Friday, January 9, 2015

Jan. 9: Irvings, McCains and Ganongs return from courageous mission..... save lives in Ebola plague.....

Wow! Wow! Wow!

I can see it all now - a front page in full colour, banner headline, and the whole first section dedicated to the  courage and selflessness  of our business leaders. And a big editorial that the new civic centre will be named after all of them making the sign for it the biggest hockey rink sign in the world. And it will also house a new and special hall of fame just for them.

And, of course, there would be a column by Norbert saying their travels prove that shale gas prevents Ebola, plus other columns from the usual nothing-sayers about the uniqueness of the spirit of Moncton....

Too bad it never happened. Only one person showed the courage and selflessness to go on the expedition to fight Ebola. And she, always frivolous and unthinking, was silly enough to be born with the name McLeary. So this province's chief medical officer came back from ten weeks of mortal danger. And the Irving press has nothing to say about it. Nada.

Mind you, I'm sure it has nothing to do with the time she delivered an honest report on the dangers of fracking - or with the urge of the upper business class to get control of medical care in this province. Could all you editors, reporters and columnists for the Irving press please line up? I'd like to see how many of you it takes to make a worm.

Thursday's paper has a front page picture of the gymn in the new Moncton High. Very interesting. The name for the school teams is on the floor.   Knights. Very interesting. Knights were strong and warlike and brave - and men....  Check out other schools. You'll find the same sort of thing. Beatrice McNaughton School was named after a woman. (And I've asked dozens of people in the education system who she was - and they don't know.) Anyway, the school symbol for its teams is a hairy, Scots warrior - and a man.  Are there no girls in our high schools?

It all reminds me of the good old days when sports were only for upper class males because sports were thought to produce the qualities needed by rich males to get ahead in business and to be leaders.. As a result, women and the poor were excluded from most, organized sport. After all, women and the poor would only get spoiled by trying to be as good as rich men. Women could golf, it's true - but only one day a year. And they had to wear full dresses and corsets, and boots, and wide, feathery hats. Women were permitted to play tennis more often- but still in full, nineteenth century rig, and they were expected only to lob the ball gently into the air - and giggle.

It's nice to see our high schools carrying on old traditions.

The big foreign news is the shooting in Paris of twelve people who worked for a magazine. The shooting,  by two men, was retaliation for the magazine running cartoons of Mohammed. I've been on the computer all day, talking to friends in journalism about it. And I am left sickened by a day of reading racism, bigotry, and the peddling of hatred. Worse, I know it can't be changed. A bigot has a head like the Rock of Gibraltar - and we all of us, all, have our bigotries.

To start, the killers were in the wrong. Of course, they were. A cartoon, no matter how offensive it may be to some people, does not justify killing anybody. Understand, too, that I am not moralizing here. Peronally, I do  think it is immoral to kill. But that's not my point right now. My point is about cause and effect. When anything happens, it has a cause that made it happen. And its effect on all the rest of us is important because   the nature of that effect will be the cause of what we do. And so it goes. Cause and effect. Got that?

The killings were immoral. They were wrong by any standard I can think of. There can be no doubt of that.

Now, read all the statements by world leaders  on p. B5 of the January 8 Times and Transcript.

French president Hollande "this is an act of exceptional barbarism" "Time after time we  have defended the values for which we stand...."  One after the other, they all condemn it as an act of terrorism.  Not one of them suggests a possible cause except in the characters of the killers. All say, or imply, that their countries have always opposed such terrorism. Harper says something, too,  on another page. I can't find it, now, but it's pure Harper. He says much the same as the others but, being Harper, is pretty vague on what he'll do.

