In a recent interview with Democracy Now (www.democracynow.org), Robert Fisk, a renowned journalist (The Independent) whom I read frequently and whom I admire greatly, made a gracious statement about what ‘ordinary Americans would like, .. multi-party elections, .. true democracy, etc.'. I call it a gracious statement and, while I do understand its context, end up considering the statement inaccurate.
It is the theme of what I call the American tragedy, the fact that 'ordinary' Americans believe that what we have is democracy, when we vote out one liar, and vote in another, when there is no transparency in government, when the country is essentially owned by corporations. This is the model that US democracy proposes, implements, and maintains in all its client states, with democracy being supported if it results in the 'right' person being in power.
US democracy is a sham. The only hope is for the US to implement a policy of immediate global disengagement in terms of occupying forces, remove all corporate lobbying systems, remove any possibility of corporate donations to political parties or campaigns, implement public financed elections, implement long-term referendum politics, to cease allowing the privatization of military, utility, high-tech government functions, to completely, not just rhetorically or theoretically, reverse the tide of imperialism and the quest for hegemony.
No, the American compliant apathetic horde has become a complicit partner in the global destruction that is US foreign policy. The term patriotism is now translated as 'shut up or get out' and people consider themselves to be doing their part if they buy a ribbon sticker that says 'support the troops', paste it on their car, head to the local fast food restaurant by themselves in their SUV, purchase the $80 sweater that has been made in a third world country by slave labor for $.03, go home to their overpriced mortgage, pay the interest on their credit card debt, and watch the rest of the world burn on Fox News.
I have to agree with Ms. Beckford and the others and say the tide is turning, Thank God.
I will also say that we Americans can pledge allegiance and stand in pride when there is something to stand for. Until then, I'm not getting out and I'm not shutting up. This is our country, we have not only the right, but the responsibility to speak out, to shout from the tops of mountains, that what our government is doing is wrong, the problems are systemic, and that the lies must stop. We have more necessity, more reason, more responsibility to revolt and we should look to the courage of the people of Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, various countries in South America, and do what we must to change the country for which we are called to stand.
The sad truth is that we won't. The profit margin for the wealthy elite is too great, the comfort zone for the middleclass is too cozy, and the poor are too busy struggling to fight off the growing gap between themselves and everyone else who is busy taking their hard earned dollars. It is the youth, tomorrow's leaders, who will be left to pay the price and to whom it will fall to break the atrocious mold that has been so carefully and horrifically created by the leaders of the world into which they have been and will be born. This leads us right back to the courage of the youth movements that have mobilized the Egyptian population. Rise Egypt, Rise Revolution, Rise World, Rise true America, Rise Humanity.
The remainder of the Fisk interview is point-on in terms of the extended tragedy of America/Britain/French colonial/imperial history and the corresponding history of military/political leaders in the MENA, South American, Indochina, and other regions. This is the sad truth about what we are seeing and it begs a larger question. Does the revolution, as it were, have a voice; and if so, does that voice speak for the unified mind of not just the revolution of Egypt, but the voice of the Arab people, regardless of their division?
Remember, one of the most powerful ways for despots, oppressive governments, etc., to keep a controlled unity is through uniform religious, political, and social division. Indeed, this is the way America is 'united', through absolute division; it is an outrage to speak in terms of Democrat/Republican, Right Wing/Left Wing, Secular/Nonsecular. These are simply filters through which the consent of the public is managed. ‘Would you like your corporate military politician, who will drive the same machine regardless, in red or blue? Will you vote for the oppression of the Palestinians if we cover your politician in a 'pro-life' flag, or do you prefer 'pro-choice'?’ The point is that there isn't an issue on the agenda related to this topic, but the 'democratic' structure understands that the public will be bought and sold through that filter - one of many, many filters; it's marketing 101.
Returning to our 'revolution', I believe it is fair to say that the voice of the revolution would say that there is a set of criteria on which the people of the world, aside from 'ordinary Americans', would agree; and the larger focus of that criterion is based on the economic structure of the world. For example, do the Saudi Arabian people agree that 99.9% of their population should be ruled by .01% - moreover, do they agree that that .01% should give the lion's share of the nation's wealth to the United States? The answer clearly is 'no’, the majority would not agree to being oppressed or sold out by the wealthy elite.
