in charge of the world’s most powerful and technologically advanced army.

  9. PI says:

    “It’s just possible that the neocons were as distressed and outraged during the Clinton administration as we are during the Bushes’.”At least as distressed, if not more so.

Comments are closed.