Sunday, April 27, 2003

From Chingagook to 'Comical Ali' - A Giant leap for Stupidity!

Long before the advent of TV, computer games or the Internet, American cultural icons that we lapped up were Wild West comic books. Generations grew up reading them from cover to cover and this was a global cultural phenomenon before the word 'global' became fashionable. In retrospect I am nonetheless convinced that George W Bush Jr, will beat 'hands down' the worst of the villains of yore that these innocent thrillers conjured up in our imagination, and influenced our thoughts to love, adore, despise or HATE!

'Hate' then was a despicable connotation and one we used sparingly - yet what we have today is a self-afflicted full-blown pandemic of a worldwide media driven 'hate syndrome' and as yet we haven't quite figured out who the REAL villain is. No fault of the Wild West or the comic strips - or our children yet to find out? Bush the hero? 'Naw - who ya kiddin!'

Our intangible sixth sense - or 'sensory communicative extelligence' routinely sieves through the spectrum of our knowledge base driven by information overloads, and leads us on to infinite nuggets of radiance, that are strewn worldwide, is ideally 'world culture' as many a definition suggest. Its 'illuminative appreciation' - are what we had thought all along and rightly so - the way forward. More bridges were expected to be built than destroyed in mans relations in acculturative exercises.

The lofty ideals we inherited resulted in Chingagook becoming our flipside 'unwilling hero' then - as much as 'Comical Ali' is to our children today in on the Internet!

Lessons in Culture under "The New World Order"

What fine thought those - yet in their obsessive pathological megalomania it eludes the likes of Bush and Blair, who least of all have lost their faculty to 'reason', (their bullheaded myopia notwithstanding) - and ironically 'cultural inheritances' painfully inculcated over the years are what they are out to destroy systematically - once and for all? While war is no child's play - neither is an unjust and unfeeling war any more than a hypocritical and historical deceit of an infinite magnitude.

Therefore whoever it may have been that voted them to power, or whatever may be the reasons for their preeminence in the world arena today, man's history if written before or after the duo disappears from the face of the earth will not easily forgive them for the sin they have committed on fellow man - on mother earth, all in the name of that elusive word FREEDOM.

A 'regime change' in Washington or Britain seems well out of question at the moment, but the sheer arrogance the two men display is destined to elicit those that have voted them in - to someday question their conscience. I may be proven wrong and a case of 'every country deserves the leader they have' may be in order - so be it. However 'the world', if at all there is any such thing left - is yet to learn more lessons than one, and when injustice wins battle - but justice the war, mans destiny surely does not elude mankind, are fine lessons history tends to remind us. Lessons that may not be overlooked.

For now the so called 'civilized globalized world' is a firmly shut entity, and freedom is no more than a misnomer, no more than a perverse ability of a handful to determine and dictate 'conditions' to our freedom while espousing the skewered notions of 'unconditional freedom'. A freedom of the 'select few' -- to bludgeon everybody into willing submission to a grotesque status quo of 'perform as dictated or perish' - whether you like it or not. And we had thought all along that this would be such a peaceful millennium - how more wrong could we have been?

The new culture of 'global thinking' championed by this penultimate Hitleristic thug of a red necked semi educated and ignorant Texan 'global cowboy' and his suave Transatlantic 'shopkeeper sidekick' buddy - post Iraq, is cultural illiteracy of the worst kind, and one that seeks to wreck havoc to our collective aspirations for a beautiful tomorrow. Peace in the world has never been fraught with more risks than now - and to think of it - its two 'mere mortals' with their agenda for a Free Masonic 'New World Order' against all of us in the FREE WORLD - and we cant do a damn thing about it

Whatever positive American or Western cultural connotations might have been upheld by us for well over two centuries, have taken a steep nose dive, and try as we may, the 'value system' of this so-called 'democratic free and secular world' we grew up in and thought inherited - is no longer what it used to be. Deviants far deadlier than Damocles sword hang on the horizon to chop our heads off - to decapitate?

The world's only superpower has thus been reduced to the world's preeminent cultural annihilator. What we are witnessing today in Iraq are roll backs to the British grand art of loot, thievery and plunder that saw the Peacock throne of India among other treasures, in museums in London. This time around, booties from Iraq surely will find its 'honorable' place at U.S Museums to Historical Stupidity - but for how long will anybody cherish these artifacts are a wild guess. Not to forget the limitless booty in 'black gold' meant to power our eco-unfriendly gas-guzzlers.

Freedom: 'Uprisings' and 'Precision Loot'?

On the looting in Baghdad, which the 'right Honorable Gentlemen's' in the House of Common 'quite rightly' stated were 'actions of a people to retake wealth - that were initially stolen by Saddam Hussein' to Rumsfeld's 'expression of freedom by the Iraqi people ' or the exasperating: 'things happen after a war' - we are starkly reminded of 'freedom' in Afghanistan last year where loot and plunder was not within the purview of the generous 'freedom' on offer.

