zaterdag 9 februari 2013
Robert Scheer 6
America’s Global Torture Network
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Posted on Feb 7, 2013
The title, “Globalizing Torture,” says it all. This meticulous accounting of the network of torture chambers that the United States has authorized in more than 54 nations is a damning indictment that should make all of us in this country cringe with shame.
The report is a product of the Open Society Foundations, funded by international financier and philanthropist George Soros, who, as a young Jew, suffered through the Nazi occupation of Hungary and emerged from that experience an uncompromising fighter for human rights. That his lifelong goal to “foster accountability for international crimes,” reflected in his organization’s mission statement, now includes our government is a condemnation as awful as it is deserved.
When it comes to torture in the post 9/11 era, the record of the United States is so appalling that one must question our claimed abhorrence of the barbarism of other nations. In fact, the essence of our rendition program has been to outsource torture to those countries most sadistic in their use of “enhanced interrogation techniques.” That is flattery of a most twisted sort.
For example, Syria, now universally condemned for its contempt for human life, was chosen as the site to torture Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen detained by U.S. authorities at John F. Kennedy Airport. The apology and financial compensation he received from Canadian officials is only one of three instances of governments apologizing, and that list does not include the United States.
Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt, known for its horrid interrogation tactics condemned in the Arab Spring uprising, was selected by the U.S. to interrogate Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, who “under threat of torture at the hands of Egyptian officials, fabricated information relating to Iraq’s provision of chemical and biological weapons training to al-Qaida,” the report states. That is the very misinformation that Colin Powell relied on in his U.N. speech justifying the Iraq invasion. So much for the evil rationalization for torture as a source of reliable information, offered in the propaganda film “Zero Dark Thirty.”
AdvertisementBut the efficacy of torture is not the issue; for example, even if waterboarding, when used by the Japanese against captured American soldiers, provided reliable information, it would not have weakened the U.S. case that such interrogation constituted the commission of war crimes. The point is that in response to what was hardly the most terrifying attack ever experienced by a nation, we launched the most far-reaching torture campaign. No country was impervious to our reach, and all international codes of restraint were summarily breached.
The unalienable human rights endowed to all by their creator—declared as a universal right in our Declaration of Independence—were replaced by the “dark side” declaration of Dick Cheney, quoted in the opening to the torture report: “We also have to work, through, sort of the dark side, if you will. … We’ve got to spend time in the shadows in the intelligence world. … It’s going to be vital for us to use any means at our disposal, basically, to achieve our objective.”
Cheney’s argument that the ends justify the means has long been the refuge of murderous scoundrels and rejected by civilized people because evil means inevitably corrupt the most noble of ends. But that truth is too easily ignored in the presence of threats from abroad. George Washington, aware of the dangers that had befallen Rome and other experiments in Republican governance, used his farewell speech “to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism. …”
It is a trap that presidential candidate Barack Obama also warned against, but as president he has ignored. Although it was the administration of George W. Bush that deserves much of the blame for branding this country as proudly pro-torture, the Open Society Foundations report makes clear that Obama has failed to clearly reverse that tragic course. The report contains nine important recommendations, beginning with “Repudiate the CIA’s practice of extraordinary rendition” and continues with a list of demands for full public accountability that the Obama administration has blocked.
The report notes that Obama did issue an executive order disavowing torture and created an interagency task force to review interrogation and rendition practices soon after his election. However, it says “the executive order did not repudiate extraordinary rendition, and was crafted to preserve the CIA’s authority to detain terrorist suspects on a short-term transitory basis prior to rendering them to another country for interrogation or trial.
“Moreover, the interagency task force report, which was issued in 2009, continues to be withheld from the public. The administration also continues to withhold documents relating to CIA Office of Inspector General investigations into extraordinary rendition and secret detention.”
The “dark side” of Cheney’s fantasy refers in the end to the perversion of our democracy in the name of national security. Hideous acts are conducted in our name, and the state relies on our ignorance to gain the public’s acquiescence. Thanks to this excellent Open Society Foundations report, ignorance is a more difficult cop-out.
