DEAD MEN'S SHOES ON TRANSYLVANIA AVENUE.
Dr De Ath. 7th March 2005.
The Year Of The Snake oil
As with the xenophobia and sense of racial superiority prevalent amongst the Europeans, so too with the Chinese. Both groups derive cultural and political conviction from myths rooted deep within their psychic netherworlds which place them at the centre of a universe around which other peoples are mere satellites, and nowhere is this more graphically illustrated than in the terminology employed to reflect this. For the Europeans it is the culture of the 'Mediterranean', for the Chinese, 'Zhong Guo', both the Latin and the Chinese translating to the English 'Middle Land'. Those of an imperialist persuasion frequently seek out endorsement and credibility to justify their expansive intentions by associating the present with the great historical figures and myths of the past. These images of cultural identity are inculcated at the earliest stages of a child's development via our education systems and are deep-rooted within the popular psyche upon reaching adulthood. This provides the imperialists with one of their most persuasive devices for justifying their motives and unifying a people behind their standard. Ever since the fall of the Yuan Dynasty in 1368 and China's transition to the Ming, the Chinese have found it painfully embarrassing to have to come to terms with the fact that the zenith of their imperial designs was when the Mongols of the Yuan were at the helm. Throughout their history, the Han (Chinese) have regarded the peoples of the steppes to the north as uneducated savages, and have either attempted to stamp out the nomadic culture of the Mongols or if unable to do so, at least keep such untouchables at a healthy distance. The fact that they went to the effort of building not one but two Great Walls, firstly under the Qin and secondly under the Ming clearly reflects their attitude, both to the Xiong Nu and the Mongolian nomads respectively. By contrast, there is little or no information to suggest that such racism is or was reciprocated by the nomadic Mongols. If anything, the Mongols have suffered something of an inferiority complex with regard to settled peoples. It was the norm for the Mongols of Genghis and the Yuan to try to learn from the technology and bureaucratic cultures of the nations that they conquered. They did not attempt to force settled cultures to adopt nomadic traditions, in fact, there is plenty of evidence to demonstrate that they left existing bureaucratic and agricultural traditions intact. This had the effect of enhancing Mongol culture and gilding their treasury with tribute whilst also maintaining stability amongst the societies that they had taken control over, albeit for short periods. By contrast, whenever the Chinese have been in the ascendancy, the Mongols have been subject to forcible settlement on the steppe, a region quite unsuited to arable culture. This of course is precisely why the Mongols have tried to maintain their pastoral nomadic tradition in the region. In addition to being pastoralists, unlike the Chinese, the Mongols have different religious, legal, political and linguistic traditions to that of the Chinese, in fact, their script is Indo-European in origin. Saying that Mongols, because of the Yuan, are Chinese is tantamount to suggesting that the British are Indians because of the Raj. Now there is a thought! The violence of Chinese forcible settlement programmes and the racist arrogance of their policy is founded on the arrant tosh which assumes that all nomads naturally evolve into more advanced settled cultures. Their deluded attempts to force such nonsense on the Mongols has its mirror image in the terror of the Soviet campaign to settle the Kazakhs in the central and western steppes. Now however, in China's new Capitalist culture, a novel approach has been arrived at to explain why it was that such a 'superior' race as the Chinese could ever have come to be dominated by 'savages' like the Mongols. Speak to the Chinese today and they will tell you with total conviction that not only are the Mongols Chinese but that they always have been. And most importantly of all, Genghis Khan and all the Great Khans of the Yuan were Chinese, not Mongolian. So, all is well then, everyone is Chinese as long as the Han are on top. The Svengalis of Zhong Nan Hai (compound of the Chinese political leaders next door to the Forbidden Palace - Chinese seat of the Mongol Yuan emperors) and the Chinese Capitalists are currently working hard at feathering China's imperial cap by taking over land in Mongolia. Only the other day, a university student from China told me that the Mongols had made a big mistake by associating with the Russians. As if they had a choice! Should such barefaced manipulation of history and racially inspired hijacking of Genghis Khan's identity by the Chinese be seen as an ominous sign of Peking's intent? With the wealth of so many great figures from their own Han past, why should they now be rebranding Genghis? Should one assume from this that if Peking does not get what it wants peaceably, it may attempt to adopt some of the Khan's inimitable diplomatic techniques? Certainly on an immediate and practical level, the mere fact of declaring that all Mongols are Chinese lends support to any argument they may use in claiming Mongolian territory as part of a new Chinese empire. The Mongols must at least be thanking their lucky stars that as yet, no significant discoveries of oil have been found under their feet. Such is the fate of those whose history is written by their enemies. Finally, for those who may be doubt the veracity of the above, I recommend that the next time you are introduced to a Han Chinese national, shake hands and explain with enthusiastic interest that this is your first encounter with a Mongol!
