Archive for December 2009
The flim flam of the American people is explained never better by the following interview conducted with Glenn Greewald by Amy Goodwyn on Democracy Now, December 30, 2009. 2009 in Perspective: Glenn Greenwald on the Five Wars US Is Fighting in Muslim Countries. Here are some excerpts I think important.
AMY GOODMAN: Glenn Greenwald, talk about the media coverage of the wars. And also, you wrote an interesting piece about the New York Times coverage of Sami al-Hajj, the Al Jazeera reporter who was held at Guantanamo for about six years and then released without charge.
GLENN GREENWALD: Well, this is what I find actually most interesting and most—and the most significant aspect of all of this, is it’s generally assumed that there is a significant disparity between how we, as Americans or Westerners, perceive of all of these events and how the Muslim world perceives of these events. And that is true. There is a very great disparity. But generally, what we assume is that the reason there’s this great disparity is because we are rational and informed and educated and advanced and, most of all, free, and therefore we know the truth about what’s going on, whereas Muslims live in oppressive and primitive and backwards countries, they are consumed not by rationality but by religious fanaticism, and therefore they have very distorted and partial and propagandized views of the world, and that’s what accounts for this disparity.
Now the reality is exactly the opposite, because all of the things that we were just discussing about the effects of our air strikes in all of these Muslim countries, the fact that we are constantly waging war in an increasing number of their nations, and the fact that we routinely slaughter innocent men, women and children who are the victims of our air strikes, the Muslim—people in the Muslim world in those countries are very well aware of what we do, because the images are reported constantly. They’re informed about what we’re doing. And yet, if you look at American media coverage, it’s virtually never the case that the victims of our actions, of our air strikes and our military assaults, are discussed. Those things are kept from us.
And so, they perceive that we are the aggressors because we are killing civilians, which we’re doing, but Americans are propagandized, that information is basically kept away from their sight, and so they’re unaware of what the actions are. And so, when there’s anger and hostility and hatred in the Muslim world towards the United States, they understand why, but we are confused and bewildered, because the facts about why that is are generally kept from us.
And you mentioned the story of Sami al-Hajj, who was an Al Jazeera reporter, a reporter, a cameraman, who was covering the invasion of Afghanistan by the United States in late 2001, when he was abducted by the United States and shipped to Guantanamo, where he was kept for seven years, obviously without charges of any kind. He was interrogated almost exclusively, not about Osama bin Laden or about terrorism, but about the operations of Al Jazeera. He was clearly a prisoner because he was a journalist that worked for an outlet that the Bush administration perceived as being critical or hostile to its interests. So here was a journalist, a foreign journalist, that we imprisoned for seven years.
And if you go and research on Nexis or other media databases what the discussions were in the mainstream media about that incident, you can find almost nothing. So Americans were not informed that we, as a government, imprisoned journalists without charges. And there are lots of other foreign journalists who have been imprisoned the same way in Iraq and other places. And yet, when you have the case of, say, Roxana Saberi, the Iranian American journalist who was imprisoned in Iran for three months—not for seven years, but for three months—or the two journalists who were just in prison in North Korea, what you have is a media bonanza. And so, it makes it—it gives the appearance that only foreign governments, but not our own, imprison journalists without charges. And this is what accounts for the disparity in perception. It’s that we are being propagandized by our own media. [Emphasis mine]
Who can not like Dave Silverbrand?
He’s personable, witty and down to earth. Compare him with others the Times Standard publishes and he’s head and shoulders obove them all. Ever wonder I why? I did. — Do.
For one thing, he’s not always overtly trying to tell everyone how to think or what to believe in. Life is an experience and Dave Silverbrand is an “experience.” He talkes about things we all think about, even if we don’t want to and he seems to make it all right.
Personally, I am an old logger. I never left my driveway without one last kiss and as I went down the street before going out of sight giving one last wave good-bye. My job was dangerous and I never knew from one day to the next that I might not drive back down the street to my home and those that meant more to me than life. While we never talked about it, we all knew it was a sacrifice “I” believed necessary. I loved what I did and made good money. On retrospect, as I look back on these few times I barely survived and grant God’s protection — for I must have been crazy to put myself in that position. That is why I spend every day trying to make it up — make my time as valuable as life itself to the one’s I love.
When I read Dave’s “Home for the holidays” in the Thursday, December 24, 2009, Times-Standard I was reminded how timely he is in what he says about something so irrelevant and obscure as how people live in a barrio in the Dominican Republic. Timely? Yes, just take a good look at what’s happened in America since Barack Obama became President. The looting of American and the working class in unprecidented in all times. Our futer is the reality of the Gomez family — make no mistake.
Until you’ve walked the length of a favela or it’s equivelant as Dave did, you have no idea what the so-called religious, culteral and “red-neck” ELITE will do to their fellow man. Absolutely nothing is sacred to them. They’ll shoot you dead in front of your family, rape your wife and daughters and cut all your children’s throats in a heart beat all, in the name of “freedom.”
I remembered the first time I came home for the holidays after years of being away — living in the same conditions Dave wrote about. A lifetime ago I had traveled to a South American country to live and to teach. The first thing my contemporaries did was introduce me to the “real” people. I spent a week living with a family in their favela home. One of those nights there was a rains storm and I remember waking up to the rain pouring down on me right through the tile roof. No one got any sleep that night. That was the beginning of my respect for those people – the mulatto. That was the begininning of a people that took me in and accepted me as their equal.
I didn’t appreciate that gift until much later. I was reminded of my efforts to secure a permanent visa. From where I lived to the government offices required an hours bus ride. We’re not talking about a bus where everyone sat and enjoyed the ride. We’re talking about a bus that was a sardine can, so cramned full of people there was no room to actually breath in tropical temperatures. I did everything I was legally supposed to do until I reached the desk of the one administrator that was to sign and issue me my permanent visa. I was only in country a month or so and spoke nothing of the native language and this government official spoke absolutely no english. He would write down what he wanted me to do and promptly dismiss me. When I got his instructions translated I was directed to do something extreme, but for very little value. It took me nearly six months to complete everything he wanted, but to no avail. I could not get his signature.
Finally, in desparation I went to a man I knew that was an attorney. Only I didn’t know he was an attorney. By this time I was beginning to speak the native language. He looked at what I showed him and laughed. He then asked me if I had a certain monetary note, the equivilent of about $20.00. He then told me to include that note in the paperwork and submit it to the officer on my next appointment. To my amazement, the government official in perfect English said: “Welcome to “***” Mr. “***.” You will do well here.” He then handed me my signed and stamped Permanent Visa. Inside that Permanent Visa, I found later, was the monetary note I had given him.
He could have given me my Permanent Visa at any time. Instead he first wanted to see if I would learn and appreciate his customs and try to fit in. He wanted to see if giving me the right to live permanently in his country was justified. In due course I left that country and found a mate in my country that justified my existence. I thought to return many times, but could never deny my own heritage.
For that gift, I thank those at the Times-Standard for offering “Dave’s People.” In that, I thank Dave for helping me remember the gift given me a lifetime ago.