Remind me again, which century am I living in? By William Bowles

18 July 2006

“And, that while the Taliban reduced poppy cultivation to virtually zero in 2001, Washington and its allies are watching over the mother of all opium harvests this year.” — July 15, 2006, Paul McGeough Chief Herald Correspondent in Kabul, Sydney Morning Herald

A friend sent me a link to a BBC ‘From our own correspondent’ story straight from the bowels of an outpost of the imperial empire, Afghanistan, from an elegant cocktail party celebrating the ‘victory’ of the Empire over the ‘heathen hordes’.

Titled ‘Refuge from the real Afghanistan’ short of the method of delivery, it could well have been written in 1896 or even 1806. In fact the more I delve into media coverage the more I realise that we are headed backwards at a fast rate of knots toward a previous age, the big difference being that in the 19th century we at least had organisations and a sense that we had some power to make a change.

The mass media has divorced our populations almost entirely from the real world ‘out there’ including I’m sorry to say, many so-called leftists. For example, a recent interview conducted by Democracy Now [sic] with Chris Hedges and As’ad AbuKhalil, professor of political science at California State University reveals just how ‘embedded’ the Western left is, embedded that is in Western culture, or what passes for one.

We read the following from Chris Hedges, a ‘fellow’ of the Nation Institute and former New York Times foreign correspondent and allegedly a progressive:

“We have left extremists on all wings — Palestinian, Lebanese and Israeli — to dictate the language by which the conflicts are set, and that language is a language of violence. There is no other language now. And unless there is a force that steps in to try and moderate this self-immolation on the part of all of these extremist groups, the Middle East is going to spin into a death spiral, which could have disastrous consequences, not only for Lebanese, for Israelis, for Palestinians, but ultimately for us, as well.” — ‘Hezbollah, the United States and the Context Behind Israel’s Offensive on Lebanon’, 17 July, 2006

Thank goodness for As’ad AbuKhalil, who was able to supply a reality check for the likes of Mr Hedges:

“He [Hedges] talks about the death of the peace process. No, no, no. This is not because the peace process was not ongoing. This is the peace process, Mr. Hedges. This is part of what the United States has been doing since the beginning of the so-called peace process, to subcontract the subjugation of the Arabs and all those who defend against Israeli occupation in the area. I mean, he speaks about the spiral of violence, extremists on both sides. All this language is always intended to camouflage and hide and disguise the aggressor, the nature of the aggressor.” [ibid]

As’ad AbuKhalil continued:

“[W]e have to remind the audience about something: how Israel propaganda doesn’t get updated. In 1982, I barely survived an Israeli invasion of the country. Back then, the Israelis were saying, “We are not against Lebanon. We just want to expel the PLO out of Lebanon.” Now, they are saying the same, with one difference: Hezbollah is the Lebanese population here. I am from South Lebanon. I tell you that the entire population of South Lebanon stands behind Hezbollah, whether you like it or not. My 14-year-old nephew has been raised by secular leftists, like my family is, and yet he is now a passionate, enthusiastic supporter of Hezbollah. So when Israel said they want to drive them away from South Lebanon, what are they going to do? We’re talking about extermination of them?

“And for people who talk about the beginning of this in the arrest and capture of these two Israeli occupation soldiers, we have to remember Israel has not been sitting idly by. Israel has been violating Lebanese sovereignty for the last several years, long after its so-called partial withdrawal from South Lebanon in May of 2000. Israel violates Lebanese earth space. They kidnap shepherds and fishermen from the area where I come from, which is Tyre, at will.” [ibid]

Hedges is typical of the Western ‘intellectual’ whose, ‘plague on both your houses’ approach avoids the sticky moral issues involved that comes down to the simple fact that the imperial mindset is so deeply embedded in Western ‘civilisation’ that Hedges can longer see the simple truth; that of an imperialist state using, as it has done for centuries, sheer brute force to subdue all who oppose it.

Apologists like Hedges engage in a verbal sleight-of-hand when dealing with all who are not white, Euro-Americans, engaging in the linguistic equivalent of creating a ‘level playing field’, where the players are all allegedly equal, levelled according to Hedges by the use of violence.