The commandeering and manipulation of ethnicity for the benefit of controlling the ignorant is the currency of those driven by a corrupt cause. As Europeans know only too painfully, this behaviour is not exclusive to the Chinese leadership. Political figures who deem it necessary to stoop to such a level are revealing the moral bankruptcy of their ambitions. In addition, any in the West who look down on the xenophobic practices of the Chinese leaders ought to reflect on the way that we regard the Western Oriental Gentlemen of the Middle East. Take for instance the way in which the term anti-Semitic has today become synonymous with anti-Jewish, frequently amongst non-Jews who are justly angst ridden by their association with the persecution and mass murder of Jews, not least with Hitler's Final Solution. Such individuals are however utterly blind to the fact that, according to current ethnic classification regimes, Arabs are just as Semitic as Jews are. Our crass ignorance of ethnicity is so selective, ingrained and politically skewed that not only do we choose to exclude the Arabs from the respect accorded to the Jews because we, upright Christians that we are, clearly exceeded our overdraught limit during the savagery of the Holocaust, but we also choose to cultivate the myth that Persians are Arabs. For what it is worth, both Jews and Arabs are Semitic, Mongols are not Han and, best of all, those swarthy Persians are apparently connected to the Aryans. How about that Schicklgruber? Dangerous stuff this phrenology business. Simply because we may have certain economic and political exigencies does not in any way justify our massaging of utterly spurious and dangerous arguments of ethnic compatibility or incompatibility. We are all of a kind whether we like it or not, we are all human beings, whatever that means these days. Have we learned nothing at all from Himmler and Co. other than perhaps how to justify murder even better?
Civilisation: White Man's Burden In The New American Century.
So, with Iraq now in tatters, its oil being pumped out of the ground unmetered into the clutches of the Americans et al, the state owned enterprises being privatised, administration deals being subcontracted no fewer than six times and still rendering healthy profits for their recipients, and the with the Iraqi people having to wait in seven hour long queues for their own petrol (B.B.C. Radio 4, 1st Feb 2005), when can the ordinary citizens of this new improved and 'democratised' land expect to get even a whiff of revenue from their oil with which to rebuild their shattered country? The Gnomes in Zurich must be running out of numbers for their accounts! Whilst accepting that Saddam was generous with his country's capital when it came to matters military and anything which would enhance the tenure of his vicious regime, other facets of his generosity however, consistently ignored by Western media, are worthy of note. In a recent series of reports from the new 'on-message' Iraq (Nov 2004), B.B.C. reporter Hugh Sykes reflected upon the "legacy of Saddam" with reference to market traders having to ply their business within the context of open sewers running through their streets. Perhaps if Mr Sykes had bothered to carry out even a modicum of background research covering pre-sanctions Iraq with the period when the sanctions, much vaunted by the U.S.A. and the U.K. were in force, it might have given him pause for thought before he opened his mouth. The G.D.P. per capita pre-sanctions was $3,510 (1988), during sanctions it became $200 (1997), pre-sanctions Iraq compared generally above regional and developing country averages [U.N.]. Up to 1990, Iraq had one of the highest per capita food availability indicators in the region [F.A.O.]. Access to healthcare prior to 1991: the Iraqi health service reached 97% of the urban population and 78% of the rural. The infant mortality rate was 64 per 1000 in pre-sanctions 1990, this had risen to 129 per 1000 by 1995 [U.N.D.E.S.A.]. Maternal mortality rates ran at 50 per 100,000 live births in 1989 but at 117 per 100,000 by 1997 [U.N.F.P.A.]. The rate for low birth weight babies (under 2.5 Kgs) before sanctions was at 4% (1990) but during sanctions, this became 25% (1997), acute malnutrition amongst the under-fives of central and southern Iraq within the same period rose from 3% to 11% [U.N.D.E.S.A.]. Pre-1991, there were over 200 water treatment plants for urban areas and 1,200 compact W.T.Ps., with an extensive distribution network, it is therefore estimated that 90% of the population had access to a safe abundant supply of potable water [W.H.O.]. Finally, perhaps next time Mr Sykes and his ilk would like to sample the atmosphere in today's new Iraq, can I suggest a prolonged stay in the south of the country. If my memory serves me, I cannot recall the Iraqi military's use of D.U. shells there. However, the statistics for childhood cancers in the area were 32,000 for 1990 rising to 130,000 for 1997. And much of the above was achieved when those nice Democrats, who viewed sanctions as a price worth paying, were in the White House. I imagine also that when I am listening to any B.B.C. reports on Afghanistan and the fact that opium production has now returned to its pre-Taliban days, I should expect to hear that this is the legacy of Islamic Fundamentalists! It appears that cultural arrogance and blind faith in our divisive economic structure has led us to such a pass in journalistic circles that we cannot even see what we have sown ourselves. Or do we really want to? With our righteous halo of economic prerogative and the sword of the media by our side, we will create our own justice, our own history, our own right. Rather than accept the reality of the facts, we will manufacture our own. Rather than upset the apple-cart and its rotten contents, we choose to tolerate the inventions, lies and machinations of those self-serving individuals who toy with cultural emotions and claim to be the vanguard of all right thinking humanity.
