[News] Galeano - I Hate to Bother You
news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Aug 13 10:57:38 EDT 2009
August 13, 2009
History Never Ends
I Hate to Bother You
By EDUARDO GALEANO
Id like to share with you some questions--some
flies that keep buzzing in my head.
Is justice right side up?
Has world justice been frozen in an upside-down position?
The shoe-thrower of Iraq, the man who hurled his
shoes at Bush, was condemned to three years in
prison. Doesnt he deserve, instead, a medal?
Who is the terrorist? The hurler of shoes or
their recipient? Is not the real terrorist the
serial killer who, lying, fabricated the Iraq
war, massacred a multitude, and legalized and ordered torture?
Who are the guilty ones--the people of Atenco, in
Mexico, the indigenous Mapuches of Chile, the
Kekchies of Guatemala, the landless peasants of
Brazilall being accused of the crime of
terrorism for defending their right to their own
land? If the earth is sacred, even if the law
does not say so, arent its defenders sacred too?
According to Foreign Policy Magazine, Somalia is
the most dangerous place in the world. But who
are the pirates? The starving people who attack
ships or the speculators of Wall Street who spent
years attacking the world and who are now
rewarded with many millions of dollars for their pains?
Why does the world reward its ransackers?
Why is justice a one-eyed blind woman? Wal-Mart,
the most powerful corporation on earth, bans
trade unions. McDonald's, too. Why do these
corporations violate, with criminal impunity,
international law? Is it because in this
contemporary world of ours, work is valued as
lower than trash and workers' rights are valued even less?
Who are the righteous and who are the
villains? If international justice really
exists, why are the powerful never judged? The
masterminds of the worst butcheries are never
sent to prison. Is it because it is these
butchers themselves who hold the prison keys?
What makes the five nations with veto power in
the United Nations inviolable? Is it of a
divine origin, that veto power of theirs? Can
you trust those who profit from war to guard the peace?
Is it fair that world peace is in the hands of
the very five nations who are also the worlds
main producers of weapons? Without implying any
disrespect to the drug runners, couldnt we refer
to this arrangement as yet another example of organized crime?
Those who clamor, everywhere, for the death
penalty are strangely silent about the owners of
the world. Even worse, these clamorers forever
complain about knife-wielding murderers, yet say
nothing about missile-wielding arch-murderers.
And one asks oneself: Given that these
self-righteous world owners are so enamored of
killing, why pray dont they try to aim their
murderous proclivities at social injustice? Is
it a just a world when, every minute, three
million dollars are wasted on the military, while
at the same time fifteen children perish from
hunger or curable disease? Against whom is the
so-called international community armed to the
teeth? Against poverty or against the poor?
Why dont the champions of capital punishment
direct their ire at the values of the consumer
society, values which pose a daily threat to
public safety? Or doesnt, perhaps, the constant
bombardment of advertising constitute an
invitation to crime? Doesnt that bombardment
numb millions and millions of unemployed or
poorly paid youth, endlessly teaching them the
lie that to be = to have, that life derives its
meaning from ownership of such things as cars or
brand name shoes? Own, own, they keep saying,
implying that he who has nothing is, himself, nothing.
Why isnt the death penalty applied to death
itself? The world is organized in the service of
death. Isnt it true that the military
industrial complex manufactures death and devours
the greater part of our resources as well as a
good part of our energies? Yet the owners of the
world only condemn violence when it is exercised
by others. To extraterrestrials, if they
existed, such monopoly of violence would appear
inexplicable. It likewise appears insupportable
to earth dwellers who, against all the available
evidence, hope for survival: we humans are the
only animals who specialize in mutual
extermination, and who have developed a
technology of destruction that is annihilating,
coincidentally, our planet and all its inhabitants.