Click here to check out Robert Scheer’s new book,
Geert Mak 6
Geert Mak: Chevalier de la Légion
d’Honneur (23 april 2009)
‘Het is beter voor Nederland en de internationale gemeenschap dat Obama de verkiezingen wint.'
Geert Mak. EO Radio. 6 november 2012
Austerity can’t solve crises of capitalism
By Gene Clancy on February 8, 2013 » Add the first comment.
Millions of workers across the United States received a rude and unpleasant jolt this January when they discovered that their take-home pay had just shrunk by 2 percent. The Social Security payroll tax cut of 2009 was restored, costing workers an average amount of $850 a year, a significant wage decrease for workers on the edge of financial ruin.
This de facto pay cut is part of a march towards government austerity going on in the U.S. and around the world. What austerity really means is cutting government spending for social benefits and/or raising taxes to guarantee loan payments to banks. Austerity is an article of faith not only for the right wing, but for centrist politicians like the Obama administration and most European governments.
There was little to no discussion of the increase in the payroll tax, which will have a far greater negative economic impact than the small increases in taxes on the very rich that were ballyhooed in December.
More dangerous even than restoring the payroll tax are the proposed cuts in federal spending, including cuts to Social Security benefits. A preposterous lie, generated by the ruling class and its lackey media, is that Social Security and other benefits based on earlier contributions are somehow responsible for the large deficit, and that “reforms” must be made in order to “save” them.
In reality, Social Security has $2.6 trillion in its trust fund, enough to adequately fund it for at least the next 25 years, according to Jack Lew, President Barack Obama’s former budget director and new nominee for secretary of the Treasury. (Forbes.com, July 13, 2011)
Social Security should not even be included as part of the federal budget, and certainly not seen as a way to “reduce the deficit.” Its trust fund has been accumulated from the lifetime contributions of millions of workers through its own payroll taxes and should be used for that purpose only. To reduce the benefits of older workers in order to reduce the deficit is outright robbery of the working class.
Deficits, austerity and economic growth
There are many reasons why most capitalist governments worldwide have inadequate revenue to cover costs. For the U.S., they include outrageous military spending (over a trillion dollars on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars alone), tax cuts for big business and the very wealthy, and gigantic bailouts for the banks.
Most important though is the worldwide economic crisis, which has impoverished the working class by permanently removing tens of millions of jobs, thus reducing the tax base. There has been no capitalist upturn following the 2008 crash. Every attempt to start new production involves bringing in new technology that destroys more jobs than it creates. Thus, capitalism has reached a dead end.
The ruling classes, desperate to have governments guarantee loan and interest payments to banks, have ignored the advice of many of their own economists and agencies, and embarked on a policy of governmental austerity that only exacerbates the overall capitalist crisis.
For example, an International Monetary Fund study of 17 countries that implemented austerity plans in the last 30 years showed that alleged debt-reduction plans, aimed at reducing debt and leading to prosperity, on the whole failed to do so. (Allvoices.com, Jan 29)
Moreover, says the IMF, “Income and employment don’t fully recover even five years after the austerity program is enacted.” (Washington Post, May 7)
Since the IMF’s own study shows that its austerity policies reduce economic growth, why does it continue to dictate such measures to governments all around the globe, especially in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and lately in southern Europe?
Policies please the banks, corporations
The answer is that these policies please the big capitalists and imperialists, especially the banks. They also please multinational corporations since they weaken unions and lower labor costs. The IMF’s real goal is not to grow any economy but to increase the power of capital over labor and the power of the imperialist countries and their allies over oppressed nations.
For example, five years of austerity in Greece has resulted in deep economic depression and increasing misery for Greek workers. The Greek gross domestic product, which is a measure of the value of the total goods and services produced in a country, stands at only 70 percent of what it was before the European Union and IMF imposed austerity measures on Greece.
