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October 23, 2006

Primitive, Feudal Socities

The Bush propaganda machine was at in again today. This time, the US ambassador to Afghanistan described the country as "primitive and feudal" prior to the Taliban on NPR's Morning Edition. I kept thinking about that lyrical book that has captured the hearts and minds of millions of Americans. You remember - The Kite Runner.

One Eurocentric racist's primitive society is another's well developed, secular-leaning Arab state.

Alas, this was only the first time I had to hear lazy rhetoric. Despite my years of activist experience, I still don't know the correct way to debunk the racist diatribes of family friends. My parents' former neighbors were over today. They described how beautiful Israel is; how safe it is because the Palestinians are now killing themselves. (They denied the reality I spoke when I said "sure Israel is safe, they're killing Palestinians in Palestine.") They went on to say something about all Arabs being incapable of peace, and then referred to Sunnis and Shiites. It troubles me to repeat this trash. I left the room in disgust, knowing that I was too angry to offer a well-reasoned response. Besides, people who have been indoctrinated as much as they have cannot hear what I have to say.

But why do I back away? Why can't I control my anger? Calling people's arguments racist and lazy does nothing to change their minds. Is there anything I could've said to have a reasonable debate? Probably not. But the family friend didn't bother me as much as someone else in the room. See, for the life of me, I can't understand why my own father was agreeing with the rhetoric.

There's something very basic that most US progressives never bother to think about. The fact is that most of our neighbors truly believe the propaganda machine. They believe "Islamo-fascists" are out to get them. They believe Terrorism is the new public enemy #1, and that Terrorism = Muslims = Arabs = Islam = irrational killers.

Try to find one public official who will say publicly that the war on terrorism doesn't exist. You cannot fight terror with a war and you cannot wage a war against a tactic.

But nevermind the man behind the curtain, we've got wars to wage.

Also, pay no attention to the women who continue to suffer in Afghanistan - who are being raped and refused education. Pay no attention to the war lords who last week were the Taliban's allies. Those war lord are our allies now.

And pay no attention to the thousands millions of women forced to go without education in Iraq because of fears for their physical safety. Pay no attention to the spotty electrical service three years after invasion, brought to you buy Halliburton & co. Never you mind the private propaganda machine your tax money has supported to plant phony stories in Iraqi newspapers. Winning hearts and minds requires us to fork over billions to American war profiteers who will shuffle pennies into Iraqi hands who might just reconstruct their country. Either that, or they'll learn the true use of instability - self aggrandizement.

So, how do I make these truths known to the Neanderthals in my mist? I don't know. You tell me.

Posted by cj at October 23, 2006 11:38 PM


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