Category Archives: Colonialism

Violence breeds violence. When will we finally learn that?

“Our thoughts are with the victims and their relatives. Just as they are with the millions of victims that western terrorism is responsible for, by unlawful use of force and wars of aggression.

Since the terrorist deeds hitting us are, beyond reasonable doubt, induced and provoked by our violence, there is a self-evident way to counteract them: stop our own crimes.

We should instead try the Chinese – peaceful – way to conquer the world: by aid, trade and investments.”

I posted those words on the NYTimes Readers Comments to an article about the Manchester attack, with to date not one “Recommend” from readers. On the other end of the list, with almost 700 Recommends, one finds the following sentences:

“When my son heard about this horror, he looked at me and said ‘Why, Mommy? Why would somebody do such a thing?”

“in the end I just said, ‘I don’t actually know. I don’t know why.'”

“we all so desperately want this to stop and we don’t know how to make it end.”

One can’t blame this woman since she is misinformed by our media like most of us. But on the other hand it should’t take much imagination to picture oneself in the same situation as a fellow human being in the Middle East, in countries torn apart by the merciless war machine hitting them from “the free world”. And if thinking alone doesn’t work, the Internet is abundant with testimony from the suffering people.

Take the interview with the Yemeni boy in his lower teens who had lived in the U.S. and moved back to his village, where he managed to convince his countrymen that America was a fair country. Then came a drone-strike killing innocent people, and all his efforts were in vain. They then naturally hated the U.S. and lived in constant fear of the drones, praising cloudy days because drones can’t fly then.

Or take the bombed wedding parties (at least eight such U.S. bombings since 2001, according to The Nation), together killing more people than all terrorist attacks in Europe in the same time-span. The human beings we threaten with immediate death are more eligible to “don’t know how to make it end” than we are. The only response some of them can think of is terrorism (they are in other words just as vindictive as many U.S. citizens after 9/11). These are just minor examples, the number of killed in Iraq alone exceeds one million by now.

It seems impossible that their terrorism will achieve any productive goal whatsoever. It will just induce even more atrocities from “the free world”, provoking further terrorism, in a never-ending loop. Contrary to what the woman above thinks, there is a simple way to break this loop: stop our violence!

Europeans and their offshoots in America have for 500 years dominated the world with military power. We have killed millions and millions of poor, innocent people through the centuries (besides shortening the lives of hundreds of millions through economic suppression.) Violence has worked as far as the western well-being is concerned. For those at the wrong end of the club it has been detrimental in all aspects. The new terrorism by the oppressed is a clear sign that our violence doesn’t work the way it used to.

China has demonstrated a way forward, we just have to achieve the same cultural and rational level as them. It should be easy: see and learn! A new era is dawning, as long as we can prevent the lunatics from incinerating the globe into nuclear ashes, or clean the planet from human beings through a climate catastrophe.

And yes! We can!

Anti-colonialism that we call colonialism: China in Africa

Europeans and their offshoots have colonized the world for 500 years, enslaving, killing and robbing indigenous people on all continents. My schoolbooks 60 years ago taught us that the pagans should be grateful to us for giving them Christianity, which we considered the height of civilization (to which Gore Vidal famously said: yes, we gave them Christian burials). What we did was to exchange one superstition for another, destroying ancient cultures in the process.

The progress we now see in the South is closely correlated to the West losing its neo-colonial grip on the developing countries. In Asia this happened earlier and coincided with rejection of western neoliberal dogmas. In Africa and Latin America it’s a more recent phenomenon, and the pace of development is impressive. Extreme poverty is rapidly diminishing.

Now there really is a change in paradigm going on in the world, in which China is showing how a country can gain power without using power. The peaceful and large-scale “invasion” with investments and aid in Africa and elsewhere is a forceful refutation of the western idea of violence being a sustainable way to obtain influence in the world.

China’s efforts benefit themselves as well as the receiving countries. The advantages of peace will be enforced by every new railway, school, road, mine, hospital etc. that’s being built. At a first glance it could look as if pacifists’ centuries old dreams have turned into reality.

Since no one can be against such benevolent enterprises, our media has chosen its first line of defense: to ignore them. The philistine Swedish media are masters in that art, while papers like the New York Times sometimes opens a minor vent to the real world. And that’s what they did the other day on China’s industrious ventures in Africa, and particularly in the small, desert country of Namibia.

The NYT article is long (18 typed pages) and mostly informative, but naturally not lacking insidious fault-finding and hyper-criticism of the kind we save for our enemies. The story focuses on the Husab Uranium Mine, a §4.6 billion investment to construct the second largest uranium mine in the world. It’s intended to support China’s rapidly expanding nuclear power program, also casting light on another benign effort: to reduce CO­2 emissions, benefitting the environment, not just for China itself but for the entire globe. When fully operative, the mine is estimated to increase the Namibian GDP by 5 percent.