The 17 eurozone governments, which have embarked on a policy of severe austerity, have not only produced a “double dip” recession throughout Europe. They have not even been able to significantly decrease their debt. (See “Eurozone Debt Burden Stuck Amid Low Growth,” AP, Jan 23)
The latest official estimate of U.S. economic growth, released Jan. 30 by the Department of Commerce, has provided further proof that budgetary austerity depresses the economy. According to this report, “the just-completed fiscal cliff deal … is expected to trim anywhere from 1 to 1.7 percent from economic growth this year. With economic growth averaging 1.8 to 2.4 percent over the past three years, the impact of the just passed budget package … may bring economic growth to a standstill.” (Beforeitsnews.com, Feb 1, 2013)
Capitalism is, in fact, at a dead end. Unable to solve the economic crisis which it caused, the ruling classes seek to squeeze a solution out of the world’s working and poor people through a combination of higher taxes and draconian cuts in needed health and social services. Progressives around the world must see to it that the rulers’ lies are exposed and that workers are not made to pay the price for the crises caused by capitalism.
De jurist en bestseller auteur Geert Mak:
Waar blijft, in deze chaos van telkens botsende en elkaar tegensprekende verhalen, de rol van de historicus? Zijn werk is – en ik volg nu de definitie van de Amerikaans/Hongaarse historicus John Lukacs – in de eerste plaats ‘het streven naar waarheid door het uitbannen van onwaarheid.’ […] Woorden zijn voor de historicus dan ook meer dan de verpakking van feiten: het gaat minstens zozeer om de formulering, om de associaties die ze opwekken, ja, om het verhaal. […] Doen we dat genoeg? Nemen wij, chroniqueurs van het heden en verleden, onze taak, het ‘uitbannen van onwaarheid’, serieus genoeg? Zeker in deze tijd? Ik vraag het me af. Op dit moment vindt op Europees en mondiaal niveau een misvorming van de werkelijkheid plaats die grote consequenties heeft.
Ko Colijn. Professor 14
Professor Ko Colijn: 'het [gaat] niet meer om de vraag of Saddam
Hoessein massavernietigingswapens verbergt – niemand
twijfelt daar nog aan.'
Hoessein massavernietigingswapens verbergt – niemand
twijfelt daar nog aan.'
Where Are They Now? The Reporters Who Got Iraq So Wrong
Ten years ago today, Colin Powellmade the Bush administration's case for going to war against Iraq. Much of what he said about Iraq's threats to the United States was false. But the media coverage gave the opposite impression, and most of the pundits and journalists who promoted the justifications for the war paid no price for their failures.
As FAIR reported at the time, even before the Powell address there were reasons to be skeptical of the administration's claims. On February 4, 2003, FAIRpublished "Iraq's Hidden Weapons: From Allegation to Fact," which made the point that "it has not been demonstrated that Iraq continues to hold unconventional weapons." FAIR criticized coverage like that of the New York Times (2/2/03), which asserted that "nobody seriously expected Mr. Hussein to lead inspectors to his stash of illegal poisons or rockets, or to let his scientists tell all."
As the FAIR release concluded:
The media convey to the public the impression that the alleged banned weapons on which the Bush administration rests its case for war are known to exist, and that the question is simply whether inspectors are skillful enough to find them.
Powell's address was instrumental in pushing a faulty media line on Iraq's WMDs further. That much was clear in the coverage right after his appearance at the United Nations, as FAIR documented on February 10 in "A Failure of Skepticism in Powell Coverage."
In Andrea Mitchell's report on NBC Nightly News (2/5/03), Powell's allegations became actual capabilities of the Iraqi military: "Powell played a tape of a Mirage jet retrofitted to spray simulated anthrax, and a model of Iraq's unmanned drones, capable of spraying chemical or germ weapons within a radius of at least 550 miles."
Dan Rather, introducing an interview with Powell (60 Minutes II, 2/5/03), shifted from reporting allegations to describing allegations as facts: "Holding a vial of anthrax-like powder, Powell said Saddam might have tens of thousands of liters of anthrax. He showed how Iraqi jets could spray that anthrax and how mobile laboratories are being used to concoct new weapons." The anthrax supply is appropriately attributed as a claim by Powell, but the mobile laboratories were something that Powell "showed" to be actually operating.