This technology sustains itself on fear. It is
the fear of enemies that justifies the
squandering of resources by the military and
police. And speaking about implementing the
death penalty, why dont we pass a death sentence
on fear itself? Would it not behoove us to end
this universal dictatorship of the professional
scaremongers? The sowers of panic condemn us to
loneliness, keeping solidarity outside our
reach: falsely teaching us that we live in a
dog-eat-dog world, that he who can must crush his
fellows, that danger is lurking behind every
neighbor. Watch out, they keep saying, be
careful, this neighbor will steal from you, that
other one will rape you, that baby carriage hides
a Muslim bomb, and that woman who is watching
you--that innocent-looking neighbor of yourswill
surely infect you with swine flu.
In this upside-down world, they are making us
afraid of even the most elementary acts of
justice and common sense. When President Evo
Morales started to re-build Bolivia, so that his
country with its indigenous majority will no
longer feel shame facing a mirror, his actions
provoked panic. Morales challenge was indeed
catastrophic from the traditional standpoint of
the racist order, whose beneficiaries felt that
theirs was the only possible option for
Bolivia. It was Evo, they felt, who ushered in
chaos and violence, and this alleged crime
justified efforts to blow up national unity and
break Bolivia into pieces. And when President
Correa of Ecuador refused to pay the illegitimate
debts of his country, the news caused terror in
the financial world and Ecuador was threatened
with dire punishment, for daring to set such a
bad example. If the military dictatorships and
roguish politicians have always been pampered by
international banks, have we not already
conditioned ourselves to accept it as our
inevitable fate that the people must pay for the
club that hits them and for the greed the plunders them?
But, have common sense and justice always been divorced from each other?
Were not common sense and justice meant to walk
hand in hand, intimately linked?
Arent common sense, and also justice, in accord
with the feminist slogan which states that if we,
men, had to go through pregnancy, abortion would
have been free. Why not legalize the right to
have an abortion? Is it because abortion will
then cease being the sole privilege of the women
who can afford it and of the physicians who can charge for it?
The same thing is observed with another
scandalous case of denial of justice and common
sense: why arent drugs legal? Is this not, like
abortion, a public health issue? And the very
same country that counts in its population more
drug addicts than any other country in the world,
what moral authority does it have to condemn its
drug suppliers? And why dont the mass media, in
their dedication to the war against the scourge
of drugs, ever divulge that it is Afghanistan
which single-handedly satisfies just about all
the heroin consumed in the world? Who rules
Afghanistan? Is it not militarily occupied by a
messianic country which conferred upon itself the mission of saving us all?
Why arent drugs legalized once and for all? Is
it because they provide the best pretext for
military invasions, in addition to providing the
juiciest profits to the large banks who, in the
darkness of night, serve as money-laundering centers?
Nowadays the world is sad because fewer vehicles
are sold. One of the consequences of the global
crisis is a decline of the otherwise prosperous
car industry. Had we some shred of common sense,
a mere fragment of a sense of justice, would we not celebrate this good news?
Could anyone deny that a decline in the number of
automobiles is good for nature, seeing that she
will end up with a bit less poison in her
veins? Could anyone deny the value of this
decline in car numbers to pedestrians, seeing that fewer of them will die?
Heres how Lewis Carrolls queen explained to
Alice how justice is dispensed in a looking-glass world:
Theres the Kings Messenger. Hes in prison
now, being punished: and the trial doesnt begin
until next Wednesday: and of course the crime comes last of all.
In El Salvador, Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero
found that justice, like a snake, only bites
barefoot people. He died of gunshot wounds, for
proclaiming that in his country the dispossessed
were condemned from the very start, on the day of their birth.
Couldnt the outcome of the recent elections in
El Salvador be viewed, in some ways, as a homage
to Archbishop Romero and to the thousands who,
like him, died fighting for right-side-up justice in this reign of injustice?
At times the narratives of History end badly, but
she, History itself, never ends. When she says
goodbye, she only says: Ill be back.
Translation from Spanish: Dr. Moti Nissani
Among his other achievements, in 1971, Eduardo
Open Veins of Latin America and, in 1976, escaped
death at the hands of CIA-financed Argentine death squads.
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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