The special relationship between the two countries goes back to the 1960s when China supported the liberation movement Swapo, who struggled against an apartheid regime (ruling the country in a way that even US nowadays condemn). China is not pacifist but upholds a strict policy of non-interference, meaning that they oppose military actions against other nations. Consequently, it supports the Namibian military and its ability to defend its own country.

“China’s gravitational pull can be felt today in every nook of the globe” says NYT article. Then it devotes considerable space to ransack all kinds of problems that inevitably follows from international operations on this scale. Friction between cultures, assiduous strangers giving orders, there are all kinds of possible difficulties, most thoroughly examined by the author.

“Is China the World’s New Colonial Power?” the headline to the article reads. To compare China’s efforts of improving the economies in poor countries with our enslaving, robbing and murdering colonialism is of course a disgrace. It’s equivalent to compare a surgeon with a knife killer.

This patronizing and contemptuous attitude in our mainstream media and public narrative is of course despicable. We are overrun by China’s peaceful offensive, while we continue to destroy everything that gets in our way. The West has turned the entire Middle East into a complete disaster, bombing it to rubbles, leading to the death of millions and forcing even more millions to join a refugee flood. And we are still unable to show even a trace of humility (except among dissidents in the margin).

Our way of treating the world is not sustainable in the long run. Luckily the human species has been endowed with a rather potent brain which inevitably will figure out that China’s way is far better than ours. When that materializes maybe even the future of the human species can be saved.

Perpetual violence – to be cured by more violence?

Baton Rouge again…

This time it’s said to be retaliation for the last time. In that case it’s how violence works, which is a truism familiar to everyone. Also well-known is that violence easily triggers chain reactions, multiplying the killings.

One reasonable explanation for why the US police use their weapons so readily is that they must expect anyone they confront to have a gun. This excuse was put forward in an American online paper, followed by critique of the generous gun laws. But apart from the abundance of deadly weapons in a society, crazy in itself, there are normally specific reasons to kill before anyone takes that often suicidal step. And the reasons are plenty and obvious.

On the international scene Europeans, and their descendants in America and elsewhere, have subdued large parts of the world with brutal, immeasurable violence for 500 years. If people on the wrong end of the club should do what we do, retaliate on the same scale, we haven’t seen nothing yet… And we have not ended our butchery! By setting the whole Middle East on fire we have implanted the violence, making people in the region kill each other brutally.

Domestically the neoliberal assault by the ruling class against ordinary people has created multiple causes for conflicts. Had we lived in the short period of fairly civilized western life, the one we experienced 1945-75, a strong labor movement would have fought back with peaceful means against the self-indulgent, arrogant and greedy little clique that has been allowed to grab most of our countries’ wealth and power.

But the labor movements have lost much of their territory in the ideological warfare launched by the “elites”. It turned out that the little clique controlled most of the media, which in turn made us believe that they were the truthful and objective media in the world (unlike our enemies’ propaganda outlets).

Our propaganda of all kinds – some of it called advertisment – has been pushed down people’s throats. No surprise that we have been made obedient, and passively led to fulfil our purpose in a society whose main goal is to enrich a miniscule group of unbelievably rich, at the same time probably destroying all prospects for human life in a sinister future, which comes even closer by the day.

Hopefully that future is not inevitable. To turn events in a hopeful direction “just” requires global popular struggle, solidarity, a completely different economic system and rational oversight, among many other things. The key issue is to separate economic power from political might, tough enough.

The concept “property” has to be given a new implication. And a really lasting society in which the human species will survive has certainly to be something radically different than the braindead and consumer-slave herd driven for the main benefit of the super-rich.

Something we could really call Democracy.

Self-perpetuating terrorism – ours and theirs

And now also Nice…

Summer in Sweden will not take off; it’s chilly and the sky is shedding tears. Our weather matches the situation in the world these days. Shootings and bombings everywhere, perpetual wars, millions on the run from one devastated country to another, richer societies creating barriers to stem the flow coming towards them. How crazy have we become as a species?

We hold life as an invaluable gift, and rightly so. We who happen to live should feel extremely lucky since it’s almost improbable that only (and precisely) we are given a life in this endless universe. And we mostly do cherish life intensely; at least we protect our nearest and dearest from dying, with all our might.

But we are certainly not consistent. The lives of people we call enemies or whom we dislike for some reason whatsoever are not at all sacred for us. Against them we might stage what we call a war, and then feel free to kill them indiscriminately.