In Baghdad the apparently powerful and brave American's could do anything and everything - from the air, from the ground, from within and without -- but stop the looting and restore power and water supplies.

All said and done this inaction's appears to have stemmed from a secret agenda of organized anarchy and mayhem with blessings from warlords. Allowing civilians to loot was mere eyewash - in reality the systematic and selective sack of the Baghdad museum was then ongoing as the precinct housed the earliest relics of MANKIND - not necessarily that of Iraq - its value as yet incalculable. Somebody out there has quite sinisterly decided to tamper and desecrate MANS cumulative inheritance - and for whatever purpose, I am not convinced that profit mongering was the issue.

There were things much more dark and dangerous in these 'precision loot' than meets the eye, because among other cultural targets attacked and defiled and were yet under reported by the media was the Baghdad Philharmonic Orchestra. Not only the equipment's and instrument were destroyed - despite pleading from musicians, notations and scores from centuries were systematically burnt.

The unknown and uncharted strength of 'Iraqi culture' and social order was in foreplay for despite Rumsfeld incitement to the Shiite community for an 'uprising' rang out -- we saw not one instance of condemnation, warning or reprimand to looters from leaders of the 'free West' up until the Baghdad Museum sack was complete.

Yet it only had to take a fatwa from a Shiite cleric to the effect that 'loot of public property is not sanctioned in Islam' that resulted in returned booties overfilling the yards of a mosque from where the fatwa emanated. Therefore who controls Iraq 'street', its 'popular culture' in such troubled times is anybody's guess.

'Precision Deaths' - and 'Friendly Radiation'

For George Bush Inc and in his 'it's me or no other way' (the globalization of domestic American electoral propaganda) aura, we reel in horror in a realization that billions of American and millions others across the globe tend to support, believe and 'respect' him for just that 'precise' reason. As 'precise' if we may as the 'precision bombs' that killed thousand's in 'Eye-raq' and will kill and maim millions before too long all across the globe - the question is will it not kill Americans as well? Are fatality numbers restricted only to 'non-Americans'?

What has not been bargained for is depleted uranium leads on to protracted, painful radiation deaths - and spares no innocent Iraqis, as much as it will not spare the Anglo-American combatants on the ground far away from home, far away from the safety of video or laser guided realities of those that perpetrate the war ensconced in the safety of Pentagon, the White House, 10 Downing Street, or Centcomm, in Qatar - have I missed out any?

At a later date - 'friendly fire' will be replaced by 'friendly radiation' but for the moment the Gulf War Syndrome of 1991 has taken the backbench and has been replaced by 'scares' of the SARS virus - in all likelihood a man made contagion from an American biological laboratory - aimed at enemies: China and Canada. Americans in the meantime have already forgotten about Agent Orange from Vietnam - or am I likely to be proved wrong?

Whether or not the war in Iraq is over or has it only commenced is not in question here - what is important to ponder is whether the experience has left us any wiser. Merely debating that Mr.Bush was wrong and 'we were right', or better both Bush/Saddam combine were wrong - but 'we were right', or that the world's premier debating society the United Nations has been rendered incapacitated and thus irrelevant will not make things any better- neither will this endless speculation of whether Saddam Hussein is 'dead or alive' - something the Wild west comics taught us never to take too seriously: 'Zeroes' have a uncanny knack at rebounding back to 'Heroes' and vice versa!

When 'Crescent' crosses swords with the 'Cross'

What is extremely tragic in the Iraq war is the systematic and barbaric use of the health services for political leverage. While the US routinely taunted the fallen Iraqi dictator for using ambulances to ferry combatants or hospitals used for 'military command and control centers', no one has questioned why medical supplies waiting across the border in Jordan or Kuwait have not reached Baghdad to what is falsely attributed as 'a lack of security'.

That suppressing medical aid to affected civilians was part of the coalition war efforts to punish the Iraqi people is well evident when almost two weeks since 'liberation' - following a threat of legal action by a Belgian medic - reports were received by no one else but General Myers - of 'American soldiers been led to a store house where there was more than enough medicine to serve all of Iraq for 12 months - by the previous regime'! To imagine that the US did not even have intelligence on 'regime medical supplies' - is carrying stupidity a bit too far. Naiveté-y for all practical purpose should be made defunct from etymological usage!

Meanwhile the goody-goody stories of a child whose hands were blown off and yet another caught in a crossfire (Teddy bear, roses and all)- only to be saved by a Marine evacuation made its round. As of now we still do not know have a clue of what other crimes are been perpetrated in the name of 'humanity' in Iraq.

The Red Cross/Red Crescent had erected millions of tent at vast cost for the explicit purpose of accommodating 'escapees' from Iraq into neighboring countries - they ironically lay unutilized and barren save for a handful of Asians and African who transited through. Yet in the merciless bombing and demonization of a 'leader only' as opposed to the 'people' - as has been played about, indicates only the shallowness of American cultural inadequacies i.e., they have not taken into cognizance that the Iraqi people as such have a history of never being humbled by threats or coercion. Rarely if ever, they flee cities or their homes. Brave, cowards or suicidal - are quite different and debatable matters, the truth is - desert as such offers no refuge, no mercy! A home is were the heart is and home is where the Iraqi people belong.