Commentator William Schneider on CNN Live Today (2/6/03) dismissed the possibility that Powell could be doubted: "No one disputes the findings Powell presented at the U.N. that Iraq is essentially guilty of failing to disarm." WhenCNN's Paula Zahn (2/5/03) interviewed Jamie Rubin, former State Department spokesperson, she prefaced a discussion of Iraq's response to Powell's speech thusly: "You've got to understand that most Americans watching this were either probably laughing out loud or got sick to their stomach. Which was it for you?"
If you turn to FAIR's "Iraq and the Media: A Critical Timeline" (3/19/07), you see that February 6 Washington Post op-ed page had Mary McGrory writing: "I don't know how the United Nations felt about Colin Powell's 'J'accuse' speech against Saddam Hussein. I can only say that he persuaded me, and I was as tough as France to convince." She added that she "heard enough to know that Saddam Hussein, with his stockpiles of nerve gas and death-dealing chemicals, is more of a menace than I had thought."
And Richard Cohen (2/6/03) announced that the debate was over:
The evidence he presented to the United Nations–some of it circumstantial, some of it absolutely bone-chilling in its detail–had to prove to anyone that Iraq not only hasn't accounted for its weapons of mass destruction but without a doubt still retains them. Only a fool–or possibly a Frenchman–could conclude otherwise.
Obviously, the fools and Frenchmen were correct. And as FAIR documented, independent-minded journalists were reporting that some of the administration's claims did not stand up to scrutiny. The Associated Presshad a detailed look at the state of Iraq intelligence on January 18. The skepticism and good judgment of those reporters (and others) should have been the rule, not the exception, if journalists had been doing their jobs.
But most journalists did a different job. And most of them faced no consequences whatsoever for being so disastrously wrong.
The age of American global dominance is drawing to a rapid and definitive close. In the space of barely a decade, the United States has slipped from a position of seemingly inexhaustible national strength to one of breahtaking vulnerability.
John C. Hulsman and A. Wess Mitchell. The Godfather Doctrine. 2009
Amerika staat er over een halve eeuw beter voor dan Europa. Dat is de overtuiging van Geert Mak, die voor zijn nieuwste boek maandenlang de Verenigde Staten doorkruiste. ‘Amerikanen zijn bereid heel hard te werken en het land heeft een grote hoeveelheid natuurlijke hulpbronnen.’
Geert Mak. Nu.NL 22 augustus 2012
A resurgent and energy-rich Russia, a geopolitically awakened India, and a booming and proud China – all see themselves as rising powers gaining traction at the expense of the United States. They will expect to have a say in how the world is run. Just as the challenges facing the United States are growing more numerous, the tools for managing them will be scarcer than ever… Saying that we mean well is unlikely to convince the rest of the world to forsake its own dreams, values, and interests… In the new multipolar era, it should be comical to think the United States need merely dictate, and others will follow. But such a view is still all too popular in both parties. This is because both neoconservatism and liberal institutionalism – much as their adherents often personally dislike one another – share an understandable vice, that of nostalgia for a world that has passed them by… As a result, America increasingly finds itself with a unipolar mind-set and a bipolar toolbox in a multipolar world… For America to regain and maintain its glorious lineage as a ‘City upon a Hill,’ an inspiration to the rest of the world because of what it stands for as much as for what it does, realism must always remain a secondary virtue.
John C. Hulsman and A. Wess Mitchell. The Godfather Doctrine. 2009
Als je invloed en macht wilt hebben, moet je groots zijn. Dat is iets wat we in Europa van ze kunnen leren.