My US online media outlet illustrated this one-sided moral after the Orlando shootings. For days they expressed their deep grief and their heartfelt compassion with the victim’s families and friends. It was clear that they considered the lives of the killed human beings very dear and that the perpetrator had committed an unforgivable deed. Back to back with such a sacred celebration of life one could then read a call for the US to send more deadly weapons to the rebels in Syria to make them capable of ending more lives.

Our mainstream opinion is not just inconsistent but also shoddy racist. And Swedish media don’t deviate from that main stream. The horrible shootings in Paris and Orlando were covered broadly and in detail, and with warm compassion with the victims. A much worse bombing in Baghdad was just mentioned quite briefly and with demonstrative lack of empathy. Realizing this, one Kareem Rahaman wrote on Twitter: “More deaths in Iraq in the last week than Paris and Orlando combined but nobody is changing their profile pics, building colors, etc.”

If we look for a rational behind this discriminatory thinking we don’t find any. It’s not nearness: Orlando Florida is more than double the distance from Stockholm than Bagdad. Is it religion? Hardly, since a large majority of Swedes don’t care about Gods and prophets and probably would be just as much unsettled by the many fundamentalist Christians in the US as by any Muslim. Is it the color of skin and hair? OK, then it’s racism and that’s not rational. And besides: a number of the Orlando victims were black people.

Basically it’s a matter of politics (usually not rational in a deeper sense either). Initially the West made Muslims their enemies for colonialist reasons. We mostly beat them to a pulp, stole their assets, rearranged their territories, in short subjugated them under our will (Iraq is a textbook case). Eventually, and far from surprisingly, they started fighting back. And that’s where we are today.

US and Britain made the most arrogant and ignorant move when they launched the completely illegal and thoroughly immoral war of aggression against Iraq, whereby setting the entire region on fire. The horrible upturn of Muslim terrorism is a clear-cut product of western terrorism, the latter so far much worse. We may just look at the instructive roots of ISIS.

The leader of ISIS – al Baghdadi – was initially an insignificant young theologian; “contemporaries of al-Baghdadi describe him in his youth as being shy, unimpressive, a religious scholar, and a man who eschewed violence” (Wikipedia). How he developed from this quiet status to the world’s most feared and hated terrorist is illustrative of the methods by which to create enraged enemies. He simply witnessed the grotesque assault by US troops on Fallujah, where patients were thrown out of hospitals and innocent people killed randomly. That experience transformed him completely, just as western violence on the whole creates innumerable other terrorists.

President Holland of France said yesterday that he will go to war against terrorism. If he hasn’t a completely new concept it will continue to be a war to promote terrorism, both theirs and ours.

When will we learn that war is complete idiocy?

“When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn?…”

129 brutally killed in Paris: western media on fire. 43 brutally killed in Lebanon: the usual short notices in our media. 1,000,000 killed in Iraq: the root of the evil seldom mentioned.

Bernie Sanders cursed in church during Saturday’s Democratic candidate debate by saying that ISIS was created by the Iraq war, although it should be self-evident for anyone with an IQ above 30. It means that only top level reactionary pundits, journalists and politicians can ignore such a clear fact. Sanders’ outspoken view on this topic may very well be what disqualifies him as a candidate for the Democrats (if not all his other less housetrained opinions do). Implicitly he says that the Paris massacres can be put on Bush’s and Blair’s account (as war criminals).

When will we learn? For 500 years European powers have sought to subdue the entire world with military power. Initially these immoralities may have had some profitable effect for Europe. Assets of all kinds – technology, raw materials, slaves – could be stolen and enrich the masters of the world. At the same time the subdued countries could be withheld, their often superior products banned from competition by trade barriers and their own cultures undermined from within.

If this immoral behavior once could be said to work – for us – that is since long not true. The conquered colonies back then had no weapons that matched ours, which was the decisive factor, but that’s not how it works today. We can no longer intimidate people with threat and use of violence: they can hit back in all kinds of ways, and they do. If we don’t rise above this imperialist thinking once and for all, we can look forward to perpetual massacres from all sides: a mutual suicide and destruction that will end our era as masters of the world.

As we are pathologically fixated on killing as a means to achieve power, a country such as China is conquering the world behind our backs with peaceful and constructive methods, such as trade deals and all kinds of contribution to development, not least important infrastructure projects.

The Chinese cannot be intimidated. Their prime principle of foreign policy is non-interference in other countries internal affairs. When the West someday reaches the same level of political maturity, war will become a rarity.

Until then we have to sit with jaws dropped and watch our profit fixated business leaders and their bought politicians handle a dysfunctional economic system which funnels obscene wealth to a few at the expense of the majority and their need of fair living conditions and a decent society.