So, how do the stats weigh in at the other end of the scale, in the mesmerising heartlands of the Capitalist monotheism? Where Americans and Europeans combine to spend more on pet food annually than that required for the provision of universal healthcare and nutrition to the population of the entire planet, we also quibble over the risk to profits in the pharmaceutical sector if we sell treatments for life threatening pestilence at prices that impoverished Africans can afford. While, on the one hand, we in the West conceal and protect ourselves behind the skirts of the World Trade Organisation (W.T.O.), the International Monetary Fund (I.M.F.) and the World Bank cabals, and dump the overproduction of our subsidised agriculture on third world farmers, who in turn are forced off their fields and into Victorian sweatshops to make trainers, on the other hand, the West also wastes as much food every year as would feed double the number of annual global deaths from starvation. In the U.S.A., a country with little truck for such social weaknesses as the welfare state, but nevertheless, in the land of the free 'to do whatever you like to anyone else', the income of the wealthiest 5% of families is equivalent to that of the least wealthy 50%, around some 17% of American children live in poverty and, in a land whose health system is dominated by the private sector, 16% of Americans have no health insurance*. Additionally, in the year 2000, 10.5% of all American households were food insecure*. With 5% of the world's population, approximately a quarter of the world's prisoners are to be found behind bars in the U.S.A., and thirty-six years after the assassination of Martin Luther King, with just over 12% of the American population, roughly half of American prisoners are black, and those not incarcerated suffer double the unemployment and poverty rates of white Americans*. The U.S. is beaten into fourth place by China, Saudi Arabia and Iran, when it comes to the size of its population facing the death penalty*. For America's ten to twenty-four year olds, suicide is the third highest cause of death*. In an environment where only 9 corporations control over 50% of the media and the average citizen is exposed to between 50 and 100 advertisements before 9A.M. every morning, America's children spend around 60% more time in front of a television screen than they do in a classroom*. Upon reaching the age of sixty-five, the average American citizen will have spent approximately nine years in front of the box*. Children's television programming broadcasts in excess of 26 acts of violence per hour and firearms accounted for the deaths of 3,365 of America's under nineteens in 1999*. In the sacred democracy stakes, 92% of seats in the House of Representatives and 88% of those in the Senate are won by the recipients of the largest financial contributions, the donors (of sums above $200) being almost exclusively white males with salaries greater than $100,000 per annum*. Finally, to return to the oil platform, the U.S.A. accounts for 5% of the world's population yet consumes 26% of the global energy supply and produces 25% of CO2 emissions. Oh dear, I almost forgot, as of 7:30 P.M.G.M.T. today (3/02/05), the American deficit was running at $7,637,980,145,344.19, equivalent to $25,848.14 per each U.S. citizen; the deficit has increased at a rate of $2.05Bn per day since 30/9/04. And so, as the litany of socio-economic achievements in Capitalism's bulwark goes on in its profligate and recidivist way, one ponders the question: what exactly does such an approach to social and economic policy offer that is worthy of preservation, let alone emulation? Surely this is some kind of sick joke? It is hardly surprising that this state is now passing draconian internal security legislation, the Patriot Act, more normally associated with Fascist regimes.
For anyone who still lives under the quaint delusion that the war in Iraq was conducted because of the threat faced by Saddam's illusory weapons of mass destruction or that we owed it to the Iraqis to save them from themselves, here are some further noteworthy comments:
"While many regions of the world offer great oil opportunities, the Middle East, with 2/3rds of the world's oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies. Even though companies are anxious for greater access there, progress continues to be slow." (D. Cheney. C.E.O., Halliburton. Speech at the London Institute of Petroleum, Autumn Lunch 1999.).
"On just about any scenario, the U.K., will become more dependent on imports for both its gas and its oil. …….issues of energy security are likely to become more important…….[one way to maintain security is] to use international action to address global threats to energy security." (The Energy Review: a Performance and Innovation Unit report - U. K. Cabinet Office. February 2002.).
The U.K. is set to become a net importer of gas in the next year or so for the first time since North Sea oil was discovered in the 1970s. (B.B.C. Online, 24th of August 2004.). "The Fourth World War is going to be for the Middle-east.". The Cold War is included as a World War. (James Woolsey. Former C.I.A. Director. N.A.T.O. Prague Conference. November 2002.).
"I am in no doubt that the threat is serious and current, that he has made progress on W.M.D., and that he has to be stopped. ……. His military planning allows for some of the W.M.D., to be ready within 45 minutes of an order to use them." (Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction. The Assessment of The British Government. September 2002 ).
"We believe no more in Bonaparte's fighting merely for the liberties of the seas than in Great Britain's fighting for the liberties of mankind. The object is the same, to draw to themselves the power, the wealth and the resources of other nations." (Thomas Jefferson. U.S. President 1801-1809.).