Geert Mak. Nu.NL 22 augustus 2012
John Hulsman die ‘European Security Studies’ doceerde aan de prestigieuze ‘Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies’ en Wess Mitchell, ‘President of the Center for European Policy Analysis’ vergelijken in hun studie de Pax Americana met de Pax Corleone uit de film The Godfather. Deze Amerikaanse academici schreven:
The aging Vito Corleone, emblematic of cold-war American power, is struck down suddenly and violently by forces he did not expect and does not understand, much as America was on September 11. Even more intriguingly, each of his three "heirs" embraces a very different vision of how the family should move forward following this wrenching moment. Tom Hagen, Sonny and Michael approximate the three American foreign-policy schools of thought-liberal institutionalism, neoconservatism and realism-vying for control in today's disarranged world order.
Deze vergelijking wijkt fundamenteel af van Geert Mak’s naieve mainstream-opvatting, gebaseerd op een geïdealiseerd propagandabeeld van ‘Amerika,’ waarbij de machthebbers van het imperium zich soms ‘laten verstrikken’ in een oorlog, maar het toch altijd goed bedoeld hebben. Deze veronderstelling is in strijd met de werkelijkheid die in 1959 door de Amerikaanse socioloog C. Wright Mills in zijn boek The Sociological Imagination als volgt werd samengevat:
Intellectual ‘conviction’ and moral ‘belief’ are not necessary, in either the rulers or the ruled, for a structure of power to persist and even to flourish. So far as the role of ideologies is concerned, the frequent absence of engaging legitimation and the prevalence of mass apathy are surely two of the central political facts about the Western societies today.
Alvira Raymond, wife of an Indian mission employee in the Oregon country, wrote her sister in 1842, ‘One thing that is discouraging is that the natives to this land are dying off very fast, and all we do for them must be done shortly. A thing that encourages us is that this country is filling up with those who need the gospel more, if possible, than the heathen.’Die calculerende houding bepaalt nog steeds de neo-kolonialistische politiek. Derek Gregory, hoogleraar Geografie aan de University of British Columbia, constateert in zijn in 2004 verschenen boek The Colonial Present:
‘Casting out’ mobilized a largely political-juridical register, in which not only armed opponents – al-Queda terrorists, Taliban troops, Palestinian fighters, Iraqi soldiers – but also civilians and refugees were reduced to the status of homines sacri. Their lives did not matter. The sovereign powers of the American, British, and Israeli states disavowed or suspended the law so that men, women, and children were made outcasts, placed beyond the pale and beyond privileges and protections of the Modern. The deaths of American, British, and Israeli citizens mattered, unless of course they were killed opposing or witnessing the wars in Afghanistan, Palestine, or Iraq. But in this grisly colonial calculus the deaths of Afghans, Palestinians, and Iraqis were rendered not only uncountable but als unaccountable.
Deze realiteit wijkt fundamenteel af van de mainstream-versie van bijvoorbeeld Geert Mak die de VS definieert ‘als ordebewaker en politieagent,’ waarbij hij tevreden constateert dat ‘de Verenigde Staten [nog steeds] het anker van het hele Atlantische deel van de wereld in de ruimste zin van het woord’ is, zonder erbij te vermelden wat dit betekent voor de slachtoffers van de westerse ‘orde.’ Het is zeker een ‘orde,’ maar dan die van de geprivilegieerde provinciaal die niet verder kijkt dan zijn eigen onverzadigbare consumptiemaatschappij. Maar deze orde is tegelijkertijd een wanorde voor degenen die de neoliberale ‘orde’ mogelijk maken, zoals de miljarden armen die van 2 dollar per dag moeten zien te overleven, de meer dan 800 miljoen hongerigen en de arbeiders in de lage lonen landen die onder erbarmelijke omstandigheden de producten voor ons maken, vaak ook nog eens ten koste van hun milieu. Het is tekenend dat een mainstream-opiniemaker als Mak in zijn boeken met geen woord rept over de NAVO. Die bestaat bij hem en veel andere ideologische opiniemakers domweg niet. Dat onze grondstoffen beschermd worden door het jaarlijks miljarden verslindende westerse militair industrieel complex is voor dit slag 'deskundigen' een te triviaal feit om te vermelden. Toch kan en wordt de NAVO in zowel Azie als nu ook Afrika ingezet om met geweld de westerse economische en geopolitieke belangen veilig te stellen. De vanzelfsprekendheid waarmee daarbij onschuldige burgers worden opgeofferd is angstaanjagend.
