[News] Galeano - I Hate to Bother You

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Aug 13 10:57:38 EDT 2009


August 13, 2009

History Never Ends

I Hate to Bother You


I’d 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. Doesn’t 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, aren’t 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 world’s 
main producers of weapons?  Without implying any 
disrespect to the drug runners, couldn’t 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 don’t 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 don’t 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 doesn’t, perhaps, the constant 
bombardment of advertising constitute an 
invitation to crime?  Doesn’t 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 isn’t the death penalty applied to death 
itself?  The world is organized in the service of 
death.  Isn’t 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 don’t 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?

Aren’t 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 aren’t 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 don’t 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 aren’t 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?

Here’s how Lewis Carroll’s queen explained to 
Alice how justice is dispensed in a looking-glass world:

“There’s the King’s Messenger.  He’s in prison 
now, being punished: and the trial doesn’t 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.

Couldn’t 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: I’ll be back.

Translation from Spanish: Dr. Moti Nissani

Among his other achievements, in 1971, Eduardo 
Galeano wrote 
Open Veins of Latin America and, in 1976, escaped 
death at the hands of CIA-financed Argentine death squads.

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