Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Unpopular Thoughts About Popular Causes

Sometimes I expect my opinions to be regarded as controversial or outright strange, but of course that doesn't prevent me from having such opinions or expressing them. A couple of recent examples come to mind...

Somebody was trying to get me to promote "Live 8" on my blog last week and I think he was a spammer but in any case I didn't fall for it. Lately I've been reading a few others who didn't fall for it either.

Chris Floyd has been writing about this lately and you know how I love to link to Chris. Here's his latest on the subject, and a short quote, too:
Once more, George Monbiot delivers the goods on the horrific farce of "Live 8" and the "Make Poverty History" movement. Monbiot reveals what almost every single mainstream article about these efforts conceals: that Bush and Blair are "outsourcing" their "benevolent" programs for Africa to some of the most rapacious corporations in the world. They are making a vicious mockery of the generous impulses of millions of young people, marketing themselves as concerned and compassionate leaders while hiding the draconian conditions of near-colonial exploitation they are imposing on any African nation that takes up their offers of aid and debt relief.

I suppose what shocks me most in all of this is the fact that I am still able to be shocked by the shameless, self-serving, murderous lies of political leaders, and the extent to which they are utterly and completely bought and sold by Big Money. Even so, the cynicism displayed in this sickening episode takes my breath away. Once again, I must drag out a line I've used repeatedly in the Bush-Blair era and cry out with a loud voice, saying: "What quadrant of hell is hot enough for such men?"
No quadrant that I know of, Chris. But then again I mostly know the cold places. Kurt Nimmo has been on this issue a lot lately too; here, for instance.

As for me, I implicitly dismissed the whole thing with a single post not long ago. But then I know nothing. And it messes with my stone-cold and lowly little brain when serious journalists come along a few weeks later with evidence I had only suspected. It's dat ole debbil in-too-ish-in! Or is it simply a stubborn unwillingness to take apparent good news at face value?

Who knows? But here's an important paragraph from George Monbiot's piece:
Without a critique of power, our campaign, so marvellously and so disastrously inclusive, will merely enhance this effort. Debt, unfair terms of trade and poverty are not causes of Africa's problems but symptoms. The cause is power: the ability of the G8 nations and their corporations to run other people's lives. Where, on the Live 8 stages and in Edinburgh, was the campaign against the G8's control of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the UN? Where was the demand for binding global laws for multinational companies?
... on another front...

I was also asked last week to promote an effort to force the administration to close the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, which is, of course, notorious for reports of torture as well as the issue of indefinite confinement without charge or trial or right to appeal or contact with family or a lawyer. Who could support such a thing? Even if the prisoners [whom the administration chooses to call "detainees"] weren't being abused, who could support such a thing??

"Close Gitmo", goes the cry. And who could resist? This was not spam; the plea came from an online friend, whose work I admire. But I was not moved.

Regular readers of this space will know that this cold and lowly blogger rails against the administration's policy of ever-spreading torture chambers above all else ... still the Winter Patriot does not support the movement to "Close Gitmo".

Why? First of all because of the reasons that are usually given by those who want Gitmo closed. "It gives propaganda opportunities to America's enemies" and so on. Maybe I could think about supporting the movement if I heard a lot more of "THIS IS WRONG" and a lot less of "THIS MAKES US LOOK BAD". But not likely.

It's deja vu all over again: and I've seen the same mistake before, too. Most recently it was a little boy picking his nose. His mother reprimanded him, saying: "Stop that; it's disgusting. Who wants to see that? I don't want to see that! If you want to pick your nose then go up to your room and pick your nose where I don't have to look at you." But the father said: "Knock it off! Don't pick your nose; it's disgusting."

You see what I'm saying? If they close Gitmo and keep torturing people in Abu Ghraib, Bagram, other places we don't even know about; plus ships at sea or anchored at Diego Garcia; plus so-called "extraordinary rendition", where people are kidnapped and shipped to foreign countries to be tortured by proxy ... as long as they do ANY of these things, we should be shouting "Stop The Torture!"

Not "Torture People Elsewhere!"

Not "Do That Where I Don't Have To Look At It!"

But a good straightforward "Knock It Off!!"

As long as they are unwilling to knock it off then I say they should keep Gitmo open. I think if they're going to keep doing these things then they should keep them doing them where we can see them. So the world will know what sort of evil lurks in the hearts of the monsters who have taken over our country.