‘Given their monstrosity,’ Zygmunt Bauman wrote, ‘one cannot but thank God for making them what they are – far away locals, and pray that they stay that way.’ The laguage of the monstrous – the throwback, the half-human, the degenerate – was repeatedly used to characterize America’s opponents in Afghanistan and Iraq, and Israel’s opponents in Palestine. But distance is never an absolute, fixed and frozen, and within the colonial present, like the colonial past, the power to transform distance – like the power to represent others as other – is typically arrogated by metropolitan cultures. Bauman distinguished between ‘residents of the first world’ – ‘tourists,’ he called them – who he said live pre-eminently in time, who can span every distance with effortless ease, and who move because they want to, and ‘residents of the second world’ – ‘vagabonds’ – who live pre-eminently in space, ‘heavy, resilient, untouchable,’ and who travel surreptitiously and often illegally because they have no other bearable choice,
aldus professor Gregory. Hij voegt hieraan toe:
This is, of course, a cartoonisch distinction, and in any case the tourists depend on the vagabonds in all sorts of ways, not least on their cheap labor as sweatshop workers or undocumented migrants. But if this is a caricature, it’s a recognizable one. For part of the shock of September 11 was surely its abrupt reversal of metropolitan privilege. On that bright morning, distance was spectacularly compressed and liquid modernity turned into fire. The horror, said Bauman ‘brought the untouchable within touch, the invisible within sight, the distant within the neighbourhood.’
En juist dat feit weigeren de gevestigde orde en haar ideologische opiniemakers te accepteren. Die wereld moet verborgen blijven achter de propaganda over het westen als ‘ordebewaker en politieagent.’ Wij zijn altijd onschuldig, schuldig is per definitie de ander. Alleen de intellectueel niet-gecorrumpeerden zien wat er echt gebeurt. De realiteit past niet in een virtuele wereld. Zelfs na de aanval op het World Trade Center en het Pentagon, de symbolen van de neoliberale macht, dringt het niet tot Mak cum suis door dat de werkelijkheid steeds meer hun beschermde bestaan is binnen gedrongen. Ze kunnen dit inzicht niet accepteren omdat het hun ideologische kijk op de wereld zal verpletteren en ze met lege handen achterblijven. Bovendien levert hun huidige positie hen allerlei emolumenten op, een professoraat, een prestigieus adviseurschap of zelfs, in het geval van Mak, een benoeming tot Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, vanwege zijn ‘bijdrage aan het Europese project.’ De beloningen van de gevestigde orde zijn talloos en gecombineerd met een aanzienlijke dosis ijdelheid zijn de westerse opiniemakers in feite onderdeel geworden van het ware probleem. En een probleem kan natuurlijk zichzelf niet oplossen. Naar aanleiding van 11 september 2001 schreef de Britse socioloog, professor John Urry, dat 11 september een spectaculaire breuk met de geschiedenis betekende, waarbij de scheiding tussen ‘safe zones’ en ‘wild zones’ -- wat de westerse bourgeoisie graag ‘civilizatie’ en ‘barbarij’ noemt –- ‘collided in the sky above New York.’ Voor het eerst in de geschiedenis sloeg de Derde Wereld terug op het grondgebied van de heersers. Professor Urry:
The flows from the wild zones of people, risks, substances, images, Kalashnikovs… increaingly slip under, over and through the safe gates, suddenly and chaotically eliminating the invisibilities that had kept the zones apart. Through money laundering, the drug trade, urban crime, asylum seeking, arms trading, people smuggling, slave trading and urban terrorism, the spaces of the wild and the safe are chaotically juxtaposed, time and space is being ‘curved’ into new complex configurations.