This example is the illustrative truth of the entire MENA region. A step further and we might ask whether the people of the MENA region agree that the Palestinians should be kept in the captive, oppressive position that is the result of genocidal US/Israeli policy and practice? Again, clearly the majority of the population would not agree to this. The rebuttal by the wealthy elite, parroting that of the US/Israel alliance is that the alliance (the Empire) is the only force in the region that represents stability, civilization, and averts total factional, divisive war. Hence, the necessity to exercise the argument presented herein; 'keep people united on their knees by keeping them divided'.
So, having determined that the voice of the revolution, agreeing on a basic set of principles, is 'united' or that they obviously are coming together for a reason, leaves us here:
Do they understand clearly that for this 'revolution' to truly stand, they must be prepared to turn away neoliberalism in all its shades, corporate and military political systems, privatization of resources, socialization of costs and privatization of profits, etc. If they do, do they understand that waiting for the hand of the west, or even pandering to it, let alone soliciting it, is counterproductive and will completely and wholly undermine their purpose.
Do they recognize the complete and total sacrifice they must be prepared to make. Are they prepared, for example to remain in Tahrir square until Mubarak, Suleiman, and the ENTIRE regime are thrown out; do they have representatives prepared to take a role and put the country back on its feet?
Do they recognize the investment of US corporations in the region that has resulted in and will continue to demand the exploitation and manipulation of their people, their political process, the wealth of their resources, military acquiescence, etc.? If so, are they prepared to stand against it?
Side note - this is how ridiculous it all can be - a hot button question has been 'what about the tourist industry?" - This exemplifies the disparity between moral and capitalistic value; we are talking about issues as deep as the indomitable human spirit, and it is measured in the wealth gained by catering to the wealthy elite -
How are they preparing to deal with Israel, who is in the wings, not waiting, but preparing for 'all out' war? And many, many more unanswered questions that cannot be lost in the fervor of revolution, lest the revolution itself be lost in a fervor of sentiment and sacrificed to the west - and this is already in motion.
All of this to say, the West is a crafty master. It has long enslaved populations by their own means, leading them down a primrose path of revolution, telling them what they want to hear, and buying them and selling them for generations. Indeed, the American public is itself the best example, what a sad compliant horde we have become, shedding a tear within the consensus of compassion, but not coming together as a people to guide the massive behemoth that our government has become. Now here come Obama, Suleiman, and Netanyahu, in the wake of Bush, Mubarak, and Sharon.
If we are going to talk in terms of empirical knowledge, we must consider the past our experiment, and we must then consider that the results of our experiment are what we call true history. Operating from this premise, our revolution must consider that:
we know the US/Israeli alliance (we have left and will leave some other obvious players out of it for now) are not honest; indeed, the term ‘rhetoric’ is used so often that it is clearly a substitute for the word ‘lie’
we know that there is such a vast wealth of transnational corporate investment in the region that true change isn’t going to come without a (literal) fight
we know that the best common practice of the US/Israeli alliance in the Arab world is to keep the regional powers embroiled in conflict amongst themselves
we know that the terrible gnashing teeth of the unified military(ies) has yet to show its teeth
we know that the ‘diplomatic solutions’ offered up stand only to support the status quo
we know and the appearance that any true change is taking place is more likely a sign that the players being brought to the table are being set up to fall into the teeth of the awaiting machine that is the wealthy elite of the world, led by the US/Israel alliance and the compliant MENA governments (allies), and that the plan of the allies is to set the other players against one another
I hope and pray that these issues, these truths, are in the heart and minds and, more importantly on the lips and the pens, of the voices of the revolution. And I hope and pray that there are factions, grass roots elections, referendums, and ideas being developed to counteract and counter demand and fight off the temptation of falling into the vacuum of Western ‘leadership’.
Clearly there are greater minds than mine at the table, and there are certainly greater hearts with bountiful courage and hope that have brought to bear this mighty resounding voice, this revolution. And I watch, wait, and pray that the gates that have been opened do not fall shut, that the voice of the revolution is carried by the body of humanity that must follow its call with action, and that the higher spiritual truth wins the day and the future for Egypt, for the MENA region, and for the world.