All of them are being more than a little untruthful because all of them have either carried out or smiled on terrorism. The US led in the killing of more than a quarter million Guatemalan civilians. What was that if not terrorism? Then it killed millions of Vietnamese, Iraqis, Afghanis, Libyans; and it now  is sponsoring a "civil war" in Syria that has killed hundreds of thousands and made refugees of millions.  France, far from opposing terrorism, has a long history of carrying it out. Did you seriously think all those foreign legionnaires just walked in the desert and sang? They were hired thugs who raped, looted, murdered civilians, tortured wherever they went. A standard trophy for them was tobacco pouch made from the breast of a murdered woman. Many years ago, I worked with a former French soldier who used to show off pictures of people  he had tortured. The US army today is heavily made up of similar hired (contracted) thugs from all over the world.  The British, God bless the Queen were terrorists on a grand scale for what some people fondly recall as the British Empire. It was the biggest venture in history to pillage the world, using slavery, starvation, addiction, murder and torture. Perhaps the most vicious was freedom-loving Belgium which killed (and still kills) tens of millions in Congo. And we Canadians join in the fun by owning mines that make stockholders rich off the poverty and misery one can inflict when children as young as five are sent into the mines. Oh, and us Canadians were also up to our ears in the US torture scandal (which Harper, of course, has never criticized).  Prisoners being sent to overseas prisons for torture were assembled in Canada, to be flown out of Canadian airports to the overseas prisons. That was to help keep the operation secret. Canadian government officials were also known to sit in on torture sessions, and to be useful to our American neighbours in their work.

None of that, course, justifies or explains the Paris shootings. Nothing ever will. But it does raise questions about the self-righteousness of the leaders on "our side". And the tone of what they say strongly implies that terrorists are, by definition, Muslims. And, if that's truth, it must be genetic, something built into Muslims. They are born evil. And that slips into our racist and bigoted minds so smoothly that few even notice it.

Result? There's only one solution. Kill more Muslims. Kill all of them. That's the solution to Jews that Hitler sold to the German people. And he did it by making the same statements that you can read in the TandT. And what will happen? We don't even have to guess. We will kill more Muslims - and that will create more 'extremists' and 'terrorists'. We've been there, done that. So let's forget the self-righteous moralizing.

Let's talk cause and effect. Not revenge. Getting even means nothing if the trouble goes on. And it will go on. So let's look for a solution. And to do that we have to look at the cause.

Let's see, what could have caused so many Muslims to dislike us? Is it because we have oil, and they want it? No. They have oil.  Could it be something we have done?

Well, none of our leaders mention it. But we have been pretty intensely invading and looting Muslim countries for over a century. And that might kind of worry them because, though we haven't noticed it, Christians are the most murderous religious group in world history. It was our side that took a family of desert bandits, and made them the Royal family of Saudi Arabia, the most brutal and reactionary dictatorship in the world. (Yes. That's really what Lawrence of Arabia was all about.) It was also our side, Britain and the US, that overthrew democracy in Iran, and installed a brutal and avaricious dictator, the Shah. And we got very angry when Iranians kicked him out to elect their own government. The US has never forgiven Iran for that. That's why the US paid Saddam to invade Iran in a dreadfully bloody war. That's also why the US still hates Iran.

Then our side invaded Iraq killing well over a million people, the majority civilians, Of course, it was necessary because Saddam was a "bad man". Yes, he was - though most of the bad things were things the US paid him to do. But we wisely hanged him before that part could come out.

So let's consider the possibility that this sort of constant intrusion and looting has made some Muslims into terrorists. It certainly makes more sense than the ides that it's in their genes. And if that's the cause, what should we do?

Well, we don't let those two killers off. Nothing justifies what they did. But what shall we do to Muslims in general?  We could kill them all. We might. But, frankly, most of the world already fears and that hates "our side"  so much that such a slaughter might make the world more dangerous, not less.

I won't pretend to have an answer right now. I won't because it's all far more complicated than I could say in a blog. For example, intruding on a society frequently destroys what we vaguely call its culture. In effect, the people lose their values, their faith, their ability to function as a society. That's what happened to American Blacks who were kidnapped, enslaved, forced into a world that had no relation to them. To this day, centuries later, they still have not recovered,  have not discovered who they really are as a society. A very similar thing happened to our native societies. We didn't just kill them or shove them onto reserves. We destroyed the very fabric of their societies. Many of them are trying to rediscover what they were, what they believed in. But it's a hard struggle. And even if they succeed in it, they still have to figure how to adapt it to the world we have forced them to live in.

There are no quick and easy answers. But one thing is sure. What we are hearing from our leaders, self-righteousness, vengefulness, bigotry and racism, is the sure path to disaster.

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