De eeuwenlange terreur van het westerse kolonialisme en de daaraan onlosmakelijk verbonden grondstoffenoorlogen wordt nu beantwoord door de terreur van de geterroriseerden, onze eigen barbarij met de barbarij van de ander. Zelfs de 750 Amerikaanse militaire bases in driekwart van alle landen op aarde zullen de geprivilegieerden niet blijvend kunnen beschermen. En ook de toenemende vreemdelingenhaat in het Westen is geen oplossing voor de consequenties van een geglobaliseerde wereld. Dit zal alleen de hypocrisie van de blanke westerse christelijke cultuur nog meer blootleggen. De uit Barbados afkomstige Britse journalist/auteur Gary Younge schreef in 2002 in The Guardian over zijn ervaringen in het Verenigd Koninkrijk, over datgene wat ‘under a veil of deceit’ de dagelijke werkelijkheid vormt:
Should those whom we seek to protect [by our international military actions] arrive on our shores, all apparent concern evaporates in a haze of xenophobic bellicosity. Whatever compassion may have been expressed previously is confiscated at the border. As soon as they touch foot on British soil they go from being a cause to be championed to a problem to be dealt with. We may flout international law abroad, but God forbid any one should breach immigration law here… We love them so we bomb them; we loathe them so we deport them.
En de in India geboren Homi K. Bhabha, hoogleraar ‘English and American Literature and Language, and the Director of the Humanities Center at Harvard University,’ formuleerde het als volgt: ‘The globe shrinks for those who own it’ terwijl ‘for the displaced or the dispossessed, the migrant or refugee, no distance is more awesome than the few feet across borders or frontiers.’
Desondanks menen westerse opiniemakers als Mak namens de miljarden ontheemden te kunnen spreken door te beweren dat het 'beter' is voor ‘de internationale gemeenschap dat Obama de verkiezingen wint.’ Overigens zonder dat hij ook maar één van hen vooraf heeft geraadpleegd.
Een andere criticus van de westerse hypocrisie was de Amerikaanse schilder Jean-Michel Basquiat, wiens vader uit Haiti kwam. Ook hij werd als buitenstaander beschouwd. Basquiat gebruikte zijn werk om sociale commentaar te geven op de Amerikaanse maatschappij. Zijn schilderijen zijn een
springboard to deeper truths about the individual,’ Basquiat's paintings also attacked power structures and systems of racism, while his poetics were acutely political and direct in their criticism of colonialism and support for class struggle.
In zijn boek Basquiat schreef curator Leonhard Emmerling over het schilderij Poison Oasis dat daarin
De onzekerheid, de verlatenheid en de hulpeloosheid van het menselijk bestaan worden benadrukt door de situatie waarin de protagonist zich bevindt, gevangen tussen de kaken van de slang en het dodelijk giftige water. Hier wordt existentiële eenzaamheid weergegeven met drie universele en direct begrijpelijke afbeeldingen: de slang, het skelet en de naakte man.
En over Basquiat’s schilderij Per Capita merkt Emmerling op:
Hier staan de hoogstaande idealen van de grondleggers van de Amerikaanse samenleving in schril contrast met de banale kracht van het geld, de hoop op het creëren van een gemeenschappelijke natie wordt verknoeid door rassendiscriminatie en de Amerikaanse droom wordt tenietgedaan door economische misère.
Ironisch genoeg was die ‘banale kracht van het geld’ al geruime tijd ook doorgedrongen tot de wereld van de kunst, waardoor de New York Times Magazine een artikel over Basquiat de kop gaf: ‘New Art, New Money – The Marketing of An American Artist.’ Drie jaar later overleed de artistiek en commercieel geëxploiteerde Basquiat aan een overdosis heroïne. Hij laat ons vele zelfportretten na ‘van de kunstenaar als boze held, maar ze zijn tegelijkertijd ook uitingen van innerlijke verscheurdheid en eenzaamheid,’ de symptomen van de vervreemding in de moderne technocratie. Over die moderne kwaal zwijgt de mainstream. Daarover maandag meer.
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