Sunday, March 17, 2013

March 17: Riverview to build memorial to 1950...

..yes, I forgot to mention this in yesterday's blog. Developers have bought a Riverview golf course (presumably because it isn't making money), and will convert it into a lovely garden community with houses well spread out and a driveway complete with car as an absolute necessity. This is an idea whose time has come   -  and, long ago, gone.

Riverview's urban planning must be done by the same people who do it for Moncton - the land developers.

Let's think a bit about what is going on in world affairs - and why.

The chaos in Africa and the Middle East is stunning - though one would never know it from reading the TandT. In Libya, the side we backed when we set up a civil war to get Ghadaffi. the side Canada sent aircraft to bomb for, there is utter chaos in government and in the streets. The ones we backed to establish democracy haven't done it. And they aren't going to.

In fact, there is no government in Libya to speak of, Christians are arrested and murdered just for being Christians, and country is awash in uncontrolled weapons, almost all thoughtfully supplied by the US.

In Syria, the 'rebel' side supposedly fighting to bring democracy to Syria gets much of its money and supplies from Saudi Arabia, probably the most profoundly dictatorial country in the world.

Meanwhile, the US has been cooperating in sending money, weapons and training to the 'rebels', who are largely Moslem opponents of the US. Confusing? Yes. It's intended to be.

And one of the few, middle east countries to establish a successful, secular democracy, Iran, had it overthrown by the US, Britain and France to be replaced by a brutal dictator who was their puppet. So it was because of our actions that Iran rebelled, this time to form a government that was Moslem.

What made that whole region such a chaos? The short answer is that we, the West, did it.

It goes way back, but was particularly pronounced from 1700 on, aided by improved ship building and navigation. Merchants discovered huge areas with resources to be taken, with markets for their goods, areas whose military powers were way behind those of western Europe. There was money to be made, easy money.

The leading powers in the imperial growth were Britain, France, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands. The motives were commercial, though commonly cloaked with religion. In other words, these were wars for the benefit of big business. They were fought to get cheap labour, often slave labour, which could then be used to make people pillage their own land, to hand over gold, diamonds,and other resources, and to produce food and narcotics for sale, often forced sale, to other colonies.

Such were the beginnings of what we call globalization.

In the process, uncounted millions were murdered, tortured, enslaved, starved, worked to death. Existing social structures were destroyed, usually with no replacement. In South Africa, Britain ruled on the basis of race, denying native Africans basic rights, including education, in a system that survived into the 1960s.

It still happens - in Nigeria, for example. And, worst of all in Congo where forest destruction, unspeakable pollution  caused by mining, slavery and semi-slavery are still common. A friend who was there as a missionary for thirty years told me that there was so much chaos throughout the country that he could never leave the house at night. and bandits so covered the countryside as to make supplies unreliable. Accordingly, he often had to hunt to feed his family.

Oh, there was once an elected government. But the leader was promptly murdered, so corporations could install a more suitable leader.

The US did the same, especially in Central America, where American business, backed by the army, stole land and resources, forced starvation wages.and dangerous conditions on the people. By 1900, it was expanding its ambitions to include Asia, notably in The Philipines, Japan, and China.

There are very good reasons why people in most of the world are not fond of the West.

In most cases, the Europeans and Americans ruled by dividing the people against each other, by creating one colonial group to be used against the others. In India, the British favoured the Moslems with job and administrative openings. That, when India broke away from Britain, is what caused a ferocious, civil war from which Pakistan emerged as a separate nation. The two nations still glare at each other, each inches from nuclear war.

The US did the same. In Haiti, for example, it favoured an elite made up of those of mixed blood. That sort of thing is why, when countries like Cuba and Venezuela broke free, large numbers fled to the US. They weren't fleeing for freedom. They were people who had never known or wanted freedom. If they had wanted those, they would have fled during the years of US-imposed dictators. They fled because they had lost their positions as collaborators of the dictators. (Though you would never guess that from reading the North American press.)

The West, including the US, did NOT bring freedom to the world. For the most part it brought poverty, starvation, unspeakable cruelty and death. And it often destroyed democracy - as it did in Haiti and Guatemala and Iran.

It was those years of pillage, not capitalism or democracy, that created the western wealth of the nineteenth century. It was simply theft. The gold stolen from South Africa and the profits of opium forced on China built the CPR and built industries across Canada and the US.

The Second World War brought down the European empires, and would later hit even the American empire as in Cuba and Venezuela.

Business leaders, especially in the US, planned to turn the tide in a document called "Project for the New American Century". It's on the web and, essentially, it's an obvious plan for world domination for the benefit of big business. All that was needed was a way to sell this scheme for decades of war to the American people.

I don't buy the conspiracy theories that 9/11 was planned by American authorities. But it was certainly used to whip up war fever and hysteria. Now, there was the essential factor for people who wanted war - a hated enemy. That hatred and fear has been used ever since as an excuse to effectively rip up constitutional guarantees of human rights in the US, justify assassination teams and torture prisons all over the world, an invasion of Iraq based on an obvious lie by Bush and Blair, and a war with Afghanistan which we now know to have been unjustified.

And there is much, much more to come as the US, Britain and France try to re-establish the good, old days by reconquering the old empires. The financial cost is horrendous. But fear not. The wealthy, now making their biggest profits in 50 years, are not suffering. That suffering will be passed on to us in budget cuts to essential services, privatization of education and health, and higher taxes.

Big business  has been a major force in politics and war for at least 200 years. Now, it's coming out of the closet.

That's what the daily news is really all about.

Will it work? Probably not. The Iraq war has probably destroyed a nation which will now only radicalize. The greed for more and more money ignores the reality that other people also need money. Otherwise, where are the sales going to come from? It's a self-destructive cycle we're being locked into - in the end, as destructive of the wealthy as of the poor.

I said the wealthy were powerful. I never said they were smart.

Sorry this is late. I have a very sick computer which I shall take in tomorrow, hoping to have it back in time to do a blog.

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