Thus Hizbollah resistance is equal to F-16s and the vast array of military hardware being deployed against it. This may well equip Mr Hedges with some kind of feeling of moral superiority, you know the stuff I mean; all violence is bad, I’m against violence et al.

What a sorry state of affairs has come to pass when ‘progressives’ are reduced to such an intellectual and ethical state of bankruptcy. Yet perhaps it’s all for the good, as long that is, as we can spot the difference between what passes for progressive and the real thing.

Now you may ask, and you’d be absolutely right to, ‘what’s the real thing?’ Simplistic as it may sound it comes down to justice, simple justice. When hundreds and thousands of innocents are butchered in the name of ‘civilisation’, there is no way one can equate the reactions of a few, mainly poorly armed and desperate people, with the actions of a state that can kill from a distance with all the dispassion of a bureaucrat.

Worse still, when it has slick wordsmiths such as Mr Hedges to smooth away the rough edges of death and destruction with a few well chosen phrases. So defence becomes in the thesaurus of Mr Hedges “self-immolation”. Resistance becomes “leftist extremists” who in exercising their legitimate right to defend their lands are “spin[ning] the Middle East … into a death spiral”. But ultimately it’s not the inhabitants of the Middle East that Hedges is concerned with but as he says himself, it’s the “disastrous consequences … ultimately for us, as well.” Mr Hedges doesn’t spell out what these disastrous consequences consist of but one assumes it’s higher gasolene prices and an uncomfortable feeling that in spite of all his talk about “self-immolation”, events created by us in the first place might well bite back and with a vengeance.

The current buzzword is ‘proportionality’ or rather the lack of it. Thus this is how the BBC describes the slaughter in Lebanon:

“Civilian casualties are mounting on both sides of the border” — ‘Israel vows no let-up on Lebanon’, 17 July, 2006

But fails to mention the disproportionate level of fatalities, something like 20 to 1, with at least 200 deaths in Lebanon (at the last count) as opposed to 12 in Israel. The article goes on to describe Israel’s war crimes as follows:

“Israel launched its offensive last Wednesday following the capture of the two soldiers in a cross-border raid by Hezbollah.” [ibid]

Terror bombing of the civilian population is transformed into an “offensive” as if it’s two opposing armies, more level killing fields one supposes. And in a complete rewrite of reality, the report speaks of the Israeli creation of a “20 kilometre exclusion zone” along the Lebanese-Israeli border as follows:

“As the Israeli attacks continue, large numbers of people in the south have abandoned their homes.” [ibid]

You’ll search in vain for the statement made by the Israeli government about what this “exclusion zone” actually entails. It means the enforced removal of every human being and then levelling the entire area, in what the Nazis called a ‘scorched earth’ or Blitzkreig. Thus far, thousands of people have been driven from their homes and then bombed as they made their way out of the area in long convoys resulting in dozens of deaths.

The use of the word ‘abandoned’ has all the echoes of Israeli propaganda, used when the Palestinians ‘abandoned’ Palestine in 1948 (read, driven out). So this is the BBC’s ‘proportional’ coverage of yet another major war crime to be committed by so-called civilised nations.

Is it any wonder then, that current ‘news’ coverage more and more resembles the reports from ‘Zululand’ or Khartoum, or any one of a dozen or more British ‘possessions’ as the gallant British ‘Tommy’ shot his way across them back in the days when the sun never set?

More than anything, it reveals the mentality that has, for the most part, been instilled in this island nation for the better part of 500 years, a mentality that still exists even if covered over with a mask of ‘civilisation’. How easy it has proved to be to evoke ‘better times’, a time when Brittania ruled the waves. How easy it has been for the MSM to trigger all the ‘right kind’ of responses to war crimes of the most horrendous nature, that back in 1945 resulted in the Nuremberg trials.

The mass media has become a latter-day Leni Riefenstahl, editing reality into a presentable montage that makes the actions of mass murderers not only acceptable but presentable to the general public.

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