Monday, October 17, 2005

The White Man's Burden

Listening to all the self-congratulatory rhetoric of the American warlords about the Iraqi election makes me want to puke.

You would think that the Semitic and Muslim worlds never had democracy before the U.S. bombed the hell out of Iraq. Indeed, if you are a warlord, the attempts at democracy in the region prove how misguided you are for believing that your God, GW, is spreading democracy -- so you conveniently ignore history. You ignore the U.S.-backed military dictatorship that invalidated democratic elections and precipitated a 10-year civil war in Algeria; you forget the CIA-backed coup that ousted Mohamed Mossadegh, the democratically elected prime minister of Iran, who committed the grievous sin of nationalizing the oil; and you applaud Pervez Musharraf, a military strongman who continues to receive full military and economic support from the U.S. for ousting his democratically-elected predecessor. On the other side of the coin is U.S. support for anti-democracy bulwarks such as Saddam Hussein, the Taleban, Osama Bin Laden, the extremist royal family of Saudi Arabia, the monarchies of Morocco and Jordan and Muammar Qaddafi is soon to be back in the club.

Facts be damned. The War Wing doesn't like facts so it relies on hollow platitudes and cliches that have been recycled through the ages. We are spreading democracy to the "dark" parts of the world, they tell us. It is the noblest of intentions that propels America the superhero into action.

Nobility, the most soothing of sentiments, was the subject of a poem that inspired generations of Whites to assume their superiority over the darker-hued savages of the world and that is now lulling America into the poison of haughty arrogance. GW and his speech writers undoubtedly draw inspiration from the following poem, written by Rudyard Kipling in 1899 in response to the American colonization of the Phillipines:

Take up the White Man's burden--
Send forth the best ye breed--
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild--
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.
Take up the White Man's burden--
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain
To seek another's profit,
And work another's gain.
Take up the White Man's burden--
The savage wars of peace--
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to nought.
Take up the White Man's burden--
No tawdry rule of kings,
But toil of serf and sweeper--
The tale of common things.
The ports ye shall not enter,
The roads ye shall not tread,
Go mark them with your living,
And mark them with your dead.
Take up the White Man's burden--
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard--
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light:--
"Why brought he us from bondage,
Our loved Egyptian night?"
Take up the White Man's burden--
Ye dare not stoop to less--
Nor call too loud on Freedom
To cloke your weariness;
By all ye cry or whisper,
By all ye leave or do,
The silent, sullen peoples
Shall weigh your gods and you.
Take up the White Man's burden--
Have done with childish days--
The lightly proferred laurel,
The easy, ungrudged praise.
Comes now, to search your manhood
Through all the thankless years
Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom,
The judgment of your peers!

11 Comments:

At 10:20 AM, October 18, 2005 , Blogger Reign of Reason said...

And remember our “ally” and military strongman Musharraf has nuclear weapons and that his chief scientist was selling that technology covertly to Libya and N. Korea. Who knows what the Pakistan intelligence service is up to? They are not at all on a tight lease… most of that country is held together only by Musharraf’s grip on the military.

It amazes me how our administration simply ignored the fact that our ‘ally’ was selling nuclear technology to our enemies: “ah, no big deal, work of one man…” (yeah right). At the same time we invade Iraq to enforce a policy of keeping nukes out of the hands of terrorists and terrorist states.

Where’s the logic?

Of course, if we allowed democracy to reign in Pakistan we’d have a lot more to worry about from Pakistan than Iraq.

Seems like democracy is good where we say it is, but not elsewhere…

Same old policies that have gotten this country in trouble time and again…

The hippocracy …

 
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