'Demonized Islam' - From Mullah Omar to Rageh Omar

Now when those same Iraqi people, fed up with Saddam and equally so with the occupying 'Coalition Liberation Army' is today demanding an 'Islamic Republic' as opposed to a Westernized 'Democratic' state - and when Donald Rumsfeld grumbles, fumbles and rumbles in his vulture like cannibalistic disposition, that 'the U.S will not tolerate a theocracy in Eye-Raq' - little did anybody realize that American cultural inadequacies were/are responsible for this sharp and surprising change of perceptions among hard lined Islamist and the Iraqi people at large.

The word 'Islamist' is a case in point here.

As much as Colin Powell makes of Pakistan an example of 'Islamist democracy' to emulate, or Rumsfeld wants 'nothing of the like in Iran' - the sordid tale not told is that of Saudi Arabia which the US shamelessly backs and one that enforces the harshest Islamic sharia laws seen anywhere in the world.

The US makes a big deal out of the fact that demonstrations in Baghdad represent alternative views - some 'fundamentalist' views if we may (ofcourse the US is democratic and tolerant to 'opposing views') yet as of date we have seen no mass demonstrations welcoming the 'liberator's or even for 'democracy' of the western mould - which brings me to the 'understanding' or 'appreciation' of what 'Islamic culture' is all about. Never in my life have I been more thoroughly confused.

When the Taliban's for instance demolished the Buddha's statue in Bamiyan, Afghanistan in March 2001, because of what they considered the 'object' being an 'un-Islamic cultural symbol' - the shock waves were felt all across the world, and we were unsparing in dubbing the action as those of 'uncivilized, uncultured barbarians'. Some people actually believe the incident over the Buddha statue was the last straw in US-Taliban relation.

Yet on the same token none would have been more pleased than 'hard line fundamentalist Islamist' in witnessing Saddam Hussein's statue being desecrated and pulled down by US Marines in the center of Baghdad? In those blatantly exuberant upbeat moments the whole episode of raising an American flag and bringing Saddam's statue down (by the neck) beamed LIVE to our TV sets - perhaps sent a reverse signal that the U.S were 'more Islamist' (read fundamentalist Talibanist!) than the Iraq's former ruler?

Mullah Omar in his caves in Kandahar is surely having the last laugh! As for Mullah Rageh Omar of the BBC? He did not bat an eyelid - so consumed was he with the outpouring of 'Islamist celebrations' in Paradise Square, Bamiyan and the Buddha statue did not figure in parallels in his LIVE analysis of 'historical events'.

I am in no way not suggesting that the Iraqi people are stupid - however cut off from the rest of the world for decades it would not be misplaced for them to construe, or for me to comprehend, that Saddam's continuous exhortation of American being 'kafirs' (infidels) indeed were lies and propaganda? The U.S after all had not spared any effort to convince the Iraqis that Saddam was the greatest LIAR the world ever produced? Remember the WMD's - remember the chemical and biological weapons - remember?

As day advances the U.S will have hopefully learnt a lesson or two in the long-term effects of destroying cultural symbols - which they had initially confused as 'political symbols' or 'symbols of the regimes power'. They might have found out by now that in secular Iraq - (the only such country that was so in the Middle East), Saddam personified secularism to the hilt. By law, no men in Iraq, other than clerics - could wear the standard Islamic size beard!

From the 'Islamic world' at large we have witnessed even more perplex cultural signals.

It does seem to me rather mystifying that there was no 'congratulatory words' to the US from any Arab or Muslim leader (hard or soft line!) on the destruction of statues and portraits of Saddam Hussein - which albeit proves how ill advised the U.S was on the level of tolerance prevailing amongst Muslims worldwide.

The destruction of statues actually drew more sympathy from Muslims all across the globe that it did from the apparently 'secular, democratic, free world', whose unrepressed salivating of the 'cultural triumph' was disdainful and replete with evidence to the level of barbarians they have thus been reduced to. The secular possibilities in Islam were never explored then and will never be hence. Whether it is Bin-Laden or Saddam - the run up to Baghdad has the mullahs a clear and distinct upper hand.

Are we witnessing here lessons in 'practical Talibanization of the world' courtesy of the U.S? Perhaps we are - as the shocking reverse cultural signals that the US sent in the breaking of statutes, burning of portrait and lot of cultural artifacts in sum total: Iraq is no place for sculptor or painters - and therefore entire discipline of arts and culture are therefore targeted for an eventual demise. 'Freedom' as we know it - goes OUT hand in hand.

I weep for the state of the world today, a world when stupidity is the ultimate capital of the fearfully powerful.

Title "A Giant Leap for Stupidity" inspired by a recent cartoon in Le Monde, Paris.

First Published 27th of April 2003


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