Understanding why some events are kept alive in our collective consciousness and others interred
By PRANAY SHARMA (Published October 17, 2011 in Outlook India)
As people across the world sniffled at the poignant ceremony commemorating the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, beamed live from Ground Zero in New York, few would have remembered the significance this date holds for the people of Chile. It was on September 11, 1973, that the democratically elected government of Salvadore Allende was dislodged through a coup, organised, ironically, at the behest of the CIA, an incident more or less effaced from the ‘globalised memory’. Few, too, would have muttered a silent prayer for the thousands who have perished in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, countries turned into veritable killing fields because of the war on terror that the Americans unleashed as retribution for the terror attacks.
Truly, power is about determining what people remember and what they forget. It’s a striking asymmetry.
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A few days ago, Rick Perry implied that it is OK to overlook the recently released video of US soldiers pissing over dead Afghan bodies because they are just “19-year-old kids”. He additionally “accused the Obama administration of ‘over-the-top rhetoric’ and ‘disdain for the military’ in its condemnation of (this) video”. Yesterday a crowd of Americans in South Carolina chanted “U.S.A! U.S.A!” in a homicidal manner as they stood in front of their idol, Newt Gingrich; a person who suggested that the way for Black people to get out of poverty is to make their children work as janitors. In December last year Gingrich said that the Palestinians are an invented people, who have no right to Israel’s promised land. This man has a PhD. in History. George H.W. Bush (and more recently Mitt Romney) has time and again repeated that he “will never apologize for America!”
In Crito, Socrates refuses to escape from Athenian prison, even though he knows that he is going to be sentenced to death. He argues that he has a moral obligation to honor his legal obligation, since he owes all he has to the city. So do we support everything our country does, provided it deems itself a Republic?
What when the state turns against humanity in the name of security? In the fiscal year 2011, the US was providing Israel with $8.2 million/DAY in military aid to murder Palestinians in broad daylight. The Republic of India stations approximately 700,000 troops in the tiny valley of Kashmir, the most militarized region in the world, and commits human rights abuses daily.
How much nationalism is too much?
This film, titled “The Truth and Lies of 9/11” by Michael Ruppert, an author, investigative journalist and former LAPD officer investigates the real reasons behind the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Ruppert does not base his analysis on any sort of speculation about the 9/11 attacks, but on substantive evidence. A good book to read by Ruppert covering this subject is “Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil”.
President Obama’s re-election strategy: “I might suck, but they suck much worse!” My sentiments exactly.
“You can’t trust him. I just saw it in his eyes.”
I love this clip for numerous reasons. I love that Romney went to the veteran, Bob, thinking he’s probably going to love Romney for all his conservative crap and give him positive publicity. I love how Romney almost seems excited about the gay marriage question, since he assumes the old, white male Vietnam veteran is going to be on his side. I love how much more fake Romney got when he realizes the guy he is speaking to is gay. I love how Romney cannot get Bob to stop speaking his mind with his vague “we apparently disagree on that” bullshit. I love how stressed out Romney’s minions get when they see the direction the conversation is going in and try to wrap it up in a hurry. I love how Bob calls him out by saying “I guess the question was too hot”. I love how Bob made sure he spoke his mind at the end before Romney ran away. I love how Romney looks like he was slapped in the face.
This year, the GOP has decided not to let anyone who exhibits even a smidgen of intelligence or honesty run. It is the race to the least vile and abhorrent. Amongst all the clowns, Gingrich and Perry take the cake. Huntsman has a very lackluster candidacy and seems like he should belong in the Democratic party, and Santorum is a hypocritical and loony Christian fanatic. I ultimately think that it will come down to Paul, who is suddenly being touted as some sort of hero and Romney, who will say anything to win. I will be outlining and comparing these two in this article.
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“To a distraught, confused people whose pride has just been wounded, whose loved ones have been tragically killed, whose anger is fresh and sharp, the inanities about the “clash of civilisations” and the “good v evil” discourse home in unerringly. They are cynically doled out by government spokesmen like a daily dose of vitamins or anti-depressants. Regular medication ensures that mainland America continues to remain the enigma it has always been – a curiously insular people, administered by a pathologically meddlesome, promiscuous government”.
- Arundhati Roy, 'Brutality Smeared in Peanut Butter' (2001)
Full article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2001/oct/23/afghanistan.terrorism8